The shortest month of the year is now behind us and I am really happy with how well this year has gone so far. Last year at the end of February my business income was $3636.33, but this year it’s at $7102.40. That’s an increase of about 95% year over year and an awesome trend that I hope I can follow each year moving forward.
This month I also went to Vegas for my dad’s 60th birthday. This took about 6 working days off the table and I still achieved some great results. I had a lot of fun there, but I think the biggest highlight I had was a Chris Farley Impersonator. You can see him in action below:
— Ron Stefanski (@RStefanski) March 3, 2017
Considering the fact that it was a short month and that I took a week off, this month was very good and I’m very excited about what the future will hold for my online businesses.
Before I begin 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.
How did the income report turn out this month?
|PRODUCT OR SERVICE||REVENUE||EXPENSES||NET INCOME|
|Website 1 Amazon Affiliate Sales||$1.08||$1.08|
|ShuttlestoWebsite 5 Images||$5.80||$5.80|
|Aweber Email Platform||$11.40||$11.40|
|Website 2 Crash Course Ebook||$11.99||$11.99|
|OHP Course Sales||$78.00||$78.00|
|Udemy Course Sales||$165.43||$165.43|
|Website 1 Partnerships||$193.00||$193.00|
|THQ Indeed.com Revenue||$47.51||$47.51|
|Website 1UB Indeed.com Revenue||$256.68||$256.68|
|Website 1UB Media.net Ad Revenue||$297.48||$297.48|
|OneHourProfessor.com Google Adsense Ad Revenue||$1.19||$1.19|
|TranscriptionJobsHQ.com Google Adsense Revenue||$20.91||$20.91|
|Authority Website - THQ Google Adsense Ad Revenue||$112.97||$112.97|
|Website 1 Google Adsense Ad Revenue||$2944.07||$3,080.53|
|Google Drive Storage||$2.09||-$2.09|
|Adobe Photoshop Account||$10.61||-$10.61|
|Gmass Email Software||$12.95||-$12.95|
|Intuit Quick Books||$16.99||-$16.99|
|Fiverr Logo Design||$37.75||-$37.75|
|App Sumo Serpstat||$39.00||$39.00|
|Meet Edgar Social Media Platform||$49.00||-$49.00|
|ConvertKit Email Software||$74.50||-$74.50|
|Revenue By Channel||Website 1||Udemy||OHP Website||Consulting||Website 2||YouTube||Authority Website - THQ|
Discussing 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’m only going to discuss the items that have increased or decreased significantly.
There were three line items that jumped out to me this month:
- Lynda.com Affiliate Sales: To be completely honest, I’m not really 100% sure where these affiliate sales came from. I think it is from Website 1, but it’s also possible that it came from one of my new authority websites. I corrected the issue so that I can assign attribution more clearly in the future, but I’m hopeful that it’s the new authority website. If it is, I definitely found a new form of income for that website that I wasn’t expecting. We’ll see if this is repeated next month and then I’ll go from there.
- OHP Course Sales: I was pleasantly surprised to see that I made two sales this month of my flagship course about creating a successful online business. This is nothing more than luck on my part as I didn’t change my approach to getting customers. I have no plans to focus on my courses still, but this was a nice surprise.
- Thrive Themes: I’ve said it time and time again, but I absolutely love this product/software. In February, they released Thrive Quiz Builder (You can find the tutorial here). This is an amazing plugin that allows you to drive email signups by having people take a quiz and I feel like this strategy has a lot of potential. Anyway, the cool thing about this new plugin is that I was one of the first to write about it which ended up increasing my affiliate income this month.
Discussing This Month’s Expense Outliers
Similar to the income I make every month, there are certain expenses that I consider “fixed”. With that being said, as I did in the income area, I’m only going to discuss the outliers or new items added as expenses.
There are three line items that I think are worth discussing this month:
Legal Shield: This last month I spent a lot of time and money properly incorporating my business into a single-member LLC. I didn’t include these expenses (which totaled around $1200) into my income report because it would have thrown everything off when comparing this month to other months.
That being said, one of the biggest things I struggled with was figuring out how to properly create an LLC and transition my websites to be covered under the LLC.
I was stressing about getting a lawyer when a good friend of mine explained how one of my favorite new services works called Legal Shield.
Long story short, this service allows you access to a legitimate local lawyer for a fraction of the typical cost. As of now, I am paying $29.00 per month for this service and can call them as many times as I’d like throughout the month with legal questions. The law firm I am in contact with has been around for over 10 years and is extremely good at what they do.
