Welcome to the first monthly income report of 2013!
Each month I publish a detailed account of my online businesses including a breakdown of exactly how much money I’ve earned and where it comes from.
Doing this helps me take notice of any upward or downward trends in my businesses, and it allows me to be transparent while hopefully providing some inspiration and value to you as well.
With that said, many people see the numbers and fail to realize that years of hard work was put into my businesses before getting to this point.
Succeeding online takes time, patience, stamina and perseverance, and as a result most people who try will fail. I hope that my insights both here in this post and on the rest of my blog will help you succeed in your journey.
Important Goings-On in January
In early January, I attended the New Media Expo in Las Vegas. I also presented on the final day of the event, which was a blast! I had the entire talk recorded and it's nearly ready for public viewing, I just have a few finals things left to edit. Once it's ready, I'll publish it on YouTube and embed the video here in a blog post so you can watch it!
The event itself was incredible. I met so many fantastic people (way too many to mention individually here in this post) but I wanted to give a special thank you to everyone who attended my presentation and showed their support, and to all 100 of you who came out to the SPI Buffet meetup! I overheard that many new friendships and business connections were made at the meetup, which is exactly what I was hoping for!
And because he deserves it, I wanted to give a huge thank you to Bobby from The Art of Woodshop Design for his hospitality and friendship during the week. May the odds forever be in your favor my friend. 😉
In case you missed it, here's a little video I shot after the event, right before I left Vegas, with some lessons that I learned during the week. And no, that is not my normal voice:
Efficiency in 2013
One area that I know I can improve on as an entrepreneur is letting go of the things that I know I shouldn't have to do on my own.
Like most entrepreneurs who hire virtual assistants, I utilize my VAs to do things that I don't know how to do, or would take me a very long time, such as web programming and software development. The issue is that I actually enjoy doing a lot of the tasks that I know I could (and should) hand off to someone else.
I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how to be efficient and productive. I've accomplished a lot since I started doing business online 4 years ago, even with 2 kids in the house, but after sitting in on Chris Ducker's presentation at New Media Expo where he listed 45 different things that I could and should be letting my VAs do for me, it was almost like a wake up call.
As a business owner, I should not be utilizing my time doing things that I could easily hand off to someone else, even if I enjoy doing those things on my own. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that I learned how to do everything on my own—I think that's important—but any serious business owner should eventually get to a point where they know where their time is better spent. For me, at this moment in time, that's producing and creating content, building relationships and public speaking. Focusing on this will give me even more time with my family too.
Part of it is that I'm comfortable doing those things, but on a deeper level it could be because I have a hard time trusting others to do “my work” for me, or maybe I'm self-sabotaging my own progress. I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that in 2013 I want to have more systems in place so I can better utilize my time and the skills I have to offer.
This is supposed to be Smart Passive Income, isn't it?
I have already taken some baby steps…
For Session 55 of the SPI Podcast, besides conducting the interview and creating the audio file, everything else was done for me by one of my VAs; from tagging the media file, uploading it to a server, creating a post and inserting all of the required show notes and links.
On Wednesday morning, I logged into WordPress, checked my drafts and there it was, all ready to go. I read it over, changed one thing and hit the publish button. Done.
It was a beautiful thing.
I got a couple extra hours of sleep, my brain wasn't fried, and I could just use my energy for other things like promoting the podcast or working on something else.
Session #56 goes live on Wednesday in the same manner.
As much as I'm going to miss tagging my audio files and uploading them to a media server (hah!), I think this is a smart (and very obvious) move.
Security Guard Training Headquarters
I'm happy to share that SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com hit record numbers in January, earning a total of $3707.17 (about $120 per day)! That's a 25% increase in a single month!
Most of the earnings are still coming from Google Adsense, but the affiliate and job board earnings are on the rise too, which I'm always happy to see.
The site was visited a total of 40,797 times. In December, it was only visited 29,818 times.
The traffic surge, I'm guessing, is primarily seasonal. Most people start getting serious about their careers once the holiday season is over and the site is a perfect starting point for people interested in the protection services industry.
