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Income Report #4 – September 2012

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Income Report - September 2012Welcome to the income report for September 2012!

This monthly series details how I make money online and what I’m doing to improve these numbers.

Like many online entrepreneurs, I use these reports to motivate readers and also help me analyze what’s currently working (and not working) with my sources of income.

Every report is broken down into two sections:

  1. What I’ve earned
  2. Lessons I’ve learned

So let’s get to it…

Monthly Income – September 2012

Here’s the monthly breakdown for September 2012:

I. Authority Affiliate Site: The bulk of my income comes from a few websites in a single affiliate marketing niche. I don’t reveal the specifics of these sites to avoid competition and having people “reverse-engineer” what I do online. To learn more, check out the six-figure affiliate marketing strategies I’ve listed here.

I find most of the products on Clickbank. But I also promote a couple of “self-hosted” affiliate offers.

Here’s how much was earned last month:

  • Clickbank (Email Marketing): $4,339.12
  • Self-Hosted (Email Marketing): $952.00
  • Thank You Page: $1,300
  • Total: $6591.12
  • Last Month: $6721.08
  • Difference: -$129.96

II. Information Product: I also have an information product in this niche where the bulk of the earnings from an extensive autoresponder sequence.

I have over 50 emails that provide a mix of great content and direct affiliate offers. So in a way… My information product income also comes from affiliate marketing.

  • Total: $1223.07
  • Last Month: $1022.31
  • Difference: +$200.76

III: Niche Sites: While I no longer build niche sites they still generate a little bit of income. Here’s what happened in September:

  • Google Adsense: $12.59
  • Commission Junction: $40
  • Amazon Physical Products: $44.45
  • Clickbank: $74.01
  • Total: $171.05
  • Last Month: $364.85
  • Difference: -$193.80

IV: Amazon Kindle: Right now, I have three Kindle books:

  1. 55 Ways to Make Extra Money Online
  2. Affiliate Marketing for Beginners in 2012
  3. How to Discover Best Selling Amazon Kindle Nonfiction Book Ideas

As you’ll see (later on) Kindle publishing is turning into a major part of my business.  But for now, I’ve earned a modest amount of income from my  existing titles:

  • Total: $688.31
  • Last Month: $707.86
  • Difference: -$19.55

V: Steve Scott Site: I also promote affiliate offers and my own information product on this blog. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a product promotion. But oddly enough, my earnings have increased slightly:

VI: Mobile Apps: I’m in the process of building an app business.  I’m getting them out there, but they haven’t generated a significant amount of income.  Here are my apps.  (Please leave a review on any of them if you can spare a few minutes):

Here’s how the apps are doing:
  • Total Installs: 4123
  • Chartboost.com Earnings: $9.96
  • iTunes Purchases: $34
  • Rev Mob Earnings: $77.30
  • Total: $121.26
  • Last Month: $33.65
  • Difference: +$87.61

Combine all six income streams and you get a…

Grand Total of $9514.72

  • Last Month: $9441.22
  • Difference: +$73.50

Once again, my income hit the $9000+ mark.  That’s like four months in a row.  I’m working hard to push past this plateau; but nothing has taken off yet.  So I’m going to keep at it! 

With that in mind, here are a few lessons I learned from last month…

3 Important Lessons from September

The main reason I do income reports is to analyze what I’m currently doing to generate revenue.  It’s not about counting dollars and cents.  Instead the purpose is to figure out what’s working and focus on scaling these successful campaigns.

I realized a few things after analyzing my income from September:

Lesson #1: Establish Baseline Metrics

Nobody has ever achieved overnight success from their Internet business.  Usually what happens is they’ll try something, see it works, and then do more of that.  But you have to do one thing to see what’s working – Establish a baseline metric.

Baseline metrics are important because they provide a starting point for growth.  These numbers determine your areas of focus and how you’ll take your Internet business to the next level.

As an example, I established a number of baseline metrics in September.  Some of these were updates to tests I’ve done in the past.  Others were new metrics I’m going to study moving forward:

  • Opt in % (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Open rate % (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Total number of subscribers (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Total earnings for each email in my autoresponder sequence (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Subscriber value (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Where people subscribe to my email list (SteveScottSite.com)
  • Where people click – Using a heat map from VisualWebsiteOptimizer.com (SteveScottSite.com)
  • What pages are producing affiliate income (SteveScottSite.com)
  • Total # of app downloads (App Business)
  • Average daily earnings (App Business)
  • Total daily sales for each book (Kindle Business)
  • Daily “Amazon Best Seller” ranking for each book (Kindle Business)

It’s been said that knowledge is power.  And the best way to get knowledge about your Internet business is to establish baseline metrics that you’ll test on a continuous basis.

