Before sitting down to write this post, I was excited to dive into my income report archive to see what my 2013 results were like for inspiration and comparison. Unfortunately, I saw that I didn’t even publish a 2013 review.
As much as I know I did very well this past year—it was a record breaking year on several levels—the fact that I didn’t publish a report last year is a small reflection of some overall bigger problems and let downs that occurred in 2014 that I will cover later in this post.
This report, like every other monthly report shared here on the blog, serves many purposes:
- To reflect on what went well. The accomplishments. The wins. The gains.
- To look back on what could have been improved. The failures, mistakes and hard lessons learned.
- To educate and inspire you based on #1 and #2.
- To get an overall snapshot of where my businesses currently stand.
- To share my plans for the future. My goals, my ambitions, and the actions I need to take.
Let’s get right into it.
By The Numbers…
It’s always fun to look at some numbers to quickly compare and track growth. I’ll get into a more traditional line-by-line breakdown of my income later in this post, but let’s start with some interesting 2014 highlights from the web properties and businesses that most of you have come to know over the years here on SPI:
Smart Passive Income (Blog)
- Traffic: 3.34 million unique visitors (+26.4% increase from previous year)
- Pageviews: 7.62 million (+25.2%)
- Average Time on Site: 3 min 18 sec
- Number of New Published Posts: 39 (not including podcast related posts)
- New Email Subscribers: 38,452 (out of 100,699 total)
Smart Passive Income (Podcast)
- Downloads: 5.7 million (+60% increase from previous year)
- New Episodes: 51 (41 previous year)
- Total Time Recorded: 2,504 minutes (41.74 hours)
Ask Pat (Podcast)
(launched in February of 2014)
- Plays: 3.1 million
- Total New Episodes: 247
- Total Time Recorded: 2,470 minutes (41.16 hours)
- Traffic: 351,006 unique visitors (+4.1% from previous year)
- Pageviews: 729,501 (-3.9%)
- Average Time on Site: 2 min 01 sec
- New Email Subscribers: 1,425
- Traffic: 124,502 unique visitors (-3.6% from previous year)
- Pageviews: 270,400 (-10.5%)
- Average Time on Site: 1 min 55 sec
- New Email Subscribers: 102
(launched in October 2013)
- Traffic: 349,145 unique visitors
- Pageviews: 665,810
- Average Time on Site: 2 min 09 sec
- New Email Subscribers: 2,803
- Traffic: 42,996 unique visitors (+13.5% from previous year)
- Pageviews: 81,778 (+20.7%)
- Average Time on Site: 1 min 51 sec (+12.5%)
- New Maps Created/Sold: 695
- Number of Units Downloaded (2013): ~89.9k
- Number of New Apps Created: 0
- Number of Units Downloaded (2014): ~32.3k (-64.1%)
- Number of New Apps Created: 0
Smart Podcast Player
(Launched in Beta in June of 2014)
- Traffic: 14,752 unique visitors
- Total units sold: 752
SPI Mobile Application
- Total new iOS Users: 9,472
- Total new Android Users: 3,064
- Total sessions by all users: 499,636
Public Speaking Events
- Number of Events: 7
- Miles Traveled: 16,109 miles
- International Trips: 2 (Philippines / Australia)
Here’s What Went Extremely Well:
As you might expect, the biggest wins came from the world of podcasting.
The Smart Passive Income Podcast continues to expand its reach and increase download numbers, especially more recently as podcasting is going more mainstream. Here’s a graph showing the general growth of the show:
In addition to the SPI Podcast, which started in 2010 as a bi-weekly show and then accelerated into a weekly show in 2013, I released my second podcast in February of 2014 called AskPat, which is a 5-day per week show that became an instant hit.
With 3.1 million downloads in less than a year, I couldn’t be happier with the results of AskPat and the impact it’s having on my brand.
The direct feedback I’m getting from listeners is that they love the shorter “to-the-point” format of each episode, since each episode features a voicemail question from an audience member followed by my answer. They also love that they hear directly from an audience member as well, someone they can directly relate to.
Some even tell me they prefer AskPat over The SPI Podcast, which is really interesting!
I dedicated about the same amount of recording hours for each podcast, however producing AskPat has brought much more to me than just more time in front of my audience. It has also helped buy me more time, and earn me more money too—both directly AND indirectly.
