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

Goodbye September, hello October.  It’s once again time to recap how well I did in my quest for online passive income this past month.  September was yet again another busy month for me at my “real job,” but I still managed to cross some important things off of my to-do list.

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 September looked like.

Lending Club

[Read my recent write-up here]

After a downturn in August, September looked a bit better as I saw a rise in my overall performance.  As of the end of September, I was invested in 65 loans (+2 from August) and my net annualized return was 6.42% (+0.29% from August).  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: (10/4/10)

As usual, my current interest rate at Lending Club is 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 (6.42% vs 7.79% shown in the first image above).  Compared to ALL investors, however, I’m doing a lot worse (6.42% vs. 9.66% in the third image), and my rate is worse than 81% 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.

For those who are still skeptical, I caught this video that was on CBS news in Washington, D.C.  It’s a quick story about both a borrower and a lender’s experiences using Lending Club:

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]

I’m beginning to settle in at a more comfortable pace of writing 1-2 articles per day.  I think as long as I have a “9 to 5” job and other projects going on, this is the best I’ll be able to do, and I’m fine with that.  As of the end of September, 74 days into the challenge, I have written 106 articles (+29 from last month), but my average number of articles has dipped to 1.43 per day (-0.32 from last month).

For September, here are my Google Adsense statistics for Info Barrel:

In September, I earned a total of $19.88 for my Info Barrel articles (+$8.24 from August).  Fortunately for me, the earnings didn’t end there!  I also earned $2.86 from Amazon (+$2.86 from August) and $20 from affiliate sales driven by the author bio box on one of my articles (+$20 from August).

September InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:      $19.88
  • Amazon Associates: $2.86
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $20.00
  • Total: $42.74 (+$31.10 from August)

Niche Site Duel

One exciting addition to my list of projects was my decision to join Pat Flynn’s niche site duel.  In short, I decided to create a niche site based on P90X, an extreme home fitness routine.  Here are the links to my niche site duel updates thus far:

September Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $0.96
  • Amazon Associates:  $0.20
  • Total: $1.16

The earnings aren’t impressive (yet!), but I’m quickly moving my way up Google’s ranks.  As of my last rank update, I was ranked #15 on Google for my primary keyword (“p90x review”).  The best is yet to come.

Affiliate Income

My miscellaneous affiliate earnings took a little bit of a dip this past month, but I’m not concerned.

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 September: $291.32  (-$60.19 from August)

Popular Posts

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

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

2) Niche Site Duel – Update #1: Tackling A Super Competitive Niche

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

4) Will Google Instant Kill Long-Tail Keywords for SEO?

5) Revisiting Passive Income With Lending Club (There’s Still $25 Free For You)

Monthly Goals

I decided last month that part of the reason I’ve been quite unproductive from an online passive income perspective is that my goals were very broad and long-term.  Therefore, I decided I’m going to set simple, achievable monthly goals within my monthly reports.  First, let’s see how I did with last month’s goals:

September Goals

1) Write 45 articles for InfoBarrel – FAILED

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) – COMPLETED

3) Write 5 pages of eBook – COMPLETED

4) Write one guest post – COMPLETED (It’s hasn’t been posted yet though.)

5) Get the Motivation Vault up and running – COMPLETED

I guess 4 out of 5 isn’t too bad.  Here are my goals for this month (yes, they are similar to last month’s):

October Goals

1) Write 45 articles for InfoBarrel

2) Write 10 pages of eBook

3) Write one guest post

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

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22 Responses to “My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [September ’10]”

  1. Man, this all sounds so ambitious, Eric. Do you think it’d be better to focus your energy on niche sites rather than eHow? (Just curious).


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Moon, sorry for not replying to your comment until now – it somehow got caught up in my spam filter and I just saw it.

    Honestly, I do think it might be better for me to focus on niche sites rather than article writing (for InfoBarrel, not eHow). I actually responded to a similar comment below (that I saw before I caught this one in the spam filter).

    I try to look at this like an investment portfolio: I think writing for InfoBarrel may have a lower future return given the time invested, however I’m still going to pursue it in order to diversify my streams of passive income.

