March 2017 Monthly Income Report

I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am with the way that March turned out.

It was far and away my most profitable month.  Amazingly, I was able to exceed $10,000 in revenue and my BCC website has finally started to see traffic.

The increase in revenue was because my Felon website ended up going viral, again!  This time it was pretty astonishing to watch.  The website was shared over 125,000 times on Facebook in 48 hours and I didn’t do anything to make it happen.

It all started with a share on Facebook from a guy that ended up getting 724 more shares.

In fact, in a single day the website had over 40,000 visitors.  That’s pretty incredible considering that each month I usually get around 100,000 visitors.

But there’s a lot more that happened in March, both positive and negative, so read on to learn more.

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 SERVICEREVENUEEXPENSESNET INCOME
TOTALS$11,046.95$1,658.13$9,388.82
Shuttlestock Website Images$5.80$5.80
Aweber Email Platform$11.40$11.40
OHP Course Sales$39.00$39.00
YouTube Channel$59.11$59.11
Udemy Course Sales$137.29$137.29
Thrive Themes$294.75$294.75
THQ Indeed.com Revenue$75.02$75.02
JFFHUB Indeed.com Revenue$387.04$387.04
JobsForFelonsHub Partners and Affiliates$614.41$614.41
JFFHUB Media.net Ad Revenue$734.23$734.23
News Website - GNG Google Adsense Ad Revenue$3.22$3.22
OneHourProfessor.com Google Adsense Ad Revenue$4.17$4.17
TranscriptionJobsHQ.com Google Adsense Revenue$6.43$6.43
Authority Website - THQ Google Adsense Ad Revenue$149.11$149.11
JobsForFelonsHub.com Google Adsense Ad Revenue$8,525.97$8,525.97
Google Drive Storage$2.09-$2.09
Adobe Photoshop Account$10.61-$10.61
Namecheap$10.87-$10.87
Gmass Email Software$12.95-$12.95
Intuit Quick Books$16.99-$16.99
Facebook Advertising$37.58-$37.58
Legal Shield$39.00-$39.00
Meet Edgar Social Media Platform$49.00-$49.00
Email Hunter$49.00-$49.00
Comcast Internet$68.93-$68.93
App Sumo Deposit Photos$97.50$97.50
Freelance Website Maintenance and Development$127.75-$127.75
Siteground Hosting$138.33-$138.33
ConvertKit Email Software$149.00-$149.00
Freelance Research and Labor$219.20-$219.20
Freelance Writing$629.33-$629.33

Revenue By ChannelJFFHub WebsiteUdemyOHP WebsiteConsultingTJHQ WebsiteYouTubeAuthority Website - THQ
March 2017$9527.42$137.29$355.12$0$6.43$59.11$224.16
February 2017$3726.98$165.43$438.54$125$32.99$52.40$160.48
January 2017$4005.52$222.20$267.33$0$41.60$104.19
December 2016$3553.43$138.07$384.57$125.00$41.32$52.63
November 2016$3778.45$259.26$357.77$125.00$48.13$22.10
October 2016$3841.36$238.90$213.88$126.00$48.92$1.37
September 2016$3102.56$271.02$402.32$112.01$57.14
August 2016$3318.70$423.49$44.72$731.05$55.08
July 2016$3353.06$186.34$347.47$135.19$52.12
June 2016$3219.41$397.55$132.77$330.00$72.22
May 2016$4677.02$135.25$253.67$206.25$75.89
April 2016$5008.23$353.02$286.38$497.50$62.52
March 2016$2311.67$301.06$265.29$556.75$60.14
February 2016$2760.21$324.58$250.70$431.25$62.00
January 2016$233.00$400.97$117.58$1140.00$46.19
December 2015$121.30$17.15$76.00$1163.75$38.83
November 2015$138.11$245.68$39.00$1150.25$36.78
October 2015$107.72$49.50$89.54$760.50$40.65
September 2015$102.95$17.49$113.10$1112.32$27.46
August 2015$39.68$12.05$51.75$1463.75$25.09

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 only discuss the items that have increased or decreased significantly.

There were two line items that jumped out to me this month:

  • JFFHub PPC Network Earnings: As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, JobsForFelonsHub went viral and because of that both Google Adsense and Media.net revenue increased significantly.  Both of the PPC networks were about double of what they usually are in March.
  • Uber: One of the affiliates I have at JFFHub is Uber and it was cool to see when I randomly got paid $150 for referring a driver to the platform.  Uber doesn’t accept people with felonies, but my thought was that some folks who visit my website had misdemeanors or old felonies that wouldn’t show up on a background check and I was right.

