Wow, this year has flown by! And as predicted last month, November brought with it another reduction in side income… I’m now down about $7,000 from my all-time high in September of 2018 (for one main reason—but not for long as we’ll soon talk about).
My distribution of side income continues to trend in the right direction—away from freelance clients and accelerating quickly toward more passive sources like affiliates, blog/podcast sponsorships, and sales of my own courses.
As I said last month, I began 2018 with nearly 90% of my side income coming from freelance projects I landed as a result of inbound inquiries through my blog. As of this November, that freelance income now accounts for 38% of my total side income. This trend will be picking up pace in a major way beginning in 2019.
Overall, I generated $13,233.45 in side income revenue during November of 2018.
Net profit for the month was down quite a bit to just $3,085.71.
And the dip in net profit this month was almost entirely due to an insane Black Friday special that ConvertKit (my email marketing/everything tool) ran, offering a pretty massive discount for me to upgrade to their annual payment plan. While it was a $4,253.14 hit this month, it adds up to a massive cost savings over the year to come.
The Forecast 🌤: For December, I’m expecting to again (at best) remain flat with November’s side income and I wouldn’t be surprised by a marginal dip down as holiday web traffic can be a little finicky. Shelly and I just got settled into a new apartment here in San Francisco, and Close.io (my full-time gig) work has been keeping me even busier than usual. Add the upcoming Christmas holiday to the mix, and my side time will again be pretty limited in December. However, if I can finally polish off my new email sequence series that’ll pitch my growing Built to Blog course more actively to new subscribers that join my list, I might see some results this coming month.
Now, on to the details for my November side income…
Side Income in November 2018: $13,233.45
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 November 2018
1 x Content Marketing Client
Online Course Sales (Built to Blog)
Amazon.com (Business Books)
Quora Partner Program
Podcast Sponsorships (Side Hustle Project)
Online Tools & Subscriptions
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 (Office Supplies)
Car Rental & Gas
Net Profit Breakdown
Now, on to my blog and podcast-related statistics.
2. Blog Stats for September 2018: 279,762 Sessions and 71,965 Total Email Subscribers
November 2018 actually saw a pretty sizable dip in my blog's traffic from the previous month (breaking an incredible growth streak I'd been on).
This month, I was down in Sessions from October's all-time high by 21%. On top of the sessions drop, I moved down to 353,645 pageviews.
Over the course of this year, my increase in traffic has finally started to level off, largely due to one of my highest trafficked posts about how to make money online falling a bit in organic search rankings toward the end of November—when in October it had been getting tested in the #1 position. On top of that, search traffic in general was a little lower than most other times of the year, which is expected during the last two (holiday) months of the year.
Overall, I'm still up a ton from the beginning of this year and I'm pumped. 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 November, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
- business ideas
- motivational quotes
- make money online
- freelance jobs
- remote job
- how to freelance
- business books
- business advice
- freelance proposals
- how to start a blog (this post has the most attributable revenue for the month)
- business slang
- freelance contract
- how to sell phone cases
- how to start a side business
- online business courses
Now onto my biggest win of this year!... 🎉
On the very first day of December... so technically not during the month of November (shhhh...) my 20,000+ word ultimate guide, 10 Steps to Start a Blog on the Side—just cracked the #1 ranking position in searches for hugely competitive terms like how to start a blog, how to start blogging, and such.
I'm beyond stunned, and I kind of can't believe this is real—I went from publishing this guide at the end of May, to at least being tested as the potentially top ranking piece of content for one of the most competitive, monetize-able search terms on the internet.
To put it into context how much this ranking is potentially worth... as of my writing this income report, we're just 6 days into the month of December and I've already earned almost as much in Bluehost affiliate fees in December, as I did the entire month of November... suggesting that single channel could increase by a factor of maybe 5x what it was last month 😲
During November, I also published 55 Best Work From Home Jobs You Can Do (on the Side of Your Day Job), which is already climbing the organic rankings, ranking #24 for the super competitive search term, best work from home jobs. I'm expecting this post to continue climbing over the coming months as I begin promoting it, and start to rank for more (higher-volume) focus keyword phrases. This should also be a great post to eventually monetize in a few months with affiliate programs.
Overall site traffic is still up by 147.96% compared to November of 2017, which is a ton to be grateful for.
My time investments from the first 9 months of this year are really paying dividends now. Time to keep the hustle moving.
2. Email Subscribers.
I use ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and deliver my emails.
November saw the addition of 5,324 subscribers to my community with my total list size growing to 71,965 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 November 2018: 24,623 Downloads
My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is now staying well above the 20,000+ download threshold.
And with 24,623 downloads, I'm up to another all-time high with engagement moving in the right direction.
Here are the episodes that went live last month:
- #85: How to Transition from Freelancing to Six-Figure Company of One: Paul Jarvis
- #86: Jon Morrow on How to Become a Seven-Figure Blogger (and Grow an Online Business)
- #87: How to Write 17,212 Blog Posts with Guinness World Record Blogger Darren Murph
- #88: Millo’s Preston Lee on Driving Traffic, Getting Sponsorships and Launching Products
November brought my total download numbers for the show up to 263,564 downloads!
If you're not a listener yet, give it a try right here 🙂
That's it for my November side income report.
For December, I'm predicting my side income to either remain flat or take another small hit while I lay a bit low for the holidays, but that's the beauty of this being a side business for me 😊
I'll keep working on the groundwork for the automation email sequence pitching my course, Built to Blog to new blogging-interested subscribers as they join as well. After that goes live, I'll be expecting to see side income eventually rise back up to at least September levels ($20k+) on a consistent basis—which I'm now aiming to achieve by February of 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 😊