My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [August ’10]

money printerFirst of all, sorry for the delay on this month’s update post – I realize we’re already 10 days into September!

With August in the books, it’s time to recap how well I did in my quest for online passive income this past month.  As a CPA/tax consultant, August is typically a very busy work month, because most extended tax returns (for partnerships and corporations) are due September 15th.  Therefore, this past month I spent the least amount of time on my passive income projects since I began tracking my progress a few months ago.

Here’s the crazy thing though: This was my best month to date. I spent hardly any time on my projects, yet the power of passive income made it possible for my earnings to grow without additional work.  Unfortunately, “not doing work” isn’t a sustainable way to grow.  I’m going to need to work hard if I want continued growth (and work really hard if I want to accelerate that growth).

In case you haven’t been following this blog for long,  I originally focused my monthly reports on my passive income income status only, but I’ve broadened the scope to include anything related to this blog.  While I’m certainly not making enough money to quit my day job, I think people generally enjoy reading about others’ success and failure, so I’ve decided to share this information.

Let’s see what happened in August…

Lending Club

[Read my recent write-up here]

In August, I was faced with a bit of a downturn in my Lending Club portfolio performance due to having a loan default for the second time.  Based on the statistics I posted in my recent write-up, I’ve been unluckier than the average Lending Club investor.  The loan that defaulted was one of my riskier loans where I was earning around 12% (B grade), so it goes to show you that you take on more risk with the higher interest rate loans.  Even so, the average default rate for this type of loan is only 3.31% (so I was very unlucky!).

With that in mind, my overall performance is still quite good when compared to other types of investments I could have my money in.  As of the end of August, I was invested in 63 loans (+5 from July) and my net annualized return was 6.13% (-2.01% from July).  As I do each month, let’s see how this stacks up against CDs (certificates of deposit).  Due to the 3-year term of most Lending Club notes, I think it makes most sense to compare Lending Club loans to CDs.

Source: (9/8/10)

As expected, my current interest rate at Lending Club is still quite a bit higher than that of any CD investment.  It’s important to keep in mind that Lending Club loans are certainly more risky than these CDs, which have virtually no risk.  However, I strongly believe that the additional risk is more than compensated for by the higher rate of return.  Here are some other images from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:

I’m currently performing worse than investors who have a similar portfolio to mine (6.13% vs 7.90% shown in the first image above).  Compared to ALL investors, however, I’m doing quite a bit worse (6.13% vs. 9.66% in the third image), and my rate is worse than 82% of all investors.  I’ve been investing with Lending Club for almost 2 years now, and aside from a couple bad loans, the experience has been great.  I expect to see my net annualized return get back up to the 7-8% range it was in for a long time.

If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can still sign up with this link and get a free $25 just for opening the account (no deposit needed, but you must use that link in order to get the $25).  With that money, you can test out investing in a loan (since you can invest in increments as small as $25).  I’ve gotten questions about whether Lending Club allows non-US investors – unfortunately at this time, they do not.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

The lack of focus on my “internet work” probably hit this challenge worse than any other of my other passive income experiments.  If you recall, my original challenge was to write an average of 3 articles per day for an entire year, with the goal of earning $2,000 per month a year from now.  While I still believe I will hit the $2,000/month mark eventually, I’m beginning to think it will take me longer than a year.

At the end of July, I was on a good pace (granted, it had only been 13 days).  As of the end of August, 44 days into the challenge, I have written 77 articles (+37 from last month), but my average number of articles has dipped to 1.75 per day (-1.33 from last month).

For August, here are my Google Adsense statistics for Info Barrel.  Note that I am including statistics from Snipsly, one of the backlinking sites that I use for Info Barrel, that also shares ad revenue:

In August, I earned a total of $11.64 for my Info Barrel articles (+$3.52 from July).  While this isn’t all that impressive, it’s an improvement over last month, and I expect each month to only get better.

Affiliate Income

This is where I really saw improvements this month, and it’s especially exciting because I did literally no work on any of my niche sites.

Because these earnings are relatively minor, I don’t think it’s necessary yet for me to go into detail about where each dollar comes from.  Some of this comes from niche sites, while others come from affiliate links within this blog.  I’m a big fan of affiliate income because you’re really just getting paid for helping people find products and services that they want or need.  I’m not an affiliate for any product that I don’t believe in (i.e. I refuse to sell anything shady), so I can feel pretty good about this income.

Affiliate Earnings for August: $351.51  (+$131.18 from July)

By the end of the year, I’d love to have this amount at $500 per month.

Popular Posts

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

1) The Secret to Dominating Search Engine Rankings of Your Articles & Websites – InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge, Part 3

2) How to Make $2,000 Per Month Writing for InfoBarrel – InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge, Part 1

3) A Crazy Success Story That Should Motivate You

4) My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [July ’10]

5) How to Generate Unlimited Article Ideas – InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge, Part 2

Monthly Goals

I think part of the reason I’ve been quite unproductive from an online passive income perspective is that my goals are very broad and long-term.  Yes, I’d love to write 3 articles a day and make $2,000 per month from them in a year.  I’d love to create a portfolio of 10 niche sites.  These are all great long-term goals.

The problem is, going day to day, I don’t have a grasp on the short-term nature of these goals.  I come home from a long day at work and I know there are 15 different things I should be doing.  The magnitude of my to-do list is sometimes so overwhelming, that I can’t find a way to accomplish anything on the list.  It’s paralyzing.

