Welcome to our May 2013 monthly business and income report!
We’re following up on our April income report with what is (to date) our highest-grossing report ever! There are a several reasons for this which we’ll share in detail below.
We love hearing about how much these reports inspire and encourage you to continue to build and grow your own online empire. That’s part of the reason we openly share this information with you, but there’s also value for us brought about with the introspection that comes with writing these reports.
Having to take an open and honest look at our strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities (along with the feedback you deliver) provides us insights into our business we wouldn’t have otherwise. It gives us an opportunity to look at our business from the outside in, and (I hope) leads us to make better-informed decisions about the direction our company should take
Most of this revenue comes from you.
Whether you’re a long-standing outsourcing client of ours or you happened to use one of our affiliate links to buy a piece of software, we wanted to thank you for your continued support as we continue to expand our online empire.
Edit: Please keep in mind this is top-line revenue for our company and, while we’ve shared our average monthly expenses for niche site creation and have broken down our IntelliTheme revenue and expenses in a case study, sharing the breakdown for our outsourcing clients along with their expenses is something we’re not willing to do at this point.
Alright…let’s dig into the details!
What We’re Working On
After an awfully busy April, we ended up letting off the gas in May in terms of longer-term projects. We published a few podcasts and wrote a couple of blog posts, etc…but most of our time was spent on maintenance issues and just working less than we have in recent months. This wasn’t a conscious decision Joe and I made, but we’ve been in business together long enough to recognize our swings and this was definitely a low-key month for us in terms of output.
We held a strategy session on June 6th to kick ourselves back into gear and dig into some of the things we’re looking to accomplish through 2013 and beyond. We haven’t fleshed it all out, but we do have a few project ideas that we’d really like to get up and running and (hopefully) have live by the end of the year. We’d like to massively expand our business in 2014 and much of what we work on this year will be in preparation for that expansion. :-) I don’t mean to be coy, but some of these plans are so new they’re not really worth sharing at this point.
In the month of May we held a contest on our podcast to win a FREE niche site from us and…we have a winner! We’re happy to announce that Mark Burgess from the UK has won a free niche site (valued at $150 – $200 USD) for his submission. Here’s what he had to say:
5-stars – A must listen for business – Brilliant show makes me laugh and has loads of online business advice – it’s like listening to two of your best mates. :-)
Thanks, Mark! Please get in contact with us and we’ll be happy to get you sorted.
One more thing – we’ve been accepting more podcast interviews in recent weeks and we’re having a blast. If you’re new around here and dig podcasts, check out our interview with Tim @ TheAwesomePodcast.com. We get into a bit of our backstory and run through the basics on creating niche sites. (And compare/contrast our approach with that of Pat Flynn and Spencer Haws) He runs a high-energy show and the episodes are well put together…I’ve added him to my podcast rotation and am going through back episodes now.
If you’d like to hear us on your favorite podcast or to hear us interview someone in particular on ours, please Contact Us or let us know in the comments. (Better yet…have them get in touch with us to set something up!)
We had a total of 21,549 visits in May:
That’s an improvement over last month by around 1.5K visits. Here’s a look at our most visited content in May:
It’s definitely our newer content that has attracted the most visits. I’m still waiting to see some of our older posts get that longtail search traffic we were getting when we were on AdSenseFlippers.
Here’s a look at our top referrals for May:
Again, we see that Facebook has been a better referral source for us than Twitter, even though I’ve spent more time overall on the latter. This probably has to do with the stickability of Facebook as opposed to Twitter. (Especially considering the fact that I’m sleeping when our US audience is the most active, and I don’t use delayed or pre-messaged tweets.)
Podcast & Email Audience
We had another excellent month in May for podcast downloads, nearly breaking the 20K barrier:
We had a couple excellent guests on the show including Cody McKibben and James Schramko. We have more show ideas lined up for June/July that should be fun, entertaining, and useful for both us and the listeners.
We’ve noticed our downloads are WAY down in June, though. Now that we’re 33% of the way through the month, we’ve noticed that we’ve only received around 10% of the downloads on the older episodes that we received in April. We’ve spoken to two other podcasters that are using LibSyn and they’re reporting similar numbers. (I contacted support and they’re saying nothing unusual on their end.) It could just be that Summer is here and less people are listening to podcasts and are out enjoying the nice weather. :-)
Here’s a look at our email subscribers:
We’re gone up by nearly 300 new emails since last month. (Not counting the 40 or so that have been added to Office Autopilot) We should be fully transitioned to OAP by the next report – it will be interesting to see how many of those emails are duplicates across our different lists. I’m expecting this to go down next month as we de-dupe and clean this up a bit.
Here’s a look at our AdSense earnings in May:
The AdSense earnings for May are just about the same as they were in April. Our best day was May 9th at $87.51 and our worst day was May 28th at $35.96. Any new sites we’ve created a few months ago that are popping up the chart in earnings are just replacing the sites we’ve sold on the Marketplace and the smaller niche sites in our Empire Starter Packages.
