As we approach 2015, I'm excited to bring you the final income report that will be published this year. We still have December's to cover once January comes by, however that will be wrapped into an annual report that I'll put together for you next month. Thanks again for all of your interest in these reports, they are some of my favorite posts to write, and I'm excited to see the progression into 2015 as I work hard on achieving a lot of big goals.
In the meantime, let's dive right into the details of November:
In early November, I had the pleasure of speaking at one of my favorite conferences, the Platform Conference, hosted by Michael Hyatt. There are a number of reasons why I love this event, however the biggest reason is definitely because of the people who are there.
Michael and his wife Gail are amazing, of course, but his team and all of the other speakers and the attendees are definitely a class act. Every time I attend this event, I come away with more friendships (and opportunities!) that help me both personally and financially down the road.
I arrived in Colorado Springs a couple of days early because Michael invited me to film something for Platform University, which I was happy to do. With a day between that and the speaker dinner the night before the event, I decided to take advantage of the free time I had and check something off of my bucket list—something you may have heard me talk about on the podcast before.
I went fly fishing.
I'm a big-time fisherman. My dad and I would take every free moment we had to go deep sea fishing when I was in high school, and we used to go trout fishing at our local lake as often as we could as well. I even participated in a few fishing tournaments, if that says anything about how much I loved to fish. With all of that experience, however, I never got the chance to go fly fishing, until now.
The Broadmoor hotel was awesome. Super-classy with a lot of activities one could choose from to enhance their hotel experience. One of those activities was a guided fly fishing trip, which I signed up for as soon as I knew it was available. I suspected that myself and a few other hotel guests would gather to get lessons, stroll beside the lake that surrounded the hotel and maybe catch a few fish.
I didn't care—I just wanted to try it out.
Well, it turns out that I was the only person that signed up on that day. It was totally going to be a one-on-one coaching experience, and I couldn't be more excited! That is, until, I learned that we were not going to fish the nearby lake, but rather drive an hour to the South Platte River, put on some waders and literally stand in the river and fly fish for trout.
I definitely geeked out. My guide, a 30 something year old competitive fly-fisherman who generates passive income from royalties from a fly that he tied and invented (a fly is the little lure that looks like a bug with a hook on it) was super cool. We talked about fishing, business, life, kids, and everything in between, and to top it all off, he was an amazing teacher.
During the 6-hours I was in the river, I caught 2 rainbow trout. I could have caught zero and I still would have had an amazing time, but it was definitely cool to hook on a few, and net a couple of rainbows for my memory bank.
It was great to escape for a while, but I was also excited for the event.
I wasn't there just to present, but I was there to learn too, and I definitely took in a good share of information once the conference got started. I got to meet and learn from other speakers, like Ray Edwards, Casey Graham and Crystal Paine (aka. Money Saving Mom), who I've never met in person before. Then there were the speakers who I have known for quite a while and respect like none other, like Amy Porterfield, Cliff Ravenscraft and Stu McClaren.
My presentation went extremely well. I've done the same presentation before, and each time it just gets better and better. Above all, I feel like my timing in this one is what made it truly “magical” (pun intended, because I actually do magic within the presentation, hehe!). It was such an honor to have Ken Davis, one of Michael Hyatt's colleagues and another speaker at the event, intercept me on my way back to my seat after I spoke to tell me he's never seen such a well put together presentation. He actually requested a PDF of my slides so he could put a lot of that content into action himself.
That presentation, which was originally performed and recorded in January 2014 at New Media Expo, will be made publicly available on my YouTube channel in early January 2015. I wanted to wait until I knew I wasn't going to be presenting that particular topic anymore so as not to ruin the surprise for people who I knew were going to watch me present it live.
After 5 days away from home, a great conference, an amazing sunny day of fishing followed by 20 degree snowy weather the next—I was excited to come home and hang up my speaker's hat for the year. It has been a great year of speaking for me—life changing in fact—but it's time to stay home with the family for a while until I get back on the speaker's saddle next year.
Plus, I have a lot of planning to do. I'm the opening keynote at New Mexia Expo next year, which is huge and will be the biggest presentation of my life.
