Let's start off the New Year with a bang…
Welcome to my January 2012 Monthly Income Report!
Each month I share an extremely detailed report about what I've been up to, the income I've earned online and the lessons I've learned during the past 31 Days.
For several reasons:
- To keep me headed in the right direction. Sure, I could keep this all to myself but sharing this information publicly helps to hold me accountable and continue to try and outdo myself.
- I want to be honest and transparent. If anyone talks about making money online, I think that's really the only way it should be. Wins, losses, successes and failures—the whole deal.
- I know it inspires a lot of people to take action.
Before I get into this month's report I just wanted to mention one quick thing: if you're just starting out online, please understand that making money via the Internet is definitely not an overnight thing.
Time, hard work, dedication, a lot of failures, constant learning and a passion to help other people are all things that I've found to be part of the recipe for success.
And lastly, it takes belief. If you don't believe you can succeed, then there's absolutely no chance that you will.
“My inner world creates my outer world.” — T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Let's get to it!
Important Goings-On in January
The start of the New Year was rough—mostly because I was sick.
Being sick = no energy = no work, which is unfortunate because after writing my 2012 Goal Post, I really wanted to take massive action.
But, on the bright side, I was reaping the benefits of passive income and I knew after a week off from work that this could be a record breaking month.
One of the key indicators came from my iPhone app business.
Right after Christmas my partner and I released a new update to one of our most successful iPhone applications, Baby Maker.
Before the update it was averaging about $50 per day and entering in and out of the top 200 apps in the photo/video category in the app store.
Over the past 31 days it has averaged $156 per day and has been bouncing around the 100 to 120 mark in the same category.
There are a few reasons why our earnings jumped by 212%:
- The update itself. There are websites, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages with thousands of followers that post when old apps are updated. Beyond that, the update definitely helped because one of the prior updates to iOS crashed some parts of the app.
- It was right after Christmas, which is one of the many times during the year when there's a boom in the number of iPhone and iPod Touch users who are all looking for apps to fill their brand new devices. The other boom times of the year are Father's Day and whenever a new version of the iPhone comes out.
- Our other apps, both paid and free, which also saw more downloads as a result of the season pushed sales for BabyMaker, not only because there were more people on our brand, but because within 90% of our applications we have a more apps page that showcases some of our more popular (and profitable) applications.
The timing of the update was absolutely planned, but unfortunately we got the update out on December 27th when it would have been more beneficial to have released it on Christmas Day.
It was a decision that was made to ensure some bugs would be fixed when the update went live.
Unfortunately, some users are still experiencing errors and crashes, and a new update should be out in the next week or so.
Such is the life of a software developer.
Overall, we're extremely with how things went.
Out of the 31 days in January, 12 of them generated Adsense earnings above $100 for this niche site, which led to another record month of earnings!
(You can read more about SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com and exactly how it got started, from the idea to implementation to climbing to #1 in Google for free on the Niche Site Duel Hub.)
Additional Adsense testing is still proving to be useful, so the mantra “you can never test too much” totally holds true here, especially when you think about how one little tweak can improve a metric a fraction of a percentage, but over tens of thousands of impressions, can make a huge difference over time in earnings.
It adds up.
The job board on the site is also alive and kickin'—which makes sense since it's a job oriented site and people are back in work-mode after the holidays. Even though the job board (from Indeed.com) doesn't make a significant amount of money, the fact that several people are using it to actually find jobs and start their careers is an amazing feeling.
And from a niche site, no less!
I also just started a private advertising experiment to help diversify the income stream coming from the site. I'll be reporting my results from the experiment every so often during the next few months, but I can tell you that 2 days after adding the software I selected to automate the advertising process I already have one company that is paying a recurring monthly fee to advertise on the site, and two more are already lined up—they're just finishing the graphics for their banner ads. 🙂
Create a Clickable Map
Mid-month I decided to find a web developer to design a tool that would help people create a clickable map of the U.S., similar to the one I have on the homepage of SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com.
Four days later, Create a Clickable Map was born and already over a hundred people have created maps for their own websites, for free.
Well, it's funny because a few people emailed me asking what the “real purpose” of the web app was, or what my true intentions were behind it.
A few people thought I was eventually going to start charging for it and one person even suggested that I was going to somehow put secret links into the map which, when embedded on people's sites would send link juice to some of my own niche sites and help them rank higher in Google.
