My Passive Income Report [April 2013]

As expected, April was the first “down” month that I’ve had in a long time. Not to say it was an extremely poor month, but I definitely took a bit hit (I’ll explain why below).

Fortunately, there are some new projects on the horizon for me, as I continue to try and diversify my online income portfolio.  If there’s anything to learn from my April income drop, it’s that diversification is so important.  This really can’t be understated.

Anyway, let’s move on to the good stuff

A Brief Overview of April

Half of April wasn’t productive (the first half, leading up to the tax deadline on April 15th), but I made the most of my free time in the second half.  April (and to be perfectly honest, probably most of May) has been time for me to regroup and reassess my plans.

I knew that my biggest income source, the page that was ranking on page one of Google for “make money online”, would eventually die down.  People ask, “how do you know it won’t continue?” I knew it wouldn’t because I didn’t do anything intentional to get it there in the first place.  Google saw, based on a number of factors, that the page was high quality and highly relevant to the search term.

However, because the keyword is perhaps one of the most competitive keywords on Google, it would only be a matter of time before other sites/pages rise to the top and push aside my page.  It’s not that my page has declined in quality, but there are plenty of internet marketers out there who are doing everything they can to rank for this keyword, and eventually, some of them are bound to succeed.

Sure, I could have made an attempt to keep the page ranking on page 1 of Google, but I never intended that one page to be a significant part of my business.  While there was a lot of earning potential there, I still prefer to find other ways to make money online that extend beyond telling people how to make money online.  Even if that means I’m leaving a lot of money on the table, I’m fine with it.

So, as I mentioned, I’m somewhat heading back to the drawing board.  I know that my income will be down significantly over the next 2-3 months most likely, but this is probably the motivation (or kick) I needed to get back to working on a diversified stream of online income.

April Income Report

Article Writing

It was a slow month for both InfoBarrel and Squidoo.  Traffic was pretty similar to March, but conversions (particularly with Amazon sales) were down.

I constantly find myself going back and forth on how much time and effort I want to devote to article writing.  On one hand, it’s a fairly inexpensive way to get content online and increase your earnings (and I still think it’s the best way for someone completely new to start out making money online).

However, the longevity of this income source is questionable.  Because you don’t control the medium (i.e. the site hosting the content), you have very little control over the long term success of that content.  Yes, you can always take it down and move it elsewhere, but the very nature of Squidoo and how it’s very different from other writing platforms makes it somewhat difficult to pick up your content and leave.

Case in point: Yesterday, I was informed that nearly a dozen of my Squidoo lenses were locked and unpublished (without warning) because they didn’t meet Squidoo’s new quality filters.  I’ll admit that the content wasn’t very long (usually around 300 words, mixed in with various “modules” such as videos and other media), but there was nothing about the lenses that made them any worse than the 30+ other lenses I have that weren’t locked.

Unfortunately, when a lens is “locked”, it’s very unlikely that you will ever be able to get it back.  The process is manual (requesting the lens be re-evaluated after changes are made), and from what I’ve heard, most of these requests seems to fall on deaf ears.

Granted, some of the blame does fall on me because I obviously didn’t create lenses that were of high enough quality, but the guidelines are very unclear, and I do believe that many lenses (including some of my own) were wrongfully locked.  Read any Squidoo forum (or even InfoBarrel’s) and you will find a lot of people very frustrated right now.

Do I continue putting time and effort into this medium?  I’m not sure anymore… (but feel free to chime in your thoughts in the comments).

Here’s a summary of all my article-related income for April:


  • Amazon: $12.80
  • Revenue Sharing: $6.52


  • Revenue Sharing: $9.55

Total Article Writing Income: $28.87

Social Lending

Lending Club

Lending Club, as I mention each month, is one of my favorite online passive income sources, because I believe it’s my only truly passive income source. What I mean by this is, once you select your investments (which doesn’t take more than a few minutes), you can simply sit back and collect the monthly payments which include a repayment of your initial investment + interest.

