Welcome to my October 2014 Monthly Income Report!
Each 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 and what’s not. I try a lot of new things and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn't. Either way, there's always a lesson involved which I share in these types of reports so that you can learn from both my wins and failures as you move forward with your online business too.
In addition to the lessons, I include an extremely detailed breakdown of the income I’ve earned too.
Things happen every month that fluctuate my income. Here's what happened in October.
FoodTruckr, On the Rise!
FoodTruckr.com, an experimental site I started from scratch over a year ago (see niche site duel), is finally starting to accelerate. Interestingly enough, my most successful sites have each taken about a year and a half before really taking off, and FoodTruckr seems to be following the same pattern.
Since the launch of its first product in August, the site has generated a total of $8,089.00 in sales.
Most of the product sales came from the initial launch in August, however October marked its 1-year anniversary, and we did a small birthday promotion with a 10% off discount that seemed to perform very well. You can see this reflected in the increase in sales this month over last month's in the numbers below.
Featured on the Front Page of iTunes
It's been interesting (and extremely fun!) to host a podcast for this brand. Through the 20+ interviews I've published, I've been able to make amazing connections with some super cool people in the food truck industry, including the Season 5 champions of The Great Food Truck Race, from The Middle Feast Food Truck. As a result of the uniqueness of this brand, and the high profile guest, I was fortunate enough to be featured on the front page of iTunes! Check out the screenshot below!
How awesome is that!
Now, you're probably wondering—what does a front page feature do for one's download numbers?
Here's a screenshot of the results:
You can see the huge spike at the end of the month. That's the day the feature went live.
There's definitely a significant increase in downloads from the norm, however it didn't blow me out of the water.
Since the feature, however, daily average downloads have definitely increased. This is due to increased rankings as a result of the spike, and likely word-of-mouth from sharing this newly discovered show.
For this incredibly niched podcast, it's amazing to be recognized on the front page of iTunes. Recognition for this brand on a platform like this is huge and super motivating as I move forward with this brand.
To refresh your memory, the product that has currently generated over $8k in sales is a product that is primarily made up of a specific blog post series that had ran on the blog over the course of 6 months about how to start a food truck.
Currently, we're running another series that will have the same outcome—a new product that will be the next logical step in the FoodTruckr product lineup—How to Run a Food Truck—everything that happens after you open your food truck for business.
So far, it's been an amazing and fun (and super challenging!) journey, and I'm so glad I'm getting to take you along with me.
My Trip to Columbus, OH
In mid-October, I spent a few days in Columbus, OH to visit some of my team members. We had a lot of fun, but we definitely got down to business too, planning out what our 2015 schedule would look like together.
From left to right: Steve (Android developer), Myself, Matt (Executive Producer), Mindy (Assistant Producer), Dustin (UX / UI / Design)
A lot of amazing things happened from this trip. Big decisions made, a lot of “no's” and “we'll save that for laters”—but we definitely filled up the 2015 calendar already, which feels great!
Typically, going into a new year, I sort of have an idea of what I'd like to accomplish. I may even have specific goals and numbers that I'd like to reach by certain dates.
But this time, we went levels beyond anything I've ever done before. We have every month of next year planned, from what products will be released, who is working on what, and when everything will happen. In an upcoming podcast episode and blog post, I reveal more about my plans for next year. All I can say is, it's going to be epic!
A Coffee Meetup with SPI Fans!
One of my favorite things to do is plan a meetup with SPI fans in areas where I travel. My team and I made sure to insert a block of time in our busy schedule to hang out at a local coffee shop with SPI fans, and about 20 people showed up! It was amazing, as always, and I only wish I had more time to spend with everybody. So many different stories, businesses and motives, it gets me so jazzed and it was a perfect way to start that day before getting back into work-mode with the team.
Thank you to everyone, especially, to Michael Adler, who drove over 2 hours just to hang out!
I will definitely be making my way back to Columbus next year. It's a beautiful city with beautiful people, and I can't wait to see how 2015 pans out and for our next planning session for 2016.
