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June was a great, but very busy, month for us. We smashed our passive income records, we stopped needing to work on short term income earners such as reviews and freelancing and we didn’t even see much of an income drop thanks to how well our affiliate commissions are performing.
We had some great wins – including an actual win of an iPad for me. I also got some very exciting news (see below). We hit the 8% commission level on Amazon after falling just below it in May. I also just about hit AUD$5000 on Amazon which is amazing.
Of course things couldn’t be all perfect. We had some bad news at the end of the month – our tenants are moving out of our property in Australia. This has caused us some income pressure as that’s $1300 less per month. That was never income as our costs for our house are higher than this. However, it certainly went a long way towards paying them. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take too long before we have new tenants.
I had some exciting news this month! My application to talk at TBEX North America (travel blogging conference) in October was approved!
I was shocked as I expected to get approved for TBEX Bangkok rather than the one in Florida since I will be in Penang at the time. However, if they want to fly me to the US, who am I to complain?
I am going to be talking about using SEO to increase affiliate income. I will write more about it closer to the date. I am very excited to get to share what I have learned and to talk about my favourite topic. I hope I will see some of you there. I am determined to make it the most useful talk at the conference.
June was a busy month – we spent time in Malaysia, Thailand, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia!
I continue to focus on this site to grow its income. My primary aim continues to be to increase affiliate income on this site. This is becoming increasingly successful.
My Amazon commissions increased nicely this month, so I am very happy! Unfortunately, my hotel commissions went down slightly which I can see no good reason for since my page views are up.
I have basically stopped doing any paid work on Where’s Sharon like sponsored reviews. I am still adding city guides for the places we are visiting in the hope of increasing my hotel commissions. However, I do think that this really leads to such low amounts of money that it’s probably not worth my time.
These guides are a lot of work – they are usually 2,500 words minimum and super informative. Intelligently, I know they are not the best use of my time but this is the problem with my travel blog. I have such a personal attachment to it and I want it to be very good, so I find it hard not to add content that I know is super useful built to great keywords even when it is causing me stress and pressure, and I know the financial pay off won’t be worthwhile. I need to stop!
We have done a fair bit of sponsored travel in the last month with hotel stays in 4 different locations and tourist cards in 3. My love/hate affair with sponsored travel continues.
I thought we were being very careful to work out if the experience is worthwhile to have sponsored rather than pay for it ourselves, but I am going to cut back even further. Sponsored travel was essential for us to explore destinations like Scandinavia as the cost is well above my budget. However, I thought items like tourist cards would be very little extra work but I am not finding that to be the case.
I had both my best and worst experiences with sponsored travel and the negative experience has burned me. The best was awesome. They were very happy with me and the tourist board is going to share my article with bloggers and travel journalists that visit the city in future with a family focus.
The negative experience was, quite frankly, ridiculous. The person I was dealing with decided that, despite the fact that she admits that I say many positive things, that the article had a negative tone and was not truthful. Things that are definitely not true.
I could go on with the full story, but my point is that it took a lot of energy to deal with that and upset me. It was really not worth the little bit of money we saved on tourist cards.
So many travel bloggers just seem to aim for sponsored travel thinking it won’t be much more work than they already do. I promise you, it is a lot extra. I also find that my articles are better and I enjoy travel more when I am not worrying about also making tourist boards, etc happy. Thankfully, we have very little lined up going forward and we plan to keep it that way.
Another great increase primarily thanks to google search and SEO. It is not as close to 100,000 as I would like, but it is only a matter of time 🙂
HootSuite – $12
I use this for twitter scheduling
Writing – $150
Articles written by my brother and sister.
GetResponse email service for managing my subscribers and autoresponders – $33
I had to increase this plan thanks to a subscriber increase. 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
Tailwind – $19
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
I have been umming and ahhing about paying for this for ages but it makes life so much easier.
Traffic Planet Hosting – $33
Total Costs: $287 (down from $385)
Advertising – $527 (down from $1386)
Direct advertising – $197 (down from $1163)
Google AdSense – $330 (up from $223)
I am glad to FINALLY see a rise in this. I find it strange how my traffic has increased so much from the start of the year but this is the first increase for the year.
Affiliates – $2,364 (up from $1741)
I made $1,497 from Amazon (up from $876), $81 from an Australian retailer and $10 from eBay.
I made $744 from hotel commissions (down from $792) from Commission Junction. I also made $32 from Airbnb.
Income from Where's Sharon: $2,891 - $287 = $2,604 (down from $2,742) RPM: $29 (down from $33)
RPM is an indication of how much money each 1,000 page views is worth to my site.
Digital Nomad Wannabe
I thought about skipping an income report for this month to take a break and re-evaluate this site, but I couldn’t help myself. I am quite addicted to income reports!
I changed the theme for the site this month too. The old theme was annoying me. I found it hard to read and I wanted something with better short codes to try and make these income reports easier to read now there are so many bits and pieces. I hope I succeeded!
I went with performag from Thrive themes which is one I already use for another site. I love how clean it looks and how quick and easy it is to set up. It is also optimised for speed, conversions and social media sharing – all my favourite things! I’d love to know what you think of the new look below.
The TBEX speaking announcement had me thinking about working on this site further – if I am ever going to try to increase income from this site, it makes sense to do it now while I’ll get a boost of interest from the conference.
