July was a difficult month. I mentally prepared myself for the income crash (it happened) after our record June earnings, but it was difficult on a personal/family level. Abby had a major surgery on July 21st that has been 10 years in the making. I don’t want to get into all the details, but you can read about it here and here. She’s been incredibly brave and the surgery was a success. A month later, she’s doing great!
If you’re not familiar with my story you can read the “About” page, but earlier this year my wife Abby asked me to manage the business side of her blog. My responsibilities include all the technical aspects, financial progress, and even some overall big-picture strategy. I gladly accepted and in the process decided to start this site in order to track our progress.
Why An Income Report?
1. Accountability. Knowing we have to publish our numbers every month is a great way to light a fire under us. It also gives you, the readers, the chance to hold us accountable to our goals and raise any issues you might see in our businesses. Abby and I are pretty good at holding each other accountable but these income reports take that to a whole new (and potentially embarrassing) level!
2. Reflect, Learn, and Pivot. It’s one thing to have ideas in my head about how the business is going, but one of the best ways for me to learn is collect the data and present it to my readers. By paying attention to different metrics including web traffic and income, I’ll start to get a sense for what works and what doesn’t. This learning experience is important because it will provide an opportunity for me to make changes and adjustments to improve the business moving forward.
3. Teach. My hope is that you can take something away from these reports. While we have a long way to go in order to do this online thing full time, it might be encouraging for someone a few steps behind us in the process to see that it is possible to earn actual dollars online. Even more than encouragement, I hope these income reports teach you something you can immediately apply to your business. Without transparency in our business these teaching moments would diminish.
Unlike other some other income reports your see online, we don’t make a ton of money yet. Abby just started in January 2013 so we’re giving you the opportunity to follow our journey from “nothing” to a full-time, self-sustaining business. Get in on the ground floor and join us in our journey. These early stages of our business are critical and the mistakes and lessons will be many! Don’t make the same early mistakes we do.
(*asterisk denotes affiliate link)
Let’s get right into the numbers…
- Framework eBook – $1,168
- Bluehost Affiliate* – $450
- Google Adsense – $518
- Sovrn Ad Network – $158
- Amazon Associates – $98
- MediaTemple Affiliate* – $80
- Evernote Essentials Affiliate* – $78 (residual income from one post)
- Restored 316 Themes Affiliate* – $57
- StudioPress Affiliate* – $42
- Namecheap Affiliate* – $10
Total Income: $2,659
- Gumroad Transaction Fees – $88
- Mailchimp* – $75
- Synthesis Hosting – $67
- Fizzle.co* – $35
- PO Box – $23
- Fedex Printing – $22
- Zapier – $15
- Viral Tag – $12
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $11
Total Expenses: $348
Net Profit: $2,311
July was our second best income month for Abby’s blog, but it was still somewhat deflating. We knew eBook sales wouldn’t continue at the same pace as launch week back in June, but look at this chart from Gumroad:
That’s data from launch day (June 10th) through the end of July. Talk about a long, skinny tail! I’m hoping the last half of July will be the worst we see for eBook sales. We did zero promotion in July and still had over $1k in sales. Things are trending up (slightly) in August.
It’s also somewhat discouraging that the average price paid is trending downwards. The average price paid in July was $9.72. That’s down slightly from June. Read these two posts if you want to learn more about launching an eBook and Pay What You Want (PWYW) Pricing.
We’re happy with the continued affiliate commissions (Bluehost, Studiopress, and Restored 316) stemming from mentions in the eBook and Abby’s How to Start a Blog and Blogger Resources pages. I need to get better at tracking the source of conversions but we have a Mailchimp auto-responder setup to email purchasers of the book 3 and 14 days after purchase. These emails ask questions, check in, and direct people to those two pages on Abby’s blog.
Despite the reduced sales in July, it still amazes me that all of this is automatic. There is nothing to ship, no invoices to create, and Abby isn’t strictly trading her time for money. It’s all automatic! Even the follow-up email sequence. We really didn’t do ANYTHING with this book in July and sales still rolled in.
Affiliate Program for eBook
Thank you to those who have reached out to me regarding an affiliate program. This is coming! We are going to launch with a limited number of bloggers (around 25?) and once everything is up and running we’ll open it up to more people.
Three Legs of Blog Income
Our July blog income came from three categories:
- Product sales – $1,168 (44%)
- Ad revenue – $676 (25%)
- Affiliate income – $815 (31%)
Moving forward we should be looking at 1/3 split between product sales, ad revenue, and affiliate income.
July was filled with guest-posters while Abby was at a conference and recovering from her surgery. Traffic dipped slightly but not nearly as much as I anticipated.
Email Subscriber Statistics
- 890 New Subscribers
- 7,220 Existing Subscribers
- 8,110 Total Subscribers
RPM shows you how much you make from every 1,000 page views on your blog. It’s commonly used to measure the performance of your ads, but I like to use it to measure the overall effectiveness of a site’s income generation.
Previously I stated that my goal was to consistently break $10 RPM. Well two months in a row we’ve been above $10! Let’s see how long we can keep that up!
and to recap our income…
Net Income: $2,311