So here we are at my December 2016 income report, which has been quite a month indeed.
Although this report will review my income for the month, the thing that you aren’t going to see is the fact that I was sick for three out of four weeks of the month. It was completely miserable. I caught a really bad head cold that stuck around for two and half weeks and then right after I was done with that, I ended up getting the stomach flu.
I was almost in disbelief that I got sick and then sick AGAIN, but the good news is that now I’m feeling 100% better.
Obviously this had an impact on my production for the month, but interestingly I’ve outsourced a lot of different tasks and I really didn’t lose a ton of steam finishing off the year.
As if being sick wasn’t enough….right at the end of the month someone hit me with a DDOS attack, which is an attack on my websites to try to take them offline. Lucky for me, I’ve always been aware of security measures and the downtime was very limited.
But 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) and the time I spent working 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 Book Sales||$2.06||$2.06|
|Website 1 Amazon Associate Sales||$2.91||$2.91|
|Aweber Email Platform||$5.70||$5.70|
|Long Tail Pro Keyword Research||$9.97||$9.97|
|OHP Course Sales||$39.00||$39.00|
|Udemy Course Sales||$138.07||$138.07|
|Website 1 Partnerships||$183.00||$183.00|
|Website 1ub Media.net Ad Revenue||$308.65||$308.65|
|OneHourProfessor.com Google Adsense Ad Revenue||$1.23||$1.23|
|TranscriptionJobsHQ.com Google Adsense Revenue||$14.70||$14.70|
|Authority Website - THQ Google Adsense Ad Revenue||$49.50||$49.50|
|Website 1 Google Adsense Ad Revenue||$2,887.82||$2,887.82|
|Google Drive Storage||$2.09||-$2.09|
|Adobe Photoshop Account||$10.61||-$10.61|
|Intuit Quick Books||$11.99||-$11.99|
|Gmass Email Software||$12.95||-$12.95|
|Meet Edgar Social Media Platform||$49.00||-$49.00|
|ConvertKit Email Software||$154.49||-$154.49|
|Authority Hacker Membership||$299.00||-$299.00|
|Upwork Freelancers (New Authority Website)||$644.47||-$644.47|
|Revenue By Channel||Website 1||Consulting||Udemy||OHP Website||YouTube||Authority Website - THQ|
Discussing This Month’s Income Outliers
Every month I have income that streams and 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 substantially.
There were four line items that jumped out to me this month:
- Amazon Associate Sales: One new item on the income report that you’ll notice this month are my Amazon sales. Really, these aren’t necessarily sales but are commissions off of sales for people that I refer over to Amazon.com. Although small, I’m happy to report that I almost made $3.00 this month by simply sending people over to Amazon from a few links that I have recommending books on Website 1. This has now been built into my email autoresponder so it’s pretty much on autopilot, and we’ll see if those revenue numbers increase as time goes on.
- Udemy Course Sales: Unfortunately, this is an item that stuck out to me this month in a negative way. In prior months, I’ve consistently been earning somewhere between $250 to $350 in sales each month. For some reason in December, the income from this channel was cut drastically and I don’t really have an answer as to why that is. I’m going to see how January ends up, but I’m not thrilled about this.
- Indeed.com: Another negative this month is my earnings from Indeed. This is typically a line on my income reports that shows somewhere between $300 to $500 per month, but in December that number was only $165. The only thing that I can think of is that a lot of employers don’t post job openings in December and I’m hoping that the income will increase in January from this channel.
- Authority Website – THQ Google Adsense Ad Revenue: Although there were some negatives this month, one of the biggest positives was the fact that I more than doubled the revenue of my new authority website.
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:
- Convertkit Email Software: My email platform is now costing me $150 per month which isn’t a ton of money, but it’s beginning to become an expensive line item on my income reports. Every day I increase my email subscribers by 50-100 people per day and at the end of each month, that ends up equating to a much larger bill. Although this cost will continue to grow, I’m not necessarily upset because there is definitely a return on investment that email software provides. Not only does it allow me to keep in touch with my subscribers, but I also have a autoresponder series in place which keeps people coming back.
- Authority Hacker Membership: Thankfully, this is a last month where I’ll have a $300 line item on my income report from this membership. In total, this membership cost me $1200 but I’ve already made over $1300 simply because of the advice that they gave me when it came to monetizing my website. So, this membership has already paid for itself and now I’m a lifetime member and don’t owe any more money.