Why AskPat Was the Best Thing Ever
The only way AskPat was going to happen was if I had some help to put it all together. I was already producing The SPI Podcast on my own, but I was willing to see what it was like to have another show fully edited and produced by someone else—something I was not willing to do with my existing podcast.
With AskPat, I wanted to see if I could get to a point where all I had to do was record my parts, and then send it off to an assistant to splice, complete, upload and publish.
Thanks to Mindy Holahan (who you may remember from SPI Podcast Session #138), this is exactly what has been happening. We worked really hard before the show came out to nail down the workflow and since the show came out, I’ve been able to spend an average of 1 hour each Sunday evening to publish an entire week’s worth of podcast episodes.
That’s 4 hours per month for 30 days of content (minus the weekends).
To put this in true perspective, since starting the show in February, that’s about a full work week (44 hours) to record all of the episodes of AskPat for the entire year.
When you take into account the number of downloads, the direct sponsorship income for AskPat (which totaled $46,170.57 in 2014 or about $1049 per hour) and the effect of the show on my brand, looking back, AskPat was definitely one of the smartest moves I made in 2014.
And the benefits did not stop there.
Experiencing the production of AskPat and having someone else on my team take a chunk of podcasting work off of my hands like this was extremely eye-opening for me. In October of 2014, after 4 years of solo production of The SPI Podcast (which includes recording, editing, mixing, tagging, uploading, show notes, publishing and graphic design work related to each episode), I finally decided to hand off everything but the recording of each session to a team member.
Since then, I’ve been months ahead of schedule and it has freed up hours of my time each week to focus on other parts of my businesses, as well as dedicate a huge focus of my new time on my health and self-improvement.
Beyond the podcast production, another cool byproduct of AskPat was a software product. Originally a custom-built player for AskPat, after a huge demand for something like it from other podcasters, I went into full production mode to turn this custom tool into something I could sell and distribute.
And that’s when The Smart Podcast Player was born.
Doing Software The Right Way
I’ve experimented with software in the past and failed. Bigtime.
In 2012, I paid over $10k for the development of two WordPress plugins that never went to market. They were complete failures for several reasons:
- I was chasing money.
- I rushed through the process and skipped a lot of steps.
- I wanted two built at the same time.
- I expected the developers I hired to think for me.
- And, I was chasing money.
Fast forward to 2014, The Smart Podcast Player was originally built for me and my own podcasting pains. I was scratching my own itch, and it just so happens that a lot of other people had the same itch too.
That alone put me light-years ahead of where I was with software in 2012, but I was still just as inexperienced with software. I took it much slower this time to make sure I did it right.
A lot of time was spent upfront on the research and development of the software to figure out what was most important so I could launch into a limited beta program with an MVP (minimum viable product). Instead of launching it with all of the bells and whistles and releasing a full version to the public, I launched a “light” version to a smaller group of people who became essential players in the growth and direction of the product.
The product was then developed with the direct user feedback already in mind—not some guess as to what a potential customer might want.
Last month, the product was released out of beta (after a long testing period after a number of features were added), and into the full version 1.0 public release. I’m extremely proud of this product—not just as another product to add to the passive income portfolio, but because the customers who have it already are truly loving it and seeing results. Increased downloads, more shares and time on site, and a cleaner experience on their blogs.
Below you’ll see the full player in action, followed by an example of the track player for a single episode:
Again, I’m so happy with what the team and I have put together here, and it’s only just the beginning. We have a lot more updates and features to add this year that are going to make The Smart Podcast Player even more amazing.
Just for you for reading this post, you can use this link here or coupon code “tenforyou” to get $10 off the retail price of The Smart Podcast Player.
FoodTruckr Earns its First Income!
FoodTruckr.com, a niche site in the food truck industry born out of my Niche Site Duel 2.0 experiment, has been doing very well. With 350k visitors to the site—most coming from Google—the site has slowly become the #1 resource for food truck owners and soon-to-be food truck owners who want to grow their business and learn more.
On April 15th, I experimented with adding a few Adsense ads on strategic pages on the site, and immediately I saw some earnings come though. It was only about $100 per month, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and it was a great sign for what was to come.
On August 18th, FoodTruckr released its first product—an ebook—that has since generated over $10,000. The product adopts the same three-tier pricing strategy outlined by Nathan Barry in SPI Podcast Session #75, where each higher-priced tier offers a bit more in the package. Interestingly enough, most of the customers have purchased the highest price package at $147.00.