I was thinking about writing some eBooks on SEO. One covering the basics but with up to date techniques and more information than ones like Yoast’s guide. The other would be an advanced one that includes my exact technique for keyword research – basically the way I make money.
I have come to the conclusion, however, that it is just not worth the stress and time commitment that this would entail. I’d probably be lucky to earn back enough money to make the time worthwhile, especially while I don’t have the time to learn how to best market eBooks.
I also would be basically selling the exact secret to my success. That does have the possibility of lowering my income. Although I often share that here, I think the exact steps laid out would just make it too easy. I’d want to be making good money from the eBook.
There are all affiliate commissions.
SiteGround – $50
Great hosting for people starting out.
MassPlanner – $25
This tool is fabulous for many social media actions across social media networks including follow/unfollow and scheduling.
EasyAzon – $27
Essential plugin for adding Amazon links to articles
Long Tail Pro – $28
My essential keyword research tool. VERY highly recommended.
Income for Digital Nomad Wannabe: $177 (up from $171) RPM: $31
These sites continue to grow nicely. There were more costs than usual again this month thanks to hitting the anniversary of when I started building my PBN. I had to pay for the majority of the hosting which adds up! There will not be many ongoing costs until next year now though.
Writing – $100
Hosting – $322
This is a big cost this month as, in addition to my regular cheap hosting that is monthly for my PBN, I need to pay the annual fee for HostNine where the majority of my PBN sites are hosted. HostNine is the easiest way to host PBN sites as you can get a reseller package where you can get different IPs for your PBN sites. I love it.
Payoneer – $34
Total Costs: $456 (up from $365)
Site 1: $1,355 (up from $883)
Site 2: $2,044 (up from $1,658)
I made $3,399 (up from $2,541) across my niche sites.
Income from niche sites: $3,399 - $456 = $2,943 (up from $2,242 ) RPM: $70
This is from programming work. We are winding this down but J had to do some little jobs to finish up last month’s task. Hopefully this area will be gone from upcoming income reports! We would rather earn money in smarter ways.
Income - $460 (down from $1,050)
Earnings Total: AUD$6,184 (USD$4,601)
Earnings Total: AUD$6,184 (USD$4,601)
Down from USD$4,730 in May, although only $20 less in Australian dollars!
We are very happy with this amount. Although on the surface it may look like a decrease, the fact is that we basically stopped freelancing and doing sponsored articles or anything at all that involved work in exchange for money so we could work on increasing our long term passive income. We expected a bigger decrease than this so we are ecstatic.
This is also by far my best month since I earned over $5,600 through my sites.
My costs do keep creeping up. It is hard to do much about some of them – like the fact that I hit the anniversary of when I started building my PBN and there are just a lot of hosting and domain name renewal costs at the moment.
It’s a different matter with my Where’s Sharon costs but I find I can justify them all. The amount I am paying to automate my social media adds up, but is still a drop in the ocean compared to what I am earning and the fact that I am time poor and this makes life so much easier and less stressful. For this reason, I think it is worth every cent.
Something I do need to take starting into consideration which I haven’t so far is TAX.
When I started these income reports, I didn’t care as I wasn’t about to hit the tax free threshold of $18,000 in Australia. Obviously, I do now and doing my tax return this month is going to be a major headache (Australian tax year finished June 30).
I need to set new income targets which take into account the fact that I will lose a slice of my income to the Australian government. I worked out that from $6,000 I would only end up with $4,750 which is not enough to cover our current costs and mortgage (thanks to having no tenants).
My favourite part of the income report! After hitting $150 a day last month, I am looking forward to my next big milestone – $200! Could I do it….
Average passive income per day for June = $209 (up from $150)
I am so happy to have met this! Obviously this figure doesn’t take into account costs – it’s hard to split them up effectively.
Plans for the Next Month
I continue to keep my expectations low of what I can achieve while travelling in Europe, but we will settle down for a one month stop towards the end of July.
Our main goals at the moment are to keep writing great guides backed up by solid keyword research of some of the destinations we are visiting, but also to have a rest from writing them too. We also want to keep adding an Amazon focused post per week across our sites.
I have also recently started a new project (I can’t help myself). I am helping my brother build a blog which is based on solid keyword research and a monetisation plan from the start. I think I can replicate my current success and even beat it with everything I have learned.
This is a site I actually started last year but then had no time to continue, so the domain has aged and I already have a stack of content plans based on good buying keywords. We don’t want this to be a niche site though, we want a solid, authority site in the health area. I feel the sky could be the limit with earnings from this site and I think with all the knowledge we have now, that in a year’s time, it could be earning very well.
I definitely do not have time to work on this myself and my brother wants to copy my success, so we have come to an agreement. I will guide him extensively and he will use my existing site and research to build his new site. In return, I will get a % of the profits forever.
I like this model and I think it will be a big win/win for both of us. He will make money far quicker and hopefully far more. Over time, he will not need my help anymore and I could have a truly passive income stream. He is hard working and has a great mindset, so I am very excited by what we will achieve. His aim is to be a digital nomad when he finishes university at the end of the year. I will track our progress here.
The other big task I have for this month is tax. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am stressed about this. As I said above, I didn’t expect to earn over the tax free limit ($18,000) for the year, so I did not put much thought into this until now. It is not going to be fun!
I am also looking into things like setting up my business in another country – if you have done this, I would love to hear from you!
That’s it for June! Hopefully I will have lots of positive things to share for July!
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.