Welcome to my monthly income report for October 2015!
I create these reports to help me keep track of my progress, and 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.
Things happen every month that fluctuate my income. Here’s what happened last month:
Important Goings-On in October
October was an important month in the history of SPI. Why? Because it’s the first month of going live with content that has come as a result of hiring Janna, my new content managing editor. She doesn’t write the content, but helps direct it, and she’s been a massive game changer.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had struggles in the past with keeping up with blog post content here on the site and looking at the overall picture in terms of how all of the content streams—blog, podcast, SPI TV—all fit together. To help wrap my head around where SPI is, as well as plan for the future of SPI, Janna joined the team and has been doing a wonderful job of coordinating several team members who play a role in the production of content here on SPI.
I’m happy to say that October was a smashing success. Every week in October, a blog post, podcast episode and episode of SPI TV was published, in addition to the five AskPat episodes that come out each week—all without a hitch. Beyond that, most of the content for the rest of the year has already been written or recorded, most are edited, and just ready to fire away when the time is right.
As a result of this, October saw a record month of traffic, and page-views, each increasing at a rate of about 15 percent.
In addition to that, we experimented with making October’s content all about a centralized theme, which was email marketing. We chose email marketing as a result of a recent survey that was conducted, where email marketing was the number one topic existing business owners wanted to learn more about. We listened, we delivered, and the results have been fantastic.
Another thing we experimented with—something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I interviewed Clay Collins in SPI Podcast Session #78—was create a new, unique lead magnet related to the content I was publishing. He says that in order to increase your opt-in rates, it’s best to serve a new lead magnet for every piece of content, but with all of the content I was publishing, that would have been A) impossible for me to create, and B) super overwhelming for everyone in the audience.
So instead of creating a new, unique lead magnet for every post, I decided to create an epic lead magnet for the entire month, one that I can continue to reference again and again over time when the topic comes up.
That lead magnet is Email Marketing the Smart Way, and has already been downloaded more than 15,000 times. That new guide, in addition to the increased traffic, is what has accounted for the huge bump in subscribers in October.
- September: 4,057 new subscribers
- October: 5,449 new subscribers (a 34% increase!)
And just in case you haven’t seen it already, you can easily download it by clicking on the link below:
Amongst the email marketing content that I published in October, I also used that opportunity to talk about the new email service provider that I’ve been using. In a highly viewed post titled Why I Switched from AWeber to Infusionsoft to ConvertKit, I revealed some of my struggles with other email service providers that I’ve used, and why I landed on ConvertKit as my ultimate solution.
Many were excited that I found a tool that has a lot of the capabilities that several people were looking for, however, there were also a number of readers who were concerned about my switch from proven platforms to the new kid on the block. ConvertKit is still young in its life as an email service provider, as Nathan Barry, the founder, explained openly and authentically in SPI Podcast Session #185.
And as always, I’m truly appreciative of the honesty from the SPI readers. The discussions that happen on the site and on social media after the content is published is truly what rounds out those pieces and helps people understand how others feel from all different angles. It enables me to address concerns that I may not have thought about yet, although that’s definitely a HUGE concern I had moving and migrating into this new platform.
I mean, with more than 140,000 people on my email list, my email marketing platform is a huge asset, so why would I even risk migrating into a brand new service provider that hasn’t proven itself yet?
Well, ConvertKit wasn’t the first email service provider that I was introduced to, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’d like to think that I have a knack for understanding what kinds of things will work in this space, and what kinds of things will not. I was blown away by what Nathan was creating, and after several conversations with him, I learned what he wanted to do with it and where he wanted it to go. I was definitely in line with all of it.
Also, he was the only one who went out of his way to have a real, sit-down conversation with me so that he could better understand my needs as a content provider and email marketer—something that none of the other companies did. There were companies that I had a relationship with for years and they never took the time to get on Skype with me, let alone fly to San Diego to have a chat.
I mean, I don’t want to say that I think companies are supposed to “bow down” to me and try and please me all of the time, because I definitely don’t see myself that way. However, having a conversation with a power user, one with a lot of influence, is something any good company would do. It wasn’t until I decided to leave that I was asked to finally have a conversation, each of which were all about keeping me on their platform by offering massive discounts and other perks. That confirmed that I’d rather work with a proactive, young company like Nathan’s, than with ones that are more reactive and don’t change until they are forced to.
