Hello 2019! Shelly and I rang in the holidays with a flurry of travel, quality time with family and a New Year’s Eve wedding of two good friends. What a roller coaster ride the last year has been for us both. More on that in another post soon, but today we’re talking numbers.
And as I accurately predicted, last month saw yet again another slight dip in my side income… dipping to about $8,000 below my all-time high in September of 2018 (but not for long as we’ll soon talk about).
What’s crucial though, is that my distribution of side income continues to trend away from freelance clients and is now EXPLODING with passive sources like affiliates and sales of my own courses—though these explosive results won’t actually hit my balance sheets in a meaningful way for another month or two.
Overall, I generated $11,829.01 in side income revenue during December of 2018.
Net profit for the month remained lower than usual (due to a few large investments) at $3,095.82.
The Forecast 🌤: For January, I’m expecting my side income to rebound in a major way, landing somewhere in the neighborhood of $17,000 – $18,000. And what I’m most excited about right now, is what I already know will hit my February side income report… During the month of December, I booked a grand total of $25,100 in affiliate commissions from just Bluehost alone—thanks to my epic guide on starting a blog rising and mostly remaining at the top of organic search results. Since Bluehost pays out 45 days after commissions lock, it’ll take until February for this payout to hit my accounts, and I’m expecting this to be only the beginning of much more excitement to come.
Now, on to the details of my December side income report…
Side Income in December 2018: $11,829.01
In these monthly reports, I track my total side income every month, including each individual source of that income, and associated expenses with running my side businesses. This is the good and the bad.
Next, I break down the traffic to my blog which heavily impacts my side income, including what’s performing best and how I’m working to drive in more readers. I also cover how many email subscribers I’m at, the number of new subscribers acquired during the month, and what that growth trajectory looks like.
Then I talk about my podcast download numbers for the month, and which episodes performed best.
Finally, I cover updates on any other side projects I’m working on for the month.
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1. Side Income Breakdown for December 2018
1 x Content Marketing Client
Online Course Sales (Built to Blog)
Amazon.com (Business Books)
Podcast Sponsorships (Side Hustle Project)
Web Services – Hosting and Storage
Online Tools & Subscriptions
ConvertKit Email Marketing
Bluehost (Test Website)
Adobe Creative Cloud
Zoom.us (Video Conferencing)
Apple (Storage & Apps)
Video Transcriptions (YouTube)
Freelance Writers (Client Work)
Podcast Producer (Xavi at Branded Pod)
Quuu Promote (Pre-Paid Annual)
Travel, Office Supplies & Misc
iPhone X Payment Plan
AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
Amazon and Office Supplies
Workshop Co-Working Space
Net Profit Breakdown
Now, on to my blog, email and podcast-related statistics.
2. Blog Stats for December 2018: 259,916 Sessions and 76,443 Total Email Subscribers
December 2018 saw another dip in my blog's traffic (down from October's all-time high)... which is partially expected with all the holidays this month.
I was down in Sessions from October's all-time high by 26%. On top of the sessions drop, I moved down to 329,804 pageviews.
While the holiday slump is partially to blame, one of my highest trafficked posts about how to make money online also fell in organic search rankings toward the end of November—when in October it had been tested in the #1 position, and it's yet to recover. Working on driving that ranking back up is a major priority for the first half of 2019.
Overall, I'm still up a ton from the beginning of 2018 and I have a lot to be grateful for. That growth is directly correlated with several of my most trafficked posts continuing to rank higher in organic search—coupled with increased activity and clicks from Pinterest that've resulted in more traffic from that platform as well.
Here are my top 15 trafficked posts from December, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
- business ideas
- motivational quotes
- how to start a blog (this has the most attributable revenue for the month)
- make money online
- freelance jobs
- how to freelance
- business books
- remote job
- business advice
- freelance proposals
- freelance contract
- how to sell phone cases
- how to start a side business
- business slang
- online business courses
As I head into the first few days of January right now, I'm seeing a massive surge of traffic to my 20,000+ word guide, 10 Steps to Start a Blog on the Side—which has been holding steady in the #1 ranking position in searches for hugely competitive terms like how to start a blog, how to blog, and other related terms that get a lot of activity this time of year.
And the best part about this trend? As more readers land on this post, more are joining my free course, How to Build a Blog in 7 Days and will (soon) be pitched an offer to join my paid Built to Blog course to level up their blogging journey.
During December, I also had a guest post from my friend, Adam Enfroy, go live on my blog—10 Easy Ways Affiliate Marketing Can Completely Transform Your Blog (and Side Income), which breaks down all of the essential first steps to implementing affiliate marketing on your blog.
Overall site traffic is still up by 127.05% compared to December of 2017, so I'm grateful.
Moving into 2019, my major focus remains on generating more revenue—and continuing to make passive income courses my main driver of the business.
2. Email Subscribers.
I use ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and deliver my emails.
December saw the addition of 5,670 subscribers to my community with my total list size growing to 76,443 subscribers 🎉
So much of my new subscriber growth continues to be fueled by my new free course, Build a Blog in 7 Days which is well-optimized for both affiliate revenue and for my more advanced paid course (Built to Blog).
3. Podcast Downloads for December 2018: 22,614 Downloads
My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is now staying well above the 20,000+ download threshold.
And with 22,614 downloads, I'm staying steady accounting for the holiday downtime.
Here are the episodes that went live last month:
- #89: How to Grow a Profitable Niche Blog to 90,000 Readers with Laurence Bradford
- #90: Farnam Street’s Shane Parrish on Building a Community of 1 Million Monthly Readers
- #91: K-Swiss President Barney Waters on How to Turn Around a Global Brand
- #92: How to Land Fortune 500 Marketing Clients (Scale a Business) with Ross Simmonds
December brought my total download numbers for the show up to 287,014 downloads!
If you're not a listener yet, give it a try right here 🙂
That's it for my December side income report.
For January, I'm predicting my side income to land around $17,000 - $18,000 and begin what's looking like a MAJOR hockey stick-style increase that I'm anticipating to continue onward for the foreseeable future. February should see a side income level in excess of $30,000+ and I'm hoping to keep that trend both increasing and becoming more dependable.
I've never been more excited about my blog and I'm strapping in for an incredible 2019.
If you're looking for some additional reading to help grow your own blog (on the side), I recently launched a 20,000 word free guide to building and scaling a profitable blog right here that I'd love for you to read 😊