It was great to finally release a legit product for the work that was put into FoodTruckr. I knew that this site, more so than my other niche site at SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, was going to be a more long-term strategy, but things are definitely coming together. I’ve been approached by companies to advertise and partner with, another product is already being created as we speak, and I’ve already been asked about selling the site twice by two different people.
Onward and upwards!
I spoke at about the same number of conferences in 2014 as I did in 2013, but besides New Media Expo (NMX), all of my gigs were at different events. And unlike the year before, a couple of those events were international, which was super cool.
In March, I flew to the Philippines to speak at Tropical Think Tank, a destination event put on by my buddy Chris Ducker. It was his inaugural event, and it was such a pleasure to attend. I spoke twice at this conference, but more than that it was amazing to connect with the other speakers and attendees in such a beautiful part of the world. My mom is from the Philippines (and the last time I was there I was 6 years old), so it was even more special to me.
In August, I took my family with me to the Gold Coast of Australia to hang out for a bit and then do the opening keynote at the Problogger Event. I also did a presentation along side Chris Ducker about podcasting, which was so much fun.
I wrote an entire recap post about it, complete with selfies with kangaroos.
Two big wins came from my time on stage last year.
First, it was my time at NMX. My presentation titled How to Turn Your Casual Readers into Raving Fans was a huge hit—so much that it helped to land me a keynote at NMX this year in April. I hope to see you there! (My speaking schedule is located at the bottom of this post.)
Second, another big win (which was really just a realization) was the idea that I could perform the same presentation again at another event. This was huge for me, because in the past I didn’t know that I could do that. I used to create brand new, unique stage content for every event that I spoke at, until a professional speaker finally told me I was crazy! Because of the success of my ravings fans presentation, I was asked to speak at several other events and was given the okay to perform the same talk.
And boy, it’s so much easier to do a talk you’ve already done!
And because I did it so often, I was able to fine-tune and really get into the nitty-gritty details to make it completely polished. By the time I performed it on stage in Australia, it was guaranteed to be a winning presentation, and the feedback from the crowd definitely validated that.
That same presentation was recorded at NMX in January of 2014, but because I knew I was going to be performing the same talk at several events later in the year, I decided to hold back on publishing the video content until later. Now that the year is over and I’m into a new set of presentations (although that’s not to say I won’t ever do this particular presentation again), I will be uploading that content for you very soon, complete with transcriptions and timestamps for easy and convenient viewing.
SPI isn’t all about business—it’s about life too. It’s about passive income and a flexible work schedule for the ability to have a life that you want. Because of that, I wanted to talk quickly about some of my personal highlights from 2014.
Our First Home
After closing escrow in December of 2013, my wife and I were the proud owners of a brand new home here in San Diego. As soon as the new year hit, we began to move in our stuff and get used to the new neighborhood.
A lot of people like to move. I know a few people who seem to move into a new home every 3 or 4 years—and that’s cool, but it’s not really what my wife and I are looking to do. We wanted our permanent home—the home we were going to stay in until the kids move out.
There are a lot of things to think about as a new homeowner. I’ve rented all of my life until now, so things like HOAs, Mello roos and property tax have been added to my vocabulary, unfortunately. But all of that aside, every time I come home from anywhere—even if I’m out for 20 minutes to the grocery store—I come home and open the door to the house and I’m just amazed at what I’ve been able to do. I literally shake my head and smile and think to myself, “This is my home.”, and a couple of times I’ve been caught by my wife giving a little fist pump to celebrate and appreciate it all.
The neighborhood is great too. Every family near us seems to have kids right around the age of our own two kids. There’s a park in every corner and one of the top elementary schools in the city is just walking distance away.
Inside our home, we’ve been able to customize it to our lifestyle and needs. I have my dream office, which you’ll see a tour of in an upcoming video on SPI TV (which comes out every Friday starting in February!), we have a combined library/music room for all of the books and music we want to play, we have a combo video production / dance studio in the garage, and the backyard has a space to play a little soccer and grill up some good food too.
Our Son Started Pre-School
This, more than anything, was the biggest change personally for me in 2014. Since the day my son was born, I’ve been so blessed to be able to be here at home with him all day, almost every day. I’ve witnessed all of his firsts and watched him grow inch by inch, and to see him off to school was extremely hard for me.
Look at him scarf down that chocolate ice cream to celebrate his first day. I love that kid.
