Will You Give Up Blogging and Internet Marketing in Exchange for This?

Note from Eric: This is a guest post by Sunil, an internet entrepreneur who has seen a variety of successes online, including several website sales for five and six figure amounts.  Sunil and I initially connected because we share similar professional backgrounds (we’re both CPAs and previously worked in public accounting) – he has since become a full-time internet entrepreneur and has been making money online for the past 9 years (longer than many of the so-called “gurus” out there), so I respect his advice and was happy to publish his guest post here today.  You can read more about him and his blog at the end of this post.

When I started my ecommerce business online, my motivation was pure profits. Years after selling that business for a six figure sale price, I found myself online with a portfolio of several profitable niche websites and now a successful blog.  However, my underlying motivations today seem to have evolved.  Am I alone in this boat?

The internet is more saturated than ever before with the number of new websites and blogs cropping up by the second.  Companies are realizing that a web presence is no longer just an option, but rather a necessity in order stay on level ground with the competition, let alone to beat them. The recent social media growth has added even more pressure to establish that presence online.

But companies are not the only ones rapidly joining the web sphere.  Individuals like Eric, you, and myself too are putting up websites and blogs faster than ever before.  A big factor contributing to this trend is the abundance of internet marketers online who preach how one can make a lot of money online.  The attractiveness of that thought, coupled with very low barriers to entry, if any, has saturated the web space more than ever before.

That said, I don’t care what people say initially, the underlying motive behind the establishment of most personal website and blogs involves profits.  Sure, one can blog as a hobby, or to get things off their chest, or simply push an agenda out to the masses, but somewhere deep down in that complex human mind is the thought of making some money from their initiatives at some point. Think about why YOU spend so much time online?

The thought of making some money initially turns into making some more money, then making a lot of money and then eventually into making enough money to “quit my job”.  This is especially true when a “webpreneur” first gets a taste of some income, may it be just a couple dollars in Google Adsense earnings. Don’t you think there is some element of truth to that pattern?

So my question for you is; how much money is enough for you to walk away from your blog or website? What will it take for you to give up blogging, social media hustling and internet marketing? Will you still be toying online if you had a million bucks in your hand today?

We all know that it is NOT EASY to make money online. Building a long term, sustainable income stream online requires a lot of time, hard work, perseverance and even financial investment in many cases. Not everyone has an abundance of those resources, especially those who are already working full time jobs looking to give up their career one day to work online full time.

If you are in that situation, or somewhere within the ballpark, would you give up your online initiatives if I were to promise you a million bucks in cash today? Think about this question very carefully before responding.  A million bucks today is guaranteed cash you can take in and use however you want. You can buy a house, car, fund your children’s education, pay off all your debts, help family, start a business and pay all cash for it.  Or you can stash it away in the stock market or money market and set yourself up for a very nice retirement well ahead of your peers.

Doesn’t this beat toiling away for hours over months and years trying to make your web ventures work for you? Think about how much time and effort is involved in that. Think about how much of your free invaluable time you’d lose out on? Think about all the fun activities and outings with your friends you’d miss out on as you continue building your online business. And even after all that, there is absolutely no guarantee of succeeding online!

Money on the other hand makes money. A million bucks on hand today can be grown to a few million in a relatively short amount of time (assuming you know how to).  This seems like the safer and more lucrative route to go, no? I understand the hypothetical nature of this question, but please try to be as honest and unbiased as possible. I am interested in observing whether passion trumps profits or vice versa.

So what will it take, $10,000? $100,000? Or $1,000,000?  Let’s hear it.  You obviously started your online venture for a reason. What was that reason? How has it evolved? Are you willing to drop it all today for guaranteed cash on hand?

Why are or aren’t you willing to give up all your online activities forever for cold cash today? Is it passion? Is it desire for money? A bit of both?  Tell me your answer and I’ll tell you mine.

Sunil

Note: Giving up all activities does not entail stopping to surf the Internet or use Facebook to connect with friends. You can still go online, you just can’t be involved in any profit driven initiatives.

- –

Sunil owns over a dozen profitable niche websites and is the author of “How to Go from $0 to $1,000 a month in Passive and Residual Income in Under 180 Days All in Your Spare Time”, a FREE report you can download instantly from his Extra Money Blog, where he discusses how to create multiple streams of passive and residual income, entrepreneurship, internet marketing, blogging and personal finance. In 2007, he sold his ecommerce website for $250,000 to a top Ebay Power Seller and since then has sold several niche sites for five figures each. You can read more about him and his work on his blog.

 

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

Will You Give Up Blogging and Internet Marketing in Exchange for This?

Related posts:

  1. A Crazy (Yet Common) Trait of Many Wildly Successful Internet Entrepreneurs
  2. 7 Great Things Blogging Has Done For Me (My 100th Blog Post)


The Best Sources of Passive Income Online (My Rankings)

I’ve written before about 142+ ways to make money online, but there was no formal ranking involved.  Sometimes when you only have time to do one or two things, you want to “work closest to the money” – in other words, you want to do whatever is going to maximize your earnings (considering both short and long term potential).