Further, they will represent me in the case that I have to go to court for a lawsuit and will also write legal letters on my behalf if I need it. I personally think this service is a godsend for online entrepreneurs with legal questions and will be posting more about it soon once I’ve worked with them for a few weeks.
As of now though, my initial impressions are excellent and after getting some questions answered about setting up my LLC, I am confident this is an awesome service.
App Sumo Serpstat: This was a one-time cost I incurred for buying lifetime access to an SEO analysis tool called Serpstat. It was a deal on App Sumo and though I know it isn’t as good as other tools out there (Like Ahrefs), you never know how much it will grow in the future and if it will become the market leader. Plus, Ahrefs is $99/month and this one was a one-time fee of $49 for lifetime access, so that’s hard to beat.
Fiverr: The last expense outlier this month was for a logo designed on Fiverr. I’ve partnered with a longtime friend to create a news website in a specific niche and this is where these costs came from. This new business is a 50/50 split for expenses and income. She will handle more of the day-to-day work and we will then strategize together for the larger decisions of the business.
Website 1 Update: Okay so I FINALLY started to optimize Website 1 for extra revenue in February, but then I stopped. The reason is that I’m trying to use Ezoic to optimize earnings and have had a heck of a time getting it all hooked up. I spoke with their customer support and think I finally have it figured out, but I have refrained from making any changes to my website because it could potentially bring the site down for a small amount of time. I really think I can get this done in March, so I’ll do my best to make that happen. Other than that, all I do for this website is publish 3 articles per week.
Consulting Update: I had a little bit of consulting this month. It wasn’t much, just a one hour session with a new client and 15 minutes with an old client. I’m excited about the new client because he has a pretty solid website with lots of traffic, he’s just trying to optimize for earnings and after our first call he was able to very quickly see a jump of about 30% in Adsense revenue based on my recommendations. He has a good plan moving forward based on our discussion and he may get more consulting hours in the future.
Udemy Update: Udemy earnings were down this month and my thought is “meh”. I personally am not a huge fan of selling my courses at a discount and don’t really want to try to convince people to buy courses any longer, so I guess I should be happy I got anything from this platform.
OneHourProfessor.com Website Update: Two courses were sold this month and an increase in Thrive Themes sales made this a great month for the OHP website. I have plans to do some more review-type posts in the future for a few new products I’ve grown to love that will hopefully increase my overall earnings, but that will take some time to complete.
Authority Website THQ Update: The THQ Authority Website is really starting to show some promise and although the income isn’t there yet, I’m really pumped about what I’m seeing. As I mentioned in my previous income reports, right now the focus is on traffic/links and THQ is growing significantly in that regard.
As of now, I’m looking at around 30,000 visits per month which, if this website is similar to Website 1UB, means around $1000/month in income. However, I will not be implementing ads for quite some time. For now, I am focused on building links instead and having no ads
My hope is by that time I’ll be hitting around 100,000 visits monthly, but only time will tell.
Here’s a breakdown of some key metrics for the THQ authority website:
There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:
- The sessions for the month increased by about 60% which is awesome considering I am adding very little new content. In fact, all that I add each week now is one article. The gains that I am seeing here are because of the links I am getting to the website and the domain authority increase which is increasing my overall rankings in Google.
- Referring domains (backlinks) increased by 56% MoM and I’m thinking that I should be able to achieve this growth rate for the next few months as my link building campaign isn’t close to done yet.
- I said in February that I thought this website could yield income of $150+ and sure enough, I was able to make $160.48. This includes earnings from Indeed.com and Google Adsense, but as traffic rises we can expect these numbers to rise as well. I’m hoping in March to hit $200/month which would be amazing because I am not fully monetized yet.
Authority Website Website 4 Update:
I’m not going to lie, I’m beginning to get really worried about Website 4 . I have roughly 55 links from other websites (reciprocal mostly, but I’ve applied a nofollow tag) and I am seeing almost no movement in the search engines. The table below shows what Ahrefs is seeing, so maybe Google hasn’t seen all of the links yet.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
|Month||Sessions||Referring Domains||Earnings||Indexed Pages|
There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:
- Sessions decreased by 34% for the month. Obviously, this sucked but I guess it makes sense because I stopped my email outreach which was bringing some false traffic. However, I really expected a spike in traffic and am not seeing that yet at all.
- Referring domains (backlinks) increased by 50% MoM. The actual number of backlinks I have is 55, but Google may not see those yet.
I have two thoughts here as to what is happening.
First, is the idea of the “Google Sandbox”. This is something that many people swear by and basically says that in the first 3-6 months, nothing will happen to a website regardless of how hard you try. This is because Google effectively penalizes new websites to minimize your chanes to rank highly. I really haven’t bought into this theory before, but this website might change my mind.
