Welcome to my November 2011 monthly report!
Each month I publish a highly detailed report sharing not only what I've been up to during past month, but also the income I've earned as a result of my online businesses, down to the penny.
I do this for a number of reasons:
- To help me keep track of my progress and focus on improving the numbers each and every month.
- To help you understand the kinds of ways one can generate an income online.
- To share what has and what has not been working for me. And most importantly…
- To be transparent and real about what I do.
If you're just starting out online, please understand that making money via the Internet is definitely not an overnight thing, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pull it off.
A lot of people attempt it and a lot of people fail, but I absolutely know that it's possible. I struggle through trial and error every single day, but as long as you have a goal and constantly work towards it (and fall down towards it too), you'll give yourself a chance.
I've got a lot to talk about today, so let's get right to it.
I hope you enjoy this month's report!
Important Goings-On in November
At the beginning of the month I attended Blog World Expo 2011 in Los Angeles. I attended BWE last year too, but this time it was a little (okay—a lot) more significant because I was given the amazing opportunity to speak at the event.
I've already written about my experience and even shared a re-recording of my presentation with you so I won't go into too much detail about the event in this report, but I'll make 3 points about my BWE speaking experience below:
- Always over-prepare, especially if you're doing anything live. I was up until 4am practicing for 3 days straight until the day of my presentation, and although some may think that was a bit overkill, it paid off because my slides broke down and I was still able to remember everything.
- Stuff happens. No matter how much you prepare for something, no matter how much you plan or practice—something is always bound to go wrong, and that's okay. Expect it, and roll with it. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and much like how I turned getting laid off into an opportunity to explore online business, I turned the fact that my slides were messed up into an opportunity to show people it didn't matter, and I really knew what I was talking about.
- Poke fun at yourself sometimes. Nobody is perfect, and the moment you claim to be perfect that's the moment your audience will begin to disengage. As I learned in Stand and Deliver, one of the best things you can do during a presentation (or if you're writing or recording for any type of audience too) is let your guard down and make fun of yourself. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.] Hence, the Animated GIF of Pat's Doubletake.
Beyond the presentation, it was awesome to meet everyone in person who I've spoken to online for the past couple of years. There's truly nothing comparable to physically meeting someone and shaking a person's hand or giving them a hug.
Thank you to everyone who came to the presentation and/or the SPI community meetup afterwards! Of course, I have to include at least one picture—so here's one of Corbett Barr from Think Traffic, myself, Chris Ducker from Virtual Business Lifestyle, and David Risley from DavidRisley.com, who I know many of you follow online too:
In case you haven't noticed, I've been publishing a lot of videos lately, and I don't plan to slow down.
Because of Gideon Shalwick.
I always knew of Gideon since I started doing business online, but I never dove into his online video marketing material. It wasn't until I sat in on his presentation at Blog World Expo that I was blown away—and I left the room after his presentation totally jazzed about doing more videos.
Although I've posted several videos in the past and have had some good success with them, I learned that I was barely even scratching the surface with YouTube.
If you haven't done so already, definitely visit Gideon's site. Not only his material excellent, but he's a totally genuine and down to earth kind of guy, and a killer presenter too.
In November, I published a total of 3 videos:
- How to Be Everywhere (my Blog World Expo Presentation)
- Add to Cart Button Made Easy—The Magic Button
- Are You Giving Instant Results? You Should, And Here's Why
I plan to shoot a lot more, so please make sure you're subscribed to my YouTube Channel, because not all of them will be posted on the blog.
More Podcast Downloads Thanks to a Plugin!
For the longest time, iTunes only showed the latest 10 sessions of the SPI podcast.
It was incredibly annoying, especially because every day I would get an email from listeners who wanted a way to get all of the episodes without having to go into each individual post on my blog and download each one separately.
The reason this happens is because iTunes reads the feed coming from my blog. The default setting in WordPress is to show only the latest 10 posts in the RSS feed, which is why only 10 episodes were showing up in iTunes.
The solution sounds simple, right? Just increase the number of latest posts in the settings in WordPress.
Unfortunately, when you do that, two things can happen:
- You stall the RSS feed because it goes over the 512kb limit (which excludes multimedia); or
- Your feed continues to work but shows an incredibly long list of posts, which (especially if you show full posts in your feed), can be a lot for your blog's subscribers.
What I really needed was a way to show only 10 posts in a regular blog RSS feed, and something like 100 posts for the podcast feed.
Unfortunately, there was no such solution.
There was a plugin that changed the number of posts that show per category in the archive, but that didn't do any good for that category's feed and for iTunes.
Sick of looking for a solution that probably didn't exist, I went ahead and created one.
I contacted the talented guys from Blazer Six, who designed my site at Green Exam Academy, and part of this blog, and asked them to create a quick but nifty little plugin that would allow me to control the number of latest posts in the feed per category.
Within a couple of hours the plugin was finished, I adjusted the number of latest posts for the podcast category to 100 and BAM—all of my episodes showed up in iTunes.
