Hey! By the way… This blog earns money via affiliate marketing – meaning that I earn commissions when you purchase a product or service after clicking a link on this site. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank YOU in advance – I really appreciate it.
Welcome to my [Dumb] Passive Income Report! This blog is all about what I am doing to create several different passive income streams. This monthly income report details my results. I work very hard and dedicate many hours each week to working on my different online endeavors in an attempt to create passive income. So why do I consider it passive income then? Because I am not trading specified amounts of time for a predetermined amount of money like I do at my day job. Most of the income you will see in this report results from work I have done in the past.
Why am I sharing my income publicly? Hopefully to gain credibility with you (the readers) and to maintain a certain degree of accountability for myself. I could blog all day long about what I am doing to create passive income online, including some of my unique strategies. But why would anybody trust me and believe that what I am doing works if I don’t prove it by sharing my results? This is what I mean by gaining credibility and this is one of the main purposes for sharing my income. I also share my failures on the blog, which holds me accountable. Knowing that I will be publishing a monthly income report will keep me motivated to keep pushing forward and plugging away on the things I need to do to create future passive income.
Happenings in July
Some Personal Stuff
July was a typical fun summer month here in Michigan. My family and I spent some quality time enjoying some of the beaches here in West Michigan. Both on the big lake (Lake Michigan) as well as on one of the inland lakes that is closer to our home. My kids think they are fish and would spend all day every day in the water if we let them!
My entire family has been watching a TV series called, “Naked & Afraid,” where a man and a woman are inserted into remote locations with no clothes, no food and no water and they must figure out how to survive. As a result of watching this show, my boys have become obsessed with survival skills and tools. As a result of that – I got to spend 24 hours in the woods with my boys “surviving.” We were not naked though and we did bring food and water and a tent. But that day and night that we spent in the woods was definitely one of the highlights for my boys for this entire summer so far! Both of them just spent some of their birthday money on machetes and knives, including this really cool Bear Grylls survival knife that my 8-year old bought.
July marked another month where my niche site income grew. And honestly, I didn’t really do anything to improve the sites that are getting traffic and earning. Most of my niche site work lately has been focused on my newest site. You can see both my Adsense and Amazon earnings in my income numbers below, as well as in these screenshots. Both of these earnings increased a little bit over last months earnings! With both of those, plus some affiliate income on one of my niche sites – I earned a little over $800 in July from niche sites. Pretty much 100% passive income!
I’ve come to realize that I really need to get more links pointing to my niche sites in order to get them to rank better and start earning much more. I am earning FAR below my potential on pretty much all of my niche sites. None of them are ranking well for their high-volume keywords. Most traffic comes from long tails. If I focus more of my efforts on link building and start to rank for some of the bigger keywords – I know my earnings would sky-rocket. Both Adsense and Amazon earnings. If only there were an ‘easy button’ to do this for me.
Screenshot for Amazon earnings is included over there on the right. I can’t seem to find a good way to get an Adsense screenshot and make it small and legible. So here is a big ugly screenshot below for my Adsense earnings.
Weird Things Purchased from Amazon that I Didn’t Promote
One of the greatest features of the Amazon Associates affiliate program is the fact that they credit you for ANY purchase made by somebody who clicks over to Amazon from one of your affiliate links. For example – I might have a niche site that promotes dog cages (I don’t) and somebody might click on one of my dog cage links to learn more about it and possibly purchase it from Amazon. But while they are on Amazon, they get caught up in Amazon’s marketing genius and end up purchasing other items as well. Maybe they don’t even purchase the dog cage. But since they clicked over to Amazon via my affiliate link – I will get credit for anything they purchase in the next 24 hours!
It’s fun and easy to go into my Amazon stats and browse through all of the items that people purchased after clicking through via my links. Here are a few items that people purchased last month that I absolutely did not promote and that have nothing to do with any of my niche sites…
- Handheld Electric Milk Frother – I actually have one of these at home and use it all the time to stir drinks!
- Westinghouse Harmony Two-Light 48-Inch Two-Blade Indoor Ceiling Fan
- Survivor Filter® – LIFETIME WARRANTY* Water bottle – might need to grab one of these for our survival gear collection!
- Hikvision Fixed Focal Lens Dome Camera HD Waterproof Security Network
July was an awesome month for affiliate sales from this blog – my best month ever!! Much of that affiliate income came from three main sources, which I will explain briefly.
Long Tail Pro
In case you weren’t aware, there was a huge sale on Long Tail Pro during the month of July to coincide with the official launch of version 3 of the software. I knew I needed to promote that sale to my blog audience here – but definitely did not plan ahead for that promotion like I should have. I thought maybe I would just send out an email blast to my email list and let them know about the sale.
