This is perhaps the most exciting income report I've written to date. For the first time in forever, I actually beat my income target, and I did it 9 months early.
Things have been going great since the start of the year, and even though I have this feeling like it's suddenly going to disappear, I'm starting to see a little consistency.
Updates For The Month
As I wrote about in this post, I made some changes to one of my Amazon sites and saw an instant return. On top of that, I also changed the way I handle article packages and the articles for the niche sites we build.
Team And Systems
I hired a dedicated copy-editor to essentially be the manager for all content creation. She's fantastic, and made my life easier right out of the gate.
We also hired about 6 new writers to cope with new orders and a better system. Unfortunately that has actually made our average delivery time longer in the short-term while new writers get up to speed, but in the long run there will definitely be a big improvement.
Having a manager is very important because one thing I struggle with is keeping track of projects. It's easy to assign articles to a writer and then pass them on to the web developer when they're done, but if I'm out or busy when I receive the email, I often forget that they're finished later.
I think one of the downsides to being involved in so many projects, and running so many services, is that I can very easily lose track of things. Management has never been my strong side, so it's important I find the right people to help with this.
So far so good.
Not only is the copyeditor a great manager, she's also a brilliant copyeditor too, and the quality of our articles has increased dramatically. She's been giving feedback to the writers too, who are improving in turn.
A few weeks from now, we should have a very solid team of writers who can write very quickly and to a higher quality than before, hopefully without taking up extra time or costs.
It's very easy to roll out new ideas and new services, but for the last few weeks I've been thinking more about “niching down” and removing some services. Here's a list of things I've stopped offering or will stop soon and their reasons:
– Expert Roundup Posts
Reason: Too much time involved and not enough demand from my audience. Better to leave this one (ironically) to the experts. Codrut Turcanu does a fantastic job with this service for those of you who might be interested.
– Niche Outreach Dossiers
Reason: Despite a glowing review from Perrin @ Nichepursuits and one or two other people interested, these never took off. Admittedly I never really promoted them either. I'm not pulling these just yet, but probably won't promote them either. There's a lot of work involved in making them really good.
Reason: I did some testing with mentoring in the past few months when people requested it, but decided the model didn't fit. I don't really have the time or systems in place to do as good a job as I hoped, and from the tests I did, it's hard to find the perfect candidate to mentor. A lot of people end up quitting regardless of the tutoring.
I love the idea of mentoring a group of people in the future, but not right now.
For my niche sites I basically have only been focusing on testing different CTA's for the one site I mentioned before. It's great to see the increased earnings from that, and I will spend the next few months trying to replicate it across several sites.
For the dual site case study, I am still working on it in the background. I just published a post from Tom Attenborough about his own dual site case study as well.
I'll give an update on my study in a few weeks.
Also, the six figure income project site is going ok. The progress has been slower than expected for all of us, but progress is progress and the site is still moving forward. I recently noticed that it appears to be leaving the Google Sandbox and some of its rankings have climbed dramatically.
Again, I'll do a full post updating on this soon.
As I love putting fingers in pies, there are a few other projects I'm involved in but not prepared or ready to share those yet.
My traffic goal for the end of 2015 is 10,000 monthly visitors. Here's how I did in March.
7,545 sessions and 5,323 unique users is still someway short of my 10,000 goal, but it's also good progress being made.
I'm happy with the average session duration, pages per session, and number of return visitors as well. It's always good to expose yourself to new audiences (67% of my traffic), but my business model relies on building trust and having 33% return visitors shows that people are coming back for more.
I got a lot of referral traffic from the following people:
A lot of my sales come from referral traffic, so I'm delighted to see a significant portion (23.5%) of traffic coming from referrals. Thanks to everyone for helping share the love.
I participated in an expert roundup post for FEInternational (which you can read here ), and this one was special. Thomas Smale organized the post so that people could vote for the best answer. The top 5 answers would be featured on entrepreneur.com!
With a lot of outreach and help from friends, I managed to finish in 1st place. I guess my answer was pretty good too.
It felt amazing to finish in the top 5, let alone win the thing! Thank you to everyone who voted.
The entrepreneur.com post is live too, but as it went live in April I will save talking about that for the next report.
So this is the best part of the update. Let's see how it went (I like to think that there's a drumroll going off in the background while you read this).
Affiliate income is only for my niche sites. It doesn't include affiliate commissions made by HPD.
Amazon: $446 (Told you there was a big increase!)
Google Adsense: $52
Dragondoor: $53 (This product was out of stock for about two weeks so I lost some sales).
Affiliate Income Total: $578
This was, as usual, the bulk of my income.
Ready-Made and Custom Sites: $3635 (There were 2 people who ordered bulk packages, but still a very good month).
Keyword Packs: $150
Long-Tail Pro: $30
HPD Total Income: $5487
Wow! Beat my end-of-year goal all by itself.
Other Total: $282
So how well did I do? Get that drumroll ready!
Grand Total March 2015: $6347
This is amazing! My end of year goal is $5,000 a month for HPD, and I hit it in March!
Will I pass 5,000 every month from here on in though? Probably not.
I'm more interested in consistency than anything else, so even though this month was definitely a success, I can't say that I've hit my goal until I've done it for a few months or until the average for a quarter passes $5,000 a month or something like that.
Speaking of quarters. Q1 has now ended and let's take a quick summary.
Quarter 1 2015 Summary
January 2015: $4,648
February 2015: $3,557
March 2015: $6,347
Q1 Total: $14,552
Truly blessed. This is almost as much as I made for the entire 2014.
One Final Update
Oh and of course I saved the best for last (March really was a good month wasn't it?).
On March 21st, 7 years to the day since I first met my girlfriend, I took her to the park where our relationship started formally 6 and a half years ago, and asked her to marry me.
Fortunately she said yes. 🙂
What a month!