Welcome to the Online Income Lab’s December 2011 monthly income report!
Like in pastÂ income reports, in this report, Iâ€™m going to share with you the key activities that I undertook this month, what worked and what didnâ€™t.
If this is your first time reading one of my income reports and you are wondering why I publish them, the reason is that I believe in being super transparent in my business.
I’ve never professed to be an internet marketing guru. Instead, I’m just a guy who blogs about everything he’s trying online. Sometimes I hit a home run. Some times I totally strike out. Regardless, its all here for you to see. (given my background in running an outsourcing business, one could make a case that I’m something of a guru when it comes to outsourcing)
My hope is that by sharing what I’m doing with you, I might save you from making some of the dumb mistakes that I’ve already made, as well as to inspire you to take some massive action of your own.
When you are first starting out, learning how to make money online, either from Adsense, affiliate income, or sales of your own product, can be incredibly difficult – however, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you will see that success can be yours if you are willing to follow a plan, stay focused, and work your ass off. So, with that said, lets dive in!
KeyÂ ActivitiesÂ in December
Disclosure: many of the links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you click them and then buy the product. If you do, I really appreciate it and am very happy to answer any questions about how to use these products.
December was yet another smoking busy month….at least up to December 23 when I took off back to Canada for a holiday with family and friends.
New Niche Sites
Guess how many I launched this month? 20? 30?
Nope…this month I didn’t launch a single site! This wasn’t what I set out to do, however I hit a few snags along the way. Thankfully, the niche sites that I launched last two months are starting to rank and earn money.
First, my VA got sick, then he got engaged (and in India, this means a week long party), then he got in a car accident, then he went on vacation, and near as I can tell, he’s not come back.
Given that I now have an entirely new team of VAs at my disposal (as do NSM members), I’m not overly worried that he’s go AWOL.
Video Tycoon Niche Site
My new video tycoon niche site made a fair amount of progress this month. The 15 articles are now live on the site and its ranked 4th in Google. The only link building I’ve done so far has been:
My site is in row 4 and the URL is my-keyword-with-dashes.com. So much for not being able to rank with dashes in your keyword!
There is definitely much more work to be done, and I’d hoped that it was going to be done by now, however, between Christmas holidays and a pregnancy, my Utah-based VA just couldn’t get it all done just yet.
In January, I expect that she’ll have her work done and then I’ll finish the sales page and the Aweber autoresponders. As soon as thats done, I expect that sales of the $77 product will start coming in as the list is already growing nicely.
Even more impressive than the list growth is the optin rates of the forms. Check out the post footer’s conversion ratio. I’ve never had a form do 13.7% before! This just tells me that there is a very strong appetite in this niche for the product that I’m creating. Hopefully, I’m right
Niche Site Mastery’s NEW Beta VA Service
Over the last few month’s I’ve done quite a bit of one-on-one coaching with Niche Site Mastery members, and during that time, I learned that finding a good VA was something that was proving to be a challenge for many of my members; despite my providing the exact set of instructions I’d used to find mine.
It was with that thought in mind that I started to wonder about creating a complete “Done for You” VA service for NSM members. Was it going to be a good idea or a total stinker?
I wasn’t sure, so the first thing I did was put up a video explaining how I thought it would work.Â Much to my delight, NSM members were extremely keen and quick to give me a TON of feedback.
After taking their feedback into account and thinking through as much of the workflow as I could, I launched the program on Friday December 16th at about 3pm PST.
Now, before I share the results, I should point out the launching anything on a Friday afternoon is NOT a good idea; however, as I only wanted 20 members, I thought it would be a good time to launch.
To get into the program, a member would be paying $77/month plus $428 for 10 websites. That meant a total up front fee of $505 with the monthly fee continuing for as long as they remain a member.
Given the sheer volume of “let me in now!” comments I’d received leading up to the launch, I wasn’t very surprised when it sold out in just 90 minutes. I’m sure you’ve already done the math, but 22 signups worked out to $11,110 in just 90 minutes.