If you are unfamiliar with Lending Club, however, you should read my post that explains exactly how I make money with Lending Club (including my investment strategy) that I posted a couple months ago.

April finally showed some growth, after the past couple months which were flat.  I’m now invested in 166 loans (+1 from March) and my net annualized return is 5.48% (+.08% from March).

I’ve started investing in some higher risk loans (still mixing in safer, lower rate loans) to hopefully increase my overall return on investment.

If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can sign up with this link and get a free account. I am an affiliate for Lending Club, so if you have any questions about it, I’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments (or feel free to contact me by e-mail).

If you’re unsure whether this type of investing is right for you, you can start with $25 and build from there.  I mentioned this last month, but it’s worth repeating: In the past, I’ve focused on the $25 investment amount to get started, but I do want to emphasize that to really benefit from this form of passive income, you need to make several $25 investments (or larger if you’d prefer) not only to earn more interest, but to diversify as well.

If you simply make one or two $25 investments, you won’t really get anywhere.  You really do need to invest a bit more so that you can earn more and minimize your risk through diversification.


In April, I also began investing with, which is another social lending platform similar to Lending Club.  I initially deposited $100 into my account, to invest in four different loans ($25 per loan).  Two were funded in April, and two should be funded in May.

It’s still too early to report my return on investment, but I’ll definitely include updated figures in my monthly income reports, similar to what I do with Lending Club.

Niche Sites

I no longer do anything with these sites, so if they earn me anything, it’s a bonus.  Most of my old niche site domains have expired, but I’ve been keeping alive the handful that still earn enough to make it worthwhile to renew the domain.

Here’s a summary of April’s niche site earnings:
  • Amazon: $49.17
  • $0.00
  • Chitika: $0.00
  • InfoLinks: $0.00
  • Commission Junction: $0.00
  • Total: $49.17

Authority Sites

Authority Site #1 (Not Revealed)

This site is still sitting idle, but continues to earn a little bit of money.

April Earnings:

  • $2.70

Authority Site #2 (Slow Carb Diet Experiments)

I’ve gotten back to work on this site, publishing two new posts in April. Although this site receives a lot more traffic than the 1st authority site mentioned above, it’s a lot more difficult to turn that traffic into earnings.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that the site currently has about 60 RSS subscribers and the e-mail list has 69 subscribers.

April Earnings:

  • Amazon: $0.00
  • $0.67
  • Total: $0.67

Total Authority Site Earnings: $3.37

Affiliate/Other Income

Here’s the breakdown for affiliate and other income earned during April.  [Note: This income comes from other sites not discussed/listed above, including affiliate sales generated through this blog.]

Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for April: $885.61

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of April’s earnings, organized by project/challenge:

  • Article Writing: $28.87
  • Amazon & “AdSense” Niche Sites: $49.17
  • Authority Websites: $3.37
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $885.61

Grand Total for April: $967.02 (-$1,165.50 from March)

As expected, my April earnings dropped by over $1,000 from March, falling below the $1,000 earnings threshold for the first time in several months.  While this is unfortunate, it’s helped me see the reality of my online business: I need to diversify more.

More importantly, I need to work harder.  It’s been several months since I really put time into my online business.  Over the past 4-6 months, I’ve sat back and enjoyed the passive income that came as a result of hard work a couple years ago.  Now, it’s catching up with me, and until I put in that hard work, I suspect my income may fall even further.

Popular Blog Posts

These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in April based on number of views:

1) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

2) My Passive Income Report [March 2013]

3) Is CashCrate Legit? Here’s My CashCrate Review

4) How to Make $2,000 Per Month Writing for InfoBarrel

5) Top Google AdSense Alternatives: Review

How did April turn out for you? Hopefully better than mine – please do share in the comments.  And until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income projects!

If you enjoyed this income report, subscribe to the RSS feed (if you haven’t already) so that you don’t miss any future updates. Thanks!

