For the first time in a couple of years, my side businesses actually lost money during the month of February.
I generated $6,164.07 in revenue, but spent a lot more than usual. And while it wasn’t a significant loss ($37.77) it was still a bit of a surprise since I’ve been profitable for so long.
Digging into the numbers a bit, it’s clear to see that the reason for my loss this month was due mostly to a heavy investment I made in hiring very skilled freelance writers—to help build up the content pipeline for my blog.
High quality, long form content that’ll pay dividends in returns over the coming months and years (in the form of affiliate income and new email subscribers).
So while I took a loss this month, I’m expecting to recoup the money spent on those content investments within the next few months AND my returns should continue compounding for potentially years to come.
Now, let’s get into the details…
Side Income Report February 2018: $6,164.07
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.
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 have, the number 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 other side projects I’m working on.
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1. Side Income Breakdown for February 2018
1 x Content Marketing Client
Carbon Ads (on the Blog)
Email List Sponsorships (SolidGigs)
Podcast Sponsorships (Side Hustle Project)
Online Tools & Subscriptions
ConvertKit Email Marketing
Adobe Creative Cloud
Edgar Social Media Mgmt (Pre-Paid Annual)
Narrow.io (Twitter Engagement Tool)
Zoom.us (Video Conferencing)
Apple App Store (Mac App Renewals)
Freelance Writers (Client Work & Blog)
Developer Help & Blog Customizations
Office Rent (thx Close.io 😉)
Podcast Producer (Xavi at Branded Pod)
Quuu Promote (Pre-Paid Annual)
Travel, Office Supplies & Misc
iPhone X Payment Plan
AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
Transaction Fees (from Int’l Payments)
Home Office Internet (Comcast 👎)
Travel (Southwest Airlines)
Net Profit Breakdown
Another expensive ass month!
As you can see, this was another very expense-heavy month for my side businesses.
Nearly 80% of this month’s expenses came from freelance writers who help me with both my content marketing client work and with producing long form content here on the blog (like this post about how to make money online).
Plus on top of that, I had to let 2 of my freelance content marketing clients go since my (full-time) work with Close.io is starting to kick into higher gear and I’m wanting to dedicate more of my time to keeping my performance up.
That meant overall side income took a big hit. Down by nearly 33%.
Taking a long-term outlook, this was an investment month and it also signaled another shift in priorities.
Less time for freelance clients—more time and resources going towards building my blog’s passive income.
I’m expecting my dip in income and profitability to continue for a few more months before returning in the form of more affiliate income later this year. Hopefully a trend that continues to grow at scale.
TL;DR I reinvested all of my side income into new content pieces that’ll pay off immensely over the coming months and years.
2. Blog Stats for February 2018: 149,219 Sessions and 42,203 Total Email Subscribers
Overall traffic was down by 7% this month and I dipped back below the 200,000 monthly pageview number.
However, a couple of my higher-trafficked posts like my motivational quotes article are beginning to climb up the organic search rankings so I’m expecting March to be significantly higher (plus it’s a longer month with 3 more days than February).
No surprises, organic traffic is still my #1 source of new readers…
As I highlighted in last month’s side income report, this makes me prone to pretty big swings in monthly traffic, depending upon where my highest trafficked blog posts get ranked throughout the month.
When my posts show up near the top of search results, my traffic goes up considerably.
However, I compete on some very difficult search terms like:
- business ideas
- business books
- motivational quotes
- business advice
- how to freelance
- online business courses
- online business tools
- freelance proposals
- cold email templates
- start a side business
- content marketing strategy
- validate business idea
- freelance contract
- and remote job
While organic still represented 57% of my traffic for February, at this time last year, it was more like 85%, so my strides to diversify my traffic sources a bit have been paying off (slightly).
Overall site traffic looking back at this time last year is pretty much flat.
I use ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and send out my weekly (sometimes twice weekly) updates.
February saw the addition of 2,712 subscribers to my community.
Which brings me up to 42,203 total subscribers.
3. Podcast Downloads for February 2018: 13,843 Downloads
The end of February marks the 8th month of hosting my podcast, The Side Hustle Project.
With a total of 13,843 downloads, I’m down a bit from January’s high of 16,425.
That’s partially because I publish new episodes on Wednesday evenings, and January happened to have an extra (fifth) Wednesday that February wasn’t graced with.
Still, overall downloads per episode were down a little bit as I didn’t have quite as much time to spend promoting individual episodes.
Here are the episodes that went live this month:
- #46: From Side Project to $130,000/mo Blogging with Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents
- #47: Building a $110,000/mo SaaS Side Project with Jan Schulz-Hofen of Planio
- #48: Bestselling Author Max Altschuler on Growing SalesHacker From Side Project to $3 Million in Revenue
- #49: Nathan Barry on Growing ConvertKit from Side Project to $900,000+ in Monthly Recurring Revenue
This month brings my total download numbers for the show up to 90,371 downloads which means I’m on pace to surpass 100,000 downloads in March! Woo!
If you’re not a listener yet, give it a try right here :)