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December 2017 Income Report: Selling Horse 🐎 Website, Hiring VA 👩‍🏭, Cold Email 📧 Outreach

Happy New Year 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣❗ Hope you guys had a good memorable celebration 🎆🎇 Today is the first day of 2018. Also, today is the first Monday of the month! That’s why I publish my income report for December 2017 on this day while having a hangover from yesterday’s parties 🤪

In this blog, I write about what I am doing to create various income streams that come from online endeavors.

The monthly income reports detail my results. Why am I sharing my income publicly? I hope to gain trustworthiness with you and to keep some degree of accountability for myself.

The reports also motivate me.

I tend to forget my small achievements… and posts like this one won’t let me do it 🙂 Apart from that, they help me to remember how much I have already invested. It’s a motivation to push even harder!

Read my income report #28 to find out what happened in December 2017.

What happened in December

December was quite a dreadful month. The earnings were down since it’s the worst period for my niches. However, on the operation side, I finally made a progress and hired a good VA 🎉

Let’s take a closer look 👀

Selling Horse 🐎 Website

I have not told you about it yet but at the end of October, one of my blog readers approached me with an offer. He proposed to buy one of my smaller websites: Rat 🐀 Website or Horse 🐎 Website.

Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝

It took me by surprise… after giving it some thought, I decided to sell off Horse 🐎 Website.

In December, we made the ball of the sale rolling. The seller paid a deposit in order to get access to the website. You won’t see in the income numbers because the transaction still needed to be cleared. It should happen in January.

The preps for the sale made me again confirm that being an entrepreneur means wearing different hats.

This time, I was my own lawyer =)

I asked the seller to sign up NDA beforehand 🖊️ Who prepared the document? Me 🙂 I used NDAs of online brokers (such as EmpireFlippers and FEInternational) as a blueprint and just adjusted some of the location information.

In order to make the seller who lives in Europe sign it, I used a cool service RightSignature. it allows signing digital documents for free. The online brokers I have dealt with (EmpireFlippers and FEInternational), they all use it and I figured it is a solid service.

December 2017 Income Report - legal stuff

Mind you the sale is not closed yet. It should happen in January if everything goes well. We have already jumped through some hoops in order to reach the current stage.

Hiring a VA: Universe showed its mercy

I think Universe finally decided to show its mercy to me for all my suffering! In December, it sent me an experienced VA that also seems to be a reliable one! Yuuuppiiie!

Some people say they trust their gut and get led by it. I say: Don’t trust your gut! Trust tests and data! 😀 😀 😀 Never hire someone without conducting a proper interview and being satisfied with the results. Also, the interview tasks must represent the daily tasks the interviewee would be doing.

This time, I followed these rules up to the letter. I prepared a shorter version of the VA instruction tasks. I found difficult cases that would require an interviewee to think and dig. it took some time but the results were worth it.

The candidate I eventually hired said right off the bat that the tasks seem to be exactly the same that she had been doing for other clients. She asked questions, went into details about how she was doing it in other projects… All looked so good that I hired her right during the voice interview!

She has been working for already 3 weeks and so far, I feel confident in her. A sign of relief 🙂

Cold email 📧 outreach tool

A few of months ago, I decided I needed to do more automation, especially when it comes to sending emails.

I installed Gmass 📧 and have been using it since on a semi-regular basis (when I remembered about it). It proved to be useful but inconvenient. In December, I decided to go deeper and to get a tool that would be equally useful but much more convenient to use.

Using MailShake seemed to be a no-brainer but I still conducted a research to make sure it is truly the best. I found a close rival SalesHandy that went as far as using MailShake as a promo tool 🤣

SalesHandy seems indeed to have similar features and they offered pretty good discounts. I was inclined to give it a try… but then, I compared it myself with MailShake. SalesHandy sooo lost the game:

Making the choice was easy and now, I already have 3 campaigns running in MailShake 🙂

Optimizing expenses

Because of having a VA and adding a new service such as MailShake ($19 / month), I really needed to optimize my expenses.