    You could argue that each additional niche site would further diversify my portfolio, but I’ve decided that I want passive income through article ad revenue to be part of my overall passive income picture.

    Maybe in a couple years, I’ll regret it, or maybe I’ll be sitting on an easy $1,000+/month income from my articles and not need to write new ones anymore. I’m hoping the latter is true. :)


  2. Great to see your hitting most of your goals, so keep up the good work.

    I’m quite interested in how many sites you actually use for those affiliate sales.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Rene! Those affiliate sales basically come from 4 different sites (not every site makes a sale each month, however). I have more sites in the works, but it will be some time before they are generating any real income.


  3. Landed on your site and am impressed with your approach. Not sure how long you’ve been doing this but it’s great to see someone holding themselves accountable and being real about their results. More power to you. I’m inspired to get my act together more!! Thanks Eric.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Mel, thanks for stopping by to comment! I still consider myself a relative newbie – I’ve really only been in this online passive income “game” for about 6 months now (even though this blog is close to 10 months old). As much as people love to read these reports and results, I also love writing them because, like you said, it helps keep me accountable for my goals.

    Best of luck to you!


  4. I really enjoy following your blog Eric and posting your goals and results is a great way to stay motivated and be held accountable. With your results so far if you had to drop something what would it be, and if you did, would you focus more energy into one of your other revenue generators or diversify further with something new?


    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s really an excellent question. If I could, I would drop my 9 to 5 job. :)

    Realistically, I would probably choose to drop the article writing for InfoBarrel and use that time to create more niche sites. I’m hoping I can still balance both, however, and not eliminate InfoBarrel.

    While InfoBarrel isn’t earning me too much right now, I consider it to be something that will be an awesome source of passive income in the future ($1,000+ per month) without requiring any additional work once the articles are all written. I think I owe it to myself to see that project through to the end (even though I haven’t officially defined “the end”), and I think I’ll be rewarded for it somewhere down the road.


  5. Eric,
    I’m in the middle of writing my ebook. I expect to be finished in about 7 days and hopefully be selling it online by then. I used the method described in the4hourworkweek, i basically made a sales page and used PPC to advertise. once a few ppl bought the book i began writing it.

    I don’t know if you have already done this, but if not could you get really transparent about your ebook process. How did u pick a topic, did u do any preselling, how are u going to advertise it, what was it like writing the thing (that is the hardest part for me)?

    Also, thx for answering my questions about tags. I’ll just stick w/categories.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Dustin,

    That’s awesome to hear you’ll be releasing an eBook soon. It’s also nice to see an example of someone using the “4HWW method” to establish a market for it. Just out of curiosity, what will your eBook be about?

    So far, I haven’t been transparent about my eBook process, mainly because I’m not very far along. Right now, I’m strictly trying to get the raw content down “on paper” and then I’ll worry about how I’m going to position it on my blog (and outside of my blog). The one thing I know for sure: it will be free. Like many bloggers have, you’ll be able to download it by opting into my e-mail list, where I generally just provide valuable information and resources – I almost NEVER promote products, unlike other bloggers I’m sure you’ve seen. That’s something I hope will set me apart from the pack.

    Why build a list a then? Well, I think it’s a great way to make a connection with my readers, and to help bring traffic to my blog in the future. While some people read the blog regularly and subscribe via RSS, many don’t. The e-mail list is just another way I can expose some of my blog content that I think others may want to read.

    That’s about as transparent as I can be, mainly because there’s nothing else to it right now. :)


    dustin Reply:

    kind of embarassed to say that the ebook is about attracting women. a flooded market. so far the results from my ppc campaign indicate it will be just barely profittable, but I wanted to go through this process and hopefully be able to optimize it later. in any case i just wanted to get off my butt and do something even if it means getting a few failures under my belt. something i learned from yanik silver was to give away free ebooks with your main ebook so I’m doing that too. one thing i’m concerned about is incurring any liability from one of the ebooks I’m giving away that includes several workouts and other weight training activities to get in shape. I wanted to become profittable b4 organizing under an LLC to protect for lawsuits. as an attorney, this is something I’m concerned with. do u have any issues like this?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Even if it’s barely profitable, it’s definitely worth pursing as one of your first projects. I don’t think you need to be looking for the “big win.” Just focus on getting better with each step (and each project/product).

