Q3 was an interesting quarter. I lowered my freelancing hours at the beginning of August to focus more on the blog, and I set myself some content deadlines as a sort of productivity challenge.
I won't tell you how that went just yet, but I will tell you this:
It taught me a lot.
Below I'll expand more into that, and just like with every other blog income report I do, I'll share my income and expenses for the entire quarter to give you some insight into my business.
New Things That Happened in Q3
So as I said above, I lowered my freelancing hours quite a bit at the beginning of August. This was pretty nerve wracking at first as I was giving up a big chunk of my income in the process.
But, I'm glad I did it. Having more time to focus on Swift Salary has been awesome.
Mentally I'm more excited to get to work each day because most of my focus is going into my own project.
On top of that, my brain is now pretty much hyper-focused on growing Swift Salary and making it the ultimate financial resource.
It's sort of like the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (had to Google what that was called). Now that I'm working on Swift Salary much more, it feels like I'm coming up with new ideas for it all the time, even when I'm not meaning to.
Now of course, this has its upsides and downsides. If you've read my past income reports you've probably noticed that I'm a bit, uhhh, all over the place at times. My ideas seem to bounce around a lot so I have a hard time focusing on and finishing a single thing.
Which brings me to my next update:
Results of the Q2 Content Experiment
In last quarter's income report, I outlined my plan for hitting the content goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year.
Refresher: I said I wanted to release 4 new pieces of content a month in 2020 (48 in total), and 12 new Youtube videos in total.
So far I've released 14 articles and 0 Youtube videos.
To solve this problem, I came up with a list of article and video ideas and set deadlines on them to force myself to hit my goals.
People always say deadlines are the key to getting stuff done, so I figured publicizing them on my income report was sure to work.
Well everyone…I failed ya.
Although I was meant to release 20 new articles last quarter, I only released 6. And for the 6 Youtube videos I was supposed to upload, I missed that goal completely.
So what went wrong?
Well, although I started out trying to stick to a certain post schedule, I just don’t think it works for me. I like to have a general idea of what I want to do, but prescheduling 20 posts and setting due dates on them gives me zero flexibility.
With the plan I had, there was a new post scheduled for publishing every 3 days. And since I typically go pretty in-depth in my articles, that's not a lot of time.
It wasn't a complete fail though:
This little experiment taught me that I work best when I have flexibility.
Setting due dates is fine, but if I get a new idea and a burst of creativity, I need to be able to pursue those as well.
I guess I'll be working out how to achieve a balance between consistency and flexibility in Q4.
Q3 Still Brought Some New Content
Although I didn't technically meet my content goals, I'm really happy with the content I did release in Q3.
- How to Make Money as a Personal Trainer (9 Best Ways) – A great guest post for anyone interested in personal training as a career.
- How to Start Working From Home: The Definitive Guide – This was in the works for a while and I'm really happy with the end result. It's a great hub for anyone who wants to start making money from home.
- How to Become a Paid Online Proofreader – This is a huge guide for anyone interested in making money proofreading.
- All the Best Online Proofreading Jobs (50+) – I wrote this to accompany the above guide. It's a massive resource for newbies and long-time proofreaders looking for job leads.
- Treasure Trooper Review: Everything You Need to Know – This isn't super special, but I used it to help me come up with a template for future reviews.
If you take a look at any of those articles, you'll see that they're quite in-depth. That's one of the reasons I don't feel too guilty about falling short on my content plan.
When I created it, I didn't really take into account that some posts would take much longer to write than others. And this quarter I just so happened to focus on posts that required a lot of research and time.
I still think I can hit my article goals by the end of the year (48 new articles total), but I'm not too sure about the Youtube video goal. We'll see.
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Blog Income and Expenses for Q3 2020
All income and expenses are recorded in Canadian dollars. Income is based on money that has actually hit my bank account.
Income Breakdown: $12,427.31 Gross Profit
Here's a monthly breakdown:
- July: $3,891.10
- August: $4,075.22
- September: $4,460.99
Here's what I actually earned from:
- Affiliate Income ($9,427.73):
- 5 Dollar Meal Plan – $6.06
- Adbloom – $1,288
- Rakuten – $33.11
- Bookscouter – $2.65
- Transcribe Anywhere – $743.93
- Mediavine – $2,999.58
That was the first thing that came to mind as I crunched the numbers this quarter.
I averaged over $4,000/month in revenue and I seriously can't believe it.
That's absolutely mind-blowing to me, and I just want to thank everyone for sticking around all this time. I couldn't have done it without you.
As you can see, nearly half of that income came from MaxBounty, which is one of the first affiliate networks I ever joined. I'm mostly promoting survey sites over there, and they've been going strong these past months.
To keep the momentum going and to help people stay safer on these types of sites, I'm working on some more survey and GPT site related content.
I'm also trying to focus on bigger ticket sales like the TranscribeAnywhere course and ProofreadAnywhere course, along with other affiliate courses.
