May Income Report - How I Made Money Working from Home
Disclaimer: This post is like a journal for me. It's not SEO'd. It's not "buttoned up" to make me look like a "guru". It's my genuine thoughts and represents me as a student and growing entrepreneur (like we each are). Hopefully, you can appreciate that.
You guys help keep my clock in sync. I started seeing all of the other income reports, and I said to myself, man....it's that time again. Hahahaha.
May was a roller coaster. I had higher income but less traffic and it shook me up quite a bit. It made me think about how great affiliate promotions can be, but also, how I can build things internally in my business that sustain my cashflow better.
The money I recieved in hand wasn't that exciting (to me), but the money I earned has given me lots of hope and new ideas to test.
What's up with the Google Update?
I've been reading many of the other income reports here at Wealthy Affiliate, and it looks like many people experienced a hit from the Google update.
I did too.
It cut my traffic from 1000+ users per day to 500-700 users per day, which was a little sad. I noticed in my search console that there were errors that hadn't been there prior to the update. In fact, I had 268 speed errors suddenly., but still I earned more than I do normally, so it really put into perspective how revenue is a much better number to watch than pageviews.
I plan to use that reminder to focus on getting more money per visitor rather than focusing solely on getting more visitors.
Is WA to blame for the Site Speed Issues? No. Here's why.
I've heard many people who are hosted at Wealthy Affiliate complain about speed, and I was one of them. When my website was hosted at Wealthy Affiliate, I remember reaching out to Site Support several times about my speed, but I wanted to see if I could be given more assistance elsewhere, so I moved my site to Kinsta, and guess what?
The errors still came up, but this time, I was paying $65/mo for my hosting WITH speed problems. Hahahaha.
Of course, speed wasn't the only reason I wanted to switch. I wanted to get into more e-commerce-related things and sell my own products, so I was switching to have the features like DNS access so I could experiment with what tools I want to use, and make decisions that would set me up for selling my own products.
Either way, the partial reason of speed didn't go away by switching from Wealthy Affiliate.
I've just recently switched hosts again to Bigscoots, and they did add some things onto my website that have helped my speed, but it takes 30 days for Google to check whether the fixes you did solve their errors, so I'm still waiting to see if the fixes worked.
I've been able to compare these services to see the pros and cons for sure. Hahahaha.
To make a long story short, I think Wealthy Affiliate is a great web host if you don't want DNS access (which affiliate sites don't need), and Kyle said DNS access will be added in on their update, so I may move back. We'll see.
Many people have asked, "How do you find the time to post daily?" or "How do you manage to take care of your kids and run your business?, so I've decided to do a little breakdown of how my work day looks.
I know why they ask that because the work from home schedule is COMPLETELY different than what I had in the military. In fact, I thought I wouldn't be able to be successful because I couldn't find 8 hour days to work nonstop, but that's not what you need here.
I wake up in the morning (usually tip toe-ing). My husband is usually getting ready for work and leaving around 6-7 AM, and I'm getting started on my work around that time also.
I'll work until my daughter wakes up and wants hugs--that's usually around 9, so I get about 2 hours in the morning to work. Once I get breakfast ready for her, then she'll eat and entertain herself for about 1 hour - 1.5 hours and I work, so that's 3-3.5 hours of my work day by 10-11 AM.
At that time, she'll get antsy and it's time to find a new activity. My son is a teenager, so he doesn't really want me to bother him. Hahahaha. I have to pursue him more for time at this age, so I usually do that around 11-12 (because he likes sleeping in and chilling out in the morning). That's also when my daughter wants to do something.
He likes to make his own breakfast and so on, so I'll just make sure he did it. I also check on the dog to make sure he's went out, eaten, is clean, and so on. I make sure the chores in the house are done and usually pull my kids into that.
We may do an activity together for 3-4 hours like go to the park, go to the gym, or do something fun (including eat lunch).
Then they like to spend time doing what they want. My daughter is into dolls and makeup. My son is into fortnite and his friends, so they'll do their thing, and I work.
I typically work in chunks: 1 hour here and 1 hour there in the afternoon depending on what's going on around the house. Collectively, I usually spend 6-8 hours working (even in my lockdown time chunking), but it doesn't feel like it because I enjoy myself.