What’s interesting is that the school we moved next to isn’t even the one he’s attending, although that school was a major reason why we moved into this neighborhood in the first place. We found out a month after moving in that a brand new S.T.E.M school was opening up just a couple of minutes away. You can learn more about STEM here, but essentially it’s project based learning with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As a father entrepreneur, it’s exactly what I would hope school would be, and I’m so excited for what he’s already learning in school.
You might think that with our son in school it would open up a lot of time during the day for my wife and I to get stuff done, but not really. We still have our 2 year old daughter at home with us, and although she’s not as much of a handful as our son was, it just seems like the pick-up time each days at pre-school creeps up on us super fast, and it’s always close to the time to go and get him.
Now that he’s in school, I realize just how much our schedule is now totally based off of him and what’s going on with school, not to mention the extracurricular activities like soccer he’s about to participate in.
The last thing I’d like to talk about related to this is that it’s interesting dropping off and picking up our son each day. My wife and I seem to be the only couple that gets to do this together at the same time each day, and a few of the other parents in the school have actually brought this up to us. Most ask us how we’re able to do this, and then eventually the discussion leads to my online businesses, passive income, and SPI.
I’m so thankful for the ability to go with my wife to school each day to drop off and pick up my son. To me, stuff like this is the true benefit of building an online business and shaping your own lifestyle.
I PR’d a Half Marathon
I’ve been getting more and more into running, which is weird because I hated running when I was a kid. Unless there was a soccer ball involved, I almost refused to do it.
My first ever half marathon was in 2013 and I clocked in at 2 hours and 12 minutes. My goal was to break 2 hours, but I didn’t make it.
My second half marathon was the Rock and Rock half in June of 2014, and I was determined to break 2 hours, so I trained like a mad man.
Boom! I finished in 1 hours and 56 minutes!
I ran another half through Disneyland in November for the inaugural Avenger’s race, and it was pretty cool because my son got to race a 200m as well, which was a lot of fun.
I ran that half together with my wife, and because it was more for fun than anything, we didn’t push ourselves and we clocked in at about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Plus, I dressed up for the occasion.
Our 5 Year Anniversary
My wife and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary in 2014. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years, but it’s been the happiest 5 years of my life. Without the support from my wife, I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at today.
When I was laid off in 2008, we were engaged. She supported my decision to go away from traditional work and start my own business, and she even agreed to move back in with her parents (while I moved back in with mine) while I figured things out.
When we had kids, she was willing to stay home and raise them while I worked hard to grow my business. I was lucky to be at home too, but I was often in the office and once I started traveling for conferences, she was always happy to watch the kiddos and take on the extra stress.
While I was out having fancy dinners and meeting new people, she was at home having left over bowls of mac and cheese and changing diapers 24/7.
After 5 years, now that the kids are starting to become a little more independent, she’s able to finally do more of her own thing. She’s sacrificed so much to become the ultimate behind-the-scenes member of Team Flynn, and I love her for that.
Here’s to another great 5 years and beyond honey!
What Stayed the Same?
Not everything was improved in my business, however. Here are a few things that didn’t really make any noteworthy difference in 2014, but nothing that fell flat on its face either. We’ll get to that in the next section…
Green Exam Academy
After 6 years, my very first business at GreenExamAcademy.com is still going, despite putting almost zero hours of work into it the entire year. The site still averages about $2k-$4k per month, which isn’t bad—but nothing like back in 2009 and 2010 when the industry was much hotter.
The biggest change was that a new version of the exam came out, making all of the products on my site out of date. Instead of working to update the existing products, I’ve been able to partner with another company and become an affiliate for their (continually) updated products, earning essentially the same amount of money per sale.
Also, it keeps the administrative work off my hands as well in terms of customer service. I know I’m losing an opportunity to keep people in the brand and potentially sell them more product, but I’ve found that for this particular industry, once people get the material they want, they’re essentially done.
Once they pass the exam, there’s no more use for the site or material. If I were still in the industry, I would likely take this site much more seriously, but obviously I have a lot of other things to do and experiment with.
Security Guard Training HQ
Security Guard Training Headquarters, like GreenExamAcademy.com, wasn’t a huge focus for me in 2014. I did hook up with the crew from NoHat Digital who wanted to work with me to experiment and see else what could be done to potentially 3x the revenue (as described in this post here), however not much has happened in terms of additional revenue, yet.
A lot of market research is being done to figure out a potential product or offering for this audience, and there’s a possibility to tap into the training companies (instead of the trainees) too.