In order to do that, I got rid of the services I barely used during the last few months:

  • Dreamstime
    After accumulating credits enough to download more than 30 high res images, I realized I would be totally fine without them. I can easily find free images – or go to Fiverr and get my designs done there
  • LuckyOrange
    After not visiting their website for a couple of months and dipping my toes into Google Tag Manager, I decided to save $10 a month and cancel the subscription.

Total savings: $25 / month, waaay enough to cover a new subscription to MailShake for $19.

QuickAdsense ➡ AdInserter migration

ThriveArchitect plugin I use for post formatting does not support well QuickAdsense I used for ad placement so I needed to switch to something else. This something else was AdInserter.

I bought AdInserter Pro in December and finally had time to do the migration during the holiday break.

I like AdInserter a bit better than QuickAdsese. However, it seems to be a bit buggy… or I need to read the manual more carefully? I had troubles setting up a case to show an ad block using the special words and word count in a paragraph.

QuickAdsense is better in some functionality but it really made me upset in December…

I have been naive and have been updating plugins without really checking if anything got changed in the settings… including QuickAdsense. Turns out, after some update, it re-enabled a setting that disables inserting ads on pages. Elephant 🐘 Website has many pages that have high traffic and because of the setting, the ads stopped showing on them 😳 I do not know how much revenue I had lost but I definitely noticed a drop and thought the low traffic was the reason.

LivingOffCloud news

In December, I wrote a post about buying Ethereum in 2018.

It’s a follow-up on the other post I wrote in June 2016 about how I started investing in cryptocurrencies. Since then, I received several emails and comments asking me how I would buy Ethereum today. After being tired of replying each of them individually, I decided to write one post where I can reply to all the questions.

If you are interested in the subject, check it out.

Also, I decided to experiment with ads on the blog.

Like ads-ads, from Adsense and not just affiliate links like before. You can see an ad block at the beginning of this post and also on the sidebar. Before, the ads were placed only inside a couple of posts. The revenue was so puny that I even did not include it in the income. This time, I decided to add it to the rest of the numbers.

Kickfurther

In December, I did not back up any purchase order an dnone of the contracts paid anything.

If you do not know what Kickfurther is, you can read about it here.

Personal bits

As I hoped, December was overall a relaxing month. The day job slowed down and I also got almost 1.5 weeks of the holiday break. It was enough to get some work done and to have fun and unwind. Yes, it was cold ❄️❄️❄️ but I did not need to go outside that much.

In the beginning of December, we went to Boston to attend a Christmas party Sam’s company was hosting. They paid for both our plane tickets and lodging 🙂 it was goood 🙂

December 2017 Income Report boston

Finally, after working from a laptop for almost a year, I fixed my desktop and set up a new working place 🖥️

There is nothing wrong with working from a laptop 💻 (especially on Sunday mornings while doing it from a bed 😉 ) but I still like to have a well-organized working spot with a big monitor and convenient chair. Working from the home office puts me in a working mood. It is well-known that having a separate from everything else working area increases productivity and focus. My case 👍

The desktop turned out to be quite memorable. Almost all of its guts plus the monitor was gifted by Sam for various occasions. The mechanical keyboard was another gift from one of the interns on my team from work. I love it when things hold a bunch of memories like this desktop.

December 2017 Income Report new work station

This year, my day job continued on with the tradition of taking all the employees to a movie.

On the last workday, in the morning, we went to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Every employee was allowed to invite anybody they wanted. I brought Sam whose remote job at a startup allows him to have flexible hours. We had a good time watching the movie and eating popcorn 🍿 (a part of the free ticket). It was nice. I would never go on my own to see a movie! (Netflix is better 😛😛😛)

December 2017 Income Report Last Jedi

And of course, we had a Christmas party, too. The theme was Opera and I decided to dress up in my vintage and second-hand clothes. I also got bangs cut 💇🏻

December 2017 Income Report party outfit

The end of December was quite tough, though.