When I'm working, I'm doing things like:
- Writing WA posts
- Writing How to Entrepreneur posts
- Doing market research
- Working on new product ideas
- Writing emails
- Engaging with people who post on my site or on chat on my site
- Responding to emails
- Responding to comments on social
- Responding to PMs
- Welcoming my referrals
- Educating myself
- and I'm sure this list can go on and on
It takes a bit of creativity to find time chunks. I had to teach my kids to be independent, learn when they need me and when they don't, communicate better (in my marriage, with friends and with family), set boundaries, find things they like, and so on, but now, I know what to expect, what meals take long prep times versus short ones, my boundaries are more in place, I know how to organize chores and be more efficient on normal tasks I was doing, and I have more work time as a result.
I recently did a post on my blog about my work schedule if you're interested in that.
Now, to my stats:
The amount of content I've put out is difficult to count at this point. I know I have 457 blog posts and over 280 videos, but I do alot of social promotion, I have 102 posts here, and more content that contributes to the overall results I get, so my # of posts won't give you an accurate goal to set.
- Users: 20k (down 43.2%)
- Pageviews: 25k (down 44.1%)
- Bounce rate: 85.78%
- My traffic breakdown in May was 20+% Social, 60+% SEO, and the rest was direct traffic
- My highest converting traffic (to my Analytics goals) is SEO and Youtube, but, I also do well on Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest (but I get the most traffic from Pinterest)
In April and May, I had really ramped up my Pinterest impressions past 1 million, so I was getting considerable daily traffic (300-400 visitors per day) from there, but I plan to pull back from there, so that number will be dropping intentionally, and you'll see why more later in this post...
- WA new sales: 22 (down from 35 in April)
- WA recurring sales: 38 (up from 36 in April)
- WA annual upgrades: 19 (to be paid out in July)
- My own products and services
- Tube Buddy (even though I haven't written a post on them yet)
I had my highest WA day in May with 5 annuals in one day! That was pretty cool. I'll definitely pass $3k in July, and that's what I consider a full-time income (even though I'm planning to reinvest alot of it rather than paying it to myself).
Total Income in Hand as of now: $2093.95
(which has been changing throughout the month due to my own product/service sales that gets deposited immediately)
I recieved: $1884.00 from Wealthy Affiliate on June 1st (my 33rd birthday)
And, I've recieved: $16,203.50 from Wealthy Affiliate within the last year (since July 2019)
My Opinion on my Income
I'm happy to see my income going up in different categories, but it's also gone down in other categories. For the last 6 months, I've been around the $2k to $2.5k mark, so I'd like to see some changes and growth.
Online Sales vs. The "Traditional Sales Model"
As I've been growing my business, I learn that everything you make income from is because you promote them: you write content, you create videos, you post on social, you inform your list, etc.
Affiliate sales aren't the passive part when you're starting out. If you don't put in the work and create some promotional/educational content, you won't get sales.
The same zeal and work ethic as the traditional salesmen needed is what you need for affiliate marketing. They might be doing a certain number of phone calls per day, attending events, knocking on doors, setting up tables, attending tradeshows, etc.
With the modern way things are growing, those methods are now competing neck and neck with internet sales, and internet sales are often winning (especially during the pandemic), which is why businesses are looking to work with affiliates, learn more about how it works, and beat out Amazon to work with people who are serious!
I think affiliate marketing is going to explode with opportunities so I'm super excited about it and I think many people are underestimating it!
I hear people say "you don't have to sell in affiliate marketing" and I REALLY disagree with that. You don't have to be slimy, unethical, or scammy, but you do have to sell. Business is all about selling products and services beneath it all. You can have a great mission and make positive impact, but even churches and religious organizations have to sell--that's just business.
If you focus on promotions for products you believe in, it can be very fulfilling.
I sell all the time even when I'm not getting a commission. It's natural for me to say, "I love this product, you should try it too", so selling isn't a problem for me. Although I do like to give alot away for free, but I'll have to be more strategic about my freebies going forward in order to get better results.
The perk about affiliate marketing isn't that you don't have to sell, but the perks are that:
- You don't have to cold call
- You don't have to go door to door
- Rejection is a little different because rather than being cussed out in your face, you'll get negative comments here and there, and you'll have some content that doesn't take off
You don't get sales just from signing up for the affiliate program. You have to create content and sell products and services like any other small business owner.
Scaling Down on Affiliate Promotions
As a result, I've pulled back on doing promotions for lots of companies because it was diluting my efforts. I might be getting 100 eyeballs on one offer, 100 eyeballs on another offer, and 100 eyeballs on another offer.
Even worse, I might be getting alot of eyeballs on a low paying offer and a little eyeballs on a high paying offer. I need to move my time around accordingly to make sure I'm investing in companies who will reward me appropriately for my time.