Lesson #2:  Test Your Business Metrics

It’s important to test and tweak your baseline metrics.  Your goal is to slowly improve these numbers as time goes on.  Results don’t happen overnight.  But they will increase if you commit to trying different things.

Also, I learned (the hard way) to never do more than one test.  Instead test a single variable for a week to see if you get a positive improvement.  Rinse and repeat till you see an improvement!

Here are a few tests I’m currently running:

  • Split-testing the opt-in page (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Splitting subscribers between two email lists.  One uses an aggressive affiliate promotion model.  The other is primarily content-driven.  I’m seeing which one generates the most income (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Different return email addresses.  (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Split-testing the click-thru-rates for the thank you page (My affiliate marketing list)
  • Split-testing different banner ads and text for affiliate promotions (SteveScottSite.com)
  • Different eCover images (Kindle business)
  • HTML vs. plain text descriptions (Kindle business)
  • Categories, tags, and titles (Kindle business)
  • Keywords used in app listings (App business)
  • Titles used in app listings (App business)
  • Unicode descriptions used in app listings (App business)

These are a small sample of what I’m currently tweaking.  The lesson here is to never assume something is the right way to do things.  Run a test and see what happens!

Lesson #3: Get Your Ass on a Chair 

This past weekend I attended a conference on Kindle publishing in Los Angeles.  One of the speakers was Kamal Ravikant, author of Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.

When asked about how to complete a Kindle eBook, Kamal recommended a simple strategy:

A – Ass

O – On

C – Chair

Kamal talk about the importance of taking action. Want to achieve success with any form of writing? Then schedule time for writing and don’t make excuses.  In other words: “Ass On Chair!”

I’m taking the AOC concept and running with it.  I’ve written “Ass On Chair” on different whiteboards throughout my apartment.  So whenever I feel motivated or lazy, I’ll see this statement which reminds me to get back to work.

Also, I’ve scheduled two hours each morning – Just for working on my Kindle book.  My goal is to write 10,000 words each week.  This works out to be a Kindle book every 2 to 3 weeks.

Overall, I recommend implementing some form of the Ass On Chair philosophy.  Most of us are in the business of creating content.  So it’s insanely critical to set aside periods where there’s not excuse– Get your ass on a chair and start writing! 

Final Thoughts…

September provided a number of lessons.  Once again, my income didn’t change all that much.  But it’s starting to become a little more diversified from the new businesses I’m building.

For most of 2012, I ignored the “testing and tweaking” aspects of my Internet business.  Now I’m back and ready to focus on the areas that generate the largest sources of income.

That’s it for this income report!

Please comment below.  Talk about any recent business lessons you’ve learned.  Or feel free to ask about anything I’ve discussed in this post!

Take Action. Get Results.




P.S. Struggling with your Kindle books? Don't know how to get started on Amazon? Looking to generate an additional stream of income?

If so, click here to grab "Kindle Publishing Checklist: The 46-Step Plan for Turning an Idea into a Best-Selling Book"


{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Black Seo Guy

Yo Steve

Man it good to see your hard working paying off each and every month man. People just don’t understand the hours of work we put in to even make one dime online. I’m happy for you bro and keep it rolling my friend.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

Reply

Steve Scott

Yes, lots of work involved here. This is especially true with the Kindle stuff…you have to really bust your butt to make something stand out. Thanks for stopping by!

Reply

Ibraheem

Great lessons and report !
I need more info about :
Self-Hosted (Email Marketing)

and I hope you talk about Commission Junction .

Thanks

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks for the comment Ibraheem. There’s a ton to learn about email marketing: http://www.stevescottsite.com/category/email-marketing-tips

I’m not really an expert on Commission Junction. I only have a few pages of content that refer a CJ product. So it’s rare that I make a sale from this site.

Reply

Ibraheem

Thanks for sharing Email marketing tips, about CJ no problem I will search for more information about it.

Reply

Marius

These are some really nice stats, but I think stevescottsite.com with that amount of traffic doesn’t convert very well, Steve… :)

Reply

Steve Scott

You’re absolutely right! I think part of the problem is I haven’t promoted a product in like 6 months :-) It’s definitely important to balance content with the occasional offer.