So what happened as a result? Let's see:
- August: 69,484 downloads
- September: 68,912 downloads
- October: 75,915 downloads
- November: 99,640 downloads
It's simple: more exposure = more downloads! 🙂
I'm super stoked to share this plugin with my fellow podcasters who are dealing with this same issue. The plugin was uploaded today and can be found here!
Later this week I'll create an official launch post with some basic instructions on how best to use it.
New Niche Sites!
For the past couple of months I've been creating some new niche sites and I'm already starting to see some movement in Google and some extra money coming in.
Of course, these are brand new sites so the earnings are no where near what happened as a result of the Niche Site Duel, not yet at least, but the results still excite me.
It may seem weird that an extra $25.00 a month still excites me, but it absolutely does. I think what excites me the most is the fact that the strategies that I'm using are still working after all of the latest algorithm changes in Google, and these are new sites in non-make money online niches.
I apologize for not being able to reveal these particular sites to you, and actually I feel weird and uneasy not doing so because I always love to reveal everything here on SPI, but I learned my lesson after sharing the security guard training niche site and seeing a number of new security guard training niche sites pop up, many using my own original work for the majority of their content.
That said, I may do another public niche site project in the future because even though I can almost guarantee there will be copycats, the lessons learned during the process will be valuable to the SPI community.
Plus, I know it can be fun and entertaining to follow along.
One last thing, if you're familiar with my post, The Backlinking Strategy That Works, you may remember I recommended a product called Blog Blueprint in it. I've since taken down that recommendation because it was not performing well anymore, and I've replaced it with a tool that I've been using as of late that is much much better. I've been testing out BuildMyRank (free trial) for a few months now (after seeing Joseph Archibald, Spencer from Niche Pursuits and Justin and Joe from Adsense Flippers use it) and I'm seeing some really good results!
Okay, I'm pretty deep into this post already, I think it's time for some numbers.
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.
The additional $7500.00 from the client I've been working is not a usual payment so it does skew the results a little bit, but it is money earned as a result of my business (actually, to be exact, as a result of being found by this client on iTunes via the podcast, which I'll talk more about in a post later this month).
Take that payment away and actually my earnings are slightly less than last month, but even so I still pinch myself when I add up all of the numbers each month—I still can't believe it sometimes.
As I mention in all of my reports, I’ll be the first to admit that a significant portion of my income comes directly from this blog, mostly from the products that I recommend as an affiliate, which are products I’ve used and have helped me in one way, shape or form.
I’m very fortunate to have a community that is willing to support me by making purchases through my affiliate links—a responsibility that I will never take lightly and always take seriously—and as such I never promote just for the potential income that can come from an offer.
That said, over $8,000 this month were earned outside of the SPI blog and whether I make $8,000 or $80,000—I’d still be the same person, live the same lifestyle and be just as happy.
I am extremely grateful for everything, and I will continue to give back with valuable content and my experience in return.
Things I Learned in November
November was a good reminder, once again, that diversity is extremely important. My earnings from my original business at GreenExamAcademy.com almost dipped below 2k for the first time ever, which is due to a number of variables including the fact that the industry is slowing down a little bit, and November and December are historically the slowest month's for sales on the website—professionals aren't studying during the Holidays, hehe.
Another thing I experienced in November was the idea that the environment you work in has a major impact on your work flow and productivity. Coincidentally, Gideon Shalwick just posted a video about this very subject and I just so happened to not be feeling the energy in my existing office anymore. I gutted my entire office and rearranged the setup, and for the past week I've been a productivity mad-man!
Going along with productivity, I'm sure the parents who read SPI can agree with me on this (and especially the parents that work from home)—it's tough to get long periods of productive work in while at home with kids. Over the 2 years of my sons life I've adapted to the fact that during the day I won't have more than a 1 hour stretch of uninterrupted work, and that's stretching it. That's why most of my work is done in the late night when our son goes to sleep, and why I've learned to really be productive while working—cutting out any distractions and getting right to what needs to be done.
That said, I still feel like every once and a while long periods of uninterrupted work during the day would be beneficial for my businesses, which is why my wife and I struck a deal with each other.
Every Wednesday I get the entire day to myself to work. No matter what I need to get done, whether it's work on new sites, existing projects, interviews or whatever, I get the entire day to myself. In exchange, my wife gets all of Friday to herself to do whatever she wants and I'm responsible for watching our son.
It's a win-win because we both get our alone time, and we both get to spend an entire day with our son during the week too. Of course, we'll always have our Thursday date nights, which is just as important in my opinion, but after trying this out for the past couple of weeks it has worked out great for the both of us, and it will definitely allow me to finish the SPI product that should be launched in January.
I'm not saying this is the solution for all couples out there, and it may not even be possible for some, but I think the most important lesson here is that communication is key and couples should definitely talk to each other about what would work best. That's obvious, of course, but it's not always acted upon.
And lastly, November was the month of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and I just wanted say thank you one more time to all of those who read, watch or listen to Smart Passive Income. This site would not be anything if it wasn't for you and your support—whether you click through my affiliate links, share my articles on social media, leave comments or are just simply a silent reader—I appreciate you.
Here's to a wonderful and safe end of the year! Cheers, and let's get ready for 2012!