Greetings from Italy, where I’ll spend most of the month of July visiting my family and old friends.
Below a summary of the activities that kept me busy in June and the financial report.
What’s going on
Focus and Execute – one month later
In the last report I shared some big decisions as I was fully committed to focus more on fewer projects.
In June I feel I achieved 66% of them:
- Reducing client work. I’m now more selective on gigs I take in and I did increase the prices of my services (well, partially since I can’t just raise prices for existing customers).
- Focus on two projects. I spent lots of time on QuadHangar (review website about drones) and a bit less on RouterFreak (blog for IT network engineers).
- Eliminate what I’m no more interested. I failed at this, but actually after selling two websites last month I don’t have at the moment more things to let go.
Here is the updated list of my activities:
- WordPress consultancies
- Working on multiple client projects;
- WordPress maintenance & support service with 7 active contracts (+2 compared to last month);
- Running my own websites
- AidBoard: job board on international development
- Few Adsense niche blogs
- An Amazon affiliate blog
- WP Tube: a WordPress theme for sale
Update on QuadHangar
I spent quite some time on this project last month. My main task was to find reliable writers. I’ve now a contractor on Upwork that is trained to provide good quality articles, and I’m using Textbroker that let you place detailed orders and sit back waiting for the article to be delivered – saving lot of time needed to check job applications and select the candidates (drawback: there’s very limited communication with the writer, so it’s hit or miss, but you can always refuse the article at no charge).
I also got some great content running surveys among drone enthusiast. I asked them about accessories and collected hundreds of responses with priceless information. They were telling me exactly what they bought and what they’d like to buy.
“Joining a mastermind was the best decision I made for my business!” – I heard this sentence many times so I decided to try it myself and I joined a mastermind group two months ago.
The group has been through some ups and downs: someone dropped out, someone got MIA, so we had a couple of very small sessions but still I get lots of value out of it.
Very good information, ideas, and motivation to execute. I definitely recommend anyone to try a Mmind group!
Update on the passive income experiment
Back in December I started an experiment in passive income in the Italian market, notably less crowded than the English one, with the website ComeCostruire.info. That’s the Italian version of my Spanish blog ComoHacer about manual works and DIY.
After five months of growth, in June the traffic stabilized so I think this page reached a plateau (note for S.ra Ape: a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress).
June traffic was up to 3,725 visitors (+4.55%) with 5,590 page views (+0.16%), while on the profit side Adsense generated €14.90 (was €16.51 in May).
Initial investment: €360
Earnings so far: €58.37
Of courrrrrse I could have done things much better. I did very little keyword research for this project and I knew that is hard to monetize this traffic, but I tested the waters and this gave me more confidence for future projects targeting the Italian market.
From the next month I’ll just report briefly about this experiment.
Hosting mishap: Site5 VPS2
At the beginning of June Site5 told me that my account was using too many resources, and they even called me to discuss the options. I was already thinking that was time to upgrade my sites to a VPS solution, so I gave them the OK to start the migration. In case you don’t know, VPS is Virtual Private Server, a server with resources (CPU, memory, OS) dedicated to my websites (instead of shared with other clients as before, hence Private), that is not a real server but a virtual machine running on a big server with other VPS. Oh, if you don’t get it leave a comment 🙂
Well, the migration wasn’t as smooth as anticipated.
Switching from a shared account to a VPS does involve an IP change so I had to update the DNS settings for all my domains and also the ones of the customers I’m reselling hosting to.
I had to take care of a couple of emergencies, the type of things that take priority over everything else and that I want to avoid (such as spending hours helping a customer reconfigure their email clients).
When I thought that was over, I started having performance issues and 503 errors on the websites. I was paying 3 times the previous amount, and got problems I never had before…. I was mad! I must say that Site5 provided, as usual, an excellent customer service with 2nd level engineers replying all my questions in minutes. And being a techie, I had lots of questions about the VPS resource limitations.
Turned out that in the VPS there are per-server limits that are lower than the the shared-hosting solution, even if the per-website limits are higher.
Again I had to drop everything else and take care of this major issue, optimizing the websites and reducing the resource used.
One of the changes that helped was to replace on my website the WordPress plugin WP Super Cache with W3 Total Cache.
W3 Total Cache, when configured properly, is far superior and provides also GZIP compression and CSS/JS minify features.
It took a couple of days and some hanger to get back to a stable situation, so now I’m happy again with Site5 especially because I know the quality of their support.
Let’s get down with the numbers!
- Adsense: €520.34 (was €595.35) – this reduction was caused by the websites I sold end of May
- Feedblitz: €69.6 (was €133.37) – same as above
- Direct Ads: €131.23 (no change) – advertising campaigns on my websites
- Sponsored posts: €226.58 (was 0) – got a well paid review
- BuySellAds: €20 (no change)
- Job Board Services
- Job posting & Resume: €231 (was €133.39) – few paid jobs on AidBoard!
- Affiliate Programs
- Lead generation: 0
- Product affiliation: €193.6 (was €101.41) – TestKing, Pass4sure, Clickbank, SEMrush affiliate programs
- Amazon program: €658 (was €218.77) – As expected, this went up as I focused more on the drone website
- ComoHacer ebook: €24,47 (was 0) – 3 sales
- WP Tube theme: €398 (was €313.4) – 10 copies sold plus one installation service
- Website sale: 0 (was €1100) – Nothing to sell at the moment!
- Product sale: €170 – I’ve to explain this. I got a physical product to review (a drone backpack!) and I could sell it after
Total Gross: € 2,642.82 (last month 2,746.92)
Note: some links to products and services may have affiliation. This means that if you’ll buy I’ll get a commission. Never the less, I’m only mentioning services that I use myself to operate my websites.
- Site5: €47.62
- This is the hosting I’m using and happy with. I recently switched to VPS solution. They have servers in Amsterdam too, perfect for my websites with European audience.
- HostGator: €18
- This is a popular cheap hosting provider with servers in US. I still use it for some websites with majority of traffic from Americas, but their support is getting worse and worse!
- Site5: €47.62
- Mailing List services
- FlipFilter: €10 – very useful service for website buyers, crunching big data from multiple marketplaces for you
- Articles: €187,6 (was €469.6)
- Website acquisition: 0
- Domain renewal: €10,43 (was 0) – expenses related to domains registered at Godaddy
- Adwords: €77.02 (was €109) – this is an experiment for a business idea I’m testing.
Total Expenses: € 536.49 (was 796.6)
Net Total June 2015: € 2,106.33 (last month 1,950.32)
Woooooow finally above quote 2,000 🙂
I enjoyed focusing on less projects and I felt more productive, I definitely want to keep this time management structure.
And talking about time management, I recommend you to check out this simple tool to track how you spend time on projects: Toggl.
What was your challenge in June?