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Passive Income Report – June 2015

It’s actually April 2016 and I found this unpublished income report about June of last year.. So here it comes.

What happened in June 2015

The summer has arrived so I’m sorry but I didn’t really work on any of my niche sites in June.

My income numbers have grown though :) That’s the good thing about passive income, right. You only need to do the hard work once.

Passive Income Report for June 2015

Smartexperiments May 2015 income report

Adsense:
Site #1: $10.46 (-$3.65 less than in May)

Amazon Associates Program:
Site #1: $49.01 (-52.86 less than May)
Site #2: $604.09 (+230.71 more than May)
Site #3: $5.00 (-6.94 less than May)

Adsense earnings total: $10.46
Amazon earnings total: $658.10
Total income: $668.56

Expenses

Dreamhost VPS (hosting): $20.00
WebFaction (hosting): $11.40

Total Expenses: -$31.40

Net Total: 501.30 – 31.40 = $637.16

Traffic and income breakdown by website

Site #1

http://*****quotes.com (I write in more detail about this site in my first income report)

Traffic

site1 traffic report May 2015

A slight decline in traffic in June.  -5.30% users when compared to previous period.

Income

Adsense: $14.11. Last month $14.11 (+$4.10)
Amazon: $101.87. Last month 123.79 (-$21.92)

Site #1 total income in May: $115.98.

Site #2

http://*****reviews.com

Product review site started in August 2014. Purely an SEO + Amazon site. I have published 23 articles since the start. About half of them are money articles that link to Amazon. Other half is informational content linking to money articles.

Here’s what the traffic to Site #2 has been like in May (compared to previous period):

And income:

May 2015 Amazon earnings

Site #3

http://*****sunglasses.com

Another product review site that I started in August 2014. I ordered five short articles from oDesk, published them to the site and left the site as is. I didn’t even bother to link the articles to Amazon in the first 6 months.

Site #3 traffic is still low: 204 users from organic traffic in May.

Two sales from Amazon resulted in $11.94 advertising fees.

Lessons learned this month

Sleep optimization

I’m trying to improve and optimize different areas of my life and sleep is definitely an important part when it comes to getting things done. When I started doing the miracle morning routine I cut back on sleep time by a couple of hours. I went from getting up at 9am to 5am but I didn’t go to bed 4 hours earlier than before. I did this for a little over one month and it felt alright. I also got a lot of things done during that period.

Then I stumbled upon an article about sleep deprivation and its destructive effects on health. Some people claim that it doesn’t matter how much you sleep while others say it’s exactly 7 hours and some say that if you don’t get enough sleep each night you will die 10 years before your time.

I didn’t know whom to believe but was intrigued to find out more about sleep so I contacted a sleep clinic and set up an appointment for consultation. They asked me to keep a sleep journal before the first appointment and made me a personal sleep schedule that I’m following now. It takes into account my needs and wishes and the idea is to find a pattern that best suits me as naturally as possible.

I have an appointment with my sleep consultant every other week now and keep optimizing my sleeping habits. I will report what good or bad comes out of it.

Books finished:

  1. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Currently reading: 

  1. Act Now! by Peter D. Winiarski

Next steps

Need to get back on track with..

  1. Building traffic (backlinks, outreach)
  2. Creating new content
  3. Product launch (I need to create the product first)

Enjoy summer

Summer has arrived and to me it means spending a lot of time on my outdoor hobbies and with my friends.

Yesterday I went out for a beer with friends. Today my best mate called me up and wants to meet tonight. Tomorrow there’s a conference pre-party and the whole weekend I will spend at a conference. It’s hard to find any time to really work on my passive income goals when only free time I have is early morning before work and I don’t want to cut back on sleepy time.

How’s your passive income coming along? Need help? Let me know via the comment section below. Thanks!

Facebook Ads Experiment: How much does a lead cost?

The goal of the experiment was to figure out how much it costs to acquire a lead from Facebook using paid advertising. You can use the results as a ballpark, but note that there are many factors at play here that affect the result and your results are most probably going to be different.

  • Goal: get leads (email address)
  • Budget: $150
  • Method: Facebook ads
  • Time period: 7 days

The background

For the sake of this experiment I decided to target people in the “passive income” niche and made this campaign around that subject.

I had previously set up a Facebook Page but it was very new at the time of the experiment (only 24 likes/fans).

This is the flow that the visitor goes through

  1. Browses on Facebook, sees an advert in his Fb News Feed and clicks on the ad
  2. Lands on the landing page that features the same offer that the ad promised
  3. Submits email via opt-in form to get the offer
  4. Gets added to the email list and receives the promised PDF report in their email inbox

flow

Behind the scenes, the opt-in form is connected to the autoresponder service, and as a result of submitting his email address, the person will be added to an email list. I have set up the first email to be delivered immediately and it includes the PDF document that was promised in my offer.

What was created for this campaign:

  • 1 x Lead Magnet (PDF report)
  • 1 x Landing Page
  • 1 x Confirmation Page
  • 6 x Facebook ad image

The Lead Magnet

pdf-reportI created a simple PDF report that listed 8 of my favorite tools that I use for generating passive income.

Good lead magnets are short and specific. Cheat sheets, checklists, templates and tools lists work very well and are easy to put together.