    I haven’t given any thought to liability – wouldn’t it be possible to place some kind of disclaimer in your eBook that would (for the most part) relieve you of any liability? I assume it could be the same kind of disclaimer you see on many extreme workout videos (e.g. P90X). You’re the lawyer though, not me! :)

  6. Good work man and keep at it – the affiliate earnings are excellent – need to do a lot more of that myself.

    October is already down 8 days but so much has been accomplished already – here’s hoping we make this one really awesome!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks! I’m hoping October will be huge (or at least better than September). We need to stay productive and keep knocking out tasks one day at a time – before you know it, the end of October will be here! Do you post any income/earnings updates on your blog? I’ve been poking around on there and didn’t come across any (which is totally cool), but if they’re there, I’d love to check ’em out.


    Murlu Reply:

    Hey Eric,

    Actually, I do income reports quite often but I skipped out on September because it was so scattered and I wasn’t paying attention – too much time writing articles haha.

    I did end up making an extra $220 on Helium through passive income and up-front payments – made some extra through selling stuff on Amazon and Adsense went over pretty well (bout $30 or so).

    Not sure if I’m going to do it monthly anymore, maybe quarterly but idk, people like them so I’ll need to keep up with em


    Eric G. Reply:

    $220 is pretty impressive for an article-writing site – I can’t wait to achieve that level of success on InfoBarrel. In all fairness, you are WAY better at producing article content than I am. My rate of writing articles has slowed considerably since I began, so I’ll really need to step up the effort if I want to continue to grow my article base.

    It seems like people generally LOVE income reports, so if it’s not too much trouble for you, I’m sure your readers would appreciate monthly updates. :)

  7. Hi Eric!

    For the Infobarrel challenge, I am sorely behind on writing articles, but have earned $4.94 so far! Woohoo! great motivation to get it moving again. Let’s put it this way, I am much further along if I had never entered your challenge at all, so thanks for the continued motivation!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Great to hear from you, Amanda! Don’t stress about being behind on writing articles (I’m right there with you). Just do your best, and that will always be enough.

    And congrats on what you’ve earned so far – it will hopefully motivate you to keep moving!


  8. Eric,
    I REALLY enjoyed reading this post. It was quite inspirational. You are really tackling a lot at once and there’s no doubt that your passive income efforts will be wildly successful. Your blog is addictive. It’s cool to hear about Lending Club – I know two people who work there!
    All the best,


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks so much for kind words, Ian. I’m glad to be giving back some inspiration, because I know I’ve taken a lot away from sites like yours and others.

    That’s interesting that you know a couple people who work at Lending Club – I’m trying to do an interview with someone who works there (been exchanging e-mail back and forth) but it hasn’t quite happened yet. I think Lending Club is a fine company, which is one reason why I’ve been trying to spread the word. There’s a lot of passive income opportunity there, in my opinion.


  9. Good breakdown Eric. I’m actually starting to shift a bit from InfoBarrel since my initial push. I just can’t afford to write 3 to 5 articles there daily while still trying to concentrate on everything in hopes that things will pick up (although I believe they definitely WILL – it’s just the time factor).

    Right now, I’m primarily working on building up my blog and building up a few of the websites I own. Rather than dump a boatload of articles all over the internet and fueling their growth and content (EzineArticles especially), I’m going to post fresh content to my own website. Also plan to nail target keywords for each piece of content and start building links and gaining authority in Google. Takes some time as well, but will pay off HUGE in the long run :)

    Keep it rolling though man! Is your eBook you’re writing something related to how you’re making money online currently (or at least related to it)?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Bryan, I find myself doing the same thing now. While I’m still definitely sticking with InfoBarrel for article writing, I’m not prioritizing it over my niche site work (which I believe has a higher income potential).

    I do believe writing all of these articles will pay off big time, later on. I think we’ll be happy we put in the effort when we’re earning hundreds, or perhaps thousands of dollars a month completely passively.

    As for my eBook, it is related to how I’m making money online, but it’s going to have a very interesting twist that I think people will enjoy. And the plan is to still have it be 100% free. Now, if only I could find a ton of free time to work on it…


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