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)
Each month, I write a detailed report about my online earnings from the previous month. This report isn't just about the numbers though, it's about what I did and what I learned that has had an impact on my earnings one way or another (both positive and negative). Furthermore, it is my hope that it also illustrates how anyone can be successful online. I am nobody special, and if I can do it—surely you can to.
The real purpose behind these reports, beyond helping me keep track of how my businesses are progressing each month, is to help you understand the kinds of things you could do (or shouldn’t do!) to achieve similar results.
I hope you enjoy this month's report.
Important Goings-On in May
Was it me, or did May just seem like a blur? Time really does fly.
I've been spending a lot of time with family this month—more than usual. Keoni, my 5-month-old son, is going through a little fussy stage. It could be for a number of reasons, including teething, separation anxiety, or just being so curious, yet so immobile. I've been doing my best to provide a little more support for my wife during this stage, which luckily the work I do with passive income allows me to do. It really makes me respect those of you who work 9 to 5 jobs and have a family at home too because I'm beginning to understand just how much work it takes just to be a parent. That being said, I wouldn't trade being a father for anything in this world.
Anyways, let's get down to business…
Once again, I've been doing a lot of work with the development of a number of new apps for my iPhone app business.
If you don't already know, my business partner and I do not develop the applications ourselves. We think of the ideas and then outsource the development to people who specialize in programming iPhone apps. It's great because not only do the apps come out better than if we did them ourselves, but we can use multiple developers to get more done at the same time.
Back in April, we released 5 new applications. In May, we came out with 6 more, and have a few more in development as we speak. On the date this post was published, we currently have a total of 16 live applications in iTunes. If you're interested in getting into the iPhone or iPad (or both!) market, and you're not a programmer, I definitely recommend this iPhone app guide, which has helped our business tremendously.
The app market is definitely a wild ride. Just within this past month, we've seen the following happen:
- Earned $400+ in a single day total,
- Earned about $35 in a single day total,
- Seen one of our apps climb to the top #35 paid spot in the Utilities category,
- Seen the same app drop to well past the top #100 spot within a week,
- We had a competing developer “copycat” one of our apps, and…
- The app store (desktop version) changed it's interface, which has had an effect on some of our marketing strategies…
About the “copycat” application, we basically ran into an application that was about 95% the same as one of ours, which we were initially pretty upset about, especially because we put some creativity behind it. I won't get into the details, but there were a series of emails exchanged between our company and the copycat, but we finally worked things out. And there really wasn't much we could do anyways. It's a free market, and it's all about competition.
I mean—type in the word “flashlight” in iTunes search and you come up with about 300 results.
Still though, the rollercoaster is fun to ride and it was beyond amazing to see some good numbers come in as a result of our hard work done in March and in April. Our free applications saw more than 1 million ad impressions, which is totally awesome!
We'll keep churning out apps and see where it takes us.
It's weird to think about this site now, because honestly I haven't done much with it for the last 8 months, ever since a major site update. Still, it continues to drive sales and add to my earnings, even though I only spend time answering comments and responding to emails.
This month, however, in a mastermind group meeting I attended, I mentioned that I really wanted to get back on the horse with this site and see where it can take me, especially since I've noticed that sales are slowly decreasing each month.
Maybe I'm not giving it the best chance to earn the most money. Maybe I'm unaware of what could be, since I'm “okay” with earning a decent amount from it already. This dilemma is apparently one caveat about passive income that I'm beginning to experience for the first time. Things don't last forever, as much as we sometimes hope they do. I know this, because it wasn't too long ago that I thought I was going to be working 9 to 5 until I was 65.
My mastermind group gave me a number of excellent suggestions that I hope to implement within the next couple of months. With the changes and updates that I'll be making, I hope to:
- Drive more traffic to GreenExamAcademy.com via SEO and paid advertising. I have yet to spend a dollar on advertising for this site, but I guess now is the time. More traffic = more sales.
