December 2016 Income Report: Black Friday Hangover, Hiring Craze, And Elephant 🐘 Website Again

First of all – Happy New Year 2017 to you!!!

I can’t believe it is already a new year 😀 Do you? 2016 passed by sooo quickly. It was a great year full of challenges and inspirations, the year during which I learned a lot and mature a bit as an online entrepreneur.

Getting experience is the most valuable thing and I feel the year 2016 was full of it – in both daytime and side jobs of mine. In 2016, I became an owner of two established websites and a team lead of a complex software development team consisting of people with different experience that range from interns to seniors.

Have I ever mentioned I love challenges? The year 2016 was perfect from that perspective – and it was what I strived for.

Now back to challenges business hehe

Read on December 2016 Income Report – this is my income report #16. You will find out what happened with my online business in December 2016.

What Happened In December

Black Friday Hangover

After the sales frenzy was finished, the hangover came. In December, I got an unusually high number of returns – all of them were purchases made during Black Friday / Cyber Monday.

Most… hell not – all of the returned purchases were made through Amazon shopping ads in November. And the returned affiliate commission was big. As big as 12%. It ate up pretty much all my December Amazon revenue 🙁

What can I say… People like sales because they can try a lot of things and return the ones they did not like. I guess this is the reality of all discount outlets. And I guess I became one during the BF sales of 2016.

I wonder how it went on your side guys? Also a lot of returns?

Hiring Craze

In December, I got sooooo back on the hiring market. I hired a few writers and one VA! All this happened in the last week of December 2016 🙂

For VA hiring, I have learned my lessons and improved the hiring procedure.

I created two interview tests that reflected my regular day-to-day tasks. Nothing complicated, just simple Excel / WordPress stuff. Believe me or not but none of four VAs I have interviewed could pass the tests 100% 😬 I know – you get what you pay for… but I did not ask for anything complicated!

Still, I do not plan to look for more expensive hence experienced freelancers. The ones I interviewed are on the bottom of the market – they asked for $4-6 an hour, which is cheap and totally in my range. My current plan is to use specialization and split the tasks between multiple people with different strengths. Not sure yet how I will implement it.

Elephant 🐘 Website Again

In December, I was quite busy with my Elephant 🐘 Website. Again (sigh)

I was and still am rescuing it from the competition. I realized that I had slacked off before 🙁 I did not pay attention to the competition for way too long and only took it seriously when it was already strong and on the rise.

It was too late. Now I need to catch up.

The problem with it is that they use a PBN. PBN is not my way for this website – I do not want to taint it.

On the plus side, while analyzing the competition, I learned a couple of neat tricks. Kinda free education! Also, it forced me to make my feet wet by stepping into the world of guest posting.

Another thing that did not help the situation was that right before the Chrismas, the website went down for 2-3 days 😱

What happened is that some PHP wires crossed somewhere in the hosting guts and it resulted in a 500 server error every time my website URL got hit. Well…  I host all my niche websites with the same hosting provider and it actually means that all of them were down for at leat 2 days 😱😱😱

Once I noticed it, I called the hosting support. While waiting, Sam and I were trying to poke it and solve the problem ourselves…  and we did while talking to the support agent on the phone! The agent was not much of help.


In December, I backed one business… and the contract ended up being canceled. “This co-op did not reach its funding goal by the time it expired.”

It was Scratch Tracks : Audiobots/FannyPackMe 3rd Co-Op. I had backed their previous two co-ops and was pleased with their timely payments and one early pay-off. Was surprised to see the third co-op did not work. Maybe, it was because of the holiday season.

Personal Life

December is the time for parties! This year, I did not go to many of them but the ones I did go were remarkable.

The best one was organized by my work. The theme was 70s and we all had to wear something from that period. While Sam was wearing his pimp Halloween costume, I dressed up like a Conchita – or something like it.

december 2016 income report Chrismas party

I wore a vintage dress and a wig – some of my colleagues had hard time recognizing me!

december 2016 income report Chrismas party

The party was at Grevin, the Montreal wax museum. Could not pass by Dr. House and to not sit next to him!

december 2016 income report Chrismas party

This year, my company gave us one week of the Christmas holidays. Not too shabby!

