February wasn’t quite as good as January, but it’s still my second-best month ever and I’m really happy from an earnings perspective with all things considered.
This month was pretty lucrative, but I don’t feel good about my business while I’m writing this.
This isn’t because the lack of money, but more about the lack of progress. February was quite a struggle because I’ve been so distracted working on the house my wife and I bought that I’ve essentially been ignoring my business.
Further, though my online business is comfortably stable, it’s not progressing and that’s something I very much dislike. I blame this on a number of things.
First, my developer has been very slow lately. Like clockwork, after a few months of doing great work, my developer has been very slow to complete work I have assigned.
This has happened to me so many times I’ve lost count, but this time I was smart enough to keep a contract with my old developer who did something similar at one point. I think the reason this happens is because I’m not a primary client and they get busy with other projects that are larger.
So, moving forward, I’ll always have 2-3 quality developers under contract using Upwork and whenever I have work, I am going to ask them their availability prior to assigning anything. This way, the progress of my business doesn’t suffer.
Second, the house we’ve bought has become very distracting. We are basically doing a full renovation for the house, so there is always something to do. I spent a good two weeks of the month focused on home projects until the end of this week when my wife and I had a talk.
To help manage this, and not let our businesses suffer (we both work from home), we’ve decided we can only discuss and work on house projects on weekday nights and the weekends. This way, it reduces our chances of being distracted.
Third, my websites refuse to grow further. Both CK and Website 3 are far enough along now that they should be ranking for more terms when I create new blog posts, but they aren’t.
I really don’t know why or what the problem is, but I’m a bit perplexed as to what I need to do. Website 3 has shown some progression, but Website 5 has been so frustratingly stagnant it’s got me completely clueless.
I’ve even talked to some others who are pretty good at this online business stuff and they are also confused by its lack of progress. I’ve done a lot of things to try to get some traction with Website 5 and though it makes a little money, it’s not ranking for anything that will let it really make significant income.
That all said, I’ll just have to continue pushing forward but I wanted to share this with you because although most people would be jumping for joy at this month’s earnings, I wanted to give you a glimpse into my own thought process. This just goes to show that once you have “made it”, there are still things that can get you down and keep you up at night.
I know I could just be happy with what I have and stop trying so hard, but any lack of progress makes me nervous because I always feel like I have other people working twice as hard to catch up to me.
I’ve also realized that I’m not really motivated by money, I’m motivated by growth and progress. This lack of progress is killing me and becoming very frustrating, I’m hoping March will yield some better results.
This month my total income after expenses was $16,367.12 which comes out to $584.54 per day.
Personal Life Update
Not a whole lot is new on a personal level other than my wife and I rehabbing our house.
In total, it looks like we’ll be sinking somewhere between 30-40k for the house and that’s after the 20% down-payment we gave.
It’s been an eye-opening experience to handle all of the house repairs we have. I’ve come to find out a few things;
I’m not as handy as I thought I was. Sure, I can do some of the basics, but a lot of the house work is stuff I simply don’t feel comfortable enough doing.
Contractors are (generally) very unreliable. They rarely show up on time and it’s not uncommon for them to push an appointment off for a few days or even a week. It’s quite shocking to me and honestly, made me briefly consider becoming a general contractor with a customer centric focus. Or, at the very least, create some type of website/portal to solve this problem. But I digress, it’s really not worth the effort and I’m going to refrain from starting anything new. But if anyone out there wants to start a much needed service, do this.
You can very easily pour ridiculous amounts of money into home improvements. This wasn’t so much of a surprise, but there is something stressful about putting roughly 25k into new hardwood flooring throughout a home…and still needed another good chunk of change to finish things up.
As difficult and stressful as it has been, I know it’ll be worth it in the end.
We purchased the house for 20k under the market value so I know that if we ever sold this house after the renovation, we would make money.
It’s all good, I just wanted to vent a little bit to anyone else who can relate.
