If you have been following these income reports for some time, you may know that LAST March was a pretty good month. Not only was it a record month at the time (as most of 2015 proved to be), it was also the month I got engaged.
Now here we are with another March behind us, and this time I have the joy of reporting that I got married. Incidentally, I got married on the same date that I got engaged. I feel March 21st is going to be a good date for many years to come.
My wife and I got married on a small but beautiful beach in Hawaii. After that, we honeymooned in Maui, and we spent some time with one of my very first Internet Marketing mentors, Steve Razinski. He was there with his wife Amanda, who is also an Internet Marketer, running ScenicStates.com as her current project.
Spending my honeymoon in Hawaii was a dream come true, as was meeting a mentor, but March wasn't all fun and play. I had to make some business decisions that would mean April was going to be spent with my head down and working hard. At the same time, our increasing backlog of projects and sites was starting to come back and bite us, as customers were becoming frustrated that their sites/articles weren't ready yet.
I will go into this in a bit more detail now.
Too Much Growth And Not Enough Growth
For the past 2.5 years I have been focused on two things:
- Growth (Sales)
Virtually every month in 2015 we experienced growth, and our net profit went from around $3,000 per month to nearly $20,000 at the end of the year. This is fantastic growth no doubt.
At the same time, I needed to delegate more and more tasks to deal with the extra work, and this is where building systems and hiring managers came into play. There's nothing wrong with this model. You do the work yourself until you hit your capacity, so then it is time to delegate.
Unfortunately, capacity is where we failed to grow enough.
While I was testing the limits of how much we could sell, how much demand for our services there was, and all the other things related to making sales and marketing strong, I was failing to sufficiently increase our capacity for meeting that demand.
I'm not saying we completely ignored this, but we didn't do a good enough job. We knew we had sites in the works and new sales coming in, so we would hire a few new writers and editors, but we didn't really calculate exactly how many of each we would need.
We were approaching things backwards, as I will explain below.
I set a target for 2016 for us to sell roughly 50 sites per month. In order to do this, I calculated we'd need to sell 20 ready-mades every other week, and 10 customs throughout the month.
So of course, everything we focused on was being able to research enough ready-mades, and being able to sell them. This worked pretty well.
The problem was, we should instead have first calculated exactly how many staff and team members we would need in order to meet that demand, instead of trying to create it first.
It might seem obvious that we should have built the team before making the sales, but it isn't always clear when you are in the trenches doing business. Besides, you don't really want to hire people if you don't have the sales volume to justify it.
At the same time, the team that I had build to get us to this position was only good enough to get us to that position, it wasn't structured to take us beyond it, and we were trying to do the work of 2 or 3 people each.
As a result, our backlog became pretty large, with close to 100 outstanding projects that we were working through. Some sites weren't delivered until 8 weeks after they'd been ordered, and naturally people got frustrated.
So in the final week of March I made the decision to put new site launches on hold in April. We had so many outstanding orders that I knew it wouldn't result in less income for my staff (although it would for me). We would still sell custom sites if people requested them, and would still take on new article pack orders.
At the same time, we would focus heavily on recruitment and training of new staff in April, and would split the teams up into specific project/site-based teams that would allow us to see exactly where bottlenecks were taking place and which teams were strong or weak.
I knew that if we could get our heads down and work harder than ever in April, then by May everything would be back to normal, our customers would be better off, and the struggles of previous months would be just a thing of the past. At least that was the plan anyway.
I'll talk more about this in the April income report, for now, how did March itself pan out?
Income Breakdown– March 2016
For 2016 we will only be reporting HPD and AuthorityAzon profits, not our Amazon portfolio. However, I will still plan to do an Amazon portfolio update in several month's time.
Whether you need some additional content for your site, or want to outsource the whole process, these can help you out.
This isn’t something we officially do, but from time to time will take on some SEO work for customers.
Total HPD Service Revenue: $18,425
A lower number than usual because we only did one launch. As I explained above, mid-way through the month I decided to put new launches on hold.
HPD Affiliate Commissions
While we educate you for free and recommend services we use, some of these pay us a commission for sending you to them. Here is a breakdown of how much HPD earned from each service.
Long Tail Pro: $19
Autoresponder Madness: $423
Read my review of Autoresponder Madness here.
Wealthy Affiliate: $401
The Hoth: $1,606
Total Affiliate Revenue: $3,245
Done-for-you-sites and WordPress theme sales: $2,773
Total Gross Revenue: $24,443
Significantly lower than previous months (about $10,000 lower than last month), but this was to be expected by our switch in emphasis from sales to fulfilment. It's also great to know that even when things are not going well, sales still come in.
I expect April to be even lower than this figure, but hope to see a good rebound in May and more growth in June and beyond.
Fewer sales = fewer expenses. Not all bad!
This includes expenses for services, virtual assistant fees, affiliate commissions paid out, and various paid tools.
Total Profit: $14,852
This is still a very encouraging figure and if it becomes the new bottom line, it's far from bad.