December was an interesting month that had positives and negatives.
On one hand, I continued to grow my Website 5 and the links as well as the traffic are growing faster than I ever could have imagined and my Website 4 had another record breaking month.
On the other hand, one of my websites got penalized by Google and my income is down from November due to the holiday.
So, as you can see, both positive and negatives…but I’m not sure which outweighs the other yet.
But this income report is about more than just the month of December.
Now that 2017 is over, I’m going to take some time to reflect back on the year in its entirety and talk about my plan of action moving forward.
On a personal level, my wife and I are very excited to be moving back to United States soon. It’s going to be a little bit difficult in 2018 because her work is going to make her travel back and forth to Brazil fairly often, but were still house shopping and trying to find the best place for us.
As of now, the plan is to make it back to the USA in March of 2018 and once we arrive, immediately start house shopping. We’re already doing some pretty significant research using Zillow to figure out what styles we like and the house we want, but we still have to see the houses ourselves in order to make a final decision.
Ideally, by the time that we go back to the United States, we’ll have 5 to 10 houses that we want to take a look at and be able to quickly choose the one that we like and begin the closing process.
Everyone keeps telling us to “not be in a hurry” and while we won’t be rushing in to buy the wrong house, we’re in a hurry to get into the right house because until that time, her and I will be shacking up with my cat in an Extended Stay America hotel.
Needless to say, that sucks. But….it’s what we have to do temporarily until we find a place we can call home for 5-10 years.
Before I dive too deeply the income report, if this is your first time on my website let me explain why I write a detailed income report each month that outlines the money I made (or lost) each month.
I’m doing this for a number of reasons:
1) I strive to be transparent about what it takes to make money online.
2) These reports help me keep track of my own progress.
3) These reports hold me accountable.
In short, I don’t create these to gloat about my earnings. I create them to help you understand the true “earning curve” of online business. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive into the report.
2017 Year in Review and Future Plans
Although I didn’t hit my goal that I wanted to in 2017, I definitely can’t be upset with how the year turned out for my online business.
If you look at it from a pure numbers perspective, the year was nothing short of incredible.
Website portfolio traffic:
As you can see, my traffic increased 113%, which means I more than doubled visitors to my websites.
Obviously a huge part of this is the fact that I grew Website 1ub website significantly in 2017, but I think it’s also important to note that I created three new websites and those had some significant growth as well.
In terms of the OHP website haven’t a bit of a dip, I expected this because I’ve been blogging a whole lot less. I’m also completely fine with it as I primarily just publish income reports now.
Website portfolio income:
My revenue in 2017 was just about double of what it was in 2016. To be honest, this was quite a surprise to me as I’ll tell you from a personal standpoint it definitely doesn’t feel this way. It’s not like my wife and I are necessarily struggling, but it also doesn’t feel like I’m making six figures from my business.
I think most of this is because although I make good money from my online business ventures, you have to keep in mind that my monthly business expenses are somewhere between $1500-$2000.
So, if we do the math, that actually drops my income by about $20,000. That said, I’ll take a $77,000 per year salary at the moment with a smile because I get to work for myself and decide everything I want to do at any time.
My only goal in 2017 was to reach $10,000/month in business revenue.
I got close…I really did, but unfortunately, I didn’t hit my goal of $10,000 per month in revenue.
Instead, the number I achieved was $8,142.87.
That said, I had a growth in revenue of just about 100%, how can someone be upset with that outcome?
Sure, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it’s definitely a huge improvement.
I did the math and if I’m able to keep the same growth rate in 2018, then I’m going to be slated to make about $195,000 in revenue.
Do I think I can do that?
Well, I honestly never thought that I could’ve gotten this far, so of course I have doubts. That said, I do have some pretty significant aspirations in 2018 and hopefully I can make it happen.
While writing this income report, I noticed that I didn’t actually set multiple goals in 2017.
Looking back, I really wish I would have.
I think that goals are important to do on a monthly basis, but it’s also good to put something in place to strive for a little bit longer term.
To me this isn’t a “rah-rah” exercise, but it’s just something to hold myself accountable to each month.
That said, this year I’m going to have 5 total goals.