Can't a person do something nice for his community without there being some ill-intention behind it?
If anything, it's free because it's for karma, and as I've mentioned before, the more I give away, the more the Universe seems to pay me back in return.
Plus, it makes it so much easier to answer the emails I get from people asking me how to create a map like the one I have on my niche site 😉
A New Web App
I had SO much fun with the map app that I immediately re-hired the same developer from ODesk to create another application for me, one that I believe is much more universal and could potentially go much bigger than the SPI audience.
Unfortunately, I'm going to be a little rude here and not tell you exactly what it is until it's completed, although if you're a fan on my Facebook Page you may have seen me post about it a couple of days ago.
The general consensus from those who commented is that it will extremely useful and save a lot of people time and money, but only if it's designed correctly.
The Smart Passive Income PODCAST
I'll be writing a more detailed post about this soon, but in January the SPI Podcast just surpassed 1,000,000 downloads!
Thank you all for your wonderful support!
To celebrate, I bought myself this mic flag from the kind folks at ImpactPBS.com:
And look out for a new episode coming later next week.
I have a few other businesses and potential income streams in the works, but nothing noteworthy to report about them this month—so let's get to the numbers.
Full Disclosure: Some of the items in the list below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through that link, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Also, please note that a lot of these are figures from reports from each individual company for the previous month. It does not necessarily reflect the actual payment which, for some of the companies listed below, come 30 to 60 days later and may change because of potential refunds.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
This shatters my previous record, however the numbers are skewed a bit because I did include a $12,500 check from a client that was a scheduled payment for my services, which aren't entirely passive—but not entirely active either. I decided to include it here because I've included one-time payments from clients before in my reports, and this one in particular, which I talked about in SPI Podcast Session #31, is from a relationship that came about because of my podcast, which I'm quite proud of.
The affiliate earnings (most of which come from SPI, but some come from specialized niche sites as well), are through the roof, but what I like the most is that my non-SPI earnings total over $13,000 (not including the client check), which is up from about $10k last month.
One of my goals in 2012 is to increase the non-SPI related income that I'm generating, so this is a great start.
As I always make sure to mention in each of my income reports, I’ll be the first to admit that a significant portion of my income comes as a result of blogging here on The Smart Passive Income Blog—mostly from the products that I recommend as an affiliate, which are products I’ve used or am extremely familiar with and have helped me in one way, shape or form.
I’m so fortunate to have the support of an amazing community here who sometimes makes purchases through my affiliate links (some people going way out of their way to make sure they do that). With this comes a responsibility to the community that I know I have and will never take for granted – and as such I never promote just for the potential income that can come from an offer, even though those opportunities are definitely there.
I'm incredibly grateful for everything, and I will continue to give back with valuable content and my experience in return.
Side note: if you're interested in learning exactly where my Bluehost affiliate earnings come from and convert, check out this article here:
Ready to learn about affiliate marketing?
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- How affiliate marketing works and the simple five-step framework I've developed for creating an affiliate marketing program.
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- I'll show you why sometimes smaller is better when it comes to finding partners.
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Things I Learned in January
Over the past few months I've been putting together the content for an upcoming product and I noticed that after I took time off and finally got well again, it was really difficult for me to get back into hardcore product creation mode.
It takes a lot of energy and focus to create something amazing, but it doesn't take much to distract and pull focus away from where it should be in order to make that happen.
I think that's one of the many challenges that come along with being an online entrepreneur—especially with all of the bright and shiny lights out there, all within an arm's reach.
I started to “put things off for later” and made up excuses that other things were more important or urgent.
One thing, fortunately, got me back on track: remembering exactly why I was creating the product in the first place.
I took so much time off that when it was time to get back into it, I was only thinking about how behind I was, like I needed to “catch up”. So instead of doing what I needed to do, I did stuff that seemed more fulfilling to me at the time—stuff that was important too, but stuff that just became an excuse to put things off for later.
Sometimes it's good to step back and think about the big picture and remember the WHY behind what we do.
Never forget your purpose—your end goal.
If you find yourself working without one, then why are you working at all?
Thanks again for your incredible and undying support. I feel so fortunate to be where I'm at today and to see numbers like I did in this record-breaking report. I owe the SPI community everything and will continue to give back as much as humanly possible.
Cheers, and all the best to you!