February 2018 Income Report: Trading Cryptocurrency 🗠, Lowering 2018 Taxes, Email Deliverability Problems 📧📉
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 #30 to find out what happened in February 2018.
What happened in February
February was a short month that had a couple of remarkable events.
Trading Cryptocurrency 🗠
As you all should already know, I bought some Ethereum in 2016. Since that, the cryptocurrency has enjoyed a head-spinning rise. The price had two spikes, in June 2017 and in January 2018. The first spike passed pretty much unnoticed on my side. I did not want to sell my ethers because I did not want to pay taxes and to overall bother with a thing I had a little knowledge of. “This is a long-term investment,” I kept reminding myself.
However, the second spike was hard to miss and hard to resist. When the ETH price was just $52 shy of reaching $1,500, I gave in and decided to try to sell at least some of it.
I did my first trade in the middle of January.
I used a trading platform QuadrigaCX and soon will write a post about my experience. I did not mention anything about the trade in the January 2018 income report because I did not want to amplify the sell-sell-sell signal that the market was already receiving and that would speed up the inevitable price crash. So at the end of January, I quietly spent some time researching how to sell Ethereum. After finding a solution that satisfied me (soon, a blog post will come!), I actually did my first trade selling 0.15ETH or so. It gave me about $39.
In February, I ended up selling around 50% of all my ethers. Too bad I missed two biggest peaks of the price when Ethereum was above $1,200 and $1,000… but I still made good money 🤑🤑🤑 I spent $1120 in 2016 and currently, my ROI is already about 40 – and I still have another half to sell.
Yes, I will need to pay taxes on it. The good news is that since I did not do active trading and did only one cycle of purchase-selling, it seems that it won’t be considered as a business income. Instead, CRA should treat as an investment revenue. If it is indeed the case, I will have to pay taxes only on the 50% of my profit.
Lowering 2018 Taxes
Speaking of taxes… I think I found a good way to lower my taxes in 2018.
It is very simple: Automated tax loss harvesting.
For my investments, among other tools, I use Wealthsimple, an is an online “auto-pilot” investment management service a.k.a. a robo-advisor 🤖 available in both Canada and the U.S. They charge low management fees of 0.4% – 0.5% per year and provide with an online platform where you can manage your portfolio without speaking to a single human (priceless for an introverted misanthrope like me 🤣).
In February, I got a status of Wealthsimple Black 🖤 and it entitled me to the automatic tax loss harvesting (along with a VIP airline lounge access 😛). 2018 will be a year of my biggest income ever and it may stay so in the future including probably 3-5 years from now. Or maybe longer or even forever (as you remember, I plan to drop my day job at some point; though, my plans in this area seem to change… more on it in a future post).
So yeah, according to the example Wealthsimple gives in the article Should I turn on tax loss harvesting, it seems like my 2018 finances are ripe for it.
I have been using Wealthsimple for a slightly more than a year and so far, I am pretty happy with it. The customer service is very responsive; however, I do not need to contact them on a daily basis. Everything from deposits to account transfers is automated and it saves me quite some time.
If you want to try it out, check it out here and get $5,000 in assets managed free for 12 months (on my side, I will get $10,000CAD managed for free for 12 months, too).
How My Email Deliverability Plummeted 📧 📉
For guest posting for Elephant 🐘 Website, I use (or more precisely, used to use) a free Gmail + Mailshake setup. In February, the setup stopped working.
The reason was that a free Gmail account is a very poor choice for a massive cold email outreach.
It’s not only that you are limited to send only 500 emails, nope. I was sending far less below the limit number and I still got into troubles. The reason seemed to be in sending many untrustworthy emails. Emails sent from a free Gmail account are not digitally signed and thus they miss trust and thus they get much more attention from email blacklist services.
Because of that, my email deliverability dropped. In January, 90% of my contacts were somehow reacting to my emails by doing opening, clicking, and unsubscribing. In February, 90% of the contacts did not do anything with the emails. No opens, no unsubscribes… Nothing! It was bad.
It was even more worrisome because I sent a few guest posts articles to the bloggers who were ready to publish them and was still waiting for the responses… Did my contacts receive the articles at all?.. 😨
I started digging. I needed to analyze the spamminess of my emails and to test which emails fail to deliver and most importantly, why? What happened that caused spam filters be so vigilant towards me?
Here are the email testing services I used to solve the problem:
- ✔ a great service to analyze which part of the email is bad and to check against email blacklists
- ✔ a user-friendly UI that greatly helps to understand what’s wrong with an email
- ❌ it allows only 3 free checks per day
- ✔ a totally free service without restrictions on the number of checks
- ❌ seems to be a bit buggy; once, I received somebody’s email report
- ❌ the UI as not as pretty as the UI of mail-tester.com; you need to know how to read their reports
The tests showed that even some of my “normal” (not cold but very “warm”) emails were never delivered… and the rest had a really low spam score according to mail-tester.com.
After experimenting with the content, I found out that the culprit was the number of links I put into emails.
At the beginning of February, I added a nice (or so I thought) email footer that contained a link to my website, a link my Twitter and a link to my Pinterest.