My goals for 2018 are as follows:
- Grow my Website 5 to over 250,000 visitors monthly: As of now, I’m focusing solely on Website 5 and intend on growing this is much as possible as it’s a massive market that I’m catering to. I know that the number one website in this area gets over 1 million visitors each month, so I’m hoping to take a chunk of that and bring them to my website instead. If I even come close to this goal, it’ll be life changing.
- Create Physical Products and Sell over $100,000 using Amazon FBA: This is a completely new area to me, and something that goes hand in hand with the goal above. The idea in 2018 is to create a physical product brand that’s closely associated with Website 5. I won’t get into detail here, but you can find out more in the CK project update later in this report.
- Create One Additional Website: I already have one really good website idea that I want to create in 2018, but I refuse to do this until I’m really happy with how well Website 5 is doing. This new website is something that I’ve already bought a domain for and is mostly an affiliate website for products outside of Amazon. The niche itself isn’t competitive at all and seems to be a pretty wide-open opportunity, my only real challenge is figuring out how I can build backlinks to the website. But, in 2018, I plan on figuring that out and launching the new website.
- Earn $15,000 Per Month in Business Revenue: My thought is that if I’m able to get Website 5 up to where I think it should be in terms of traffic, then that will nicely complement the physical products business along with it. Between these two sources and growing my current websites, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get $15,000 per month in business revenue by the end of 2018.
- Create 4 Reviews for Products I Love: Truth be told, I’ve been pushing this off for some time but I really need to sit down and complete some product reviews. I honestly don’t even know why I’m dreading these product reviews as I tend to do pretty well with these affiliate-review type of posts, but I realized that there are four tools I’m using consistently right now that are really helping me out and I need to tell more people about them. So, I’m going to make a goal in 2018 to get these done so that I stop slacking.
How did the Income Report Turn Out This Month?
|PRODUCT OR SERVICE||REVENUE||EXPENSES||NET INCOME|
|Aweber Email Platform||$5.70||$5.70|
|ShutterstoWebsite 5 Images||$22.88||$22.88|
|Udemy Course Sales||$59.21||$59.21|
|Partners and Affiliates Revenue|
|Website 5 Partners and Affiliates||$0.96||$0.96|
|Website 3 Partners and Affiliates||$14.00||$14.00|
|Website 2 Partners and Affiliates||$22.50||$22.50|
|Website 4 Partners and Affiliates||$304.91||$304.91|
|Website 1UB Partners and Affiliates||$697.56||$697.56|
|Personal VLOG Channel||$26.89||$26.89|
|OHP YouTube Channel||$69.23||$69.23|
|Website 5 Media.net Ad Revenue||$1.97||$1.97|
|Website 3 Media.net Ad Revenue||$7.44||$7.44|
|Website 4 Media.net Ad Revenue||$126.64||$126.64|
|Website 1UB Media.net Ad Revenue||$291.14||$291.14|
|Google Adsense Revenue|
|OHP Adsense Revenue||$2.38||$2.38|
|Website 2 Adsense Revenue||$6.00||$6.00|
|Website 5 Adsense Revenue||$111.12||$111.12|
|Website 4 Adsense Revenue||$124.17||$124.17|
|Website 3 Adsense Revenue||$416.78||$416.78|
|Website 1ub Adsense Revenue||$5718.73||$5718.73|
|Intuit Quick Books||$5.00||-$5.00|
|Google Business Drive Storage and Apps||$6.09||-$6.09|
|Adobe Photoshop Account||$10.61||-$10.61|
|Mailshake Email Software||$57.00||-$57.00|
|Meet Edgar Social Media Platform||$49.00||-$49.00|
|Jungle Scout Amazon Product Research Tool||$237.00||$237.00|
|Freelance Labor Expenses|
|Freelance Writing and Editing||$822.18||-$822.18|
|Freelance Research and Labor||$526.61||-$526.61|
|Revenue By Channel||Website 1ub Website||Website 3||OHP Website||Website 4||Website 2||Website 5||Consulting||Udemy||YouTube|
This Month’s Income Outliers
Every month I have income that streams in from multiple sources and quite frankly, a lot of that is pretty regular. However, each month I tend to see a few line items that are drastically different from the prior month. In this section, I only discuss the items that have increased or decreased significantly.