Don’t make your lead magnet too long or too detailed. Most people are not interested in reading your 80 page ebook and are rather in search of a simple solution to their problem. They’re after instant gratification – a quick result. So give it to them.

The PDF report I created was just two pages and it took me about an hour to create. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t go too broad with your topic either. Focus on solving one very specific problem.

Facebook ads

I created 3 ad images at first. All with the same message, just different visual.

Here’s how one of the ad images looked like:

Lead gen Facebook ad

To create the ad images I used Canva.com (free tool).

Once the ads had been running for a day, I created 3 more ads, similar to the best-performing from day one.

Facebook Ad targeting conditions:

target-facebook-ad

Ad reach:

facebook-ad-reach

 

Ad placement:

Best ad placement to use for lead gen is Desktop News feed.

You should stay away from Mobile News Feed. Mobile ads are cheaper but they don’t convert well for lead gen. And who wants to download and read your PDF on the phone?

“Desktop Right Sidebar” is another ad placement you might want to test later.  For starters, I suggest you focus on the Desktop News Feed.

The Landing Page

This is probably the simplest landing page you’ve ever seen. I picked what is already a simple template and made it even simpler. I removed every element from it that wasn’t directly contributing to the goal. I even removed the background image.

landing2

Two-step opt-in

I used  the so called two-step opt-in method on this landing page. There is no email field visible at first, only a CTA button and the opt-in form appears inside a lightbox after the button is clicked.

There are couple of psychological games at play here.

1) Less friction. A simple button just looks less hassle and it’s easier to click a button than to fill a form + click a button.

2) Law of momentum. People want to finish what they have started. If they already invested time and effort on something, there’s a higher chance that they’ll follow through.

Result: more than 35% of the people signed up while variation B of the landing page was converting 42% higher.

Confirmation page

Many people tend to skip this step totally or fail to set it up correctly.

This is a dedicated “Thank You” page that sits on its own separate URL. When people visit this page it means that a conversion took place and you have acquired a lead.

Add your conversion pixels and tracking codes to that page and make sure this URL is being tracked as a Goal in your analytics tool.

Note: this is also the perfect place to ask for another action from the visitor. You can ask them to like your Facebook page of follow you on twitter. Confirmation page is also a good place for an upsell. If you have a product of your own (or a good affiliate product) that would benefit the subscriber then this is a good time and place to recommend it.

Results

Take a look at the image below and the tables to see and compare the results.

I ran a total of 6 news feed ads + one “post boost”. The boost cost $19, ads got the remaining $131 of the budget.

facebook lead gen ad results

News Feed ad results

Reach:7,649 people
Clicks to website:156
Cost per click:$0.84
Conversions (leads):73
Total cost:$131.00
Cost per lead:$1.79

 

Post boost results

Reach:1,911 people
Post Engagements:44
Cost per Engagement:$0.43
Conversions (leads):5
Total cost:$19.00
Cost per lead:$3.80

How long does it take to set everything up?

I didn’t track time exactly but I set all of this up in one night. I started on Friday around 7 pm and I was finished early in the morning.

This included creating the PDF report, building the landing and confirmation pages, designing ad images, setting up ad campaigns on Facebook, signing up for email service, installing tracking pixels and setting up an AB test.

Note: this can all be done using free tools. The only paid tool I used for this was OptimizePress to set up the landing page but you can build yours for free if you know how (or dare to Google).

Tools used:

  1. Google Docs (free) to create a lead magnet and save it as a PDF
  2. WordPress (free) + OptimizePress (paid) to create the landing page and confirmation page
  3. Canva.com (free) to create Facebook ad images
  4. Optimizely (free) for AB testing
  5. GetResponse (free 30 days) for delivering PDF report and later email sequence

 

Does it take an expert to do this?

As far as Facebook advertising goes I’ve experimented with it before but never for lead generation. I didn’t know exactly what to do so I looked for a course or some sort of expertise.

After some research I decided to go with a video course by Jeff David Larson and just followed it step-by-step. Actually, not 100% step-by-step… I decided to use different tools for landing page creation and AB testing because I already got experience with these tools.

He recommends using LeadPages, which is a paid tool and has both landing page creation + ab testing built in. I prefer OptimizePress because it doesn’t have a monthly fee and I can use Optimizely for free on top of that for AB testing.

About Jeff’s course

Note: This course is no longer available.

  • Price: $7.00
  • It’s not a full course on “everything Facebook advertising” but specifically geared towards lead generation with Facebook ads.
  • Course consists of 6 modules, explained in quality videos (whiteboard + “over-the-shoulder” screencast).
  • Took me about an hour to go through the course at first and some more to reference later.
  • If you’d like to learn more about Jeff’s course, you can visit his site: jeffdavidlarson.com.

Summary

This small experiment I ran proved (to me) that Facebook paid advertising can be effectively used for lead gen.

Here are the top reasons you should consider using Facebook ads for lead gen:

  1. Reliable. As long as you have the budget, the leads will keep coming. It is far more predictable than “free” methods.
  2. Runs nearly on autopilot. Once you have the funnel set up, all you need to do is poor money in to the “machine” and leads will keep coming.
  3. Quality leads. Facebook has very precise targeting capabilities so you can run your ads to a very specific audience and exclude the “tire kickers” from seeing your ads.

