Welcome to my May 2013 income report!
Every month I write a detailed report about my online businesses.
I do this not only to help me keep track of my progress, but also to show you what’s working for me, and what’s not.
In my monthly reports I always include an extremely detailed breakdown of the income I’ve earned online and I conclude with some of the more important things I’ve learned during the month.
I do this to motivate and to be transparent. Plus, I personally feel that if a person is publishing information about making money online he or she should show all sides of the equation so that the readers can make honest decisions based on honest information and common sense, not on hype.
If you’re just starting out online, please understand that making money on the Internet is definitely not an overnight thing, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pull it off.
A lot of people will attempt it and many people will fail, but I absolutely know that it’s possible.
I struggle through trial and error every single day, but as long as you have a goal and constantly work towards it you’re giving yourself a chance.
Thanks again for your support, and I hope you enjoy this month’s report.
Important Goings-On in May
One of the drawbacks of being a solo entrepreneur is that if something happens to you, progress in your business comes to a halt. Something happened to me during the later half of the month which affected how I ran my business, and actually it happened to my entire family:
We all got sick all at the same time.
What usually happens is that someone in the family catches a cold and then it slowly transfers from one person to another until it runs its course through the entire family. This time, however, we must have caught something nasty because all in one night, myself, my wife and both of our kids registered fevers and had sore throats.
When the kids are sick and one parent is sick too, it's tough.
When the kids are sick and both parents are sick, it's hell.
As always, the timing was terrible. But really, could the timing of something like this ever be not terrible?
I had just launched Niche Site Duel 2.0 and had a lot of content to publish. I plowed through and got it done, but it was an incredible struggle. Some of the posts that would typically take 2-4 hours to write took, perhaps, 8-10 hours. It was hard to focus, I couldn't stop coughing and sneezing, and the importance of what I was writing or filming made it even worse, because I had to get it done right, and by a specific date.
In case you missed anything in May, here's a convenient list of what I published for you below:
- SPI 065 : Go Mobile or Get Left Behind with Greg Hickman of MobileMixed.com
- My April 2013 Monthly Income Report
- SPI 066: Niche Site Duel 2.0 (research interview) – SEO and Keyword Research with Spencer Haws
- SPI 067: Niche Site Duel 2.0 (research interview) – Neil Patel on How to Rank a Website Today
- Niche Site Duel 2.0 – Criteria and Thoughts for Keyword and Niche Selection
- SPI 068: The Most Powerful (and Toughest) Productivity Tip to Implement
- Niche Site Duel 2.0 (research post) – Effective & Long-term Link Building for Niche Sites with Jon Cooper
- Niche Site Duel 2.0 – Let’s Do This! Expectations and How to Participate
- Niche Site Duel 2.0.1 – How to Conduct Keyword Research and SEO Analysis (Free and Paid Methods)
- SPI 069: How to Build Buzz and Why it’s Better than Hype
Quite a full list of posts despite sick for half the month. I'm thankful that I'm almost back to 100% coming into the month of June, which will prove to be quite busy.
You may think this section of this report may be about my best-selling book, Let Go, which held up pretty well during the month of May as you'll see in the income breakdown below, but it's not. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.]
Instead, this is in reference to the fact that I had made the decision to let go of not one, but both of my overseas virtual assistants in May.
The decision was not very difficult to make from a business point of view, because I wasn't using them any more.
I was paying a total of $1,100 per month for both VAs ($700/month for the web developer and $400/month for the admin/assistant), but the work that I had them doing since I hired them in 2011 wasn't there anymore. I hired them primarily to help create experimental and test niche sites for research purposes. They also ended up helping with a lot of side projects as well, especially when I was doing the whole Hollywood thing.
Mike and Nica were both my very first full-time and part-time VAs, which I hired through Chris Ducker's Virtual Staff Finder, and they were fantastic. They became good friends and always did what I asked them to do, which made the letting go process much harder.
I can't help but realize that I was letting them go much like how I was let go from my position in an architecture firm back in 2008. I even gave them incredible compliments right before delivering the bad news, which is exactly what happened to me too. The experience truly gave me an uneasy feeling, but now I know, sort of, what my boss was going through back then when he let me go.
I didn't hate him for it though. I knew it was something that was out of his control and he would keep me if he only could.
I only hope that Mike and Nica feel the same way.
To Mike and Nica:
Since I know you read my blog, thank you for all of the great work you did for me. Truly.