Therefore, I’m going to set simple, achievable monthly goals within my monthly reports (starting with this post).  Throw your long-term goals out of the window, or at least, put them in the back seat.  It’s time to take baby steps first.

September Goals

1) Write 45 articles for InfoBarrel

2) Finish creating other niche blog (this one’s in a super competitive niche, and I’ll hopefully reveal this by the end of the month)

3) Write 5 pages of eBook

4) Write one guest post

5) Get the Motivation Vault up and running

These goals are modest, so hopefully I can surpass them easily.  While it’s good (and recommended) to have your long-term “stretch” goals, you also need to have some easier ones to keep you motivated.  Because September is still partially a very busy work month for me, I’ll be happy if I can achieve the above goals.

Until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income experiments!

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12 Responses to “My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [August ’10]”

  1. I was like you just about a year ago (15 things to do and don’t know where to start). I finally bought a Moleskine notebook, and started writing down my To Do list every morning before starting my day job or my blog work. T. Ferriss says to write your tomorrow goals tonight (I think unless that’s another book), but early tomorrow morning seems to work just as well. Anyway, long story short, just doing that daily seems to help me know which direction to go, and keeps me from having that paralyzing feeling you mentioned.

    Thanks for sharing all of this. I like to see how real people are doing with their Lending Club, as opposed to just my stats against the average. And the InfoBarrel earnings are interesting too. Hope they keep growing for you.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks so much for the comment, Brian. The notebook idea is great, and I don’t know why I haven’t used something like that despite the recommendation from several people. Right now, I usually write down my daily to-do’s on a sticky note, and usually it turns out containing far more to-do’s than I’m able to handle in one day or even one week.

    How’s Lending Club working out for you so far?


  2. Mine is sitting right at 9.55% with no defaults, but I only have $600 in my account. I like buying notes that have already paid down past the halfway point of their term instead of buying the new ones. I read somewhere that if someone has paid half their loan, the chances of going into default are lower. Of course most of the profit is made on the front side of the investment, so I am probably leaving some money on the table, but this method works pretty good for me.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds like you’re doing well, Brian. 9.55% is definitely nothing to sneeze at, even if you only have $600 in your account. That’s where I started, and just gradually built it up from there. I never thought of buying notes that were already paid down halfway, but I can see how that would reduce the chances of the note defaulting. If it’s working for you, I say stick with it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  3. Hello Eric!

    Thanks for sharing your information. I am definitely behind on the infobarrel challenge…but have recently published ten articles and feel comfortable with the process now.

    I have a question: how do I find out how much my adsense is making for my infobarrel? When I sign into Google Adsense, I just see one line for how much I am making, and dont’ know how much the infobarrel articles make.

    Any help would be great. Thank you!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Amanda! :) First of all, don’t worry about being behind on the challenge (I’m behind too). Forget about yesterday and work on writing your desired number of articles today and tomorrow, and you’ll get back on track.

    As for your question, you’ll need to set up a URL channel within Google AdSense to track which impressions and clicks come from Info Barrel. Follow the steps on this page, and be sure the channel you set up is for “”. Hope that helps!


    Amanda L Grosswman Reply:


    Thank you for the information! I activated the new url channel…is it supposed to show up when I sign into Google Adsense? Perhaps it takes a day or so to show up.



    Eric G. Reply:

    My pleasure! You should see it once you receive ad impressions after setting it up. I would definitely expect to see it working tomorrow.

  4. Any steps forward regarding the IB Challenge are good, I’m so behind right now but I know that each additional article is important, even if it’s not 3 per day.

    It’s really is tough having so many things to do at once.

    I like Maren Kate’s article about that very problem.

    Best of luck with your September goals!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Sometimes you just need to stop and scale back your goals, as much as you hate to do it. I hate admitting failure, even if the failure is that I can only do 1-2 articles per day instead of 3.

    The most important thing is that you make progress on something each day and don’t spread yourself too thin. That post from Escapingthe9to5 has a lot of great points.

    I’m guilty of trying to multi-task when I should really be limiting my focus. Article writing for InfoBarrel can never be my main focus, so I think the key is to turn it into a background chore, like washing the dishes or going for a jog. Spend 30-60 minutes per day on it, do what you can, and be done with it for that day.


  5. I worked for E&Y for 4 years (on the audit side) so I completely understand the busy spurts (I certainly do not miss them at all). The key to almost any growth in your ‘passive’ income is consistency. As long as you are putting content out there, giving it massive amounts of links, and enjoying the process it will only get better.

    If you do not use them already, Xomba, YouSayToo, and SheToldMe are great places to get good links for your iB articles. They also share revenue but I am not willing to risk my account on those sites yet (but I will let them give me links). I also like AllThatsOlive as well (the articles get indexed super fast).

    It is funny to read about another CPA that dreams about making a living online rather than use the ridiculously difficult license that we earned. Kind of humorous!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey DMace, it’s great to hear from another CPA! It sounds like you know just as well as I do the grind of public accounting. I agree that growing passive income is all about consistency and putting in hard work – more importantly, I think you also need patience.

    I currently use Xomba for backlinks, but haven’t used YouSayToo or SheToldMe a ton yet. I’ve never heard of AllThatsOlive, but will definitely check them out. Thanks for those tips.

    It is funny that we put so much hard work into our education and passing the CPA exam to earn our licenses, only to wish that we could bury them, but I guess that’s life. I struggled with that for awhile, but now I’ve decided that it’s more important to pursue what I want. It just doesn’t make sense to hang onto the past if the past is what’s holding you down.

    Thanks for the comment!


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