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July 2015 Income Report


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July was a busy and stressful month for us, although not because of our online business. We just had a lot going on.

I hit my hardest task yet as a digital nomad – doing my tax return! I spent the last two entire days of July working on this and I am so relieved to finally have it done. I have never found anything so difficult, well apart from being a high school teacher anyway!

I worried we would earn less money than last month. Our Amazon growth slowed and we stopped doing any freelancing… keep reading to see how we went!

Travel Update

July was a super busy month – we explored Lithuania, Poland, England and finished up in Paris. What made it even busier was a run of awful luck.

S’s passport was accidentally damaged so we have wasted a lot of time and energy trying to get a new one. There are so many hoops, it is crazy. We finally have the application in so hopefully she will have a new one soon!

Z also had an infection and was nearly hospitalised in Poland. S hit her head and needed stitches (and had a ride in an ambulance!). Both Z and J have had infections here in Paris. It is crazy!

Things are looking up now though and we arrived in Paris on July 23 for a month so I am catching up on work nicely.

Where’s Sharon

I continue to focus on this site to grow its income. My primary aim continues to be to increase affiliate income on this site.

My commissions did not increase as much as I would like. I was initially concerned, but then I remembered two things:

1. I am using SEO to try to increase my commissions. I didn’t do anything but experiment until a few months ago and it just takes awhile for SEO to pay off.

2. The Northern hemisphere summer usually means a decrease in Amazon sales.

I continue to write about the destinations we are visiting.

We had one drama this month on this site. After moving to Traffic Planet Hosting recently, we had to move again. We were seeing lots of little outages and the support was absolutely useless. It was very frustrating since we had just moved from SiteGround because of our traffic levels although at least their support gave us assistance.

For the third time in less than three months, we changed hosts.

We are now back to using our own virtual server again. J does all the management of it. This is cheaper and gives us full control. I had wanted to move to hosting where we would have support and I knew someone would make sure the server was running etc when we weren’t online, but having support in between us and our server turned out to be a huge hassle since they didn’t actually support us anyway and we couldn’t see anything for ourselves.

This solution won’t work for you if you (or your partner!) does not have the technical knowledge. It does seem like the best solution for us though. We had no more down time after switching.

Sponsored Travel

Hanging with Miss 5 at her dream destination - Peppa Pig World!

Hanging with Miss 5 at her dream destination – Peppa Pig World!

All we did this month in regards to sponsored travel was arrange two lots of city passes and had a day at my kids’ #1 bucket list destination, Peppa Pig World! We also obtained a couple of products that we needed to buy in exchange for a review.

I am reluctant to do any more sponsored travel so I have not pitched for anything for our upcoming travel in Europe yet.

Traffic

Page Views: 104,559 (up from 91,216)

I made it to 100,000 page views! It was another great increase. On average, my traffic has increased by 17% per month this year! If that keeps up, I will hit 200,000 page views this year.

I also applied to be included in this list of top 50 travel blogs which is based solely on traffic and made it! I also ranked in the travelocafe list which also takes into account social media as well. I know any list has its shortcomings, but it is not easy to make these lists and I would never have imagined that I would.

If anyone is wondering what it takes to make the top 50, it’s based on unique visitors over a quarter – that quarter, mine was 144,000. I should see a nice increase in rankings next quarter since I am already over half that number of visitors this quarter 🙂

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

Costs

HootSuite – $12
I use this for twitter scheduling

Writing – $150
Articles written by my brother.

GetResponse email service for managing my subscribers and autoresponders – $34
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 – $15
This is a debit MasterCard that I use to access Amazon money immediately. There is a 1% charge on Amazon deposits.

Instagram Scheduling – $20

Traffic Planet Hosting – $33

RamNode Hosting – $12
Our new hosting service

Total Costs: $302 (up from $287)

Income

Advertising – $633 (up from $527 )

Direct advertising – $327 (up from from $197)

Google AdSense – $307 (down from $330)
Yet again, I don’t understand this income. It’s gone down even with a nice traffic increase. It is a fair bit lower so far this month.

Affiliates – $2,550(up from $2,364)

I made $1,531 from Amazon (up from $1,497) and $4 (down from $10) from eBay. I also made $43 from a theme sale.

I made $896 from hotel commissions (up from $744) from Commission Junction and $44 from HotelsCombined directly. I also made $32 from Airbnb.

Income from Where's Sharon: $3,180 - $302= $2,881 (up from $2,604)

RPM:  $27 (down from $29)

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

Digital Nomad Wannabe

Page Views: 6,065 (up from 5,835 )

Nothing much happened in July for this site although, as you can see, August is gearing up to be a bigger month with this being the third article I have published already this month.

Costs

None

Income

These are all affiliate commissions.

SiteGround – $100
Great hosting

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

GetResponse – $45
Our favourite email marketing service.

EasyAzon – $42
Essential plugin for adding Amazon links to articles

Thrive Themes – $34
Fabulous themes that are built to optimise speed, sharing and conversions. Performag is what I use on this site and a few others. I love it.

Tailwind – $9
Awesome Pinterest scheduling tool. Read my Pinterest strategy here.

NameSilo – $1
Cheapest domain costs and renewals that I am aware of. Use code: DNW1OFF to get $1 off your own domains.

Income for Digital Nomad Wannabe: $280 (up from $177)
RPM: $47 (up from $31)

Niche sites

Site 1 Page Views: 18,968 (up from 18,835)
Site 2 Page Views: 24,430 (up from 23,365)

These sites did not grow much this month for the first time. I was initially concerned until I remembered that its normal to see less Amazon sales in late July and August.

