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November โ€“ December 2020 Income Report: Back Friday ๐Ÿ–ค, Changes In My Team ๐Ÿ‘ฌ, Website Updates๐Ÿ“ˆ

Happy New Year ๐ŸŽ‰ Hope youโ€™ve had a good beginning of the year despite all the craziness happening around ๐Ÿ˜…

I am kicking off the new year with a new income report โ€“ the last one for 2020.

November-December is usually the most lucrative period of the year thanks to Black Friday and the holiday time  when everybody and their dog intensively shops to buy presents and to hunt down deals ๐Ÿช๐Ÿ›’๐Ÿ›

How did you do during this period? On my side, it went pretty well, though Iโ€™d hoped it would be better ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Thatโ€™s saidโ€ฆ

Welcome to my sixth 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 #63-64 to find out what happened in November-December 2020.

Back Friday ๐Ÿ–ค

During this Black Friday, I decided to test new sales channels: email and social media.

Both were a flop since I started warming them up too late ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ

On the plus side, the Black Friday pages I created on my sites got ranked quite well

I learned from the mistakes in the previous year and prepared the pages waaay in advance, like 6 months in advance ๐Ÿคฏ They brought only about $100 in affiliate salesโ€ฆ but itโ€™s about 100 times more compared to the previous year ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜…

So, my advice to you about Black Friday โ€“ start preparing early! Like, right now ๐Ÿ˜‚

What hindered a bit my BF income was that Ezoic, the ad platform I monetize my sites with, was down on one of my sites during Nov 25 โ€“ Nov 30 ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ It cost me about $100 ๐Ÿ˜’

Also, one of the non-Amazon affiliate programs I had big hopes for suddenly went offline ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Their affiliate links did not work for 45 days ๐Ÿ˜ฑ from the beginning of November till the middle of December. I definitely missed some of the sales, not sure how much though.

Changes In My Team ๐Ÿ‘ฌ

Somewhen in October, right in the midst of preparing for Black Friday, my VA announced that she no long wanted to work for me and thus, she gave me her two-week notice ๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Losing a key person during one of the busiest periods would not be just badโ€ฆ it would be catastrophic ๐Ÿ˜ซ

โ€œNo, no, no noโ€ฆ you cannot quit now! Noooo!โ€ ๐Ÿ™

I begged her to stay at least till December. She was very kind to agree to stay till the end of the year ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜… 

Deep down, I was hoping that by December, sheโ€™d change her mind.. But alas, it did not happen and I started looking for a new VA in the end of December.

I ended up hiring two people instead of one ๐Ÿ˜… 

I figured that itโ€™s better if people would specialize in different types of work. So now, I have one VA handling post formatting and the other one who takes care of everything else ๐Ÿ™‚

Started Email Reviews ๐Ÿ“ง

In November, thinking of how else I can improve my websites, I realized that I had not looked at the most extensive niche website course among all courses I have: Authority Hacker Pro!

It has tons of useful informationโ€ฆ 

And I thought that while I am through the modules, I may also want to give my email subscribers a glimpse on whatโ€™s inside and how well it works.

Here are the results so far:

๐Ÿ‘‰ In November, I tried out one module about email marketing and wrote an email about it in December. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ In December, I tried out a module about affiliate marketing and sent an update to my subscribers just a few days ago.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Now, I am trying the module about acquiring backlinks and I plan to release an email somewhen in February.

If you want to read these emails as well, sign up for my newsletter ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡



Website updates ๐ŸŽˆ

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

Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website

Right before Black Friday, my Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website made an important achievement: it got approved for the Amazon UK Affiliate program ๐ŸŽ‰

I applied three times to Amazon UK! Three times!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The reason why I got rejected was that, well, the site was not compliant ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

I did not verify carefully this important aspect during the due diligence process when I was buying it and it came biting me in the ass ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ‘

The Amazon UK Affiliate program itself was not such a big deal ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ 

What was much more important was the fact that because of that, I was risking to get my whole Amazon account banned

As I said earlier, getting approved to Amazon Affiliate programs of other countries is a good test to see if your website(s) where you already run Amazon is still compliant.

So, after being rejected twice, I finally fixed everything needed aaandโ€ฆ I got approved ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ Right before Black Friday ๐Ÿ‘

I plan to write a post about that โ€“ stay tuned! Donโ€™t miss any of my posts by subscribing to my newsletter:



Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website

It was a very good period for this website ๐Ÿค—

In December, Google released a massive core update that affected many websites. My Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website got affected too but in a positive way โ€“ read all about it in this post.

Also, it finally, finally, FINALLY recovered from the Pinterest penalty that it got hit by in May ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Pinterest Analytics

LivingOfCloud (this blog)

I was quite active in this blog and shared many pieces of my experience. 

