Last Month’s Earnings


My December 2009 Monthly Income Report

By Pat Flynn on

Editor’s Note: The content regarding eHow is no longer relevant. Please visit our Getting Started page, which we keep up to date with advice for getting started with earning money online. (Updated 10/2015)

Woohoo! Time for another monthly report!

Each month, I write a detailed report about where my online income comes from, along with the lessons I learned during the month and where I’m headed in the future. Part of the reason I do this is not only to help me keep track of how my businesses are doing, but also to let you in on exactly what kinds of things I’ve done or have planned to improve my results. I hope you enjoy my report for December of 2009.

Important Goings-On in December

I’m a Daddy!

Christmas came early for the Flynn family this year as my wife and I celebrated the birth of our son, Keoni, on Christmas Eve! He was an entire month early. Except for a bit of jaundice (which caused us to spend Christmas day in the hospital too), everything went according to plan. We’re so blessed.

If you don’t have a kid already, I can say that the birth of your child will be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever experience in your entire life. Besides the fact that a little you just entered the world, it really makes you think about life and what really is important. Watching Keoni look up at me while in my hands just reaffirmed the motive behind everything I do online – to give me the time and freedom to do what I want. What I want to do is spend as much time with my family as possible. So far, working online has made that possible.

Happy Birthday

I turned 27 on the 6th. Yay!

Now to business…

Sales on my site at were relatively slow, but that was expected. People aren’t studying for exams during the holidays. Service and help websites generally see a dip during the holidays, while eCommerce and product sites usually see a spike.

That being said, I was lucky enough to be contacted for a large order of guides from a single person who will be using them for a class later in the year. I threw in a significant discount for the larger quantity (20% off), and ended up with an order of $900.00 from a single person. Because this was a special order (a multi-license order on a single electronic product), I had to manually create a license agreement and invoice that formally described how much everything was, as well as the terms of use on the product.

Naturally, I didn’t do this entirely on my own. I used the services from Elance (now Upwork). There are actually a number of people (and companies) on Elance that deal with license agreements and contracts, so it took very little work on my end to get this done.

Other than that, nothing unusual happened. I must have spent a total of 1 to two hours of work the entire month on this site—answering a few customer emails and dealing with my CPA and my bookkeeper (which I will be writing a blog post about very soon, since tax season is coming up!). Most of my free time and energy, as you know, is geared toward the growth of the Smart Passive Income Blog, for now.

The Smart Passive Income Blog

December was yet again another awesome month for this blog. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for that.

ebook-cover3-1I successfully finished my ebook and was finally able to take the new blog design live. It was really nice to see a couple months of hard work finally materialize, especially with the kind comments and responses you have all made toward the new design and my ebook.

During the month of December, I started to create some buzz about my ebook, even before it was finished. I did this for a couple of reasons:

  • Obviously, to get people to realize that I was coming out with an ebook very soon; and
  • To get me off my butt and actually finish it! (Which was one of my hacks for not giving up).

I had mentioned the book a few times in blog posts early in the month, and I even held a contest to help me come up with a name for it. That post alone generated over 100 comments.

I think it worked pretty well, considering the ebook was downloaded over 300 times within the first 24 hours of going live. If you haven’t gotten your free copy yet, feel free to enter your name and email in the sidebar to get it now.

iPhone Applications

lolerapps-logoAbout 10 months ago, I had mentioned that my buddy and I started an iPhone app company, LOLer Apps, and released a few iPhone apps into the world as kind of an experiment to see how much passive income we could make.

In the beginning, we did quite well, finally breaking even after the first 6 months (we paid to have the apps developed, we did not code them ourselves). But, after 6 months, the income stream almost dried up as more and more apps entered the market. We were averaging a mere 10 dollars a day—far less than the 150-200 dollars a day we were averaging in the first few months of going live.

Well, December hit, and for some reason unbeknownst to us, all of our apps entered the top 100 in their categories and we’ve seen a massive influx of income once again, back to averaging at least 120-150 dollars a day. BabyMaker, our app that lets you take a picture of two people and generate a funny looking baby made up of the parent’s facial features on a toddler’s face—climbed back into the top 60 of the photography category. At $2.99 a pop, this generates the most of our income for us.

A very pleasant surprise this was.

Please note that 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 because of potential refunds.

Income Breakdown

Difference from last month
Gross Income
Affiliate Earnings
Article Marketing
Niche Sites
Green Exam Academy eBook Sales
Green Exam Academy Audio Sales
Green Exam Academy Package Sales
Software and Apps
iPhone Apps

Expenses Breakdown

Difference from last month
Total Expenses

Net Profit Breakdown

Difference from last month
Total Net Profit

Things I Learned in December

There are a few important lessons I learned in December, which all relate to the birth of our son.

1. Life (and Business) are Full of Surprises.

Keoni’s one month early arrival definitely caught me and my wife by surprise, but we were prepared. We had just purchased a new car (that fit a baby seat) and previously packed a couple bags for the hospital, just in case he came early. We’re so glad we did all of that. Panic was at a minimum.

In business, we prepare business plans and talk about futures and all those kinds of things. Do things always go 100% according to plan? No way. Sometimes, it’s how well a company prepares it self for the unexpected that make it successful.

Expect the unexpected.

2. People Enjoy Helping Other People

At the hospital, you see hundreds of nurses, all working vigorously to make sure we’re all taken care of. They come in for 12 hour shifts, sometimes during the dark hours of the night, which is crazy. You’d think the last thing they would want to do is answer a bunch of questions from a childbirth newbie like myself, but that was totally not the case. All of the nurses, from shift to shift, were more than happy to answer all of my questions. I think it made them feel happy that I trusted their opinion and their expert advice on things.

The lesson here is to never be afraid to ask for help. People who may have more knowledge and experience than you are often more than willing to offer a bit of help at no cost.

3. The Best Way to Learn is To Do

Before Keoni was born, I had only held a baby once in my life. Actually—twice, and both times the baby hadn’t started crying until she was in my hands.

I read books, watched videos, and even took a daddy-only preparation course so I could make sure I was ready to hold and take care of Keoni once he was born. I was, to say the least, frightened.

Once I finally had the chance to hold him, it took a bit of arm rearranging advice from my wife, but after about 10 minutes, I felt totally comfortable.

Preparation with anything, including your businesses, is always good. However, there’s nothing quite like just doing whatever it is you’re preparing to do. So, if you’ve been stuck in prep mode for a while now, get out of it, and just do.

Plans for the Future

Now that the blog’s redesign is 99% complete and my ebook guide is done, I can now start focusing on the podcast. I have a few episodes completed already, but I’m waiting to complete about 10 before I begin to roll them out and go live on iTunes. I’m hoping to provide you with some good listening material for whatever downtime you have during your day.

Thank you all for your support and inspiration. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2010!


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