My Online Income Report [September 2013]
You might have noticed a subtle difference in the title of this post, compared to my past monthly income reports. Although this blog has typically focused on “passive” sources of income online, I’ve decided that this is the wrong focus, and sends the wrong message.
After all, most of the “passive income” projects I undertake are anything but passive – they require a lot of upfront work, and even when everything is in motion, there’s a lot of effort required to maintain and grow the project. Sadly, I haven’t been putting in enough effort.
That aside, I’m slowly getting into a new form of online income (new for me, that is), which I’ll explain in greater detail below. It’s 100% non-passive (so I guess that makes it “active?”), but I think there’s solid potential to build a strong income stream with it.
Let’s jump right in…
New Plans in Motion
Although September’s income remained nearly unchanged from August, there were a lot of new developments in my online business plan going forward.
As I wrote about here, I’m slowly trying to position myself as a premium-grade freelance writer. In my mind, there are two types of freelance writers:
1) The “Commodity” Freelance Writer
2) The Premium Freelance Writer
The “commodity” freelance writer is a “dime a dozen,” and is paid accordingly. This is the type of writer who cranks out content that is usually 400-600 words long, and typically only writes articles for SEO purposes (e.g. secondary content on a niche site). You’re lucky if you can make $10 from a 500 word article here – the average rate is probably more like $5 for 500 words.
The premium freelance writer understands the value of marketing his or her services, and actively seeks out clients, not assignments. The quality and depth of the content written is usually much greater. Although this usually requires a bit more of a time investment, the payoff is generally much better ($50+ for 500 words).
I’m not expecting to step right into that premium class and have tons of clients, but that’s the goal I’m working toward. To get to that point, I want to build a solid writing portfolio.
I’m going to take the opportunity to build out one or two sites filled with high quality content – although I already have a few different sites out there, much of the content wasn’t written by me, so I don’t feel comfortable using those sites in my portfolio. So, while I build my freelance writing portfolio, I’ll also be building some valuable passive income assets.
September Income Report
This section of the income report used to detail the (little) income I received from writing articles on revenue-sharing websites, and while I still plan on including that income here, it no longer deserves its own section. The focus will be on freelance writing.
In September, I decided to test the freelance writing “waters” a bit and write for Textbroker. This is definitely not part of my long term strategy, as the pay is simply too low, but I wanted to get a little taste of freelance writing before I actually start finding clients and landing actual writing jobs.
My strategy for writing articles on Textbroker is really simple: Find article topics that I can write about really quickly. The only way to make this type of freelance writing somewhat worthwhile is to be able to write fast without sacrificing quality.
Freelance Writing Income – September
- Textbroker: $23.18 (approx. 1.5 hours writing)
Other Article-Related Income – September:
- Amazon: $0.00
- Revenue Sharing: $2.07
- Revenue Sharing: $5.50
- Amazon: $0.00
Total Writing Income: $30.75
“Daily” Fantasy Sports
This is a new section of my income report that I’m excited to introduce. If you’ve never played fantasy sports online before (my favorite is fantasy football), and you have no interest in it, feel free to skip over this section.
The difference between the sites below and your traditional fantasy sports league, is that instead of drafting one team for an entire season, you can play in daily contests where you pick your team for a day (or week, depending on the sport) and compete head-to-head or against multiple people to see whose team can score the highest for that day.
Each person wagers a set amount (they have contests that are free and go all the way up to $200+ to enter). Most of the ones I play are $1 or $2, but I’ll usually play in several contests on a Sunday (fantasy football is what I’ve been playing lately).
For example, last week I picked a team for a $2 contest, head-to-head against one other random opponent. The winner of the contest gets $3.60. After picking a team I really liked, I was able to duplicate it across 10 similar contests against different opponents (so I had a total of $20 in play).
Each of the sites below has their own unique characteristics, which I why I play at all three sites each week. I initially deposited $25 on each site, and have slowly been working up my balances through my winnings.