With that in mind, I’ve decided to rank various sources of passive income in broad terms, however I will give some examples for each category.  Keep in mind, these rankings are based on my own opinion and experience – feel free to disagree with them in the comments. :)

Here Are the Rankings…

This isn’t an exact science, but I tried to base the rankings on the overall income potential, the “start-up time” required to begin earning, as well as how passive the type of income actually is (i.e. how much ongoing work is required to maintain the income).

1) Investing Online

In the “internet marketing” blogosphere, everyone focuses on building micro-niche sites, authority sites, pay-per-click advertising, and other various affiliate product promotion means.  People seem to always overlook a source of passive income that existed before the internet itself – investing (in financial instruments).

The problem with investing is that most people feel they lack the financial expertise to make an informed decision, and people also tend to believe that investing requires a large sum of money to get started (which of course will magnify the risk involved).  While these concerns are true in many cases, they don’t always need to be.

I’m not telling you to go out and buy 100 shares of Google’s stock (by the way, this would cost approximately $60,000 at the time this post was written).  In fact, I’m not saying you should directly buy stock in a company at all.  Here are a couple things I’ve done with investing that I don’t believe require substantial risk:

  • Lending Club (U.S. Residents Only) - I talk about Lending Club in every one of my income reports, because I still believe it’s the best source of passive income, even though it’s not my largest source.  You can get started for as little as $25, and over the past 2+ years, my interest rate has been 7% or higher, which I think is very good given the relatively low risk involved.  This is even more true given the recent market downturn. You can read about how I select my investments here.
  • Investing in Index Funds – I use Vanguard for this, but there are several reputable sites out there that allow you to do the same thing.  It’s a good way to invest excess cash that you don’t need now and use it to diversify your portfolio.  I’m not going to make a specific recommendation here, but Vanguard does have a page that will make a recommendation to you based on your risk tolerance.  This is generally going to require more up-front money than Lending Club (probably $1,000+), but if you have the money, it’s something to consider.

Ranking Criteria

Here’s how “investing online” did with my three criteria:

  1. Overall income potential: Satisfactory - Your income potential will generally be directly related to how much you invest.
  2. “Start-up time” required: Excellent - Investing requires very little up-front work.  Usually most of the time will be spent setting up the account (a one-time task) and selecting your investments.
  3. How passive it really is: Excellent - Once you set up your investments, it becomes very hands-off.  The only additional time necessary is figuring out how to re-invest any interest you earn.

2) Article Writing

Pen & Paper

Article writing is one of those things that isn’t at all glamorous, and few people will get excited about it.  With that said, it’s one of the easiest ways to set up your passive income stream.  To give you some perspective, I wrote about 120 articles late last year and have hardly written any since then.  Since that time, my articles have earned me over $700.   I continue to earn $70-90/month without having to do any additional work, which is something I look forward to every month.

There are a lot of article sites out there that share revenue, but my favorite (and it’s where I earn most of my article writing income) is InfoBarrel, which you’re very familiar with if you’ve been following my blog for awhile.  If you’re up for a very ambitious challenge, you can read about the one I wrote for earning $2,000+ per month with article writing.  The top InfoBarrel writers currently earn at least $2,000 per month.

One added benefit to writing articles for passive income is that you can use these articles as backlinks for your niche sites and possibly other articles you’ve written on other platforms.  It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Ranking Criteria

Here’s how article writing did with my three criteria:

  1. Overall income potential: Good - If you’re willing to put in the up front work, this can be a great source of future passive income.
  2. “Start-up time” required: Poor - Unfortunately, before you start earning a lot of money, you will need to spend a lot of time writing.  You can offset this “pain” by using your articles for SEO/backlink purposes as mentioned before.
  3. How passive it really is: Excellent - Once your articles are written and ranking (which can happen without much backlink effort if you pick good keywords and write for a major article site), you can enjoy regular income without much effort at all.

3) PPC Arbitrage

This is something I never discuss on this blog because quite frankly, it’s not something I ever do.  Nevertheless, there are internet marketers around the world who make a living doing it, so it’s worth mentioning.  So what is PPC  (pay-per-click) arbitrage?

Others may define it more narrowly, but to me, PPC arbitrage basically involves setting up PPC ads (via Google AdWords or similar platform) and directing the traffic that results from ad clicks to a landing page or straight to an affiliate link (which many platforms don’t allow anymore).  The goal is obviously to earn more from the affiliate income than spent on the ad clicks.  You aren’t adding any value, but merely earning more from traffic than what it costs you to generate that traffic.

I’ve read stories about people setting up ad campaigns and making thousands of dollars within a matter of hours. What’s the catch?  The big one is risk.  You’re spending money to make money, so if you turn out to set up a bad ad campaign that doesn’t convert well, you can easily lose lots of money.  That’s been the primary reason I’ve stayed away from this method of making money online.  I’m not going to bother giving advice here, because as I said, this isn’t something I’ve done.  If you’re interested, you can probably find a lot of good information via Google, but watch out – as with any other internet marketing topic, most everyone is going to try to sell you something.