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  1. Hey Eric, I’ve been breaking my income records for the past several months and April was no different. I’m still earning less than you but I’ve taken a very active approach this year to make increases every month. I have a goal to be at a solid $1000/month by the end of the year and will be using the income to fund my first iPhone app. I’ve already started the process and will be looking for a developer in the next couple of months.

    I think diversification is extremely important especially when you don’t control the platforms where your content lives. I have one site I’ve monetized with the Google Affiliate Network and I just found out they are shutting down in July. So that’s one income source that will be taken away from me soon.

    Even with your setback in April, I’m sure you’ll find a way get back to where you were!
    Harlan Yee recently posted… App Dev 3: 35+ Ways To Make Your Mobile App A Success


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Harlan, that’s awesome to see your that your income has been steadily improving each month – I hope that trend continues, and I have no doubt that you can reach a consistent $1,000+/month by the end of the year.

    I’m excited to read more about your iPhone app as well – best of luck with it as you go through the development process.


  2. Good to see you’re getting a little riskier with your lending club. Think you could push that up to 10% if you stop investing in A-Cs. Been looking around at other peoples Net Annuals on other sites and 10-12% seems fairly common for people 2-3 years in. I tend to ignore the people’s reports who have been in for less than a year. I’ve been getting into Prosper as well. Only 20 Notes to start but it’s something.

    I’ve been starting to realize that the only true passive income is investments. Affiliate marketing is more like a business or mining for gold. You could strike it reach one day and be out it the next.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Tyler. I realize that my net annualized return is well below average – I think this is a combination of the fact that I used to only invest in grade A loans (when I started) and the fact that I’ve been unlucky with defaults.

    I was looking through your blog and reading your April progress report – really interesting how you basically report on all aspects of your life. Any reason you don’t allow comments? I think you could generate some pretty interesting discussion with your content.
    Eric G. recently posted… 64+ Easy Ways to Save Money Online


    Tyler Herman Reply:

    I’ll probably allow comments at some point, just waiting on more traffic. Still fleshing out a lot of content I want on the site. The site has been around for a little while but I don’t consider it fully launched yet.


  3. Hi Eric, I guess this is a “frank” report of your earnings in the month of April. One thing that readily rings bell in this report is the fact that you aren’t doing more to promote your already existing online passive income sources! This could spell doom than you have envisaged!

    You mentioned diversification as one reason you are not putting more effort in your business. Can’t you diversify and still retain the tempo you put in these businesses? I think abandoning them would not be the best for you!

    On your niche sites, are you not considering the interest of readers or subscribers who have come to trust the valuable contents you provide them?

    The above comment(question) is shared in where this income report for April 2013 was shared and “kingged”.
    Hopefully, I should get answers to my questions.

    Sunday – contributor


    Eric G. Reply:

    To be honest, my niche sites really don’t really have a high subscriber rate, and I suspect there aren’t a lot of repeat visitors. On my authority site however, that’s different – people definitely return, and I will continue writing high quality content for that site.


  4. Hey Eric,

    I enjoy reading your monthly report!

    I stopped trying on article writing as they are very time consuming and the result is not great – maybe I have not tried hard enough, but I would like to find other more effective ways that I have more control on.

    Recently I am inspired by Pat Flynn’s NSD 2.0 and looked very closely into his guests’ websites. I like the Nishe Site idea and think it’s a great model to learn and repeat in order to generate passive income in the future. I did more than 10 hours research last week and I am in process of building more niche sites.

    I want to ask your opinion on being concentrate on less projects rather spread the time too thin onto too many projects. I know you are running lots of projects at the same time, but in my view, I rather find one thing that really works and repeat the process again and again.


    Sibo recently posted… Smart Phone or Smart You?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Sibo, thanks for the comment. I agree that results from article writing are sometimes very slow. There are definitely better ways to make money.

    I’m excited to see how the NSD 2.0 turns out – I may not officially participate, but I will be creating my own niche site to go along with it.

    Your point about focusing on less projects is very valid – in fact, that’s going to be one thing I plan to change soon about the way I work, and I’ll be discussing it in an upcoming blog post.