Please note that I probably would have had better results had I run the experiment longer. At the time I stopped the experiment, variation B of the landing page was bringing in 42% more leads than the Original (not statistically significant results). Always keep optimizing! Test your landing page, your lead magnet, your ad message and your ad images.

P.S. Don’t take the numbers presented in this experiment as an absolute benchmark because your audience might and will behave in a different way. Do keep experimenting though and keep in mind that as long as your cost per lead is less than what you make per lead (in their lifetime), you are making profit!

What did you think of this experiment? Let me know in the comments.

 

What I’ve been up to this week [38]

Creating my own product

upsell-structureI signed up for a course 6 weeks ago and started creating my own product. I really like the course by Tom Glover and I’m almost ready to launch my own first product!

The product I’m creating is about a free traffic method that I’ve personally had success with and also taught it to my clients who have had even greater success.

It’s totally white hat and easy to implement (5 minutes of work) so I think people will love it.

This week specifically I’ve been building the sales pages and download pages and putting it all together.

I should be able to launch in 2-3 weeks time. I still need to work on a number of things first.

 

Job interview

Although I’m trying to quit my job and never work for anyone else again…

Yes, I applied for a new job.

Why?

I’ll do my best to explain…

  1. Because they sent an email application to their list and I can’t resist challenges.
  2. They’re (I’d rather keep it a secret who they are) successful at product creation and marketing so I’d have a great opportunity to learn from the best in a field that resonates better with me than my current job (CRO specialist optimizing large websites).
  3. I would start half-time so if I quit my current job I’d have more time to work on my own business.
  4. I would make just as much as I make now in my current job.
  5. 3+ years gets boring in one place.

It was an online Skype interview without me seeing their faces, so I have no idea how I did. I should find out today if I made it to the next round.

 

Reading

launch-by-jeff-walkerI’m reading Launch by Jeff Walker.

It’s an amazing book about making money by teaching other people online and doing product launches via email lists.

I like it because it’s full of examples, super practical and he shows you how to start from scratch. Really eye-opening. I strongly recommend even if you never thought about creating your own product. Check it out on Jeff’s website or Amazon if you’d like to.

Other books I just recently finished:

  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. If you are not rich, you surely have some kind of a limiting belief about money. Eker helps you identify and get rid of it. He also gives 17 habits and mindsets of rich people that you should start practicing and living if you want to break away from being middle class or broke. I enjoyed reading it so much that I started re-reading it from the beginning.
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The classic from 1937. Hill spent 25 years studying and interviewing successful people to create this book. Most modern business books seem to borrow many ideas from this classic. It goes pretty deep, especially in the end.

What are you reading currently? Let me know in the comments…

Thinking

I’ve started thinking about writing my own book. I haven’t done anything about it yet because there are some preliminary things I need to get done first, like:

  1. quit my job,
  2. gain financial freedom and
  3. start traveling the world.

But I like to dream about it. I already visualize it becoming a bestseller.

Enough about me…

And over to you…

How’s your week been so far?

Please leave a comment. I’d really like to know. If you didn’t see much progress, tell me what are you struggling with…

How I got a high quality backlink with 5 minutes of work

I was bored today so I wondered how many sites are linking back to my website?

I pointed my browser to Moz Open Site Explorer tool to check if I have any backlinks.

To my amazement there was one backlink from a popular career advice and job search site themuse.com.

DA 71 backlink

I visited the site and checked out the article. I wanted to know how they found my site. The name of the author of the article sounded a bit familiar.

Then suddenly I remembered..

3-4 months ago I signed up for this thing called HARO (Help A Reporter Out). It’s a free service (email list) that connects reporters with experts.

For example. A Wall Street Journal reporter posted this morning:

haro-wsj-query

There were another 45 similar requests this morning and they post three times per day – new posts every time. If you think you have enough experience to chime in then you just send an email to a given address and if they think your input is a good fit then you’ll get featured in their story.

That’s what I did. Took me maybe 5 minutes to write the email and press “Send”. I never even got a reply to my email. That’s why I was so amazed today when I found out that this simple email had landed me a nice high authority backlink. It’s the only email I sent so a 100% conversion rate. Not bad.

Here’s what the request from the reporter looked like:

HARO side project query

And here’s my reply:

email-to-reporter

I only tried it once and then forgot about it when I didn’t get a reply to my first email. Knowing now that it actually worked I’m thinking of creating an experiment around this. Maybe try it like a hundred times and see the ROI. Would you like to see that kind of experiment? Let me know in the comments.

Passive Income Report – May 2015

Passive income report May 2015

 

What I worked on in May

I planned to work an hour a day on my niche sites last month. 30 minutes on researching and creating new content and 30 minutes on link building. I did it for the first week and then failed miserably.

Here’s what I got done last month:

  1. Published one post on Site #2 (an infographic)
  2. Published one post on Site #3
  3. Built 5 backlinks to Site #2
  4. Ordered social backlinks to Site #1

Total time (working on the sites this month): approx 10 hours

 

Passive Income Report for May 2015

Smartexperiments May 2015 income  report

Adsense:
Site #1: $14.11

Amazon Associates Program:
Site #1: $101.87
Site #2: $373.38
Site #3: $11.94

Adsense earnings total: $14.11
Amazon earnings total: $487.19
Total income: $501.30

Expenses

Dreamhost VPS (hosting): $20.00
WebFaction (hosting): $11.40

Total Expenses: $31.40

Net Total: 501.30 – 31.40 = $469.90

Traffic and income breakdown by website

Site #1

http://*****quotes.com (I write in more detail about this site in my first income report)

I ordered 15 social bookmark shares (links) to a single “money page” on Site #1. I’ve had some good results with this tactic on sites #2 and #3. The links were delivered during an eight day period of May 4-12. It’s now been three weeks to a month since the links were delivered and there is no change in the ranking to be seen yet.

