August 2018 Side Hustle Income Report

$9,845 in Revenue and Promising Growth

August was a good month overall, especially since I spent barely any time on my side hustles. I went on a 7 day backpacking trip to Isle Royale in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which wiped out a quarter of my month (1000% worth it and I made $314 while I was hiking, not bad!), my oldest kid started Kindergarten (?) and overall it was just a busy month.

For September I'm getting back on track, waking up at 5:30 AM everyday and putting in the grind to build up my outdoor website. But before I get too far head of myself, here's the breakdown:

  • Amazon FBA - $8,768 in revenue
  • Outdoor site - $78 in revenue
  • Software site - $553 in revenue
  • Home/DIY site - $559 in revenue

Amazon FBA Business - $8.8k in Sales, -$2 in Profit. 

Yep, I lost money on Amazon last month.  Despite my sales ticking up, I got hit with long term storage fees that cost me over $1,400. This means I was in the red last month on Amazon.

This is another reason I'm going to be exiting my current product line as a side hustle. My Amazon business is for sale on Empire Flippers (you can see it here) and I had a call with a prospective buyer yesterday. He owns his own warehouse which means he can bring product in and hold on to it before sending it to Amazon which would eliminate all of the long term storage fees.

Amazon charges these fees twice per year so this new buyer would have an extra $3k in profit right away and the business only makes about $12k per year as is. If this prospective buyer doesn't want to buy my business then I'll probably just sell through my inventory in Q4 and be done. I would net out about $15k and be able to walk away from all of my Amazon stuff debt free and with some money in hand to get my websites going even stronger πŸ™‚

Here's what the "profit" looked like from last month:

Plans for next month are....nothing. Hopefully this guy buys my business. I'm valuing it at 24x monthly profit plus cost of inventory.

So far this year it's averaged $1k per month in profit and the inventory is worth about $8k so that puts the fair value somewhere around $32k. Empire Flippers will take a 15% cut on the $24k (they don't take a cut of inventory) which would leave me with about $28k.

If he doesn't buy it, I'll sell through what inventory I have left which is about 1,500 units. I sell them for $17 each, Amazon takes a $7 fee and I average about $1 in advertising per unit sold which means I'd net $9 per product. Multiply that by my remaining Inventory and I'll end up with somewhere around $13k-$15k.

Outdoor Site - $78 in Revenue

This site is my favorite one because it's the one I started from scratch at the beginning of 2018. I'm finally hitting the growth phase where Google starts to show your website some love and you actually make money.

My revenue is tripling every month which is really motivating and makes waking up at 5:30 AM every day to work on it much easier.

Here's earnings from last month:

My earnings from previous months looks like this:

  • August - $78
  • July - $28
  • June - $9
  • May - $3
  • April - $0

The problem you see with most people who "fail" at creating websites is that they give up too early. Even now when I'm making $78 per month, it's still tempting to quit if you can't stay motivated.

I've put a LOT of time into building this website. My total earnings are just over $100 and I've worked at least 100 hours on this site. $1 per hour is hardly what anyone would consider "passive income" but the potential for this site in 1 year is huge.

Here's what the organic search traffic for this site looks like. 

It's been a steady climb and in August it hit an important milestone: my outdoor site gets more daily visitors than this website and my home/DIY site which I acquired for $12,000...

And it's easy to see why someone would give up. In the beginning stages you don't know what you're doing, you're creating content but getting no visitors and no traction. It's pretty disheartening. It took 6 months before I started to get more than 1 or 2 visitors per day and it's only gone up since then.

Here's a look at my total word count on this site. The graph shows how many words were published each month. This is a combination of my articles and the articles I outsourced to HumanProofDesigns.

Unfortunately the HPD articles just weren't that good. To be fair, I've hired writers on Upwork that I paid $60 per 1,000 words who had real world experience in this niche and they just weren't that great.

Nobody cares about my website as much as me and nobody will try as hard as me. For a really low competition keyword that shows 0 search volume in Google, I'll spend an hour researching it, 2 hours writing, and create a super in depth article that's 3,000 words long. You just won't get that from a hired writer and even if you do, the knowledge and research won't be in depth. They get paid per article or per word so their incentive is to crank content out; not spend tons of time researching.

Here's what my word count looks like for this site (so HPD articles are removed).

