I’m back from vacation and I can tell you, it feels great… besides the fact that we are still under meters of snow here! Darn!
The main reason why I’ve decided to post this report again is actually for my own follow-up. Since my third child arrived, my online business has been harder to manage. Producing this report helps me to keep track of my main goal: making 100K online in 2014. A few weeks ago I outlined my business plan as follow:
Therefore, my revenues should be represented as shown on the following graph:
Instead, February shows the following results:
Overall, my online business has generated $7,945.01 (+13%). This is gross revenue and does not account for expenses. My online expenses are around $3,000 per month. I spend a lot on VAs since I want to take care of my family more than I want to spend time on my computer ;-).
The blog business peaked last month mainly due to higher traffic and Adsense sales. I’ve also brokered a few good advertising deals that pushed my results beyond my goal for a second consecutive month.
Since I operate several blogs, I get numerous advertising requests. I don’t do much private advertising on my blogs anymore as I’ve previously mentioned but I’ve kept this part of the business for other sites I own. Most of the time, I don’t have enough sites to complete massive advertisers’ requests. This is why I run this advertising brokerage service on the side. I take a 15% “finding fee” to dispatch advertising across my network. It’s a pretty good deal for everybody as it doesn’t take me forever to close a deal and both the blogger and the advertiser are happy.
I’m losing steam on this part of my business at the moment mainly because I’ve failed with my February campaign. My goal was to offer a combination of two products (an external investment newsletter and my dividend stock investing tool) at a discounted price. I offered a $169 package deal for both services. I had a deal with the external investment newsletter to offer their product with a $100 rebate. Then, I offered them combined, both products and included their promotion within my package. So customers could get 2 products with a total value of over $288 for $169.
Unfortunately, my pricing strategy combined with my product offering was too complex and not straightforward. It resulted in only 2 new yearly memberships. Later in the month, I quickly turned around and pushed the external investment newsletter by itself. It resulted in 32 new sales within a week.
Their product was offered at a rebate, mine wasn’t. This was probably why it didn’t fly that much. I didn’t want to reduce the price of my membership as I think it would be a lack of respect for existing members. I made a decision to not play with my price and not offer additional rebates. Sometimes, I’m tempted to do so, but I always remember the customer who first paid the “full price”. I think it’s important to show them respect.
In the meantime, I got my product approved within an affiliate marketing system. This means that I will be able to give affiliate links to other bloggers or website owners wanting to sell my membership service. I’m offering 40% of the sale price to other blogger. This is definitely a great deal for both parties. I’m definitely looking forward to see how it will go in the upcoming weeks with this strategy.
This business division also includes my two books for sale on Amazon:
Dividend Growth – a 4.5 Star Investing Guide
2014 Best Dividend Stock Picks – After beating the benchmark with my picks in 2012 and 2013, I’m going back for a third year with 20 US and 10 CDN favorite picks.
Sales are stable right now with Dividend Growth (I sell rough a copy a day) and the 2014 Best Dividend Stocks continues to roll as my picks are doing as good or better than my benchmark. The easy money is gone and now investors are looking more than ever for undervalued stocks.
My niche sites produced more income in February but I’ve done nothing yet to improve the situation. I was simply lucky that I got more traffic and more Adsense revenue ;-). I must admit that my click-through-ratio and earnings per click are quite high with my niche sites. For example, I have one site making $30-$40 per month with Adsense with as little as 200 visitors per month. This can give you the kind of potential such a site can have if you bring it up to 2,000 visitors. Then again, 2,000 visitors/month is far from being impossible!
I’m currently looking at how I will improve traffic for these sites. I have a few ideas on the table and I’ll discuss them with my partner soon… we have our annual meeting coming up!
February was another challenging month in terms of time management. In January, the whole family got sick one after another without any breaks. In February, we were completing the earnings season (when public companies issues their quarterly financial reports). We wanted to cover all stocks in our Dividend Growth Portfolios. This makes 45 different stocks across 10 portfolios.
Nonetheless, the final product (three very strong investing newsletters sent to our members) was a complete success. I was very proud to provide an accurate follow-up and performed trades upon our analysis.
Then, second thing that went well was the advertising brokerage activities. We completed several deals and many bloggers benefited from it. Plus, making a 15% commission each time you send a couple emails is always appreciated!
Time management, again, was a big pain. I was stuck between demanding hours at work, children/family activities and my sites. In my latest income report, I had listed 7 tasks to be accomplished in February (this included January’s unfinished tasks as well) listed as follows:
As you can see, I’m not too happy about my overall results. Excuses explain what happened but still, they don’t bring results to the table. I know that my membership site won’t bring in money month after month if I stop promoting only 3 months after launching. I have a good customer base but it won’t increase overnight based on wishful thinking!
Since time is always an issue and I’m starting March a little bit late due to a vacation, I will restrain my objectives and make sure I complete all the tasks on time. So here’s quick list:
#1 Finish the 500K+ portfolio and advertise it
#2 Write two guest posts for my membership site
#3 Offer my affiliate program to three bloggers and walk them through
#4 Finish my niche site development plan
I know it’s not many tasks, but I want to make sure to succeed and finish the first quarter of the year on a strong note. In two weeks, we will already have three months done in the year. It’s crazy how time flies!!
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