And before I begin on the actual report, If you’d like to begin a similar journey as myself and try to create a passive income business, I recommend you read this write-up I did.
It should help educate you before you begin to move forward.
Before I dive too deeply into 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|
|Aweber Email Platform||$20.70||$20.70|
|Udemy Course Sales||$28.75||$28.75|
|ShutterstoWebsite 5 Images||$30.32||$30.32|
|Website 4 FBA Merchandise Sales||$71.87||$71.87|
|Partners and Affiliates Revenue|
|Website 5 Partners and Affiliates||$49.48||$49.48|
|Website 4 Partners and Affiliates||$307.02||$307.02|
|Website 3 Partners and Affiliates||$558.52||$558.52|
|Website 1 Partners and Affiliates||$7,428.16||$7,428.16|
|Personal VLOG Channel||$11.99||$11.99|
|OHP YouTube Channel||$53.64||$53.64|
|Website 3 Media.net Ad Revenue||$13.54||$13.54|
|Website 4 Media.net Ad Revenue||$67.37||$67.37|
|Website 1 Media.net Ad Revenue||$152.70||$152.70|
|Google Adsense Revenue|
|OHP Adsense Revenue||$2.76||$2.76|
|Website 2 Adsense Revenue||$15.68||$15.68|
|Website 4 Adsense Revenue||$201.68||$201.68|
|Website 5 Adsense Revenue||$242.24||$242.24|
|Website 3 Adsense Revenue||$2,227.92||$2,227.92|
|Website 1 Adsense Revenue||$8,075.14||$8,075.14|
|Intuit Quick Books||$10.00||-$10.00|
|Adobe Photoshop Account||$10.61||-$10.61|
|Mailshake Email Software||$19.00||-$19.00|
|Google Business Drive Storage and Apps||$32.09||-$32.09|
|Freelance Labor Expenses|
|Freelance Research, Editing, and Misc. Labor||$1,596.87||-$1,596.87|
|Revenue By Channel||Website 1||Website 3||OHP Website||Website 4||Website 2||Website 5||Consulting||Udemy||YouTube|
|January 2018||$7993.31 ||$467.71 ||$757.59 ||$718.04 ||$14.26 ||$486.99 ||$0||$113.95 ||$67.06
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 two items that jumped out to me this month:
- Short Month: February is the shortest month of the year and with it always come a feeling of being uneasy with my income reports. On paper, it looks as if every single one of my businesses made less money than the prior month and while this is technically true, the problem is that it’s a shorter month so there were three days of earnings that never happened.
- Website 1ub Partners and Affiliates: There was a huge increase with one of my affiliates to the tune of about $1400. This is because of a website redesign and I anticipate this will continue to rise and stabilize over the coming months. It’s nice because this is actually splitting my main revenue between two sources as opposed to only relying on Google Adsense for the bulk of my income.
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.
There were two items that jumped out to me this month:
- Freelance Writing: Though I still had a significant amount of writing done in February, the overall cost was down.
- Freelance Development: Though there were still some development projects to complete in February, development costs were down significantly as well.
Website 1 Update: I don’t have a whole lot to say about this website right now. As mentioned above, I’ve found a way to diversify the main revenue across two different sources and this is much better than simply relying on Google Adsense.
Aside from that, I have a new database we’re creating on the website that should span about 50 pages with quite a bit of content. My hope is that all 50 of these pages rank and I’ll be able to bring an even more traffic to the website.
Other than that, this website is running on autopilot with three blog posts a week and still doing very well.
One little update that I’m happy to give is that the competitor who was making me nervous the last few months has now fallen quite a bit on search engine rankings and though he still gets some Google love, the threat of his website seems to have subsided for now.
Consulting Update: It’s almost comical how this one turned out.
Though I signed up a new consulting client in the beginning of the year, they then change their minds and canceled it at the end of February. This wasn’t because of my performance, but rather it was because the organization is using different lead sources.
I’m really not upset about it, but it just goes to show how unreliable consulting can be at times. If I really needed that money, I’d be in a bad place right now.