Reply

Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

Great stuff here Steve! Another impressive month, for sure!

Thanks for sharing, and I wish you much continued success.

All the best,
-Alex

Reply

Steve Scott

No problem Alex! Thanks for checking out my site.

Reply

Brain Training

Four months in a row over 9000 each month all online is for sure something to be very thankful for. And your readers are happy for you.

Reply

Steve Scott

Yes, I’m happy to maintain the $9000 mark. So no complaints there. But I’m working hard to show the results from “new” projects.

Reply

Arwin Adriano

Your kindle venture looks very interesting. Do you have any tutorials on how to start with this kind of venture or advices.

Reply

Steve Scott

Arwin,

I have a few articles that talk about about Kindle publishing: http://www.stevescottsite.com/category/amazon-kindle-publishing

I’m probably going to work on my own Kindle book of what I’ve learned. But that’s probably a few months out.

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Eddie Gear

Steve, You really gotta teach me some tricks to makeing atleast $500 a day. I’ve been reading your blog regularly and I am like how can this guy make so much money. Is there really a profit margin here? Appreciate your efforts Steve.

Reply

Steve Scott

I’m not really sure if there are “tricks” or a magic pill. A lot of it is just trying a bunch of things; seeing what gets results; and then going from there.

The one strategy I do recommend is to focus on list building – Even if you don’t have anything to “sell.” Having a list full of people who *know you* makes easier to identify what problems they’re having. Then you can use this information to promote products or even create your own solutions.

Reply

Mirsad

I’m getting into the app business and I recently uploaded my first app (a game). Steve, what’s your opinion about the game market? Yes, I know it is competitive but its not different than building sites, I guess. You need to market them heavily if you are going to have success and I resonate on the same way when it comes to iPhone apps.

Reply

Steve Scott

Mirsad – There is a TON of potential in the game market. I’m in a mastermind group where most of the members are app game developers. They’re always talking about the profit potential to making games that people love. So I’d say continue with your plan … Just make sure you’re creating something that people would regularly play.

I don’t do games (right now) because it’s not really part of my identity. I find games to be an incredible “time suck.” So it doesn’t make sense for me to create something like that.

Reply

Joe @ How I Got Rich

Awesome earnings.

$9k per month is amazing.

What sort of kindle books are you writing? How do you pick your subjects?

Good luck for the $10,000!

Reply

Steve Scott

Hey Joe!

Right now I’m focusing in IM/blog related eBooks because I feel there’s a market for small books that solve very specific problems. But ultimately I hope to branch out into personal development, travel, running, and lifestyle design. These are all hobbies I enjoy and I think I can write content that truly helps readers.

At the risk of sounding self-serving; I wrote a whole book at how I go about picking topics and subjects:

http://www.stevescottsite.com/nonfiction

Reply

Dedalus

OMG. Is it really possible to earn this amount of money from internet marketing.

Reply

Steve Scott

Yes. But it requires hard work :-)

Reply

Alex @ How To Start A Blog 101

Awesome post Steve, very detailed and inspiring!! I noticed on your authority site income you’ve put email marketing next to the income, does all you money come purely form your list that you build from you site?

Reply

Steve Scott

Alex- Yes. The majority of my income comes from list building in a single authority niche. With that said, I’m working hard to diversify my different revenue streams. But overall list building is the way to go!

Reply

Kris @ Detailed Success

Another great month Steve!

I see you get a pretty stable awesome income from your Authority affiliate site.

I assume most of your income comes from the list you built with that site?

But, can’t you scale that income? Why don’t spend, lets say 5k, on traffic to get more people to opt-in? You know that your sequence works – why not scale it?
That’s the only part I don’t understand.

Thanks!

Reply

Steve Scott

It’s funny you mention that Kris. I’m actually spending a lot of time lately looking into solo ads and other forms of paid advertising. I’ve done well with free traffic; but I’m ready to take things to the next level. Do you have any websites and/or products you’d recommend?

Reply

Kris @ Detailed Success

I’m just start starting out with list building and sequences etc, so I don’t have anything to recommend yet. I was just wondering if you were using paid traffic and if not – why?

Reply

Stefanus

Thanks Steve for the transparency of what you are doing as an Internet Marketer. This income report is truly an eye opener for a beginner like me and I believe it is just as valuable to advanced marketers. In my opinion, your real and humble attitude with your great content (add value) to other people are the deciding factors of your success with people. I did purchase your latest Kindle book and I think thats awesome. Just asking, what advice would you give for a starter in 2012 to make money online?

