Each month I like to write a detailed report that goes over what I’ve done and lessons learned from the previous month, and I always share where my income comes from and exactly how much I’ve earned.
For those of you new to SPI, you might be wondering why I care to post my income reports in the first place. Here’s why:
Companies in the stock market share their earnings too, which gives people an idea of how the company is performing. Based on that, people can make a decision whether or not to invest (or continue investing) in that company.
Although my readers, listeners and viewers are not investing money into my company, you are investing time—time to consume my content as well as any time you use to execute the strategies and methods I share. It’s my responsibility as a person in this particular niche to be totally upfront, honest and transparent with you, and to give you a snapshot each month of how I’m performing.
The earnings, although I know that’s the first thing a lot of people look at, are just a part of the whole picture. What I’ve done and the lessons learned along the way are much more valuable in my eyes, and I hope they are to you too.
I hope you enjoy this month’s report—now let's get to it!
Important Goings-On in February
February, although a shorter month, was full of huge wins. With that said, I worked hard this past month—there was a lot on the to-do list and I also wanted to get ahead before my trip to the Philippines for Chris Ducker's event at the beginning of March.
I'm actually on a flight to the Philippines at the very moment this post goes live, and I've planned all of March's content already—which includes blog posts and episodes of The Smart Passive Income, and my new daily podcast, AskPat.
AskPat's First Full Month
AskPat, where I answer voicemail questions from the SPI audience 5 days a week, has become a fan favorite! With over 200,000 downloads in the first month of going live and a ton of positive feedback, I couldn't be happier and more excited for the future of the show. It climbed all the way to #1 in it's respective category in iTunes, and at times it was side-by-side with my weekly show too.
The coolest part about this, and what I really tried to focus on with this show (beyond delivering value to you in bite-sized content each day), was the systems and work flow to put an episode together.
I wanted to see if I could take myself away from the process as much as possible. Mindy, my amazing assistant, is really who makes this all possible, and we've been working together to make this process almost seamless.
Here's the workflow:
- Questions are submitted (by you!) through my SpeakPipe widget on AskPat.com.
- Each week, Mindy batch listens to each newly submitted question (most under a minute in length) and will enter that person's name, email, question and voicemail number into a Google Spreadsheet.
- Once a week, I go into that spreadsheet and select the questions I'd like to answer for the week. I add their episode number, a resource of the day (which I try to make related to the topic), and also a quote of the day (which I try to relate to the topic as well). This is all, still, within a Google Spreadsheet.
- I open up a Master file which includes two tracks: the AskPat intro music at the start, and then a blank one for me to record a new episode. I record the following with the spreadsheet open for reference:
—The intro message with the show number, resource of the day and the name of the person who asked the question.
—I pause, and then make a *click* noise with my mouth on the mic so it “spikes” on the soundwave. This is for Mindy's reference so she can easily find where to cut and paste the question later.
—I then answer the question, and finish up with a thank you message, I mention the resource one more time, and then conclude with the quote.
- I export the file into a DropBox folder I share with Mindy.
- Repeat #4 until all episodes I selected in #3 are completed.
- Mindy will slice and dice the episodes to include the question and then export it.
- Mindy will then run the file through Auphonic.com to level out all the sounds. This is an awesome (free) service!
- Then, Mindy tags the show with all of the appropriate metadata.
- And finally, she schedules the episode to go live on SoundCloud, which is where I'm hosting this podcast.
To complete an episode, the only work that's required of me is to select a question, add a resource and a quote, and then record my answer.
It is, a beautiful thing.
Mindy and I are still working to streamline the process even more—but to prepare an entire month's worth of Ask Pat content (like I did for March in preparation for my trip), it took a total of only 6-7 hours across the span of 3 days.
Mindy, I know you're reading this. You're amazing. Thank you!
A Sponsor for The Smart Passive Income Podcast
Another big win in February was the addition of a sponsor to The Smart Passive Income Podcast. The first show that includes the sponsor is Session 97, where John Lee Dumas from EntrepreneurOnFire.com and I discuss—well—the pros and cons of adding sponsors to one's show or blog.
In that show, I share how I've always turned down sponsorships because they wanted to change my long-running show too much. One company offered me $5000.00 per episode, but they wanted about 4 minutes of airtime throughout the show, which—after a long discussion with my wife and thinking hard about really what mattered to me, was just too much, so I declined.
