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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 May
Some Personal Stuff
The month of May was an extremely busy one for me and my family in the offline world. The month of May is always busy for us. My wife and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this year. We left the kids with their grandparents for a weekend and spent a couple of nights at the DoubleJJ Ranch where we enjoyed horseback riding, a water park, fine dining and drinks and some much needed time away – just the two of us. 🙂
Both of my sons also celebrate birthdays in May. I have this tradition where I wake each of my kids up early on their birthday and take them out for a nice breakfast before school. Just me and them. Ethan chose IHOP to celebrate his 8th birthday and Eli chose a local restaurant called Anna’s House to celebrate his 5th birthday.
We also kick off our camping season during the month of May. We camped all of Memorial weekend and the weekend before. Had a really great time both weekends and can’t wait to camp some more this summer.I've included a slideshow of pictures from my personal life in this months income report for your viewing pleasure.Click To Tweet
Niche SitesA few of my niche sites continue to earn steadily, despite almost zero work from me. Passive income man! I'm loving it.Click To TweetThis is the result of what I’ve been working to try and produce for the past couple of years. A steady flow of income with little or no work from me to maintain it.
After several straight months of seemingly stagnant income from my niche sites (around $400 per month), I’m happy to report some actual growth and an increase in income! Both my Adsense and my Amazon earnings increased in May as I earned about $300 from each for a total of about $600 in niche site income for May.
This growth resulted from very little effort by me. I can attribute a little bit of it to some rankings increases that resulted from my most recent link building packages that I purchased from The Hoth. Some of it is due to the seasonality of one of my niches. And some is because I just got lucky and people who clicked over to Amazon from my sites were buying things!
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…
- Haas-Jordan Pro-Line Umbrella, White
- Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle with 3.0 Sport Cap
- Smiffy’s Men’s Us Sailor Doughboy Hat with Anchor
My biggest failure in May and in many recent months has been my inability to keep up with regular posting on this blog. Some of my best affiliate income months ever have been the ones where I posted regularly, on this blog, about the strategies I use and the tools I use to achieve results. But when I fail to produce and publish posts like that – my affiliate earnings suffer.
By the way… Did you know that you can still get AmaSuite version 4 at a discounted rate through my special link? But I have no idea how long it will last.
Check out this statement that I wrote in last months income report…
I also have a kind of unique strategy that I came up with that combines keyword research with Long Tail Pro and product research with one of the AmaSuite tools that I want to share. I’m going to try to get that post written and published in May (no promises).
Yeah – I definitely started that post. Did some awesome research and took some really cool screenshots. Even wrote the first couple of paragraphs but then never got a chance to finish it. It’s still saved as a draft and I’ll try to finish it up as soon as I can. My problem is, I have a very hard time publishing content these days that isn’t epic. And the other part of that problem is that it takes me several hours to produce epic content. It’s very difficult to stay focused when I have barely 2 hours each day to work on this stuff and I have several other sites to run as well.
Perhaps I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew. Managing so many sites and maintaining high quality on each is not an easy task considering that all of this side hustle internet stuff is very much just that – a part-time side hustle. Something I only do on the side. But I’m committed to giving it my all and doing my very best.
I’m also committed to publishing these income reports each and every month. As stated in my opening paragraphs up at the top (in case you didn’t notice, those are copy & pasted and exactly the same each month), these reports hold me accountable. But the other main reason I publish these is for credibility purposes. People want to see if I’m making any money online so that they know whether or not they should trust me and follow my advice. I know that people want to see my income reports because I know they are visiting my Income Reports page. Take a look at the following screenshot from the CrazyEgg heatmapping tool that I use (taken before I changed around my header menu).
By far, most clicks on my homepage are in the header menu and people want to see my Resources page, my Income Reports page and my About page.
To be completely honest with you – I haven’t been feeling very credible lately. Sure, there are months where I earn several thousand dollars. But I also spend a lot and my net isn’t anywhere near where I think it should be. But my lack of feeling credible is mostly due to my lackluster niche site earnings. $400 to $600 per month just isn’t enough.
I know I have the knowledge, skills and ability to be absolutely crushing it with niche sites. I’ve just failed to execute. I should be making thousands per month. But my lack of focus has several sites earning just a little bit per month for totals only in the hundreds.