Ranking Criteria

Here’s how PPC arbitrage did with my three criteria:

  1. Overall income potential: Uncertain - Although some people can make a lot of money with this, it’s also possible to lose a lot of money.  So although income potential can be high, it’s too uncertain unless you’re experienced and can take on the associated risk.
  2. “Start-up time” required: Good - Ads are generally easy to set up, but it does take some time to find the proper affiliate offer to promote, and there could also be additional time if you are creating a landing page.  Overall though, the start-up time isn’t too bad.
  3. How passive it really is: Excellent - Once your ads are running, you could literally just sit back and watch the money roll in.  Again, you are spending money to make money here, so there is risk involved.  However, once the ads are set, the income can be very passive.  Keep in mind, you may need to monitor and possibly modify ads if they aren’t performing well.

4) Niche Website Creation

This is an area I write a lot about here, because this is where most of my internet activity is focused.  Although passive income is something I’m always after, niche websites rank pretty low on this list, ironically.

“Niche websites” can be a lot of things, but when I speak about them, I am typically referring to websites that aren’t particularly deep in content and generally target a specific long tail keyword.  With niche websites, you’re more focused on generating traffic with SEO than by building a community.

I’ve written a lot about niche websites on this blog, but here are some highlights:

My ultimate goal is to have niche sites generate a “full time” income, so I continue to build new sites on a monthly basis.  Unfortunately, they are not as passive as you’d like them to be.

Ranking Criteria

Here’s how niche websites did with my three criteria:

  1. Overall income potential: Excellent - Although it’s very possible to make $0 with a niche site if it doesn’t receive traffic, you can also make a lot of money if you rank well for good keywords.  It’s not likely that you’ll make a living off one site, but they are generally easy to build.  If you can build one successfully, you can probably build several more.
  2. “Start-up time” required: Poor - Experienced niche site builders will be well versed with outsourcing certain tasks and running through the whole process very efficiently, but when you first start out, it can take a long time to earn your first dollar from a niche site.  Doing research, designing the site, writing content, and doing proper SEO work can all be very time consuming, and the payoff isn’t always something you can rely on.
  3. How passive it really is: Satisfactory - Because of all the upfront work required, it’s hard to consider this income very passive.  Once the site is in good standing, it’s great, but there may be upkeep required along the way to maintain the income (like creating more content and more backlinks).

5) Blogging/Authority Website Creation

I struggled to even include this as a source of passive income, but it’s something that you would probably expect to read about on this list, so I had to add it.  I love blogging, and I love working on authority websites that cover a topic that interests me.  The problem is, these are both very active (i.e. the opposite of passive) projects.

There are, however, some aspects of both that can be considered passive.  For example, I may have an affiliate link on a blog post I wrote a year ago, but someone could visit it today and I could earn money from the sale of a product.  Much like article writing, one piece of writing can result in endless future income.

Blogs and authority websites are different than niche websites, because they generally imply on-going content generation.  Sure, I could stop writing on this blog today and let it sit forever, but that’s not the intention of the blog.  Furthermore, blogs and authority websites tend to include a community or social aspect.  We have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts (can someone explain to me why the hell I haven’t made a Facebook page yet?), and we discuss various topics in the comments of each article or blog post.  Although SEO does affect traffic, community is more important.

Ranking Criteria

Here’s how blogs/authority websites did with my three criteria:

  1. Overall income potential: Good/Excellent - The only reason this wasn’t completely rated “Excellent” is because not all blogs are created with the intention of making money (unlike everything else on this list).  Blogs and authority websites can earn massive amounts of money, but it’s going to vary widely.
  2. “Start-up time” required: Poor - As you may have experienced, creating a successful blog or authority site is a lot of work.  Writing content, interacting with readers, and continuing to find ways to keep people coming back are not easy tasks.  Standing out in the crowd is even more difficult, if you aren’t targeting a very specific niche.
  3. How passive it really is: Poor - For all intents and purposes, you’re never truly done working on a blog or authority website.  You can always write new content, modify the design, etc.  Although certain parts of the site may earn you income passively (like a Resources page), the site as a whole is very much an active undertaking.

What do you think?

Would you rank these differently? Is there something you would add or change?  Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this article, I’d really appreciate it if you could retweet it, share it on Facebook, or Stumble it using the buttons on the left sidebar.  Thanks so much!

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

The Best Sources of Passive Income Online (My Rankings)

Related posts:

  1. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July '11]
  2. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [May '11]
  3. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June '11]


Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July ’11]

It’s always exciting to write these income reports each month because I don’t track my income on a daily basis – generally, I don’t have a good sense for how well I’m doing in a particular month until it ends and I write my monthly income report.  There are certain things I check on a regular basis (AdSense and Amazon to be specific), but even if those things are performing well, it doesn’t necessarily say much about my other income sources.

With that said, the surprises aren’t always pleasant.  July was a “down” month, but in many ways, I saw very positive trends.

[Read my write-up here]

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you pretty much know the deal with Lending Club. It’s 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 July, I was invested in 96 loans (+4 from June) and my net annualized return was 7.07% (+0.10% from June).

As I always point out, 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’s an image from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:

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.

To me, trying something like this and investing a small portion of your money is a no brainer. You’re going to get higher returns than a bank account, and although it locks up your money for a period of time (you are generally paid back over 3 years), it’s well worth the ability to have your money earn you money, with virtually no effort on your part.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

July was a pretty stable month for Info Barrel – I didn’t write any new articles, and my earnings didn’t change much.  The nice bonus this month were the additional earnings from Amazon, which I typically haven’t seen much of from my Info Barrel articles.

