September was the fourth best month I’ve ever had for my online business and it was a small 4% increase in revenue from August. The cool thing though is that this 4% increase happened even though there was one less day in the month.
In September, I was able to make an average profit of $471.86 per day after expenses. I’m really happy to see this not only because it’s a small increase from August, but it’s also showing some stability in my online business.
This month’s highlights included;
- I had a small loss in traffic on Website 3, but earnings increased by almost 10%
- I was able to increase revenue from Website 5 by over 400%
Personal Life Update
From a personal perspective, there wasn’t a whole lot of action in the month of September. Aside for my birthday being on September 8, I was able to settle in and work the entire month with very little distraction.
I’m really happy about this because I feel like I’m in a really good place with my online business at the moment. There are a lot of different things going on, but most days I work somewhere between 3 to 4 hours per day and still managed to be very productive. I have 4 contract writers, 1 editor, and 1 full-time assistant that help me run the business and although costs are a little high, my margin is very healthy at 83%.
October is going to be a little bit different as my wife is visiting from Brazil again. Aside from a Halloween weekend celebration, we don’t have too many plans and I think I’ll be able to still concentrate on work while she’s around.
There’s always the off-chance that will take a quick weekend vacation somewhere, but we haven’t purchased plane tickets or anything so it would just be a small road trip.
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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||$14.70||$14.70|
|Udemy Course Sales||$14.94||$14.94|
|ShutterstoWebsite 5 Images||$20.36||$20.36|
|OHP Course Sales||$79.00||$79.00|
|Partners and Affiliates Revenue|
|Website 5 Partners and Affiliates||$22.59||$22.59|
|Website 4 Partners and Affiliates||$256.06||$256.06|
|Website 3 Partners and Affiliates||$811.86||$811.86|
|Website 1 Partners and Affiliates||$2724.50||$2724.50|
|Personal VLOG Channel||$10.99||$10.99|
|OHP YouTube Channel||$72.00||$72.00|
|Website 5 Media.net Ad Revenue||$0.26||$0.26|
|Website 3 Media.net Ad Revenue||$14.79||$28.91|
|Website 4 Media.net Ad Revenue||$102.51||$124.29|
|Website 1 Media.net Ad Revenue||$292.85||$314.09|
|Google Adsense Revenue|
|Website 2 Adsense Revenue||$0||$0|
|OHP Adsense Revenue||$1.11||$1.11|
|Website 5 Adsense Revenue||$187.87||$187.87|
|Website 4 Adsense Revenue||$270.40||$270.40|
|Website 3 Adsense Revenue||$3026.55||$3026.55|
|Website 1 Adsense Revenue||$8767.36||$8767.36|
|Intuit Quick Books||$10.00||-$10.00|
|Adobe Photoshop Account||$10.61||-$10.61|
|Google Business Drive Storage and Apps||$17.09||-$17.09|
|Mailshake Email Software||$19.00||-$19.00|
|Freelance Labor Expenses|
|Freelance Writing and Editing||$887.98||-$887.98|
|Freelance Research and Labor||$1,396.15||-$1,396.15|
|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 three items that jumped out to me this month:
- Website 5: As I said in my introduction, Website 5 had an increase of revenue by just over 400%. While this is an astronomical number, the jump was only from about $40 to $200. Basically, I decided to monetize the website to try to make back some of the money that I’ve been spending on content creation. This is simply revenue from ads being placed across the website and a little bit of affiliate income.
- Consulting: While I don’t typically offer consulting anymore, there was someone who really needed help and wanted my expertise and I’m actually really glad I took the call. This individual has consistently worked on his online business for over two years and was stuck, and I genuinely feel like the call that we had significantly helped him in his process to become a better online entrepreneur.
- Website 4: I don’t know exactly why, but this website had a significant drop in earnings from the usual numbers that I see. It’s weird because this is primarily an Amazon affiliate website and even though it got the same number of clicks it usually does, less people purchased products which leads me to less commission. I’m not panicked about it, but I wish it would’ve performed a little bit better. Some of the drop is due to me pulling an Adsense ad unit from key pages, but the impact was more than I thought it would be.