Discussing 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 are two line items that I think are worth discussing this month:

  • App Sumo Deposit Photos: There was a nice deal on App Sumo where they were offering 100 photos for $50.  This resulted in myself and my business partner purchasing 200 photos for our news website that I’m sure we’ll use in the future.
  • Freelance Writing: Because of the GNG website, my freelance writing costs increased again.  I expect them to remain around this number moving forward as we are trying to set fixed costs for the business so we have a baseline profitability we need to hit to break even each month.
  • Facebook Advertising: As I mentioned in last month’s income report, a friend and I started a news website in a specific niche and one of the expenses that we will continue to incur with this website is Facebook ads.  In fact, I will be investing $5 per day on Facebook for at least a few months to grow our following.

Project Updates

JobsForFelonsHub.com Update:  Obviously, March was pretty awesome for JFFHub.  The website went viral on Facebook and that resulted in over 63,000 additional visits from social media.  In the month of March alone, there were just over 293,000 sessions total.  The screenshot below shows you exactly how much the traffic spiked when the site went viral.

Consulting Update:  I did absolutely no consulting in March and that’s completely fine.  I like talking shop with people but this isn’t a passive income source so it isn’t ideal for me anyway.  We’ll see if anyone asks for consulting in April, but it didn’t happen in March.  If you’d like to speak with me about consulting to help you with your project, please click here.  Please note that my consulting starts at $100 per hour.

Udemy Update: Udemy earnings dropped a little bit this month again and that’s fine with me.  I’m just hoping I can keep making a passive $100-$150 each month without much work.  I don’t think I’ll be making more courses with Udemy again, the fact that I work so hard on a course and have to sell it for a discount isn’t worth it to me.  I may make my own courses on One Hour Professor and sell those, but for now I’m just focused on new websites.

OneHourProfessor.com Website Update: I sold one course this month which isn’t bad considering I do nothing to make that happen.  I also want to write a few reviews on some products that I use for some extra affiliate income, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that anytime soon.

Authority Website THQ Update:  The THQ Authority Website was moving along really well in the beginning of March and reached over 1,500 visitors in a single day!

But then…..that changed.

I’m not sure if you’ve read about it, but Google launched a new update that people are calling “Fred”.

Long story short, this new algorithm is targeting the quality of pages on a website.

I’ve always been a “White Hat” SEO type of guy.  I’ve spent all of my time focused on doing the “right” things because I never wanted to try to test Google when it comes to organic traffic.  I’d rather do it right the first time knowing that I’ll never get penalized, versus doing something shady and hoping nothing bad happens.

Well, even with that mindset, I wasn’t immune to the wrath of Google.

As you can see from the screenshot above, I was officially penalized by Google’s algorithm.  I went from roughly 1,500 visitors per day to about half of that.

Truth be told, I’m still not 100% sure why this happened and that’s what really sucks.  I have no messages in my Google Search Console about being penalized and no one seems to know exactly what the last Google update targeted.

I researched quite a bit on what this Google Fred update was all about and this is one of the explanations that I trust;

“The update has now been around long enough for us to start piecing together the puzzle. The first factor is content. If your site’s rankings are heavily dependent on multiple long-tail keywords and the content that matches those keywords was written before 2014, you may have been affected. Basically, if Fred sees your content as invaluable, outdated, or too ad-heavy, you may see some rankings drop.”

After looking this over and multiple other resources, I’ve determined that the main traffic generating pages on my website just simply weren’t high enough quality.  I think the reason is because they are somewhat redundant and though I never spun content, there were a lot of similarities.  Because of that, I’m going to be revising roughly 10 pages on the website that account for roughly 80% of the traffic in hopes that I can recover from the penalty.

Here’s a breakdown of some key metrics for the THQ authority website:

Month Sessions Referring Domains Earnings
Mar-17 26530 100 $224.16
Feb-17 22559 69 $160.48
Jan-17 14033 44 $104.19
Dec-16 4833 23 $49.50
Nov-16 3098 15 $22.11

There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:

  • Sessions increased by about 17% even though I was penalized heavily. This was skewed because the beginning of the month was better than usual.  I do expect a traffic drop for the website in April, but we’ll see what happens.
  • Referring domains increased by 31. I’m really proud of this as it was nothing more than hard work and I was able to get a link every single day of the month which is awesome.
  • Earnings increased quite a bit by about 40%. I know this is going to drop in April because of changes at Indeed.com (covered later in my “lessons learned” area) and the traffic drop, but hopefully I can still make over $150.

Authority Website BCC Update:

Finally!

It seems that Google has finally begun to give the BCC website some love.  I didn’t do any additional link building or anything, I was just waiting on Google.

Lucky for me, the search engine has started to realize that the website is full of quality content and has started to send it some organic traffic.

