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)
As you know, each month I report my online income down to the penny. At the same time, I give detailed information about what I've been up to and how that might have an impact on my current and future earnings. At the end, I'll conclude with what I've learned and what I have in store for the future. The purpose of these monthly income reports is to show you exactly what I do so you can learn from my successes and failures while doing business online and living a passive income lifestyle.
Important Goings-On in July
A New Beginning…Sort of.
The most significant thing that happened in July was the outsourcing and redesign of GreenExamAcademy.com (formerly IntheLeed.com). This redesign came about for two reasons, the main one being because the old exam I had material written for (online, in an ebook and audio guide) had expired. This meant that there was no more deadline to finish the old version of the exam, people were just getting used to the new format, and thus—my sales and income plummeted. That being said, it was definitely expected, and I actually did much better than I had originally thought I was going to do.
The second reason for the redesign was because I launched all brand new material. If I didn't do anything—I would have made zero dollars—so it was something I had to do. I outsourced the design because I wanted to make the site look a little more professional and move away from the free WordPress theme I had used before. It's amazing to think that within a year I had grossed over $100,000.00 for just only $7.95 a month (domain + hosting + free WordPress theme via bluehost.com). [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] Crazy. Anyways, the new site has more material, it's easy to navigate, and it's definitely less cluttered. I am definitely a happy guy.
I'm also really excited because in mid-July, I hired a voice talent (the same one I used before) to read scripts that go along with the new study guide I wrote for the new exam. She finished the last week of July, and I was able to launch it (as a package with the study guide and sold separately) on August first. If it's anything like it was the last time I had launched an audio guide—my income should increase significantly. It's the 7th of August, and I can already tell you that my earnings are already more than half of what I earned in July. I'll update you in next month's report.
As far as how much all of this cost, here's an outline below:
- Redesign of new website: $1800.00
- Hiring the voice talent: $1200.00
$3000. That may seem like a lot of money (it is…) but it's important to understand that when you begin to earn some significant income from your business, you can put back some your earnings into your business to help it grow and expand even more, and hopefully earn you more money down the road. (Plus, if you're an established LLC or Corporation, tax write-offs come into play as well. Always consult with a CPA regarding your own tax situations).
In addition to all of that, I hired someone from Elance (now Upwork) to help me with some search engine optimization (SEO). The last time I hired someone to do some SEO work for me ($400 for one month's work), the results were amazing and I ranked in the top 5 in all of the keywords I requested. It directly increased the traffic coming to my site, and ultimately the number of people who purchased from me as well. I'm hoping this happens again.
Because of the new exam there are a few new keywords that I'd like to rank really high for, which my VA is working on. I'm paying him $300 a month for 3 months ($900 total) to work his magic. Again, that may seem like a lot of money for something like ranking high in Google—but trust me—if you're selling anything online, ranking high in Google Searches for a highly-searched keyword is pure gold. People pay hundreds of dollars a day for clicks on those Google Ads in the sidebar. If I'm number 1 in the organic searches, I don't have to waste money on Google Adwords and other advertisement funnels.
The iPhone apps stuff is going fairly well. BabyMaker, our latest app to hit the app store, has already grossed over $7000 in sales in about 1.5 months. We've already surpassed the price to create the app ($5000), so everything we make from now on from BabyMaker can be considered pure profit.
I've been working on another iPhone app, which you've seen me post about already. iCaption Mobile is undergoing it's last bug fixes, and should be released within 2-3 weeks (the apple approval process is kinda weird and inconsistent, if you haven't heard already). It will be a free app that will run ads, which is a new model we're trying out. The point here is that instead of only being able to earn money from an app only when it is sold (once per person/iPhone), the ads model can show ads that can be clicked on multiple times after the app is already purchased. Studies have shown that the top free apps are making upwards of $3000-$4000 a day, consistently. Now, I don't know if iCaption Mobile will be a top app—but so far people are saying it has the potential. We'll see what happens.