$0.00 from The Smart Podcast Player
You'll notice in the income report below, that last month yielded a grand total of $0.00 from The Smart Podcast Player—a software that my team and I developed to make podcast players on websites work, look and perform better.
Actually, that number should be in the negative thousands because quite a bit of money was spent on the development side of things.
It's okay though, and completely expected. We launched earlier in the year with various beta versions of the software, which means there were a limited amount of licenses available.
Why limit something that could be infinitely distributed?
Because you can use that limited beta group to test the product, break it, and to become an important voice in what your product looks like and how it works in the future.
Since the beta launch, the product has grossed a total of $50,675.00, which means it has already been validated and is profitable. Over the past two months, however, the cart has been closed and about $10k has been pumped back into the product to make it faster, better, and we're adding more features into it as well.
One *new* feature, which you'll see when it comes back to life out of testing and beta on January 12th, is something that does not exist yet in the world of web-based podcast players, and something I'm truly excited to reveal very soon. It's been a feature request from several of the beta testers, and I'm happy to say that the initial development of the new feature is complete! We're currently in testing mode for compatibility and trying as much as we can to break it ourselves so that we can squash those bugs and it won't break for you.
If you're a podcaster and have yet to join the waitlist to get first dibs on the new player when it becomes available in January, click here.
And thank you to those of you who are on the waitlist for your patience. It'll be well worth the wait.
A Twitter Milestone
The actual milestone isn't all that important, but what it means is – at least to me.
In November, my Twitter account reached 100,000 followers, which is pretty awesome. When I hit this milestone there was no real celebration. No balloons fell from the ceiling and there were no confetti explosions, but I did receive a number of congratulatory remarks on Twitter, for which I'm extremely thankful for.
Numbers like this are pretty silly though when you think about it. There's no significant difference between 99,999 and 100,000, but you know that if you were sitting at 99,999 for a couple of hours you'd probably keep checking over and over again to see when you hit that milestone.
With that said, it does play a role in terms of social proof. This is why that “millionaire” status is something we all talk about – there are books and shows dedicated to that 7-figure number, but what happens between $999,999 and $1,000,000?
A dollar, hehe.
And in terms of goals and motivation, milestones like this are extremely important. It gives us something to shoot for and work toward. To be happy and proud about when we reach that goal.
But, most importantly, you have to remember this:
What really matters is how those numbers are working for you. Whether we're talking about Twitter followers, email subscribers, traffic to your site, the money that you earn—those numbers are cool, but what's even cooler is what those numbers can do for you.
Sometimes, you may see large numbers in and around the web—perhaps people share they have hundreds of thousands of subscribers—but how does that help them? Are those just email addresses or are those actual people who care about that brand, respond and take action from those emails and posts?
Maybe someone IS a millionaire, but what are they spending that money on? Are they happy? I hope so, although I know a lot of millionaires who aren't.
And me—100,000 Twitter followers. Cool on the outside, and on the inside, my Twitter account has become an incredible resource for connections, relationship building and yes, a bit of traffic too. I'm going to keep focusing on providing value, and who knows—maybe we'll see another zero at the end there someday.
Sweet. Now let's get to this month's income breakdown.
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.
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.
The income results are essentially the same as last month, although you'll notice that the money has shifted around a bit. It's always like that, unless there are launches or new products to share. This is the importance of diversity—when one thing goes down, another thing in a totally different market picks it back up so you can feel a little more secure that although things change, the carpet will never be pulled out from under you.
I will say, however, that I am a special case where it makes sense for me to expand horizontally across several different niches like this. I am the crash test dummy, therefore I try new things. Sometimes it works, a lot of times it doesn't, but it's always a lesson for you and that's why this blog exists. If you specialize in a specific market, then continue to serve that market or a market close to it. You can diversify your product line, your services and more but stay in and around the same niche. This will give you the most bang for your buck (and time).
As for the expenses, whoa Nelly! My expenses shot up by over 50%!
Of course, you can see where it's all coming from—my team expenses—and that's totally okay. This was not a surprise and was totally expected, and I like to see this as an investment because most of what that extra money was spent on is for upcoming projects, including:
- The re-release (out of beta) of The Smart Podcast Player, which includes a few new *key* and unique features that require a ton of development time and testing.