Some posts do really well at getting eyeballs on great offers, and I want to focus my promotion on those posts and my time on creating more posts like that. Let's see how I do with that.
Should you Join alot of Affiliate Programs?
There are so many choices and great affiliate programs out there. I love looking thru them and seeing what's happening in the affiliate world. New programs are popping up all the time, and it's so cool thinking about the possible promotions I could do with what's out, but I've decided to be disciplined and postpone jumping into new things like that for now.
I haven't been joining new affiliate programs like I used to. In fact, I don't think I joined any in May. Hahahahaha.
If I'm making $8 from one affiliate program, and $5 from another, it's diversification, but my idea of WHEN you should diversify has changed from my experience, and since taking lots of finance classes. Now, I agree more with Grant Cardone when it comes to diversification.
He says you should grow one really strong income stream as big as it can go FIRST, then branch out. In other words, if you have a job, you can negotiate with your employer for the max wage you can get, then work on a side hustle, and build that one as much as possible, then diversify into something else like real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, other business startups, and so on. Eventually, you could have several income streams paying you out.
On average, millionaires have 7 income streams, but they don't start by building them all at once. As a result, I plan to focus on the affiliate programs that:
- Pay on time
- Are reliable
- I hear the most positive experiences from referrals
- And, whose products/services I actively use
Starting with Wealthy Affiliate and my own Products/Services and branching out from there. I want my income skew to be more like:
- 33% my own products and services
- 67% affiliate offers (with majority revenue coming from products and services I love and a minority from recommendations that are things I think are good for my audience even though I don't use them)
I like a higher skew on the affiliate side of things because it's less responsbility for me on the customer fulfillment and support side. Plus, I like the media side of things, and I want to be able to keep a lean team even when I do start hiring.
Media companies who start with a blog can have teams of 5 or less and still earn $100,000+ per month. I like that skew better because the profit margins are so much higher. Payroll is most businesses highest expenses (aside from customer acquisition or getting attention from prospects).
- Payroll (paying myself) - $1100.00 (53%)
- Tools/Equipment (email marketing, learning management, bookkeeping, payroll, file storage, hosting, conversion optimization, ongoing education, etc.) - $401.21 (19%)
- Customer Acquisition Costs - $575.00 (27%)
My Opinion About my Expenses
Since March, I've spend well over $1000 on Pinterest ads. Learning. Testing. Seeing what works. I'll be stopping on those for now.
I learned what type of creatives work best and what doesn't. I learned what verbiage Pinterest likes and what they don't. I learned quite a bit, so I enjoyed my time advertising on the platform. It taught me alot about how it works.
I learned that Pinterest ads work great for brand awareness (and we need that), but it's much more challenging to track conversions. I know I had a boost in sales in April as a result of my ads, but I'd like to be able to calculate my conversions more precisely, so I'll be stopping with those and going back to Google ads (likely in July).
I really want to pay myself more.
I'm ready to get my payroll expense up into the $3-5k range where I can say my personal income is "full-time". I can say my revenue counts as a full-time income comparable, but my take home pay isn't there yet in comparison to my cost of living.
I live a middle class life right now, and to make the lifestyle choices I currently make, I'd need to be paying myself about $5k after taxes. I'm not there yet. I'd like to be at the $6k take home pay mark, so I can pay off debt, pay all of my expenses plus put my kids in camps and recreation activities they'd like (after the lockdown is over).
It's not required that I pay all of my expenses now because I'm married, so my husband and I contribute, but it's always been a goal of mine to build a business that can cover everything.
I like being an independent woman, and feeling free to make my own decisions without using anyone else's hard earned money--that's a personal choice.
I was the breadwinner for a long time as a single person and in my family. I enjoy the freedom of having my own, making my own, and being financially free to create my own future, so being a dependent isn't really my cup of tea. My husband aligns with my values alot, but I still have my own things I want to secure on my own: my own investments, my own ways of giving back, and so on.
I wouldn't expect anyone to do for me what I can do for myself. Married or not. Hahahaha.
At this point, I think I've put alot of content out. I wish I was seeing higher traffic than I am, but I know that I'll crack the code soon with continued testing and experimentation.
Going Back to Google Ads
I'm not sure if my Google traffic will come back now that I've fixed the errors, but I don't plan on giving Google the option. If they don't give it to me for free, I plan to pay for it. I'll be bidding on the keywords and posts that were performing well, and have been down. I'll also be bidding on the keywords that are driving my current sales, so I can have two slots in search results--that's my plan for July.