I wish I had more updates for SGTHQ.com, but I’m hoping that will come in 2015.
The site earned over $33k in 2014 compared to $25k in 2013, but the increase isn’t super significant. Not bad for just a couple of hours of work per month though, but I’m hoping the income grows significantly this year, and it’s obvious it won’t happen without some bold actions taken.
The app company my friend and I built as a fun experiment in 2008, currently with 21 apps live in iTunes (mostly in the entertainment category) has just been sitting there for years, slowly earning less and less each month. Again, we both had way too much else going on in 2014 and it’s easy to see that this company is simply just there to capture any downloads and sales possible with what we have, and we’re not putting any more energy and effort into it.
Even though it’s been 3 years since we last published an app, we’re still seeing passive income come through both with the paid applications we have, and the free apps running ads.
The app market is much more difficult now than when we got in at the end of 2008, when less than 50,000 apps were available. Specifically, the kind of apps we were creating, which were silly, fun and ridiculous apps (inspired by the success of iFart—although we don’t have any farting applications ourselves) are much harder to succeed with now, and generally new apps that are in that realm get hidden and pushed aside after the first day on sale.
App ideas that seem to do well now solve a specific problem in a particular niche. The app market is catching up with everything else we publish now, and niching down and providing quality app solutions for a specific niche are definitely the way to go.
If you’d like more info about app development and succeeding by niching down, I recommend listening to SPI Podcast Session #39, where Mike Doonan and his wife generate over 5 figures a month selling a series of apps developed to help kids with speech therapy.
What Needs Drastic Improvement
What I love about SPI is that I run a lot of experiments, and I do them knowing that there’s definitely a possibility of failure.
Why is this something I love?
Because I know that even if I fail, I can use that experience as a moment of learning—not just for myself, but for you as well. There will always be that “bright side” to my failures, so long as I talk about them, and present them to you in a way that allows you to avoid making the same mistakes as me.
I’ve made a ton of mistakes over the years, and in 2014, although nothing completely drastic happened, there are definitely parts of my business that I feel need drastic improvement. Here’s what they are…
In 2009, I started my YouTube channel and my videos became the #1 way that people found out about my brand until my podcast was born in 2010.
My videos have been viewed millions of times. I know I have a talent for producing helpful and engaging videos, especially when it comes to teaching stuff that may otherwise be boring or tough to get through.
My popular Podcasting Tutorial comes to mind, as well as my Bluehost walkthrough video and keyword research videos which not only help my audience, but also generate affiliate commission as well.
In 2014, I published 6 videos to my YouTube channel, and 5 out of the 6 were posted after October 1st as I tried to get back into it sooner than later.
Just 6. Wow.
With over 35,000 subscribers on YouTube and less than a few thousand views on my most recently uploaded videos, it became apparent to me that my lack of video production meant that my subscriber numbers were incredibly inflated. I lost my authority on YouTube, and that sucks.
I had opportunities to create more videos in 2014—lots of them—but I got lazy and felt more comfortable on the podcast, and every time I sat down to shoot a new video, I’d get distracted or make excuses.
No more excuses.
Starting this week, SPI TV is coming to you. This is my formal re-introduction of high quality videos to the brand. It’ll be consistent, it’ll be fun, and because I have a videographer (Caleb Wojcik) with specific dates for shoots, there are literally no more excuses.
I hope to re-establish a relationship with my old YouTube subscribers, and I’ll be taking this show to iTunes as a video podcast as well. I have a lot of content ready to share, and I can’t wait to get behind the camera again for you.
Every Friday, a new video will be published, and all of February is already recorded and in the queue. Here’s a preview video of what’s to come:
To get notified of new episodes of SPI TV, make sure to subscribe to the channel on YouTube, or you can get them from iTunes too!
Last year, I published a total of 39 blog posts. That’s less than one post per week (not including the posts related to each episode of the podcast).
When the blog started back in October of 2008, my written posts were published 3 times per week and it was fairly easy to keep up. With the podcast now added into the mix, it was only natural that the written post frequency would decrease over time, but it’s getting close to unacceptable in my eyes.
I’m proud of what was published in 2014—all of those posts were high quality and extremely helpful—but I know I could be doing more of it. One blog post per week, at least.
The multiple podcasts were only a small part of the reason why my written posts have been few and far between. The main reason was more psychological than anything.