I’d like to see us adding other monetization methods to this section, but I don’t think we’ll see much change here until the end of the year. We’ll be laying some groundwork in Q4, though, that should definitely change this section up a bit with more blended earnings from multiple sources.
Selling Our Sites
We bounced back a bit with selling our own sites in May with just over $8K in sales. (Compared to $3K in April) We should be able to continue to sell through June as the sites become available, although I’m expecting the earnings to drop a bit here in June. We have sites for sale right now and should be adding a few more by the end of the week.
We’re definitely planning to run another Flippa auction in the coming weeks – more information on that when the auction is live!
Products & Services
Our income from sold products nearly doubled in May, bringing in $8,576 for the month. Most of the products sold included starter packs, content packages, and people selling their sites with us.
I didn’t get a chance to add the new products in May, but should be adding both a “ZenDesk ticket support product” and an “App wireframe development product” in the next couple of weeks.
We added several new sites for sale towards the end of May, (several which are available now) but didn’t sell them all right away, bringing in a total of $5,766.40 in revenue for the month. ($864.96 of which I’m counting for our income) We did cut a deal for the premium dropship site and received the deposit, but since the deal wasn’t completed until June, I won’t be counting that this month.
The sale of the premium site (and any of the sites we have for sale right now) should add quite a bit of revenue for us in June.
After our breakout month in May with the product launch, we’re back down to more reasonable numbers, bringing in $706.88 for the month. I see the sales for IntelliTheme steadying out over the next few months.
We’ve had some problems with development and pushing out Version 2.0 of the product. The changes include having the theme automatically login to your AdSense account to create ad units, pulling down more data from AdSense and reporting into the theme directly, etc. The problem is we can’t get these features to work all of the time in our own account. (Although it does seem to work in “most” of the personal accounts we’ve tested) Since we’re unsure as to the problem, this might be an issue with us when it comes to supporting the product and we’ve held off on pushing out the V. 2.0 update until we can get these issues resolved.
You probably saw our product launch case study on IntelliTheme, but I wanted to share with you another interesting case study from Glen at Viperchill.com. It’s extremely long/detailed, but I LOVE reading this kind of content and it’s definitely worth checking out! (He had some serious issues on the launch…ugh…feeling his pain, heh)
Our affiliate earnings haven’t changed much this month, bringing in a total of $1,034.97 in May. We don’t have much planned here in the near future, although I would like to revamp and update our Tools & Resources Page.
This was our biggest revenue stream by far for May, bringing in a total of $57,756.14 for the month. We had two customers that had fallen behind on invoices that got caught up in May, giving us quite an injection of cash.
We’ve added two new (smaller) clients in the last six weeks or so and lost one as well. Our new Hiring Manager is getting up to speed, finally…and while we were looking for new agents for our own business, the needs of the new clients are more pressing and we’ve pushed these hires back a bit until we can get the new clients staffed.
Joe would really like to grow this side of our business over the next 12-18 months which is great, but I don’t think we have a very clearly-defined value proposition for this side of the business. We’ve made it work with our “Americans on the ground” Unique Selling Proposition (USP), but I think a much more targeted (niched down) approach is really what we need to scale this properly. I think the best way to accomplish this is through targeted products rather than rented agents, but we’re likely to continue to test through both.
No consulting revenue for us in May.
It’s been interesting going through the niche site process with our client from April…it forced both Joe and I to revisit sections of our business we haven’t been closely involved in for quite some time. To be frank, I’m not sure the value of one-on-one coaching (regarding niche sites) is so much more so than it would be in a smallish group of 4-5 people…I’ve been wondering whether small group training might be a better way to go. I’ll be sure to ask her the next time we chat to see if she feels the same way. :-)
Overall, we’re very happy with how May turned out and catching up on invoices definitely helped our cashflow for the month.
Here’s a snapshot at the numbers…
- Employees: 36 (+3 from last month)
- Interns: 1 (Erik)
- Contractors: 3
- Site Visits: 21,549 (+1,496 from last month)
- Emails / Contact Records: 10,357 (+279 from last month)
- AdSense: $1,729.50 (-$26.69 from last month)
- Site Sales: $8,036.20 (+$5,045.00 from last month)
- Products/Services: $8,576.00 (+$4,022.00 from last month)
- Brokered Sites: $864.96 (-$1,610.88 from last month)
- IntelliTheme: $706.88 (-$16,384.44 from last month)
- Affiliate: $1,034.97 (+$53.48 from last month)
- Outsourcing: $57,756.14 (+$32,396.14 from last month)
- Consulting: $0.00 (-$1,260.00 from last month)
Total For May: $78,704.65 (+$22,234.61 from last month)
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Alright, over to you! What are YOU working on in June to help you grow your business. How can we help you? Give us a shout on Twitter or feel free to leave a comment below…we’d love to hear from you!