The month of May marked my first three years as a self-employed, so it came with many self-reflections and considerations of where I am and where I’m going.
And I had a big realization: with my current way of work I can’t grow any further.
In the last 6 months I had no growth in my business: I can invest more money buying more websites and scale horizontally, but I can’t grow the websites I have unless I put more work on them.
Below a quick summary of some activities that kept me busy in May and the financial report.
What’s going on
Focus and Execute
The first three years as a web entrepreneurs were full of experiments in many different directions, to see what I like and what works for me.
I eventually found myself busy with too many different things:
- WordPress consultancies
- Working on multiple client projects;
- Providing maintenance & support with 5 active contracts;
- Running my own websites
- Job boards in south America
- Job board on international development
- Few Adsense niche blogs
- An Amazon affiliate blog
- A WordPress theme for sale
Since I do 90% of the work myself (I only outsource content creation for some blogs) that means only one thing: lack of focus.
That’s the reason I could not grow further. With no focus, my websites survive on little maintenance, keep providing a nice income but aren’t growing.
So I took a big decision.
I choose to change three things to start with:
- Reducing client work. WordPress consultancies are quite rewarding but I’m just selling my time to other people projects and aren’t adding value to my entrepreneurial journey. I’ve been working for customers all my life and I know I can be good servicing them. This means I’m increasing my consultancy rates and only take on board the best opportunities.
- Focus on two projects. I decided to focus on two websites I believe can grow in the next months: QuadHangar (review website about drones) and RouterFreak (blog for IT network engineers).
- Eliminate what I’m no more interested. This means maybe sacrificing some little income to free my time and mental space.
I’m taking steps in these directions.
The first acquired website is unforgettable
They proven to be a good investment and a source of great lessons for the young Besa moving in the online world!
But I eventually grow tired of them and in the last year I literally spent no more than 30 seconds a day approving the pending jobs.
Revenues decreased and the quality of the jobs there too: it sucks to discover that some opportunities were scams or multi-level-marketing crap targeting job seekers.
So I was quite happy to sell the websites for €1100.
That’s 16x the monthly net profit generated in the last months, plus I knew the buyer already and things went smooth.
Joining a MasterMind
“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 for online publishers.
But what’s a mastermind?
A Mastermind group is made by fine folks that are meeting regularly to discuss business-related challenges, exchange opinions and ideas, educate each other and keep them self accountable.
In my case, we’re 5 entrepreneur from all around the world meeting every Tuesday in Google Hangouts to discuss about online publishing challenges and ideas.
Having a group of peers sharing the same goals and motivate each others to achieve them is exactly what I needed. I feel a super-boost of motivation and I had some very productive weeks since I joined the group – mainly because every Tuesday we’re sharing our progresses, challenges and quick-wins.
I found this mastermind group through the Dynamite circle, the online sect I’m devoted to.
Update on ComeCostruire.info
Mid-December I started an experiment of 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.
May traffic was up to 3,415 visitors (+45.32%) with 5,896 page views (+45.69%) and what’s most remarkable is the Adsense profit of €16.51 (was €7.87 in April)!
You may wonder why I bother about €16 considering that with that money in Amsterdam I can’t buy more then a salad and an orange juice in an average cafe.
Surely that’s a very valid point, but I invested in this project €360 and generated so far €42.93 in 5 months. I don’t know any other legal investment with this yield!
Let’s get down to the numbers!
- Adsense: €595.35 (was €527.46)
- Feedblitz: €133.37 (was €146.56) – ads places in automatic newsletters = passive profit
- Direct Ads: €131.23 (was €165.63) – got an advertising campaign for RouterFreak
- BuySellAds:€20 (was €22.99)
- Job Board Services
- Job posting & Resume: €133.39 (was €38.18)
- Affiliate Programs
- Lead generation: 0
- Product affiliation: €101.41 (was €97.13)
- Amazon program: €218.77 (was €208.36) – I expect this to grow as I’m focusing on the drone website
- ComoHacer ebook: 0 (was €8)
- WP Tube theme: €313.4 (was €486.53) – a slow month with just 9 copies sold
- Website sale: €1100 – bye bye job boards in Latin America!
Total Gross: € 2,746.92 (last month 1,700,84)
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 here services that I use myself to operate my websites.
- Site5: €19
- This is the hosting I’m using since a few months and totally happy with. They have servers in Amsterdam too, so I use it for my European websites.
- 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: €19
- Mailing List services
- FlipFilter: €10 – very useful service for website buyers, crunching big data from multiple marketplaces for you
- Articles: €469.6 (was €80.20) – last batch of articles for ComoHacer, plus regular articles from writers
- Website acquisition: 0
- Domain renewal: 0 (was €79) – expenses related to domains registered at Godaddy
- Adwords: €109 (was 0) – this is an experiment for a business idea I was testing.
Total Expenses: € 796.6 (was 507,2)
Net Total May 2015: € 1,950.32 (last month 1,193,64)
After the worst month in a long time, in May I had the best month in a long time.
And while it’s true that I sold a part of my real estate asset, I believe that I laid the foundation for a better future where I can focus on few projects and make them grow.
And you, do you feel focused on your important projects?