Udemy Update: I no longer focus on Udemy and though it still gives me some income, it’s all passive.
OHP Website Update: I no longer focus on this website outside of these income reports.
Website 3 Update: Website 3 continues to perform at a decent rate, but I’d really like to get more money out of it soon. It’s not that it doesn’t make anything, but I really feel like there’s more potential to this website than any of the others that I own at this point.
The reason is because it’s an industry that I’ve already been successful at and the search volumes are significantly higher for this niche.
The problem though is that along with that higher search volume, comes higher competition.
I’m really not doing too bad here, but I feel like I could be doing a better. As of now my focus on this website is to get deep back links by guest posting, as well as some database back links.
I’ve been relatively successful in getting new deep backlinks for this website to the particular pages that I want, but it’s just not enough to push me ahead of competitors.
I think the competition is too strong and though it isn’t exactly where I want yet, I think I need to just continue to build back links. Beyond that, I’m also going to do a little bit of a site redesign and I think that this will yield some higher earnings.
Here’s a graph of the last 12 months of progress.
- Per thousand visitors I was able to make roughly the same as last month.
- Traffic decreased by 12%, but it was a short month so it probably would have maintained if this was a full month.
Website 4 Update: This was the worst month for Website 4 that I’ve had in the last year. I’m not 100% sure why this is, it just seems like my affiliate articles haven’t been converting as well as they use to. Traffic hasn’t fallen, so I can only blame conversion.
I did find that my social media account wasn’t properly posting links to my large Facebook group associated with this website on autopilot, so it’s possible that this is why my affiliate commissions dropped a bit
I really don’t have a plan to fix anything with this website at the moment. I feel that my time is better spent on my other websites.
However, I do still intend on creating a product for this niche because I ordered one of my competitors’ products and it’s not all that complicated and has a pretty high price. I think there is some money to be made, and if I’m able to do this I could easily bring in extra $1000-$2000 a month for this website.
Here are my statistics for this website in the last 12 months:
- Social media seems to really matter for this website. The only way that I can be really successful is by incorporating my social media group and I intend on making sure that gets done a lot this month.
Website 5 Update: Of all the websites I’ve ever created, this one is by far the most difficult and frustrating. I’m doing everything I know to try to increase the income of this website.
To be quite honest, this website seems like an anomaly.
My domain rating currently stands at 67 oh Ahrefs (the highest of any website property I own) and there is absolutely no love being given by Google. Sure, I do get a decent amount of traffic, but that’s all for one of the databases I created and isn’t a very good way to monetize the website.
My writer has created seven different review/affiliate articles and not a single one of them is ranking. These are extremely low competition keywords and straight up, it just doesn’t make sense.
I’d be willing to bet that I could sell the site for a pretty hefty sum based on the DA and amount of links acquired alone. But that isn’t the goal here. The goal with this website is to create a very popular website and then leverage the audience to purchase Amazon FBA products.
The only thing I can think of doing to make this website even better is to start really focusing on high domain authority backlinks. The content on this website, I believe, is the best that I’ve ever produced.
My writer is a topic expert and have a very highly credentialed editor verifying all the information.
This is been incredibly frustrating for me because my competitors don’t have content nearly as good as mine, but they continue to rank day in and day out.
For those of you that are struggling with a website and working your butt off, just know that you aren’t alone. Though I’ve been pretty successful in this Internet marketing stuff, there are times when a website completely perplexes me and this is one of those cases.
I’m at a loss of words and have no idea what the best thing is to do next. But, whenever this happens, I just focus on link building and things seem to work themselves out. So, that’s my plan here as well.
My focus will be skyscraper link building and some continued database link building that’s pretty passive at this point.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
- Traffic was down this month, but we didn’t have a full month and I think if we did, I probably would have been about the same. This is good because January was my highest traffic month, so as long as traffic keeps increasing I’ll be happy.
- When things get rough, just back link.
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.