One of the major decisions that came out of my Columbus trip was to begin the transition to outsourcing the production of my primary podcast—The Smart Passive Income Podcast—a show that for the first 133 episodes I completely did all on my own. From the recording to the editing, to the show notes to the graphics, each episode in total took about 2.5 to 3 hours of my time, although at first it was much much more as I was getting the hang of things.
Outsourcing the production of the show will save me about 2 hour per week, which is over 100 hours over the course of the year. This will easily help me find time to knock out some of the bigger ticket items that I want to crush in 2015.
This was not an easy decision for me, however. The SPI Podcast is my baby, and I didn't want anyone to touch it, ever.
But after looking at the calendar for 2015 and the numbers to go along with it, it made complete sense to do. Each episode will cost about $250-300 to fully produce, from editing to tagging and metadata, uploading to the server, putting into a WordPress and a graphic to go along with it, plus the transcript. Each episode produces an average of $2,000.00 in gross revenue directly from sponsorships, so yeah…
It's a no brainer.
Of course, I'll still be checking the files and the notes (especially in the beginning) and making sure they are up to par, and I have a very specific way I like things done so an SOP (standard operating procedure) has definitely been put into place, but a few episodes of the podcast which have been produced by my team have already gone live, and I'm very happy with the results. To wake up on Thursday morning with a show in draft in WordPress, just waiting for me to hit the publish button is an amazing feeling.
And now, unlike any time before, I'm ahead of schedule. I'm currently 2 months ahead for shows, which is incredible. I've never been more than 1 week ahead before.
And now, because I know what episodes are coming up, I'm able to do some really cool things like batch video teasers for each episode which I'll post on social media. I can also think about content production for the show on a larger level, combining shows together for a specific theme if I wanted to, like I'm doing right now with Session #136 with David Siteman Garland, which was about how to create an online course that sells, and this week's upcoming episode which is an interview with Amy Porterfield about exactly how you should promote and launch your course.
Oh, and yes, this means transcripts for each episode will be done ahead of time as well. They will be available the moment the podcast episode goes live.
At the bottom of the post, I share my final lesson from October and my trip to Columbus, but for now, 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.
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.
Quite a significant difference from last month, however the big factor was that The Smart Podcast Player had zero promotions as it was closed the entire month. We're currently finalizing the beta version as we head into version 1.0 come January. If you're a podcaster, make sure you sign up on the waitlist to get first crack at it! And like I said before, it's super encouraging to see multiple 4 figure months in a row from FoodTruckr.com.
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.
My trip to Columbus was amazing. Lots of work was done and all of 2015 has been planned out. You'll hear more about this in an upcoming episode of The Smart Passive Income Podcast.
The coolest thing, however, was getting to spend time face to face with several of my team members.
Not only did we work hard, but we played hard too. We ate at amazing restaurants, had some cool drinks, and we even saw a hockey game together—my first NHL game—and it was awesome! The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Calgary Flames 3-2, and it came down to the last second.
We definitely bonded and became an even stronger team after this trip.
I've successfully worked with many people over the years that have helped my business in one way, shape or form. I started by outsourcing small projects on Elance.com, and then I eventually utilized Chris Ducker's service at Virtual Staff Finder to find two amazing VAs from the Philippines who worked for me for over two years!
My VAs were amazing, but ever since I started working with my local team (local, meaning US) I've discovered truly what is has been like to lead a team, where each and every person knows their role for the group and understands the purpose behind the work that they do. They don't just do work to get it done on time, they do it because there's meaning behind it.
As great as they were, never did I feel like my VAs would ever do more than what they were asked. And why would they? They were hired to do specific work. They did their task, did it well, but that's it.
Now, my team members go out of their way to make sure the brand continues to move forward, often thinking beyond their task and about the brand in whole. They come up with their own ideas and suggestions, and I love that, and most importantly, when someone on the team does something well, we all feel like winners.
I'm so thankful to have found the right people to help broadcast the SPI message, especially as we move into a very ambitious 2015. Together with the team in place, we hope to provide you even more value next year.
Thanks for being a part of this with me, and here's to finishing off the year strong!