So I've been travelling a lot in the last two months (a week in Thailand in May, and two weeks in the UK in June – where I am now) and one thing that has slacked has been my posting on the site.
Here I am, contemplating a podcast (more on that later), and I can't even stick to a decent posting schedule.
Admittedly, part of my issue with posting is that I don't have a clear list of posts in my head, so starting from July, I'm going to write down a list of all the posts I need/want to write every month. That worked for me a year ago, so it's time I got back on it.
And as another month slides by, I realize I need to write the MAY income report, with July knocking on the door like a madman.
With that in mind then, let's get on and see how I did.
May In A Nutshell
May was definitely a mixed bag.
The first few weeks of the month were slow, and I was feeling the full force of the “feast/famine” aspect of the industry. Some weeks you're inundated with orders and barely keeping on top of things, and other weeks there's nothing but crickets.
I spent a large part of May thinking about different ways to negate this part of the business, and here's what I came up with:
- Affiliate Program
- Outreach/Guest posting campaign
- PPC Ads
- More consistent posting
- Better ready-made site system.
Having people promote me means I should get a constant stream of referrals coming in. Of course, my profit would be less but as I'd done nothing to earn those sales, it's only fair.
I did put this into action slightly and have got a couple of affiliates that are going to or have already promoted me in June. One thing I wanted to make sure was that my affiliate program was invitation only, as I'm not keen on having a bucket load of affiliates writing reviews for my service when they've not even used it.
I also don't have the capacity for a sudden influx of orders either, so this is something I need to roll out over time and work closely with affiliates on.
If you're interested in being an affiliate, get in touch here, but bear in mind it is quite exclusive right now.
Guest Posting/Outreach Campaign
One thing I've noticed is that whenever I guest post on someone else's site, or whenever someone else gives me a mention, a few orders come my way. In fact, referral traffic has traditionally converted the best of all sources.
You'd think then that I would focus all my time on guest posting and outreach, but it's not that simple.
As Gael Breton pointed out in his AWESOME post here, with a service business, the more promoting you do, the busier you become with your customers, and the less promoting you do as a result.
The only way to beat this is to take on more staff and outsource more of the customer work, so I am free to maintain the outreach campaigns.
This is something I've been working on a lot in June, and pretty much all of 2015.
Ask I ask my friends repeatedly, if anybody knows a good way of cloning myself, let me know.
Not something I've started yet but it makes sense with my business model I think. I just need to improve a few things and set up some tracking and I'll hit this later in the year.
I'll hit it with a big hammer..and maybe a credit card.
More Consistent Posting
Well, I pretty much covered this in the introduction to this post. Needs to be done.
While we're on the topic, I've been thinking about starting a podcast. This is because:
a.) It gives me an opportunity to reach more people.
b.) It gives me more connection with my audience.
c.) It allows me to teach people more easily.
d.) I always thought pod casting would be pretty cool and the “end-game” for any blogger.
My only real issue right now is deciding exactly what kind of content to cover on the podcast, as I'd need to have a pretty clear path ahead of me before starting.
Better Ready Made Site System
This section gets its own H2 tag because it's a big part of my income report.
For months and months I've been thinking about ways to improve my ready-made site systems.
With custom sites, there's no limit to how many I can make, because people pay upfront and I can therefore pay the writers immediately.
With ready-made sites, as I'm building them first, there's always been an issue of me only being able to release 5-10 at once. The initial idea (or hope) with these was that they would get more popular, so I'd have more cash on hand and could scale it that way.
The problem is that most people want more choice, and more sites up at any given time. Also, if I am dedicating 10-20 writers at a time to working on these sites, my custom site customers might have to wait, which isn't an option given that they pay in advance.
As you can see, it wasn't a great system.
Still, more and more people were joining my waiting list and emailing me asking when the next sites would be available, so I had to do something.
Eventually, I had one of those lightbulb moments and decided to do something different.
I said to myself…what if I just chose the topics for the sites…then did the keyword research…then calculated the earnings potentials…then put all of that online for sale with a “build me this site” button.
Instead of building the site first, I'd be showing the site's potential, and letting 1 person commission the site.
It's a subtle change, but the difference was huge. It meant I could release as many sites as I could find, without having to fork out the creation expenses upfront. It also meant people could see the site potential in advance.
It was great for those who didn't know what niche they wanted, but were happy to wait a few weeks for a site.
Basically, it was the best of all worlds.
I released 10 of these sites on the final Friday of the month, and had sold 8 of them by Monday.
A new way of selling ready-made sites (I guess they should be called “ready-made niches” was born.
You might think that doing it this way makes sense, and someone even called it genius, but I honestly had no idea how it was going to pan out (and I still don't really), so it was a great relief to see it was so popular.
It also saved my month, making me hit $5k+ for the third month in a row. Oops..spoiler alert!
On that note, let's take a look at how my income panned out in May.
May 2015 Income Breakdown
As usual, we'll start with the affiliate income from my niche sites. This isn't growing as rapidly as I hoped, but several of my niche sites have had good ranking boosts in the last couple of months, so hopefully the earnings will follow suit.
So Amazon keeps growing, as does Clickbank, but Dragondoor and Adsense are slowly dying off. I'm happy with that though.
Affiliate Total: $569
Human Proof Designs Income:
Niche Website Building: $1999
Most of this came at the end of the month as a result of my change in ready-made sites.
SEO Article Service: $606.5
Good to see these becoming more popular and getting a good amount of repeat customers.
SEO/Link Building: $297
HPD Affiliate Commsisions:
Wealthy Affiliate: $458.5
The Hoth: $692
Thrive Themes: $43.5
Various other online income that didn't really fit into either category.
Grand Total: $5218
Just about scraped past the $5,000 mark with a strong finish at the end of the month.
Actually this was pretty substantial because hitting $5k 3 months in a row was an end-of-year goal for me, so hitting it as early as the March – May period was really surprising and fantastic. It also means that even in a relatively slow month I was able to earn money.