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 was one item that jumped out to me this month:
- Siteground Hosting: The only real surprise in my expenses this month was my Siteground hosting bill. The only reason why this increased so much is because I had to renew Cloudflare for the year and that all rolls up into the same line item.
Full Portfolio Update: I feel like this was a big month for my online business. It wasn’t that I crushed any revenue numbers or did anything out of the ordinary, but the fact that I had a small and steady increase indicates to me that my business is becoming more stable. I’m hopeful that this assumption is correct, but when you see 3 to 4 months of stability in your earnings it makes you feel very good about the future.
The focus of most of my work at this point in time Is link building to the CK and Website 3s. I still have other activities that I’m working through, but these are the primary focus.
Website 1 Update: There was a small dip in traffic to this website (5%) but my earnings actually increased. I’m also happy to report that I’ve been keeping an eye on the back links to this website and even though I’m not doing any link building, I got around 40 new backlinks in the months of September. This is really the bread and butter of link building. Once you have an established website that’s trustworthy, people will link to you time and time again without you doing any outreach whatsoever.
Consulting Update: I have a one-hour consulting call and really enjoyed. The individual that I spoke with was driven and it’s really cool to connect with someone who has a passion for this type of work. I gave him every recommendation that I think will help his business succeed and I’m hopeful that in a few months he’ll report back that he’s starting to make some real money.
Udemy Update: Had a pretty big drop in earnings for the month, but I haven’t even logged into the platform in a few months so I don’t really expect much here.
OHP Website Update: I’m still waiting to decide what to do with this website. I know I previously spoke about the idea of a podcast but as time goes on, I’m not sure that it’s really a good idea. I don’t want to waste time on a project that isn’t going to be profitable. I’ll keep you guys updated once I know more, but right now I’m not sure what to do here.
Website 3 Update:
This website continues to be one of my main points of focus. While I mostly focused on link building, I also did some keyword research and found quite a few keywords that should be written about and assigned them to a new writer.
Truth be told, the keywords that we’re trying to rank for are very easily answered and usually have a knowledge graph listing in Google for them, but I’m expanding far beyond the original question and getting into much more detail with these new posts.
It’s too early to tell if Google is going to give me any love for these, but I definitely know we’ll be creating content that’s better than the competitor so I hope it works.
Here’s a graph of the last 12 months of progress.
- I had a small drop in pageviews, but a pretty large increase in earnings. I’m very happy to see this and think a big reason for this is because the pages that I want to get traffic are starting to, which means more revenue for me.
- If you look at the full table, you’ll see that I’ve increased earnings by 10 times in the last 12 months. That’s a pretty good trend to follow and hopefully it continues upward.
Website 4 Update:
This website continues to deliver very passive income and I’m happy with it. Although this month was lower than usual, I can’t pinpoint exactly why that happened and honestly, I don’t expect that trend to continue.
I think that there was an anomaly here with the earnings and I expect it to jump in October. I do know one of the reasons that my income dropped is because I pulled a second ad off of various pages. I did this because it seemed like it was just too much for the user and though this hurts the bottom line, I’d rather have a better user experience.
I also mentioned previously how this website has a calendar associated with it and I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten all of the photo submissions into my inbox. The next step is to pick the best photos and get a calendar printed.
Since my wife is coming in the month of October and she’s infinitely better at Photoshop than I am, she’s going to help me with this and I anticipate getting the file sent to the printer by the end of October.
One cool thing that I did prior to this month is created a blog post titled “Best ____Calendar”. The “____” obviously being the name of the niche related to the calendar. My hope was that I’d be able to rank in Google in the number one spot for this type of calendar when people search and though I didn’t achieve that exact result, I did get the second spot and the third spot is my Amazon listing.
I’m hopeful that my SEO work will end up driving more purchases this year and make it so that this calendar is a great way to make a little extra money during holidays.
Here are my statistics for this website in the last 12 months:
- Though it was a down month, I think that we will see a little bit of an increase in October just because of the Amazon Affiliate purchase variance.
