Welcome to another monthly income report here on Smart Passive Income! I’ve been publishing these reports since I started monetizing websites back in 2008, but I’m happy to say that this report in particular is very special.
One, it’s the first report published on the newly redesigned SPI blog that went live last week. Two, we’re changing up the design of the report specifically, with a new look and a few exciting features.
Previously, my Monthly Income Reports included lessons learned and a list of my income sources. But now you’ll see a completely new look that features a spreadsheet style layout of the income, along with the percentage difference from the previous month and totals for various types of income sources.
I hope you like the new look and feel! As always, I will continue to include the knowledge and lessons I’ve picked up over the past month. Through my experience and experimentation, win or fail, I’m here to help you move forward with your online business too.
Thanks again for being here. Let’s get right into the good stuff…
Latest Goings-On in March
March was a very busy month due to preparation for the redesign of the blog. A lot of the team’s time and effort was spent on development and quality assurance. Plus, because this was a completely brand new WordPress theme, built from the ground up with special post-type designs for posts such as these income reports, podcast episodes, and SPI TV, a lot of new data fields had to be filled in with older content.
There are over 1,000 pieces of content in the archive here on SPI, so…yeah. A big time kudos goes out to the team for their attention to detail!
If you’re on this site for the first time in awhile, look around and see what’s new. Hit the “search” button in the navigation menu and check out what happens, poke around the podcast and SPI TV pages, and try to find some easter eggs if you can too.
Phase two of the redesign is coming next, which will include enhanced search functions, more updates to the income reports, and the addition of a few special pages, such as a page to highlight philanthropic efforts, as well as a page to highlight success stories of SPI readers and listeners. Plus more, of course.
More on that soon!
Thank you to those who have complimented the new design! A lot of effort went into it, so it’s great to hear the positive feedback. Of course, we’re always looking to improve, so we’re listening to all constructive feedback as we continue to make your experience on SPI the best one possible!
Smart Success with Chalene Johnson
This March, I was invited once again to speak at one of my all-time favorite events, the Smart Success Live with Chalene Johnson.
Chalene was featured in Session #167 of The SPI Podcast for having some of the most raving fans ever, a key reason why I love speaking at her event. Her crowd is sensational, and the energy in the room is always something that fires me up for a great performance.
This particular presentation featured completely brand new material, a prospect that is always fun and exciting because you’re never quite sure how the crowd is going to react. What made it even more special was that it was my first test run of a presentation about my book, Will It Fly? This is important because I want to be able to present the book at live events in the future. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.]
This one was going to set the baseline.
I started the presentation discussing Pencils of Promise, a non-profit for-purpose organization that I’m connected to on multiple levels: I worked with them a couple of years ago to build schools in Ghana (thank you to those who donated to my 2014 birthday campaign!), and I’ve since become a member of the advisory board.
Chalene’s audience rallied together for my thirty-third birthday in 2015 to raise a total of over $20,000, which was just about enough to build an entirely new school. They gifted that on my behalf, so I wanted to start the presentation by thanking them in a big way. I shared some footage of my 2015 trip to Ghana, but I also included some special footage—a short clip directly from the children they helped, shouting “Thank you Chalene!” over and over again with huge smiles on their faces. Also, I thanked Nicole Walters (@NapturalNicole) for lighting the fire in Chalene’s community related to this cause. Thank you!
The presentation was awesome and was very well received, and the coolest and most humbling part of the entire thing happened afterward when more than two hundred VIPs, all of whom were gifted Will It Fly?, stood in line to have me sign their books and take pictures.
Thank you to all of Chalene’s amazing lifers! I appreciate each and every one of you for your support, energy, and what I know you’re doing to make positive change in this world.
Book Sales—How’s Will It Fly Doing?
For those of you who remember my February 2016 Income Report, it was a record month largely due to the launch of Will It Fly bringing in over $45k in earnings. But the big question was: How was that going to fare in March, a month after the launch was over and the excitement died down?
Well, as expected, sales dipped substantially, as well as rankings on Amazon. It still continues to rank relatively high for a book that’s no longer considered new in some of these categories, but we’re nowhere near the earnings we had in February.
With that said, the audiobook did finally launch, and sales have been coming in from that.