Here’s a graph from April 1st to May 31st for the keyword I’m targeting.

no-change-in-rankings-april-may

 

As you see from the graph above, the site sits around position #10. It used to rank between position #1 and #3 back in late 2013 to mid 2014 and has dropped gradually ever since.

Site1 ranks gradually dropping since mid 2014

 

I use a tool called Pro Rank Tracker to track my rankings. It’s free to use for up to 50 keywords (but they will lower that limit to 20 keywords this month). I guess I will have to start paying for their service now.

Traffic

site1 traffic report May 2015

 

Traffic in May has been very steady when compared to last month.

Income

Adsense: $14.11. Last month $10.01 (+$4.10)
Amazon: $101.87. Last month 123.79 (-$21.92)

Site #1 total income in May: $115.98.

 

Site #2

http://*****reviews.com

Product review site started in August 2014. Purely an SEO + Amazon site. I have published 22 articles since the start. About half of them are money articles that link to Amazon. Other half is informational content linking to money articles.

Here’s what the traffic to Site #2 has been like in May (compared to previous period):

And income:

May 2015 Amazon earnings

Site #3

http://*****sunglasses.com

Another product review site that I started in August 2014. I ordered five short articles from oDesk, published them to the site and left the site as is. I didn’t even bother to link the articles to Amazon in the first 6 months.

Site #3 traffic is still low: 204 users from organic traffic in May.

Two sales from Amazon resulted in $11.94 advertising fees.

Lessons learned this month

Sleep optimization

I’m trying to improve and optimize different areas of my life and sleep is definitely an important part when it comes to getting things done. When I started doing the miracle morning routine I cut back on sleep time by a couple of hours. I went from getting up at 9am to 5am but I didn’t go to bed 4 hours earlier than before. I did this for a little over one month and it felt alright. I also got a lot of things done during that period.

Then I stumbled upon an article about sleep deprivation and its destructive effects on health. Some people claim that it doesn’t matter how much you sleep while others say it’s exactly 7 hours and some say that if you don’t get enough sleep each night you will die 10 years before your time.

I didn’t know whom to believe but was intrigued to find out more about sleep so I contacted a sleep clinic and set up an appointment for consultation. They asked me to keep a sleep journal before the first appointment and made me a personal sleep schedule that I’m following now. It takes into account my needs and wishes and the idea is to find a pattern that best suits me as naturally as possible.

I have an appointment with my sleep consultant every other week now and keep optimizing my sleeping habits. I will report what good or bad comes out of it.

Books finished:

  1. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Currently reading: 

  1. Act Now! by Peter D. Winiarski

Next steps

Need to get back on track with..

  1. Building traffic (backlinks, outreach)
  2. Creating new content
  3. Product launch (I need to create the product first)

Enjoy summer

Summer has arrived and to me it means spending a lot of time on my outdoor hobbies and with my friends.

Yesterday I went out for a beer with friends. Today my best mate called me up and wants to meet tonight. Tomorrow there’s a conference pre-party and the whole weekend I will spend at a conference. It’s hard to find any time to really work on my passive income goals when only free time I have is early morning before work and I don’t want to cut back on sleepy time.

 

How’s your passive income coming along? Need help? Let me know via the comment section below. Thanks!

 

Day 29 of my miracle morning

After getting up at 5 am and completing my SAVERS by 6:05 I went back to bed and slept until 8:00 :)

Although I’ve done pretty good at getting up early and following the miracle morning ritual, I haven’t been very productive with my other (business) tasks lately. It’s hard to get back into the routine after a weekend that is totally off the course.

I feel like maybe I put too much on my plate at once. In addition to the savers I started these daily habits at some point during the last 30 days: video course creation, practice American accent and pronunciation, write for this blog, write for my other blogs, build links to my sites, more reading, journaling before sleep, sleep journaling for sleep clinic, getting certified for Optimizely.

Now I haven’t been able to follow through with all of this as planned but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t a waste of time either. The change has already been immense.

Day 28 of my miracle morning

I woke up at my friend’s place this morning. We had a nice BBQ and some drinks last night. I went to bed at around 2 am and woke up around 9:00. I stayed in bed for an hour and got up at 10.

I started my savers today at 4:50 pm when I arrived back home. It’s 6:52 pm now and I will go get some dinner :) See you tomorrow morning!

A day off

Yesterday was a day off my miracle morning.

I slept one hour during the night (from 1:00-2:00 am), another hour in the morning (7:00-8:00) and about four hours during the day (12:00-4:00 pm). When I woke up I didn’t have time for the SAVERS.

 

Day 27 of my miracle morning

Went out with friends last night and got to bed at 1:30 am. Set my alarm to 7:00 and did my savers. Skipping all my financial tasks this morning again.

I started reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I borrowed a paperback copy form the office awhile ago but never got past first chapter. Decided to pick it up again now.

