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It's the beginning of a new month, which means it's time for a new monthly income report! Every month, I write out a detailed report showing exactly where my online earnings come from. Although I share all of my income down to the penny, it's not really about the numbers—it's more about what I've been up to that may have had an impact on my earnings and sharing that with you so you can learn from both my successes, and my failures.
Let's get to it!
Important Going-Ons in June
Per usual, I've been doing a lot of work lately to, as I like to say, “expand my passive income portfolio.”
What I mean by that is I have a number of virtually automatic income streams working for me already, and because they are passive I can use my free time to create new avenues of income. As you'll see in the income breakdown later in this post, some of the things I do online earn a lot, while other things I do earn only a little. Either way, they are all a part of my diversified passive income portfolio.
In May of 2010, the iPhone app company that I co-founded, LOLer Apps, released a total of 6 new applications, yielding the highest amount of earnings we've ever had in a single month—almost $10k.
In June of 2010, we only managed to get 2 new applications approved. Others that we had planned to go live were rejected by Apple.
One rejected app in particular, named Sparkler—Multicolored Fireworks, we were quite upset about. The app is simple: press a button and it shows a sparkler burning on the screen, rotating between the colors red, white and blue. (A sparkler, for those of you who don't know, is a type hand-held firework that burns slowly while emitting colored flames and sparks.)
We wanted this approved by mid-June so we could push a marketing effort for the 4th of July celebration here in the United States. Well—when we submitted the app to Apple, it was rejected one week later because:
“…we have determined that this application contains minimal user functionality and will not be appropriate for the App Store.”
To us, this was a surprise. Why? Because there are thousands of applications that have the same (if not less) user functionality than ours.
So, we added a little bit more to the application, resubmitted it, and it was rejected once again. At this point, if we resubmitted it wouldn't make the July 4th deadline, so we just dumped the project.
Now, we have several new applications on deck for July. Let's hope these 5 or 6 get approved [crosses fingers while knocking on wood and rubbing a rabbit's foot].
Green Exam Academy
I've been working with my website design team from Blazer Six on a new campaign to help drive more sales to my study guides and practice exams on greenexamacademy.com.
Based on a suggestion from my totally awesome weekly mastermind group, I'll be implementing a FREE practice test on the website. The practice test will take people through a small number of exam questions that are similar to the real exam, spit out a score, and then recommend my products as solutions to help improve their scores and be ready for the real thing.
If implemented correctly, I am absolutely positive that this will increase sales. Because potential customers are taking a practice exam on my site, they will be in the perfect mindset to think about improving their knowledge of the material immediately after they get their test results, and probably be more inclined to make a purchase.
Furthermore, because the exam is free and actually useful (it won't just tell people what they got right or wrong, but also explain in detail why), it should drive more traffic as well. I could easily setup an ad campaign for this or spread the word in forums.
We'll see how it goes, but I'm really excited to finally have some enthusiasm behind my top-earning site once again. It's been on auto-pilot for so long that I forgot what it felt like to make improvements and expect results. I should always be improving, testing and optimizing. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing so.
Don't make that same mistake.
The Smart Passive Income Blog
A lot of good stuff happened for SPI in June.
My first webinar was a success. It wasn't perfect, but I learned a lot about webinars and I definitely plan on doing more in the future. The transcript is available now as well.
Secondly, I was very fortunate to be featured in several places around the web:
- Guest Post on Daily Blog Tips: 5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment
- Guest Post on Struggling Investor: Improving Your Market Conversions with PURLs
- An article that was syndicated over hundreds of news sites: Shoestring Living: What is “Passive Income?”
Thirdly, I was really happy about the final series of posts that I wrote for the month of June. My YouTube Tricks for Bloggers 3 part series had a great response, and I plan on creating a small report or eBook that will be free of charge for you later on, much like how eBooks the Smart Way is. Is that something you'd be interested in getting?