There were six items that jumped out to me this month:
- OHP Course Sales: This month I had two people purchase my course on building a successful authority website (Here’s the free mini course if you want to check it out). I’m not going to say that this is something I can always count on, but it’s cool to see some consistency from month-to-month. I’ve been debating for some time to blog once a week to try to bring more people back to my website so that they can check this course out, but I’m not 100% sure that I really want to do that yet.
- Website 4 Income: Last month I talked about how cool it would be if this website would make me $500 per month. Well, surprisingly that happened in December and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. I really think that the roof for income with this website is coming soon, but I’d be really happy if I was able to make $500 a month as this is a very passive project at this point.
- Website 5 Income: I’m really hoping that the income you see this month is the start of something much bigger. I was really happy to see that Website 5 made almost $115 for the month of December and it’s a very positive sign of things to come.
- Overall Adsense Revenue: Unfortunately there was a reduction in income coming from Google AdSense for the month of December. This really isn’t that surprising to me and happens every year because of the holidays, but it always makes me nervous when it happens. It made me especially nervous this year because it was well known in the SEO community that there was an algorithm update on December 12 as well as an update on December 22 that had negative impacts on various websites. One of my websites was hit (Website 3) by the December 12th update and traffic has decreased by about 40%, but interestingly my revenue is still okay. More info about this in Website 3 update later in the report.
- Udemy Course Sales: I have no idea why the income for Udemy fell this month, but it was very low compared to what it usually is. While that is a little alarming to me, this is something that is 100% passive at this point and I’m really at their mercy. Hopefully the promotions that Udemy has in January will give me a spike in sales again.
- Thrive Themes Affiliate Income: I’m really not too sure how this happened, but there was a huge increase in affiliate income from Thrive Themes this month and almost none of that was my doing. My guess is that the company put some significant effort into marketing during holidays and I was able to be a beneficiary of that. As I’ve said a number of times, I absolutely love their products and it’s probably saved me thousands of dollars by be able to change the design of my website without having to hire a developer to do so.
This Month’s Expense Outliers
Similar to the income I make every month, there are certain expenses that I consider “fixed”. As I did in the income area, I’m only going to discuss the outliers or new items added as expenses.
I mentioned last month how I was going to make a very concerted effort to keep my costs down because my wife and I are budgeting much more closely now that we’re going to have a mortgage. While I didn’t stay as low as I wanted to, I am happy to see that I was able to cut back on my expenses this month and feel that in January I’ll be able to do so even further.
Because of this new strategy, I don’t know that there will be too many expense outliers moving forward. I’m trying really hard to plan every single dollar prior to the month beginning and now that I have a team in place, it’s gotten a lot easier to do this.
All that said, there was one item that I think is worth discussing this month:
- Jungle Scout: This was a rather costly addition, but something that’s absolutely a requirement considering my current situation.
For those that don’t know, Jungle Scout is the go-to resource for people that are looking to create products to sell on Amazon. While I’m not looking to do this in the next 30 days, it’s definitely something that I need to do in 2018 in order to achieve my revenue goals and grow a business outside of Google itself. Although this was an expensive investment, it enabled me to purchase the Google Chrome plug-in as well as a membership to the service for $40 per month.
I don’t think that I’ll hold onto the membership monthly as I will only need the software for a few months out of the year, but I got it now because I wanted to spend time doing a lot of research. And let me say, so far I’m very happy with the purchase.
I found a great opportunity for a product that relates very closely with Website 5 and I have some awesome plans which I think will allow me to really get big with this. If you’re curious what those plans are, you can learn more in the CK project update later in the report.
Website 1 Update: Another uneventful month for Website 1. While I made a pretty significant amount of income, again, I did virtually nothing for this website in December.
All that I have now is one writer who creates three blog articles per week, and one editor who edits those articles and posts them for me.
One thing that did change things a little bit in December was that my editor had a baby and she asked for maternity leave. Of course, I was more than happy to give her the time off and she sent me a picture of her beautiful little baby and she’s enjoying her time with her newborn.