My Own Products
This month, I plan to work more on my own products and email marketing. I already have alot of free products on my website, and this has given me insight into what people are looking for.
I plan to use what I've learned from my free products to make premium products. My goal with my paid products is to stabilize the ups and downs that come with affiliate promotions and offers, and to increase revenue by offering products that fill gaps left from the things I currently promote and that my audience has pointed out.
In November, WA had their affiliate promotion and I saw a spike, then it went down because many of my recurring customers went annual, so after all of the annual commissions were paid out, the months following were low.
I'm pretty confident the same roller coaster will happen following this May payout in July. I may have a high month in July, but what about August and so on? I don't like having control of my revenue spikes, pricing, and so on. I want to be able to forecast ways to spike my revenue more. I'd like to have control of things like pricing, and measure conversions on other platforms that I can only measure if I'm selling my own products.
Hopefully, I'll be launching my first paid product in July and maybe I'll be able to prevent a cashflow roller coaster, and scale revenue more by offering something very relevant to the audience I'm building on my site.
I'm super nervous about it, but let's see how it goes. I know my beta product may not be the best, but I think I can offer a very valuable product, so let's see how it goes.
Increasing Engagement on my List
My email list has been steadily growing and I need to engage more. All kinds of people sign up and I know some of them only want to be nosy.
I've gotten quite a few people who are completely ungrateful of the effort I've invested to create free products and so much free content. I plan to clean my list and do a big purge.
I also need to be more strategic about how I'm offering freebies because the free people will ask the most questions and require the most customer support. I love creating products. I love educating and explaining things very thoroughly. I also believe I'm good at being an educator, but the effort it takes is another reason why I'll be focusing more time on paid products.
People don't appreciate what you give for free as much as something they pay for. They don't value your time or the effort you take to set up and distribute things, so paid products here I come!
Double Down on What Works, But What's That?
I've been learning about how:
- What works on social isn't necessarily what works for SEO
- What works for traffic isn't necessarily what works for conversions
- What builds trust isn't necessarily what closes a sale
As a result, I've been much more eclectic with my content. In other words, I have some content that's SEO content, some content that's social content, some content that's trust building content, and some content that's sales-focused content. I think you need a mix of it all, and when you decide what works in each category, then you can double down to achieve each goal.
In May, I decided to be stubborn and mission-focused which is risky. I started How to Entrepreneur with the mission to help startups grow a business (myself included): from idea to enterprise, and while the bootcamp training can fit with that, I don't want my site to be a "bootcamp site", which means I take the bootcamp training, and use my own creativity to create a site that achieves my business mission.
My business's ultimate goal isn't to create super affiliates, but affiliate marketing is still relevant to startup entrepreneurs in many ways. Most celebrities are using it, it can help to validate ideas, and it can also add an additional stream of income.
Now, I'm more focused on prospecting online in a relevant way and content that attract startup entrepreneurs and direct them to creating profitable small businesses versus bootcamp, so when many people ask me about my site and my strategy--that's it.
I'm sticking to my mission and vision and using training to give me insight on how to execute rather than using training to tell me exactly how to run my business. Business is in part an expression of our own creativity and risk tolerance, and I plan to exercise much more creativity and individuality going forward (while still hopefully sustaining affiliate sales and other income streams).
Previous Income Reports
I know this income report was massive and I rambled quite a bit, but if you enjoy posts like this, you may also enjoy my others:
- April Income Report
- March Income Report
- 24-25th Month Income Report (in video)
- and all of my other video Income reports and training
WA Blog Posts I Wrote This Month
- Can Wealthy Affiliate Work for Existing Small Businesses?
- Affiliate Site Earns $7.1 Million in Annual Revenue and Made the Inc 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies in the US
- I think this ONE Factor is Causing a Huge Spike in my Traffic (written right before the update --hahahaha)
Thanks to all who have trusted my referral and who trust me as their coach.
Hopefully, this post was helpful for you. I always like reading income reports, and I've heard from many of you that you like to read them as well, so here you are.
Let me know if there's anything else, I should expound on more, if you have any questions, or if you have any feedback. I love hearing tips and tricks (especially if you have experiments I can try to improve my results).
Now, it's 11 AM in my time, so it's time to go off and do my "mom" stuff.
My Questions for You
- How was your May?
- Do you think the Google update was a mistake?
- How long do you think it'll take for sites that took a hit to recover from this update?
- Did you make it thru unscathed? If so, what did you do?