- Increase sales conversion rates. I plan to use a number of different suggested strategies (which I plan to outline and report here on SPI when I do implement those strategies, so stay tuned!).
- Add more products. More products = more $ spent per customer.
Again like I said, I'll keep you posted on how things go. Hopefully I'll have the time to do some of these things, or be smart enough to outsource them if I cannot.
A New Revenue Sharing Site
As many of you know, I used to write articles for eHow. Even though the writer's compensation program (WCP) has ended (which means no one can contribute to eHow anymore, except through applying with Demand Media first), I actually continue to earn an income from a number of articles I wrote on eHow almost 2 years ago. This just shows the power of find the right platforms and techniques to work hard now, and reaping the benefits later (way later.)
In May, I was on the search for the “next eHow”—somewhere I could invest my time and articles that could potentially make me money down the road. I wrote a series of posts that followed my research:
- 13 Alternatives to Writing and Making Money on eHow
- How to Determine the Best Revenue Sharing Site to Write For
- The Next Best Revenue Sharing Site to Write for Is…
You can read those articles if you're interested, but I've landed on my decision, based on my own research (you should do your own if you're up to it!) and went with InfoBarrel.
I spent a few days on the site, checking out the community and even posting an article just to see how it went. The process was relatively smooth, and although I think a lot of work could be done to improve the design, so far I'm diggin' it. In just 2 days, the article I wrote was already on the third page of Google for a few of the keywords I was targeting.
If you're not yet signed up, head on over to InfoBarrel and I'll see you there!
Smart Passive Income
I'm still working on setting up the Podcast. It's not as easy as pressing the record button and talking, because there's a lot more involved for getting picked up by iTunes and all of that stuff. I've heard of a lot of people having problems with their feeds before, so I want to make sure I get it done right the first time, so all I have to worry about later is content.
Thanks for your patience!
Okay, I think it's time for some numbers!
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.
It's great to see the numbers climb back towards that $20k/month mark, which I saw way back when my LEED site was taking off before March of 2009. Obviously, the major portion of the earnings this month come from iPhone apps, which is awesome. It's been a year and a half since we've been in business, but never have we seen numbers like this. No – we're not making $20k a day like some of the top apps that you see, but we're definitely happy with the results. It was only when we finally to create more product and researched some iPhone app marketing strategies that we finally started to see a breakthrough.
It's like they say, nothing is going to happen unless you take action and do something! Remember, every day you don't something online for sale is a day of potential profits lost.
Things I Learned in May
One thing I learned was the importance of having people to talk to you about what you do online. Namely, a mastermind group.
I've been part of an online mastermind “group,” the Internet Business Mastery Academy, for almost 2 years now, and they've been instrumental in my online success. The mastermind group I talked about earlier is a new one I joined that only has about 5 people, and we chat every Monday about our businesses, what we've learned, and what we need help on. Joining some kind of mastermind group is something you really have to do in order to get to where you want to go, faster.
Another thing I learned in May was the importance of simply asking. If you need to know something, the first thing you should think about doing is “asking,” instead of spending hours going in circles trying to find the answer yourself. For some reason, many of us are ashamed to ask for help, and feel like we have to do everything ourselves. It's like us guys who are sometimes too prideful to stop and ask for directions, when you know that that is all you have to do.
I'm talking about this in regards to my upcoming podcast. In May, I asked many of you (plus my Twitter and Facebook followers) to answer a short, 3 question survey about what you'd like to hear on the show. The results from the survey (over 500 responses later) is now a complete roadmap of exactly what I should be doing. There's no more guesswork involved, and I can give the listeners exactly what they're looking for.
If you want to know something, just ask! What's the worst that can happen? You don't get a response…boo hoo.
I just wanted to thank you all once again for your undying support. I started this blog almost two years ago without ever thinking that it would get to this point, and now I'm here and it's honestly one of the coolest things I've ever had the pleasure of doing. I hope you stick with me for the next couple of years and let's just see how far we can climb together.
Thanks everyone, and I wish you all the best. Cheers!