As of the end of July, I have written 130 articles (+0 from last month).  Here are my July Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:

In July, I earned a total of $60.02 from my Info Barrel articles (-$3.42 from June).

July InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $60.02
  • Amazon Associates:          $14.27
  • Chitika:                                    $2.50
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $76.79 (+$11.79 from June)

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.  It’s crazy to think that I started this site over a year ago.  While it’s tempting to label it a failure, I’m still not giving up.  I had a taste of awesome rankings and earnings for a short period once, so I still hope I can one day reach that level again.  And although it’s still very minor, I’ve seen my earnings increase for the third straight month.

July Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $0.00
  • Chitika: $0.21
  • Amazon Associates:  $7.84
  • Total: $8.05 (+$3.21 from June)

Amazon Niche Site Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

Last November, I launched a challenge where I planned to create 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.

Just as I did last month, I saw record earnings once again.  Most of this can be attributed to one of my sites that has finally taken off, but it’s a good example of why you need to be patient sometimes.

Also similar to last month, I’ve added some sites to my portfolio, and these have been mostly hands off as I am outsourcing both content and SEO.  Some of my new sites will be more AdSense focused, but I will continue to monetize with both Amazon and AdSense, with some other occasional affiliate programs.  Only time will tell if these heavily outsourced niche sites will be profitable, but I’m willing to take my chances.

For my new sites, I will be using a new Amazon plugin that I reviewed here.

Here are the stats for July:

# of Amazon niche sites: 16 (+6 from June)

Total July Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $169.00 (+$58.20 from June)

My Authority Website

As I detailed here, I’ve started an authority website that I have big plans for.  The progress is slow (I’m adding about 1 post per week so far), but the site is shaping up nicely and I’m seeing modest traffic (~50 visits in the past week).  No income yet, but I’m not in this for a quick buck – I’m planning on building a long-term asset that will one day provide massive value for not only me, but readers as well.  Stay tuned…

Misc. Affiliate Income

This was really the only negative part of my month, and there’s no real rhyme or reason to it.  Some months you just don’t earn as much. :/  Here’s the breakdown for July:

  • Adsense: $3.70
  • Amazon: $2.76
  • ClickBank: $114.40
  • Commission Junction: $227.40
  • PayDotCom: $0.00
  • Private Advertising: $35.00
  • Market Samurai: $0.00
  • Other Misc.: $101.80

Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for July: $485.06 (-$236.36 from June)

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of June’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: $76.79
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $8.05
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $169.00
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $485.06

Grand Total for June: $738.90 (-$163.16 from June)

While it is disappointing to have a down month in earnings, it’s important to keep in my that, aside from the misc. affiliate earnings, everything else saw an increase  last month.  I continue to build niche sites and continue to add to my authority site, and I know this work will eventually pay off.

Popular Posts

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

1) Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June '11]

2) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

3) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

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

5) How Much is Your Time Really Worth?

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

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!

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July '11]

Related posts:

  1. My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [July '10]
  2. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June '11]
  3. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [August '11]


7 Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurship, Part 3: Complacency

It’s been awhile since I wrote about the first two deadly sins of entrepreneurship (impatience and indecisiveness) so I figured it was time to address the third part of this series: complacency.

What is complacency? In basic terms, it’s the satisfaction with a current condition or situation.  Feeling content with the way things are.  How is this a sin?  I’ll explain.  The truth is, this may be the deadliest sin of all, depending on who you are and what your goals entail.

What’s Wrong With Being Happy?

It’s a valid question.  In everything we do, the ultimate goal is usually to be happy and satisfied.  Accomplishing your goals and realizing your dreams will obviously make you happy.  However, the inverse is not necessarily true:  Just because you’re happy or satisfied does not mean you’ve accomplished your goals and realized your dreams.

In fact, you can be a complete and utter failure, but still be happy at any given moment.  I’m happy when I’m watching TV or taking a nap, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that you can have those things with virtually no accomplishments in life.  This seems like an appropriate spot to quote from the classic comedy “Office Space“:

Lawrence: Well, what about you now? what would you do [with a million dollars]?
Peter Gibbons: Nothing.
Lawrence: Nothing, huh?
Peter Gibbons: I would relax… I would sit on my ass all day… I would do nothing.
Lawrence: Well, you don’t need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he’s broke, don’t do shit.

Maybe we take our basic standard of living for granted, but that’s a topic that’s outside the scope of this blog.

The problem with being satisfied is that it’s not motivating.  Success could motivate you to seek out more success, but being happy and satisfied doesn’t necessarily give you the drive to do more.  More specifically, being satisfied with your progress toward a goal can sometimes impede future progress.  Complacency may be the silent entrepreneurial killer, because it’s disguised as something that really doesn’t seem all that bad.

A Realistic Example

This being a blog in the “make money online” niche, I’m sure it’s read by a lot of people who want to quit their jobs and start their own business or otherwise find a way to make a living online (or simply supplement their income online).

To find a realistic example of complacency, I need to look no further than my own life.  My motivation to do work outside of my 9 to 5 job is directly correlated with my unhappiness of the job.  In other words, when I’m happy or satisfied with my job, I’m less motivated to work hard and build up my own business.  As it stands, I enjoy my job right now, so it’s more of a struggle to push myself to work when I get home from work (if that makes sense).