So yeah...August wasn't a great month for productivity. I think I published 1 article. I've already surpassed my entire August word count with the 1 article I published in September. 

This is why I consider websites to be passive income. I put in the lowest amount of work so far and had my highest earning month ever. Good stuff.

The plan for September is to get back on schedule waking up at 5:30 AM and cranking out content. My word count goal is 15,000 words which should be about 7 articles. This means I need to write 2 articles per week which is definitely achievable with what I've done so far.

The problem is creating content for my outdoor site takes away time from creating content on this site or working on link building. I think I need to build up a solid base of content on the outdoor site before I can transition to link building so I'll probably spend more time on that towards the end of this year.

Software Website - $554 in Revenue

Just like last month (and the month before) I didn't do anything on this site. I don't know the niche and can't create content for it so I'm not going to try.

Here's what the earnings looked like.

This website has really volatile earnings because the target isn't very targeted. Someone happened to land on my site right before they bought a $2,000 laptop so I got a nice commission. 

But for the most part, nobody is coming to this site to read a review on a product then buy it. The income from this site isn't reliable and swings month to month by several hundred dollars.

The ad revenue is a little more consistent but it's gone down a little since I started with display advertising in May. Not exactly sure what's causing it. There was a small decline in traffic but the $/1000 visitors has gone down from $9.50 to $7.75 or something in that range.

This site has had no link building done on it. The previous owner got a couple weak links from some forums but nothing huge that would help it rank higher.

I'm thinking about hiring some SEO services to build links to it. I think I could get a pretty significant traffic increase but haven't gotten around to prioritizing keywords and some of the other info these link building services require.

Home/DIY Site - 

The home site is struggling. I'm paying quite a bit of money every month for link building efforts but I'm not seeing much movement in the search rankings.

I think this has to do with when I acquired the site and paid about $4k to have a bunch of articles created. Every single article was "Best X" or "X review" and I think that made my site look unbalanced to Google. Too review heavy and not enough information means I can't get those pages to rank. 

I went through the articles to see which ones were performing well and which ones were not. There were 5 articles that got 0 traffic so I'm going to unpublish them and wait a little bit.

I'm also creating new articles that are purely informational and have 0 affiliate links. I might even outsource some of this to writers on Textbroker since I don't need it to be super high quality; it just needs to be readable enough to balance out my site's money page to informational page ratio.

Anyways, here are the earnings from last month.

This was actually a pretty solid month for earnings but about 25% of the earnings came from 1 day when someone ordered a bunch of products after clicking through a link on my site.

There isn't much I can do to control the earnings so I'm just going to focus on increasing the traffic and then the earnings will come as a result.

This Site

This site didn't make any money this month. I've added sidebar widgets that show books I'm reading right now with links to Amazon and I had 50 people click on them but no purchases. I'm not really expecting this site to make money for quite a while but might as well throw something out there and anything that comes in would be a bonus.

I only wrote a few articles in August for this site since it was such a busy month and with my focus being on my affiliate sites I don't think I'll have much time for creating content here.

I'd rather go out and do things on my affiliate sites and actually make money so I can come back and share what I learn with you. It always drives me nuts to see income reports from bloggers and their only income is from people who signed up to start a blog because they read their last income report....just feels gross.

One thing I am going to spend time on for this site is Pinterest. I just signed up for an awesome design program called Stencil which makes it really easy to create nice looking graphics for Pinterest.

I've used some other services before like Picmonkey, Canva, and RelayThat. Canva was my favorite and the main tool I've been using for the last few months. I decided to sign up and pay for Stencil because their templates are eye catching and they have more flexibility than some of their competitors. It's $9 per month and comes with free stock images and icons so it's easy to use and only takes me a few minutes to create Pinterest images.

If you want to stay updated on my side hustles, you can join my mailing list and get the ebook I made about starting your own side hustle selling physical products or building websites like I do here πŸ™‚

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  1. great update on your income! been reading your blog for a while now. Like you mentioned.. one of the most difficult thing to do is to stay motivated when the site is not getting enough traffic πŸ™

  2. Thanks for sharing this and wish you the best in selling your FBA website. I’ve sold a few websites in the past and with the exception of one, been pretty happy with the sale. The one site I was talking about? Wish I did not sell it. The buyer did not do anything with it. I even thought of buying it back. Ah..well that was seven years ago.

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