July 2018 Side Hustle Income Report

July was another weak month. One of my Amazon listings got shut down for a little over a week because a customer ordered 7 of them and returned all of them. This hit Amazon's algorithmic quality score which means my listing got shut down. This is my #1 selling item on Amazon so it took out a big chunk of my earnings for the month.

My Amazon FBA business did $6.7k in sales and had an abysmal 10% profit margin. My niche websites brought in just over $800 which means this is the first month that my websites made more than my physical products business.

Here are the graphs for both businesses.  I'll break down each business/website in detail afterwards.

Amazon FBA Results

Amazon Affiliate Sales

Display Advertising Income

Amazon FBA Business - $6.7k in Sales, $659 in Profit

Ouch, July sucked. After my listing got shut down and I didn't catch it for 10 days it was too late to make any kind of comeback this month.

The worst part is my business is currently for sale on Empire Flippers. I originally listed at $63k which was $50k for the business and $13k for my inventory.

But after July I'm lowering the price to $40k. I think it's $28k for the business and $12k in inventory. I feel like this is a fair price and I know as a buyer on EF, I've been scared away from businesses in the past that took a sharp decline. It's really hard to sell if your business is in freefall so I need to get this fixed to have any hope of selling.

Another headwind is going to be long term storage fees which will hit on August 15th. Amazon charges you pretty high fees if you have inventory that's been sitting for 6 or 12 months which some of my products have.  

Since my sales volume is pretty low, like 10 units per day, and my minimum order quantity is 1,500 units, I have no choice but to buy 6 months worth of inventory every time I have to restock my inventory levels.

Amazon is projecting long term fees of $1,500 which would wipe out 2 months of profit. Cool.

Home/DIY Site - $421.95

June: $400.27

July: $421.95

My home site that I bought earlier this year is performing OK, not many changes. I didn't add any new content or make any updates to the site. 

I'm reinvesting the $400 per month that this site makes back into linkbuilding to try to increase my search traffic. 

When I first bought this site I poured about $4k into having a bunch of articles written so now it's just a matter of getting them to rank. Unfortunately I didn't have a very good SEO strategy back then and almost every article is just a review of a product. I think Google started to penalize my site for being too affiliate focused and I saw my rankings start to drop.

Hopefully the link building will start to kick in. I've seen about a 10% gain in search traffic but SEO takes a while so it's just going to be on hold and monitor for the next 3 months.

Software Website - $338

June: $576

July: $338

June was a lucky month for this site. On Prime Day, someone bought a $1700 laptop and I got a $50 ish commission just from that order.

Things have slowed down since then and my traffic has declined a little bit. I'm actually thinking about selling this site off because I don't know the niche at all and can't create more content.

The writers I've tried weren't very good because this software requires specialized knowledge.  I'm thinking about investing in some link building to see if I can get the traffic back up to where it was but other than that I won't be doing anything.

Outdoor Site - $28

June: $9.46

July: $28

This is the site I started from scratch earlier this year. I love the outdoors so I created a site in that niche even though it's super competitive.

I've been investing profits from my other side hustles into link building for this site and it has paid off in spades. On August 6th I had my first day of 100+ pageviews and the growth trajectory for this site is insane.

From May to June to July the pageviews/earnings have increased by 300% in every month. If this trend continues I'll be around $75 in August then around $200 in September.

I've cancelled my outsourced writers from Human Proof Designs and I've switched over to writing everything myself. I've been waking up at 5:45 AM every day and putting in 90 minutes of work every day into this site and it's starting to pay off.

I'm using the keyword research method detailed here and writing really good content.

The competitors on these keywords have articles that are 300-500 words long and maybe 1 picture. They're really lazily done and don't cover the topic very well.

The articles I'm creating are 2,000-4,000 words long with tons of pictures and comparison charts. The articles are really good and I'm getting an insane click through rate and conversion rate on Amazon.

The conversion rate for my 2 larger affiliate sites hovers around 5%. My outdoor site had a 17% conversion rate last month. I think this is because my articles are REALLY focused on the reader and going above and beyond to answer all of their questions.

Plans for August are to keep growing this site and creating more content. The bad part is that I'm the only one qualified to do this. I can't outsource it to other writers because they just don't care as much and will never be able to match my level of detail and knowledge.

But that's also my competitive advantage. Some of my competitors are making 100x as much money as me but their websites are horrible and the content is junk. If I can just stay persistent I'll pass them eventually.

This Site - $0

This site made $0 again. It got quite a few visitors this month, I think I'm averaging about 150 per day, but I hate ads. Like a lot. I don't want to plaster them all over my site to make $50 so I'm just not going to do it.

I added a reading list to the sidebar to show the books I'm reading right now. But those only get a few clicks and the commissions are peanuts on a $10 book.

The long term plan is to create a course that teaches people how to create their own affiliate sites from scratch. I really want to help people start their own side hustles and I get emails all the time from people who just seem lost on where to start.

But I can't do that until I've proven to myself that I can create and grow my own site from scratch. It's also a loooong process to create any type of course that's high enough quality to sell so for now I'm just putting my head down, creating content on my websites, and I'll sort this stuff out in 6 months.

Some links on this website may earn me a small commission if you click on them at no extra cost to you. For more information please click this text to see the full affiliate disclosure.

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