Interestingly, my primary keyword, security guard training only made up for only 5.26% of the total number of visits. The rest comes mainly from a combination of 9088 different long tail keywords, which is amazing.
The number of different long tail keywords that a site is found for is probably my all time favorite stat on any website.
One thing I recently noticed on the site is that the Adsense ads now display an arrow next to the ad. It almost looks like a nice little button when you really look at it:
Here's an article about the arrows from Search Engine Land.
I'm not here to comment on how they look, but since December I have seen an uptick in clicks on the site, which seems to be the case for many others. I believe Google is just testing this feature out, but since they look so much like a button, I'm guessing there are more accidental clicks than ever because of them.
We'll see if they continue with the arrow in the future or not.
If you'd like information about how I built this website from scratch, including how I selected the topic for the site and how I wrote the content, check out The Niche Site Duel.
Smart Passive Income Podcast – Weekly!
Good thing I have a VA to help me publish my podcasts, because in 2013 I'll be publishing a podcast each and every single week. So far, with 3 published sessions over the last 3 weeks, the reception has been more than awesome!
As a result of publishing a podcast more often, I'm ranked higher on the top lists in iTunes, I'm getting more messages from new fans who tell me they've only recently discovered my podcast, and the number of downloads and traffic to SPI is at an all time high! Just check out the peaks below:
The decision to go weekly was made because, as I mentioned in one of my NMX roundup posts, the podcast has done so much for the Smart Passive Income Brand, so much that 90% of the people I spoke to in Vegas talked about my podcast first before mentioning anything about my blog.
I only hope to connect with even more people by producing a weekly show – not just the guests who I might have on for an interview, but those who listen to the show during their normal day. A podcast is even more intimate than a video, in my opinion, because a video forces people to look at a screen. With a podcast, I can be with you anywhere. I know that sounds a little creepy (now that I'm re-reading what I just typed) but it's true.
My Progress on Let Go
Let Go is the title of my Snippet, which I wrote about in my previous income report.
As a refresher, Snippet is a new publishing platform that’s coming out during the first quarter of the year. I was invited to be one of the first publishers for the platform, which is a tremendous honor.
A Snippet combines a blog and a book in the way that each chapter is required to be 1000 words or less. This way, the “book” is more easily digestible and it moves quickly. Plus, and what I'm most excited about, is that it seamlessly integrates multimedia and social media in ways that I've never seen before.
Today, I'm excited to share that my snippet is done!
Well, sort of…
I handed the manuscript to an editor and as of yesterday we're finally finished with the text portion of the snippet, but now it's time to work on the multimedia. I hired a videographer and a photographer to help me fill in the multimedia aspects of the book, and I'm working with a producer as well to help me put it all together.
It's going to be fun and I can't wait to share it with you! You'll hear about it when it's ready, I'm sure.
Ok, let's get to some 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 or corrections.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
Expenses do not include pro-rated yearly fees. Most are related to the Smart Passive Income Blog and new projects that are currently under development.
What an incredible way to start the new year! January 2013 was my 2nd highest grossing month of all-time. The highest grossing month was actually January of 2012, but that included a $12,500 check from a client.
There was a huge boost in Bluehost earnings! This is probably because it's the beginning of a new year, and also because of any promos that they were running on their end. I did not do anything different on my end to promote domain and hosting this month.
Click here to see exactly where I make most of my Bluehost sales from. The conversion breakdown is virtually the same, the volume is just much higher.
I also saw a huge increase in sales of Long Tail Pro, a favorite keyword research tool of mine along with Market Samurai. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through these links.] Spencer Haws, the creator of Long Tail Pro, ran a huge promotion during the past couple of weeks and was selling it for a massively discounted price. My earnings increased from $114 to $4,155, all because of a price change. I did not mention LTP in any new posts, I simply added the tool to the gray bar you see at the top of my page below the navigation menu. I haven't really talked much about that feature, but that little sliver of real estate converts pretty darn well.
Expenses were higher than normal this past month, primarily because of travel expenses to Las Vegas, extra VA work and purchasing a ticket to World Domination Summit in July. Anyone else going?
A Quick Note on my Affiliate Earnings
I’ll be the first to admit that a significant portion of my total online income comes as a result of 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.