I talked to a sleep therapist yesterday. She gave me a “sleep journal” that I am now starting to fill in each morning. I also set an appointment with her in the clinic. It’s in one week’s time from now. We’ll then take a look at my sleeping journal together and hopefully she can give me some advice on how to optimize my sleep for maximum efficiency.

Day 25 of my miracle morning

I was awake before the 5 am alarm this morning. I probably woke up like 5-10 minutes before and just laid in bed. Then suddenly the alarm went off. I went to bed at 10:00 pm.

I haven’t had my early morning coffee for two days. I usually have it after the SAVERS routine at around 6:10 am. I have coffee when I arrive at the office at 9 am and usually another cup afternoon at around 2-3 pm.

 

Day 24 of my miracle morning

Well.. it’s 6:37 pm and I just finished my miracle morning routine. A little more than 12 hours later than usual.

I got home at 1:00 am last night so I decided to sleep in. I set my alarm to 8:00 am instead of the usual 5:00. When I woke up I only did the meditation part and then had to leave for work.

When I got back home after work I did the full miracle morning routine.

I finished the 10X book yesterday and haven’t picked a new one yet. Today I re-read all the notes I had highlighted in The 10X Rule. So many good insights!

I think it was the right choice to sleep in. I noticed that I didn’t feel sleepy during the day at work. The last 3 weeks I’ve averaged 5-6 hours of sleep per night and I know I yawn a lot after lunch. I’ve also felt minor headache at times. But today I feel great. I hope I can make myself go to bed and fall asleep by 10 pm so I can get 7 hours of sleep.

Day 23 of my miracle morning

Back to 5 am. I arrived home at around 10 pm last night and was pretty tired from the weekend so it was easy to fall asleep by 11 pm.

I read The 10X Rule on a train on my way back home yesterday and continued this morning. My Kindle says I’m 71% through. I love this book. It motivates me to dream big and take action. I have highlighted a ton of notes and will soon write a review about it.

I haven’t been journaling in the Google docs file for a number of days now. I just write my goals in my paper notebook. I do that daily before the visualization session. Currently I have 5 goals and I just rewrite them by heart every day. The wording changes a little bit day-to-day but the content of the goals has stayed the same.

Two days off

I was out of town with friends this weekend and decided to take two days off from my miracle morning. On Friday I went to bed around 2 am (that’s Saturday morning actually) and slept till 10 am. On Saturday I went to bed at 3 am (Sunday morning) and woke up at around 10 am.

After waking up I went straight for a coffee and breakfast and just skipped the whole routine. I think it’s ok if you have it planned ahead. Don’t skip your morning routine on a regular day!

I had more sleep on the weekend than I’ve had on a regular day for the last 3 weeks. I still felt sleepy on a numerous occasions during the day. I think it was due to the food and alcohol consumed. I am starting to notice my body more now. I didn’t recognize this before.

Days 21-22 of My Miracle Morning

5 am on both days!

In the last days I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier now. This article about sleep on EliteDaily gave a boost to that. I’ve decided to turn off my computer at 10 pm. After I’ve shut down my pc I read, journal and go to bed.

Last night it was really hard to fall asleep for some reason. I know there’s a lot of information available online on how to fall asleep. It’s time to take a closer look at it :)

I’m going out of town tonight and we’ll most probably be offline till Sunday evening so I won’t be posting an update till then. There’s a party at my friend’s place and I’m going to stay there for the next two nights. I have no idea if I’m going to be doing Miracle Morning routine there or if I’ll just pass. I probably won’t go to bed until 3 am tonight and tomorrow so it’s going to be tricky.

Day 20 of my Miracle Morning

5 am!

Today I did my savers in SEAVRS order again. I’m starting to grasp the visualization part now. I write down my goals in my journal. I do it just before visualization. It helps a lot.

Getting ready to start recording screencasts for my course (so I can kickstart when my iRig HD mic arrives from Amazon).

English is not my first language so I practice pronunciation and American accent daily by listening and repeating.

Amy Walker has a very helpful and engaging free video course on Youtube. I absolutely adore her. So much positive energy! She’s an actress, singer and a voice-over artist among other great talents (or should I say hard work). Here’s her website.

Another great place I go for daily practice is ManyThings.org. There’s a new “listen and repeat” pronunciation lesson every day.

Day 19 of my Miracle Morning

Back to 5:00 am! After failing to go to sleep at a reasonable time the day before yesterday I pulled myself together and went to bed before 11 in the evening last night. I still felt some resistance in getting up early.

I feel great and energized now but I don’t feel as excited about it as the first two weeks. I guess the novelty effect is declining. Need to carve this habit into stone fast now, before I run out of willpower.

I wrote down my goals in my journal last night while in bed:

  • I am constantly making $10,000 / month from passive income streams
  • I am friends with Pat Flynn and Tim Ferriss
  • I am one of the most wanted speakers at business/marketing/productivity conferences
  • I am a good selfish person who likes to help others
  • I travel a lot and meet new interesting people

I rewrote them this morning before visualization session. I’ve always struggled with visualization till now. Having written down my goals on paper it makes the visualization so much easier! Try it, you’ll be amazed. Tip: when writing down your goals, write them as if the already happened. You can read more about the importance of this in The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone (note to self: write a book review once finished reading).