Here are my statistics for this website so far:

Month Sessions Referring Domains Earnings
Mar-17 1118 21 $0.00
Feb-17 601 18 $0.00
Jan-17 917 12 $0.00
Dec-16 125 6 $0.00
Nov-16 33 0 $0.00

 

There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:

  • Sessions increased by 86% in March. Again, I did very little to make this happen and it shows that Google is starting to recognize I have good content on the website.
  • Referring domains (backlinks) increased by 3 in March, but the reality is that there are many more that haven’t been counted in this tally. This is because the tool I use to track this (Ahrefs) hasn’t found the other links while crawling.

For now, all I’m doing with this website is publishing one blog post per week.  If I have to jump in to do more link building I will, but for now I’m going to monitor and see how much SEO traffic I get and where I level off.

GNG Website Update:

Our first month for this news website is behind us and after only being 3 weeks old, here are the statistics I have.

Month Sessions Referring Domains Earnings Facebook Followers
Mar-17 930 0 $0.00 675

Though we spent around $350 between the two of us in the first month on writers and Facebook ads, seeing earnings right away is a great feeling.  Sure, it’s not even $10, but I’ll take this over nothing.

The fact that we almost had 1,000 sessions is also a great sign, I look forward to seeing what the next few months of work will bring.

Lessons Learned

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 Can Destroy You and Owes No Explanation: I was humbled in March.  I’ve always been prideful that I’m a white hat SEO specialist, but Google decided that my website wasn’t good enough and punished me in March.  The worst part?  I have no idea why I was penalized and I’m left guessing.  But you know why I’m left guessing?  Because Google won’t explain anything and that’s just how it is.It’s a hard lesson to learn, but realize that Google can come along any day and absolutely crush you if they decide they want to and there is little you can do about it.   Your best bet?  Diversify your income sources.  If I was just relying on my THQ website for income, everything would have just been reduced by 50%.

    Try to create one income generating website and when it’s in a really good place and you can outsource a lot of it, create another.  Do this over and over.  That way, if one website is penalized, it won’t ruin your income.

  • Facebook Ads Aren’t Impossible: One of the things I love about my GNG news website project is has forced me to better understand Facebook ads.  Because GNG is a news website, there is a lot of potential for viral content and we must focus on Facebook as a traffic source if we want to succeed.  Because of this, I can confidently say that I’m starting to learn how to make Facebook ads actually

It starts with a general ad with a small budget, say $5.00 per day.  Target what you think makes sense and stay pretty general with your targeting.   Let that run for a week.

From there, look at the cost per like or cost per engagement by sex and create a very similar campaign but only target the cheaper sex.  Let that run for a week.

Next, look at the cost per like/engagement by age.  Adjust your campaign again and target the cheapest age demographic.   Let that run for a week and then test more variables to reduce cost.

What I’ve discovered is that the way to succeed on Facebook is to start a campaign and let Facebook run to do it’s thing.

Then review data and make a change towards the cheaper result.  If you do this over and over again, you’ll get cheap likes on your Facebook page.

In our campaigns, the original cost per like was $2.24 but we just ignored it for a week and let Facebook optimize itself.  As of now, we are down to $0.24 per like because we keep testing different audiences and going with the cheaper variable and I think we can bring it even lower.

  • Sometimes You’ll Just Get Lucky: It really doesn’t matter how many correct or incorrect things you do, at the end of the day luck is going to be a factor in your success.  My felon website went viral this month and I did absolutely nothing to make that happen.  The only thing I can say with certainty is that I was struggling and prayed for a miracle and boom……it went viral again.  I’m not saying you have to be religious or anything, but realize that sometimes good (and bad) things will just happen.  Regardless of what you do to try to encourage or prevent them.
  • No Income Sources are Guaranteed: One of the better income sources that I’ve had each month for a few years to the tune of $300 to $400 is Indeed.com.  Unfortunately, Indeed has decided to discontinue the service on 4/1 and my income from this source is now completely gone.  I figured out how to reduce my losses by changing the way the website works and have some development work to complete, but this is a good lesson.  If I wasn’t diversified across many income channels, I’d be in bad shape.  Though I am very reliant on Google Adsense for income, I’d rather be tied to Google than most other programs.

April Projected Expenses

Item Fixed Costs Variable Costs
Google Drive Storage $2.09
Adobe Photoshop $10.61
Intuit Quick Books $11.99
Gmass Email Software $12.95
Meet Edgar Social Media $49.00
Email Hunter $49.00
Internet $85
Convertkit $160.00
Siteground Hosting $110.00
BCC Writers – 1 Blog Post Per Week $40
THQ Writer – 1 Blog Post Per Week $60
THQ Writer – City Descriptions $160
JFFHUB Writer – 3 Posts Per Week $160
Backlink Prospecting $200
GNG Writers $120
Facebook Ads $150
TOTAL $490.64 $890
MONTHLY EXPECTED SPEND: $1,380.64

Did I Meet my Goals for March?