I was given the same kind of feedback when I began working with LeadPages during their start and as I came on as an advisor for them. I trusted my judgement and it definitely worked out in my favor (fastest growing startup in Minnesota and has raised $32 million in funding). I trust my same judgement for ConvertKit too.
It wasn’t until after extensive testing, however, that I become comfortable sharing ConvertKit with others as a potential solution. I’m now a happy affiliate who can confidently recommend it, and I’ve also come on as an advisor for the company. Like with LeadPages, I’ll be able to have some influence on what this product becomes in order to better serve all of you, too.
Several others have joined the ConvertKit family, and if you’re interested, here is my affiliate link in case you’d like to join, too. [Full Disclosure: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate for ConvertKit.]
My Trip to Minnesota and Converted 2015
In the second half of the month, I had the pleasure of traveling to the Twin Cities to attend and speak at Converted 2015, which was put together by the LeadPages team. It was a great event, and as always, I truly enjoy going to these events to meet new people and see old faces. (Even more than I enjoy the content from the speakers.)
I was able to connect with a lot of people I’ve always wanted to meet, including Ryan Holiday, Jared from FroKnowsPhoto, and Dan Martell. Plus, I was able to crash the LeadPages Headquarters and just stand there in awe of everything they’ve built over the past couple of years. It’s truly amazing.
It was also great to get back on stage again. It had been a few months and I started to miss it, but I had a blast and the crowd was great. I was told over and over again by attendees that my presentation was the crowd favorite, and for that I’m super thankful. I appreciate all of the support from the audience and the entire LeadPages team, especially Julie who was in charge of the whole event, and Tanya, who made sure I was comfortable and knew when and where to go the entire time. Thank you!
I truly look forward to next year’s Converted event!
Alright, 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.
Big Lesson Learned in October
After my trip to Minnesota, I flew directly to New York (on Back to the Future Day! October 21, 2015) to attend my first annual Pencils of Promise Gala. This is a huge event to bring together the PoP family, as well as honor important members of the community. Plus, there was a huge fundraiser that evening, and I was stoked to learn that the event raised more than $1.9 million dollars for the schools in Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos that PoP builds.
As you might remember, I took a trip to Ghana myself in June this year to visit several schools that were built through the Pencils of Promise organization. I learned more about the organization and saw exactly how the money that you and I helped raise in December 2014 was used.
It was a life changing trip for me, and this trip to New York was just as eye-opening. How? Well, I was able to see everything that Adam Braun, the founder (featured in SPI Podcast Session #106) created, and the massive impact this one man has had in the world. It was a huge gathering and philanthropic event, not to mention there were a lot of celebrities at this event who came by to show their support. John Legend opened with a couple of songs, and Usher was a big part of the philanthropic effort, too.
Beyond that, I was extremely happy to share a dinner table with my good friends, Lewis Howes and Ramit Sethi, who introduced me to Marie Forleo, who I’ve been dying to meet for a while. She’s awesome.
The highlight of the event, however, came after I had raised my hand to donate $50,000 to the organization. This is not the same $50,000 that we raised together last year. After that, Gary Vaynerchuk, who is on the Advisory Board of Pencils of Promise with me, came up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me for supporting the organization. I did the same. To hear that from one of my entrepreneurial idols was amazing, and truly put the whole night into perspective for me.
A little over seven years ago I was just a kid who was working an architectural job, comfortable until I got let go. I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. From that point forward, my life plan changed and I looked for new opportunities, and it was through the online space that I was blessed with such a fulfilling future and all of these amazing connections.
I’m not anyone special, I’m just a person who takes action. I see an opportunity and I go for it, knowing that it might not always work out. I used to live a life that was guided by thoughts of, “What if it doesn’t work?” But now, I’m guided instead by, “But what if it does?”
I look forward to the future of SPI—but more than that—what that actually means in terms of the philanthropic work that I’m going to do. I have big plans, some of which I shared with Gary in another conversation, and I’m not going to stop until it happens.
Look our for more stuff coming this month. We’ll be talking a lot about affiliate marketing, and get ready, because you’re going to start hearing about my upcoming book, too. Cheers, and here’s to taking action, and the “But what if it does!”