Reply

Sheyi | ivblogger.com

Great one for you here. Was sick when you posted this had to tweet and come on it today.

This income is a dream of so many people online. though I am still not near this monthly income fee, i believe my list building powers will surely bring in something big for me.

Keep rocking.

Sheyi

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Sheyi! All of this is perfectly doable… I think the secret is to find one thing that works and take massive, day-by-day action on it.

Reply

Eric Spesl

Congs, you are awesome… Your monthly income is so high… I cant imagine how you got all that…

Reply

Steve Scott

It’s not easy at all. But I found the secret to work hard at one thing and focus your energy at increasing your results in a systematic basis.

Reply

Tran Le@Digi Traffic Generator

$9k per month is amazing. I have planned to do the same and i bought few but i am not getting enough traffic and i am unable to decide which is the best niche to work on..

Reply

Steve Scott

Tran— Definitely. You have to be able to focus your efforts on one thing. Once you find a niche, then build a good funnel. From there, all you have to do is get traffic to this funnel.

Reply

Garen

Yep I used to be at the 12-15k per month mark but since Google took my traffic from 700 hits a day down to 70, I am starting all over again.

Reply

Steve Scott

I hear you. Google often gives us a gut-shot with their ever-changing policies. Hope the new stuff is working for you…

Reply

Bill

Steve, just downloaded your new book on traffic. I love how it’s itemized and specific. I’ve got three eBooks that aren’t selling well on my own site right now, but I’ve made my December plan to get them edited and use your techniques to get them uploaded to amazon and get them out there.

I also need some AOC time that I’m going to schedule every night when my kid goes to sleep.

Kudos and thanks for the inspiration.

Reply

Steve Scott

AOC works! Once you fully commit to doing something, it becomes a lot easier to achieve.

Reply

Carl

Congratulations, Steve. This is really excellent income and for sure some great tips that bloggers at any level will learn a lot.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Carl! Appreciate it…

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Emmanuel Obarhua

Steve, first I’d say; Congratulations. Secondly I’d say; you deserve every bit of it. The reaport is awesome and breathtaking. I’d love to earn like that I swear. But the bottom line is traffic. I have been working on my site’s traffic but its really difficult to get it going. Thanks

Reply

Steve Scott

You’re right Emmanuel. Traffic is really the key with anything. I recommend perfecting the funnel first, and then spending all of your energy getting people into your sphere of influence.

Reply

Michael John

Thats great Stevo… Congrates!!!

I came to know about this site when I was going through a site to find which website to go for niche or authority. This was really helpful and now i feel that even we can make lot of money through affiliate marketing :)

I have my blog site but i was building it thinking that I can make money through adsense but now from you work i can find that you earn a lot from affiliate than adsense. So atleast Adsense is not the only hope we do have many other ways to make money thats cool :)

Thx for this wonderful info and your valuable time.

Cheers,
Michael

Reply

Steve Scott

He Michael— I think adsense is okay. But affiliate marketing is so much better way to go. This is especially true if you’re building a large scale authority site. Let me know if you have any questions.

Reply

Praveen

Hey,

It’s really a good earning, it shows your hard work. Congrats Man.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Praveen!

Reply

Richard Brokenshire

Hi Scott, I just found your site. So I am a little late to the party. But I do have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind. How many people are on your list and how many hours a week do you work on this? I have to say I am totally impressed!! I know people with top 10,000 blogs who don’t generate 1/4 of that income. I suppose they don’t do as good of a job monetizing as you do! Congrats!

Reply

Steve Scott

Richard—

My main list has around 78,000 or so subscribers. But I started building that around 2006. So it’s taken a long time to get to that level. I only spend an hour a week on this part of my business.

On the other hand, I’m focusing a lot of my energy on my Kindle eBooks. So that’s taking about 30 hours a week of my time.

Ultimately I think you need to bust your butt at first on any online business. But eventually you reach a point when you can dial back on the effort.

Reply

Carl C.

Thanks for sharing such detailed information about your earnings, not many people are willing to do that. Pretty amazing earnings btw, grats :)

Reply

Adam

I love reports like this, because I can actually see that making money online is possible. Thanks

Reply

Bilal Akbar

Love to read such income reports because they inspire me to do more and more..

Reply

Steve Scott

Bilal — I don’t do an overall income report anymore. But I recently started publishing income reports for my authority case study: http://www.stevescottsite.com/authority-internet-business The 2nd report will come late next week.

Reply

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