Another quarter down, another income report to write up. Affiliate marketing was only a small part of my online income this quarter, so perhaps I should change the name of these reports. I'll leave it as is for the rest of the year though, just to keep things clean.
What A Quarter I Had!
The quarter started off a bit disappointing because I wasn't able to maintain the momentum from the previous two months. I spent most of July visiting my family back home and was out of action for most of the month. I did still do some work, but it wasn't to the same level. I think also the fact that it was summer break for a lot of people meant I wasn't going to get as much business as usual.
By the end of the quarter though, I was bouncing off the walls. August and September were amazing months and I ALMOST DOUBLED my income from Q2.
The nature of online business means that you can take a month off, and while your earnings might take a bit of a hit, the majority of your traffic and income is passive, so you'll still be earning.
I also continued my good form of earning money while on flights! I got a couple of sales on every flight I made while abroad, and that came to a few hundred dollars. Not too shabby.
I flew from Taiwan back to London on July 14th, and spent the week or so before that preparing and packing. My main project before I went was to get my niche sites guide launched, but it didn't quite make it and I ended up not releasing it until mid-August when I returned.
It came to about 10,000 words though, so there was no way I could rush it and putting a deadline on it proved to be a bit silly. I did do work on it here and there, but when you're back home for a month and want to see friends and family, it becomes a bit hard to turn on the laptop and create what you hope will be an awesome guide.
Do check it out though, because now it's live it's yours for learning from free of charge. Go see.
I'm not sure whether the reduced income I received in July was down to my less frequent posting, my distraction from the business, or simply that everybody else was also on vacation.
Perhaps it's just the nature of online business, you have fluctuations and ups and downs. It wasn't exactly a terrible month by any means.
Towards the end of the month I had a late surge and got some good sales in though. After hitting $1k in May and June it did feel quite low though, and the biggest worry for me was that I had just got lucky previously, had peaked early, and was now going to go back to where I started, earning just a few hundred dollars a month.
As you'll see in the rest of this report though, that was far from the case.
Here is how my earnings worked out in July.
Amazon.com (Split across 2 niche sites) – $100.41
Adsense (Split across 2 other sites) – $21.37
Dragondoor (Kettlebell site) – $35.94
Clickbank (LongTailPro and a Kettlebell product) – $68.22
Wealthy Affiliate: $145.50
eBay: $94.97 (This was accumulated over about a year but finally reached the payment threshold in this month).
On-going SEO/Article Work: $406.66 USD (Odd number is due to currency conversion)
HPD Article Service (Profit): $70
HPD Websites: $0 (This was the most disappointing aspect).
Other (This includes things like DeftDev income or other projects that I can't reveal the exact details of): $23.62
I honestly thought it had been a bit lower but once I added up all the small earnings, it was still very close to $1,000 as well, which means I just about fell short of hitting $1k for 3 consecutive months. I think that the average over this 3 month period (May – July) was probably $1k though, so we can bend the rules a little.
Honestly though, given that I was travelling or preparing for travel for about 3 weeks of this month, I'm thrilled.
As I was away from July 14 to August 12, a lot of this month was “vacation time” as well, but apparently customers themselves were back and ready to start some spending. I couldn't believe it when I hit $1k about halfway through the month!
When I got back home to Taiwan, I was soaring with confidence, knowing that I was a few hundred dollars short of that $1k mark with 2 weeks left to go was amazing.
However, I started to get a bit overwhelmed with the new influx of work and ended up giving one customer a full refund ($97) because I just knew I wouldn't be able to deliver to their timetable. They also had slightly unrealistic expectations, which was my fault for not being clearer in the start, and not double checking what they wanted.
It was a website renovation job gone wrong, and I decided to just issue the refund and be done with it. Let's leave it at that 🙂
Here's a breakdown of how August panned out, I know I'm going to enjoy writing these ones up.
