Well quarter 4 is on us, which means shopping season is here. I'm expecting a big boost to my niche sites over the coming months, but I can't say I'm expecting the same for HPD sites. I imagine there will be a mixture, as people will be saving money to spend on Christmas things, or waiting until the new year to start their new projects.
Last Q4 saw good growth in October, before things levelled out in November and declined slightly in December. With the crazy year we've had, I wouldn't mind a bit of stability and time to get things ready for next year.
I always said the rest of the year would be focusing on systems, completing projects that I've wanted to do for some time (like a site re-vamp), and various other business tasks, and so far, September and October have gone well.
What We've Added
October saw the completion of our long overdue ‘subscriber autoresponder', which welcomes new subscribers and gives them tips for getting started. The jury is still out and tests are still going on to see what kind of a result this will have, but as there was previously NO autoresponder at all, I'm assuming it's going to be an increase in engagement, communication, and hopefully, sales.
The “Ask me anything” email I sent out in the sequence has been great. People have been replying to that every day and telling me about themselves, asking me questions, and really giving me a chance to learn more about my audience. It's been enlightening! Thanks to everyone who responded to that email.
I've also finished work on an autoresponder to be sent out to existing customers once they've bought a site, something that will give them tips and help with growing the site. As of yet, I'm still testing the gaps between emails and running it past a few beta testers (some of my fellow marketers), but once the site is redesigned and the members area in full swing again, we'll start adding everyone to the list.
We also finally added an “Order Tracking” plugin that allows us to automatically update customers via email once their site moves from step 1 to step 2 for example. This means that we can manually track all our customers like always, but when we mark one stage as completed in our spreadsheets/tracking documents, we can also update the customer at the same time.
This works more efficiently than the previous system we tried, which soon proved impractical. It's not easy sending every customer an update on a Friday when there are over 50 sites being worked on at once!
We became victims of our own success there, but fortunately a customer recommended this plugin to me (which was awesome, thanks!), and after some difficulties setting it up (including accidentally emailing all customers to tell them their site was finished when it wasn't), we've got it running smoothly now.
What Else Happened In October – DCBKK
October was the month that I finally achieved my goal of attending a conference. I set it as one of my 2015 goals, and since I already hit my income goals, this means that 2015 is officially a success (which feels very weird!).
I flew to Bangkok to attend the Dynamite Circle Bangkok conference, which is a 250 person mastermind/conference/networking event. It was mind-blowing, and every single discussion I had with someone seemed to lead to a great idea for improving the business. This conference is attached to the Dynamite Circle community, a private membership for people with relatively established businesses (the entry level is owning a business doing $5,000 USD a month, but many members do $100,000 monthly). Naturally, these are people who I wanted to associate with and learn from.
I went to the conference with a few specific questions that I wanted to get answers for, and I got them and more. What was the coolest about it was that some of these answers came without me specifically asking. You're just chatting with someone at the bar in the evening, and they ask you a question about your business, and mention something you could try to do to improve, and BAM, major lightbulb moments. I think I was convinced the conference had paid for itself by Friday evening, and it only started on Friday morning.
I think my personal highlight was when Dan Andrews (of tropicalmba fame, and also the co-founder of the DC) said before lunch on Friday “Every year people say the lunch breaks are when the best meetings and ideas happen, so make sure you take advantage of this!”.
At the time, I was feeling pretty rough as I had been out drinking a bit late the night before, and I really wanted to use the lunch break for a nap, so when Dan said this I thought “I wish he'd said to go and take a nap instead”.
25 minutes later, I'm sitting at lunch talking with a guy I'd met 5 minutes before, when he gave me an incredible lead gen idea for HPD. I remember thinking “Darn it Dan! Guess I'm staying”. This kind of conversation happened many times over the weekend.
I'm definitely going back next year.
To all those I met, thanks for making it a memorable experience!
If any of you get a chance to go to a conference, or have any opportunity to meet and mingle with people who also do online business, I say go for it. You've absolutely got to get yourself surrounded by people who do what you do. It's invigorating.
Alright, onto the money stuff.
Affiliate Site Income
The first part is the income from my various affiliate sites. While I do my best to increase this, in recent times HPD has taken up most of my time (and rightly so). Someone working full-time on niche sites could earn 10x what I do from mine (and many do).
Affiliate Site Total: $1,117
Mini-goal of hitting $1,000+ from niche sites achieved!
This is from a mixture of affiliate promotions done at HPD via the blog, and net profit from our services. Where you see income listed for services, it's the profit, not the gross revenue. I've always listed it this way and will continue to do so until the end of the year. In 2016 we'll probably split gross revenue and gross expenses, as it becomes more necessary to do so.
Done-For-You-Sites: $13,650 (Talk to us about having a custom site done, or join the waiting list for ready-made ones).
Article Services: $640 (Learn more about our article services)
Our Services Total: $14,690
PBNLab: $47 (Learn why it's the best expired domain finder)
LongTail Pro: $15
The Hoth: $767
Affiliate Total: $1,847
Total Before Management Expenses: $17,654
And now for the expenses. As I mentioned above, services are listed as “profit”, so there are no expenses for them to include below. These expenses are for things like, paying my project manager his hourly wage, and paying affiliate payouts to those who I've given permission to promote me.
A large chunk of expenses are already accounted for above, so don't go thinking that HPD only runs on small expenses, we pay thousands of dollars every month to writers, virtual assistants, keyword researchers, and web developers.
Management Expenses + Affiliate Payouts: $2,843
So looking at those two numbers above, it looks like we're VERY close to hitting a milestone yet again.
Grand Total Profit: $14,811
I'm honestly thrilled at the fact that my target for the last two-three months has been stability rather than growth, and yet still the numbers keep going up. Where is the ceiling? Hopefully nowhere near 🙂
See you next month.