Instead, I quickly threw together this post about Long Tail Pro version 3, on the morning that the sale started. And I mean I very quickly threw it together. All I did was wrote a few paragraphs, inserted some of Spencer’s videos and added some nice buttons (like the one below). I hit publish and emailed my list and then became completely overwhelmed at how many sales I made during the week-long promotion which featured a massively discounted sales price. A little over $1,400 worth of sales commissions for me!
RankXL Niche Site Course
I first promoted this course in June, through an unconventional method of promoting something. Instead of writing your typical product review post (I’m seeing a ton of those exploding around the internet for this course now) – I went the other direction and wrote this post…
I really didn’t expect it to do very well. But I was pleasantly surprised when I made a handful of sales in June and then sales just kept rolling in throughout the month of July! To the tune of a little more than $600 in commissions for me! And that happened in July with very little promotion for that post by me. Just organic traffic to this blog that happened to stumble onto that post. Love the passive income man!
This is the suite of software tools that I use to find products to promote on my Amazon niche sites (and much more). I explain exactly how I use it (with videos) in a couple of my older posts on this blog. But both of these posts continue to get lots of traffic and I usually sell several copies of AmaSuite each and every month as a result. The posts are listed below. Plus – it doesn’t hurt that an exclusive discount offer is included if buyers purchase via my affiliate link ($100 off if you choose the one-payment plan)!
- Getting Started with Amazon Niche Sites – How to Find Profitable Niches and Limitless Keywords
- How to Find Profitable Keywords for Amazon Affiliate Sites
Selling Stuff on Amazon
Again, neither my wife nor I have done absolutely anything towards our selling on Amazon business for several months now. Despite doing absolutely nothing, we still have several thousand dollars worth of inventory in Amazon warehouses waiting to be purchased.$2,508.11 left in inventory as of the end of July. The month of July was pretty slow for Amazon sales for us at just under $200.
Much of the inventory we have left is stuff that we probably should not have bought in the first place. It’s not selling and is just sitting in Amazon warehouses eating up money in storage fees. We pretty much have to chalk it up as beginner mistakes. Eventually, we’ll have to get the inventory that’s not selling sent back to us and figure out what we’re going to do with it.
I made one or two feeble attempts last month to try to source more inventory – but didn’t have any luck in the clearance areas at the stores that I tried. Again, we might revisit this business model this fall – just in time for the holiday buying season. We’ll see. It sure seemed like it was a lot easier to find all those great deals and sales right before and during the holiday buying season. Feel free to grab my free guide by clicking the button below to see exactly how we find items to sell on Amazon.
Motivation and Learning from Others
I do my best each month to stay up-to-date and informed with all that is going on in the world of internet marketing. I follow several blogs and podcasts and take part in a few public and private groups and communities on Facebook and Google+. I haven’t always been great about linking to others on this blog – so this section of my income report will be dedicated to that each month. Here is some of the best stuff that I came across last month that either motivated me, taught me something or caused me to take action…
- http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/simple-content-promotion/ – this is a post written by Chris Lee and published on Matthew Woodward’s very popular blog. It’s a step-by-step guide on how to promote content and get links through outreach. Really great post and I’ve tried some of the techniques already. Planning on getting a process in place in order to hire a VA to do this for my niche sites.
- http://www.mymoneydesign.com/lifestyle/philosophy-motivation/cancer-update-the-battle-is-won/ – one of my long-time blogging friends, DJ (known as MMD), has won his battle with cancer! Throughout his battle, DJ has kept up with his blogging and niche sites – and even published his first few Amazon Kindle books in the personal finance arena. Definitely check out his blog if you haven’t already.
- http://stream-seo.com/amazon-affiliate-sites-8k-month/ – another niche site buddy of mine, Zach Gray, spills the beans in this interview style post on Servando’s blog. All about how he has grown his Amazon niche site income to over $8k per month! Watch for a similar interview from me on that blog coming up sometime soon.
- http://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/editorial/the-pros-and-cons-of-income-reports-and-the-income-reports-you-should-be-following – I always get humbled and motivated when I see my blog mentioned among so many other great blogs.
