Last Month’s Earnings


My November 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)

I’m excited to share with you my monthly income report for November 2009.

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 this month’s report.

Important Goings-On in November

November was a huge month for The Smart Passive Income Blog – the most successful ever. Here’s a list of the amazing things that recently happened:

  • I was featured on Yaro Starak’s blog at Not only was I featured in a blog post, but in a podcast interview as well. Yaro has over 80,000 RSS subscribers and an email list that is probably just as large, so you can guess how much new exposure this provided me. I was really happy to share my story with so many people, and am thankful to those of you who found me through Yaro’s blog and subscribed. Yaro, if you happen to be reading this report, I can’t thank you enough.
  • I also shared my story in two written interviews at the self improvement blog at, and
  • I wrote the most successful blog post I’ve ever written on The Smart Passive Income Blog: The Blogger’s Guide to Facebook, which was also mentioned in an American Express Open Forum blog post. I thought that was pretty cool.
  • My Annual Income Report, written on November 4, showed up on the first page of for a few days. (A special thanks to Glen from for submitting the article for me!)
  • I was able to keep up with writing 3 quality blog posts a week.
  • The blog’s RSS feed climbed from about 1,300, to almost 2,000 subscribers.
  • I’m more pumped than ever to continue growing the Smart Passive Income brand.

In addition to all of that, the long awaited redesign of the blog is complete, it’s just waiting on me to finish up a product before it goes live.

So what’s this “product” about?

I’m taking my popular 10 post series about “How to Write a Successful Ebook“, and converting it into a product that is more detailed, with even more information about how you can start from scratch and publish (and market!) a successful ebook for yourself. Since I first published that series, I’ve written a few more ebooks and have learned a lot more tips and tricks that I would love to pass on to you.

I’m serious when I say that this product could easily sell for at least $50, but as you know, my primary goal behind writing this blog is not to make money from it. I’m perfectly happy with the amount I’m currently earning from my other businesses, and my goal here is to help others who may be struggling to see success from blogging and internet business. So, I’m happy to announce that this product will be absolutely free.

Keep an eye out for it in the near future.

My primary business at is actually doing fairly well considering the holiday season. Sales are down, but that’s expected because the holidays are usually a bad time of the year for any test prep business because most people aren’t worried about passing or studying for an exam, rather they’re focused on their families and being happy, as they should be.

I made one minor change to my website which has actually shown me a nice increase in sales. I redesigned my banner ad (which links to my primary product’s sales page) on the top of the website to the one you see below:

Screen shot 2009-12-08 at 9.07.10 PM

I sort of combined a lot of my internet business knowledge into this one banner ad. Here’s what I mean:

  • “Click here to get…” is a direct call to action. Before, the copy said “The Secret to Passing the LEED Exam”, which doesn’t really tell people to do anything.
  • I included a big red arrow, which always directs people’s eyes to exactly where you want them to go.
  • I also made a couple of the graphics hang off the edge of the ad, to draw even more attention to it.
  • I included a visual representation of the product itself.
  • The words “Instant Access” are a great way to promote an electronic product, because the customer can immediately receive the product after purchasing it.
  • The “Year-End Special Discount” gives people the feeling that they “must act now before it’s too late”, and it goes along with the season too.

Because of this minor change, I’ve noticed a 25 percent increase in clicks on the banner ad, and an average of 2 more sales per day, which is huge. That’s an extra $50 to $150 a day depending on what products and upsells they purchase.

Again, I’m only putting in about 15 to 30 minutes of work per week towards this website, mostly answering emails and checking my Google Optimizer testing numbers. I use my spare time to write blog posts here for you. I love passive income.

Time for the income breakdown!
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
Green Exam Academy Google Adsense
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 November

This past November, I’ve seen the biggest growth on this blog I’ve ever seen. Although it’s obvious that the growth on my blog is due to being featured on other blogs, I want to say it goes deeper than that. There are 2 reasons why I think I was chosen to be featured on other websites:

1. People Remember Stories

Dan Heath, author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, dedicates an entire chapter in his book about the power of stories. People remember stories, especially ones they can relate to. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.]

If you’re thinking about starting an internet business in a particular niche, do you have a story to tell, or are you simply just trying to make money from it? There are stories behind both of my most successful websites, which I know has helped me develop personal relationships with my readers as they now know a little bit more about me than they would by going to most other websites.

Most of you already know the story behind this blog, but on my exam prep website, I talk about how much I struggled with the LEED exam when I first started studying for it back in December of 2007. I created the blog to make it easier not only for myself, but for the hundreds of thousands of other people who don’t want to struggle with the exam like I did. Even after passing the exam in March of 2008, I continue to make sure the most updated information is on the website for everyone.

Of course, if you’re going to tell a story, it better be honest and truthful, which goes along with my second point…

2. Transparency and Honesty is Attractive

As you know, I don’t really hide anything about myself or what I do online. I talk about my failures as much as I talk about my success. I don’t just give you the pros, but I give you the cons too. I even share my online income with you down to the very last penny.

I know this is attractive to a lot of people, because many of you have told me so! A few times a week, I get emails from people telling me they love how transparent I am here on this blog. It’s weird to me, because I’m just being me, and I can’t really imagine not being totally honest or hiding anything from people.

My advice to anyone doing business, especially online, is to be totally honest with everything you do right from the start. If you’re honest and genuine, people will listen to what you have to say and help you out when you’re in need.

Plans for the Future

I’ll be continuing to work on that free product and hopefully get the redesign of this blog (which is already finished!) up and running as soon as possible. You’ll know immediately when that happens, because you’ll come to the blog and see a different layout. I hope that you all like it 🙂

Lastly, April and I finished all of our baby prep classes and are now just waiting for baby Keoni to arrive sometime in mid January, if all goes according to plan. I’ve really never been more excited for anything else in my entire life.

Thank you all for your support! Cheers!

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