My current sponsor, Audiobooks.com, has been amazing. They not only agreed to my request to only have an ad-spot at the end of the show, but they also agreed to let me give away an audio version of my best-selling book, Let Go, if people sign-up for the free 30-day trial. That's in addition to the 1 credit to download any book already, which I love because it's a huge value-add for the SPI listeners. Something they cannot get anywhere else.
You'll see an increase in my income report for this month compared to the last, and it's primarily because of the podcast sponsorship.
Besides the additional income, and the company agreeing to work with me and my request, I really wanted to make sure that the listeners were not affected by the addition of a sponsor to the show. I asked the listeners at the end of that episode for their honest and direct feedback on the addition of a sponsor to the show.
The comments, the emails and messages on social media have all been extremely positive and supportive. Thank you! The only “negative” response I've received are ones like:
- “Pat, stop defending yourself. You deserve this.”; and
- “Pat, you should have had them on sooner. Why didn't you?
Thank you all, again, for your wonderful support. Sponsorships like this will make it easier to do things like AskPat and more that I have planned for the future to provide even more value to you.
The Speaking Event of a Lifetime
In my last report, I shared that I was given the opportunity to perform the opening Keynote for New Media Expo next year, which I'm super stoked about!
This time, I'm happy to announce that I was invited by Darren Rowse from Problogger.net to speak at the annual ProBlogger event in Australia!
This is very special to me because Darren and his blog was a huge influence on me when I first started blogging. Also, when nobody knew who I was in the blogosphere he was nice enough to have a one-on-one chat with me at Blog World Expo in 2010.
He's always been so supportive, and I can't wait to pay him back by providing a memorable presentation at his event for his attendees.
Darren, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!
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. Expenses were not reported in January 2014.
Expenses do not include pro-rated yearly fees. Most are related to the Smart Passive Income Blog and new projects that are currently under development.
A Note from Pat
I’ll be the first to admit that a significant portion of my total online income comes as a result of this very blog that you're reading right now—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 my own businesses.
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 away as much as I can, I started earning an income 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 a while now, 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.
Lessons Learned in February
After such a productive month, I thought hard about exactly what helped me produce so much content in February.
Part of it was that I'm healthy again. I'm so much more productive when I'm healthy. Over the span of the last few income reports, I've always had something in my system—a cold or a cough—but when my body and mind are there, so are the results.
Another part of it also has to do with my recent move. We're finally settling into the new Flynn household and although we're not completely unpacked, and we're not completely out of the old house either, there is sanity once again and a schedule is starting to emerge in our new dwelling.
The new space is much more productive for the entire family—from the kids and where their playroom is located, to where my office is relative to the rest of the house—it's definitely working out for the best, and other factors of the house seem to be contributing to my progress.
For example, there is so much more counterspace in our kitchen. That might not seem like it matters, but it does because it's much more convenient to cook our own food, and also take out the juicer each morning and get the vegetables out. Less stress, better fuel, better results.
Also, the air in the home is better regulated. It's much more comfortable, and we're just happier. Happy Pat = productive Pat.
And finally, just the fact that the home, which is our first home, is one that we purchased on our own, a representation of our accomplishments as a family—myself working online, my wife putting in 10x as much work to watch the kids and educate them, it inspires me to do more.
Beyond the health and the house, one thing that I realized about February, and something we can all apply to what we do to become more productive, is that deadlines are a great fuel for focus. Knowing I was going to be away from home for almost two weeks, and unable to produce major content during that time, I knew I had by the time I left the airport to get things done. Once I had that deadline in place, I chipped away task to task, project by project, one step at a time, and by the end of it, things were golden.
I didn't meet all of my goals, however. I left one piece of content unfinished, which is this very post here. As I finish up writing this from 30,000 feet in the air (with no wi-fi so I cannot publish until I hit my layover at Hong Kong), I'm excited to reward myself after I finish these last few words by watching Gravity on the tiny screen in front of me, and then maybe Frozen…for the 3rd time.
That Disney movie is awesome. I know the words to most of the songs, because they play on loop in the car for the kids.
Thank you again for your support and for taking the time to read this month's income report! If you'd like to keep up to date on what's up while I'm the Philippines, be sure to follow me on Twitter, or check out my Instagram if you aren't on it already.
Note: Published at Hong Kong Airport, 4:16pm PST.