There are even better examples of the opposite scenario, where people have been fired/laid off from their jobs and it jump-started their wildly successful businesses – see examples here (Pat Flynn) and here (Chris Gurthrie).  They were forced to remove satisfaction or stability from their lives, which lit a fire that continues to spread today.

Success Isn’t Always a Killer

Obviously, being successful can excite you and drive you to bigger and better things.  That’s a different motivator altogether, and I still distinguish that from being complacent or merely “satisfied.”

Success is relative – it wouldn’t surprise me if the most successful people actually didn’t feel completely successful throughout their growing list of achievements.  Although an outsider may view someone with $1 million as “successful” (because they compare the person to themselves), the $1 million person is probably thinking, “why don’t I have $10 million?” or “how can I get to the next million?”

The important thing is, despite what others perceive as success, these individuals are never completely satisfied, and that’s what drives them forward. It’s not all about greed, either (ironically, one of the original “deadly sins”).  There are numerous ways to measure success beyond dollars and cents.

But Wait…I Like Being Happy…

It’s a weird dilemma.  You want to be successful, because success will make you happy and satisfied.  However, being happy and satisfied may prevent you from achieving further success.  There has be a solution to this, right?

There’s no groundbreaking, magical solution.  In fact, it’s quite simple: set good goals.

You’ve been told this a thousand times, and I would be beating a dead horse if I went into all the details about setting good goals, because there are literally thousands of places you can look online for tips on how to set good goals.  Almost every lifestyle design/internet marketing/entrepreneurship blogger has written at least one post about goals, including me.

But if you’re looking for tips here, I’ll give you a few brief ones:

  • Set BOTH realistic and “stretch” goals - You need to be able to dream big while tackling reality at the same time.
  • You need to be hungry for your goals – Anyone can set a goal to “earn $100,000 this year” or “build a successful business,” but to have even a remote chance of accomplishing your goals, you need to be HUNGRY for them.  You need to really want to achieve them.
  • Divide and conquer – Goals are usually not written in bite-sized chunks, and if you try to swallow the whole thing, you’ll choke to death (okay, that’s a bit extreme).  Even your less significant goals are probably too big to tackle with one swift motion, so you’ll need to find a way to break it down into action steps.  Start with making a daily “to-do” list.
  • Keep setting goals, even as you fail to achieve them – Your life is dynamic, and your goals should be too.  A goal you set earlier this year may not be practical anymore, or you may not care about it anymore.  Don’t chase goals you don’t care about.  If your desires change, alter your goals to reflect it.  There’s nothing worse than chasing a goal that isn’t appealing.

By staying on top of your goals and always keeping them in mind, you’ll hopefully never be complacent, because there will always be something out there that you have yet to achieve.

What do you think?

None of this is an exact science, so I’m curious to hear what you think about complacency and how to combat it.

If you enjoyed this article, please support it by using one of the share button on the left side.

Also (if you haven’t already), subscribe to the RSS feed so that you can have new posts delivered right to you. Thanks so much!

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

7 Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurship, Part 3: Complacency

Related posts:

  1. 7 Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurship, Part 1: Impatience
  2. 7 Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurship, Part 2: Indecisiveness


How Much is Your Time Really Worth?

This is going to be one of the shorter posts I write on this blog, but you shouldn’t take this question or topic lightly.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself busy with my “real work” (i.e. 9 to 5 job) and enjoying the summer outside of work.  When this happens (this isn’t the first time and won’t be the last), my online work and business tends to suffer.

It’s easy to brush it off and say, “I’ll get to that later” or “I’m not working on anything urgent” but if you really sit down and think about it, your time may be more valuable than you think.  How much is your time really worth?

As I mentioned, this post is going to be short and sweet, and it’s the first post I’ve written in over a week (which is rare on this blog), which is a reflection of how busy I’ve been.  I don’t like when I can’t blog at least once per week, and usually when my blogging time suffers, so do all of my other projects.

This post is a reminder to myself (and you) to keep your goals in mind and the true value of your time.  To illustrate what missing one day could do to your bottom line, I’ll give you an example of a site that I essentially built in less than a day (~6 hours), 8 months ago (it’s one of my Amazon niche sites).

Between Amazon and Adsense, I’ve earned $147 since it was built.  Keep in mind, the site wasn’t ranking in Google for 4-5 months. Also keep in mind, this site could continue to earn money for years.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it easily clears $1,000-2,000 eventually.  All of that, for roughly 6 hours of work.

The bottom line is, even if you don’t feel like your time is valuable or you feel you can put a non-urgent project off for a week or a month, you’re missing out on a ton of potential.

What do you think?

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

How Much is Your Time Really Worth?

No related posts.


Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June ’11]

June was a great month overall – it appears my “productive” feeling from May actually paid off, although I’m sure the best is yet to come.  Certain areas of my income saw record numbers, while others have declined slightly.  Overall, I think I’m headed in the right direction.

As always, I write these reports to show you that someone who has a full time job and spends a relatively small amount of time outside of work on his online income activities can still achieve a steadily growing stream of passive income.

[Read my write-up here]

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you pretty much know the drill with Lending Club. It’s 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 June, I was invested in 92 loans (+2 from May) and my net annualized return was 6.97% (-0.41% from May).

