Online Passive Income & Blog Update [February ’11]
Well, this is officially the longest it’s taken me to post an income report for the previous month! For whatever reason, I don’t like February. It always feels like my least productive month. Maybe that’s because it’s usually always (thanks Lyndsy!) the shortest month of the year. And the weather is terrible. And tax season is right around the corner (which no longer affects me from a professional standpoint, thankfully).
With that said, there were a lot of good things this February – mostly non-internet business related, however. January was a month of change – February continued that trend, although things are beginning to stabilize. Keep reading, and I’ll explain.
This is the first time I’m kicking off an income report with a “personal” update, mainly because I think it’s relevant to my current big picture. For the first time in my young career, I’m at a job (now working as an executive recruiter) where I feel I can not only have great success, but also enjoy my daily routine. That’s not to say there aren’t ups and downs, and days where I wish I could stay home and relax, but it’s far less stressful and far more rewarding so far than my previous career as a tax consultant.
I don’t feel like this is going to stop my planned growth as an entrepreneur (both online and offline), but I can see it changing my timeline. It’s kind of funny – when you hate your job, you’re extremely motivated to find a way out. That’s how I stumbled upon blogging and internet marketing, and I’m glad it happened – I’m still very passionate about what I’m doing online. One thing I’m excited about is finding a way to bridge what I’m doing offline (i.e. my 9 to 5 job) to what I’m doing online (i.e. internet marketing). I have an idea in mind for an authority website that I think could be huge if I can make the time to get it started. I’ll talk more about that in a later blog post.
Here were a couple personal events in my life that occupied a lot of my time in February:
- I spent a week in Boston, at a training event for my new job. It was my first time in Boston, and I really liked it. Very cool city; I’d definitely like to go back sometime in the near future.
- My girlfriend and I adopted a bunny (pictured to the right). It wasn’t our ideal pet choice, but we had to compromise between a dog, which we don’t feel like we’re ready to take care of yet (especially in an apartment that doesn’t allow dogs), and a cat, which my girlfriend is allergic to. It’s been fun so far – I didn’t realize bunnies had distinct personalities and attitudes…
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). My steady growth continued through February. As of the end of February, I was invested in 78 loans (+1 from January) and my net annualized return was 7.58% (+0.19% from January).
As usual, my current interest rate at Lending Club far exceeds that of any type of “safe” investment like money market bank accounts and CDs (certificates of deposit). It’s important to keep in mind that Lending Club loans are riskier than these other types of investments. However, I strongly believe that the additional risk is more than compensated for by the higher rate of return. Here are some images from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:
In the images above, you can see that I’m currently performing worse than investors who have a similar portfolio to mine. I generally consider this to be due to random variance (i.e. luck). Over time, I expect my rate to increase and move closer to the average.
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.
Keep in mind, Lending Club is currently only open to U.S. residents. Below are alternatives to Lending Club for those outside of the US – please note, I have not done business with these sites, but they were mentioned to me as alternatives to Lending Club. Check them out at your own risk.
- Zopa (UK)
- [Canadian site removed due to it being an unrealistic option for Canadian investors.]
Info Barrel Earnings Challenge
Overall, February was a pretty bad month for InfoBarrel. After earning my highest amount so far in January, February took a turn for the worse. There were three primary reasons why my InfoBarrel earnings took a significant dip:
- February only had 28 days.
- InfoBarrel released its new version (2.0), and it took Google a few days to adjust to it (i.e. for a few days, most of my articles weren’t indexed, and therefore, weren’t earning any money).
- Google made a significant change to its ranking algorithm, which did impact a lot of InfoBarrel articles.
As of the end of February, I have written 128 articles (+1 from last month). Obviously, writing articles wasn’t a priority in February.
Here are my February Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:
In February, I earned a total of $53.51 from my Info Barrel articles (-$38.66 from January). Given the reasons mentioned above, I’m not surprised my earnings took a significant dip last month. So far in March, it’s not looking any better, so my guess is that I will need to begin writing more again and adding more backlinks to my articles if I want my earnings to climb back to where they were. I’m fine with that, though I still don’t expect it to be a top priority of mine.