- Upwork Freelancers: I’m really happy to see that I was able to reduce the amount of spend that I had on freelancers this month. After the last few months, I took a hard look at my expenses and reduced everything to amounts that I deemed reasonable. At this point all the expenses that you see are absolute requirements for me to run my business and I’m anticipating that there will be some increases in January related to link building and content, but not by a significant margin.
Website 1 Update: My only real focus on this website is to optimize the ad revenue that I get. This was a goal of mine in December, but as I was sick in December and that really prohibited me from doing the optimizations that I wanted to complete in December. However, it’s one of my goals in January to examine the site from an ad revenue perspective and try to optimize it as best as possible.
Consulting Update: I really don’t have much to say on the consulting end of things. An old client asked for a small favor and I picked up a new online business consulting gig, but I’m really not sure how much I’ll be helping this individual yet as we’re going to have an exploratory call and go from there.
Udemy Update: Aside from my earnings drop for the month, not much to report here. I will not be making any new courses at this time as my time is better spent making websites.
OneHourProfessor.com Website Update: I was happy to see a course sold on OHP this month and I also got some pretty nice commissions from Thrive Themes, but this isn’t my focus right now. I need to keep building things that have the highest ROI and for me, that means more authority websites.
Authority Website THQ Update: The growth of this authority website continues and I it will continue as the year goes on. I’ve found a really nice system to acquire backlinks and it’s working really well for me right now.
I’m hopeful that in time, the content and link to this website will make me the biggest authority in this particular subject on the internet. Looking ahead to January, I have no doubt that I will exceed my Adsense earnings yet again.
The funny thing about this website is I’m purposely reducing the amount of ads shown so that I can increase the backlinks that I receive. I’m sure I could throw more ads up and make more money, but right now I’m focused on marketing it and growing it.
Once I’ve completed a lot of my backlinking task, then I’ll throw a lot more ads on the website which should make my earnings jump significantly. However, right now monetization isn’t the goal. We are in the growth stage and will continue on that path for a few more months.
Here’s a breakdown of some key metrics:
|Month||Sessions||Referring Domains||Earnings||Indexed Pages|
There are a few key things that you’ll notice here in the figures above.
- The sessions increased by 56% in December when compared to November. This is obviously a very large jump and I’m especially excited about it because the holidays usually means less traffic for informational websites like mine.
- Referring domains grew by eight this month and that’s excited because some of these backlinks are have a really high domain authority. There are three links that I got from websites with a domain authority over 50 and I see no reason why this would stop in the future. I have an individual spending two hours per day finding the email addresses that I need and then all I do is check the quality of their submissions and send out an email each morning, so I’ve successfully outsourced link building to this website and that’s a huge win.
- I’m going to say that my earnings will exceed $75 in the month of January. I’m not going to be further optimizing the website and my focus isn’t on monetization, but the number of links that I’m getting and the organic traffic growth from those links will increase my income.
- My page indexing issues are over with. I don’t know why Google took so long to index all the pages on my website, but they’ve officially indexed the pages that I need and we are done with that issue.
NEW Authority Website Website 4 Update:
This website is coming along nicely and was a lot of my primary focus in December. I can’t give way too many details, but there was a significant amount of research that I had to complete and I’m happy to say that it is now 100% done.
All I’m really doing at this point is building out pages for a state-by-state database and contacting individuals who are listed in the database to see if they’ll link back to me. I think that I’ll be able to get this all done in January and then traffic should begin to flow in.
Believe it or not, I think I’m most excited about this website because I see a lot of earning potential in the form of affiliate marketing and potentially even creating my own products. Of course, I’ll still be able get ad revenue, but in this particular niche I’ll have a very strong community and I should be able to capitalize on that.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
|Month||Sessions||Referring Domains||Earnings||Indexed Pages|
One thing that is really surprising about these numbers is that I already have six referring domains. That’s surprising because I’ve done absolutely no backlink outreach yet. Although four of those domains are generic websites, two of those domains are specific to my niche and that’s a very positive sign.
I take this is a really good sign because it may mean that this particular market will be easy to get back links from and if that’s the case, I plan on doing a similar website in two other markets.
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.
