How I Side Hustled My Way to $3,225 Last Month – Income Report for May 2018

May was a good month for my side hustles.  I've been shifting my focus away from Amazon FBA and more towards affiliate sites.  This means I'll be putting in more hours but not seeing the results right away. It takes a while for Google to move you up in the rankings so it will be at least 3-6 months before I really start seeing that pay off.

Here's the breakdown this month for each side hustle.  I'll go into more detail below for each one:

  • Amazon FBA - $9.5k in sales and $2.2k in profit
  • Software Niche Site - $514 in profit
  • Home Niche Site - $427 in profit
  • Outdoor Niche Site - $3 in profit
  • This site - $1 in profit (😊)

My Amazon business is still bringing in the bulk of the profit.  Right now I'm basically reinvesting all of the Amazon FBA profit into growing my affiliate sites. I've outsourced some article writing and link building which is about $700 per month total.  

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Amazon FBA Results

My Amazon business is humming along but slightly declining.  Competition is increasing every day and there isn't much I can do about it.  I've culled some of the products I offered that weren't selling very well so I'm going to end up with just a couple of products for sale.  My Amazon business should be able to maintain $6k-$9k per month in sales with no effort and I've got about a 20% margin on that so I won't complain.

All of the profit from this business is going to be reinvested into growing my affiliate sites. I see them as being more stable in the long term since Amazon is getting so competitive. Every day there are more and more new sellers popping up and the competition from Chinese manufacturers is through the roof. It's just too easy for your own factory or one down the road from your supplier to copy your product and throw it up on Amazon. It's actually gotten so bad I've become a little hesitant to shop on Amazon because almost everything is "private label" which usually means the person selling it has never even physically touched the product before. This is causing a lot of quality problems and has made Amazon a worse site as a customer.

I may attempt to sell my Amazon business off.  Making $2k per month means it would be worth about $50k if I sold it, minus 15% broker fees and 15% capital gains taxes would leave me with $35k or so.

Home/DIY Website

My Home/DIY site has been a little disappointing.  After spending about $3,000 on additional content to be written, I've actually seen a slight drop in earnings.  Google rolled out some type of ranking update on May 7th and I saw a traffic drop because of that. I think it had something to do with most of my new posts being review content with affiliate links so my site may have looked spammy to Google or something.

I have all of the content created that I needed to target the low competition keywords I found so now I'm shifting my focus to link building.  I'm paying an SEO company to build some links to the site and I'm expecting a nice uptick in rankings and search traffic.  I use them for my outdoor site as well which is brand new and has seen a boom in traffic.  

Here's the Amazon affiliate earnings for the Home site from May:

Software Website

The software site has basically been untouched.  I don't know how to use this software and I tried to hire people on Upwork that were experts and got 0 applications. This site is basically going to be on autopilot while I try to optimize it for conversion and increase the monthly income.  Once I get that dialed in and have 12 months of history I'll probably sell it off.  

This is an important lesson: Don't buy a website in a niche that you know nothing about. I get emails from people a couple times a week asking me questions and I just don't know how to answer them. I have no expertise in this area and the site isn't going to grow. This wasn't a very wise purchase but I don't think I'll lose money on it since I was able to increase the income.

Previously the owner was monetizing the site through Amazon affiliate links and selling an ebook. I took the ebook and offered it for free in exchange for people signing up to my email list. My plan is to start marketing higher end affiliate offers to the mailing list once it gets built up a little more. There are some pretty good courses in this niche that could earn $50+ in commission.

In addition to optimizing the articles with the highest traffic, I installed Adsense on the site and started testing with Ezoic. Ezoic is basically a service that automatically tests and optimizes your Adsense ad placement.

In the month since I started with Ezoic I've seen my income go from $30 per month to $200 per month with no extra effort. Of course, there are more ads on my site but it doesn't seem too bad and I haven't gotten any complaints about it from the users.

Here's the graphs showing Amazon affiliate income and Ezoic/Adsense earnings for the month.

Outdoor Website

This site is my baby.  I started it from scratch with a brand new domain, 0 articles, 0 links. I hired a couple of writers to create some content and I also wrote a couple of my own articles.

But I had a problem. The articles from my writers just felt too bland. There wasn't much personality in them and they weren't really compelling to read. If I came across this article in my research I would probably just close the page and go somewhere else.

So I changed up my strategy. I'm writing my own reviews and they're SUPER in depth. This month I published a huge article where I bought 4 different products and actually tested them out. I took real pictures with my phone in my front yard and the article looks very trustworthy. It's also over 4,000 words long which you'll never get from an outsourced writer.

But all of this content is worth nothing without links. I've found an online/SEO marketing company that will build links to my site and I've seen some good results.  My organic search traffic has increased from about 1 person per day to 10 people per day just in the last 4 weeks. 

Hopefully with the combination of my new, awesome content and the links that are being built I'll start to see some more traffic coming in.

This website is my main focus and the site I'll be working on for the next couple of years at least. My goal is to get to at least $10k per month with just this site. Here's the results for May, as pathetic as they may be. But it is inspiring to see the first drops of revenue coming in!

This Site

I've changed my strategy on this site to focus on keywords that people are actually searching for. Novel concept right? In the past I mostly just wrote about topics I wanted to write about which were more or less stories from things I was testing with trading options and selling stuff on Amazon.

Since then I've used Ahrefs to compile a list of keywords and I've started targeting these keywords to get more search traffic. Some of the articles I wrote this month have already started ranking on the first page in Google and I've seen a huge boost in traffic.  Here's an example of the articles I wrote this month that target some low competition keywords that I knew I'd be able to rank for. I took several hours to write these articles and I think they're the better than most other articles out there which should translate into high search rankings by Google and tons of search traffic:

These articles are different because they're answering questions that people are asking.  I'm shifting my mindset around the articles I write to focus on helping people solve their problems. So far it seems to be working well and I'm going to implement it on all of my sites; creating the best content out there that answers people's questions.

I also got a feature in the Rockstar Finance daily newsletter last month which resulted in a big influx of traffic, about 2,000 visitors over the course of 4 days to this article

A couple of people clicked on the link in that article that went to Amazon and they ended up buying a book so I netted a cool $1 in commissions 🙂

I don't really have a strong desire to monetize this site right now and I'm not going to plaster it with ads so it basically makes no money.  Here's the Amazon affiliate graph showing my earnings for last month:

Plans For June

I'm planning to create more content for my outdoor site by buying products and reviewing them. I really enjoy doing this and I found it super easy to write 4,000+ words on a single topic. Since it's so easy to do and converts really well into Amazon income I'm going to double down on it and experiment with some more product reviews.

The other sites I've acquired are basically going to be on autopilot since I need to focus my time and energy into one thing and the one with the highest potential is my outdoor site.

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