Blog Income Report – 2020 Quarter Three
In this blog, I am providing a breakdown of my blog income report, a breakdown of the revenue, expenses, and profit from my niche websites. This income report is for the period of quarter three 2020. For a full list of my income reports, see my blog income report archive here.
Blog Income Report – How To Read This Page
At The Entrepreneur Ride Along, I try to be as open and transparent as possible. That is why I’m sharing my revenue and expenses, the real behind the scenes numbers from my websites. These are the websites that I’ve started and scaled. I want to show you real numbers so you know what to expect (and what’s possible) when you launch your online business.
I want you to see what is possible when you start an online business, I want you to see the successes I am having (and the mistakes I am making) so that you can begin making money online. I will publish a new blog income report every quarter (after I pay my quarterly taxes) to show you my results from the previous months.
Below, and in each upcoming blog income report, I will post three tables:
I will breakdown my real revenue and expenses for each one of my websites. Below these tables, I will give you some insight behind the scene into what I am doing with each blog, what happened during the last quarter, and how I plan to continue scaling.
And if this sparks some ideas for you, or encourages you to go out and start an online business for yourself, I encourage you to start today. If you just need some ideas, go ahead and download my five website ideas (the businesses I would start if I had more time).
For proof, and to show I’m not making these numbers up, I will include screenshots at the bottom of this blog from my Stripe account showing revenue generated from each business over the last quarter.
In total, quarter three was an average month for me. In terms of how my businesses were performing in the first half of 2020, quarter three was a below-average month. Quarter three was only two months (July and August), my business generated $15,395 in revenue which resulted in $9,939 in profit. To put that number in perspective, in May of 2020 my websites generated revenue of $11,000+. Meaning quarter three was just OKAY. Not terrible, not great, and below my expectations for the quarter. I had some missteps, some miscalculations, and some new product launches that went well. I was hoping to break through the barrier of $10k revenue per month for the rest of the year, but things slowed down a bit after my hot start to 2020.
You can see the reason my revenue dipped was because of AssociatPI, my biggest business selling online courses in the insurance industry. My revenue dipped from an average of around $6,600 per month to about $3,800 per month. My other businesses picked up the slack this quarter, which is why I was still able to generate an average of $7,500 per month in revenue, otherwise, this could have been a much worse month for me.
There are a few major reasons that I can point to as to why my revenue dipped this quarter:
- 1) Road Trip – I did not work for the majority of June. My wife and I took a road trip, we drove from Massachusetts to Colorado for three weeks of hiking and exploring. During this time I did nothing to push my business forward (intentionally). The only work I did was upkeep such as answering emails and fulfilling a few coaching calls that I had on the calendar. Not bad that I could literally take a full month off from work and still generate $8,500 in revenue! That is the beauty of passive income. But, this time off meant I was not doing any new coaching or connecting, and I was not doing any marketing to push sales. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing. That time spent with my wife is far more valuable than the work I’m doing on my businesses.
- 2) Insurance Course Updates – In June, it was announced that eight of the exams that I sell insurance courses for at AssociatPI would be changing. That is why my course sales dropped. The new exams will be released in October 2020 and January 2021, which means my customers were holding off and not buying courses until the new exams were released and the study material was updated to reflect the changes in the exam.
- 3) Seasonality – My insurance course revenue drops every summer, no one wants to spend hours sitting inside studying insurance in the summer. My sales are always stronger in the first quarter of the year when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions, managers are setting performance objectives, and companies are pushing their employees to pursue extracurricular education. No one studies in the summer, so I expected sales to dip a little (but not this much).
- 4) Less coaching – During quarter one and quarter two I was connecting with (and coaching) ten to fifteen prospective clients per week. During quarter three, I took a bit of time off so I was not making new connections, and I was not booking new coaching clients. That being said, I was still able to generate $2,900 in revenue from my coaching practice during the quarter when I launched my newest group coaching program.
I will discuss the performance of each business, and the expenses I incurred this quarter, in more detail below.
Blog Income Report – Summary
In this section I am going to talk through my expenses, the performance of each of my businesses, and my plans for the next quarter.
First, let’s talk through the expenses I incurred in quarter three.
Total revenue of quarter three was $15,395 minus total operating expenses of $5,457 for a profit of $9,939.
My expenses of $5,457 came from the following:
- Virtual Assistants ($771) – I had a team of three virtual assistants working on a variety of tasks throughout quarter three. Most notably, I have been training one of my assistants to begin answering emails for my website Pomsky Owners Association. She has done a great job and will hopefully be taking over the task of answering customer service emails full-time next quarter, which will result in an extra expense going forward.
- Ghostwriter ($783) – As I mentioned above, I need to update eight of my insurance courses. That is a lot of work! The exams that I sell study material for are changing, which means I need to update my study material to reflect the new content. The problem is, it takes me 3+ months to write one course. And I need to re-write eight of them! So, starting in August, I hired a few ghostwriters. They each wrote a few chapters of a course for me, and I then selected which writer I would work with full time. The rate ranged from $150 per chapter to $400 per chapter. By outsourcing this writing, I saved myself upwards of 12 to 16 months of work. That is a HUGE time saver. My ghostwriters would do the first pass writing the chapter, then I would spend about one hour per chapter going through and adding my personal touch to help my students better understand the content. So, rather than spending three months per course, with the help of ghostwriters, it takes me about 10 hours per course. That’s much better!
- Fiverr ($236) – Each of my insurance courses includes a set of practice exam questions to help my students prepare for their exams. I found a few writers on Fiverr that helped me to write new practice exam questions for my courses. The rate was about $0.50 to $1.00 per exam question, and in total, I had help writing 200+ exam questions. This probably saved me upwards of 120+ hours of work. Time which I instead spent working on other projects (like my group coaching program).
