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July โ€“ August 2020 Income Report: My Team Expanded๐Ÿ‘ฌ, New Challenges ๐Ÿ˜…, Website Updates๐Ÿ“ˆ

In July-August, the world was still crazy but a bit less compared to May – June ๐Ÿ˜…

The turmoil in the US went down a bit – or at least, it became less acute. Instead, the recession has begun and I am feeling its effect on my online business ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Thatโ€™s said…

Welcome to my fourth bi-monthly income report of 2020!

I am now doing bi-monthly income reports because it saves me time โณ and reduces the amount of identical content in my blog ๐Ÿ’ค

Rather than creating yet another boring IR, I better spend time on writing other posts that are hopefully more interesting than money reports ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

So read my income report #59-60 to find out what happened in July-August 2020.

My team has grown ๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ฌ

Now, I have 6 people on my team!

In August, I hired a graphic designer ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŽจ (in addition to 3 writers, an editor, and a virtual assistant) to do graphic design and videos. I found him on onlinejobs.com, a platform for hiring freelancers from the Philippines.

Hiring new people is always stressful for me. 

First of all, it takes a lot of time ๐Ÿ˜’ I need to write a job posting, come up with tests, review the applicants, send the tests, review the tests, conduct voice interviews, choose the best candidateโ€ฆ 

Second of all, itโ€™s just tiring. All parts of this task involve critical thinking and consume a lot of mental energy ๐Ÿ˜ซ

In order to track the hiring process, I even created a spreadsheet. I keep everything there, from applicants to test results to voice interviews and I even assign scores to the candidates. It greatly helps with the cognitive load ๐Ÿ˜„

For this position, I processed 24 applications ๐Ÿคฏ before choosing who to hire.

So far, I am happy with my new team member ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŽจ Heโ€™s a professional designer and his day job is also creating graphic design ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Planning for a new hosting

My current BlueHost plan expires in October and I have been wanting to move to some better hosting for a while.

Iโ€™ve spent quite some time researching various WordPress hosting solutions to find the one that suits me the best. And I did find it! ๐ŸŽ‰

I plan to write a blog post about it so stay tuned! โœ…

Website updates ๐ŸŽˆ

To refresh your memory about what the website nicknames mean, read here.

Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website

This is the site I bought in April. It is the biggest website in my fleet as well as the most expensive among the sites I have ever bought ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Given that, no wonder it is my prime focus. I have been actively improving it trying to increase revenue.

The site is starting to require less and less of my attention when it comes to content making. It now needs less babysitting compared to the previous period of May – June.

However, instead, I am spending a lot of time on producing high-quality original video content ๐ŸŽฅ๐Ÿ™„ I am working very closely with my designer on it. Video making is a new area for both of us so we are learning on the go and thus itโ€™s moving quite slowly ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ˜’

During this period, I also updated the server to the latest PHP 7.4 and Maria DB 10.3

It was easy to do thanks to the CloudWays hosting. It offers a very convenient way of deploying a new server with a carbon copy of the website. This allowed me to test all the new changes without touching the live website.

It does cost money but the cost is super manageable since they offer an hourly rate ๐Ÿ‘ The testing cost me only about five bucks to keep the test server alive for a couple of days ๐Ÿ˜

All this was possible thanks to CloudWays that is now my official favorite hosting ๐Ÿ™‚ I will write a review soon, stay tuned!

Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website

This website has now become my second focus. I keep working on increasing traffic and pumping money into the content ๐Ÿ’ธ

In July, the website got under a black-hat attack and it was flooded with spammy backlinks. I noticed it only when my ranking dropped ๐Ÿ˜ญ

In hopes to mitigate the lack of action on the ๐ŸŽฉ attack, I did a lot of internal SEO that I have been postponing due to my laziness ๐Ÿ˜’ such as disallowing thin pages, nofollowing non-essential stuff, and more. But it did not helpโ€ฆ ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

The ranking has started recovering only recently, after about 4-5 weeks after I submitted the last disavow file (I made three of them ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜† because I kept finding new spammy backlinks again and again ๐Ÿ˜ฃ).