Disclaimer: Although similar to gambling, it’s actually legal. I don’t advocate playing to earn an income, although it’s fun entertainment where you can make money if you know your sports well. Here’s a note from one of the sites about why it’s legal:
Here are my net winnings (i.e. profit) for September:
If I had to pick my favorite site to play on, I would probably select Draft Kings or Fan Duel, however they are all good. The top earners on all of these sites make $50,000+ per month, but these are obviously people who wager significantly more money.
If there’s any interest in me writing more about daily fantasy sports, please let me know in the comments. I’m really not sure how interested any of you are in this type of activity.
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 only takes a few minutes), you can sit back and collect the monthly payments which include a repayment of your initial investment + a relatively high rate of interest.
If you’re new to Lending Club, you should read my post that explains exactly how I make money with Lending Club (including my investment strategy). It’ll at least help you get started in figuring out what loans are better to invest in.
I’m currently invested in 183 loans (+1 from August) and my net annualized return is 5.31% (-.28% from August). Another slight decline, but I’m still happy with the overall return I’m getting on my investment – certainly more than I would be earning with other relatively safe investments.
Although this isn’t a place I’d put my life savings, I’m a firm believer that this is becoming a more and more viable way to safely invest a portion of your savings. I can’t recommend a specific % to invest (it all depends on your tolerance for risk), but I’d be comfortable investing at least 10% of my own savings.
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. Again, I want to emphasize that to really benefit from this form of passive income, you need to make several $25 investments not only to earn more interest, but to diversify as well. One or two $25 investments won’t get you anywhere.
Prosper.com is another site where I invest, which is a social lending platform very similar to Lending Club.
The 4 loans that I originally invested in when I opened my Prosper account are still doing quite well. As of right now, my rate of return is 12.04% (+0.29% from August).
As I mentioned last month, the reason I haven’t put more money into my account yet is because I’m currently trying to keep my funds as liquid as possible – in addition to paying for our own wedding, my fiance and I are planning on purchasing a condo within the next year.
While it’s still too early to say whether Prosper is any better than Lending Club, I’ve been very happy with the results. If you’re interested, you can create a Prosper account here.
Nothing new to report here. Although my sites still continue to earn a little bit of money, I haven’t done anything with them over the past month. While I’d like to see if I can improve this situation, I’m not sure that this is where my time is best spent.
Here’s a summary of September’s niche site earnings:
- Amazon: $8.66
- Media.net: $0.00
- Chitika: $0.00
- InfoLinks: $0.00
- Commission Junction: $0.00
- Total: $8.66
Authority Site #1 (Not Revealed)
This site is still inactive, but continues to earn a bit of money.
- Media.net: $2.11
- Indeed.com: $2.65
- Total: $4.76
Authority Site #2 (Slow Carb Diet Experiments)
Finally, a month where this site earns more than just pennies (though not much more). I get a fair amount of Amazon clicks each day with this site, yet they never seem to convert. Some of the clicks finally converted in September.
- Amazon: $9.75
- Media.net: $0.05
- Total: $9.80
Total Authority Site Earnings: $14.56
Here’s the breakdown for affiliate and other income earned during September. [Note: This income comes from other sites not discussed/listed above, including affiliate sales generated through this blog.]
- CashCrate: $112.08 (read my review here)
- ClickBank: $21.07
- Commission Junction: $163.98
- PayDotCom: $40.00
- Ebates: $5.00
- Market Samurai: $0.00
- TweetAdder: $0.00
- Aweber: $11.40
- Other misc.: $0.00
Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for September: $353.53
Here’s a summary of September’s earnings, organized by category:
- Freelance Writing: $30.75
- Daily Fantasy Football Contents: $52.00
- Niche Sites: $8.66
- Authority Sites: $14.56
- Misc. Affiliate Income: $353.53
Grand Total for September: $459.50 (+$57.53 from August)
Although there was a slight increase for September, I know I have a long way to go to really boost the income back to the higher levels I was once at.
Popular Blog Posts
These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in September based on number of views:
How was your September? Are you planning on adding any new sources of online income like I did? Share in the comments!
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