This is part of the reason that my posts on Dumb Passive Income have been few and far between. I really want to focus on my niche site income and get it up into the thousands per month, steadily. Only then will I feel credible and worthy of being able to teach others via my blog.
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. $3,930.66 left in inventory as of the end of May. And the month of May actually treated us pretty well despite doing nothing. We had a little over $700 worth of sales!
Again, we might revisit this business model this fall – just in time for the holiday buying season. We’ll see. 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…
- Chris Lee reached out to me last month via email which led me to check out his blog. Chris is absolutely crushing it with Adsense! Check out Chris Lee’s May Income Report – over $16k in Adsense income. And trust me, you’ll want to read more of his blog as well. I know I did and he has some really useful information. Plus – Chris also has his own RankXL Niche Site Course where he teaches you, step-by-step, how to generate killer income with Amazon niche sites just like he is.
- Mike from Maine was one of my sources of motivation way back when I got started building niche sites. He got hit big time when Google came out with the EMD update and lost almost all of his niche site income. He completely pivoted his online business model and he started interviewing people who have products that help other internet marketers. He simply conducts interviews and promotes the products as an affiliate (he also created his own product to sell later on). I was following his interviews for awhile, but then stopped for several months. I recently visited his blog and was shocked to see how well he is doing. Right after the pivot, Mike had several months of really slow growth. But now he is consistently earning around $30k per month – mostly from affiliate sales! Check out some of Mike’s recent Income Updates.
Income and Expenses – May 2015
Selling on Amazon
- $736.32 – 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
- $93.04 – Long Tail Pro sales via Clickbank (why it is better than the competition) (how to make LTP pay for itself)
- $31.20 – LeadPages sales for this awesome lead generation software (I EASILY created this squeeze page with LeadPages)
- $6.98 – SocialADR sales (go here to learn more and access my custom 20% off coupon code)
- $5.70 – Aweber signups ($1 for your first month)
- $21.24 – Ultimate Azon Theme sales via Clickbank (I have not yet reviewed this theme – but I beta tested it extensively – MUST HAVE for Amazon Affilliate sites)
- $0 – AmaSuite sales via JVZoo (software demonstrated in video embedded here)
- $0 – oDesk signups via Commission Junction (how to outsource content for cheap explained here)
- $34.98 – 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!)
- $255.64 – 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)
- $90.00 – 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…
- $297.30 – Google Adsense (ad click revenue from niche sites)
- $302.95 – Amazon Associates for sales on Amazon.com (explained in detail here)
- $4.53 – TeeChip profits for Tshirts I designed and sold
Website Services by Matthew Allen
- $0 – Website services – build simple websites for private businesses (like this one grmobilewelding.com)
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)
- $342.92 – Amazon Seller Fees/Expenses (these include FBA selling fees, transaction fees, inventory & storage fees and service fees)
Hosting and Domains
- $96.74 – WPEngine (why I upgraded to the best and fastest hosting for WordPress)
- $206.75 – Bluehost – my new favorite hosting provider for niche sites – great price, ease of use, excellent service and overall experience
- $116.67 – GoDaddy for domain renewals and purchases
- $41.28 – NameCheap – domain purchases (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 only $1)
- $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
- $201.00 – to my private writer for article writing for niche sites
- $84.74 – 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)
- $96.61 – Facebook Advertising
- $0- Paypal fees
- $5.50 – Google Apps for domain email
Totals and Thoughts
This portion of my income report is usually where my optimism shines through. I talk about the totals and the way the graph/chart looks and offer a few thoughts on why it is the way it is and what I am going to do to improve it next month. My optimistic self would normally tell you that I’m happy with almost $1,900 in income – especially during a month that I did very little. But my optimistic self just isn’t feeling it today. My expenses were also high last month and my net was pathetic as a result.
Not producing blog posts equals less affiliate income which results in lower net income. As mentioned above, this trend will likely continue as I try to focus on building my niche site income before I feel credible and worthy enough to blog about it. But never fear – these income reports will still show up each and every month and they are packed with way more content than just the numbers. I hope you enjoyed this one and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments sections below…
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!
All photos are mine and were taken with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4.