Editor's Note: The content regarding eHow and Infobarrel is no longer relevant. Please visit our Getting Started page, which we keep up to date with advice for getting started with earning money online. (Updated 10/2015)
Welcome to my July 2011 monthly income report!
Each month I write a detailed report about my online businesses—what I've been up to, what's working, what's not, and how much and where my income is coming from.
I create these reports for several reasons. First, they are here to help me keep track of how I'm progressing—sort of like an online journal that I can go back to in the future.
Secondly, I want to be transparent about everything I do online. I talk a lot about online business strategies that I use and this is where I summarize whether those things work or not. I share so you can learn from my wins, as well as from my losses too.
Lastly, I share the numbers in this post only because I know you're interested and they inspire. I don't do this to showoff or pretend like I'm better than anybody else, because I'm not. I just take action and execute, and these are my results.
I hope you enjoy this month's report!
Important Goings-On in July
Is it August already?
Even though July flew by like nobody's business, I was still able to complete a lot of tasks that have been on my plate for quite a while.
July was all about getting things done and putting things into motion. I'll have the month of August to see how everything goes.
The Smart Passive Income iPhone Application
[Editor's Note, 02/2020: The SPI application is no longer available.] The SPI iPhone Application is a free app that I launched mid-month on iTunes that anyone with an iPhone can download to more easily consume my blog content and my podcast, among other thing. An Android version is in the works.
The app has a lot of special features, but the primary purpose is to give me another way to connect with my existing audience. It probably won't be so hot as far as reaching out to new audiences on iTunes (my podcast does this for me), but I am already getting a ton of great feedback about it and how it's making me stand out of the crowd even more, which is pretty cool.
As I mentioned in my announcement post, I want to give other bloggers and podcasters the opportunity to create an app just like this one for their own brand using the code I already have. I would like to publish the apps under my own Apple Developer's license, which would save everyone $99/year and the extreme hassle of setting up a new developer's account, but Apple is pretty strict on “cookie cutter” applications from a single developer—apps that are basically the same except for one or two things.
Other developers with similar services are running into issues and I would like to work this out before I offer this to others.
So if you're on the waiting list for one of these, I'm still working on it. 🙂
Over 2000 people have downloaded the app already, which is awesome.
Derek Halpern's Advice
I finally got around to implementing the advice from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers for increasing conversion rates and optimizing the SPI blog. If you haven't seen the video critique, I highly recommended watching it if you want to see where I went wrong and what I was instructed to do.
I added custom subscriber boxes to my About Page, my Income Reports Page and my Video Page. I'll be able to keep track of how these convert and will definitely report back to you next month with the results. It was silly of me not to include opt-in boxes there in the first place.
In half a day, I've already added 21 subscribers from the About Page alone.
I also began to create some resource pages, special landing pages on the blog that talk about a particular topic or category, and it includes links to several related posts on SPI.
They're like “best of” pages for a particular topic. Check 'em out below:
- How to Build a Niche Site
- Smart Affiliate Marketing Strategies
- Blogging Tips You Should Know
- Email List Building Strategies
- YouTube Marketing
You can see these in the sidebar of the blog on the right hand side along with a few other pillar posts that I've published.
They are a great way to organize the 400+ posts I have published on SPI and better deliver that content to you.
If you click on them now, you'll see that the sidebars and navigation menu is missing. This is what a true landing page / squeeze page should look like, however for this blog and the content that is included on these pages, I'm thinking about re-including the sidebar and navigation so they match the rest of the site.
I would love to hear your thoughts about that.
Green Exam Academy
Sales are slowing down a bit on this site, but it is totally expected.
The summer months are terrible for exam prep material. This has been the trend for the last 3 years.
Work usually dies down industry-wide during these months and sales should begin to increase come September.
There are some changes coming up in the exam, since they update it every 2 years. I'll have to make sure I keep up to date on that because I may have to invest a month or so to create some new material.
I'll gladly trade a month of work (maybe 1 or 2 hours a day), for 2 years of passive income.
Security Guard Training Headquarters
On the flip side, things are looking up for this experimental niche site (at securityguardtraininghq.com), which continues to grow both in terms of traffic and income each month. I'm approaching $1200/month of residual income and an average of 550 unique visitors a day.
Check out the Niche Site Duel to see exactly how this site was built from scratch.
More and more of the articles that were published on the site in May are getting picked up by Google, and I'm seeing a TON of long-tail traffic coming in.
The site saw visitors from 4,790 different keywords in July, compared to 3,358 different keywords in June.
I'm also now ranking #1 for Armed Security Guard Training, which I did a successful backlinking campaign for during July as well.
