Online Passive Income & Blog Update [March ’11]

Wow, March went by really quickly, didn’t it?  Overall, it felt like a pretty stable month – nothing great happened, yet I don’t think I fell short in any areas.  I guess when you want to be growing, “stable” isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s certainly better than a decline!

Let’s dig into the details…

[Read my write-up here]

As always, I like to begin with Lending Club (a peer-to-peer lending site), because I feel it 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 March.  As of the end of March, I was invested in 81 loans (+3 from February) and my net annualized return was 7.68% (+0.10% from February).

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 (which it has been doing for several months in a row now).

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.  For those of you located in the UK, you can try out Zopa – please note, I have not done business with this site, but it was mentioned to me as an alternative to Lending Club.  Check it out at your own risk.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

Unfortunately, March was another month of declining InfoBarrel earnings.  I can’t pinpoint the exact reason other than the fact that I didn’t add any new articles.  There’s going to be random fluctuation, however, so it won’t surprise me to see an increase next month even if I still don’t add articles.

As of the end of March, I have written 128 articles (same as last month).  Here are my March Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:

In March, I earned a total of $42.57 from my Info Barrel articles (-$10.94 from February).  It’s clear that if I want to take these earnings to the next level (something entirely possible and not all that difficult), I need to write more articles.  The challenge is how I’m going to prioritize that against other projects.

March InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $42.57
  • Amazon Associates:          $0.00
  • Chitika:                                    $2.28
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $44.85 (-$11.60 from February)

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.  I’ve gotten back to working on backlinks for this site (at least a couple each day), but I’m not out of the “sandbox” quite yet.  As you would expect, my earnings in March were rather pathetic.

March Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $0.00
  • Chitika: $0.59
  • Amazon Associates:  $0.00
  • Total: $0.59 (-$2.58 from January)

Amazon Niche Site Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

In November, I launched a challenge where I’m creating several niche sites specifically tailored for Amazon’s affiliate program (i.e. selling physical products as an affiliate of, and I’m following the lessons taught in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course.  You can read my original post for more detail and you can also read the update I wrote in December.

I’m happy to say that I’ve seen my earnings grow for the second straight month now, despite the fact that I didn’t create any new sites in March.  Now that I have a solid plan in place to automate my niche site content, I should have more free time to create new sites.

Here are the stats for March:

# of Amazon niche sites: 8

February March

Amazon AdSense CPA Total Amazon AdSense CPA Total
1 1.92 3.04 4.96 25.00 5.60 30.60
2 0.76 0.59 1.35 2.89 2.97 5.86
3 0.34 0.34 13.83 0.68 14.51
4 1.05 1.05 15.56 9.06 24.62
5 2.69 2.69 1.23 0.47 1.70
6 24.33 3.83 28.16 0.21 1.37 1.58

$ 27.01 $ 11.54 $       – $  38.55 $ 58.72 $ 20.15 $       – $  78.87

Total March Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $78.87 (+$40.32 from February)

Misc. Affiliate Income

I’m happy to report that my miscellaneous affiliate income saw a nice increase in March, essentially getting me back to where I was in January.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Adsense: $7.26
  • Amazon: $0.00
  • ClickBank: $113.27
  • Commission Junction: $5.00
  • PayDotCom: $0.00
  • Private Advertising: $35.00
  • Other Misc.: $352.25

Total Affiliate Earnings for March: $512.78 (+141.24 from February)

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of March’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: $44.85
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $0.59
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $78.87
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $512.78

Grand Total for March: $637.09 (+$167.38 from February)

I’m happy to see earnings take a bit of a jump in March, but I’m still not even close to satisfiedThere are no excuses for falling short of my goals – my results are a direct reflection of the effort I’m putting in, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve barely been putting in any time.

You could try to look at it positively.  In March, I probably put in, at most, 5 hours per week between blogging and my other online projects.  $637 for 20 hours isn’t bad, especially when you consider 40-50% of that time was spent blogging, something that doesn’t often directly lead to earnings for me.

I prefer a more negative spin though, because it’s more motivating. If that’s what I can do with 5 hours per week, what could I do with 10? 20? 40?  I think additional effort would lead to exponential growth – in other words, I think 10 hours of work would yield more than double what 5 hours of work would get me (in the long run).  I know I’m not reaching my full potential here, and that’s what ultimately bothers me.  I’ll continue to try and make it work though, and I appreciate those of you who stick around to watch. :)

Popular Posts

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

1) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

2) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

3) Online Passive Income & Blog Update [February ’11]

4) How to Make $2,000 Per Month Writing for InfoBarrel

5) How to Generate Unlimited Article Ideas

Monthly Goals

March Goal

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

COMPLETED (for the most part)

April Goal

Get two new niche sites up and running, and to the point where they’re in my “automated content” system.

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

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!