- Don’t Lose Patience: I wouldn’t say this is something I’ve learned this month, but it’s something I have to remind myself of. It’s very easy to lose patience when you’re working really hard in a website and making no progress. Website 5 is really testing my patience and I’m finding it to be incredibly difficult to rank for what I’m trying to. But I need to remember that patience is the key with this industry, and as long as I keep working, eventually something good is going to happen. I’m still betting big on this website and in 2019 I’m determined to make it really successful.
- Diversifying Feels Great: Because of a website redesign on Website 1, my income is split pretty evenly between my two biggest sources almost 50-50. This wasn’t even on purpose, but I can tell you that it feels really nice to know that if one of my sources of income falls, the other will still be there.
- Outsourcing Keeps You Productive When Life Gets Busy: As I said, I’ve been incredibly busy lately with my house and though it’s taking a ton of time away from everything else that I’m doing, I’m still able to be very productive. The reason isn’t because of the work that I’m doing, but the work that my team is doing. I spend quite a bit on outsourcing every month and frankly, the more outsourcing I do the faster I seem to grow.
Did I Meet my Goals for February?
Revise Website 3 (FAIL)
I can’t take the blame for this one entirely. My developer has been very slow lately and has been impeding my progress. So much so, that I’m now only going to be working with a few developers of the time to make sure everything gets done in a timely manner.
Launch PI Officially (FAIL)
See above. I wasn’t able to get this done because my developer hasn’t been working at full capacity.
Revise Website 1 Main Keyword Page (FAIL)
I was able to research all the information I needed to make this page better, and I’ve got specs sitting on my desk, but I need to assign them to my other developer. If you notice a trend, all three of my failures were because my developer this month and that simply can’t happen. I’ve informed him of this and though he was apologetic, I can’t possibly let his issues slow down my business.
What Are my Goals for March?
Complete all Development Projects
There are currently two development projects that I’ve already assigned and one other one pending. I don’t necessarily think that these projects are very difficult, but I do need developers to step in to complete the work and I will have them get it all finalized by the end of the month.
Launch PI Officially
I am about 95% of the way completed with the development of this website and though my developer slowed me down in February, I’m confident it will get done in March and I can launch it. I have to load about 80 articles into the website prior to launch, but that’s what I have a virtual assistant for.
Revise Website 1 Main Keyword Page
This keyword page will be built and launched in March. I’m going to be leaning heavily on my virtual assistant to complete all of her work which is probably a couple hundred hours, but I think she can do it.
Outsource Skyscraper Link Building Process at Scale
I’ve read a lot of great things about skyscraper link building recently and it seems to be a pretty good tactic that I need to focus on. I have the writer and editor in place, so this month I’m going to find a way to outsource the research process of this and try to really scale. We’ll see how it goes, but I think it could do really well if I get the process figured out.
What are your goals for the month? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!
Ron, you didn’t mention anything about this and I just recently learned about it myself, but have you done any research on your Good Page Speed rank? Google started using page speed as a ranking factor and this could be a reason why your sites aren’t getting the exposure you expect. Do a search for Google Page Speed and you’ll find a site that will give you your page speed score and show you how fast (or slow) your site is. If you’re already aware of this, then disregard, have patience, and keep your head down. You’re the man and I hope to be at your level some day.
Thanks for the comment. I am aware of the pagespeed and though it isn’t perfect, I don’t think that’s the issue. I have a hunch of what the issue is, but I’m not confident in stating anything publicly yet. Though I will report back when I have some insight. Thanks for the comment, and you make sure you keep your head down and work too 🙂 I want you to be a success story.
Hi Ron, fantastic results again. Taking into account that you did so many not web-related things like preparing a home for you and your wife and also that February is always too short, you can see this as your best month ever.
I am pretty sure you will leave this earnings plateau upwards in a short time.
All the best and thanks again for the good monthly summary – I always take some learnings from them.
Thanks for the kind words, Tom! Hopefully I can keep growing 🙂