If you'd like, you have permission to leave your contact information in the comment section of this post in case there is anyone out there who may want to interview you to potentially work with you. Wishing you all the best, and please – don't be a stranger. 🙂
My Upcoming Course
At the end of April's monthly income report, I mentioned that I had partnered with Adam Baker on Only72.com, a website that, a few times a year, sells a bundle of products for an incredibly discounted price. I had experienced the sale a few times before I came on as a partner and thought there was a lot more opportunity for the brand, so when Adam asked me to join forces with him I was happy to say yes.
The next Only72 sale, which we've been planning for the last few months, is happening at the end of June and I'm extremely excited because I'll be contributing a product of my own to the sale, along with a number of other experts.
I've been working on this product for the past couple of months and I forgot how fun it was to actually create a packaged product. This particular product is something I haven't seen in the blogosphere yet, so I'm super stoked to share it with you once we go live!
I'm also flying up to Portland this weekend for a day to shoot videos with Adam and within the next week or two, you should see big changes to Only72.com, including a site redesign and information about our upcoming launch.
I know I could easily sell this product I'm creating on my own outside of the Only72.com sale, but it's a perfect compliment to the theme of the sale and I want to give as much as I can to those who grab it early before the sale ends and I sell the product on its own at a later date for a higher price.
More information on this to come!
Niche Site Duel Is in Full Swing
Despite being sick, I was still able to launch NSD2.0 as planned. Currently, over 2,500 people have signed up to participate and I have over 350 applications to read (and counting) for the private Mastermind Learning Group.
As a reminder, the Mastermind Learning Group is a small group of 5 people that I'm creating to learn, build and share detailed results with me here on the blog. They will be doing this anonymously and without revealing their exact URL and target keyword to the public, at least at first, to keep the results of each of the case studies as legitimate as possible.
The deadline to apply for the MLG has been moved from end of day Wednesday, June 5th, to end of day Sunday, June 9th. This will give you more time to find a potential keyword to target. If you'd like to apply (or just want to put your name in for the NSD2.0 leaderboard), just enter your name and email below and you'll get an email immediately from me with information about how all of this is going to work:
[Editor's note: Sign up has closed.]
Where am I at in the process?
Currently, I'm still conducting keyword research. I've found a few potentials, but I continue to pan for gold because there's still some time before moving onto the next step, and I'd like those who are still conducting keyword research to know that they aren't alone and there's still a ton of time.
Actually, you have all the time in the world because even if I were to move on to the next step, everything will be documented so you can catch up whenever it's convenient for you.
Don't feel rushed. This is a process. 🙂
Okay, let's get to some numbers for May…
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. Travel fees and related travel expenses were not included this month since they were reimbursed.
An awesome month! There's definitely a kick in earnings for tools related to Niche Site Duel 2.0. I know a lot of you are going through my affiliate links for things like Long Tail Pro for keyword research, and Bluehost for hosting your website, and I can't thank you enough for your support! [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate for Bluehost, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
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.
A ‘Chase' at My House
Since mid last year, I've been talking about the new redesign for the Smart Passive Income Blog. It has been over 3 years since the last iteration and I started working with a designer who eventually had personal issues to take care of, and thus work on SPI was halted – until recently.
Chase Reeves, who is known for the great redesign he did for Corbett Barr's ThinkTraffic.net website, who also now works directly with Corbett and Caleb over at Think Traffic and Fizzle.co, was kind enough to help me out. I flew him to San Diego to stay at my house for 3 days so he could work in my home office on the new redesign. He would lock himself in there until he called me up for an opinion or approval on something. It was definitely different than anything I had ever experienced before as far as having work done on my website, but it was awesome too.
In 3 short days, a new look for Smart Passive Income appeared before my eyes. It's much cleaner (much much cleaner), it's incredibly purposeful and it doesn't look like how it looks now, which is just a hodgepodge, Frankenstein sort of creation. To me, right now, every part of the site fights for your attention—almost like ads. In the new design, it flows quite nicely and I think you'll enjoy the change.
I'll be split testing parts of the new redesign when it rolls out sometime in the next month or two because conversions and wayfinding will play a huge role. So, when it changes over, it'll be just the beginning of something new as I'm sure it'll evolve from there too once I get some data. I can't wait to share it with you!
And don't worry, it still encompasses the whole SPI feel (minus the clutter) and I believe it'll help everyone who is a part of the SPI community.
Thank you again for your support, and I wish you all the best in June!
P.S. if you are reading this in Google Reader, please note that Google Reader will be shutting down on July 1st of this year. To continue to get updated content, please subscribe to my email list (if you haven't already) which, after July 1st, will include a weekly recap of articles written on the blog.