It’s because I wanted each and every post I published to be completely epic. As a result of that, a few things happened:
- I held back and scrapped a lot of content that I didn’t consider “epic enough”. I set my standard so high, that for a while nothing seemed to be good enough to me anymore.
- I believed that my audience expected only the best from me, and if I didn’t publish something amazing each time you’d let me know about it—and I was afraid of that.
- I gave myself the okay to wait longer in between posts to make the posts better, when really I was just afraid to hit publish because I was worried it wasn’t perfect.
I fell into the “epic trap”, and I know a lot of you fall into this trap too. It’s a dangerous place to be in.
It’s funny because paralyzing perfectionism like this shows up time and time again during the life of an entrepreneur—from the origin of our idea, to years down the road much later in the journey. It’s not anything you can avoid either, but it is something you can acknowledge when it happens and get away from as soon as you know it’s there.
That’s where I’m at now. 2015, hopefully with the help of more a rigorous and consistent editorial calendar, I’ll be able to look back during next year’s annual report and know that I’ve completely moved on from this issue.
Here’s what the planned posting schedule will be like starting today:
- Monday: Blog post.
- Wednesday: Podcast episode.
- Friday: video for SPI TV.
All of this in addition to an episode of AskPat each day Monday through Friday, and a new episode of The 1-Day Business Breakthrough Podcast each Tuesday.
Thanks to those of you who let me know about how you feel regarding my recent decline in written posts. Now you know where I’m at and where I’m coming from, and from now on, I’m just going to write. Maybe it’ll be epic, maybe not—but I’m just going to write.
Along the same lines, I failed to deliver as many reports as I wanted to last year too. By reports, I mean updates on case studies and experiments, like the Niche Site Duel and FoodTruckr.com.
With FoodTruckr.com specifically, there were several occasions that I could have written a blog post update about something that happened—but I always felt like what happened wasn’t great enough.
I didn’t want to waste your time, but I also have to remember that periodic updates and check-ins are necessary to share progress, and the fact that sometimes progress takes time.
It got to a point where I would get emails from people from time to time thinking I ditched some of my projects, and I just didn’t want to post about them because I was embarrassed or because they failed.
Nope—it’s not that, but I can totally see how my lack of updates could imply that. Again, it was me thinking like I just needed bigger and better things to happen. And when you think about it, that is actually a form of embarrassment.
I’m the crash test dummy of online business! Crash test dummies are only useful when they are put into interesting situations and then report on what went right and what went wrong. Without that information, I might as well just be, well…a dummy.
There will definitely be more updates and reports shared over time. My experiments are only as useful to you as how much I share about them.
Also, there will be new experiments and case studies added to the mix this year as well. Starting in late Q2 or Q3, I’ll be getting involved in some of the e-commerce hype that’s been happening lately to put some of these tactics and strategies being shared on the web (and on the SPI podcast) to the test.
It should be a lot of fun, and you totally have my permission to beat me up (figuratively speaking) about not posting enough about it when it begins.
So, I have a lot of very important things to work on, but I couldn’t be more excited about the new direction and commitment to you and the posting schedule.
Now, let’s get to the 2014 line-by-line income report.
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.
Net Profit Breakdown
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month’s income report.
Holy! Just short of $1,000,000!
My goal for 2014 was exactly a million dollars in gross revenue, and I’m very happy with the results obviously, but I could have done a better job overall at keeping track of where I was throughout the year to have a better chance of meeting my million dollar goal.
In terms of income, a few things come quickly to mind:
- Bluehost: obviously the #1 income generator on this report as an affiliate. I talk more about my relationship with Bluehost and how I’ve been able to get to this point here, but I know a lot of you might be thinking that it’s pretty scary to have a huge percentage of my income come from a single source like this. This is true, however what’s nice to know is that if Bluehost were to completely go away and this income was taken away from me tomorrow—yes it would be a huge hit, but I’d still be completely okay because of the diversity of my portfolio and my lifestyle.
- SPI: on a similar note, SPI related income is a huge part of this portfolio, but I’m also comfortable knowing that my living expenses would still be covered many times over if the SPI Blog were to disappear overnight. I definitely don’t want that to happen, and I’m thankful for all that SPI has provided, but my total non-SPI related income is an income to be proud of, and I am.
- The coolest part of all this is that the non-SPI related income did not require much time at all during the year! Most of my time is spent for SPI recording podcasts, communicating with the community (check out the new group on Facebook here!), and doing whatever I can to provide value to you.
