Online Passive Income and Blog Update [February ’12]
Irony is a great thing when it’s going in your favor. Normally, I’m pretty down about February – it’s cold outside, it’s in the middle of tax season, and let’s be honest – shorter months usually = less earnings, assuming your business is stable.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised with this February. There were less days to earn, and I’ve been very busy with tax season, yet this was my highest earning month ever.
As I’ve mentioned before, I like to post a monthly income report for two primary reasons:
1) To be transparent, and show you what I’m actually earning as a result of the various projects I discuss on this blog. Not only do people like transparency, but I feel like I’m held more accountable for the success of my projects, which definitely helps me out a lot.
2) To show you that it’s possible to work a full-time job, 40+ hours per week (I probably work closer to 50-60 hours at my regular job each week), and still have time to make money online.
Productivity Tip for February
If you’re like me and you have a “9 to 5” job, it’s often difficult to find the time to work on your side business(es) on a daily basis. What’s really been working well for me is waking up 45-60 minutes earlier than usual each morning and using that time to work on my business.
This might be tough if you’re not a “morning person” but I’ve been shocked at how much I can accomplish before the day even really starts. I really like the time spent in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee, working on my internet business. I feel both relaxed and productive, and it puts me in a good mood before leaving for work (which doesn’t put me in a good mood ;)).
The greatest thing about this is that I don’t come home from work and feel like I immediately need to work on my business – I can relax with my girlfriend, watch TV, and casually do a little bit more work. It really takes some pressure off me. My time is much more productive in the morning.
February’s Income Report
Now, let’s get to the money…
As I discuss in my income reports every month, Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending site that I feel is my only true source of passive income (i.e. once I’m invested, I make money by doing virtually nothing).
As of the end of February, I was invested in 110 loans (+2 from January) and my net annualized return was 5.72% (-0.18% from January). Although there was a slight decrease in January, I’m still going strong and very happy with my return.
The thing I like most about Lending Club is that, while it’s obviously riskier than putting your money in an interest-bearing savings account, the additional return (i.e. higher interest rate) more than compensates for the risk (in my opinion). As of right now, these are the average interest rates for certificates of deposit (CDs):
Although Lending Club loans are more risky than CDs, I think they’re a good point of comparison, because both investments have a specified duration where your money is “locked up” so to speak. I wouldn’t advocate putting a large % of your savings in Lending Club (really, you shouldn’t be putting a large % of your savings in any one place), but it’s definitely worth investing 3-10% of your savings, depending on your tolerance for risk and need for liquidity. Note that I’m not a financial advisor – this recommendation is merely my own opinion.
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 (loans can go as small as $25) and become familiar with it. 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).
Info Barrel Earnings Challenge
Because I haven’t put much work into InfoBarrel, I thought it would be interesting to figure out just how profitable InfoBarrel has been for me on an hourly basis. If you assume that it took me, on average, 30 minutes to write each article, I’ve spent a total of 67.5 hours creating content for InfoBarrel. My earnings to date (including what I’ve listed below) is $1,025. That comes out to $15.19/hour.
I know you’re thinking: Wait…That isn’t so great. When it comes to passive income sources, you need to get your mind off of short term results. If my InfoBarrel earnings continue at their current pace ($40-70/month), and assuming I don’t add new articles, my hourly rate a year from now will be $24.96/hour. In two years, it’ll be $34.75/hour. In five years, it could be $64.07/hour.
Obviously, there’s no guarantee my articles will be earning the same amount 5 years from now. They could be earning less (but keep in mind – they could also earn even more!). As you can see, if you take a longer term view on your current efforts, it’s clear that the payoff (in terms of $/hour) can be huge.
As of the end of February, I have written 135 articles (+1 from last month). Here are my earnings from Info Barrel for this past month:
February InfoBarrel Earnings Summary
- Google Adsense: $42.11
- Amazon Associates: $0.00
- Chitika: $1.46
- Other Affiliate Earnings: $0.00
- Total: $43.57 (-$18.67 from January)
If you want to add InfoBarrel to your passive income portfolio, you can sign up for it here.
AdSense & Amazon Niche Site Earnings
This past October, I started a case study where I’m documenting, step by step, how to create an AdSense-monetized, micro-niche website. Here are the different parts of the case study:
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Research & Initial Setup
- Part 3: Setup, Configuration, & Design
- Part 4: Content & Ad Placement
- Part 5: SEO / Backlinking
- Part 6: Looking Toward the Future
Because the process of creating micro-niche AdSense and Amazon sites are similar (and some sites are monetized with both), I’m going to track them together. For my sites that are solely focused on Amazon products, I will still be following the strategies taught in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course. You can also read about my original plan for Amazon niche sites.
February was definitely my best month so far for the micro-niche sites. While the earnings won’t wow you, I’m happy with the increase. Thanks to the advice given to me last month, I decided to pause my creation of new sites, and focus on growing the sites I’ve already built. It was a great decision that I can see is already paying off.
You can see the full earnings chart below, but here are some interesting statistics about my micro-niche sites for February:
- My AdSense earnings from the micro-niche sites in February were 212% higher than January.
- My Amazon earnings were 293% higher (this number is a bit skewed because January was such a terrible month).
- Keep in mind, February had 2 less days than January, which makes these increases even more exciting to me.
Here are the stats for February:
# of Amazon & AdSense niche sites: 81 (+0 from last month)
Note: Sites with no income in the current or previous months are hidden (just for ease of presentation).
* Site #21 is the site created for my public AdSense micro-nice site case study.
Total February AdSense & Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $169.04 (+$94.98 from January)
As I detailed here, I’ve started an authority website that I have big plans for. There isn’t a lot to report for February, except for the fact that I’m very close to finishing my giveaway eBook that I will use to build a list for this site.
Because my site’s design doesn’t really lend itself to generating a lot of ad revenue (I prefer to keep it pretty clean), my list building efforts will probably be a much more significant attempt to monetize the site.
Here’s what the site earned in February:
- Google Adsense: $1.20
- Other: $4.16
- Total: $5.36 (-$8.37 from January)
Misc. Affiliate Income
Here’s the breakdown for February. [Note: This income comes from other sites not discussed/listed above, including affiliate sales generated through this blog.]
- Adsense: $7.55
- Amazon: $0.00
- ClickBank: $217.64
- Commission Junction: $350.00
- PayDotCom: $65.00
- Private Advertising: $35.00
- Market Samurai: $48.50
- P90X Blog: $0.48
- Other Misc.: $6.00
Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for February: $730.17 (+$297.59 from January)
Here’s a summary of February’s earnings, organized by project/challenge:
- InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge: $43.57
- Amazon & AdSense Niche Sites: $169.04
- Authority Website: $5.36
- Misc. Affiliate Income: $730.17
Grand Total for February: $948.14 (+$365.53 from January)
So close to $1,000!
While I love seeing such a nice increase in affiliate revenue, I don’t view it as a reliable source of income. In other words, next month it could easily be +/- $300, depending on conversions.
Much more important to me is the success of my niche sites and authority website, because these are areas that I plan/expect to be my most significant sourcees of revenue in the future. The affiliate income is nice (and I appreciate anyone who purchases something through an affiliate link on this blog), but it’s not a part of my business plan. In reality, this money is used to fund and reinvest into my other projects.
These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in February based on number of views:
Until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income projects!
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