June was one of the slowest months I've had with my side hustles in a long time. In general, things tend to slow down during the summer since more people are going outside and spending time away from the computer which means lower sales and lower affiliate commissions on my websites.
If you want to read last month's income report, you can check it out here.
I'm also in the process of selling my Amazon FBA business on Empire Flippers. I'll cover this in more detail once the sale is completed but my business is going to be listed for sale today with a $50k valuation + cost of inventory for a total of $64k. After broker fees I'll net around $50k then I'll have to pay about $15k in taxes.
I should end up with around $35k minus whatever I give up during negotiations which I'll be able to reinvest into my affiliate sites. I'll also be able to focus more time and attention on those sites to grow them since I won't be splitting focus between them and my Amazon business.
Alright, into the results.
Amazon FBA Business - $6.3k in Sales, $1.1k in Profit
June was one of my worst months I've ever had on Amazon since I first started selling 3 years ago. I'm not sure if it's just a slump overall or if my competition is increasing but my sales were about 30% lower than last month.
I've dropped the price on some of my slower moving products and increased my ad spend so hopefully this will pick back up. It's really bad timing because I'm going to sell the business off (hopefully) and the sales have started to decrease. This is a red flag for most buyers which means I'll either have a hard time finding a buyer or I'll have to accept a lower valuation on the business.
Either way I'm looking forward to getting this off my plate and doubling down on my affiliate sites. While I'll be selling off my existing Amazon businesses, I won't be getting out of the game entirely.
One of my affiliate sites is a perfect match for selling physical products so I'll be getting right back into Amazon FBA and some dropshipping with this new site.
Things have also gotten worse for this site. It got about 90% of it's traffic from 1 keyword and it ranked #1 for that search term. It now ranks somewhere around 4th or 5th which means it gets quite a bit less traffic.
Since I purchased this site, the traffic has gone down about 25%. Props to the previous owner for picking the perfect time to sell 🙂
To remedy this I'm investing about $400 per month into link building. Hopefully this pays off because right now that's about what the site is making each month. I've seen good results from this on one of my other sites which I'll talk about further down but I have high hopes for this working.
Just like last month, this site is going untouched. I don't know what to write about since I don't use this software and I couldn't find any good writers who knew about the topic so it's on cruise control.
It was monetized with the Amazon affiliate program but I also added in some ads. I used Google Adsense and was making $1 per day. I ended up using Ezoic which optimizes your ads and It's gone up to about $6 per day.
Here's what June looked like on this site. I spent $0 on link building, $0 on content, and spent 0 minutes managing the site.
Alright, I'm gonna talk a little bit more about this site because it's my baby. This is the start I created from scratch, with a brand new domain and no existing content/links.
The first article I posted to this site went live on 1/21/2018. It usually takes about 6 months to get out of the Google Sandbox so I'm expecting this site to start growing even faster in the next couple of months.
Last month this site made $3. In June it made $9.
One of the things I've struggled with is just creating more content. I have a list of keyword ideas a mile long but I've only written a handful of the articles I have on my list.
I've outsourced some of the article writing to Human Proof Designs. It's pretty expensive (about $60 per article), but they do the research on the topic, add relevant affiliate links, pick a featured image, upload everything to your site and schedule the date when it will go live.
The quality of the writing is hit or miss. Some articles are nice and well written while others sound totally fake and useless. Not sure how long I'll continue to use this service just due to the price. It's hard to justify spending $500 per month when the site isn't earning. But on the other hand it will never make money if I don't get the content created. Unless I'm willing to do it myself, I'll have to keep paying.
So....soon I will be doing it myself! I have a pretty hardcore Rocket League addiction (1,400 hours of play time in the last 2.5 hours). Instead of trying to battle between being productive and being lazy at night, I've decided I'll always be lazy at night. My only choice is to be productive in the morning.
I've switched my schedule to wake up at 5:45 AM every day and put in at least 90 minutes of work into my websites. I just started doing this last week and so far it's been AWESOME. I used to go to bed around midnight and wake up at 7:30 AM where I'd roll out of bed and rush to get ready and get to work. Having the extra time in the morning has made my days way less stressful and more productive. I'll cover this more in an upcoming post since I think it's one of the biggest changes I've made that's going to enable me to grow my website side hustles.
Anyways, back to this site. Another thing I've done is paid for some link building. This is only about $150 per month and I'm just getting a couple of links but the results have been really good. Here's what the organic search traffic on this site has looked like for the last 90 days:
If you go back and look at my Amazon earnings screenshot for each site, you can see the conversion rate. This is just the number of orders divided by the number of clicks to the Amazon site.
The outdoor site's conversion rate is significantly higher than the other two sites. This tells me that the articles I'm creating for the outdoor site are much more focused on buyer intent. I'm getting to people right before they make that purchase decision so I can get the final click over to Amazon and get the commission. The other two sites get a lot more traffic each month but their conversion rates are pretty bad, around 4%. Most of the visitors to those sites are still in the research phase and the products cost quite a bit more so I don't get as many orders.
The plan for next month is to spend more time creating content on the outdoor site. I've got a bunch of keywords I found using the Keyword Golden Ratio method. I don't know why every internet marketer has to invent their own phrase but whatever, it's a pretty good method and it works.
Basically you google a keyword idea and get the search volume. Then you add "allintitle:" to the beginning of that search term to see how many other sites are EXACTLY targeting that keyword in the title.
You want the search volume to be at least 4x higher than the allintitle number. If it's 4x or higher, that means it's relatively low competition.
I've published posts on 2 keywords I've found using this method and I've already made 1 sale on Amazon in the first week of that post going live so there's definitely some merit to this method. I'll talk about it in more detail in an upcoming post with some examples.
This site didn't make any money this month. I'm not really trying to make a lot of money on this site right now so I've been focusing on informational content.
Since I started waking up early I've been able to dedicate more time to writing. That resulted in my mega guide to FIRECalc which I published last week. This article was 8,500 words long and was 57 pages when I put it into a PDF.
I've got a bunch of articles lined up for this site, it's just a matter of getting them written. Splitting my time between this site and my outdoor site means I'm always having to choose one over the other which is really hard. I also need to do some outreach to other personal finance sites and try to get some links to my article on FIRECalc to get it to start ranking on the 1st page of Google so I can get some traffic.
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 🙂
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Thanks for the shout out for the keyword golden ratio. Hmmm, it’s cool to make up a name for stuff. 🙂 But I totally see your point.
Great update! Keep up the hard work!
The name is actually pretty catchy and more importantly, this method works REALLY well. Here’s the first article I used the KGR method on. Published this 30 days ago and built 0 backlinks. This site is 6 months old and this page is already bringing in traffic.
I’m seeing a ton of great web entreprenership here – and no traditional investing in stocks or bonds. These are proven ways of making side income, why nothing like that here?
I find it boring to write about. I max out my 401k and put it into index funds, not much to say there. I think anyone with a solid white collar career will be able to do the same thing and there are a lot of people that are way better at writing about that stuff than me. I want to help people start their own side hustles so they can save even more money for retirement.
That’s awesome and very useful – I keep seeing Amazon on different finance blogs as a side hustle… I need to pull the trigger!
Hey Jim, congrats on selling the FBA, sounds like an awesome return!
Great content, It is hard to find case studies like this one sharing factual experiences by using numbers and real data. I believe it is an inspiration for many people in affiliate marketing.