Welcome to my November 2012 income report!
Every month I write a detailed report sharing exactly how much I’ve earned online and where it comes from. This isn’t all about the numbers though, it’s also about the journey, so I always make sure to include the latest going-ons within my businesses and the lessons that I’ve learned along the way, wins and failures.
I do this not only to motivate you and to be transparent, but I also feel that if anyone is talking about making money online he or she should let their readers decide on what to do based on legitimate results, not on hype, exaggeration or amazing copywriting skills.
That’s why I’m never afraid to tell you up front, especially if you’re new to online business, that none of this is easy and none of it happens overnight.
The first monthly income report I published back in October of 2008 totaled $7,906.55—but what most people forget or don't realize is that the website where that income was earned (via an ebook I sold greenexamacademy.com) was running for nearly 2 years before it was monetized with an ebook. Those two years were spent struggling through the technology, writing all the content, building connections with other people in the industry and most important, slowly becoming a trusted authority.
A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into building that business, and any other successful business that I own, but it’s all about putting in the hard work now so you can reap the benefits later.
I hope you enjoy this month’s report.
Let’s get to it…
Important Goings-On in November
In my last income report, I shared a miserable experience I had with a developer that I hired to work on Create a Clickable Map version 2.0.
I had originally created (outsourced) version 1.0 of this tool to help people easily create a clickable map of the United States that they could paste onto their own website, for free. I did this after I received a few dozen emails from people asking me how I created the map that I included on the homepage of Security Guard Training Headquarters.
After hundreds of people started creating maps of their own, I knew it was time to switch from flash to HTML5 and add some additional features to the tool based on user feedback. I hired someone to do this for me in October, and halfway through the update everything was perfect!
That is, until he vanished. No communication for weeks and it was one of the most frustrating experiences ever—especially because there were so many people looking forward to the new version and willing to pay the optional fee I was going to charge to be able to save and edit the map later, a feature that wasn't included in version 1.0.
In November, I hired a new developer (an SPI reader, actually!) and after a couple of weeks, the tool was finished! There were a few bugs to work out after it went live, but I'm really happy with the results and the tool has already served about 30 paying customers at $9.99 each, most of them coming to the site naturally since I didn't make any official announcement about version 2.0, until today.
And yes, you can still create a map for free if you wanted to.
What I love most about this tool is not only the fact that it's another addition to my passive income portfolio (albeit a relatively small, for now), but it's that people use it and immediately get something in return. This is unlike selling information, which you can sell to someone but that doesn't guarantee that they're going to see results, or even use it.
I've had a lot of requests for other maps from around the world, and the (new) developer and I are currently working on adding more maps to the product line.
Who knows, Create a Clickable Map could become much bigger than expected! We'll see what happens!
Security Guard Training Headquarters continues to rock!
See the niche site duel for how it all began.
In November, the average daily income was just under $100.00 and the new affiliate products I added in October (for Guard Card courses specifically in the state of California) have continued to make some sales too. I should be adding more very soon.
What's even more impressive is how much the traffic continues to grow, especially without having to do any extra work. This kind of untouched growth can't last forever without some sort of upkeep and fresh content posted on the site, but this just shows you that your site can continue to work for you, even when you're not working on it.
It just has to have a lot of juicy, useful content on it.
This past month, the site was visited a total 30,111 times (over 1k visits per day), 74.33% coming directly from Google Search.
In an article I published in October of 2011, I wrote about how 9,900 exact searches for my primary target keyword (security guard training) equates to $1500.00 per month, which is what Security Guard Training Headquarters was making at the time.
The reason? Because of the long tail, un-targeted keyword.
In October of 2011, “search sent 12,540 total visits via 4,727 keywords“.
In November 2012, “search sent 22,382 total visits via 7,826 keywords“.
click to enlarge:
In both cases, I was number one in Google for my primary keyword. My income has doubled since.
Go for the long tail. Publish more content. Win.
The New York Times
I was blessed to have been featured in the New York Times last month!
In an article titled How Pat Flynn Uses Podcasting to Build His Business (where I'm constantly referred to throughout the article as “Mr. Flynn”—hehe!), there's a brief account of my story from architect to online entrepreneur, and then it highlights the success of my podcast and just podcasting as a platform in general.
