And we're back with another Monthly Income Report for May 2015! As always, I'm happy to share my progress and income reports with you. You can find the full listing of reports since October 2008 here, but for now let's dive right into what May 2015 looked like.
June's report is coming out soon as well. I've fallen behind a little bit due to all of the travel and speaking engagements that happened in June. But don't worry, I'm not going to stop writing these reports. 🙂
Okay, let's get to it:
Important Goings-On in May
After the craziness of April which included a trip to Las Vegas to present my “Back to the Future” keynote presentation, which was over a year in the making, it was nice to have an “off-month” in May to get things prepared before June, which would be full of travel again—much of it with family and off-the-grid.
My primary objective in May was to start a regular writing routine in the morning. As many of you know, I'm in the middle of writing my next book. I've accumulated over 80,000 words using my post-it note / dictation technique as outlined in Episode 1 of SPI TV, which was a great first pass earlier in the year. I'm now into a more regular, structured and directed draft, which means I'm actually writing into Scrivener now, taking a lot of what was dictated and transcribed and turning that into something that sounds more like a book.
A lot of this process involves reading what I had dictated, filtering out the mess (and there's a lot of it, but that's the point) and then keeping the good stuff. Now that I'm in the middle of, let's call it phase 2, I've found that even more ideas have surfaced and are now making their way into the book. I'm still using this phase as a brainstorming stage, but it's a lot more guided since I've already made a first pass.
It's fun, but since dictating was much faster and easier than finding time to sit down and write on the computer, I learned that I had to make this phase a habit. Anything you want to accomplish is made much easier when you turn the work toward it into a habit, and so that's what I did.
Each morning, as a part of my Miracle Morning routine, I get in between 20-60 minutes of writing in, depending on when the kids wake up. As soon as the kids wake, then I'm done writing (my book) for the day. So far, it's been working out real well! I write in the mornings 5 days out of the week, and although it's a slow grind I'm making progress and that's all that matters.
I'm excited about sharing this with you once it's finished!
A New Potential Hire!
Another major goal in May was to start a conversation with my team about hiring a new person to become my content manager. For the past 7 years, all of the content on SPI—on the blog and the podcast—has been me and only me in terms of what gets published and when. It's about time I include some reinforcements.
The goal of the content manager would be to help organize, manage, and plan editorial themes and ideas for the various content channels. This is a part of my quest to systematize what I do and get it to a point where I'm only coming up with big ideas, or the one actually writing/recording the content. Everything else in between would be taken care of by others and a part of an overall system.
I'm really excited about this hire because more specifically, this person will help me accomplish the following:
- Go back into time and review older posts to see what could be updated, or even deleted.
- Create a spreadsheet of all of the content ever published on SPI for easy recall both for the team and for the public. I know a lot of you have been looking for a better way to search through the archive, and it starts with this.
- Plan themes and outline future posts so when it's time to write, I can just get right in there and begin without thinking too much about where to start.
- Recommend guests for podcasts and content for SPI TV that fit into our overall editorial calendar flow, keeping in mind future product launches and partnership promotions.
- Take my written content and format it correctly for publishing.
- Become a second set of eyes for editing grammar and spelling before posts go live.
- Work directly with me to come up with new ideas for posts, themes and overall content strategy.
- Help with content creation for new lead magnets, email and coursework.
You might remember me starting out the year with the goal of being more consistent with my content. Although I've already made massive improvements this year compared to last, especially with the podcasts, the blog content is still suffering delays here and there, and with a person in charge of the editorial calendar and someone who can help me know what's coming up ahead of time, who understands where the content fits in the overall SPI brand, it'll be much much easier for me to stay consistent and get ahead.
I've also found that like with the podcast production, which has recently been outsourced as well over the past year, when there's someone on the other end waiting for me to deliver my part before he or she edits goes live with it, I'm motivated by the fact that there's a deadline and I don't want to let that person down and have them fall behind.
I've already reached out to potential candidates and am excited to share more about the person I hire and what they do for me in the future!
Alrighty—let's get down to the breakdown.
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 do not include pro-rated yearly fees. Most are related to the Smart Passive Income Blog and new projects that are currently under development.
Lessons Learned in May
Looking at the net total for May, it's definitely the lowest it has been for a while, especially considering the fact that just two months ago, the overall net income was over 6-figures. This might worry some people, but this was completely expected and there's no worry at all.
A lot of the expenses were put toward team members finishing up various projects they were working on before the summer break, including a new version of the SPI Mobile Application (now with the ability to favorite your content for easy recall later – available for both iOS and Android), and also a final push for FoodTruckr, completing our second product launch for June and then taking almost 100% of the team away from FoodTruckr to let it run on auto-pilot for a while while some of the team heads off on vacation. Plus, I wanted to reshift focus and team resources toward future SPI projects, like the books and courses that are planned for Q4 this year.
More on FoodTruckr and it's product launch in next month's report, but overall it's nice to see it come to a “close” in terms of building and creation, and now it can sit and rest and collect like some of my other more passive sites, like GreenExamAcademy.com and SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. Interestingly enough, I've had a few offers to purchase FoodTruckr.com already, which is pretty cool. I'm not against selling it but the asking prices were too low for what I feel it's worth, and plus the second product should add more value to the site as well.
One thing you may notice in my expense report (or if you're on my email list) is that I've recently made a switch from Aweber to Infusionsoft in terms of an email service provider. Many of you have been asking me about this and I plan on developing a full report once I get things going with it, but the primary reason for making the jump is to take advantage of all of the advanced email marketing capabilities that it has to offer, such as tagging people and creating specific campaigns based on the actions my audience takes. Instead of a linear time-based approach to email, I can take a more personalized and highly-targeted approach with Infusionsoft.
Currently, however, after the switch there is absolutely no difference and I haven't seen any benefit of moving over yet, primarily because we just set it up to temporarily run just like a time-based email sequence auto-responder. It's when multiple lead magnets, multiple audience types and “buckets” are discovered and multiple products are created is when the magic will happen. Some of my favorite marketers use Infusionsoft and swear by it, but like I said I have yet to see anything real come out of it yet.
So why make the switch now? As you can probably tell by the content in this post, a lot of what's happening at SPI is planning for the future and Infusionsoft and it's capabilities will definitely be a part of that overall plan and content strategy. We wanted to switch to Infusionsoft now to get used to the platform. It's definitely a lot more complicated to use with than Aweber – and don't get me wrong I still LOVE Aweber and use it on other sites and recommend it for those starting out with building a list, but with where SPI is going we know we're going to need something more robust to optimize and get the most out of the work we do.
Once I understand it more, you can be sure I'll report more about it and give you insights on exactly how it's being used. Part of this move also involves understanding more about you, the SPI audience, to create these “buckets” or audience types that I can better serve in the future, which is why recently you will have seen a survey launched to collect that information.
Thank you to those of you who have already taken the survey! If you have yet to take it,if you could spare a few minutes of your time today to fill this out, I'd totally appreciate it!
Thanks so much, and look out for June's Income Report very soon! Cheers!