 

 

Day 18 of Miracle Morning

A small setback today. I woke up at 7:00 instead of the usual 5:00.

I went to bed at 0:35 last night and wrote a couple of paragraphs in my journal while lying in bed. I tried to fall asleep then but couldn’t. In the afternoon I’d done a meditation session and fallen asleep during that. I slept an hour or so. I guess that’s why I couldn’t fall asleep anymore.

I remember looking at the clock at 1:27. So I probably fell asleep at around 2:00.

When the alarm went off at 5 am I jumped out of bed and drank a glass of water. I even did my Exercise part of the savers but struggled to keep my eyes open so I decided to go back to sleep for another two hours. I set my alarm to 7:00 am and woke up as a new person :)

I started over with savers and completed it by 8:05.

I skipped all the other routines I have scheduled (working on my product, writing for my sites, seo) for each morning and decided to do them in the evening after work. It’s 9:15 pm now and I’ve completed all the tasks I had planned for the morning instead of one 30-minute writing task. I just can’t make myself do it right now.

 

 

Passive Income Report – April 2015

Passive income report April 2015

 

What I worked on in April

As far as improving my niche websites goes, not much! And that’s the beauty of passive income — it doesn’t require you to keep investing time in exchange for money.

Here’s what I got done this month:

  1. Published a post on Site #2 (152 words)
  2. Published three posts on Site #3 (45-80 words each)

Total time (working on the sites this month): 2.5 hours

These must be the shortest posts I’ve published on my sites. I typically aim for 1000+ word articles but I bent the rules this time. Articles mentioned are quite heavy on images and video though.

The articles on site #3 are about sunglasses and the post on Site #2 is a product review about a microphone I bought (but haven’t received yet). I will probably update that last post with much more content once I receive the product.

Passive Income Report

smartexperiments-income-2015-04

Adsense:
Site #1: $10.01

Amazon Associates Program:
Site #1: $123.79
Site #2: $205.00
Site #3: $55.97

Adsense earnings total: $10.01
Amazon earnings total: $384.76
Total income: $394.77

Expenses

Dreamhost VPS (hosting): $20.00
WebFaction (hosting): $11.40

Total Expenses: $31.40

Net Total: 394.77 – 31.40 = $363.37

My passive income (niche) websites

Site #1

http://*****quotes.com

Site #1 traffic 2011-03 to 2015-04

It’s a site I started in March 2011. I wanted to test if I could build a „high traffic“ site.

I did some basic keyword research and looked at Google Trends and decided to give it a go. I published great amount of unique content but it wasn’t something I created myself. I just took quotes from a popular TV series and cited them on my site.

At first I didn’t even plan to monetize this site.

Later in 2011 I learned about the Amazon Affiliates program and put a banner of a book on the sidebar. It was very closely related to the TV series. I referred 6 sales in 2011 and earned $1.74 from Amazon.

In September of 2012 I figured that it’s hard to make decent money from book sales and started promoting more expensive products. I wrote five posts like „What shirt is Dexter* wearing“ and linked to the product on Amazon. I helped Amazon make 55 sales in 2011 and collected $122.62 in fees as a return.

* Dexter is not actually the show my site is about. It’s just an example. There are numerous reasons why I won’t disclose the exact URLs of my sites.

I added another five „style tips“ type of posts in 2013. I was responsible for 457 sales and made $1,404.58 in referral fees. It’s the year I received my first ever Amazon check.

I added one more post in the middle of 2014 and made $1,763.23 from 790 products shipped.

I haven’t touched the site since and it’s made $333.04 from 114 items shipped during the first 4 months of 2015. That’s not as good as 2013 and 2014 but it’s still making me money on total autopilot.

The reason that it’s not making as much money is because the rankings for „money keywords“ have dropped. It still ranks #1 for the main keywords but serps for money keywords have moved to page 2 of Google.

Note: I haven’t built a single backlink to Site #1.

Site #2

http://*****reviews.com

Product review site started in August 2014. Purely an SEO + Amazon site. I have published 22 articles since the start. About half of them are money articles that link to Amazon. Other half is informational content linking to money articles.

Here’s what the traffic to Site #2 has been like:

Site #2 traffic until April 2015

And income:

site-2-amazon-earnings-2015-04

Site #3

http://*****sunglasses.com

Another product review site that I started in August 2014. I ordered five short articles from oDesk, published them to the site and left the site as is. I didn’t even bother to link the articles to Amazon in the first 6 months. So far the site has generated 4 sales and made me $55.97.

Site #3 traffic is really low (blue spikes on the graph are referral spam):

Site 3 traffic

Lessons learned this month

Books finished:

  1. Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
  2. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  3. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Online courses attended:

  1. Selling courses on Udemy by Alun Hill
  2. SEO in 2015 by iMarket XL

 

Next steps

May is going to be heavily focused on link building

I’ve already started putting together a list of link building opportunities for my „amazon sites“. And I’ve scheduled 30 minutes per day for getting links. Yes, every day for the next 30 days I will spend half an hour on getting links to my sites.

New content

I have also booked one 30-minute-slot in my daily calendar for content writing. It’s actually been on my daily schedule for almost a week now — that’s how I got the 4 articles published in April — it all happened this week.