- Pageviews stayed the same but I pulled some ads off the website which caused the income to drop. I may put ads back on the pages in the future, but for right now I’m focused on testing variables if people would be interested in taking ads out on the pages directly as opposed to relying on Google Adsense.
Website 5 Update:
Although there was a small decrease in pageviews from the month, there was a huge increase in total earnings and that’s due to me properly monetizing the website. I still think the sky is the limit for this one and while it isn’t showing yet, I have really high hopes.
I’ve actively been building the backlinks and genuinely feel that I’ll be able to hit 500 referring domains eventually. I’m thinking by the end of the year is a good goal for this, but we’ll see if I’ll be able to pull that off with the holidays.
Now, I’m just continuing to link build on this website and I’m hoping that my persistence will be rewarded by search engines.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
- Considering where I was 12 months ago with this website, I think there’s some positive things we can take away here. While the earnings aren’t amazing, I’m pretty happy with them and I think that as more referring domains link to me, the more this website will grow.
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.
- Careful Monetization is Key: In order to succeed with any business, you need to make a profit. That said, when you start a website, you can’t just focus on profits in order to succeed. In the month of September, I made a concerted effort to monetize some of Website 5 and I’m doing that because I didn’t want to monetize the entire thing and turn potential link targets off.
I was able to make a little bit of money from it, but more importantly I was able to continue to drive backlinks to the website. The point here is to make sure when you’re doing monetization that you look over the overarching goals of the company and still stay aligned with what you’re trying to accomplish. Could I make more money? Yes. But it isn’t worth stifling my growth in the future to make a couple extra hundred dollars a month.
- Consider User Experience With Ads: It’s really easy to get carried away with ads on a website. Especially if you’re like me and the primary revenue channel for you is ad revenue. That said, I’ve made an effort to more closely consider user experience with my ad placements so that I don’t negatively impact my audience.
While this did result in me removing an ad on Website 4, I think that my audience is now getting a better experience and I’m willing to lose a couple hundred dollars a month to achieve this.
- Consistency Means Stability: Once you start to make a consistent amount of money each month, you have to make assumptions that your business is relatively stable. Obviously things can still fluctuate and change in the online world, but I feel like I have a pretty stable business that I can grow right now and that’s an exciting place to be.
Did I Meet my Goals for September?
Send Website 4 Calendar to Printer
In the month of October, I really want to make sure that I get the proper calendar files sent to a printer. By doing so, my hope is that I’ll have the finished calendar at Amazon in the middle of November which will leave plenty of time for people to purchase it for the holidays. I personally believe that this is a seasonal product that mostly gets purchased around the holidays, and we’ll see if that holds true.
Start a New Database For CK
We’re almost done with the second database on this website and I have one other large one in mind that my researcher is already aware of. I still have to figure out the information that I want from each target, but the goal is to build another 500-1000 pages on the website for another service related to this niche. It’s likely that this will take months, but building it always pays dividends and I’ve seen nothing but a positive return on investment with these tactics.
Better Understand Pinterest
I already started on this a little bit in the month of September, but I’d really like to better understand Pinterest as a marketing channel. I have four websites that I think would do pretty well with Pinterest if I knew anything about it. That said, I need to begin educating myself in order to succeed. If you know of anything that I should be reading regarding Pinterest marketing, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
What Are My Goals for October?
Build more links to Website 3
I’ve already started on this one a little bit, but in September I’d like to build even more links to the website utilizing guest posting and resource page links. It really hasn’t been easy to get links to this website but they do still happen and I need to continue outreach to continue to grow.
Begin Content Creation on Website 3
This was a goal in August that I failed, but I have no intention of failing it in September. I may just start with one blog post a week as I don’t want to throw a bunch of money at this website, but it should pay off once I’ve found the right keywords to target.
Further Monetize Website 5
Website 5 has been dragging for quite a bit but it’s starting to show some signs of positive trends. That said, it’s time to launch ads on the website again in an effort to further monetize some of the traffic. I’ll be careful to not overdo it with the ads, but I think that I’ll be able to balance the user experience and ad revenue pretty well for the pages and I need to focus on.
What are your goals for the month? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!