Welcome to my August 2016 Monthly Income Report!
Historically, August earnings take a dip for me, and I’ve heard the same from many other online businesses too, both large and small.
This drop is most likely due to the summer season, where many people take a break from focusing primarily on work or building their business. It’ll be interesting to see where August 2016 stacks up against the rest of the year, but before we get to the income breakdown, let’s talk about the latest happenings across some of my businesses.
Latest Goings-On in August
The biggest announcement in August was the brand new SPI Pro Theme, which became available for WordPress users worldwide this month. Through a partnership with the team over at StudioPress, we were able to re-engineer the SPI theme that was used on this site between 2013 and early 2016 to one that could be distributed as a downloadable WordPress theme.
It’s on the Genesis Framework, which means it’s super easy to customize, and already hundreds of users are enjoying it. I couldn’t be more excited!
More important than an additional income stream, I now have a WordPress theme that will be continuously updated and supported, not difficult to setup and install, and one that, because of these attributes, I can trust to recommend because I know it’s solid.
In case you missed the walkthrough demo, here it is for you:
If you’re looking to update your WordPress site and want to check out a demo of the SPI Pro Theme, click here! If you’re looking for a great review of the site from someone else who has tried it out already, check out BobWP’s review here.
Thanks again to StudioPress for collaborating with me, and for the fine craftsmanship on the theme too!
Experiment: A New Kind of Podcast Episode
One thing I was really looking forward to in August was the publication of SPI Podcast Session #227, which is different than any show I have done before. I’ve done some “different” kinds of shows in the past, such as SPI Podcast Session #138, where I recorded my trip to Columbus, OH with my team and published it in the style of NPR. But this new one was truly unique, and I hadn’t heard anyone else publish this kind of audio content before.
Session #227 is titled 15 Entrepreneurs Answer: “What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting My Own Business.” It’s a round-up podcast composed of answers from fifteen different entrepreneurs, followed by my commentary in between each.
This is exactly the same kind of content we see a lot in the blogosphere. I even used this kind of post to launch FoodTruckr.com back in 2013. These kinds of posts work very well. Check out how many comments are on this one:
With audio, it’s a lot harder to produce, which is why I was up for the challenge. It took about twice as long to edit this show compared to others, and with coordinating emails and recordings and all, it was definitely a lot of hard work, but it also paid off.
The episode went live on Wednesday, August 17, and in August alone it generated a total of 87,259 downloads. On average, that’s thirty-one percent more downloads than an episode would receive within the same download period!
You can also see some spikes and increases in downloads along the way, which come from some of the featured entrepreneurs sharing the content with their communities.
I shared this at Podcast Movement 2016. It’s the first of ten tactics I shared. It works, so if you’re a podcaster, try it out! Here are some quick tips:
To help with the promotion of the episode, my team created quote cards for each of the entrepreneurs who provided answers, which I sent to them via email right before the show went live so they could be more inclined to share also. Here are a few examples of some of those influencers doing just that:
— Ray Edwards (@RayEdwards) August 17, 2016
— Amy Schmittauer (@Schmittastic) August 17, 2016
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the show, as well as those who commented on it! I’m definitely going to be sprinkling more episodes like this into the mix in the near future.
In other news, FoodTruckr is doing well since it’s recent split from my parent company, Flynndustries, LLC, into it’s own company, FoodTruckr, LLC. Now that there’s a small team helping to manage the content and promotional activity, we’re starting to see some results.
Traffic, for example, is up since the team came on board in mid-July and started to focus on more content generation and sharing. Here are the stats for the last few months:
- May: 47,414 users
- June: 47,291 users
- July: 53,080 users
- August: 60,867 users
That’s more than a twenty-five percent increase in traffic, which is fantastic!
Engagement on our Facebook page is up too, naturally, since we have more content to post about, but also because some money has been spent on ads to promote posts and grow the Facebook page. The number of fans for the FoodTruckr Facebook page has since increased from 11,000 to now over 31,000 total.
Social is a huge component of owning a food truck. It’s where food trucks thrive, so despite overall reach decreasing for most businesses who have pages (not groups) on Facebook, we’re still seeing good results from our efforts there.
We’re also making some moves with our earnings with the two current products for sale on the site. A total of $3,308 in sales were made in August, and this is during a busy time for FoodTruckrs (the summer season), when most are spending over a dozen hours a day in their trucks serving food. This is a great sign for things to come!
One thing we did was switch our shopping cart service from Gumroad to SamCart, a tool I loved so much, I'm actually an advisor to the company now! Using SamCart, we’re implementing a “trip wire” technique where we sell a $9 product, and on the thank you page we up-sell customers to the full product. It’s working like a charm! SamCart keeps the billing information handy on the thank you page in case anyone wants the full product, so it’s literally a one-click up-sell from there.
SamCart is definitely one of my new favorite marketing tools of 2016. Click here to watch a new video about SamCart and how it works.
We plan to utilize more strategies like this on FoodTruckr, but for now we’re keeping it simple and testing things out while continuing to add more value to the site and industry in whole.
We have some interesting and exciting developments happening as a result of the site being the number one resource for food truck owners online, but I’m not allowed to share exactly what those are yet. As soon as I’m able to, I’ll definitely let you know what’s going on.