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16 Responses to “Online Passive Income & Blog Update [March ’11]”

  1. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your great post – I began following your RSS for 2 months ago, and still following you closely :)

    I want to ask you about what is include in “Misc. Affiliate Income: $512.78” except Clickbank. CJ, and private advertising. Perhaps you have written it before in a earlier post, but then I must have missed it.

    I think about starting my own “affiliate empire” after working with websites/Wordpress for many years besides my studies. I have “played around” before with affiliate, but has never got any real income. I’v read your review of Niche Profit Course, and thinking of buying it and get started myself. Do you by any chance still offer your additional bonus, which you wrote about in the earlier post?

    Thanks again for sharing you experiences – With inspiration from you and Timothy Ferries, I’m sure I’ll succeed.. Eventually :)
    Karsten Sommer recently posted… Walking the path to success


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Karsten! I appreciate having you as a follower.

    As for your question about the misc. affiliate income, these are sales of products that aren’t from any one particular source – i.e. they are products that have their own affiliate programs, that I promote either here on this blog or on other niche sites. For example, if I receive a commission for selling a copy of Market Samurai, I would included it in that amount.

    I choose not to give the breakdown there because some of that information would give away some of the products I promote on other niche sites that I’ve decided not to make public at this time.

    As for Niche Profit Course, I’d definitely still offer the bonus that I originally wrote about. :)


  2. Nice one Eric,

    A least you are earning some money on the side. I just started a new website and now want to monetize it bit by bit. Pulling in 800 visitors per month (only online for a month and a half) without spending money on adwords so its not costing me much.. But it is time to get paid. Cappuccino’s aren’t paying themselves :)

    All the best!



    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Ralph – 800 visitors/month isn’t bad for a site that’s only been up for a month and a half! Nice work. Hopefully you’re finding good ways to monetize that traffic.

    Thanks for the comment, and keep me updated on your progress with that site!


  3. Yeah I was surprised too.

    I wrote how I did that on my site in less than 3000 words.. (don’t want to shameless plug my site and all)…

    I’ve set a 6 month target for a 1$ profit. As the quick rich is not going to happen so focussing on content first. And the 1 dollar is just a figure obviously :)


    Eric G. Reply:

    $1 in 6 months is DEFINITELY doable and I think you will crush that goal. :)


  4. Hi Eric,

    Love reading your reports! Looks like your profits will grow with your automated system in place for your sites. I’m also thinking of getting a virtual assistant to help with the tedius task of backlinking (and other jobs). This will probably happen next year because I want to spend this year formulating a process I can turn into training material for the assistant. As far as the niche site duel goes, I think I’m slower than the other participants but I’m now on the 2nd page of Google and my site has finally started making some money. Keep up the good work and thanks for providing inspiration!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Harlan. I like your plan of doing things yourself first, so that you can give better instructions to a VA – I think that’s a smart approach.

    2nd page on Google isn’t bad, and glad to hear you’re making money! I wish I could get my niche site duel site out of the sandbox… :/ It’ll happen eventually…


  5. Number are nice to see Eric. You’d definitely know where your earning from and whatnot.
    Marco Lee recently posted… Mini Vacation Ideas – Plus a Rundown of Must See Places in Manila


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Marco. :)


  6. Eric,

    I just started reading your blog. It’s truly inspiring. I’ve just recently started dabbling with making money online so I’ve just been eating up the tips you’re giving out. Thanks for being so transparent!

    Zero Passive Income recently posted… March 2011 Wealth Reports


    Eric G. Reply:

    My pleasure, Jeremy. Best of luck with your online endeavors, and I’ll definitely need to check out your blog too.


  7. Hey Eric,

    I found my way over from Smart Income Blog but I’ve always seen your blog through other ways but this is my first time commenting!

    Congrats on your progress!

    I noticed you said your Niche Site Duel site is in the sandbox. Do you think you did something wrong with backlinks or Google is just being fickle? I ask cause I had a really nice ranking niche site that dropped like a rock in December. I’ve been trying to crawl my way out but supposed I did something wrong.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Benny, I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

    I think my niche site duel site is in the sandbox because I initially worked hard to build lots of backlinks at the start, and didn’t vary my anchor text well enough. And then, for a long period of time after, I didn’t build any backlinks. I think it was just a bad approach that caused the backlinks to appear unnatural (even though I was building them in totally legitimate ways).

    I think it’s common for this to happen with new sites – eventually, they climb their way back, but it’s a frustrating process for those of us experiencing it. I guess we just need to be patient and continue adding backlinks at a reasonable pace (and continuing to add content doesn’t hurt either).


  8. Hey Eric

    Interesting site. I have just put up an amazon site as well and made my first $5.55 from it.

    I agree with one of your other posts about building backlinks and creating content. More content and better backlinks will prove to be better for your rankings. I am currently using Joseph Archibalds technique that Pat Flynn pointed to on his blog- and just started that this past week.

    Great blog! I’ll come back often to see how you are progressing!


    Dave recently posted… Looking to Buy an Espresso Machine


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Dave, best of luck to you!


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