She should be back on in a week or two and at that point, this will continue to be a completely passive income source.
Consulting Update: No consulting agreements in December. If you’re interested in my consulting services, shoot me an email. Note: My consulting is currently $175 USD/hr.
Udemy Update: As I mentioned above, my Udemy income did drop this month but I really can’t complain as I don’t do anything for this income at all at this point. The only reason for the drop that I can think of is that Udemy didn’t promote my course as well as they have in the past, but hopefully it picks up in January.
OneHourProfessor.com Website Update: I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the additional income from this channel in December. About 80% of the income from this website comes from my affiliate partnership with Thrive Themes, so it got me thinking that I really need to create some review-type posts for other software that I use. I’m hoping that if I do, I’ll be able to make a couple more hundred dollars from this website each month and who knows, maybe eventually I’ll be able to make $1000 monthly from affiliate partnerships.
Oh, and by the way, if you want my free course about building an authority website, you can get it here. Great time to get it with the new year, hopefully it gets you to take some action.
Website 3 Update: Without a doubt, this has been the most challenging and confusing website that I have in my portfolio. This website has now been penalized a second time by Google and I honestly don’t know why.
I was previously penalized by Google and implemented a fix that I thought would help the website recover. That did happen, but now it got hit….again.
Here’s a snapshot to show you exactly what I mean. The yellow highlights are where I was penalized.
As you can see from the screenshot, there was a penalty given to the website in late March and it took me about a month to figure out how to fix it. I then found a fix and implemented it and although there is some seasonality here, you can see that overall it started to increase in traffic until December.
On December 12th there was an algorithm update and the traffic decreased by about 40% and it hasn’t made a comeback since.
At this point, I have a pretty well outsourced link building campaign going with this website and I’ve already started to see some success, so I’ll probably just leave it alone and do that for a few months and hope that Google lifts the penalty as I honestly don’t think it’s warranted in the first place.
Hopefully they do. If that doesn’t happen, I may consider selling this website to fund my CK physical product business.
Here are some stats for the website:
It was nice to see the increase in referring domains in December and although the page views fell a little bit as did the earnings, I haven’t given up on this website yet.
It’s funny to me because I always read updates about different Google algorithm changes and people always hypothesize what the problem is, but this particular website doesn’t fit into one of those theories. I also don’t think it’s because of competition, I just think that Google targeted this website because it targeted it previously.
But it’s okay, I’m going to continue to link build and hopefully in January I can announce that it’s bounced back naturally. We’ll see, because I’m out of ideas otherwise.
Authority Website Website 4 Update:
Yet again Website 4 has surpassed my expectations.
I was really hoping that one day I’d be able to hit $500 per month with this website, and that happened in December. That said, this is an Amazon affiliate website and I know that there’s always an increase in sales during the holiday season, so it’ll be interesting to see where the site settles in both January and February.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
Website 5 Update: This website is starting to kill it.
Sure, making just over $100 isn’t a big deal, but the amount of traffic definitely is.
So far, the growth rate of this website has been over 100% traffic increases each month since I’ve started link building. I know that this trend won’t continue forever, but I’m really hopeful that it will go for another month or two.
According to the table below, which is pulled directly from my Google Search Console, you’ll see an increase of referring domains by 70.
The truth though is that this is just Google catching up from last month and in December I was actually able to get 72 more links to this website.
As of now, the total number of domains with backlinks pointing to the website are about 160 (even though Google Search Console only knows about 129). Even more exciting is that my domain authority in Ahrefs is now reading 54, which is a vanity number….but cool to me because I’ve never gone above 51 before.
I’m really excited to see what happens when Google gives me full credit for all of the links that the website has.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
As exciting as these traffic numbers are and the link building tactics that I’ve used, there’s something with Website 5 that I’m much more excited about and that’s what I mentioned earlier in the physical product business.
When I selected Website 5 niche, I knew that there was potential to create physical products if the website goes well.
Obviously, the website still has a lot of work to go and I’m not there yet, but there are some really positive early signs of momentum here and I’m definitely going to try to capitalize on it.
So, here’s the plan on how I’m going to launch a physical product business in 2018 using Website 5 to really boost my product sales.