In total, I disavowed 800+ backlinks and domains ๐Ÿคฏ But thanks to my approach of manual disavow, it took me just a few hours ๐Ÿ‘

The hosting for this website also needs to be updated to the latest PHP version. But since itโ€™s BlueHost, I could not test the upgrade safely without affecting the live site. So, I postponed the upgrade until moving to a new hosting.

Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website

Despite its name (Baby ๐Ÿ‘ถ), this site has been a mature adult that brings a steady hefty paycheck every month without any babysitting ๐Ÿ‘ (not like some other horn-owning sites ๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜†)

It did Ok during July – August. Given that its main income comes from ads and ad rates were not doing super well, its income went down ๐Ÿ˜”

Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website 2

Meanwhile, I got yet another Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‚

It is in the same niche as the first Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website but with a narrower focus. I pumped some money into its content using the same strategy as for its sibling (a convenient way to scale!)

It has been growing a bit but its income is still very small.

LivingOfCloud (this blog)

In this blog, I was not very active recently. All my focus has been on my niche websites ๐Ÿ™„ However, I hope that thanks to the things I am doing, I will have more material than ever for this blog! I only need time to write it ๐Ÿ˜†

This is what I posted here:

๐Ÿ‘‰ Frase: Your New Secret Content Research Tool (The AppSumo Deal Is Closed, Alas ๐Ÿ˜ข)
๐Ÿ‘‰ August 2020 News Roundup๐Ÿ“ฐ: Whatโ€™s New In SEO & Affiliate Marketing
๐Ÿ‘‰ July 2020 News Roundup๐Ÿ“ฐ: Whatโ€™s New In SEO & Affiliate Marketing

In August, I managed to score a handsome AppSumo deal ๐Ÿ˜ I bought Frase, a content tool that helps you to create new content based on low-competition keywords and to optimize old content by analyzing your competition and the keywords you already rank for ๐Ÿคฉ.

I have been using it for a few weeks and I quite like it. I even wrote a short preliminary review – read it here!

Other websites

Whatโ€™s included in this part are the sites that are currently either on hold or at the very beginning of the growth, or the ones that have just been acquired.

It makes no sense to write about them every month so I wonโ€™t! ๐Ÿ˜›

Got lost in my Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Rats ๐Ÿ€, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean

Personal life ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป

In July-August, I was getting back to my regular routine of working hard non-stop ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

July weather was still nice and we spent quite some time eating out outside and doing kayaking on the St-Lawrence river ๐Ÿ›ถ

In August, the weather got worse so I had less motivation to go outside and more reasons to stay inside.. and do workโ€ฆ and do work-outs! ๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ

I have started doing some serious handstand training and even bought 3 weeks of live online training sessions ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘

Thanks to that, my shoulders have been growing like crazy ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜… And I like it! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Having strong shoulder muscles came very handy when we did kayaking ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ›ถ

My well-toned shoulders

Revenueโž•

The revenue was not bad but could have been definitely better. The ad rates dropped because of the pandemic and recession in the US. Amazon affiliate sales went down as well because my ๐Ÿ˜1 Website lost ranking. 

However, in August, my ๐Ÿฆ„ Website had the best revenue since I bought it so it made the overall revenue picture less gloomy ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, the revenue numbers were on par with the previous May-June period.

Numbers

Got lost in my Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Rats ๐Ÿ€, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean

Let’s look at the income numbers in the details.

๐Ÿ’ต All numbers are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต

Website Amount
Mother Elephant $1,828.87
Baby Elephant $3,626.91
Baby Elephant 2 $10.67
Unicorn $4,588.98
Rat $204.51
LivingOffCloud $918.78
Other websites $2.98
Total $7,780.23

My top three income sources (in the revenue order):

  1. Ezoic, which is great for display ads ๐Ÿค— (read my review)
  2. Amazon Affiliate (still ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ)
  3. Other ad platforms and affiliates (this is mostly for ๐Ÿฆ„ Website)

Income proof

Now that I have reached a certain level of income, I feel like I should also post proof of it. I am myself having a hard time believing these numbers!