Second, is the fact that all of the links I got were reciprocated. This means I linked to them first and then they linked back to me after I reached out to get a link. The important thing though is that I nofollow’ed all of the links, so technically it shouldn’t have been seen as a negative. We will see if that changes in the future, only time will tell.
For now, I am going to continue to publish four articles per week and just hope that Google starts to give me a little more love as the months go on. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to look into building more links as I refuse to abandon this project as I know it can do well.
GNG Website Update:
I am starting a news website in a specific niche and have a partner to help me with the project. As of now we are figuring out the design of the website and logo, but we’re also working on getting the correct writers in place so that we have plenty of content every single day.
There are a whole lot of moving parts and this is a website unlike anything else I’ve ever started. I’m sure I will learn a lot along the way, but as of now we plan on using Facebook, email marketing, and SEO to grow the website. We see the viral concept of social media being a huge part of how this website and with a consistent publishing schedule, we think we can grow pretty quickly. We are going to start with one post per day and then plan on expanding to two posts. Once we have the hang of it and have seen how the website can grow, we will be expanding to three or more posts on every day of the week.
Our monetization idea for now is Adsense, but it may change in the future. I will update as this happens to let you all know how it goes.
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.
- Google Sandbox Might be a Thing: For a very long time I rolled my eyes each time someone mentioned Google “Sandbox”. I considered it fictitious and really didn’t believe in it at all. However, now that I’m experiencing no movement on Website 4 , I’m starting to think it might be real. That being said, I really hope it’s not because it’ll put a huge damper on my future plans with websites as I have two in the queue for 2017 that are similar to Website 4. We’ll see what happens, but so far I don’t like the lack of progress.
- Adsense is a Good Business Model: Though my income doesn’t reflect the true worth of my THQ authority website, things are looking good for this website. Some of my key pages continue to increase in rank and I continue to get great backlinks which keep getting me more traffic. Many people say bad things about Adsense and say it’s a low form of monetizing a website, but I’m very happy with what I’ve seen so far and it’s extremely passive.
- Adding a SSL Certificate will increase traffic: In December, I changed Website 1UB URL so that it would be secure. In other words, instead of Website 6TP, I changed it to Website 6TPS. By doing this, it increased my traffic since then by 23%. I’m not saying that this will happen for every website out there, but it worked for me and I’ve heard positive things from other people as well.
March Projected Expenses
|Item||Fixed Costs||Variable Costs|
|Google Drive Storage||$2.09|
|Intuit Quick Books||$11.99|
|Gmass Email Software||$12.95|
|Meet Edgar Social Media||$49.00|
|Website 1UB Writer – 3 Posts Per Week||$168|
|Website 4 Writers – 4 Blog Posts Per Week||$120|
|THQ Writer – City Descriptions||$160|
|THQ Writer – 2 Blog Posts Per Week||$120|
|MONTHLY EXPECTED SPEND:||$1,360.64|
Did I Meet my Goals for February?
- Optimize Website 1ub earnings (FAIL)
I started it….then technical issues caused me to stop. I hate that I keep dragging my feet on this, but it’s a scary thing to make such a big change to a website that is essentially paying for your living expenses at the moment.
- Get 20 backlinks to THQ (PASS)
Even with the short month, I was able to get 25 backlinks. I’m psyched about this, it means I almost got one per day. How awesome is that?
- Autoresponders for THQ Website (FAIL)
I didn’t completely fail on this one, but I also didn’t succeed. I created a few autoresponders, but I wanted to really understand what my visitors need so I created an email that opens up a dialog. I’ve had a few discussions and now I know what’s needed, so I’m going to use that knowledge on my autoresponder moving forward.
Goals for March
- Optimize Website 1ub earnings
I HAVE to do this in March. Really….it just has to happen. I found out I can use Ezoic for free and serve Adsense ads through it, so I may set it up and start there.
- Get 30 backlinks to THQ
I figure I hit 25 links in 28 days, so let’s try to increase the links in March to 30 out of 31 days. It’s a stretch, but I’m going to try to reach out to more people per day. In February I would reach out to 50 people per day, in March I will try to reach out to 75 people per day. This should increase my responses and total links acquired.
- Autoresponders for THQ Website
Now that I understand what my visitors need for my THQ website, I can create an autoresponder that really helps them. One big part of this is that I need a writer to create some very specific content for the autoresponder and I also need to get my developer to help with this, but I think I may start the simple part of the autoresponder to get things moving.
What are your goals for the month? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!