The idea is that I’ll create a blog post on my own website to rank for a highly trafficked term around a specific product.
For example, I’m going to use “Fly Swatters” to explain what I mean.
Let say that you are a former pest specialist and created a website about pest removal. You create a bunch of content explaining to people how they can get rid of different insects and other critters, but at some point you have to monetize that website.
One of the best ways to monetize the websites, which is exactly what I did with Website 4, is to create review posts.
A review posts is nothing more than a round-up of different products that you research to determine which one is the best.
So, with our example, let’s say that you wanted to include a review about the best fly swatters on the market.
You go to Amazon, find the top 5 to 10 of the top selling flyswatter’s out there and then write up a review that compares all of the products together and choose the best one.
From there, you end up ranking in Google for the term “Best Fly Swatters”.
This means that any time anybody goes into Google and searches “Best Fly Swatters”, you’re the #1 result and your post gets a lot of visits because of it.
Now, every time that somebody takes a recommendation and purchases a flyswatter that you recommend, you make a small commission from Amazon somewhere in the range of 5% to 10%.
This is where most people stop.
They’re happy with the 5% to 10% commission that they get from Amazon and move on to the next product to review.
But with Website 5, I’m doing something much more significant.
First off, the reviews that I’m going to create are going to be as high of quality as I can possibly make them.
My plan is to:
- Buy the top five products
- Create a video review of each product and show how good it really is
- Post all of those videos to YouTube
- Embed all of those videos on my review blog post
- Have a writer of mine review each of the videos and write something complementary that gives similar feedback in text format.
- Gather additional thoughts from people and include that as well
This should create a better review type of post than 100% of my competitors.
At that point I’m hopeful that my review will end up getting ranked in Google and once that happens, I can move on to phase two of the project.
And this is where the physical products come into play.
For product reviews that rank well in Google, I’m going to find a way to create an actual physical product of my own and put it at the top of the list.
While I’m not 100% certain that work, I think that many people would be willing to listen to my opinion and purchase the product based on the fact that I spent hundreds of dollars on the alternatives and addressed all of their shortcomings in my own product.
It’s a bit risky, but I think if I’m able to do that and get ranked in Google as well as find a way to rank highly on Amazon, the sky is the limit.
For the first product that I’m looking at, it looks like the sales volume is right around 1,000 units per month. If I’m able to sell that and make my target of $10 per sale after all fees, that’s going to be a pretty sweet $10,000 check every month.
As of now this is just napkin math and hopefully I can make it happen, but only time will tell.
Every month, I’m going to reflect back and tell you a few different lessons that I’ve learned. My hope is that the lessons each month will be a cautionary tale for you that makes it so that you don’t make the dumb mistakes that I do along the way.
- Create a System for Link Building: Considering I was able to get another 90 links this month, I’m pretty confident in saying that my link building is successful. The reason that it’s successful is because I have a system in place which allows me to find email targets, plug them in, and apply templates to them. From there the different systems that I use do all the outreach for me and all I have to do is reply to emails.
- Don’t be Scared to Dream Big: While I was writing this income report, I felt a little awkward about the numbers that I was typing in. Who am I to strive to make $15,000 per month and why do I think I deserve it? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me now is that I focus on making big goals and trying to achieve them. The worst thing that could happen is that I’m going to fail and even though I technically failed at my one main goal in 2017, as you saw from this income report, it was a pretty awesome failure to have. When you dream big, even if you fail but come close to your goal, you tend to come out on top.
- Research, research, research: I’m focused big time right now on learning more about creating a successful product on Amazon. I think one of the things that differentiates me from other people in the online marketing space is that when I have something I want to learn, I dive in as deep as I can into the subject for weeks. Not to say no one else does it, but I make this my sole focus for a significant amount of time until I’m comfortable with the topic. That said, I recommend before you start anything, you do the same. Preparation is a huge part of success.
Did I Meet my Goals for December?
Build 31 Links (SUCCESS)
In December I was apprehensive to make any goals for link building because of the holidays and how many people would be traveling. Upon review, that was a pretty silly mistake on my part.
