February has traditionally been one of those months where I feel a bit of pain and suffer an income drop. It usually dips below the January high, and can make you feel like things might not be gaining momentum as much as you thought.
It's kind of like the anti-climax following the highs of the end of the previous year and beginning of new year.
I definitely suffered from some blues at the start of February, which I found really difficult to get my head around.
After such a fantastic (and I am still in awe) January, Feb started really slow. I think a week went by without anybody requesting a site or even submitting anything through my contact form.
The fear crept in. Was January just a fluke? Had HPD not turned a corner after all?
I dreaded having to write this report, thinking that I'd be crying about how painful the month had been and despairing that my earnings were back down to mid 2014 levels.
It's funny isn't it?
Even though I've been in the business for 2.5 years, I still get these down days and these “ruts” where it seems hard to motivate myself and my inbox seems to be working against me.
In this case, I knew that this was just a phase and I had to work through it, and sure enough, things picked up about midway through the month. By the end of Feb, I was feeling pretty good again and chasing another $4k month.
The ups and downs of Internet Marketing are a nightmare, but you just have to cruise through them and keep on planting those seeds. [Tweet]
There's one pretty cool thing that came out of this. I was able to figure out that most of my inquiries were coming shortly after I was linked to from a popular blog, or after I had a guest-post go live.
It validated my theory that outreach was a good pillar for building my business, and in March I've been a lot more proactive with this. Results are already looking good.
Reviewing My Goals
Every month this year I'll post an update on my goals for the end of the year.
Goals do kind of change as the year goes on and things evolve, but here is what my current goals look like:
Traffic: 10,000 unique visitors a month to the site.
Team: This is a new goal I've started on. I'd like to have *most* of my services automated or run by team members by the end of the year. There will be some things like answering emails and customer support that I'll always need to do, so the more I can outsource the rest, the better I'll be at that.
Income: $5,000 a month (not including my 6-figure website income, which has its own goal). I'd like $1,000 or more of this to be from niche sites as well.
First Up, Traffic:
I was pretty pleased to see an increase from January and a sizable amount of returning traffic. My current audience is about 33% returning visitors, which I can assume means I'm doing something right and building a decent audience.
I'm not getting as much traffic as I'd like, but it tends to snowball, so I'm pretty confident I'll hit 10k or close to it by the end of the year.
The second screenshot below shows how Feb compared to January (the final 28 days of Jan).
Pretty good pages per session and average session duration! Bounce rate could be lower, but hasn't ever concerned me much.
Overall February did pretty well when compared with Jan, and that's good to see. 500 more visits is great, and nearly 2,000 more pageviews is fantastic.
55% of the traffic was organic, which is great to see. There was also a large amount of direct traffic, and some good referral traffic too.
Thanks to the following sites for sending me some good traffic in Feb:
I mostly just hired new writers in February. March has been seeing a lot of progress and team/system growth, but you'll have to wait for next month's update for that.
The initial plan is to finalize the back-end team (those who help me fulfill services), and get everything up to speed by the end of March or April if possible. After that, I am quite keen to add more front-end members to help with outreach, writing content for HumanProofDesigns, and a few other projects I've had in mind for some time.
It's pretty liberating to know that not only do I have a budget to grow my team and outsource tasks now, but I also have the workload that requires it!
I always surprise myself when toting up the income each month, so despite spending the first 10 days moping around and feeling like my luck had run out, I think I still did pretty well in February.
I have to confess that I've stopped calculating the exact amount until it comes to writing these reports, because it's a nice surprise and it stops me focusing on my income. I have other things to focus on instead now.
Amazon has been creeping up for me over the last few years, but $128 isn't exactly much. I actually just made some massive changes and March has tripled my Amazon income. Stay tuned next week for the update post on that.
Towards the end of the month they ran out of the DVD that I was promoting (I guess I did too well?) so sales slumped for a bit.
For some reason, a random affiliate site I created over a year ago, that never earned me a dime, suddenly made a nice one-off sale. I guess if you plant enough seeds, sometimes you might get a nice surprise in the spring.
Affiliate Income Total: $279
As there are my own costs involved with these services, the amounts listed below are the profits made. There are also some affiliate commissions directly generated by HPD blog posts.
SEO Services: $475
Wealthy Affiliate: $776
Outreach Packages: $115
HPD Total Income: $3017
This again is things like services for other people outside of my niche sites or HPD, or JV income.
Article Writing: $240
Total “Other” Income: $261
Add it all up together, and what do we get?
Total Income February: $3557
So despite spending the first 10 or so days feeling a bit blue and thinking I wasn't going to repeat the January heights, I still did pretty well, recording my second best month ever.
It was $1,000 below what I got in Jan, but $500 above where I wanted to be at the start of the year, so all in all I'm pretty happy.
I think the first 6 months of this year are going to see a lot of “up and down” income between the months, just like I had in 2014. As long as I'm trending upwards most of the time, and as long as my bottom line is still above $3,000, then I'll be pretty happy.
Onwards and upwards!
There have been some audience members that have stuck around and been commenting regularly for a good few months, so I'd like to take the time to thank them below:
1. Tony Ridgeway (Who did a great guest post).
2. Graham Hoffman.
3. David Goecke.
4. Mark Thompson.
Couldn't do these things without you all!
There are many more of you fantastic people out there as well, but these guys stuck out as being some of the more active fans!
For the time being, I don't have any specific plans or changes that I'm going to do to improve my fortunes. Things are going well and I'm very happy with my momentum.
Right now all I want to do is improve my systems and support, and keep focusing on providing quality, improving where I can.