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Woot! It's time for another monthly income report!
For those of you who don't already know, each month I write a detailed report about my online income, and I make sure to include the things I've done and learned during the previous month that may have an impact on my earnings. I do this not only to help me keep track of how my online businesses are doing, but also to help you understand what to do (and what not to do) if you want to be successful online. Again, I'm not a millionaire and all of this didn't happen overnight, but I am living and supporting my family purely off of income made online. A dream come true—yes. A dream out of reach for you? I say no way.
I hope you enjoy this month's report.
Important Goings-On in March
March was a very productive month. It was primarily dedicated to creating 8 new iPhone apps, each of which become a possible new income stream for the future. Our iPhone app business has been seeing a nice sized increase in our earnings the past few months, which has given us the energy and confidence to invest back into the business and create a whole line of brand new applications.
The idea creation and development process, at least for me, is a lot of fun. However, it's tough because money is being spent (we outsource the development of our apps) and there's no such thing as an immediate return. That's how it is with any business, especially when creating passive income streams—because it's all about working hard now, and reaping the benefits later. Being patient and having confidence in yourself before you get to “later” can be tough. But, without hard work and determination, you'll never get there.
Anyways, we've got a lot of potential ahead of us, and we're hoping that one or two of these apps make it to the top of the charts, which could potentially give all of our other apps a boost too.
Right now, we've got 3 completed apps, 4 that are in development and 1 that's just getting underway. Since none of them are live yet, I'll wait to reveal exactly what they are and what they do.
I can't wait to see what happens. All should be live by the end of next month.
Green Exam Academy
As I mentioned in my previous monthly income report, I was going to run some split tests between my existing sales page and an “Amazon.com Style” sales page to see which converted better.
The thinking behind this experiment is that a lot of businesses have product pages that imitate Amazon's style, using the same buttons, layout and pricing strategies, because consumers are supposedly more comfortable purchasing things online in the Amazon style, which was familiar to them.
Before I ran the experiment, I didn't really know what to expect. I'm very familiar with the Amazon style layout and can see why other businesses have adapted a similar style, however my existing sales page just seems to do well for some reason, even though it's not the prettiest thing to look at.
To give you an idea of the pages that I ran against each other, here a snippet of the original:
And here's a part of the “Amazon-Style” page:
And so, what were the results?
Well, I told myself that I would keep this experiment going the entire month to get the most data possible, but I caved in and let it run for only a couple of days, because it was apparent what the outcome would have been:
Yes, yes—I know I shouldn't base decisions off of a sample size of about 500 visitors, but I was confident enough with the data to pull the experiment and just continue with the original design.
There are a few important things that we can learn from this:
- The design of your page absolutely matters.
- Just because you're copying a proven model doesn't mean that it will work better for you and your business or product.
- The only way to know if one page design is better than an other is to test. Test test test!
For those of you who would like to know more about how to run these kinds of split tests on your blog or website (for any metric: sales, subscribers, click-throughs, etc.) you can read this post about Google Optimizer that I wrote way back in December of 2008. All of it is still useful for you today.
Smart Passive Income
SPI has been on a fantastic ride as it continues to grow and expand, and I have each and every one of you to thank for that.
Seriously. Thank you.
Per request, here are some brief statistics for the month of March for SPI:
- Visitors: 29,139
- Pageviews: 71,267
- RSS Subscribers: ~5,600 total (+715 New Subscribers)
Top Traffic Sources:
Okay, I think it's time for the monthly income 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.
This was the first month that I broke down my affiliate earnings for you, because I seem to get a lot of questions about exactly where that income comes from. For the “other online courses & programs,” its primarily from the affiliate program of the Internet Business Mastery Academy, which just happens to be recurring monthly. It's dependable because the program is that good, and it keeps people in for a long time. I think I've been a member for almost 2 years now! [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Anyways, a few notables from my income this month:
- Sales are slowing down on my own personal products on Green Exam Academy. Again, it's probably partly due to the entrance of study guides from the actual company that administers the exam as well as other players in the market. Also, the “rush” to get certified for the exam is not nearly as high as it was before, but I'll do my best to keep up in the ever changing market. Nothing good lasts forever, which is why companies in all genres expand their brands, come out with new products, and diversify.
- eHow still surprises me. Without touching my account for almost a year now, I'm still seeing between $150-200 a month come in as a result. It may not seem like a lot, but for doing nothing, an extra $200 a month is huge.
- My commission from Bluehost.com was awesome, mainly because I incorporated an affiliate link subtly into a few blog posts in March. As you probably can tell, I don't “force” or push any products that often (if at all), yet I'm still able to generate a decent sized income as a result. I don't turn anyone off from aggressive sales pitches, and I'm still able to keep you as a reader. You don't have to be a salesman to sell things online.
Things I Learned in March
I've already covered a lot of what I learned in March into this post already, so I only have one more thing to add.
To follow up a post I wrote early in the month entitled, The Most Important Conversation I've Had About My Business Ever (which was surprisingly featured in a LifeHacker.com article a couple of days later: Use Two Computers to Keep Your Work and Home Life Totally Separate) I've found that forcing myself to keep my work and personal life separate using two computers, as well as shutting the doors to my home office after scheduled work hours has done wonders for my productivity and my overall lifestyle.
Because I have specific hours that are for work and work only, I'm able to really focus on work at that time, and really focus on my family during the other times of the day. I'm no longer constantly thinking about my business during the night, and no longer am I tempted to just go into my office and work when I probably should be spending time with my family.
It's been a great month, being able to watch my son turn 3 months old and witness his first “coos” and giggles, and at the same time still make a lot of progress on potential passive income streams.
Remember what's important to you, and make sure you do what you can to make it happen. That's really what this is all about.
Thanks for your time today, and here's to a safe, healthy, fun and profitable April for all of us.