I’ve determined that the primary reason my returns have declined over the past couple of months is because I’ve been investing in less risky loans over the past several months compared to when I originally started with Lending Club.  I used to invest in a lot of high return loans (10-12%), but since then have added a lot of loans in the 5-7% range.

As I always point out, 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’s a visual from Lending Club that I think will highlight for you exactly how great this source of passive income is:

To me, this is astonishing. For investors with 800+ loans (i.e. you can’t say it’s a “small sample size”), the vast majority have seen returns of 6%+.  No one of those investors has actually lost money (i.e. 100% of the returns have been positive).

Here’s an image from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:

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.

To me, trying something like this and investing a small portion of your money is a no brainer. You’re going to get higher returns than a bank account, and although it locks up your money for a period of time (you are generally paid back over 3 years), it’s well worth the ability to have your money earn you money, with virtually no effort on your part.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

Ironically, after finally writing articles for the first time in 6 months, my earnings decreased.  It just goes to show you that earnings can and will be volatile regardless of what you do.  All you can do is continue to work hard, add content, diversify, and the earnings will come.

As of the end of June, I have written 130 articles (+2 from last month).  Here are my June Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:

In June, I earned a total of $63.44 from my Info Barrel articles (-$21.83 from May).

June InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $63.44
  • Amazon Associates:          $0.00
  • Chitika:                                    $1.56
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $65.00 (-$24.90 from May)

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 feel like a broken record when I say this, but yes, I’m still struggling to rank this site.  As you may have seen, I wrote a post attempting to analyze what the issue with this site might be.   The good news is, my earnings have now increased for a second straight month – the bad news is, they’re still embarrassingly small.

June Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $0.93
  • Chitika: $0.00
  • Amazon Associates:  $3.91
  • Total: $4.84 (+$2.59 from May)

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 Amazon.com), 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.

This is one area that I’m excited about for June, because I saw record earnings since I began this “challenge” nearly 9 months ago (wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long).  Yes, earnings growth has been slow, but I’m feeling more and more confident that I’m on the right track.

In addition, I’ve started creating more sites to add to this portfolio, and I’m outsourcing all of the content creation and SEO.  Some of my new sites will be more AdSense focused, but I will continue to monetize with both Amazon and AdSense, with some other occasional affiliate programs.

For my new sites, I will be using a new Amazon plugin that I reviewed here.

Here are the stats for June:

# of Amazon niche sites: 10 (+2 from May)

Total June Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $110.80 (+$82.89 from May)

My Authority Website

As I detailed here, I’ve started an authority website that I have big plans for.  I’m taking the process very slow and steady, but I’m making progress and foresee good things in the near future.

There isn’t much for me to report as of right now – I’m slowly adding content and I am seeing a little bit of organic trickle traffic (0-5 visitors/day), but no earnings to speak of yet.

Misc. Affiliate Income

My miscellaneous affiliate income saw an increase once again.  Here’s the breakdown for June:

  • Adsense: $2.89
  • Amazon: $0.00
  • ClickBank: $324.48
  • Commission Junction: $151.00
  • PayDotCom: $0.00
  • Private Advertising: $35.00
  • Market Samurai: $0.00
  • Other Misc.: $208.05

Total Affiliate Earnings for June: $721.42 (+$35.85 from May)

Although I did write a “product promotion” post this month (for the EasyAzon plugin), you might be interested to know that it only accounted for $75.33 of my Clickbank earnings.

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of June’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: $65.00
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $4.84
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $110.80
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $721.42

Grand Total for June: $902.06 (+$96.43 from May)

Although I still haven’t broken $1,000, I definitely can’t complain about another month of increasing earnings!

Popular Posts

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

1) Online Passive Income and Blog Update [May '11]

2) How Efficiently Do You Build Amazon Niche Sites?

3) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

4) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

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

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

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!

March April
Amazon AdSense CPA Total Amazon AdSense CPA Total
1 25.00 5.60 30.60 - 0.02 - 0.02
2 2.89 2.97 5.86 6.05 2.20 - 8.25
3 13.83 0.68 14.51 - 0.75 1.25 2.00
4 15.56 9.06 24.62 18.09 3.64 - 21.73
5 1.23 0.47 1.70 - 1.94 - 1.94
6 0.21 1.37 1.58 - 3.07 - 3.07
7 - - - - - - -
8 - - - - - - -
$ 58.72 $ 20.15 $ - $ 78.87 $ 24.14 $ 11.62 $ 1.25 $ 37.01

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June '11]

Related posts:

  1. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July '11]
  2. Online Passive Income & Blog Update [December '10]
  3. Online Passive Income & Blog Update [March '11]


Newbie Niche Site Month #2: The Results

As of yesterday, the second Newbie Niche Site Month was over.  I sent out over 40 domains over the course of the past month or so, and hopefully many of you were able to take advantage of it.  Even if you did nothing with the domain ideas, hopefully it sparked some ideas in your mind of product-based niche sites that you can build.

I know people spend a lot of time talking about niche sites online, but as I’ve pointed out before, there may be some of you who have never created one before and don’t know the first thing about where to start.  That’s perfectly okay.  The one thing that people rarely do is hand you actual ideas and URLs for you to run with, but that’s what I’ve done here.  Now, I know it would be better to teach you how to find domains rather than just give them to you, but all of that information is readily available through a simple Google search (and I wrote an article on it awhile back).