Suffice to say, it was a nice Friday afternoon
Since then, I’m happy to say that things have gone more or less as I’d hoped. The VA team is working their way through building 440 websites and the members, for the most part, appear to be quite happy with having all the work “done for them” while saving a lot of money in the process.
As membership included access to software that, on its own, costs $268/month, there is a pretty significant financial benefit to membership, so it is my hope that members will remain members for a longer period of time than if they were only getting access to training material.
Long time readers, if they were paying close attention, might have noticed my mention of this project in the past. After close to a year of roadblocks, delays, code -re-writes, etc…my partner and I are getting fairly close to launching this groundbreaking service.
As the site is currently sitting on a development service, I am only going to show you a static screenshot of the home page, along with the first iteration of the video that is on the home page.
GiftSimply will be totally free to use and will generate affiliate revenue anytime a user purchases a product via one of the emails we send out.
Here’s how it works. You sign up and suggest your friends & family do the same.
As its totally free and makes gift giving way easier, we’re hoping word of the service will spread virally quite quickly.
Next, anytime a friend or family member has a birthday (or any special date you choose), the GiftSimply gift recommendation engine (this is the thing that was so tough to code) looks at their facebook profile and then recommends gifts to you that they will mostly likely enjoy.
You pick the gift you want to send, pay for it and checkout just as you normally would, and as it was us that sent you to Amazon, BestBuy, or wherever, we get an affiliate commission.
Here’s the thinking from a math standpoint…suppose that each user buys $200 worth of gifts a year and we get 6% of their spend as an affiliate. That means that each user is worth about $12 a year to us.Â The best part is that it will be totally passive income because we are not involved in the sale, customer service, shipping, returns, etc…
Now start thinking about a million users. How about 5 million users? As you can see, the numbers could get REALLY BIG, really fast. Of course, I could be totally wrong, and it could totally flop!
Look for more updates in the weeks ahead and maybe you can become one of our beta testers.
November was a very busy month for podcasts with a total of 3 episodes being produced
Here is a list of this past month’s episodes:
- Session 015: An Interview with Adam Dicker on Making BIG Money with Domains
- Session 016: An Interview with Matt Kadish on How to Ace Your Google Quality Score
- Session 017: An Interview with Justin and Joe of AdsenseFlippers.com
November was also a busy month for new blog posts with a total of 15 posts being published. Phew!
Of them, several stood out in terms of getting a lot of comments. The 3 most popular posts were:
- Teaching vs Doing: Which is Better?
- A Disturbing Google Trend
- Discover Why a Guy Called Me Up and Gave Me $100,000
- Total: $592
- Last Month: $653
- Difference: $61
- Down 9%
- Total: $592
- Other Adsense Sites
- Total $227
- Last month: $141
- Difference: $86
- Up 61%
- Total $227
- Affiliate Earnings
- Amazon: $51
- Backlink Battleplan: $29
- Bluehost: $1,260
- Hostgator: $2,325
- Long Tail Pro: $154
- Misc: $1,273 (mostly Chris Guthrieâ€™s WSO)
- Niche Video Tycoon: $212
- oDesk: $100
- SECockpit: $1,381
- SimplyPLR: $233
- Unique Article Wizard: $324
- Total: $7,342
- Last Month: $5,779
- Difference: $1,653
- Up 29%
- Niche Site Mastery
- Total: $14,281
- Last Month: $2,387
- Difference: $11,894
- Up 498%
- Total: $14,281
- Total: $5,000
- Last Month: $0
- Difference: $5,000
- Total: $5,000
- Gross Total in December
- Total: $27,442
- Last Month: $8,910
- Difference: $18,532
- Up 208%
- Total: $27,442
- Expenses: $10,792
- My largest expense this month was the cost of the 220 websites that the VA team is building for Niche Site Mastery members. Aside from that, there was hosting, advertising, my own Vas, software subscriptions, cell phone, internet connection, travel, content development, domain registrations, and a new remote control mouse for my cat Maverick.