There were more costs than usual again this month thanks to renewing the hosting for both my niche sites. This should be it for awhile now though.

Read my full niche site update here which summarises my progress over the last 12 months with these sites.

Costs

Writing – $100

Hosting – $134
I had to pay for hosting for both my niche sites this month (which are on quality hosting) and my usual small PBN hosting amount

Namecheap – $17
Domain name renewal for PBN

Payoneer – $35

Total Costs: $286 (down from $456)

Income

Site 1: $1,425 (up from $1,355)

Site 2: $2,074 (up from $2,044)

Additional niche site: $45 (actually this is the site that was de-indexed. I moved it to a different domain)

I made $3,542 (up from $3,399) across my niche sites.

Income from niche sites: $3,542 - $286 = $3,296 (up from $2,943)
RPM: $76 (up from $70)

New site

This is my latest project which I briefly mentioned last month.

My brother has been inspired by what I have been able to achieve and wants to be a digital nomad himself next year – in fact, as I write this he is currently on a flight to Chiang Mai to try it out for a month to see if he likes it!

He already writes articles for me and we have decided to start a new authority site – a blog in the health niche. He will do the vast majority of the work with as much coaching from me as he needs. In return for my assistance,  I will get a percentage of all profits.

I am very excited to see where this will lead. I have learned so much that I feel that I will be able to replicate my success far quicker this time. It will be interesting! I plan to track the progress here.

He is going very well so far. He is a fantastic writer with a real passion for this area which shows in the articles he is producing. I will link to the blog here once it is ready to be launched. Hopefully by my next income report!

Freelancing

Nothing! Glad this is over and we now feel confident relying on our more passive streams of income

Earnings Total: AUD$6,457 (USD$4,730)

Up from USD$4,601 in June.

I am ecstatic about this total as there was no freelancing – all this money was made through my sites.

I also barely worked for the majority of July. This is why I am so committed to affiliate income. Sponsored reviews, travels, posts, coaching, social media management and a lot of other ways that bloggers earn money are not my pick as I just don’t want to be constantly exchanging my time for money. I want to be with my kids when they are sick and take a week off in London to relax without worrying that we won’t have anything to eat.

My costs dropped this month after getting through most of the renewal period of hosting and domain names for my PBN and niche sites but I still had to pay for hosting for both my niche sites. Expect these costs to drop now for the next ten months.

I still have a fair bit of costs for Where’s Sharon, but I feel like my life has changed for the better since I paid for all the social media scheduling. I used to resent how handling the social media for that site was a constant drain on my time and wish for a VA, but actually the scheduling tools remove the need for a VA (for my strategy) and stop me needing to look at my social media accounts regularly. I love them!

I was worried about my tax last month. The good thing about getting this horrible beast done for the last Australian tax year is that I am no longer too worried about a big tax bill from my current earnings. It turns out that I can deduct most our travel costs. Since just about everything we earn is spent on travel, this is massive. It is handy having a sister who used to be a tax accountant!

The other financial relief is that our house back in Australia was rented out again and we only ended up with two days with no tenants.

Passive Income

Average passive income per day for July = $215 (up from $209)

As long as this stays over $200 a day, I am a happy woman. Obviously this figure doesn’t take into account costs – it’s hard to split them up effectively. However, since basically all our income going forward should be passive, I may start taking this into account next month.

Plans for the Next Month

I am planning to work hard while we are settled in Paris mainly on Where’s Sharon activities. We will then be travelling fast for the last part of the month in Italy, so I will not achieve much.

My current goal, however, is to take the foot off the pedal and stop working so hard from here on. Something I think I am going to struggle with.

I have never been someone motivated by money – I left a six figure income in IT in 2009 to study community development after all! And then ended up as a school teacher! But I am a hard worker and I just love the challenge of building up my own business. It is hard to not work on it every moment.

The fact is, however, I took this path so that my family could have a better lifestyle. Better lifestyle to me did not necessarily mean travel, although I do love it. It basically meant more quality time together. It just happens that travel is the best way to make this happen as Australia is such an expensive country. Even travelling in Europe is cheaper than just living in Melbourne.

Although we definitely have more time together now than back in Australia, we still work a lot. More than I would like. We need to stop. We are self supporting now and its unlikely the money will disappear tomorrow. Our tax returns will replenish our savings. Amazon payments take two months to come through so we only need to keep these earnings up another couple of months to be ok. We need to enjoy life more and reap the benefits of our hard work.

We still plan to return to Australia in late January when my daughter starts school. Once we return, hubby will need to go back to work as I would have to more than double my present income for us to not need an additional income then. If he is working 5 days a week, I do not want to be doing the same.

I will still have Mr then 4 at home when he is not in kinder and I want to be fully present for my kids again when they are at home instead of always thinking about work. I want to stop spending every evening in front of a computer screen. I actually do not remember what I used to do in evenings before this.

This does not mean that I am going to stop taking this seriously or stop working. NEVER! But I need to stop working a crazy amount of hours. I need to learn how to treat this job like I would have treated my IT jobs in the past and when work is over, switch off. I need to stop measuring my progress in terms of $ but rather work/life balance.

I am not sure how to do this, but I need to try! I think this may be harder for me than becoming a digital nomad!!

You can now read my update for August 2015 and more posts on blogging and income reports here.

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

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.

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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