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 June 2011 monthly income report!
Each month I share the income I’ve generated online down to the penny. I do this for several reasons:
- To help me keep track of my progress and focus on improving the numbers each and every month.
- To help you understand the kinds of ways one can generate an income online.
- To share what has and what has not been working for me. And most importantly…
- To be transparent and real about what I do.
As you’ll see, this report isn’t just about the numbers—it’s about education, inspiration and illustrating how anyone can become successful online. I am nobody special, and if I can do it, you can too.
I hope you enjoy this month’s report.
Important Goings-On in June
June was all about improvement.
I’m sure many of you can relate to this: as an online entrepreneur, it’s in our nature to focus those frequent ‘entrepreneurial bursts of energy’ on brand new projects—putting less focus on some of the older projects we already have in place.
Starting and experimenting with new projects is good. It’s really what the Smart Passive Income Blog is all about; however, it can lead to spreading oneself thin and not realizing existing projects to their full potential.
In June, I focused on improving the existing web properties and projects I already had in place.
Security Guard Training Headquarters
Check out The Niche Site Duel to see exactly how this site was built from scratch, less than a year ago. [Editor’s Note, 2019: While the Niche Site Duel challenge was really formative for SPI, the strategies presented are no longer current, and so we made the decision to remove those posts. We don’t want you to waste time pursing outdated strategies.]
This niche site, the newest and most public addition to my passive income portfolio, continues to grow both in terms of traffic and income. For the second month in a row it has earned over $1,000.
I’ve been working on improving this site for the past 2 months, investing about a month’s worth of income to hire a writer from Elance to do research and complete the content that was missing from the site.
Now, there are 109 posts published on the site, all “seeds” that have been planted that could pull in more long-tail traffic (and income) through keywords that are a lot less competitive. Already, the site is starting to see results:
- In May, it was found via 2,366 different keywords.
- In June, it was found via 3,358 different keywords.
That’s a significant jump, and the more time that goes by, the more traffic I should see thanks to this investment.
Also in June, I’ve been working on a redesign of the niche site.
Although I’m happy with the free theme I used to launch the website and it’s performing really well, I’m interested to see how a more professional design will compare as far as engagement, email signups and of course, income. Plus, it will probably help when seeking out potential advertisers for the site too.
When I make the switch, I’ll do a more detailed post about the design, where it came from and how it performs, but because I know you’re interested in what it looks like, I’ve included a mock-up design for you below:
My full time programmer has already coded this for me and we’re just testing a few more things before it goes live.
Thanks to everyone who commented on the design on my Facebook Page—the immediate feedback was extremely helpful. (Don’t worry, I got rid of the glow behind the man and the logo—and I have to reiterate the power of Facebook here—50 comments within the first couple of hours, for free. Out of this world.)
Also, I have to write (or hire a writer) to create the Top 10 Security Guard Interview Tips ebook that will be used as a lead magnet for my email list. Currently on the site, the opt-in form is below-the-fold at the bottom of the sidebar and there’s no real incentive to subscribe, so I suspect these numbers will increase dramatically once the switch is made.
What I’m most interested in is how this will effect my Adsense earnings. Will they go up, or will they go down? The only way to really know is to make the switch and test it out for a week or two.
Of course, I’ll keep you posted.
Any thoughts on the new redesign?
The Smart Passive Income Blog
In the beginning of June, I shared a couple of very detailed posts about where the SPI blog is lacking and what I can do to improve:
- Smart Passive Income Gets Critiqued—Conversion Strategies with Derek Halpern
- What Else is Wrong with the Smart Passive Income Blog—SEO Mistakes
As you can see, you don’t have to be perfect to make headway online—just learn as you go and make improvements along the way—that’s exactly what I’ve done since the beginning.
The video critique with Derek was especially helpful, and although you don’t see most those recommended changes on the site yet, there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that will eventually lead to those changes.
Primarily, the SPI blog is going through a major backend redesign—meaning the coding structure and CSS of the site are being redone. The way the site was originally put together (by 3 different designers over time) made the coding really “dirty” and not optimized at all for speed and search engine optimization.
The redesign is almost complete and you should be able to tell when that happens, although of course I’ll make a formal announcement and share more details about exactly what’s going on.