During the last 1.5 weeks, here in Montreal, we experienced quite a steep winter with day temperature below -20C (-4F). And like it was not enough… On one of the coldest days, there was a power outage and we lost electricity in the house. It may sound not too bad… but our heating is electrical 🙀🙀🙀 So when it’s -22C(-4F) outside and there is no heat inside, you can imagine that the situation quickly goes out of control.

But we survived. The outage lasted for only about 3 hours. We spent it under the blanket in the bedroom that was the warmest room in the apartment. Here are our happy survived faces:

December 2017 Income Report survived the blackout

Turns out that that day in Montreal, it was colder than in the North Pole and some other chilly areas. Perfect timing to lose electricity!

December 2017 Income Report Montreal the coldest place

 

Ok, now let’s go back to the business!

Expenses

In December, I re-shuffled my expenses. Since I subscribed to a new service (MailShake), I canceled a couple of old ones in order to stay on budget.

My writer was very productive and was churning out good long articles. It resulted in higher expenses in this area since I paid her bonuses. She’s good. Too bad she will stop doing freelance on January 🙁

My new VA also turned out to be quite good so I ended up giving her a lot of hours. Just keep getting the job done, girl! I will take care of the rest.

Expenses
Expense Amount Notes
Outsourced writing $225.07 Ordered new articles
Outsourced VA $93.51 Work with a VA! Woohoo
Outsourced images $0.00 Ordered zero image designs on Fiverr
E-marketing tools $57.95 Paid for SERP tracking, MailShake, cheap access to AhRef tool, etc
PBN domain registration $0.00 No renewed PBN domains
PBN hosting $42.90 Paid for Easy Blog Networks, an awesome solution for PBNs (read my review) and Bulk Buy Hosting (here's my review)
Hosting $95.12 Paid for regular hosting
Domain registration $0.00 No non-PBN domain expenses
KickFurther $0.00 Did not re-invested anything
Total $514.55

Income

Income was pretty low. This is the middle of the low season for my main breadwinner Elephant 🐘 Website and its family. December is one of the most desperate months of the year 😰😰😰

Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝

Income
Income Amount Notes
AdSense by Elephant & Horse Websites $188.46 Revenue from the 1st & 2nd websites I bought (and 2 other websites in the same niche as 1st one)
Amazon by Elephant Website $324.06 Revenue from the 1st website I bought (and 2 other websites in the same niche)
Amazon by Rat Website $4.84 Revenue from the website built by Human Proof Designs; check their website to see if you can get a ready-made niche website for yourself
Ads by Rat Website $0.00 I monetize Rat Website through media.net
Amazon by Honeybee Website $0.00 Revenue from the website I am building myself with a PBN
ClickBank $77.97 Recurring and new affiliate sales for Easy Blog Networks, a solution for PBN hosting
Bulk BuyHosting $36.40 Recurring and new affiliate sales for Buy Bulk Hosting, another solution for PBN hosting
Kickfurther $0.00 Online investments paid back; read more in my post about Kickfurther
Interest $14.56 Interest earned on a saving account and cash back from my business credit card
Total $649.12

Totals

Here are my totals for December 2017.

Total income $649.12 minus total expenses $514.55 makes a net profit of $134.57.

While crunching the numbers, I was surprised to see the profit managed to stay in the green. I was pretty sure I would go into the red given all the expenses.

Here is the chart with my revenue vs expenses history for the last 13 months. I changed the chart timeline from 12 months to 13 in order to show you how the current month performed compared to the last year.

December 2017 Income Report revenue chart

January 2018 Plans

In January 2018, I want to get better and more organized with guest posting. Now, with MailShake, it should be much easier to do. I will hire a new writer since my last one stopped working in December 2017. I am already interviewing 3 freelancers and I really hope at least one will be good.

I hope that with a new VA working for me, I will get more free time and will be able to resume working on my other sites as well. It should be a good busy month! As always! 🙂

Also, in January 2018, I will try to continue writing about my money-making experience on the blog. Since I am not sure my posting schedule…

You should stay tuned by subscribing to my emails!

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Disclaimer

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I will receive a small fee if you choose to buy after clicking on any of these links. Thank you if you do!

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