Fourthly, I've been doing my best to implement some more on-site SEO strategies for this blog, mainly because I've been stuck on PR3 for the longest time, and it's beginning to bother me a little.
Yes—I know. Page rank doesn't really matter, and I should just focus on my content and what's important, but it is an indicator that I may not be doing all I can to optimize my blog, which may result in less traffic than possible.
So, with the help of a sweet post about WordPress SEO from my good buddy Glen from Viperchill.com, I've made a few changes, and hope to see an increase in rankings in the future.
This is new for me.
Actually, I've done “niche sites” before, but they all died because I didn't have the passion to continue writing about something I wasn't that interested in.
However, this time it's a little different. This time, I'm using a supposedly proven system (yes, it sounds very skeptical already) to create niche sites that run more on auto-pilot. After a few pieces of setup, I could possibly earn an income for a long period of time.
I'm not going to get into detail here today, but the truth is that I'm going into this with an open-mind, and to see if this “system” really works. If it does, awesome. If not, then awesome because then I won't wonder anymore.
Plus, I'm using Market Samurai in combination with finding these niche sites, so supposedly it could be like shooting fish in a barrel, or “easy as pie.”
I guess we'll see. I'll keep you posted.
Time for the 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.
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.
Although the month is about 3.5k less than in May, it's still a stellar month of earnings. It's great to see the list of income streams growing, and although some go up and some go down, having multiple income streams help to keep myself somewhat balanced.
Important Things I Learned in June
If I drew a chart of my iPhone app earnings, we'd see a huge spike in May (almost $10k) and then a huge drop in June (down to about 4.5k, although this is much higher than our average before May). When you see things like this, a huge spike and then a drop off, you have to ask yourself, “why did this happen?” Figure it out, and you'll have the recipe for turning that spike into a plateau, or better yet turning that spike into a mountain.
In my particular case the spike happened because we submitted more apps in a single month than ever before. We then stopped submitting apps, and we dropped and leveled off, albeit at a higher income level. So, the answer to our problem is to continue submitting apps (or submit better apps that earn at least the same amount of downloads). We plan to do so in July, and we hope to bring the iPhone income back to what it was in May, if not more.
You might say, “well building apps isn't passive.” True, but that's why we minimize the time we spend on it by feeding the experts our app ideas, and getting several things done at once.
Lastly, I'd like to talk about Market Samurai, my favorite SEO and Keyword tool. Over the last month, I did a number of things that involved the Market Samurai product, which helped to create this new line of income for me on my balance sheet through the form of an affiliate link.
Unlike what you see from other marketers online, I did not heavily push this product or become an aggressive salesman for it. In fact, I did just the opposite, and yet I was still able to earn a decent amount of income from promoting it. For example:
- I used Market Samurai as a supplement to teaching Keyword Research and Search Engine Optimization. The content of the videos, blog post and webinar I did were all about the content. I simply recommended Market Samurai based on my personal experience to help.
- I told people that there are actually ways to do everything you can do on Market Samurai for absolutely free, and even offered some tools and suggestions about how to do this.
- I told people straight-up that the link I provided was indeed an affiliate link, and that if they tried the free trial and didn't end up purchasing it, I would totally understand.
- I showed people EXACTLY what it does and how to use it.
As one person wrote to me in an email after I literally asked the person why they took my recommendation:
There's actually a couple of things that sold me:
- You said you use this every day.
- You recommended it, and I trust you.
- You showed us how to use it.
- You made it simple and easy to understand.
- You made me believe that I needed this product 🙂
- You didn't push the product, and even showed us how to get the same info without it.
That was enough for me.
If you want a recipe for non-aggressive affiliate marketing on a blog, the type of affiliate marketing that will help you retain your readers and actually build more trust with them, the type of affiliate marketing that doesn't make you feel like a weasel, then that's it right there.
Earn trust by being honest and only recommend because the recommendation will help your audience, not because it will help you.
Audience first, you second, and you will see the rewards.
Here's to a profitable and safe July for all of us. Cheers!