3 extra links per email… multiple by at least 3 follow-ups… and that’s how my server IP address was classified as a spammer by 4 email blacklists 😱 Add to it a lack of a DKIM signature (that serves as a trustworthiness sign) and my emails got lost somewhere in the electrical signals of the internet.
Yeah… a good lesson to learn.
Mailshake has a good article about how to avoid being detected as spam. Among other suggestions, they mention that:
Avoid sending email from a @gmail.com address. You’ll have better deliverability with a properly set up G Suite account
This time, I listened to the advice and bought a GSuite account for $5CAD a month. I managed to find a coupon that gave me 20% off for the first year so the final price should be somewhere $3.10 after the trial period ends.
A small price for properly delivered emails! I should have done it from the beginning.
Misc: Guest posting, the blog, Kickfurther, 🐎
In February, I was pushing guest posting and did something that is usually considered to be controversial in the niche website community… I paid for a guest post 😐 I needed backlinks and was feeling a bit desperate of not getting any 🙁 Before paying, I checked whether the blog has real traffic because I did not want to pay for a stall link nobody would see. Also, I gave them an article that is very heavily brand oriented and was already rejected by some other websites. Considering all this, I think it was worth it… but I do not plan to do it again anytime soon.
In February, I updated my blog and published a new post about “losing” my funds in the cryptocurrency wallet: My Ethereum Wallet Not Showing Balance: How I Restored Lost Funds. A horror story with a good end =)
In the last income report, I announced I am pulling off Kickfurther. This month, a couple more businesses paid off their debt so you will see a related row in my income report.
For Horse 🐎 Website revival (my focus #2 in Feb), I only prepared a to-do plan. I got distracted by email deliverability problem and did not spend on the revival as much time as I planned.
Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝
In February, we enjoyed a spring-like weather. At least a half of February was sunny, warm, and smelling soooo fresh. I really like the off-season and took my time to enjoy it outside.
Ok, now let’s go back to the business!
In February, I again had high expenses. My VA was working hard and I also hired a writer who’s a bit expensive but good. In order to get my writer, I had to spend some money on test articles and it pushed the red numbers even higher.
Also, as I already mentioned above, I did something that might be considered controversial in the niche website community… I paid for a guest post 😐 Yes, it is an extra expense – but on the plus side, I gave them an article that is very heavily brand oriented and was already rejected by some other websites.
|Outsourced writing||$264.34||Ordered new articles|
|Outsourced VA||$162.36||VA work|
|Outsourced images||$0.00||Ordered zero image designs on Fiverr|
|E-marketing tools||$47.94||Paid for SERP tracking, MailShake, cheap access to AhRef tool, MailShake, etc|
|Guest posting||$44.50||Paid for 1 guest post|
|PBN domain registration||$0.00||Did not renew or buy any 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||$0.00||Did not pay anything for regular hosting|
|Domain registration||$2.97||Renewed Whois privacy on some of my domains|
|KickFurther||$0.00||No activity on the platform|
The income in February grew a bit compared to January. The high season for Elephant 🐘 Website and its family is starting.
Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝
|AdSense by Elephant & Horse Websites||$202.13||Revenue from the 1st & 2nd websites I bought (and 2 other websites in the same niche as 1st one)|
|Amazon by Elephant Website||$330.04||Revenue from the 1st website I bought (and 2 other websites in the same niche)|
|Amazon by Rat Website||$1.80||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||$0.10||I monetize Rat Website through media.net|
|Amazon by Honeybee Website||$0.00||Revenue from the website I am building myself with a PBN|
|Ads by the blog||$4.42||I monetize my LOC blog with AdSense|
|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||$13.60||Online investments paid back; read more in my post about Kickfurther|
|Interest||$8.24||Interest earned on a saving account|
Here are my totals for February 2018.
Total income $674.70 minus total expenses $565.01 makes a net profit of $109.69.
Frankly speaking, I am a bit surprised to see I am still in the green zone ✅ 😀 My expenses are high and seem to only grow each month. My income is not super high and does not grow fast… but I am still above zero.
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.
Ah and yes, as promised, here’s how much I got from selling Ethereum: $45,381.96. If I add it to my revenue chart, it will make the columns for all other months tiny-teensy and pretty much indistinguishable from the horizontal axis. That’s why I made a separate chart:
Too bad it’s only one month with a number like this and not all of them 😭😭😭 2018 will be a tax-heavy year and I hope my tax-reducing strategy will work.
March 2018 Plans
In March 2018, guest posting will again be my focus #1. At the end of February, I had to pause it due to discovering a problem with email deliverability. In March, the problem should be 100% resolved and I will continue work.
Rescuing Horse 🐎 Website will be again the focus #2. I did not do much progress in February due to unexpected problems with the email that took away all my attention. It should not be a case in March anymore.
I also plan to continue writing on the blog. After publishing a post about problems I had with Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet (nerve wrecking stuff!), I plan to write about how I did my first ETH trade with QuadrigaCX as well as make a post about my long-term plans.
Since I am not sure about 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!