When I first started this blog back in 2008, I never intended to make any money from it. If you go back to my earlier income reports you'll see that all of my income was coming from outside of this blog through other businesses. Over time, however, the SPI community has grown and as a byproduct of being helpful and giving everything away for free, I started earning from this site too. Because I believe in total honesty and transparency, I decided to include the income from SPI on these reports as well. It wouldn't feel right hiding this from you.
My non-SPI related income has hovered around the $10,000/month mark for the past year, which is much more than I ever made working my 9 to 5 job in architecture, but I'm truly blessed that I have the support from an amazing community here at SPI who is willing to pay me back for all of the information I publish and the help that I try to provide for free. Some people go out of their way to make sure I get credit for an affiliate link, often emailing me to make sure I got it, which means the world to me. Thank you so much!
With this type of community comes great responsibility and I will never take it for granted. I will never promote something just for the potential income that can come from an affiliate 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.
Things I Learned in January
I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine today, someone who recently made me laugh, made me cry (in a good way!) and made me never want to look him in the eye because I was scared he would find out something about me that I didn't even know, hehe.
His name is Roderick Russell, and to me he's one of the most remarkable and entertaining people on planet Earth.
Roderick is actually in my Monday morning mastermind group (MMMG) and he and I have spoken together on a number of Monday morning conference calls, but I never got to met him in person until last month at New Media Expo.
His business card reads: sword swallower.
He's also a hypnotist, mind reader, stage performer and speaker, and he's really good at what he does.
During one of the evenings in Vegas he showed a small group of us exactly what he does for a living, and it blew everyone's mind away.
Text on a blog post, or even a video wouldn't do him justice, but this picture may help a little:
That's Jaime Tardy from EventualMillionaire (also in our MMMG) pulling a twenty-six inch sword out of Roderick's mouth. It was insane.
He also did some ridiculous mind reading tricks on me and a few other people. That's when I started crying – again, in a good, happy “OMG how did that just happen!” type of way.
He even correctly memorized the order of an entire deck of playing cards in just a few seconds. I think I teared up after that too, but for the same reasons as before.
The entire impromptu show was amazing, and he didn't even perform any hypnotism. That's probably a good thing.
The point of mentioning Roderick here isn't just to talk about how cool he is and also how you should sign up for his email list for the new blog he's launching very soon, but I wanted to talk about him for a couple of other reasons:
Of course, when you swallow a sword in front of a crowd of people in an intimate setting like a hotel suite, someone is eventually going to ask “how did you learn how to do that?”
His response (and I'm paraphrasing here) is that when he was much younger he started with a smaller blade and every single night before bed he'd see how far down it could go, and he'd measure it. It started around 5 inches, and every night he would try to increase the length of blade in his mouth centimeters at a time. After a number of years following that daily ritual, he was able to do what he does now.
Roderick was actually featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not and is a now a world record holder for swallowing swords.
Results don't usually happen right away—and sometimes they shouldn't. In Roderick's case, if he got ahead of himself he could have injured himself very badly. It can take years to see success, sometimes progressing just centimeters a day, but with patience, determination and consistency, amazing things can really happen.
Before coming to this conference only a few attendees knew who Roderick was—mostly just everyone in our MMMG—and after sharing his epic talents with a dozen or so people in a hotel room and leaving our brain matter on the walls after exploding our minds, word got out about Roderick and his abilities and people who he had never met before were seeking to meet him. He even landed an important, potentially life changing gig as a result, and he didn't do any pitching whatsoever.
When you have something amazing to share, people start talking. I don't recommend picking up a sword and going down the same route as Roderick did, but I feel we all have the ability to create something incredibly epic that people can't help but share and talk about, and you don't need a sword or playing cards or hypnosis or mind-reading abilities to make it happen.
It took Roderick years to master his skills, but only a couple of minutes to show us exactly why we weren't going to do anything else but talk about him all week, and here I am talking about him on my blog too.
I'm sure you'll hear more about Roderick once his blog goes live, it's going to be awesome. 🙂
Thanks, as always, for your undying support and here's to a safe, happy and profitable February!