Product creation (online course)

So here’s why I took the course on Udemy about selling courses and bought a $130 microphone — I’ve decided to create an online course. I have already outlined large part of the course and scheduled an hour every day for researching and creating content.

Note: I work a regular 9-5 job so I will complete all of these daily “passive income tasks” outside of my working hours. Actually I will have this all done before I leave my home for work at 8:45 am. Sounds impossible? A month ago I thought so too. I used to wake up between 8:30 and 9:30. Now I wake up at 5 am every day and get shit done. You can read more about it here.

Day 17 of Miracle Morning

It’s Sunday and got up at 5 am.

SAVERS: Slight change in the order in which I performed the savers this morning: I started with E because I felt cold and didn’t want to sit down for meditation. I’ve felt shivers coming up when meditating first thing in the morning and it distracts me from my meditation session so I’m experimenting with different ways here.

And did I mention that I started reading The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone? I feel it’s going to be life changing. I will write a detailed review once I’m done with it.

When doing my new business routines (6:30-8:30) I noticed that it’s hard to keep going non-stop without breaks so I decided to end each 30 minute session five minutes earlier and add a 5 minute break before the next session starts.

I feel great by the way. Although there’s nothing tangible to show yet (goals achieved, more money), I am really happy with myself and the progress that I’m making. I can truly feel that success is just around the corner and not hidden behind some seven mountains in a land far far away.

 

Day 16 of Miracle Morning

I went to bed at 11 pm last night. I read a little and wrote a couple of sentences in the journal while lying in bed.

I opened my eyes suddenly and it’s 4:12 am. I try to fall back asleep as my alarm doesn’t go off before 5:00. After awhile I look at the clock again and now it’s 4:29. I think: “Maybe I should get up now?” and crawl out of the bed.

It’s 9:37 now and I’ve been awake for 5 hours already! It’s Saturday so I have more freedom than during the workweek.

I did the savers from 4:30 – 5:40 and then continued with my passive income goals.

I haven’t really planned all the business tasks well so I tend to start thinking which tasks should I do and it’s currently pretty exhausting. Takes more time as well as effort because there’s still some decision making involved.

I aim to turn all my passive income work into daily habits though so I can just do them as automatically as possible. First step to accomplishing this is to have a todo list with a number of tasks ready so I don’t need to start figuring out each morning what I should do.

 

Day 15 of Miracle Morning

It’s Friday May the 1st and it’s a public holiday in my part of the World. So it’s like Saturday but even better!

I went to bed at 0:30 and got up at 5:00. It was definitely not easy to get up this morning but I did it anyway :). I would have probably slept in and had an extra hour of sleep if it was a regular work day. It’s 9:26 now that I am writing this. Still awake ;)

I felt tired and sleepy through the entire duration of the SAVERS this morning. It only got better when I finally had my breakfast and coffee at 6 am.

It crossed my mind a couple of times to curl back to bed. I was mostly worried that I wouldn’t really enjoy this as much as usually, and I didn’t. But I went through with it because I wanted to know how I feel when I have it done.

It’s an experiment and if I’d quit right away I wouldn’t really know what kind of effect the lack of sleep has on my day. Going through with the routine, I will find out if I become really tired and sleepy during the day, and then can have extra sleep next time. The idea is to learn about myself and optimize along the way to become more effective, and soon that will lead to success (I’m sure) in many areas of my life.

Because it’s a day off I didn’t rush with my other (financial) morning routines and spent a total of 3 hours on them, instead of the usual two hours.

 

Day 14 of Miracle Morning

8:17 am

Yesterday when I went to bed I wrote some thoughts down in a notebook I bought a couple of days back. My plan is to turn this into a new habit – journaling before sleep.

I remember I wrote two paragraphs but I can’t recall exactly what. I do remember I added another note about a potential business idea that popped into mind and I might want to suggest to a friend of mine.

What I did after the Miracle Morning (SAVERS):

  • Product creation (45 minutes): I outlined another lesson of my course that I am creating.
  • Marketing (30 minutes): Continued with the SEO course on Udemy (35% complete)
  • Writing (minutes): Researched new post material for my Fashion site. I should be able to turn it into a blog post tomorrow

And now I’m done writing this entry (8:24 am). Time to get ready and show up at the office.

Day 13 of Miracle Morning

5 am start. After SAVERS I had a quick breakfast and a cup of tea (instead of the usual coffee).

I used write this journal entry after breakfast but today I switched things around a bit.

After breakfast, at 6:15 I started working on my financial goals. I recorded the first video for my course – success! It’s less than one minute long and it took me an hour to do the screencast recording and audio narrating. I’m really slow with this and critical about my voice. I have a shitty microphone as well, waiting for the new one (iRig Mic HD) to arrive in my mailbox.

7:15 – 7:45 This slot is allocated for working on the SEO of my websites (3 of them). I want to use this time to build backlinks but I enrolled in an SEO course, so I used that time today to watch the course videos and update my skills a bit.

7:45 – 8:15 Writing for one of my sites. I wasn’t able to get a post published today. I did some research on a new post.

8:15 – 8:30 Time allocated to write this entry. As I mentioned, I used to do it right after my breakfast but my SAVERS routine has become just that – a routine – so there isn’t much to report about. So I’d rather like to look back at my financial tasks and report about them.

Day 12 of Miracle Morning

I woke up at 5 again and did my SAVERS in the usual order.