As a reminder, here are the totals in February:
- Paperback (6,323 copies): $31,679.19
- Kindle (9,351 copies): $13,403.95
- Total: $45,083.14
And in March? Here's the breakdown:
- Paperback (584 copies): $3,022.69
- Kindle (1,046 copies): $3,920.06
- Audiobook (1,072 copies): $7,696.96 (check when real earnings come in!)
- Total: $14,639.71
It’s not terrible, but compared to launch month, it’s about a 67 percent decrease. Like I said though, this is expected. The trick is to figure out how we keep these sales up long into the future. The true success of a book, I feel, is its longevity, which is why I wrote the book in the way that I did, but let’s see if it’ll continue to roll.
Only time will tell. As always, you’ll continually get updates in each month’s report, along with what I’m doing to try and continue to get exposure for the book.
More on the audiobook a little later in this post, because there was a big lesson I learned that I wish I could have been smarter about, but first let’s get to this month’s numbers…in the new format!
It should be self explanatory, but as you’ll see, the first column of numbers is this month’s earnings for that particular line item. The second column is the difference from the previous month, and the last column is the percentage difference.
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.
The Biggest Lesson I Learned in March
While the preparation for the redesign was happening, as well as Chalene’s event, I also had the launch of the audiobook for Will It Fly?, which was scheduled for release on March 21.
The launch went well, and I did push it out a bit, but not nearly as much as the physical and Kindle versions of the book. However, with all that being said, I did make a big mistake with the audiobook, something that could have been avoided with just a few extra hours of work.
You see, I could have recorded the audiobook myself with my own podcasting equipment. Instead, I decided to record in a professional studio here in San Diego. I did this for a few reasons:
- I wanted to get into the right mindset when recording the book. Driving to and entering a studio with a sound engineer would help me focus and really get into it.
- A sound engineer. I soon discovered that having an engineer there made it a lot easier. He assisted me from the other room, outside of the booth, catching little mistakes here and there, and guiding me through the recording process. He even gave me a few compliments and encouraged me when I did something well.
- I would be able to get it done much faster, especially related to the editing portion of the audiobook.
After recording nine hours of content, and then re-recording about an hour of it (the introduction and Chapter 1) because I wasn’t happy with the energy I had at the start, I was excited to get the final files in my hand and upload them to ACX.com.
Note: I’ll be doing a detailed “how to create an audiobook” tutorial in the near future with step-by-step details for you to follow if you’d like to get your book up on Audible.com.
Even though there were over nine hours of recorded audio, the final files that came back from the editor amounted to six hours and twenty-four minutes. That’s because there are a lot of things that get properly edited out, like mess-ups, coughs and sneezes, and anytime I would repeat a phrase to try and get the tone and rhythm right.
Unfortunately, the editor missed a few of them, and in the final version that was uploaded to Audible, there were a few instances where I repeated a phrase.
It’s nothing huge. Similar to a spelling error or grammar mistake, it doesn’t necessarily change the content or how valuable it is, but it’s something people notice and ultimately has an effect on your overall performance or brand. For most, it’s no biggie. But for some, it’s a sign that not enough time and attention was put into the final product.
And that’s exactly what happened. Because of the rush to meet the deadline, with the Audible review period sometimes taking as long as two weeks (they listen to it in-house too), I needed to get the files on ACX.com early enough to meet the March 21 deadline. And because of that, I didn’t give myself or my team enough time to do a completely thorough review of the files. This wasn’t the editor’s fault either. It was ours, and mainly mine. The editor even said that we should do one final detailed review to catch any last minute errors such as these. He even said these were common, and for whatever reason we didn’t take it seriously.
For those of you who picked up the audiobook version of Will It Fly? early and have noticed the repeat phrases, I apologize. I know this doesn’t take away from how valuable the book is, but I know it’s something you pay attention to, and you expect better of me. Yes, we all make mistakes, but as I try to transition from “scrappy entrepreneur” to more of a CEO of my business and company, this is one of those things that I should have spent a little extra time and care on. I’ve dedicated extra time on the blog content in terms of editorial, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t have given the audiobook the same thorough treatment.
Thanks for understanding, and if you have the earlier version of the audiobook (the one you can download now should be fully corrected), you can simply call Audible to have them replace the version you have in your library with the updated one. It’s these types of hiccups that make us better entrepreneurs though, and as long as you don’t make the same mistake twice, that’s what matters. You can be sure that during the next go-around with an audiobook, this mistake will not happen.