Welcome to my December 2012 income report!
Each month I like to publish a detailed report sharing everything that's been going on with my businesses—from what's working to what is not, and also how much money I've earned from each.
Why share this with you?
There are a couple of reasons:
First, it keeps me headed in the right direction. Seeing the numbers and writing down what I've learned helps me stay on course, and publicly displaying these things holds me accountable.
Secondly, and more importantly, I do this to be transparent.
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.
A lot of people will attempt it and a lot of people will fail – but I absolutely know that it’s possible. I struggle through trial and error every single day – but as long as you have a goal and constantly work towards it you're at least giving yourself a chance.
On to the report!
Important Goings-On in December
Three words can describe December 2012:
December is always a wicked month for the Flynn family. My birthday is on the 6th (I turned 30!), my son's birthday is on Christmas Eve which we host at our house, and then there's Christmas, and since both sets of grandparents live within a 2 mile radius we're going house to house and there's loads of gifts and then trying to find space and then…”AHH!”
All that said, we're extremely fortunate to have family close by and we all enjoy each other's company, so there's really nothing to complain about.
Work-wise, most of December was spent preparing for my presentation at New Media Expo, which happened just a week ago. I take these presentations very seriously and sometimes go over the top with preparation, but I know, from experience, that one can never be too prepared.
I actually hired a coach this time around to improve my craft and it was an amazing experience.
A video of the presentation is being put together and will be published for you as soon as it's finished, but if you wanted a sneak peek of what went down, check out this great review by Tom Treanor from Right Mix Marketing.
Despite putting most of my focus on my presentation, I did find time to work on other projects.
I started and completed a new “book”, which I mentioned in my yearly review post. Even though I haven't finished the first book that I started working on, which I was halfway done with before my daughter was born (in September) and threw my writing schedule off, I was able to complete this book in only a week.
- The “book” is about my story. Unlike Be Everywhere (my other book), which is somewhat conceptual and more of a marketing type of book, this new “book” is almost completely narrative and based off of true events that happened in my life, so it was much easier to write.
- This “book” is actually called a Snippet, which is a new platform that's coming out during the first quarter of 2013. A Snippet combines a blog and a book and is unique in the sense that each chapter is required to be 1000 words or less, so the “book” is more easily digestible, and it moves quickly. Plus, it includes several types of multi-media, which I'm extremely excited about.
I jumped on this opportunity to work with the Snippet Team because I wanted to see what it was like to experience this new platform. It has a lot of potential, so to say that I'm an original author on the platform was just too much of an opportunity to pass on, so I didn't mind spending a few hours a day for a week putting it together.
Currently, my editor is going over the manuscript and I have a design team that will be manning the design aspects of the multi-media platform before it goes live in the next couple of months. I'll keep you posted—it should be fun!
As I mentioned earlier, one of the words that I used to describe December was planning.
Because in 2013 I want to re-kindle the focus here on the blog. I talked about this a little bit on my What's on Deck for 2013 post, but to sum it up, I want to publish content that matters. Content that will help people more—as inspiration, and as education.
More case studies.
More from scratch.
More of what's working now.
A lot of December was just spent thinking about all of this and you'll definitely see it happening as the year progresses—sooner than later, I'm hoping. I'm still playing catch-up after New Media Expo 😉
My Other Businesses
Not too much to report on here for December.
GreenExamAcademy.com sales were down, which is normal during the holiday season. Already, volume has picked up here in 2013 as people get back into work-mode and try to figure out how to add to their resumes.
SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com continues to grow and although affiliate sales were down, Adsense earnings were up, which is primarily the result of additional traffic coming to the site and some larger than normal CPC (cost-per-clicks) on ads, which was nice.
Sales continue on CreateaClickableMap.com. My developer just added Europe and Canada to the mix, which will go live very soon, and more maps are on the way.
iPhone app sales were up, as they normally are during the holiday season. More phones under the tree = more apps downloaded. Unfortunately, income levels are below what they were at this time of the year last year (2011) and the changes in the app store, plus the sheer number of competing apps makes it a much more difficult market to earn money from than when we first got in back in 2009.
Okay, let's get to some numbers.
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 with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
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 December
Although I've taken online courses and things like that before, this is the first time I've actually hired a coach to do anything that would help me with my business. In this case, I hired him for my New Media Expo presentation.
I was referred to Mike by a couple of friends, which I definitely think is the way to go if you are going to be working with a coach, if possible. Not only is there a better chance that you and your coach will get along, but if he or she is terrible you have your friends to blame. 😛
Luckily, I loved working with Mike, and as any great coach would do he made sure to teach and educate me in a style that worked best for me: by holding me accountable and keeping me to a schedule.
Because of this, I actually had homework to do which forced me to meet certain milestones and deadlines leading up to my presentation last week. Sure, I could have created homework on my own, but with all of the other projects I have going on homework that was assigned to me helped me stay on track and make sure I got things done.
There are a number of things I learned working with Mike that I think could apply to all of us, no matter if we choose to work with a coach or not.
The best part was just having immediate access to him whenever I had questions or concerns. I don't think you necessarily need a coach for this—often times a friend or a mastermind group will do the trick, but knowing that he was there for me whenever I needed help was very reassuring. I did send him quite a few text messages, but I will admit that half of them were about fantasy football, which tied us even closer together.
Another Mike did for me, like any good coach would do in any sense of the word, is he encouraged me quite a bit. There were a few times when I felt way behind or got stressed about how the presentation was coming along, and he would remind me that I know the content really well, we'd just have to keep working together to figure out the best way to present it. Really that's what it comes down to—knowing the subject inside and out, and just figuring out a way to deliver that content in a memorable way. Even if it's not the best delivery, as long as the content is there it will make an impact.
He came up with some “crazy” ideas—out of the box stuff that I would never have thought of before, which I liked. I learned that a presentation or any sort of platform is a clean slate and you can do whatever the heck you want with it. It's easy to do what everyone else is doing, because it's comfortable, but it was the new and almost uncomfortable things in my presentation that seemed to stand out the most to my audience.
Lastly, and you may not know this, but before this particular presentation I had scripted and memorized, word for word, each of my previous presentations. When I told this to Mike when we first started working together, he was extremely surprised. Most people don't do that, especially for 45 minute presentations—but I did.
It helped me stay on track, I thought, however he made me realize that I was doing it because I was scared.
The truth is that I do get scared—public speaking was (and still is, sort of) a huge fear of mine. I get really nervous before my sessions and memorizing a script helps me feel more comfortable because I can just recite lines and rely on memory instead of come up with stuff on the fly.
By doing this, he said, I was actually holding myself back from a really good, natural sounding presentation. I was missing out on opportunities for sidebars and finer points within the topic that would come out like they would in a normal conversation. Legit conversations shouldn't scripted, and entire presentations shouldn't be either.
So this time, I was challenged to only memorize my introduction and my conclusion (which is recommended), and let the rest of the stuff in the middle happen on its own, and it worked.
Again, you'll see the presentation live on the blog and on YouTube soon, but in the meantime, thanks for your support, and thanks, Mike, for the help you provided me. It was invaluable.