Hereโ€™s the proof from Ezoic:

Ezoic Chart

Hereโ€™s the stats chart from Amazon.

Amazon US:

Amazon US Affiliate earnings July to Aug 2020

Amazon Canada:

Amazon Canada Affiliate earnings July to Aug 2020

Expensesโž–

In July-August, the expenses were also on par with the expenses during the previous period.

I pay for many services on an annual basis. However, in my income reports, I spread these expenses on a per monthly basis as if I were paying for them every month. It should give a better understanding of my expenses each month.

๐Ÿ’ต All numbers are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต

Expenses minus content

Expense Amount
Tailwind (a tool for Pinterest) $59.92
Mailshake (cold outreach mailer) $33.17
GSuite (paid Gmail) $23.74
ActiveCampaign $15.30
GeneratePress (a WP theme) $2.50
AAWP $17.92
Ad Inserter Pro $1.50
Perfmatters (a WP plugin for site speed) $6.41
SerpRobot (a SERP tracking tool) $19.96
Other tools $134.09
Hosting $204.18
Domains $9.92
Virtual Assistant (outsourced formatting etc) $445.09
Graphic design $98.11
Link building $0.00
Courses $0.00
Misc $428.71
Total $1,500.50

The hosting expense is high โ€œthanksโ€ to my ๐Ÿฆ„ Website that has dedicated hosting on CloudWays.

Tailwind (an app for Pinterest and Instagram) has been crucial to growing my revenue. If you wonder how I do Pinterest marketing, go ahead and read my post about it.

I use MailShake for cold email outreach. When you are building white-hat links in an efficient way, itโ€™s a must to use a tool for that (and GSuite to avoid your emails going directly into spam ๐Ÿ˜ฑ).

On the WordPress setup side, I use a premium WP theme GeneratePress since itโ€™s fast and highly configurable.

I also use a few premium WP plugins:

My virtual assistant (VA) is my right hand. My business would simply die if I didn’t have one! My last VA hire was from onlinejobs.com.

Iโ€™ve also got a graphic designer, from onlinejobs.com as well. The graphic designer creates Pinterest images and makes video content.

Content

Given the nature of our business, content is an investment in the business. I decided to track it separately since itโ€™s an important part of future success.

Here, I will give you a breakdown for (almost) each website. Each content expense includes content editing and management.

Website Amount
Mother Elephant $1,051.65
Baby Elephant $0.00
Baby Elephant 2 $0.00
Unicorn $858.39
Other Websites $0.00
Total $1,910.04

Also, once in a while, I use the services of a writing agency called ContentPit.

If you want to try them out, I have a promo code for you: LOCPROMO10. The code will give you a 10% word bonus for the same price for new customers.

Totals ๐Ÿ’ต

Here are my totals for July-August 2020.

๐Ÿ’ต All numbers are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต

Total revenue $11,181.70 minus general expenses $1,500.50 minus content expenses $1,910.04 makes a net profit of $7,771.16. This number should be divided by two since it’s for both July and August.

Here is a chart with my revenue vs expenses history for the last 14 months. I used the 14-month timeline instead of the 12-month one to show you how these months performed compared to to the last year (click on the image to enlarge):

Profit, Revenue, and Expenses for last 14 months

My financial goal of 2020 has been reached ๐ŸŽ‰

In my 2019 review, I set the revenue goal for 2020 at $40,000. If you take a look where I am now, you can see that I have already exceeded that number by $984.33 ๐Ÿ˜œ

Revenue and Expenses Per Year, 2016 - August 2020

๐Ÿ’ต All numbers are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต

Yes, partially, itโ€™s happened thanks to the incredibly good April. But even if I subtract the $6,000 I made in April, my progress would still look good ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿค‘


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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! ๐Ÿค—

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