  5. Hey Eric,

    Well, it’s such a bummer to know that our actual earnings for this month is lower compared to last month. But I guess everyone suffers from that though so don’t feel about it. We all experienced that stage, trust me. Anyway, is fairly new to me so I’ll try to visit the site whenever I have the time to spare. Thanks for sharing to us your income report.
    Farrell John Conejos recently posted… HIMYM: Identity Of Ted Mosby’s Wife Finally Revealed


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Farrell!


  6. I enjoy reading your posts, Eric! I am glad you thrashing out this dilemma in public so that we can learn from it!

    I hope that, as you re-evaluate your position in the coming weeks that you will share some of your thinking with us. If you have given up on your old niche sites, and article writing, and your authority sites are proving difficult to monetize, what is left? As fun as Lending Club may be, it isnt going to make for interesting reading!

    Cant wait to hear some your new ideas!
    Von recently posted… Time and Clarity


    Eric G. Reply:

    Good questions, Von. I think while my old niche sites and article writing are dying off, I will soon be building new niche sites (one at a time – not mass produced as I did a long time ago). Unlike what I’ve done before, I’m going to attempt to really focus on completing one project before moving onto the next one.


  7. You’ll have slow months. At least the incomes didn’t completely fall off the face of the earth. You still have some of it coming in and that’s always a good positive.


    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s true – thanks for thinking positive Mike!


  8. happens – very common in the space we are in. i am sure it will come back – often times in a different form from another medium as long as you keep working and diversifying along the way.

    while it is important to reinvest some earnings back into our businesses, it is also important to save some of that side income to put it to work and grow it.

    i see that this is where many entrepreneurs – especially online entrepreneurs tend to neglect – at least in my small circle on online entrepreneurs.

    if the extra income is viewed no different than a bonus at work, maybe more will treat it as such by pursuing other alternative investment methods as well – whether online or offline.
    Sunil – Extra Money Blog recently posted… How to Build iPhone Apps for Non Programmers + Starting & Promoting My New iPhone Apps Company + My First App Sale, Traffic & The Whole Process Documented


  9. I would get off of squidoo, at least that’s what I’m doing. I’m tired of seeing my quality lenses (I think their good and I’m sure visitors like them too) get locked and removed. So far 2 of my top earners have been removed. They are unclear about what they want, so I don’t want to play the guessing game.

    I suppose it is ok if you have a backup plan for the content that is locked and removed from squidoo, such as another site to publish it on.

    There isn’t enough control on squidoo or similar sites for my taste.


    Eric G. Reply:

    I agree, Richard, and for the time being, I’m also going to stop creating new Squidoo lenses. They are WAY too unpredictable now with what gets locked and what doesn’t, and it leaves you feeling like you really can’t do anything.


  10. You’re coming down into my realm now, though admittedly I do next to nothing to make this income. I would avoid the stuff that requires you to create a lot of content for mere pennies (like Squidoo). Why do work that pays less per hour than a gig at McDonald’s? I’m curious why you never try to follow the formula spelled out at Niche Pursuits even though you promote it as a quality site. The public niche experiment he did over there is bringing in around $450 a month with no input.


    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s a good point – if you read my more recent income report (May) you will see that I have completely stopped writing for Squidoo, and I’m actually in the process of building a niche site similar to the one that Spencer has discussed on Niche Pursuits. I’ve followed this “formula” in the past as well. Obviously, not every site can be a winner, but I have high hopes for the current one I’m working on.


  11. Yet Eric is pretty inspiring to see that you are having with your projects, is a sign that it really is possible to have passive income with niche sites. I have focused more on building sites as the case study of spencer also. Very good your blog.


  12. And at first I’m currently build mini websites still in varied types of profitable micronichos and have used some tools for searching for key words, one of the things that invest time in finding profitable niches is and I make sure I can get the ranking for them.
    Júnior recently posted… Lead Lovers vale apena? Siba a se compensa ou não