This is what I posted here:

๐Ÿ‘‰ How Google Core Update In December 2020 Affected My Sites? Hereโ€™s My Analysis
๐Ÿ‘‰ 9 Tips About How To Increase Amazon Affiliate Earnings By Increasing The Conversion Rate: Tip #4 Is My Favorite ๐Ÿค—
๐Ÿ‘‰ Cloudways Hosting Review: Read About My Experience
๐Ÿ‘‰ December 2020 News Roundup๐Ÿ“ฐ: Whatโ€™s New In SEO & Affiliate Marketing

Other websites

Whatโ€™s included in this part are the sites that are currently either on hold, at the very beginning of the growth, or the ones that I did not work on during this period.

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

Got lost in my Camels ๐Ÿช, Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Unicorns ๐Ÿฆ„, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean!

Personal life ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป

In November, our neighborhood got dressed for the holidays. We went on a local tour to see how our neighbours decorated their houses.

Here is a couple of most impressive decors:

Christmas Decors
Christmas Decors

In December, we travelled! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿ˜‚

But not too far ๐Ÿ˜† We went to Montreal downtown, which is just 20 min away from our home by public transportation ๐Ÿ˜‚

I got soooo burned out during the Black Friday preparations that I desperately needed a change of scenery. Since we couldnโ€™t travel for real due to the pandemic, we went on a one-night staycation to a hotel in the downtown.

In the hotel, we got a nice room with a view over the city. We also properly enjoyed the pool and hot bathtub that were still open, though, with some restrictions ๐Ÿ‘

It was a great getaway and I managed to recharge my batteries a bit ๐Ÿ˜…

Hereโ€™s a photo of a morning view from the bed that I saw when I woke up ๐Ÿคฉ

December Morning Sky in Montreal

Now, back to business!

Revenueโž•

The revenue in November-December was the best in the second half of 2020. However, it still did not beat the revenue in April and May when the first wave of pandemic hit the world. 

The ad rates were the highest of the year but they still did not compensate for the slashed Amazon affiliate rates ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Numbers

Got lost in my Camels ๐Ÿช, Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Unicorns ๐Ÿฆ„, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean!

Letโ€™s look at the income numbers in the details.

๐Ÿ’ต All numbers are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต

Website Amount
Unicorn $5,953.35
Mother Elephant $2,505.03
Baby Elephant $3,284.19
Baby Elephant 2 $47.01
LivingOffCloud $647.13
Other websites $4.65
Total $12,441.36

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 a proof of it.I am myself having a hard time believing these numbers!

Hereโ€™s the proof from Ezoic:

Ezoic November-December Revenue

Hereโ€™s the stats chart from Amazon; I used a new Consolidated Summary report showing the earnings from all the amazon stores in a chosen currency (USD):

Amazon-affiliate-earnings-Nov-Dec-2020

Expensesโž–

In November-December, the expenses were on par compared to the expenses during the previous period

I sold my ๐Ÿ€ Website in October and cancelled some of the tools it was using. However, at the same time, I stacked up on new tools during Black Friday and paid for job announcements on onlinejobs.com and ProBlogger.

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) $11.87
ActiveCampaign $7.65
GeneratePress (a WP theme) $5.00
AAWP $17.92
Ad Inserter Pro $0.00
Perfmatters (a WP plugin for site speed) $3.21
SerpRobot (a SERP tracking tool) $19.96
Other tools $253.38
Hosting $253.91
Domains $14.74
Virtual Assistant (outsourced formatting etc) $404.03
Graphic design $262.50
Link building $0.00
Courses $0.00
Misc $718.72
Total $2,065.96

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

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 didnโ€™t have one! All my VA hires came 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
Unicorn $669.53
Mother Elephant $1,095.32
Baby Elephant $0.00
Baby Elephant 2 $0.00
Other Websites $115.95
Total $1,880.80

For content, I have in-house writers who I found myself on various platforms including ProBlogger and Upwork.

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 ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆ The code will give you a 10% word bonus for the same price for new customers ๐Ÿค—

Totals ๐Ÿ’ต

Here are my totals for November-December 2020.

๐Ÿ’ต All numbers are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต

Total revenue $12,441.36 minus general expenses $2,065.96 minus content expenses $1,880.80 makes a net profit of $8,494.60. This number should be divided by two since itโ€™s for both November and December.

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-Expenses Graph

My financial goal of 2020 has been achieved ๐ŸŽ‰

In my 2019 review, I set the revenue goal for 2020 at $40,000. If you take a look where I am now, at the end of the year, you can see that I exceeded that number by $24,853.81 ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿ˜œ

Revenue+ Expenses 2016-2020

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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