- Google Ads ($191) – I continued running Google ads to my email opt-in at AssociatePI. AssociatePI is the only site I run Google Ads for. It’s profitable for me, I spend around $150 in Google ads per month, capture about 30 new email leads by running these ads, and it results in one or two sales per month (~$750 in revenue). It’s worth continuing the Google ads campaign for now, but next quarter I will look into scaling or discontinuing the campaign.
- Returns ($2,408) – I had a tough quarter for returns. I offer a money-back guarantee on my insurance courses, if you use my course and do not pass your exam I will refund you for the cost of the course. Unfortunately, I had a few failures ($425 refund per course) and I had a few people that bought the wrong course so I needed to refund them, which resulted in a hefty $2,408 in refunds for quarter three. In 2021, I am going to consider discontinuing this money-back guarantee. This was a great selling point when I first built this site, but now that I am established and I have a trustworthy brand, I may not need to offer this strong of a guarantee. I will consider switching to a 30-day satisfaction guarantee instead.
- Other – I won’t go into detail about the other expenses that add up to a total of $5,457. These expenses include monthly business expenditures like my accountant ($60 per month), Gsuite email ($32 per month), Libsyn Podcast Hosting ($15 per month), etc…
In the next sections, I will provide a bit more insight into each website’s performance this quarter, and what to expect in the future.
AssociatePI took a bit of a hit this quarter. I was chugging along, averaging $6,600 in revenue per month for the first half of the year. Then June hits, and my revenue plummets to $3,800. Not what I was expecting!
I was expecting revenue to drop a little bit due to seasonality (people don’t like to study insurance in the summer) but I was not expecting a 34% drop in revenue compared to this same time period in 2019.
But, I think I know the reason for this drop in revenue. I can point to two primary reasons:
- 1) Exams are changing – I mentioned this earlier, but I will reiterate it again. In June, it was announced that eight of the exams that I sell insurance courses for would be changing. That means the study material that I am selling is outdated. The new exams will be released in October 2020 and January 2021, which means my customers were holding off and not buying courses until the new exams were released and the study material was updated to reflect the changes in the exam. There was an immediate shock and drop in sales after the exam updates were announced. Consequently, this also means my job just got a lot harder! This means I need to re-write eight of my online courses that is a HUGE project.
- 2) Seasonality – As I mentioned, my insurance course revenue drops every summer, no one wants to spend hours sitting inside studying insurance in the summer.
I am going to be monitoring the performance of my insurance course sales over the next few months. I suspect, that once I get these courses updated, I will see an increase in sales. Once my courses are updated, I will double down on marketing with a new SEO campaign and improved website.
See below for a screenshot from Stripe, for proof of monthly revenue. Please note, this screen capture is online course sales only it does not include my affiliate revenue or sales through my partner channels.
Pomsky Owners Association
Revenue for the Pomsky Owners Association surpassed $5,000 in quarter three. That came from a combination of membership sales (see Stripe screenshots below), book sales, and affiliate sales.
Most notable, I launched an audiobook version of my dog training book this quarter. You will notice on the income report above that there is a new line titled “Pomsky – Audiobook Sales”. This bumped up my top line just a little bit, about $100 for the quarter. I’m excited to watch the audiobook sales grow as I begin to push the audiobook next quarter and pursue the Audible affiliate program ($75 any time I get someone to enroll in Audible). This buzz around my audiobook launch also helped me drive traffic and sales to the print and eBook version of my dog training book, you can see on my income report that the revenue from my Amazon book jumped up to $756 in July and $622 in August. That’s pretty good considering I only make around $7 per sale of a book!
I will also note that my membership sales were strong this quarter. I had a couple of annual memberships renew in July and August ($200 to $400 per renewal) which helped bring in close to $3,000 in the quarter from membership sales.
This quarter I also had a bit of help from my virtual assistants. I am working on training one of my assistants to answer all of the customer service emails at the Pomsky Owners Association. She is also helping me grow my social media presence for the website, the Facebook page is growing steadily and is driving a lot of traffic to my book and affiliate blogs (which is helping to increase my revenue).
See below for a screenshot from Stripe, for proof of monthly revenue. Please note, this screen capture is membership fees only it does not include my affiliate revenue.
The Entrepreneur Ride Along
August 2020 was my biggest month for The Entrepreneur Ride Along. In August, I launched my Scale Your Business group coaching program (now available as an online course). I sold three seats at $1,500 per seat. This was a twelve-week group coaching program going from September through November, teaching online business owners how to get more traffic, more leads, and more sales.
As I mentioned earlier, I was a bit tied up this quarter with other projects and a road trip, so I was not doing as much coaching and prospecting as I usually do. I suspect I will feel the results of that neglect in quarter four as my coaching leads have dried up without doing much new prospecting or coaching.
See below for a screenshot from Stripe, for proof of monthly revenue. Please note, this screen capture is coaching fees only it does not include my online course sales or affiliate revenue.
I will be making a few major changes to my websites over the next quarter including:
- Launching a new online course at The Entrepreneur Ride Along
- Beginning website redesign for The Entrepreneur Ride Along (it’s about time)
- Beginning website redesign for AssociatePI
- Updating courses for AssociatePI (I need to re-write eight courses to keep up with exam changes)
- Migrating AssociatePI to a new online course platform (Thinkific)
- Launching a textbook version of my online courses for AssociatePI through the Amazon KDP program.
- Launching a “Holiday Sale” at the Pomsky Owners Association
Need help starting your own online business? Want to learn about how I am generating money online, and what strategies I’m applying? Simply contact me. I love meeting new entrepreneurs and I set aside time every week to connect and help entrepreneurs. I want to help you build your business. Simply shoot me an email to start the conversation.