As I did last time, I wanted to recap exactly what Newbie Niche Site Month consisted of for those who didn’t receive the e-mails (and yes, I’ll list out all of the domains I sent out).

This is basically what Newbie Niche Site Month was:

  • Each week, for 4 weeks, I shared with those on my newsletter list, a list of exact keyword domains.  Having an exact match keyword domain is extremely powerful when it comes to ranking for that keyword in Google’s search engine results.
  • The reason I targeted this special series toward “newbies” is because these keywords generally receive 1,000-2,000 exact searches per month.  This is still plenty of traffic to create a profitable niche site, but those of you who are already experienced may have your sights set a bit higher.
  • All of these URLs were related to products (specifically, products that can be found on Amazon.com), consistent with the Amazon niche site challenge I’ve undertaken.  I know it’s been awhile, but I’m finally seeing some nice results with my Amazon sites, which I will be sharing in my next income report.

Here Are The Domains!

More than likely, these domains have all been registered, but I’m showing you them here just in case you missed out on the e-mails and are curious what kinds of domains I researched and sent out.  Keep in mind, all I did was research the availability of each domain and search traffic of each keyword.  I’m leaving it up to you to take it the rest of the way and properly research the competition, etc.

  1. ChildrensCrocs .org – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  2. cheapdesignerdresses .net – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  3. cheapdesignerdresses .org – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  4. halogenovenreviews .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  5. catenclosuresforoutdoors .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  6. multimeterreviews .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  7. multimeterreviews .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  8. halogenconvectionoven .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  9. halogenconvectionoven .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  10. scootergrips .org – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  11. scooterrazor .net – 1,000 exact  monthly searches
  12. scooterrazor .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  13. castironfirepit .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  14. openfacehelmet .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  15. helmetsforsale .net – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  16. helmetsforsale .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  17. brisketslowcooker .net – 2,400 exact monthly searches
  18. brisketslowcooker .org – 2,400 exact monthly searches
  19. slowcookerbrisket .net – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  20. slowcookerbrisket .org - 1,900 exact monthly searches
  21. scooter250cc .com – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  22. scooter250cc .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  23. scooter250cc .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  24. snowmobilehelmet .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  25. carbonfibermotorcyclehelmets .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  26. hardplastickiddiepool .net - 1,600 exact monthly searches
  27. poolgamesforkids .net – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  28. poolgamesforkids .org - 1,600 exact monthly searches
  29. poolinflatables .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  30. 2personcardgames .com – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  31. 2personcardgames .net – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  32. 2personcardgames .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  33. oneplayercardgames .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  34. oneplayercardgames .org - 1,000 exact monthly searches
  35. hummingbirddepthfinder .net – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  36. filterwaterbottle .com – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  37. filterwaterbottle .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  38. camelbackwaterbottle .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  39. 8mantent .net - 1,600 exact monthly searches
  40. duvetcoversking .org – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  41. twinduvetcover .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  42. twinduvetcover .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  43. comparedishwashers .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  44. germanknives .org - 1,300 exact monthly searches
  45. victorianchairs .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches

Some Random Closing Notes

  • Although it did take me awhile to research all of these keywords and domains, it hardly takes any time at all to find one.  You can do it without spending a dime – find your ideas by browsing Amazon.com and use Google’s Keyword Tool to find out about the keyword’s traffic.  Use your preferred domain registrar or a site like Domain Whiz (free) to check a domain’s availability.
  • Before you actually develop a site, I definitely recommend doing a bit of research on your keyword’s competition.  You can do this by evaluating the sites on page 1 of Google, but I prefer to use Market Samurai to help with that (free trial).
  • There are still thousands of unregistered domains out there with lots of income potential, just waiting for you to find them.  I said it last time I wrote a recap post, and I’ll say it again:  Every day, profitable domains are invented.  Every time a new product is released, you could potentially create a review site based around that product.  Keyword searches are always evolving, so therefore, good domain availability is too.

What do you think?  Let me know what you thought about this e-mail series, if you were one of the people who followed it.  Thanks!

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

Newbie Niche Site Month #2: The Results

Related posts:

  1. Let’s Recap Newbie Niche Site Month (And Answer Some Questions)
  2. My Gift to You: Newbie Niche Site Month
  3. Let’s Do It Again: Newbie Niche Site Month #2


Niche Site Duel – Update #8: Where the !*?# is My Site in Google?

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an official niche site duel update (although I track my progress monthly in my income reports), and there’s a good reason for that: My site has acted much like a ship that has sunk to the bottom of the ocean – it’s still there, but it’s not going anywhere.

Foolishly or not (it’s debatable), I’ve still continued to work on the site periodically.  What was once a promising niche site has now become a rehab project.  I expected the ups and downs early in the site’s life due to your standard Google dance, or whatever you want to call it, however I never expected that 9  months later I would still be trying to get the site in motion.

