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February 2015 Income Report

If I met my income goals in January then I smashed them out of the park in February. Our first full month based in Penang was a fabulous income producing month for us. All the details are below!

February may be a short month, but it was also the month where we have had the most time to dedicate to working online so far. J started working seriously on trying to gain freelancing clients.

Unfortunately, we had some dramas with oDesk which held us back, my computer broke, the replacement we bought didn’t work and when we took it back, the shop was shut for a week for Chinese New Years! Despite these setbacks, we still met all our goals and had a long weekend in Thailand.

I am making some changes to my usual income report format from here forward:

  • I have been posting all amounts in USD. I find this very confusing as, being Australian, all our income goals are in AUD. This did not matter when the dollars were basically on par but there are big variations now, so it makes it seem like my income goals are moving when it’s actually not. I am going to document all amounts in AUD from now on and convert to USD at the end.
  • The change in value of AUD has meant that we have had to change our initial income goal. It was AUD$3000, but this is just not worth what it was and we find we are spending more to have the lifestyle we want. We are changing it to AUD$3500 from March.
  • I am going to start including business costs in these income reports. I have not previously as the vast majority of costs were on new projects while the vast majority of my income was from my travel blog, Where’s Sharon, and I felt that tracking my income after costs was not really a way to track if my income was growing. Now, my costs are basically all related to my income producing sites and I need to live off this money so they have become more important.

Where’s Sharon

I continue to focus on this site to grow its income. I have been doing this by working on how I use affiliates, rebranding my site to be more focused on the planning stage of family travel and working on growing my email subscribers. So far this strategy is working well!

I also applied to be a speaker at TBEX Asia and North America (travel blogging conference) talking about how to increase affiliate income by using SEO. I have not heard anything yet, but it would be great to share all my secrets with all of you.

Rebranding

I changed the tagline of my site from “Sharing all the good, the bad and the ugly of family travel” to “Travel smarter, cheaper and better with kids”. I changed this across my site and social media and my associated descriptions changed. I have changed the layout and menu structure of my site and I also plan to change my home page to match this. I want my site to look and be more like a travel resource site than a blog.

Traffic and Subscribers

Page Views: 55,234 (up from 54,101)

My traffic was staying steady then started to increase again at the end of February.

What has been even more exciting is my growth in subscribers. I literally quadrupled my number of subscribers in February. An article about how I did this is coming, and how I am ensuring that these subscribers are my target demographic. I have zero interest in having subscribers for the sake of it. I want ones that are likely to make me money!

Costs

PayPal fees – $20.93

HootSuite – $12
I use this for twitter scheduling

Writing – $50
My brother is writing an article a week for me across my sites. He is looking for more work if anyone is interested – He has been well trained to write to keywords.

GetResponse email service for managing my subscribers and autoresponders – $19.25
You can read more about the different email subscription services here.

Total Costs: $102.18

Income

Advertising – $699

Direct advertising – $544

Google AdSense – $155.40

My AdSense earnings fell at the start of the month, but thankfully came up again at the end.

Affiliates – $310

I made $129 from Amazon and $181 from hotel commissions.

HotelsCombined is still working much better for me than Expedia, Priceline or Agoda. Just about all my hotel commission money comes from them (read more about this in January’s report).

Sponsored Reviews – $789

Total Income: $1,798 – $102 = $1,696

Digital Nomad Wannabe

Page Views: 3,930 ( up from 2,165)

Income: $24 (affiliates)

Work / Home / Life

This is my 4 month old site all about working from home. I am not actively working on this at the moment apart from an article every now and then so I have decided to stop tracking this in these reports for now.

Niche sites

They continue to grow. You can read a full update here.

Costs

Writing – $150

Hosting – $4.50 (cheap hosting for PBN)

Domain renewal with Namecheap – $11.65 (PBN domain)

Total Costs: $166.15

Income

I made $637 across my niche sites.

Total Income: $637 – $166 = $471

Freelancing

J started freelancing this month.

Income – $800

Earnings Total: $2,991 (USD$2,309)

Up from USD$1,308 in January. Our goal at the beginning of the month was to make $3000 so we basically did it! I am especially happy as February was a short month, a fair chunk of this could be considered passive income and I made the majority of this.

February has been by far my best month and I still have payments to come for some of the work I did. March is already looking very positive for both of us. We should smash February’s total.

Passive Income

The best part about this month was the growth in my passive income. I consider affiliate income and AdSense income to be passive because I could not work at all for the next couple of months and I should keep earning this. I want to start tracking our passive income as an average per day rate as well as I am pushing to get this up to $100 a day.

Average passive income per day for February – $39

This does not tell the whole story though. In the first week of February, my passive income was only about $26 a day. By the end of the month, it was $48! I am very excited to see what happens in March.

Plans for the Next Month

My main goals for the coming month:

1. Increase affiliate income on Where’s Sharon by further refining how I use affiliates on existing posts.

2. Write more posts specifically with the aim of growing affiliate income.

3. Continue to improve my subscriber rate on Where’s Sharon and write a post for this site about how I have done this.

4. Continue adding articles to my niche sites.

5. Finish rebranding Where’s Sharon

6. Enjoy Langkawi and start pitching for sponsored travel for our upcoming trips – we are hitting Sri Lanka, Thailand and then Europe in the next few months!

J is working on an existing contract which will more than meet his share of income for March. He also wants to work on gaining new contracts.

March is sure to be an even bigger month so check back to see how we are going!

Updated: You can now read our March report!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips or advice.

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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