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December 2015 Income Report – Hitting $12,000!

After a record breaking month in November, I was hopeful I would hit the 5 figures in December. I not only did this but I smashed the five figures and made over $12,000!

It was the perfect way to end our first 12 months as digital nomads and has us very excited about the future. The best part is that this could all be considered passive income. I may not be working a 4 hour work week quite yet, but I was down to a ten hour one!

It has lead me to a difficult decision. I have decided, for now, that I will stop publishing income reports. We return home very soon and this, combined with the fabulous amount I am earning now, leads me to want to be more private.

I am not saying I will never share again. I would definitely consider sharing income details for a new project and I want to share in some capacity how everything goes financially when I take 4 months maternity leave later this year – I am sure I am not the only one who is interested in finding out just how passive my income really is. But for now, I am not sure exactly how this site will proceed. I am trying to think of useful ways to share everything that I share in this income report that isn’t an actual income report – I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Travel/Life Update

Exploring the Gili Islands in Indonesia

Exploring the Gili Islands in Indonesia

Thankfully, I am feeling much better than when I posted last month. I wouldn’t say I am completely well, but my main problem now is aches and pains – can’t believe I am only 17 weeks pregnant and already aching so much! – and I’m so tired. I haven’t had the second trimester energy boost. I hope it’s coming soon!

Travel wise, we have had a fabulous month. We spent the first half of December in the Philippines and the second half in Bali and the Gili Islands. We had a great Christmas in Seminyak and just a great time all up. I do struggle being pregnant and travelling but it is getting easier as I feel better. I have not bothered with any type of sponsored travel. I have no need and I don’t find it a good use of my time.

You can read more about how everything is going with us and the ups and downs of our first 12 months as digital nomads here.

Where’s Sharon

It was a fabulous month on this site with me earning the most I have so far. The one down point is that my traffic dropped slightly, but I have gained all this back this month already. My traffic has risen steeply since Christmas.

I’m extra happy that this site is having more success as the reality is that over 90% of my time this year has been spent on this travel blog. It’s about time it earned enough money for this to have been worth it!


Page Views: 117,859 (down from 122,634)

You can read my secret to hitting 100,000 page views here.


HootSuite – $12
I use this for twitter scheduling

Writing – $150
Articles written by my brother.

GetResponse email service for managing my subscribers and autoresponders – $62
You can read more about the different email subscription services here.

Kraken Image Optimizer – $6
This tool optimises all the images I upload to my sites. You can read more about it here.

Tailwind – $20
Pinterest scheduling

Payoneer – $27
This is a debit MasterCard that I use to access Amazon money immediately. There is a 1% charge on Amazon deposits.

Instagram Scheduling – $20

RamNode Hosting – $12
Our new hosting service

Total Costs: $319


Advertising – $527 (down from $595)

Direct advertising – $28 (constant)

The Blogger Network – $499 (down from $567)

Affiliates – $6,350 (up from $4,191)

I made $2,892 across Amazon (up from $1,467). I also made $116 (down from $161) from an Australian affiliate, $23 from eBay (up from $9) and $95 from Klook (tickets for attractions).

I made $3,224 from hotel commissions across HotelsCombined, and Agoda (up from $2428).

Income from Where's Sharon: $6,877 - $319= $6,558 (up from $4,526)

RPM:  $56 (up from $37)

RPM is an indication of how much money each 1,000 page views is worth to my site.

Digital Nomad Wannabe

Page Views: 10,374 (down from 13,659)

After a nice income boost last month thanks to the sales period around Thanksgiving, I was surprised and happy to find that this site showed solid growth this month and I had one of my best months yet.

The best part was that I made more money from my product, How to Gain Readers and Make Money: The Power of SEO than I did in October and November combined! This definitely has me thinking about new products. There is so much I would like to do but I don’t know how I can find the time.

My page views dropped but this is because I had a lot of traffic driven to this site last month because of an interview I was featured in. I am happy that the page views are still far above what they were in October, despite presenting at TBEX Asia then.


eJunkie – $7
Service I use to sell my presentation product.

Total Costs: $7


How to Gain Readers and Make Money: The Power of SEO Presentation – $688 (up from $211)
Learn how to make money using SEO and affiliate marketing.

MassPlanner – $49
This tool is fabulous for many social media actions across social media networks including follow/unfollow and scheduling.

GetResponse – $285
Our favourite email marketing service.

Long Tail Pro – $416
Essential keyword research tool that I use just about every day. 

Thrive Themes – $105
The theme I use on this site and others

Tailwind – $15
Awesome Pinterest scheduling tool. Read my Pinterest strategy here.

