Welcome to my September 2012 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 for me, and what’s not.
In my reports I always include a 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 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 and exaggeration.
If you’re just starting out online, please understand that making money via the Internet is definitely not an overnight thing, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pull it off.
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.
I hope you enjoy this month’s report.
Important Goings-On in September
The most significant thing that happened in September, as many of you know, was that my wife gave birth to our new baby daughter!
The delivery was perfect and everyone got to go home a day later—healthy but tired—and I took a couple of weeks off from writing and other projects to focus just on family, which was real nice. Our 2-year old son is actually handling the new addition very well! He's extremely protective of her! Go Keoni!
I forgot what it was like to sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time—but hey, that's part of the fun!
I love being a dad, and it's even better now with 2 children. I never knew I could love so much.
Here's a picture of our daughter at 5 days old. Check out how much personality she has already!
Thanks for letting me share my joy with you. I could write for days about how excited I am, but let's get into some business related stuff in this report…
Local Fox News Spot
At the beginning of the month, a local Fox news correspondent emailed me and asked me if I wanted to do an interview for a small spot on the evening news!
At first, I said I wasn't able to do it because I told myself I wouldn't leave the house since it was within a month from the due date of our daughter (and our son was born a month early), but they offered to come over instead—so I said yes!
They filmed me in my home office answering questions for about a half an hour, plus some background roll of me doing normal home-office type stuff, so it was really interesting to see what parts they actually used in the 2 minute spot. They got a few facts wrong (like saying I was fired instead of laid off), but they put some really good stuff in there too. Here's the video below:
SPI on Mobile!
I have big news for SPI fans!
If you're on any mobile device or tablet and visit https://www.smartpassiveincome.com, you'll see a brand spankin' new web application that makes it a whole lot easier to consume SPI content! It doesn't matter if you're on an android phone, iPhone, iPad or whatever—if you land on the homepage or go through this link, you'll see the new web app.
This is provided by a service at Conduit.com where you can easily customize your own web application (in minutes!) AND create a comparable non-web version iPhone app, Android app and Windows Mobile app. I already had a customized iPhone application built for the blog over a year ago, but I built one for Android in about 5 minutes using this same service and it's currently under review in Google Play and should be approved shortly for all of you android users.
Since putting this into place, the web application alone has been called up over 6000 times!
Conduit offers packages at various prices, and there's a basic plan for FREE which gives you 500 visits to your mobile site and 25 app installs, in case you wanted to test it out.
Special thanks to Bill Campbell from Apocalypse Straw Solutions who introduced me to this option for my blog!
Create a Clickable Map
Surprisingly, CACM has been seen over 14,000 times and hundreds of people have created a clickable map for their own website, for free, which is awesome! But, having said that, after hundreds of uses and much feedback, there were a few apparent features that were missing:
- Washington D.C. was not on the map.
- It wasn't possible to come back and edit a map later. If people wanted to update even one single link, they would have to start over from scratch. I wanted this feature in initially but it would have cost me a few extra thousand dollars to implement.
- The map couldn't be read on all devices, since it was a flash map.
For a free resource, it did what it needed to do and most people were completely happy with it, but after hearing a number of complaints and seeing just how many people used the tool, I decided to kick it up a notch this past month.
I hired a developer (a different one) from Elance (now Upwork) who started from scratch to create a tool similar to what you see now, but it will include each of the missing items listed above.
Both the web app and the map that people generate and publish on their websites will be HTML5 so it can be read on any device and browser. Additionally (for a tiny one-time fee), people can choose to save their map so they can come back later if they want. You can still generate a map for free though—no problem!
I'm not expecting to make a ton of money from this, but it will still be a small addition to my passive income portfolio and it's definitely something that will help people. I'm already exploring adding new regions to the service so who knows—it could turn into something much bigger than expected!
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 September
In my iPhone app business, my partner and I thought we were going to see a significant increase in earnings due to the mid-September release of the new iPhone 5. In the past, every new phone has given us a significant boost in earnings.
As you can tell, our iPhone app income did just the opposite of what we had expected—it dropped quite significantly.
Even though there were record sales of new iPhones, Apple decided to drastically change the look in the iPhone version of the App Store with the new operating system.
Before, it was super easy to scroll down through a category and you could get through the top 100 apps, easy. Then later, it was the top 200.
With the new operating system, you have to scroll sideways to view the apps—and it's super slow! Only the top 25 or so apps really get seen before people have had enough and look for something else.
As a results of this change, it seems that most independent developers, ones with apps that were in the middle of the charts, like ours, have seen a decrease in income. Those on the top, however, are probably making more bank than ever.
Exposure is the name of the game in the app store, and it's now even harder to get noticed. As I mentioned in some of my past podcast episodes and articles about iPhone apps, if you're going to get into the business, think niche and build that audience even before you have an app to serve them, if possible.
Secondly, it seems like it's getting tougher and tougher to please Google these days. One day they say they love one thing, and then the next they take it back and penalize you for it.
In case you haven't heard yet, Google just came out with another search algorithm update, this time targeting low-quality exact-match domain websites. Check out this blog post by Kim Roach for more information and the reaction of others. [Editor's note: This site is no longer active.]
In a nutshell, websites that are considered low-quality by Google's standards and have a domain name that matches its target keyword 100% are being penalized. Some people saw a 90%+ drop off in traffic in a single day when they “flipped the switch”.
As with most Google updates, it's done for the right reasons, however they are a lot of complaints from people who have higher-quality sites that have gotten hit by this update too, which isn't good. I own a few exact match domains and the ones that I haven't touched for a long time, which were started as example sites for classes and other experiments, did get hit by this update and have completely dropped off the search radar—but rightly so. It's when the change effects the lives of those who were doing things right that leaves me feeling uneasy.
The biggest lesson here is that quality is always going to be the most important aspect of a site, which includes everything from cleanliness of code, uniqueness of content to loading time and of course, user-experience. But even then, when you get all of that right you are still at the mercy of the big G, so just be careful and look for other ways to generate traffic, and make sure to give those who are visiting your site now an easy way to subscribe and follow you no matter what happens with Google.
If you're going to start a site, I'd still aim for an exact match domain, but no matter what just make it an extremely useful resource!
And lastly, after spending more than half of the month just hanging out with family and not really thinking too much about work, I must say that it's nice to just step away from business for a while. When you mentally check-out of work you can check-in to other things that matter to you in your life and truly enjoy them, and when you get back to your work you come back with a pair of fresh eyes and excitement that may have disappeared for a while.
Thank you all for your support, and all the best to you!