After the backend is complete, it’ll be easy for me to update the site based on Derek’s suggestions.
iPhone apps have been bringing in a steady passive income of $3000 to $6000 a month for over 2 years now for my partner and me.
In June, we decided that we’re going to get active again and shoot for $10,000.00 per month. We’re hiring a developer to code for us full time and turn some more of the ideas that we have into apps. This, mixed with some unique marketing strategies we’re going to try should get us to that next level, hopefully by the end of the year. And who knows, maybe one of ideas will become the next Angry Birds…
Highly unlikely—but hey at least we’re giving it a shot. 🙂
In addition to new applications, we’re going back to our old applications and updating those as well.
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.
Another stellar month, surpassing $30k for the first time in a very long time without any large sums of income from a coaching course or consultation.
My affiliate earnings have gone through the roof, as you can tell, most of it coming as a result of the SPI blog, my podcast and related YouTube videos. I’m very grateful for the undying support of the SPI community, and I hope you can tell that building relationships with your readers and creating massive value for them is really the only way to build a sustainable online business, even if you don’t have any of your own products, which I don’t.
The best part is that because of these relationships, I have thousands of people on my team (Team Pat!) who aren’t afraid to drop my name on their own blogs or by word of mouth and market for me.
As I mentioned in a previous income report, my large affiliate earnings are starting to classify me as one who only makes money by teaching others how to make money online and I do not want to be put into that category, but I guess it’s almost inevitable because of the numbers and how popular this blog is growing. It sort of overshadows that I still earn between $7k and $12k a month outside of this niche, which is an amount I would be extremely happy with if that was all I earned.
Don’t get me wrong—I obviously welcome the additional income and am very thankful and fortunate that I’m in a place where I’m earning more in 2 months than I used to earn in a year of working my old 9 to 5 job. I’m so glad I was laid off…
Things I Learned in June
I touched on this briefly earlier in the report, but it’s important so I’ll mention it again—you don’t have to be perfect in order to make progress and see results. In fact, your audience appreciates imperfection and transparency.
The two posts that I linked to that showed some of the issues with the SPI blog were two of the most viewed posts this month, and based on the comments a lot of people felt better after reading that a site like SPI was not perfect, and it still isn’t.
Based on the same themes of transparency and being real, my most popular post of the month was The Dark Side of Successful Blogging, a post where I shared some of the not-so-talked about, not-so-happy things that can come with being a successful blogger.
The point is—don’t be afraid to be real. You don’t have to paint a pretty picture and pretend you’re someone you’re not online, because people can see right through that. You become more believable and more authoritative if you tell it like it is. People appreciate that—especially online where one can easily choose to show only what’s working (e.g. someone who made $100,000 in affiliate commissions, only to leave out the part that they spend $125,000 in Adwords and Facebook ads to achieve those earnings.).
Other important lessons were brought back our attention recently when California, my home state, passed a bill that resulted in Amazon.com eliminating its relationship with California-based affiliates, damming the income streams of tens of thousands of people, including me.
The key lessons learned here are:
- The importance of diversification; and
- The importance of control.
Diversification is important because, as demonstrated by Amazon, if you rely on only one income source and something happens to it, you’re done.
I’m very fortunate that I didn’t rely so heavily on Amazon.com as an income stream, but a lot of other people (and companies that employed many people), were not so lucky. Some people’s lives changed dramatically overnight with the simple signing of one’s signature on a bill.
Diversify by creating new web properties, trying other affiliate programs, expanding onto other platforms, adding new products to your product line, mixing up your backlinking strategy, and building new relationships.
Control is important too. The best type of income you can earn online is the one from a source that you can control. It’s hard (and nearly impossible) to have 100% control, but the more control—the better.
Writing on your own blog, for example, gives you more control than writing for another site that you don’t own. eHow.com, for example, just recently cut off their writer’s compensation program and terminated the passive income of thousands of people, and what they do is nothing we can control.
We can’t control Amazon’s decisions either. We can possibly influence decisions, which can be very powerful, however if you really want to give yourself the safest route to a successful online business, you should definitely do what you can to maximize control.
And of course, diversification and control go hand-in-hand here.
These are definitely some important lessons to think about.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s income report. I have some really cool things coming up for you in July, including something for those of you with iPhones, so look out for that.
Here’s to a profitable month! Cheers!