During this Great Christmas Break, I did pretty much nothing but work 😀

I really wanted to move the needle in terms of the work I had planned for December. So, I worked 5-7 hours every day for the whole week.

When I say “worked,” I mean literally doing only work-related tasks. Thanks to Rescue Time I installed on my computer, I could measure the time I spent very precisely. After the tracking started, my productivity increased by like 100% 😀 Seeing bare cold numbers always disciplines me whether it is about the amount of food I eat or the number of hours I waste on reading poo on the internet. This equals to a full-time occupation or even more if you consider all other stuff you do at work like socializing or meetings (especially meetings!!!)

During the break week, I did a lot of things: Hired 3 writers, submitted a few guest posts, recorded countless training videos, interviewed 4 VAs, hired 1 VA (he started working on Jan 1st,) and so on and so forth. In December, I sacrificed my blog for my websites – you have probably noticed that.


Oook, now let’s look at the numbers!


December expenses were low, which surprised me due to the fact I started hiring freelancers again. I guess I am getting better and better at managing my expenses!

I bought another cheap group-buy subscription – this time it’ a package of AhRefs, Majestic, and more. I am still happy with the service! It helps to save quite some money.

Expense Amount Notes
Outsourced writing $31.87 Ordered new articles
Outsourced VA $0.00 Did not outsource any work to a VA
Heatmap tool $20.00 Paid for 2 LuckyOrange accounts
E-marketing and tools $38.76 Paid for stock photos and cheap access to AhRef, Majestic, and other tools
PBN domain registration $19.20 Did not register any new domains for PBN but used proxies for Domain Hunter Gatherer to mine more expired domains
PBN hosting $45.48 Paid for Easy Blog Networks, an awesome solution for PBNs (read my review) and Bulk Buy Hosting (here's my review)
Donation $14.88 Donated $20CAD (hence a weird sum in USD) to Wikipedia
KickFurther $0.00 Did not re-invested anything
Total $170.19


Well, December was kinda a black hole in terms of revenue. All my niche websites were down for 3 days “thanks” to PHP issues on my hosting provider. Elephant 🐘 Website is battling competition and at the moment, the competition takes away some chunk of traffic. On top of that, even KickFurther investments did not pay as well as before. Oh well.

(Read here to find out what website nicknames mean.)

Income Amount Notes
Amazon by Elephant Website $21.83 Revenue from the 1st website I bought
AdSense by Elephant & Horse Websites $333.63 Revenue from the 1st & 2nd websites I bought
Amazon by Rat Website $1.38 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 $0.19 I monetize Rat Website through media.net
Amazon by Honeybee Website $0.00 Revenue from the website I am building myself
ClickBank $58.23 Recurring and new sales for Easy Blog Networks and Ultimate Azon theme for WordPress
Human Proof Designs $0.00 Affiliate sale for Human Proof Designs
KickFurther $88.21 Online investments paid back; read more in my post about Kickfurther
Interest $4.31 Stashed extra money from fat summer months on a high earning saving account and earned interest
Misc $38.18 Cashback I got on my business credit card
Total $382.82


Here are my totals for December 2016.

Total income $382.82 minus total expenses $170.19 makes a net profit of $212.63.

Here is the chart with my revenue vs expenses. It does not include my big investments I made in October 2015 when I bought Elephant 🐘 Website, November 2015, when I bought Horse 🐎 Website, and in June when I bought some cryptocurrency.

The chart shows my income history for the last 12 months.

December 2016 Income Report

January 2017 Plans

In January, I will continue working on a PBN for Honeybee 🐝 Website. I am adding more domains to my PBN and this time, these domains will make a difference! I will write a post about it once I have more information to share.

I am sure that a lot of time in January will be spent on training my new VA. I hope to make him as autonomous as possible by the end of the month.

I will keep pushing Elephant 🐘 Website to its previous glory. Not sure I will be able to get the same level of revenue I was getting the last year in January but at least, I want to improve its position before the high season starts. This is an excellent practice for me to bring a website up without a PBN.

And of course, I will be writing about my experience in the blog! I am nor sure when I will post the next post… So, stay tuned by subscribing to my emails!

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Some of the links in this income report 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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