And Now, in 2015…
You’ve already heard a lot about what’s coming this year. SPI TV, a consistent posting schedule, and some e-commerce experimentation. It’s exciting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the other goodies you can look forward to from SPI this year.
Already in progress, my designer has been tasked to help create a new look for the overall SPI brand. The primary purpose of this is to create a cohesive experience throughout all of the components of the brand.
A lot has been added to SPI since the creation of the blog in 2008. Many design changes have occurred since that initial blog design, but just recently with the addition of AskPat, and now SPI TV, it’s important that each of these components compliment each other and create an overall seamless brand experience between the different platforms, including my profiles and artwork on various social media platforms too.
Other things like lead magnets, email templates, pop-up boxes and general graphics on the blog are all “Frankensteined together” as well, and all of those things will be thought of when my designer considers this new direction.
I’m excited for the change, which may include a logo update as well. A new logo is something I’ve been considering ever since one of the first redesigns back in 2009, but I’ve been scared to let go of the logo that helped shape the look of the brand from the beginning. Now, however, may be the right time to change it—but we’ll see.
A Unique Live Event with Chris Ducker
In addition to the new 1-Day Business Breakthrough podcast, Chris and I are excited to host another live event this year, except this time it will not be limited to just 20 people like it normally is.
On April 24th, we’ll be putting together one of the most unique online business conferences you can experience. The 1-day event will take place in a loft in downtown San Diego and we will be hosting 50 people live in this building. At the same time, we’ll be professionally filming, recording and streaming the event live to anyone around the world who has an internet connection.
The streaming part of this event is what excites me most because one of the major pieces of feedback I always hear when Chris and I do these live events is that people don’t have time to fly out to San Diego, and also that the event is always sold out.
When we’ve limited it to 20 people, it has always sells out in less than 24 hours.
Now, anyone can get involved, but more than that, this isn’t just some “sit at your computer and watch” type of event for those watching online. We wanted to bring the networking component of going to an event to the online version of the show, which is why we’ve teamed up with a top developer to create an experience that will make sure you’re able to get involved and participate in the day from the comfort of your own home. Not only that, you’ll be put into groups and be able to network, chat and connect with others who are also watching online with you at the same time.
It’s definitely going to set the standard in online streaming events, and I hope you’ll be a part of it. Sign up using the link below:
My Upcoming Trip to Ghana
One of the highlights of 2014 was on my 32nd birthday (December 6th) when I launched a campaign with Pencils of Promise to raise money to help build schools in Ghana.
Within a week, the SPI community was able to come together to raise over $25,000 to build one school, and my family and I decided to come over the top to match and add another $25k to build a second school.
The campaign literally brought me to tears, and I can’t thank you enough for your generosity—especially in and around the holiday season.
A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from my contact at Pencils of Promise who solidified plans for me to visit Ghana later this year to visit the schools that we built together and meet the children of the area who will attend those schools.
I’m going to a lot of cool places this year, but this trip is the one I’m most looking forward to. My videographer is coming along for the trip and you can be sure you’ll get to see all of the footage in an episode of SPI TV later in the year.
Thank you again, from the entire Flynn family, for your amazing hearts. To do this has been a life long goal of mine, and to do it at the age of 32 is such a blessing…and it’s only just the start for us.
I’m already in talks with a few people and organizations for some philanthropic ideas for my birthday in December this year. It’ll likely be more local this time, but we’ll see. You’ll hear more about it on the blog, podcast and TV show later this year, I’m positive.
My Speaking Schedule
I know a lot of you are also interested in exactly when and where I’ll be speaking on stage this year. Here’s what I have locked in so far, although there are a lot of maybes I’m thinking about adding to this list too:
- Social Media Marketing World: March 25–27
- New Media Expo (Keynote!): April 14–16
- 1-Day Business Breakthrough (Co-Host): April 24
- Financial Blogger Conference: September 17–20
- Podcast Movement (Keynote!): July 31–August 2 (use promo “smart” for 10% off!)
You. Are. Awesome.
Phew! What a post! I checked and this was not the longest post in the history of SPI, but it was close. I appreciate you reading up to this point (or maybe you skipped ahead), but either way, I look forward to doing what I can to help all of you this year.
2014 was awesome.
2015 will be EPIC.
…But not too epic to scare me from posting, lol.
Cheers, and here’s to our continued health and success!