All in all, to see this site thrive and continue to grow almost three and a half years since its launch is awesome, and I look forward to seeing what happens to it next!
And lastly, I’m super stoked to share that I’ve been able to work with my team, and most importantly, Caleb, my videographer, in getting some course lessons recorded for the online course I’ll be releasing later this year.
I’ll be taking a limited set of inaugural students through the course first before releasing it to the public. Only those on certain sets of my email list will even hear about it. Not until I run through the course with the students, gather feedback, and make adjustments based on the feedback to be sure it’s as great as it can be will it then be released for everyone. At that time, a more worldwide announcement will be made.
I’m excited because this time I know I’m doing it the right way. Back in 2013, those of you who have been following SPI for a while might remember I launched a course called Breakthrough Blogging. But I did a number of things wrong.
I launched it in a package deal that went along with five or six other courses, which immediately “discounted” the price of the course overall, and therefore the perceived value of it.
I was, however, proud of the course material. Breakthrough Blogging was designed to become a continuity program; one where people would pay monthly to get access to the material to help them succeed with their blog. After opening and closing the cart with the first set of members, there was a thriving forum with a great community to go along with the content. But after a few months, the energy died out, the forums became quieter, and I soon felt forced to keep adding content to it every single month. I knew I was doing my customers a disservice because it wasn’t what I had envisioned it to be.
Although the course was helpful for many, it wasn’t what I had promised, and I felt terrible. It was not up to SPI standards, and after two years I had offered everyone who had made the purchase a 100 percent refund on the product. Many people took me up on the offer, and I’m glad, but several also said it wasn’t needed. I thought it was, and I wanted to wipe away that error and start with a clean slate. My upcoming course is that clean slate.
The big lesson I learned was that a continuity program like that was not for me. Many people do it very well, including Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur and the guys over at Fizzle.co. For me, I wanted all of my future products to have a specific outcome and purpose. I want each product to solve a specific problem, and have it very clear to you whether or not a product is what you need.
Buy this product, this outcome will happen. If you don’t need that, then it’s clear—don’t buy it. It also makes it easier for me to teach what I need to teach, in the way that I need to for each desired result. And it also makes it clear whether or not that product works. It either does, or it doesn’t, and that’s what’s motivating to me.
My upcoming course will be for beginners—those who have yet to start a business at all (even if you don’t have an idea yet), and those who have tried to start but failed. This idea comes off of the high demand from people who have read Will It Fly? but still want more, direct, and clear “do this, then that” training.
It’s coming, and I’m excited! If you’re on a list that gets the email announcement, if you’re not clear that it’s right for you, please don’t apply. If it’s exactly what you need, then I look forward to potentially helping you out!
Okay, enough teasing. Here’s the income breakdown for this month.
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 that have an increase in income but no difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
Lessons Learned in August
Like I said at the beginning of this report, August is historically a down month for earnings, but I’m happy to see that that’s not the case this month! With a boost from the SPI Pro Theme being added to the tally, as well as an increase in sponsorships on Smart Passive Income and AskPat, we’re up for the month, which is great!
There was a larger than normal spend on the team this month, however, and that’s due to several things, including planning and execution for the upcoming course.
Big Lesson: Health and Fitness
A lot of you know I work out quite a bit.
I have a virtual trainer, Jeff (from SPI Podcast Session 228), and beyond our six times a week workout sessions, I play 5-on-5 basketball on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5 a.m. at a local Mormon church one of the guys has access to. Since starting to get serious about my physical fitness over the past year, I’ve noticed a massive increase in productivity and focus.
My nutrition has always taken a sort of backseat to the physical fitness. That is until recently. Since the middle of August, I’ve become very serious about what I put into my body, and like I do with many other aspects of my life that I want to improve, I hired a coach. I began working with a nutritionist. Her name is Betsy McNally, and she’s awesome.
She has me on a six-meal per day meal plan that I was initially a little apprehensive about (I’ve never eaten that many times during the day), but since working with her I’ve become really used to it. So far I have yet to feel hungry or full.
I have to say, I’ve never done anything in my life, including physical fitness, that has made such a drastic change in my appearance and my mood. It’s only been two and a half weeks, and my physique is changing in front of my eyes. It’s really true that the results you get from working out is 80-percent nutrition.
The other part that I’m enjoying is the meal prep on Sunday. I’ve done some of this before, where you buy all of your food for the week and prepare it all for yourself on one day, but the plans always stopped for one reason or another. Likely because I didn’t have someone holding me accountable. This time, I do, and now this is what my fridge looks like:
I can see this becoming a Sunday night ritual for me, and the best part is that I don’t have to think about what to eat anymore. It’s already figured out! I don’t mind the repetitiveness of what I’m eating either. I’ll trade that for healthy choices and knowing I’m putting exactly what I need to put into my body for maximum output.
Of all the productivity strategies I’ve learned over the year to help me maximize efficiency, in both business and in life, it’s this eating thing that seems to have the best results. I’ll be sharing a more detailed post about my fitness and nutritional journey by the end of the year, when I have a lot more data and pictures to share. But for now, if you’d like to follow along, I’m sharing a lot of what I do in my Instagram Stories.
I’m grateful for you and the time you spent to read this. I appreciate you!