Anyway, let’s do some analysis…

A Look at the Past

Before I begin to try and analyze what’s wrong with my site, I first want to take a look at where the site has been in its 9 months of existence.  There was a time (albeit a very short time) where the site showed a lot of promise.  As you may recall, after a few months of the site’s existence, I switched my targeted keyword from “P90X review” (9,900 exact searches per month) to “P90X reviews” (60,500 exact searches per month).

For awhile, I ranked near the bottom of page 1 for “P90X review” and saw 15-20 visits per day (traffic image reposted below).

When I switched the domain to P90XReviews.me and targeted the new keyword, I was expecting a big change.  Eventually, I saw the change come into effect – Here’s a snapshot I posted back in January:

For a few days, I ranked within the top 5-6 spots on Google.  The traffic was outstanding, and I saw that the earning potential of the site could be $1,000+ per month.  Of course, as the image above shows, the site’s ranking fell off the charts, and I’ve once again been left in the dust.  Although the site continues to receive a little traffic each day from various long-tail keywords and some Bing/Yahoo searches, the results are insignificant.

Where It’s at Today

It almost goes without saying – I’m not ranking well for any of my target keywords.  Let’s see what Market Samurai shows…

As you can see, however, it’s not like I’m deindexed or anything.  Just ranking very poorly.  Because all we care about is ranking on page 1 of Google, here’s how my site compares to the page 1 sites for my prime keyword target “P90X reviews”:

[Click to enlarge]

I’ll analyze this in more detail below.

Why Has My Site Fallen Off the Face of the Earth?

Obviously, I don’t know why exactly I’ve had issues with ranking, and if I was really motivated, I’m sure I could pay someone to do a more professional analysis.  To me, this niche site was supposed to be a learning experience (which it has been), so I’m fine with slowly figuring things out on my own instead of paying someone to do it for me.

1) The .ME domain

This could be one potential aspect of this niche site that’s working against me.  The jury is still out on the effectiveness of exact match domains for domains that are not .com/.net/.org.  Based on random anecdotal evidence that I’ve read, it seems to make sense that a .ME domain isn’t going to have the same impact as a .com domain, however I still believe I get some “credit” for having an exact match domain.  There’s no way I would’ve ever ranked in the top 5 for a few days, when I did (6 months ago) if the domain name didn’t carry some weight.

2) The backlinking process

Backlinks probably play the most significant part in SEO, so it would make sense for this to be part of the reason my site is nowhere to be found.  Overall, my backlinking has been completely “white hat” with a mix of article marketing, Web 2.0 links, forum profiles, and blog comments.  I’ve done my best to follow Pat Flynn’s “backlink strategy that works” by tracking it with my own tool, the Ultimate Backlink Tracker.

Market Samurai (in the image above) shows 255 backlinks to the domain, and 78 to the actual home page, however I know there are many backlinks that aren’t showing up there.  It would be difficult to argue that I created too many backlinks or created them too quickly, because I built them naturally.  I did outsource some of the backlinking (creating forum profiles), but it wasn’t a large portion of the overall backlink profile.

3) The quantity and/or uniqueness of content

This one is easy to answer.  The content is 100% unique (and all written by me – nothing outsourced here), and the quantity should be sufficient.  Market Samurai shows that Google has indexed 50 pages for the site.  Definitely not a “thin” site.

4) The competition

Given the fact that I’m targeting a keyword that receives over 60,000 exact searches per month, competition figures to be significant.  This is probably one of the more valid reasons why I’m not ranking on page 1, however it does not explain why I’m not on any of the first 10 pages for my primary keyword.  Even just looking at page 1, there are a couple sites I think I could feasibly outrank.

What Do You Think?

What’s the deal here?  In the first few months, I assumed my ranking disappeared as a result of the dreaded Google “sandbox,” however that is supposed to be a temporary filter.  It’s been over 6 months now, and I’ve continued to build some content and backlinks, but the site is still buried deep within Google’s search results.

If my site was somehow “slapped” (who comes up with these internet slang terms anyway?), I don’t think I’d still be receiving traffic from random long-tail keywords and still be very clearly indexed.  Also, there’d really be no legitimate reason for Google to something like that.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think…

-------------

Thanks for subscribing to my feed! For more great content, check out my Muse Creation Newletter for tips, tricks, and ideas that I won't share on my blog.

Also, follow me on Twitter!

Thanks again!

Niche Site Duel – Update #8: Where the !*?# is My Site in Google?

Related posts:

  1. Niche Site Duel – Update #7: A New Approach & A Wild Ride With Google
  2. Niche Site Duel – Update #3: Earnings, Rank, and Traffic Update
  3. Niche Site Duel – Update #1: Tackling A Super Competitive Niche


Free How to WordPress Videos

Have you heard of those people that sit around
all day and blog about what they love. They literally
spend about an hour or two per day just talking
about the stuff they enjoy and they receive checks
in the mail every week…

==> www.thewpclassroom.com

I found this really cool set of videos that actually
teaches you how to set up your own blogging
business! The best part is that it teaches you for
free! There’s something like 15 free videos that
walk you through it step by step!
==> www.thewpclassroom.com

Matt even teaches you how to link up your blog
with all the latest social media platforms out
there! It’s all explained in step-by-step (free)
videos.

Have a look for yourself:

==> www.thewpclassroom.com

I’m looking forward to seeing you on the inside!

To Your Online Success!

Tony V