Income for Digital Nomad Wannabe: $1558 - $7 = $1551 (up from $1070)
RPM: $151 (up from $79)

Niche sites

Site 1 Page Views: 10.290 (down from 11,702)
Site 2 Page Views: 12,290 (down from 13,113)

Although I saw another drop in traffic, it was a good month for my niche sites. I’m guessing in part because of Christmas. Conversions were high and I made some nice money!

I expected the page view drop. If Google trends is to be believed then things should pick up again this month – there just aren’t many people searching for my main keywords October – December.

Unfortunately, one of the other niche sites that I featured last month was de-indexed! This is actually a moved version of the same site that was de-indexed from my original set of three niche sites. The first time, it received a pure spam penalty which made absolutely no sense to me as I had written all the content myself and it definitely wasn’t spam. This time, it was a thin content penalty which makes some more sense but still seems harsh to me. It was built the same way as my other niche sites and many more on the web.

Regardless of why, I am not going to bother moving this site again. Time to give up on it I think!


Hosting – $3
PBN hosting costs

Payoneer – $34

Total Costs: $37


Site 1: $1,720 (down from $1,841)

Site 2: $1,751 (up from $1,375)

Site 3: $8 (down from $47)
This site was de-indexed at the start of the month

Site 4: $42 (up from $31)

I made $3,521 (up from $3,294) across my niche sites.

Income from niche sites: $3,521 - $37 = $3,484 (up from $3,166)
RPM: $134 (up from $127)

Work / Home / Life

Page Views: 15,746 (down from 16,400)

All income is derived from AdSense. This site continues to show how effective great keyword research is – especially nabbing keywords with high advertiser competition. It’s been a long time since I did anything on this site.

Income from Work / Home / Life: $471 (down from $492)
RPM: $30 (up from $37)

Earnings Total: AUD$12,064 (USD$8,725)

Up from USD$6,799 in November.

Average passive income per day for December = $389 (up from $308)

Again, I did not include any money that J made from freelancing.

Obviously, I am ecstatic to not just hit the five figure milestone but to go past it by so much.

I am hopeful this isn’t a seasonal change and will continue – my Amazon earnings did seem to be helped this month by Christmas. Conversion rates were much higher than normal. However, in total, I only made a similar amount from Amazon as I was during the middle of 2015. January is so far looking like it will be even better than December with my sites so far getting the boost in traffic that I expected from Google Trends.

Amazon is less than half my income now so it is only part of the story. I also saw boosts in hotel commissions and my presentation product. I don’t think anyone would have bought my SEO presentation as  a Christmas present (although what a great present it would make 😉 ) and I have heard many other travel bloggers say that they have a fall in traffic and bookings in December (would love to hear your experiences with this if you are a travel blogger).

What is interesting is that all my sites saw a fall in traffic in December – yet my income still rose. This really illustrates something I talk about a lot which is about how it is about the right type of traffic, not the quantity of traffic. I was drawn into a discussion in a blogging group in Facebook yet again recently where bloggers were saying affiliates don’t work or you need a ton of traffic. I hope these reports show you don’t – you just need the right traffic (and my SEO presentation will show you how to get that!).

I am strangely sad that this is my last income report. I really do enjoy sharing all this information and I have found it really helps me find clarity in direction and to take a second to celebrate my successes and analyse what isn’t working. I am happy to go out on a bang.

If you are new to this site, I’d also love it if you took a moment to read my first post on this site – I wrote it just over two years ago when I first decided I was going to be a digital nomad. I didn’t know how and I never imagined I’d be where I am now.

I started this site as I wanted to show how a normal person with no special skill or advantage could work online and earn good money. That it wasn’t about luck or having a job that transferred online or all the other excuses that I used to make to myself when I would read about people being digital nomads and I was filled with jealousy. It really is just about being dedicated – working smart and hard. You can do it too! 

Plans Going Forward

This is a huge month as we arrive home on January 22nd! Until then we are doing a fair bit of travel in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Once we are home, things will be crazy and my business will sit on the back burner for at least the first week – there are lots of medical appointments, a husband who will be looking for a job and kids that start school and preschool!

Next month I hope to get stuck back into my business properly. I haven’t updated what was a monthly goal and work sheet since we went to Europe in June. Since that time, I have really just been maintaining my empire rather than doing enough real analysis and working on growth. With the far more limited time I will have this year, it’s more important than ever that I work smart.

There are so many things I want to do with this site and it is earning enough money now that I would hate to just let it slide. I hope to write more tutorials. I want to write the SEO course I was talking about. I want to write some ebooks. However, do I do this? Or do I concentrate on the income streams that I already know work for me? What would you like me to write about?

Regardless of the answers, I hope you will all continue to follow me so we can learn together.

You can now read my January update – the figures are not as detailed as this one but you will still find it useful!

 I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips or advice. What do you think I should do on this site now my income reports have finished?

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! I appreciate it 😀

About the Author

Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.

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