- Net Income (before taxes) in December: $16,650
As you can see, this was an abnormally large month; primarily due to the launch of NSM’s ‘Done for You’ VA service and the one-time consulting fee. If you subtract those two income streams, the gross income would have been $11,324.
As I pointed out in this post, teaching others how to make money online has made a significant contribution to my income and I am extremely grateful for the support that you all give me when you purchase a product through one of my affiliate links or decide to become a member of Niche Site Mastery.
As I have always said from the start, I’m not an internet marketing guru; I have just chosen to share with the world what I’m up to, the mistake that I make, and the lessons that I’m learning. Any of you could do the same if you really wanted to.
Going forward, I will continue to build niche sites to make money from Adsense as well as my own video courses (that have nothing to do with making money online). I will also continue to promote Niche Site Mastery and makes its ‘Done for You’ VA service the best that it can possibly be. In doing so, I will derive revenue from teaching, however, I suspect the revenue generated from sales of completed sites will far outstrip the revenue from the monthly subscription.
And finally, if I’m really lucky, Giftsimply will be so successful that it dwarfs absolutely everything I’ve done so far
Lessons Learned in December
As was astutely pointed out by one of my readers, I have a LOT on my plate these days. Probably too much, in fact.
While this idea has been lurking in the back corners of my brain for while, it was brought to the forefront by a conversation with a mentor of mine when he asked me, “what is stopping you from taking your business to the next level?”
The answer was obvious: I needed help.
While virtual assistants are awesome, they can’t do everything. For example, lets have a look at some of the things that currently consume my time and with how much time they take each week:
- email (10 hours)
- blog comments (1 hour)
- forum moderation (1-2 hours)
- NSM support tickets (2-3 hours)
- managing my VAs (1-2 hours)
- content creation for NSM (2-4 hours)
- Blog posts (6-8 hours)
- learning (4 hours)
- networking (don’t have enough time for this)
- product creation (5-10 hours)
- podcast creation and post production (2-3 hours)
- video creation and post production (5-10 hours)
- bookkeeping (1-2 hours)
At the low end, the list above consumes 40 hours a week and that assumes that I’m working with 100% efficiency, which is totally unrealistic. At the hight end, there is 60 hours a week of work to do, and if I tried to do that every week, I’d burn out.
There are a number of the things above that an EA could take ownership of. They include:
- NSM support tickets (requires access to my Paypal/Clickbank accounts)
- managing my VAs and niche sites
- expansion of my Youtube channel (tons of opportunity here)
- Flippa auction management
- video and podcast post production
This list above is just a start and over time, I’m sure I’ll figure out more to add to it.
The one thing that I know for sure is that I should be spending my time on only the activities with the highest return. That would include; niche research, product creation, content creation, and networking. Everything else needs to be done by someone else if I’m every to surpass $1M per year like I did with my last business.
Measuring My Progress
I have a great many things that I want to accomplish in January. Before I get to that, however, I want to share with you how I did versus my December goals.
- Build at least 30 new niche sites – fail
- Finish my video course (not quite done, but close!)
- Earn gross income of at least $10,000 for the month – achieved
- Publish 2 more podcasts – achieved
- Record more videos for my Youtube Channel (be sure to subscribe to get them delivered right to your inbox) – achieved
Goals for January
- Finish my first video course (like what Nate is doing)
- Publish 2 more podcasts
- Hire an executive assistant and lease a (very) small office for us to work in so I can get my life back in balance and focus on high value activities
- Increase Adsense income from new sites by at least 30%
- Earn gross income of at least $20,000 for the month
- Launch a new WSO on the Warrior Forum
As always, I’m extremely grateful to all of my readers for helping to make this happen. Without you, none of this success would be possible, so please accept my big fat THANK YOU!