I'm now targeting guard card, which is a California requirement for security guard training and is a very competitive eyword. Before working on it I was off the radar, but now I'm ranking #34.
It'll take some time, but I'm on my way.
Furthermore, I just gave my VA the green light to switch the theme of the site to a brand new one that was custom designed to look more professional, be more user-friendly, and potentially increase my adense earnings. If it's not live already, it will be live soon.
And if it looks funny, that means my VA is still working on it 😉
I'm confident that once the switch is made later today that it will look more professional and definitely be more user-friendly, however as far as my Adsense earnings, what will happen is really an unknown until it's live for a few days.
The earnings could take a hit, or it could skyrocket. It might not even change at all since I'm keeping the general placement of the ads on the page the same.
Another thing to think about is the fact that some websites experience a drop in search engine rankings when a new design is introduced.
It could happen, although I know the site has some of the best content about security guard training on the web, so hopefully Google continues to recognize that.
We'll see what happen, and I'll do a more detailed report later in the month for you with some results and numbers.
We're currently working on an update on our most profitable applications to better secure their rankings and positions in the App Store so they can continue to provide us with a generous passive income.
In August, we're planning to work on 3 or 4 new applications at the same time, which will hopefully be ready before the holidays when app sales are always at their highest.
Happy Holidays, for sure!
I've been working with a high-end client over the past couple of months (who found me through my podcast on iTunes) and although the work is definitely not passive, it is some of the most fulfilling work I've done in a long time. I cannot reveal who I am working with just yet, but the web and social media work I've been doing for them has been seeing massive results. Next month, you'll see a decent sized portion of my income coming from this active work.
Okay, 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.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report. (Click here to read a typical monthly expense report.)
Another awesome month of earnings!
I'll be the first to admit that a good chunk of my income comes directly from this blog, mostly from the products that I offer as an affiliate (about 20% of the income listed under “affiliate income” does not come from this blog). To be honest, it was never my primary intention to make money from this site. My primary intention was and will always be to help other people understand how businesses and blogs work on the internet, and for them to be better at it after reading, watching or listening to my material, which all comes from the wins and fails of my own real-life case studies and experiences.
I know that I've created a wonderful resource here on SPI with a ton of (free) information about all kinds of things related to online business and blogging, and the fact that people are kind enough to offer me something in return—whether it's by going through an affiliate link, encouraging me to create a product of my own to sell, asking me for mentorship or advice, or even just thanking me for helping them earn more money online or get a load of traffic to their website, I am extremely grateful for and I will continue to give back with valuable content and my experience in return.
Things I Learned in July
Right away, I'll say this: it feels REALLY good to get stuff done.
That burst of energy you get when you complete something you've been working long and hard for—it's amazing, and it should be acquired often.
Be careful though, because I'm not asking you to put more activities and projects onto your plate. That could actually hurt you by dividing your time and focus and you'll end up not completing anything at all, leaving yourself with a bunch of half-finished projects.
A half-finished project might as well be no project at all.
What I recommend doing is breaking your existing goals down into smaller, more achievable goals—goals that you will reach often, knowing that with each achievement you're getting closer and closer to your final destination.
For example, with the security guard training niche site, before I even started it I had an initial goal of earning $1000 a month from it. To get there and keep me motivated, I broke that goal into a ton of smaller, achievable goals—from building the website, publishing 10 posts in the beginning, building X amount of backlinks per day, getting within the top 100 in Google, then the top 50, top 10, then 3, then #1. Then, it was $200/month, $500/month, and finally $1000, which I met 2 months ago.
I've revamped the goals for the site, which I'll share in detail in a later post, but each of those little goals gave me a boost of energy to get to the next.
If you're not breaking down your bigger goals into smaller ones for anything you want to achieve—it doesn't even have to be online business or blogging related—then you're seriously decreasing your chances of ever reaching those goals.
This is why the folder system I talk about in my productivity podcast session (SPI Podcast Session #12) works so well for me.
I've learned that there are some amazing people doing some amazing things online.
I'm finishing up splicing together a number of interviews I did over the past couple of weeks with several people who own successful online businesses in industries completely unrelated to making money online or blogging.
These will be featured in two separate podcast episodes in the next couple of weeks. I've seriously listened to a few of them more than once because they are just so inspiring.
One person turned his chef experience into an online business, another person does stuff online related to a popular video game, another person used his passion for running and exercise to start a couple of online businesses—it's crazy. And there are stories from people who have left high-paying corporate jobs, on their own will, to do business online and earn a passive income too.
I can't wait to share these wonderful people with you, so look out for them in the next week or so.
Good luck with all of your projects. Break them down so you can achieve something today and you'll be well on your way.
Cheers, and thanks for taking the time to July's report!