You may or may not know this, but in July I hired someone to write a sales copy for a single page website that is meant to help me earn some affiliate earnings for the Internet Business Mastery Academy. This is a method of affiliate advertising that is commonly used for many products online. [Editor's Note: This site is no longer active, although I still recommend Internet Business Mastery. (Updated 04/2016)] [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
I actually tried doing this in the past with a product that had a high commission, but because it was something I never used and didn't have passion about, it reflected in the sales copy and the lack of leads and ultimately the commission I generated, which was near zero.
This time, the Internet Business Mastery Academy is something I've definitely used and am highly passionate about (it's what helped me get to where I am today!) so it was really easy to tell the VA exactly what I wanted to say on the website. In the first month, I've already paid myself back the cost of making the website, and then some.
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.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, he's down over 17k!” Well, although I did make 17k less than last month, I still made almost $9000.00, which I'm definitely not complaining about. Any kind of income that allows me to work my own hours from home and support my family I'm very thankful for. It may seem kind of tough for a lot of people, but the last thing you want to do is become greedy when you begin to earn money online—because it can lead to bad decisions and losing more income in the future.
So far, I'm over $120,000.00 for the year 2009, so I'd be a fool to feel sorry about my income this month. However, I am doing things to keep my income growing, as you can see, so all I can do is just keep doing what I'm doing, and always keep my head high.
Important Things I Learned in July
To reiterate something I've already mentioned in a previous post—this month I really learned how to stay organized. With several projects going on at the same time, it's vital to keep things straight. Keeping track of things on the computer is fine, but I decided to relive my middle and high school days and buy a 3-ring binder and dividers to keep track of what I'm doing and keep notes of my progress.
I also bought a small dry-erase board and tacked it to the wall right next to my desk. This is my to-do list, and I fill it out each night before I go to bed for the next day. It takes only 3-5 minutes each night, but it keeps me focused and gives me “mini-goals” throughout the day that I can be proud about and take breaks between. This small thing has helped me be more productive than anything else. You should try it.
The last online thing I learned about in July was the real power behind Twitter. At first, I thought it was dumb and pointless. Now, I eat my words. I can easily keep track of links that I create that point to new blog posts and even affiliate links and pages. I keep track of the click-throughs using Budurl. When I post a tweet, it usually converts about 40-80 clicks within 5 minutes. If it's a good tweet and people re-tweet it to their own followers, it can easily jump to over 300 clicks, all within 10 minutes. That is POWERFUL stuff. Do you know how many people pay a couple of dollars per click using Adwords and Facebook ads? A lot. Tweeting is free! The trick is that your followers should be your targeted audience, or people who have your targeted audience as their followers. There's a whole science to using twitter for marketing that I haven't even tapped into yet, but I can already see the results.
Editor's Note: I no longer use Budurl; I now use Pretty Link to manage link tracking, especially for affiliate links. (Updated 04/2016)
For example, I spent the month of July strategically tweeting about my Internet Business Mastery Academy Review website. Within a month, I've had over 1000 clicks to that page, all from Twitter. I was planning on doing AdWords, but it's not worth it. Of those 1000 clicks, I have had about 40 leads, some of which became paid conversions, which means an affiliate commission for me. I've also tweeted some other products and such (without acting like a spammer, which is key!), and I would say in total, Twitter has already helped me to earn over $2000 in just a couple of months. (See affiliate advertising earnings above). Crazy cool!
The last thing I want to talk about isn't business related. My wife April and I had our first ultrasound for our new baby, and the baby is looking really strong and healthy. Here's a picture from the ultrasound. You can actually see it!
It's so amazing…words cannot even describe. We don't know the gender yet, but we do find out on August 28. Anyone care to guess if it's going to be a boy or a girl? I don't care which one it is, as long as it's healthy. So exciting!!!
Well, this is enough for now—I've written a lot already in this month's report, and I think you have an idea of what's to come (besides the Baby Flynn). I have a lot more to talk about, but I'll break it down on some August posts. Hopefully I'll have some good news about iCaption Mobile too. Wish me luck!
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