Between Website 5 getting 70 backlinks and Website 3 getting 20 backlinks, I was able to hit 90 total back links for the month of December. I’m astonished that I was able to hit this number and I figure that things are definitely going to slow down in January, but hopefully not!
Plan Next Year Goals and Revisit 2017 goals (SUCCESS)
This goal was a gimme for the month but it’s something that I wanted to make sure that I did. Now that I’ve gone through this income report and written everything down, I have something to strive for in the year of 2018.
I do want to say one thing before I move on to my January goals. Without writing these income reports every single month, I don’t think that I’d have the same focus that I do and my business wouldn’t be reviewed as often as it should be.
That said, I hope that you find this report helpful, but also realize that if you create your own website or online business you should consider writing something up like this for yourself.
Maybe you don’t even publish it on your blog, but you should have it there so that you review the numbers every month and every year to see how far you’ve really come.
Goals for January
Build 60 Links
Because I really don’t think I’ll be able to continually build 90+ back links every month, I’m going to make a realistic goal of creating 60 back links in the month of January. On average, this is two links per day and although it won’t be easy, I do think that this is possible.
Write a Review About Thrive Architect
It’s been too long that I’ve been putting this review off. While I have a lot of content created around Thrive Themes and have written many reviews for Thrive products, the one that I’ve been putting off is Thrive architect because frankly, it wasn’t a great product when they put it out. Because of this, I wasn’t comfortable recommending it to anybody and wanted them to get rid of all the bugs before I did a proper review. Now that I’ve used it across multiple websites and really like the tool, I’m willing to create a full-on review now.
Launch a Link Building Campaign for Website 1UB
I’m not going to get into the details about who the targets are for this link building campaign or exactly what my strategy is, but basically, I’m trying to rank a few keywords higher in the search engines than they already are and one of the best ways to do that is to build links to specific pages.
In the month of January, I intend on completing this link building campaign and hopefully getting a number of back links to a few pages that will increase my SEO Rankings.
What are your goals for the month? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi Ron, first of all, happy new year to you and your wife!
Very good writeup again – I really enjoy reading your reports and learn a lot from them.
One question I have: In your plans for the CK website you write:”Have a writer of mine review each of the videos and write something complementary that gives similar feedback in text format.”
I do not understand this. Does it mean you first write a review post on your site, including the videos from youtube, then have your writer write a similar post summarizing/reviewing your videos on your (the same) site?. I was am a little confused, so some further info on if this is right and what this should trigger is much appreciated.
About your Udemy courses: your wrote that you do not sell enough and are at their mercy. Couln’t you build links from the OHP site to these courses? A link from these income reports would not be really relevant (my guess as I do not know oyur product), but it would help your readers to find your courses and buy them.
Thanks again for your more than 5,800 words of wisdom this month 🙂
Hey T! Thanks for the comment, glad to hear your enjoy them.
In terms of the CK website posts, what I would do is record videos, then have the writer review those videos and write everything up in a blog post for me (same post, just have text and videos included) and then post it all. The idea is to gain the positives of both video and text for these review posts.
In terms of Udemy, external links probably wouldn’t help that much. I think most of the sales are done within the Udemy platform itself, not from Google organic traffic. I could be wrong, but that’s what I believe.
Hey Ron, I didn’t think about directing google traffic to Udemy but giving your vistors of the OHP site a chance to discover and buy your courses on Udemy. At least I haven’t seen any links from this site to these courses (could be I missed them)
Ahhhh, I see what you mean Tom. I haven’t done this because I’m trying to move away from Udemy as a whole when creating courses, so I’d rather let them do their thing and then I can separately sell courses here.
Ron, what are you using or planning to use when hosting courses on your own? I too have been looking at ways I could self-host outside of Udemy. I’m really liking Moodle at this point, but still have some configuration to work through before my own platform is ready to go. Moodle seems to offer a lot of good options for the types of courses I’m putting together. Lots of test and quiz options, blogging (not sold on that feature yet), etc.
I personally used Thinkific and email to deliver my courses. The actual full course is on Thinkific and you can use it for free, I’m a fan. Moodle is a solid soltion though, used it when at my last company.
I’ll have to do some research into Thinkific, I’ve never heard of them before. Appreciate the info.