The article even links back to my homepage and podcasting tutorial, which is a pretty awesome bonus. I did see a nice spike in traffic for a few days after the article was posted.
First Forbes and then the New York Times? I am truly humbled and I have you, the SPI fans, to thank for all of it.
Thank you! 🙂
New Media Expo
My presentation at New Media Expo in Las Vegas is less than a month away, and I'm happy to say that my presentation is already 99% finished! Now, I can just focus on rehearsing it.
I'm particularly excited about this presentation because I'm working with a speaking coach to fine-tune it. Although I'm quite happy with my previous public speaking experiences, I know I can do a lot better and I can only learn so much about public speaking on my own.
I'll be doing a lot of speaking next year, so I'm happy to invest some money upfront to become a better speaker and potentially get hired for more speaking gigs down the road. It'll definitely help when the book(s) come out sometime in the future.
One thing is for sure: my slides will definitely be ready.
If you have yet to buy your ticket to New Media Expo in January, use discount code SPI20 at checkout for 20% off! Click here if you'd like to go through my affiliate link at no extra cost to you.
I'll keep this one short and sweet.
It's been over 2 years since I last touched the design of this blog. It's about time for something fresh.
In early 2013, look out for a major redesign of The Smart Passive Income Blog, one that is no longer a jumbled mish-mash of random things that I've wanted to include on the site over time.
(Also known as blog design hoarding)
Progress is already being made and a couple of people you might already know (Corbett Barr and Chase Reeves) were in San Diego last week to help me out. We rented a conference room downtown and just spilled our brains on the whiteboard.
It. Was. Awesome.
I can't wait to show you what came out of it. I'll talk more about the redesign as the date to flip the switch approaches!
Okay, 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.
Why do I include income from Smart Passive Income in my reports?
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 November
November was a BIG month for the Flynn Household. A day that my wife and I had been dreaming of for a long time has finally arrived!
What happened exactly?
My son (2 years old, almost 3) is potty trained!
If you're a parent, you know exactly how big of a deal this is. No more diapers, no more messes, cool superhero underwear—it's awesome.
There are two reasons why I bring this up:
- Potty training is the epitome of “if at first you don't succeed, try try again”—both for the parents and for the child. It was frustrating, but patience, consistency and adaptation played a huge role in our son's success. Much is the same when learning how to build a business.
- It's been over a month now and our son still gets so excited after he goes potty. Every single time. He is SO proud of himself, I smile every time he yells, “I did it! I did it!”. When you really think about it, he's just using the bathroom—we all (er, most of us) do that several times a day and think nothing of it, but for my son, it's something that makes him so happy.
The lesson? Celebrate the wins—big and small—and be proud of yourself for each and every one of your accomplishments . It'll make your life much happier if you note these things as they occur!
And for you parents out there, I know you're probably all interested in “how we did it”, or what the trick was. That's what parent's do—they share things like this.
Well, to keep it quick, our son got to a point where he'd sit there on the toilet for 45 minutes straight with no results, and then immediately after he was off, he'd go in his pull-ups. That was NOT fun. Eventually, we just put him straight into big boy underwear. Sure, he made a ton of accidents—especially at first, but because it wasn't absorbed he felt it and it wasn't comfortable for him. Plus, we told him he couldn't have his Buzz Lightyear or Lightning McQueen underwear anymore when it was wet. That worked pretty well.
For #2, we took him to the store to pick out a bunch of small toys. We then put those toys into a “treasure box” that he could only access if he went #2. Not 5 minutes after we got home and told him the rules, he asked to go #2 on the potty. Winner!
And lastly, I just wanted to congratulate a good friend of mine whose dream also recently came true, Scott Dinsmore from LiveYourLegend.net.
Scott had the privilege of doing an incredible TEDx presentation at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. He wrote an amazing post about how it all happened, in case you're wondering how you might be able to get invited to do a TED presentation of your own. It's a goal of mine, for sure.
Here is Scott's presentation, which in a little over a week already has nearly 80,000 views. Well done Scott!
If you have 18 minutes to spare, I encourage you to check it out below:
I hope you enjoyed this month's report!
Cheers, and thank you all for your support!