- People will attack your website: It feels like a very strange sense of accomplishment when somebody finally tries a DDOS attack on your website.For those that don’t know, this is a denial of service attack and to simplifying things, it basically means that they flood your server with traffic in an effort to crash your website(s). I don’t know why anybody would want to do this to me, but I spend all day in front of the computer working on my websites so if something goes down, I know within a few minutes.I dealt with two DDOS attacks in December near the end of the month and both times my website was down for a total of around five minutes combined. The reason for this is I have a really good hosting company in Siteground and both times after the attacks started, I sent in the ticket and they responded within a few minutes. In addition to that, I have numerous plug-ins on my website for security purposes and those seem to do the job in both attacks.
- Backlinking can be outsourced: One of the things I was really struggling with in November was prospecting for emails to get back linking opportunities. I found a way to outsource this entire workflow and it’s reduced a task that used to take me two hours a day down to 10 minutes. This is incredibly efficient and the best part is the individual that I’m working with is in the Philippines and is happy earning $4/hour for the work that he does.
- Contractors are so vital in business: As I mentioned, I was sick for three out of the four weeks in December and many of those days I was just lying in bed sleeping. When I did get up, I would simply review some of the content that my contractors had written, post that content, or check emails.The truth is I really didn’t “work” that much in December because of how sick I was and wasn’t feeling up to it most the time anyway. But my business kept on going because I had contractors in place completing tasks for me.
- December sucks for informational websites: I was very nervous in December because I thought my earnings would drop quite a bit. Traffic was down, and when traffic is down earnings usually follow suit. The reason is simply due to the fact that most people are busy with the holidays and during the holidays, people aren’t usually looking on informational sites as much.Sure, there are some folks that do, but the majority of them this time of year are focused on purchasing gifts for their loved ones and my websites do not cater to those audiences. But it’s okay, my earnings stayed pretty steady and I wasn’t hurt by the drop in traffic.
- Backlinks mean so much for SEO: As mentioned previously, my website traffic increased to the THQ authority website by 56% in December and the only reason for that is because of the backlinks I’m getting.The back links to my website are beginning to show Google that my website is a valuable resource and because of that, Google is giving a higher rank to the pages I’ve already built on my website. As those pages increase in rank, the traffic increases as well.
What lesson can we learn from this? If you aren’t focused on getting back links for your website, which I know most of you probably aren’t, you’re not going to be successful. Backlinks are the lifeblood to SEO and the more back links you get, the more traffic you’ll have.
January 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 – 1 Blog Post Per Week||$60|
Did I Meet my Goals for December?
- Reduce Costs (Success)
I was able to trim my costs even further and reduce them to just under $1400 for the month. I’ve mentioned how I’ve made a real effort at focusing on reducing this and every time I spend money now I pay a lot of attention.
- Get 15 backlinks (Fail)
I was able to get 8 backlinks this month, not the original 15 that I was hoping for. However, I think there are some important things to be noted here.
First off, I didn’t even send out emails after Christmas because most people were gone for the holidays. Second, I was sick for the majority of the month and my production levels were very low.
All things considered, I’m pretty happy that I got eight back links because those links are pretty powerful as you can see from the traffic that I’ve been getting.
- Finish researching database for new Website 4 Authority Website (Success)
I was able to complete the research of my Website 4 authority website this month and now I’m on to the portion of the project where I’m building out database pages and working to get links at the same time.
Usually I would build out all the databases first and then work on getting links, but since this is a new website in a new vertical, I want to test my link building tactics from the start to see how well they do.
Goals for January
- Optimize Website 1ub earnings
I wasn’t able to optimize Website 1ub website for earnings in December and I want to do that in January. This is key because even a 10% increase means an extra $300.
- Get 15 backlinks
Last month was an anomaly because I got sick and there was a whole week where I didn’t do any prospecting for backlinks. In addition to that, I didn’t really have an outsourced process in place and I could’ve been more efficient.
I’m going to keep the goal of getting 15 back links this month because I think it’s really attainable and we’ll see what happens.
- Build database for Website 4 Authority website and reach out to all backlink targets
I want to totally complete the creation of the informational database on the new authority website and request links from all of my target contacts. In total, I have 270 link targets in the database and I have a feeling that the method I’m using to acquire links for this website is going to have significant success.
I’m hoping for a 50% success rate, which would mean 135 total backlinks to the website This would be insane if I could hit this number, but we’ll see what happens.
What are your goals for the month? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!