Welcome to my September 2013 income report!
Each month, I write a detailed report about my online businesses and web properties.
I do this not only to help me keep track of my own progress (which I could obviously do in private), but I want to be open and honest about what’s going on in my business. I want to lead by example by showing you what’s working, and what’s not.
I also include an extremely detailed breakdown of the income I’ve earned online.
For those of you new to SPI, you might be wondering why I care to post my income reports in the first place.
Companies in the stock market share their earnings too, which gives people an idea of how the company is performing. Based on that, people can make a decision whether or not to invest (or continue investing) in that company.
Although you’re not investing money into my company, you are investing time—time to consume my content as well as any time you use to execute the strategies and methods that I share. It’s my responsibility to be totally upfront, honest and transparent with you, and to give you a snapshot each month of how I’m performing.
Before I get to the meat of this month’s report, if you’re just starting out online, please understand that making money on the Internet is definitely not an overnight thing. Not even close. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pull it off. The environment is always changing, which is why I continue to experiment and try new things, and share my results here on the blog.
A lot of people will attempt it and many people will fail, but I absolutely know that it’s possible to find success.
And remember, I struggle through trial and error every single day too, so as long as you have a goal and constantly work towards it, you’re giving yourself a great chance for great things to happen.
I hope you enjoy this month’s report!
Important Goings-On in September
September started out amazingly! My family and I went on a week long Disney Cruise vacation—something we've been planning for what seemed like forever, so to finally board the ship and explore the Caribbean with my family was an amazing and fulfilling experience! The best part was seeing how excited my son was during every single waking moment of the trip. 🙂
Leading up to the vacation, I was really interested to see what it would be like to be “off-the-grid” for a while. How much urgency would I have to work when I know I shouldn't, and how well would my businesses run without me?
All in all, it was a success. I did spend about 30 minutes each evening (after the kids were asleep) just checking in to make sure things were running smoothly. There was too much to do on the ship to even think about my businesses during most of the trip, which was the idea. It was nice to be 100% in the moment with my family, which is a major challenge when you're an entrepreneur working from home.
Unfortunately, spending a week long on a ship with thousands of other families means one thing:
So of course, my entire family got sick at the tail end of the trip. We even had to go to the health care center on this ship to get the kids some antibiotics—it was pretty bad.
I didn't feel the effects until after I got home though, but when I was ready to get back into work, I didn't have the energy to think.
After a few days of rest, I was finally able to get moving again, and that's when I saw that I had about month left until my very first keynote presentation at The Financial Blogger Conference (FINCON) in St. Louis. My opening keynote presentation happens this Friday, October 18th.
I made a decision to put most of my energy into prepping this presentation—not only because I wanted to nail my first keynote, but because this conference and the community it serves means a whole lot to me.
You see, in 2011, I was deathly afraid of getting on stage and speaking in front of a crowd. I knew that it was something I should do to expand my brand, increase my authority and become a better communicator, but I was too scared to actively seek public speaking opportunities at the time.
Philip Taylor from PTMoney.com decided to start FINCON in 2011 to bring together the financial blogger community. He personally asked me to speak at the event, and because I knew a lot of people in that niche already (I used to read a ton of personal finance blogs while still working my architecture job), I decided to go for it.
Speaking at that event was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career, and from that point forward I was hooked. I've since gone on to speak dozens of times at over a dozen different events, to a point where I'm now actually getting paid to speak, and I owe it all to Philip and the financial blogger community. They were extremely friendly, receptive and made me feel completely comfortable during my very first speech.
With my decision to go full-steam with this upcoming keynote, I knew that meant other things would have less of my time. Yes, a lot of my businesses run semi-automatically, but the one thing I know requires my time is this blog.
A few of you have expressed concern, but before anyone else says it, let me say it myself: I know content production has suffered recently—not really in the sense that I haven't been producing as much content (I'm still sticking to the weekly podcast schedule and blog posts are still being published) but as far as the traditional, EPIC, tutorial style SPI posts that I know you all love (and I love to produce)—it's been a while, I know.
I'm sorry if I've disappointed you.
A lot of my colleagues would probably call me out for actually talking about this because it's just a few people who have expressed concerned, and I know it's only a temporary delay that will go away once things settle down and get back to normal, but I like to be completely honest with all of you and share what's on my mind.
There's some of you, I'm sure, who would probably say, “Pat, life happens, just do what you need to do. You have our support and look forward to when things settle down for you.”
And then there's some of you who are probably thinking, “Pat – where'd you go? We miss the old SPI. [sadface]”
I completely understand.
I'm here though, I hear you and I feel it too, but I also know it's only a temporary hitch. Some of you may not even notice it, which means you have a lot more to look forward to either way.
The URL and the launch data for Niche Site Duel 2.0 is ready to be revealed after November 1st. I wanted to get a month of live data before sharing it with you. From then on, you'll get an over-the-shoulder look at how I take a brand new site and figure out how to make it work in today's economy and Internet environment. It has already seen over 5k visitors since it's launch 2 weeks ago. 🙂
The redesign of SPI (which has been as slow as a snail) is finally under way. The plan is to release the new design in November as well, and the team working with me to make that happens knows it too.
Life does happen, but I also know that SPI wouldn't be here without you, so I'm not going anywhere, and I plan to produce the amazing, epic content that I know you're all used to and hoping for again soon.
Thank you all for always—ALWAYS—being open and honest with me too. I do what I do here on SPI for you, so I always appreciate when you keep me headed in the right direction.
Let's keep going with the report…
So, How is SecurityGuardTrainingHQ Doing?
