My Passive Income Report [May 2012]
Time really flies as we get into the summer months – all you want to do is sit outside, enjoy the warm weather, and relax. I did a lot of that May, as I saw my online business finally settle down and begin improving again.
May was a lot of fun in a “what the hell am I doing?” kind of way, as I splurged with a couple of fairly large purchases (for my personal life, not internet business). I’ll explain more on that below.
Let’s dig into May’s report…
A Brief Overview of May
Income was up in May, and although I’m still very far away from where I once was, I’m happy with the direction that things are heading. It’s becoming more and more clear to me that it probably isn’t worth spending time and money building and investing in assets with questionable value.
Even though these types of projects don’t cost much and don’t consume a lot of time individually, it all adds up. Sometimes I look back on all the time I spent on micro niche sites and wonder what I would’ve created had I put all of that energy into one or two larger projects.
Realistically, I know that this type of approach wouldn’t have fit my personality well – as you know, I like to try lots of different things to keep from getting bored, often at the expense of my own success. Smart or not, it’s been something I’ve been willing to do. While I’d love to build a multi-million dollar business (who wouldn’t?), I remind myself that this internet business is still more of a hobby/side business. It’s not that I don’t want it to be more, but until I’m willing to invest the time to make it something more, I can’t pretend that it’s something beyond a small side business.
As for my personal life, I purchased a new car in May – a 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE (pictured to the right). It’s been a great car so far (with excellent gas mileage), especially compared to the car I used to own. Also, my girlfriend and I recently upgraded to a new, really nice mattress – a memory foam Serta mattress. We had no intention of buying a memory foam mattress (mainly due to price), but after trying it out, it was hard to not buy it.
Anyway, enough about my personal life…let’s get to the actual income report!
May Income Report
A couple months ago, I decided to give away this income due to the fact that I couldn’t earn from the AdSense ads within my InfoBarrel articles. Ever since I set up the winner with my InfoBarrel account, I haven’t figured out what to do with it next, so he has now received over 2 months of my earnings. Not bad – my laziness is his gain!
I’m still not sure what to do with it next, but depending on how a couple of other things go, my business may soon have its own AdSense account that I could put back on InfoBarrel.
As pathetic as it may be, here’s the income I was able to earn from InfoBarrel in May:
- Chitika: $1.86
- Amazon: $2.22
- Total: $4.08
Even though I personally can’t earn much from InfoBarrel right now, I still highly recommend checking out my original plan to make lots of money with article writing if you’re new to the “making money online” game. Article writing is among my top recommendations for earning online passive income for those who are just starting out and don’t have much money to spend.
As you know, I write about Lending Club every month, so I don’t need to go into a ton of detail here, but if you are unfamiliar with Lending Club, you can read my original write-up here. In short: it’s my only truly passive income source.
In May, I really kicked my Lending Club investments into high gear. I’m now invested in 129 loans (+12 from April) as I decided to put more money into this area of my passive income portfolio. It continues to pay off, as my net annualized return is now 6.07% (+0.11% from April).
Even though this is a really solid return on investment (for something that is completely passive), I can’t help but feel like I’ve been slightly unlucky. I continue to read about people who have been able to sustain returns in the 9-12% range over multiple years. Maybe I need to start mixing in some more higher risk (but higher return) investments? We’ll see. I tend to be more on the conservative side.
UPDATE: One reader (Mikey) left me a comment below to share his experience using Lending Club, and I figured others might find it interesting:
If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can sign up with this link and get a free account. If you’re unsure whether this type of investing is right for you, you can deposit a small amount (investments can be as small as $25) and become familiar with it. As always, 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).
As I reported in last month’s income report, my niche sites have largely been destroyed by the recent changes Google as made (in conjunction with the loss of my AdSense account). If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been experimenting with AdSense alternatives (such as Media.net and Infolinks), but I’m still finding nothing comes close to the results that AdSense offered.
I’m close to admitting “defeat” on smaller niche sites. I still believe they can be profitable despite the changes in the SEO landscape, but I constantly question, “is it worth it?” There will always be people who earn tens of thousands of dollars per month with these types of sites, but they will always be at higher risk of losing those income streams.
Nevertheless, if you can find success with them, more power to you. I think they’re perfectly fine in a portfolio of other projects that allow you to remain diversified. I’m not throwing away my niche sites yet – in fact, I’ve been running a little case study to see if I can revive a few of my niche sites that were severely hurt by Google’s recent updates. You can read them here:
- Amazon: $15.02
- Media.net: $2.76
- Chitika: $0.36
- InfoLinks: $2.28
- Total: $20.42
This is the area of my business that is currently receiving the most focus. As I mentioned last month, I’m currently building an e-mail list in an attempt to create a site that isn’t solely relying on Google for traffic and earnings.
On this particular site, I’m writing abut 50% of the content, with the other 50% being written by guest authors (yes, this is free, unique content for my site – more on this in another post). It’s in a competitive niche, so right now I’ve only been receiving some trickle traffic from long tail keywords.
I’ve recently (within the past few days) created another authority site that will actually be a “passion project” for me. I’ll be writing 100% of the content in attempt to monetize an actual hobby of mine. Because this is something that won’t be easily duplicated, I will probably be sharing this authority site publicly in the future, on this blog.
Here’s a look at what the first authority site earned in May:
- Media.net: $4.75
- Other: $11.19
- Total: $15.94
Other Affiliate Income
Here’s the breakdown for May. [Note: This income comes from other sites not discussed/listed above, including affiliate sales generated through this blog.]
- Amazon: $0.00
- ClickBank: $44.36
- Commission Junction: $203.40
- PayDotCom: $0.00
- Private Advertising: $0.00
- Market Samurai: $0.00
- Other Misc.: $42.70
Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for May: $290.46
Commission Junction saw a nice increase in May due to a uptick in conversions, not an increase in any traffic.
Here’s a summary of May’s earnings, organized by project/challenge:
- InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge: $4.08
- Amazon & “AdSense” Niche Sites: $20.42
- Authority Website: $15.94
- Misc. Affiliate Income: $290.46
Grand Total for May: $330.90 (+$92.70 from April)
Popular Blog Posts
These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in May based on number of views:
How was your May? Is anyone else starting to bounce back from the Google algorithm changes from the past few months? Until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income projects!
UPDATE [6/16/12]: Marc over at Train Horns Delivered has been putting together monthly compilations of income reports from around the internet marketing blogosphere. You can read May’s report here. (By the way, this ranking makes my income look so weak!)
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 so much!