Something new: I visualized giving a TEDx talk. I was standing on the stage. There was a big crowd and they liked me.

I’m 70% through reading the book (Art of Work) so I will need a new one soon. Someone mentioned a book called Willpower. It sounds interesting and useful to me. I will check that out.

Day 11 of Miracle Morning

I woke up at 5 am. That’s the new time since yesterday.

Yesterday I had a 1.5 hour nap in the afternoon because I felt sleepy and it was hard to focus on anything. I found myself staring at a screen, reading through newsfeed of Facebook or whatever and decided to go to sleep to come back later and do fresh start.

After my nap I had a new wave of energy, so I worked on my websites and started to take a course on SEO.

Now that I have my SAVERS done. I will continue with my new daily schedule:

6:30 – 7:30 Work on a new product
7:30 – 8:00 Promote my sites
8:00 – 8:30 Write for my sites

I have these tasks scheduled for every day this week. If I follow through then big success should follow. Let’s see :)

Update 8 pm: I’ve been feeling sleepy and tired throughout the afternoon today (had 5 hrs of sleep) but I also feel relaxed because I know I did all the important stuff in the morning after I got up and now after work I can do whatever I want.

Before MM I used to feel guilty for not working on my passive income goals enough. So I would stay up late at night to work on those projects, but I struggled to get anything done after a long day at work. I would go zombie in front of the screen. Looking back now, I  realize that I only got things done on weekends, when I had the energy.

Now I can get things done every morning and I can go through the rest of the day with a peaceful mind, not having to worry if I can find the time and willpower to work on my side projects.

Day 10 of Miracle Morning

My first 5 am day! And it’s Sunday! (yes, another exclamation mark)

I decided to wake up an hour earlier so I have more time to work on my financial goals before I need to rush to the office by 9 am. I don’t actually need to rush anywhere today because it’s Sunday but I want to be prepared for tomorrow and for the next week. So I thought: why not start today and test it out.

I am creating a new habit, starting today. I’ve decided to create a course and teach people about a subject I know, so I will be working an hour daily on creating this course. I have also added two more daily tasks in my calendar so I’m actually trying to create 3 new habits. Maybe I got carried away with planning my calendar yesterday? Oh well, let’s see how it works out.

It’s 6:39 now. I’ve just had my breakfast and am enjoying my morning coffee as I write this. I did feel a bit more sleepiness during the SAVERS than usual so I might have a nap sometime after completing my new morning routine.

I had a small “a-ha” moment yesterday about calendars and planning while walking to the supermarket. I realized that planning daily recurring events in my calendar is key to getting them done. Here’s what the mornings of my next week look like:

my next week in Google calendar

 

Day 9 of Miracle Morning

It’s 7:36 am on Saturday. I love Saturdays!

I have completed my morning routine, had breakfast and am enjoying my coffee now while writing this entry. What I love about Saturdays is that I have so much time to do the things that I like.

I realized today that I have this limiting belief that “planning things is bad”.

I’ve almost never planned my travels, holidays, my work. I’ve believed that without planning much more interesting things will happen. I think I just realized that it’s not necessarily true. I will get a daily/weekly planner today and start planning things (incl success) ahead of time. What a discovery this is to me! Yay :)

Plans for today:

From 8..10 am I plan to start working on something new. I want to create a course. It’s something I’ve been putting off for awhile now. I will do some outlining and planning today and then I need to make it a daily routine so I don’t fall off track.

At 11 am I have a follow up session with my meditation coach.

1..2 pm Work on my passive income sites

2 pm .. Work on the course

Day 8 of Miracle Morning

My cat has been a terrible #&@$ this morning. Woke me up repeatedly from 4.30. So I barely got any more sleep until my alarm went off at 6.

For a second I even thought of starting my morning ritual earlier but then crawled back to bed to wait for the alarm.

I think the habit is kicking in. If you’ve read the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg you know that for a habit to form, 3 things need to be present:

  1. Cue
  2. Routine
  3. Reward

My cue for morning routine is the alarm that goes off at 6 am. If the alarm hasn’t sounded or time is not yet 6 am then I need willpower to convince myself.

That’s what I realized on myself first hand this morning:

If the cue is not there it will take a lot more effort to start the routine.

 

Day 7 of Miracle Morning

6:00 Alarm. Wake-up. Dress up. Glass of water. I had no problem waking up this morning whatsoever :)
6:05 Silence. Didn’t do any stretching before my meditation so it was harder to sit still than yesterday.
6:25 Exercise. The usual: 20 push-ups, 20 crunches for abs, 20 squats.
6:28 Affirmations. I have three affirmations since starting with TMM so I read those out loud to myself. One is about being a morning person, one being an entrepreneur and one about being a peoples person.
6:31 Visualization. I close my eyes and my mind starts to wander off to random (so it seems) things. I think of some nice events and things but I hesitate and tend to think if these are really the things I should be focusing on. Complicated stuff but I know I will figure it out soon.
6:40 Reading. This comes easy to me. All I have to do is pick up my Kindle. It’s not so easy to stop after 10-15 minutes though. I like learning new stuff so I could keep going for hours.
6:53 Scribing. Question from the journal: What did you learn yesterday? My answer: Failure doesn’t keep you from success. It leads you there.
6:59 Done. Breakfast time