February InfoBarrel Earnings Summary
- Google Adsense: $53.51
- Amazon Associates: $0.00
- Chitika: $2.94
- Other Affiliate Earnings: $0.00
- Total: $56.45 (-$39.68 from January)
If you want to add InfoBarrel to your passive income portfolio, you can sign up for it here.
Niche Site Duel
As a part of Pat Flynn’s niche site duel, I created a niche site last September based on P90X, an extreme home fitness routine. Over the last month, I’ve added no content or backlinks, because I wanted to keep things stable while I try to get out of Google’s “sandbox.” Obviously, it hasn’t been working. I’m not giving up on this site yet, but I clearly need to come up with a better plan to bring this site back to where it was (even though that time was brief). Any ideas?
February Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary
- Google Adsense: $0.00
- Chitika: $0.00
- Amazon Associates: $3.17
- Total: $3.17 (-$41.90 from January)
Amazon Niche Site Challenge
In November, I launched a new challenge where I’m creating several niche sites specifically tailored for Amazon’s affiliate program (i.e. selling physical products as an affiliate of Amazon.com), and I’m following the lessons taught in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course. The goal is to create, on average, one niche site per two weeks, and 20-25 total sites in 2011. You can read my original post for more detail and you can also read the update I wrote in December.
In February, my income grew quite a bit compared to January, but most of these sites are still struggling with their rankings. A few of them are fairly thin sites, and I worry Google’s recent algorithm change is going to make these smaller Amazon sites less viable in the long-run. I plan on adding more content (specifically, adding YouTube videos – I think this adds to the perceived quality of the site quite a bit) and backlinks, so I expect at least some of these sites to make a comeback eventually.
Here are the stats for February:
# of Amazon niche sites: 8
|$ –||$ 9.38||$ 1.25||$ 10.63||$ 27.01||$ 11.54||$ –||$ 38.55|
Total February Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $38.55 (+$27.92 from January)
Misc. Affiliate Income
February was a down month for my miscellaneous income, but there’s a new piece that I’m excited about, and will discuss it in another post, hopefully this month.
- Adsense: $3.43
- Amazon: $0.00
- ClickBank: $119.41
- Commission Junction: $6.00
- PayDotCom: $28.00
- Private Advertising: $35.00 < This is a new source of income – I’m excited to write a post about it later.
- Other Misc.: $179.70
Total Affiliate Earnings for February: $371.54 (-$222.57 from January)
Here’s a summary of February’s earnings. Instead of summarizing it by source (i.e. AdSense, Amazon, etc.), I’m going to summarize by project/challenge, which I think makes a bit more sense.
- InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge: $56.45
- Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $3.17
- Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $38.55
- Misc. Affiliate Income: $371.54
Grand Total for February: $469.71 (-$276.23 from January)
Overall, it was one of my lowest earning months in awhile. As disappointing as that may be, I think there’s a pretty valuable lesson: Making money online is hard work, and there’s no magic bullet “set it and forget it” mechanism that’s going to make you rich. Furthermore, you need to be willing to adapt to the ever-changing atmosphere of the internet. So much of what I do (and what many of you do) relies on Google’s “rules,” and Google runs a very dynamic and ever-evolving system. The only “magic bullet” solution out there is hard work, patience, and willingness/flexibility to adapt.
These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in February based on number of views:
1) Write 5 articles for InfoBarrel – FAILED
2) Create 2 new Amazon niche sites – FAILED
3) Take the first step in starting my “real” business – COMPLETED
I don’t like I like the idea of setting 3-4 goals for the sake of setting 3-4 goals. What I find is that I’m setting goals that I feel I should accomplish, but don’t actually care to accomplish. Rather than set 3 mediocre goals that I’m not passionate about, I’m going to set one goal for something I am passionate about:
1) Start my new authority site (the one I mentioned in the beginning of this post, that will be relevant to my “9 to 5” job) by completing the following steps:
- Buy a domain and install WordPress (okay, I know this only takes 5 minutes)
- Create a plan of action, including ideas for content, design, and how I plan to delegate it all
I’m still planning on keeping up with my InfoBarrel articles and Amazon niche sites to some extent, but they will not be my priority.
Until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income experiments!
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