Income and Expenses – July 2015
Selling on Amazon
- $191.04 – Amazon Seller monthly sales (this is NOT net profit – see Amazon Seller Inventory Expenses and Seller Fees in expense section below)
Affiliate Income from Dumb Passive Income
- $1,438.122 – Long Tail Pro sales via Clickbank (why it is better than the competition) (how to make LTP pay for itself)
- $42.30 – LeadPages sales for this awesome lead generation software (I EASILY created this squeeze page with LeadPages)
- $3.99 – SocialADR sales (go here to learn more and access my custom 20% off coupon code)
- $5.70 – Aweber signups ($1 for your first month)
- $120.38 – Ultimate Azon Theme sales via Clickbank (read my full review here and see one of my niche sites revealed that uses this theme)
- $471.50 – AmaSuite sales via JVZoo (software demonstrated in video embedded here)
- $615.50 – RankXL Niche Site Course (mentioned at the end of this post)
- $0 – Genesis framework and themes by Studiopress via ShareaSale (eleven40 Pro theme as seen on this site now)
- $0 – EasyAzon4 sales via Clickbank (I haven’t even reviewed this yet – but I would not build an Amazon site without it!)
- $20.00 – The HOTH sales (awesome link building service – (read my full review with case study results)
- $0 – WPEngine sales (my results after upgrading to the fastest hosting for WordPress on this blog)
- $0 – Bluehost (why I recommend Bluehost if you are just getting started)
- $0 – Lending Club signup (I haven’t done anything with or written about my investments here in over a year)
- $0 – Social Warfare sales (customizeable sharing buttons – as seen on this blog right now)
Other Passive Income from Niche Sites, etc…
- $396.30 – Google Adsense (ad click revenue from niche sites)
- $368.67 – Amazon Associates for sales on Amazon.com (explained in detail here)
- $0 – TeeChip profits for Tshirts I designed and sold
- $116.00 – affiliate commissions for undisclosed CPA advertiser on one of my niche sites
- $0 – Surveys for Cash – formerly promoted this on one of my niche sites – did not perform very well
Website Services by Matthew Allen
- $500 – Website services – build simple websites for private businesses (like this one grmobilewelding.com)
- one of my clients renewed his [unwritten] contract with me to maintain his website for another year
Note: Bluehost banner above is an affiliate link
Selling on Amazon
- $0 – Inventory Purchases (buying stuff for cheap to send to Amazon and sell for more – (how we got started detailed here)
- $125.95 – Amazon Seller Fees/Expenses (these include FBA selling fees, transaction fees, inventory & storage fees and service fees)
Hosting and Domains
- $104.00 – WPEngine (why I upgraded to the best and fastest hosting for WordPress)
- $0 – Bluehost – my new favorite hosting provider for niche sites – great price, ease of use, excellent service and overall experience
- $197.40 – IXWebhosting – one year renewal for hosting for several of my PBN sites (I do not recommend IXWebhosting -I’ve had plenty of issues with their hosting – but I renewed anyway to avoid the hassle of moving all those sites)
- $0 – GoDaddy for domain renewals and purchases
- $20.75 – NameCheap – domain purchases/renewals (expired domains)
Tools, Plugins and Themes
- $12.00 – Long Tail Platinum monthly fee (if you have Long Tail Pro – upgrade to Platinum here)
- $49.00 – Aweber monthly fee for e-mail list management (first month trial – FREE!)
- $14.70 – ManageWP monthly fee for WordPress multiple site management program
- $0 – LeadPages paid annually in March – probably the most powerful tool I pay for and use to grow my online businesses
- $13.50 – Pro Rank Tracker – previously free rank checker tool – they started charging and I couldn’t live without
- $193.00 – to my private writer for article writing for niche sites
- $116.22 – to UpWork (formerly oDesk) for virtual assistant(s)
- $0 – to The HOTH for link building packages (completely done-for-you link building service – my full updated review)
- $119.93 – Facebook Advertising
- $0- Paypal fees
- $10.00 – Google Apps for domain email
Totals and Thoughts
Over $3,300 in net profit for July – Wow!! This gets me really excited because very little of this income is from Amazon FBA sales (less than $200), meaning that almost all of it is derived from stuff that I’ve done with websites. Much of the income is passive too! Meaning that income rolled in as a result of stuff that I have done in the past.Not trading time for dollars has always been the passive income goal - and this is how you do it!Click To Tweet
I started this site over 3 years ago, motivated by Pat Flynn’s slightly smarter passive income site. Pat makes smaller amounts of money with his niche sites and other internet projects and makes massive amounts of money in affiliate income from his blog by showing others what he does and how he does it. I like to think that I am well on my way to doing the same thing here. I made around $800 from my niche sites in July, and cashed in on over $2,700 in affiliate commissions from this blog during that same month. I realize that the Long Tail Pro sale skewed my numbers a bit for the month – but I’ll take it!
Thank You for taking the time to read through my latest income report and Thank You for contributing if you have previously purchased something through one of my affiliate links! Many of the links within this income report are indeed affiliate links. I will receive a commission if you choose to purchase after clicking through via any of these links. Thank You if you do!
Photo of me taken by my son with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and edited by me.