Amazon: – $137.02
Wealthy Affiliate: $228.00
Jaaxy: $40 (Accumulated over 2 months)
A pretty big increase in affiliate commissions, which was rather nice!
On-going SEO + Writing work: $421
HPD Websites: $888 profit (Talk about a strong month!)
I'm very much aware that if I hadn't issued that refund I would have been very very close to the $2,000 mark, but it's absolutely fine.
My initial financial target for the year was $1,666 USD a month, and the second target is $3,332, so hitting the first target with 4 months left in the year was an amazing feeling.
More importantly, it showed that I'm not going to plateau around $1,000 like I feared!
Honestly heading into this month I was already super excited, especially as I launched the new and improved version of HPD sites, HPD 2.0. In hindsight, given how much I earned in August perhaps I should have kept them as they were? Who knows!
You can read all about the changes to HPD sites here, but ultimately it was an improvement. The sites now come with high quality content (unique articles, no spinning involved) and will be already getting indexed in the search engines when you buy them. The prices have obviously increased due to increased costs.
I was a little disappointed with how the launch went, as I only sold 2 sites (and had one refunded later because the person misunderstood what they'd bought). However, these things take time and people might not necessarily have the funds to invest in more expensive sites.
I will have to see in the long run how HPD 2.0 does, and will have to make tweaks and improvements throughout the rest of the year as well.
You can see the new sites here.
It was still a great month though.
Adsense: $36.54 (Record month for Adsense)
Clickbank: $78.84 (Jon Cooper's awesome backlink guide made 2 nice sales).
Bluehost: $195 – I switched my recommended Host from Hostgator to Bluehost and immediately made some commissions.
Wealthy Affiliate: $423
On-going SEO + Article writing: $421
HPD Articles: $239 profit
HPD Sites: $334 profit
It's funny how long it took me to earn $1,000 a month, and how fast I then turned that into $2,000 a month (15 months to 1k..18 months to 2k)
Q3 Total: $4850.23
Wowee! I was hoping to see some solid growth in Quarter 3 but I wasn't expecting to get this high, especially not 2 months in a row. Fantastic stuff and I am worried about how I will feel this month if things don't go as well!
It could also have been a lot higher, as I had a refund for over $200. Although to be fair, the customer should never have bought the site as they weren't really aware how it worked and had just made an impulse decision. Still, no complaints, I gave them a full refund and we parted amicably.
Other noticeable things that happened in September – I launched a new homepage. I think the site looks a lot more professional now and has a much better structure too. Hopefully you'll all agree it's easier to navigate now.
Other Cool Things
I was contacted three times in Q3 by people seeking me to review their products and share on the blog. All three of these seem like good products and I will be writing up the reviews when I get the time. It's cool that I'm being considered an authority and reached out to like this. I'm sure in a year from now I will hate it when this happens!
I also have a lot more people just emailing me for advice and questions now, which is even better. I'm always happy to respond to emails and lend advice where I can.
In fact I prefer doing this than building sites! (Funny that!) so I may well consider launching a mentorship or mastermind group in the future. It's something I'm quite excited about the possibilities for. It would be good to hear your thoughts on this by the way.
Target For Q4
Well how do you top that?!
Even though my target of $3,332 in one month felt like a stretch when I set it at the beginning of the year, I think it's a real possibility now, especially with things like Black Friday and Christmas coming up. There's a strong chance that I can hit that mark in December.
If I don't reach that level of income though, I'll still be happy to have seen such good growth throughout 2014 and will be excited about 2015.
Still, targets are there to be set, so here's what I'd like to see by year's end:
- $3,332 USD in one month.
- 5,000 unique visitors in one month.
- Minimum $1,500 per month for the rest of the year. (The bottom line is just as important as the top!)
I plan to do more guest posting and promoting, as well as building out more niche sites. Other than that, on my site itself I'm planning to just keep doing what I'm doing, posting what I feel is quality content, and sharing my experiments and experiences.
Subscribe to keep up to date with everything, it would be great to have you along for the ride!