Yesterday, I talked about my personal goals for 2012. I’d just mentioned how great it was to make my goals public and follow them throughout the year to make sure I’ll achieve them. Well here’s exactly the same thing for my business. And, it’s getting more serious.
Back in 2008, we started this company because we had a lot of fun running our blogs and we wanted to take a bigger shot at making money online. The creation of our company was more to set the base of a strong partnership and not with the goal of make a killing online.
In 2009, we saw some of our sites picking up and we thought that buying blogs would accelerate our growth. This is when I remortgaged my house to invest more money into this venture. We bought our first blog and started to significantly grow our empire without having a serious plan.
In 2010, we realized a record year with $124K in gross income. While our core sites were making money on a steady basis, about half of our earnings were coming from brokered deals and the sale of a few or our sites. It was during this year that we started to have an annual meeting to setup our objectives. At the end of the year, we hired a second VA and we were ready to crush 2011.
In 2011, we were pretty serious about our projects during our annual meeting. While we went through some real successes (such as our Dividend investing eBook with more than 16,024 downloads to date and the fact that we averaged over 10K/month for the last 4 months of the year), we also experienced some failures (do I even have to talk about my Rat Race eBook??). The fact that we have 2 VA’s working for us and a team of writers relieved us from spending too much time working on the company. We were able to achieve a huge year with less than 10 hours of work per week each. This was awesome!
Why is it going to be such a critical year for us? This is when we will know if we have the potential of running a real company or keep it as just an awesome sideline.
Why so serious?
Because we have been investing some serious money in the past 12 months and continue to do so in 2012.
Because we are growing this company without taking real income and we wish to eventually reap benefits from it.
Because we are making a lot of money from our regular day jobs so we need this company to produce over 300K/year to think of quitting our jobs.
Because we think, we act and we have the structure of a business for 2012. So it will be crucial to see if it will work as we think it will!
It’s funny how I set a goal to sell 100 copies of my first eBook and I failed yet now I’m aiming for more than 300 copies, right? But this is because I’ve learned from my experience. I still believe the book I’ve wrote last year is great but there are some obvious flaws in its marketing:
- The book is not big enough (shy of 100 pages)
- The book was offered as an electronic version only
- The book range is too wide (general personal finance), there is too much competition
- I didn’t test my market before launching (I was convinced that people wanted to know how I got from 30K to 100K/year in 6 years… but I guess it’s not catchy enough).
- The book launch was messy (poor sales pages, wrong links in the newsletter, wrong pricing)
Since I’ve learned from these mistakes and I’m going in the right direction:
- With a very specific product (it won’t be about dividend investing, it will be about Canadian Dividend Investing and US Dividend Investing (2 books!))
- I’ve tested the market (I have over 16,024 downloads in 6 months with my first free eBook on the same topic!)
- The book will be bigger and sell for less
- I want to offer both electronic and hard cover copies
- My investing newsletter is 3 times bigger than my TFB mailing list (we have over 4,000 subscribers throughout our investing mailing list).
As our past 4 months were showing a steady income over 10K/month, I want to increase our average month by 50% and reach 15K/month for at least 3 consecutive months in 2012. This is a very tough objective that can be done through:
- Increasing our traffic and reaching an average of 3,5K/month with Adsense (currently at 2,3K)
- Growing our niche websites and make 2K/month (currently, we make about $500/month with them)
- Keeping our private advertising income at 6K/month (this is about an average month for us with peaks at 8K)
- Growing our advertising management service to income of 2K/month (we are currently making about $600-$1000 per month with it)
- Growing our affiliate sales to a steady 2K/month (this varies greatly from month to month right now)
- Selling our Dividend Growth eBook (hopefully make over 3K in sales for 2012)
- Buying 1 or 2 websites and generate 1K/month from them (we are currently hunting, so let us know if you want to sell yours!)
If we achieve this long list of tasks, we should be making over 15K/month on a steady basis. Let’s hope it’s feasible!
We currently have 5 pillar sites in our business:
While we have several other good sites that contributes to our income such as
Home Security System Canada (believe it or not!)
We are looking to build another pillar site in 2012. We currently have 3 projects in the creation process and my goal in 2012 is to see 1 of those sites to become a pillar site. What do I mean by pillar site? I mean a site that:
Gets over 5,000 visits per month (ideally 10K+)
Makes over $500/month by itself (ideally 1K+)
Is a reference in its niche
In order to achieve this goal, we have stayed in our main niche (finance!) but we worked on projects that are way different than blogs or static niche sites. We have a launch date at the end of Q1, Q2 and Q3 for the 3 projects. As both my partner and I are expecting children in 2012, this will be a very busy year! This is why we want to launch 1 project per quarter instead of going crazy and launch all of them with a messy strategy!
Another point, while not being a real goal, will be to achieve our goals without exceeding a 6K/month spending structure. For the past 4 months, our monthly expenses have dropped down to roughly 4K/month since one of our VAs is on maternity leave. While spending has never been an issue for us (we believe in investing in our business), we have reached a point where it would be nice to control our cost while providing additional growth.
So this is why I say that 2012 is a pass or fail year as we will see if we are able create more value than ever, now that we have a respectable size. From what I see, most bloggers get to an income plateau where it’s pretty hard to reach another level. By the creation of new sites, 2 eBooks and more, we will see if we can manage a product launch or if we are just good at managing blogs and making money out of it. In the worst case scenario, we will have an awesome sideline and in the best case scenario, we will unleash a beast creating hundreds of thousands of dollar a year!
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