- The preparation for what Chris and I have going on at 1DayBB.com – you definitely don't want to miss it!
- Plus a few other side projects – teehee!
It's my hope, of course, that the time and money spent on these things will pay off in the future. Additionally, now that the podcast is being completely outsourced (except for my own voice recordings), some additional money goes into that as well. With that said, it's not all that much when you consider that the podcast is edited, uploaded and tagged, the show notes are drafted and even the graphic design work is done by someone else too.
All in all, a single podcast episode (for the SPI Podcast) costs about $300-$350 to produce, and with sponsors on board at anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500 per episode, you can see that this just makes complete sense.
I'll talk more about this in some of my final thoughts at the bottom of this post.
A Note from Pat
A significant portion of my total online income comes as a result of this very blog that you're reading right now—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 my own businesses.
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 away as much as I can, I started earning an income 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 a while now, 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.
Inside My Brain…
I've recently mentioned this, but in case you didn't know, every episode of The Smart Passive Income Podcast up through Session #133 – that's 133 total episodes – had been produced, edited, tagged, uploaded and published by me. Show notes and graphics included.
That's a lot of work, but when you're starting out sometimes you have to do all of the work by yourself.
Ever since Session #134 (we are currently at #140), my team has helped me produce the show so that all I have to do is record the interview or the solo session, upload it to Dropbox, and then log into WordPress on Thursday morning and hit publish.
I do read over the show notes and add a few bits and pieces here and there, but besides that, the production of the show besides the recording is completely out of my hands—and it's such an incredible feeling.
You see, the reason I produced so many episodes myself, even after discovering the power of hiring help around episode 20, and the fact that Chris Ducker had been nagging me for a couple of years to get it done, was because I was scared. I was scared to let go of something I knew how to do, loved to do, and didn't want anyone else to touch.
My podcast had become my favorite thing to do here on SPI, which was reflected by the increase in podcast episodes this year, the addition of a new podcast, Ask Pat, and a decrease in the total number of blog posts.
I didn't think there was a difference between what I wanted to do, and what I should be doing. I am my own boss, I have the freedom to do what I want when I want, so I might as well work on the stuff I love, like the podcast.
But after seeing a number of my podcasting colleagues benefit from having others produce their show, and after experiencing a little bit of it with Ask Pat (which was produced by my team from the beginning because I couldn't have possibly published the episodes on my own), I decided to work on outsourcing the SPI Podcast.
It was a decision I only wish I made sooner.
Now, in mid-December as I write this post, the SPI Podcast is, for the first time, ahead of schedule. I'm 10 episodes ahead, which takes me all the way through the month of February. That means that if I do nothing from this point forward, the SPI podcast will continue to run through Session #150. I can continue to provide value through the show, and make an income through sponsorships (over $10k), without doing a single thing.
Not only does this save me hours and hours of time, but it allows me to use that time on other projects and bigger ticket items that require my time and only my time—like writing my upcoming book. It also allows me to do some cool things that I've never done before, like recording video teasers for each episode ahead of time, all in one batch, since I already know what those episodes are about and who the guests are.
I was worried—so worried—that the quality of the podcast, the show notes and the related graphics would diminish because I wasn't the one working on them, but how incredibly naive am I?
There are people out there in this world who can do things for you much better and much faster than you can, and the fact that you love to do those things too doesn't necessarily mean that they are the things you should be doing. This is a big lesson I learned here at the end of the year, and one that I'll definitely be taking into 2015 with me.
I still do a lot of things I love of course, but only things I can do myself. Writing the book being one of them, but also being a (present) dad to my kids.
Now with this new-found time, I'm able to work on things that can have an even bigger impact on the audience, on my family, and on the world.
As we move into 2015, I'd like to ask you one question and read your response in the comment section below:
What's one thing you're thinking of letting go next year, one task that you feel you should let someone else do to help you in your business and/or life?
Leave your answer in the comment section below, and I look forward to hearing about how you're going to leverage your time next year too.
Cheers, thanks so much and I'll see you in 2015!