Like I said, I'll be writing a lot about my food truck niche site once November rolls around, but my older niche site at SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com is still going strong.
I did add something new to the site in November: a searchable directory that lists security guard training companies around the United States. This was information that was collected by my virtual assistant a few months ago. There are plugins such as this one that will allow you to include a business directory onto your website, but they weren't compatible with my custom theme so I had to get it custom made instead.
I was curious to see if adding the directory would affect my traffic or earnings in any way, and so far—it has not. It IS being used, which is nice to know, and it does add value to the site in whole—but I haven't seen any direct correlation between the directory and traffic or earnings. The views on the directory pages are minimal.
The site is still earning around $1,500 per month and receiving about 800-1000 visits a day, which I'm extremely happy about considering I haven't really touched the site or added content over the past year. I did receive another offer to buy the site but the passive income this site generates is still very attractive to me, and I'd like to let this ride, and hopefully add more to it in the near future.
Here's a screenshot from October 7th of the latest rankings for target keywords for the site. What's interesting is that Yahoo! dropped all but one of my target keywords (armed security guard training) from their top 100 results. I'm not sure what's going on here, but it's nice to see that most of the keywords in Google are on the upswing:
(screenshot from http://www.seokeywordranking.com)
Okay, let's get to the numbers for September 2013.
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.
For the previous two months, my net total income has dropped from $99,115 in July, to $84,263 in August, and now to $55,325 in September. It may look bad, but this was completely expected because both July and August were record months due to a launch for my Breakthrough Blogging course, and webinars for LeadPages, respectively.
$50-60k has been average for the year.
The uptick in sales from GreenExamAcademy.com was due to a recent announcement of the next version of the LEED exam coming later in 2014. When these announcements are made, people want to study and pass the test before the next version comes out, because traditionally the newer exams are much harder, and passing this version will quality you to be a LEED accredited professional without having to take the new one. I should see similar or steadily increasing numbers for this site through the end of the year, although it's interesting because the holidays usually take a toll in the world of professional exams.
My iPhone app business partner and I have also spent time in September redesigning our #1 performing app. With the recent launch of iOS7, we had to make some changes for the new platform, and we're hoping for an uptick of sales come the holiday season. Traditionally, the holidays increase all app sales in iTunes because more people have iPhones, gift cards are sent around, and the younger folk are home on Christmas Break and spend lots of time on their devices.
I'm still hearing a lot of success stories on iTunes, but I also know it's more competitive now than ever before. For every success story, there's probably a lot more not so successful stories, which we never hear. The app market is fun to explore, but it's definitely still the wild wild west. Have any of you entered the market recently, and if so, how are things going? Please share, and feel free to link to one of your apps if you're just started – I'd love to check out what you have going on.
A Note from Pat
I’ll be the first to admit that a significant portion of my total online income comes as a result of this very blog that you're reading right now—mostly from the products that I recommend as an affiliate, which are products I’ve used or am extremely familiar with and have helped me in one way, shape or form.
When I first started this blog back in 2008, I never intended to make any money from it. If you go back to my earlier income reports you'll see that all of my income was coming from outside of this blog through other businesses. Over time, however, the SPI community has grown and as a byproduct of being helpful and giving away as much as possible, I started earning from this site too. Because I believe in total honesty and transparency, I decided to include the income from SPI on these reports as well. It wouldn't feel right hiding this from you.
My non-SPI related income has hovered around the $10,000/month mark for a while now, which is much more than I ever made working my 9 to 5 job in architecture, but I'm truly blessed that I have the support from an amazing community here at SPI who is willing to pay me back for all of the information I publish and the help that I try to provide for free. Some people go out of their way to make sure I get credit for an affiliate link, often emailing me to make sure I got it, which means the world to me. Thank you so much!
With this type of community comes great responsibility and I will never take it for granted. I will never promote something just for the potential income that can come from an affiliate offer, even though those opportunities are definitely there.
I’m incredibly grateful for everything and I will continue to give back with valuable content and my experience in return.
My goal with the new businesses that I'm creating, including the food truck site that's being built for NSD2.0, is to increase the non-SPI income side of my income report. Yes, $10k is a significant amount to be earning outside of the site already, but the SPI portion has grown so big, I feel like that income has overshadowed what I've been able to do accomplish outside of SPI—but I still feel it's important to be transparent and share how much I'm earning here with you.
The fact that every week I receive hundreds of thank you emails, and even a handful of hand-written letters from people who I've helped shows me that I'm doing things the right way. Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement!
Lessons Learned in September
1. Going on vacation is awesome, and it feels amazing to step away from business stuff for a while. Getting back into work-mode afterwards, however, has always been a struggle for me. Thankfully, what I describe in THIS post definitely helped me get back into the thick of things much faster this time. #win
2. I know I say this often, but I can't say it enough: the community here at SPI is the best. I love how you're not afraid to speak up, and like I said earlier, how you help keep me going in the right direction. I'm here for you, but you're here for me to, and I'm so blessed for that. I could have easily gone WAY off track a long long time ago like so many other bloggers that I used to follow, but you've always encouraged me, tested me, and pushed me forward and kept my head on straight. I will continue to give back as much as I possibly can—I promise you that.
I'll be in St. Louis tomorrow for FINCON13, and I couldn't be more excited to see everyone in the financial blogger community again. I can't wait for the keynote presentation, and if you're there, I hope you enjoy it. If you won't be in attendance, there will be a video recording you can check out later on. 🙂
Cheers, and wish me luck! Thank you for your undying support!