Expense Breakdown: $2,519.98 Spent
- MailerLite – $170.96
- Bank Fees – $133.81
- Virtual Assistant – $252
- Writer – $83.85
- Office Supplies – $892.58
- GSuite – $21.06
- Ubersuggest – $290
- Evernote – $53.99
- SurferSEO – $1.35
- Training and Education – $182.07
- Domain & Hosting – $438.31
Some notable things:
Yup, I hired a virtual assistant!… Sort of. This actually happened out of the blue as my girlfriend needed some extra work, so I asked her if she'd be willing to do some graphic design, social media management, email management, and other tasks for me, and she said yes! It's been awesome having a helping hand.
The office supplies expenses were for a desk and shelving unit. As I mentioned in the last quarter, I moved houses so I needed these, and Ikea hooked it up.
Ubersuggest was offering a lifetime deal on one of their plans so I decided to go for it. Pretty good tool so far and good value for what I paid seeing as most SEO tools cost upwards of $50/month.
I also tried SurferSEO to see if it could save me some time, but while I liked it, I don't know if I'll continue using it. The content editor is neat but it didn't provide as many long-tail keywords and queries as I would've liked.
Total Net Profit: $9,907.33
Traffic Breakdown: 311,106 Pageviews
Compared to last quarter I gained 115,290 pageviews in Q3. That's an increase of about 62%!
Looking at my analytics over the past 2 years, it's pretty normal to get an increase around this time. Combine that with people still not being able to go out and do as much, and economic troubles, and it's easy to see why my traffic increased so much.
Some interesting insights?
- It's easy to see that people are trying to save more money – For example, my post on how to get cashback for receipts saw an increase in traffic of 102% from last quarter.
- SEO can take time, even for older sites – In the last 90 days, my Sweatcoin review (which I posted back in February) has gone from page 2 of Google to an avg. position of 5.8 on the first page. Compared to last quarter, it received 136% more traffic in Q3. I've barely touched the post since it was originally published, so that just goes to show that things can take time (that's one of the reasons I'm so adamant on getting quality content out quickly and consistently).
- People are still interested in survey sites – My income breakdown above already supports this fact, and just like last quarter, my top survey sites post was a popular one in Q3. It gained 164% more traffic.
Email List: 3,618 Subscribers
I started July with 2,316 subscribers and ended September with 3,618.
That's 1,302 new subscribers for the quarter and an average of 434 subscribers per month.
This is very similar growth compared to last quarter, which is interesting since I had 62% more traffic this quarter.
But, it does make sense as I haven't changed my email list growth tactics at all recently. I honestly need to do a lot of work here, both with my opt-ins and with the emails I actually send out to subscribers.
I've been so focused on blog content that my list has been neglected a bit, and that's the opposite of how things should be.
I'm even embarrassed to say that my monthly newsletter – Swift Saturday – has gone unsent for the past 3 months. No one has really noticed though (or they just haven't missed it much) so maybe it did need some work. (If you have noticed and you've been waiting for it, I'm going to try to revive it soon.)
All in all, I really need to work on this side of my business.
Going Into Q4
A common theme in my past income reports has been content.
Content this, content that. It always seems to be that I just can't create enough content. I can only write one blog post, email, or video script at a time!
But, content is literally what my business revolves around. Without content, none of you would be reading this.
So, I've been thinking a lot about how to create more helpful content for everyone, without outsourcing everything and losing my own voice on the blog. Because don't get me wrong, I love creating content. I don't want to give that up.
That's why I'm being careful about what I outsource. My rules for what I can outsource are that I either:
- Wouldn't be able to write that content myself; or
- It would be better and more valuable written by someone else
I'm not going to reveal my exact ideas just yet, but hopefully, in my Q4 income report, I'll be able to show you some results.
If all goes well, I'll be able to pump out some extremely helpful and high-quality content at a much more consistent rate. And, I'll free up time so that I can work on other content (including blog articles, emails, and potentially even products).
Founders in Focus
One thing that I will reveal that's in the works is a Founders in Focus series.
This idea originally started as Freelancers in Focus, but I decided to make it a series that focuses on all types of business owners and entrepreneurs.
The idea with this series is to profile business owners to learn more about their business, how they got started, how they made their first bit of money, how they kept the momentum going afterward, their plans for the future, and more.
The interviews will be text-based so you can easily skim them for insights on how to potentially start your OWN similar business.
If it works out how I'm imagining it, it's going to be awesome.
By the end of Q4, I'd like to have at least 3 interviews published. And yes, that's me setting another public deadline for myself – let's see how it goes.
Are you a founder? Want to be one of the first to be featured on the series? Contact me!
Want to Start a Blog?
This income report only scratches the surface of what's possible when you own a content-based online business. It's by far my favorite way to make money online.
If you like the idea of learning, sharing knowledge, and creating content around a topic you're interested in, you might want to learn how to start a blog too.
Take my free email course to learn more:
The course will show you how to pick a topic for your blog, how to find ideas for what to write about, how to get traffic, and of course, how to make money blogging.
Hope to see you in there!
Here we go folks. It's the homestretch.
Q4 is the time to end things off with a bang and soon we'll be leaving 2020 in the dust. See you in the next report!
Continue the journey by checking out my 2020 Q4 income report.