  • Optimize JFFHub earnings (FAIL)

I didn’t want to try to change any of my ads on JFFHub this month because it went viral.  In my opinion, it would have been foolish to change anything considering how well Google Adsense was performing so I held off.

  • Get 30 backlinks to THQ (SUCCESS)

This took a whole lot of work and I am very happy to report 31 total links.  This comes out to one link every single day and if I can do this for a few more months consecutively I’ll be in really good shape from an SEO perspective.

  • Autoresponders for THQ Website (SUCCESS)

I did start my autoresponders for THQ and now my visitors are getting segmented into three specific groups.  I’m working with my writers to create content that I can add into the autoresponders, but I don’t have it all done yet.

Goals for April

  • Survive This Month

I didn’t talk about it much in this report because I’ll discuss much more in my April Income report, but this is a ridiculously busy month for me.  I’ve talked about how I’m going to be moving to Brazil and April is the month that this will happen.  In addition to that, my best friend is having his wedding and I have a few other big things I’m dealing with on a personal level that is making work take a back seat this month.  That being said, I’m still going to try to stay on top of my work with all of the distractions I’m dealing with.

  • Begin Additional JFFHub Database

The JFFHub website Facebook group came up with a great idea that I’m going to start working on.  I don’t want to share exactly what the database is yet, but it’s something that they need and should result in even more income for the website as time goes on.

  • 30 Backlinks to THQ

I was able to hit 30 backlinks in March, so I want to replicate that again this month.  It isn’t easy to do, but I’m hopeful that I can do it again this month.  If so, my SEO for the THQ website will be rockin’ and traffic should keep on streaming in.

What are your goals for the month?  What questions do you have?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

  • Brennan

    Congrats Ron! Hitting $10k per month is my goal this year. I’m currently around $3k and working on building passive income streams to get towards my goal. Quick question: Do you do any consulting? I’d be interested in learning more about that if so. Congrats again, Brennan

    • Thanks Brennan. feels good! Appreciate the congrats and make sure you keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll be able to hit $10k for sure!

  • Simon

    It’s impressive! gonna monitor your progress and learn from you.Thanks for sharing this
    I have the same problem with seo tools for backlinks, the data is incomplete sometimes.
    Have you experienced any other tools? I tried a lot of them. I’m testing SerpStat now.
    Need someones advice

    • Hey Simon, thanks!

      For keyword research, Serpstat (I also got that Appsumo deal) isn’t going to be your answer. I’m still an advocate of LTP to be honest. (Aff link: http://www.onehourprofessor.com/longtailpro)

      I’ve also heard good things about Ahrefs keyword research tool, but at a minimum cost of $100/month it is simply too costly.

  • Roger Humbke

    You are an inspiration for me because of your integrity in all that you do. You certainly deserve the $10,000 month you achieved due to the seeds you started planting 2 years ago.

    • Thanks Roger, appreciate the long-time follow and thank you so much for the words of encouragement.

  • Stephen McClelland

    Extremely impressive…very well done!

  • Hey Ron,

    Glad to see that March was a very solid month for you!

    One thing that I would look at if I were you is whether your traffic for JFFHub stays higher than average even a month after the viral surge. Looking at your graph before and after the spike it seems that your average number of pageviews per day is higher, and from other case-studies I read this viral spike could mean that your average traffic will increase forever (because of possible backlinks, Facebook page pins, local shares, etc.)

    I also got hit by Fred, and interestingly enough my graph looks very similar to yours. I had a bit of a run-up for 1-2 weeks before Fred and then a pretty steep dive down after it. I’m currently writing a blog post that looks at the top 10 sites for 3 keywords I used to rank for to see how they’re different from my site and what I could improve in order to get back up there.

    Best of luck to you in April and make sure to take some time off for yourself so you don’t burn out.

    Cheers!

    • Hey Ilya,

      Yes, I believe that there will be a permanent increase from this. I’ve noticed this in my previous viral spikes, so I don’t think this time will be any different.

      The Fred update is a real SOB. Still trying to understand what it actually is and trying to fix it, but pretty much guessing at this point.

  • Holy Schmoly! Well deserved success Ron! 🙂 40000 in one day? Jesus thats a lot 😛

  • Congratulations on the good month – well deserved.
    The Fred update on the other site is a shame, but on the other hand it made you start improving your content, which is good for your visitors. I am facing a similar effect from the update for a business directory site. Content is sometimes thin and not changing very much. Still looking for ways to improve the page quality.
    Good luck with recovering from the update and have a safe move to Brazil.
    Tom

    PS: maybe you write a post on how your site went viral and how traffic influcenced performance this time (I remember you had problems with a viral hit some time ago, so woud be good to see how it worked out this time).