Apologies for the lateness of this income report! Had some technical difficulties on the bookkeeping side but things are sorted out now.
If you're interested in reading about what happened with Swift Salary in Q3, I break everything down in this article, including highlights, struggles, income, expenses, future goals, and more. If you have any questions about anything, leave me a comment.
Other 2021 income reports:
- Q1 2021 Blog Income Report: How I Made $13,242.05
- Q2 2021 Income Report: How Swift Salary Made $9,294.53
- To see my past income reports (from my first year blogging up to now), go here.
Highlights from Q3 2021
- 100 Envelope Challenge: Guide, Variations, Trackers (and More) – Really happy with this article. Whipped it up in a day or two, had my VA help with designing the printables, and the post has been doing great. Multiple printable downloads a day (with some people even paying for them even though they're set to $0!)
- PacketStream Review and Guide (In-Depth)
- ySense Review and Earning Guide (In-Depth)
- PlaytestCloud Review, Earning Guide, and Stats (In-Depth)
Similar to last quarter, this is not nearly as much content as I would have liked to have published in Q3.
However, there is a good reason as to why so little new content was published:
The Release of Hustle Finder V1
At the very end of September, I finally got around to releasing the first version of what is currently being called the Hustle Finder.
Hustle Finder is a free tool that lets you filter all the money-making opportunities that have currently been reviewed on Swift Salary. You can enter your country, age, desired payout options, and more, and the tool will filter out any opportunities that don't meet your requirements.
The goal of this tool is simple:
To make it easy for anyone to find a money-making opportunity that suits their needs.
Part of the creation of this tool also involved figuring out the average earning potentials of each of the opportunities featured on the page. To get this data, we spent a lot of time in Q3 surveying real users…
Since the start of 2021 (or even earlier) I've been trying to figure out how to create reviews of money-making opportunities that accurately depict the experience real users are having.
For the longest time, I would test out the opportunities myself to get an idea of things like earning potential, customer support quality, user experience, etc. This took a lot of time.
Then, I moved on to hiring a single user to basically do what I was doing before. This saved some time, but it was unpredictable. Some users would put a lot of detail into their experience, others wouldn't.
On top of that, having data from a single user only wasn't that helpful as experiences can vary a lot depending on the user and the opportunity that's being reviewed.
Finally, I started testing out a new process of surveying multiple users using Google Forms.
In the last quarter, I've paid users from over 40 different countries to fill out over 800 forms, giving me data on 248 different unique money-making opportunities. Across these opportunities, the users surveyed have reported total combined earnings of $357,683.21 USD.
Eventually, the Hustle Finder will display all of these opportunities and more…I just need to get around to publishing the content. Some of the users I've surveyed are helping me with this, but it still takes time.
Overall, I've found myself spending an average of 9-12 hours a week just surveying and paying users, so I still have to figure out how to make this process more efficient. That's time that could be spend publishing content or working on other income-generating tasks.
Updating Old Reviews
To have the reviews on Swift Salary work with the Hustle Finder, I had to add some custom fields and custom taxonomies to each review.
I used the CPT UI plugin for the custom taxonomies and it's been working great so far. As of now, I've added 3 custom taxonomies:
- Country (used to select which countries/regions the opportunity is available in)
- Payout options (used to select the payout options offered by the opportunity)
- Platforms (used to select which platforms the opportunity is available on)
I have some more that I'm thinking of adding in the future but these were the most important to start with.
Updating each review on the site with these new attributes was quite time-consuming as many of the reviews needed other updates as well. So even though I went to simply add a few custom fields and taxonomies, I ended up reformatting articles, adding new content, fixing incorrect information…etc.
Many of the reviews still don't have the user reviews I've gathered in them either, so that's going to be a whole other time-consuming project. I'm planning to have my VA help with that side of things, but need to work out some kinks to make the process as smooth as possible.
In other news…
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My First Paid Product Sale
Selling a Swift Salary branded product has been a goal of mine for a long time now, and in Q3 I finally marked it off the list! The funny thing is, I didn't even do it intentionally.
I did this for two reasons:
- To track the downloads; and
- To see if anyone would pay more than the $0 amount I put them up for
Well, turns out there are some really cool people out there! Out of 232 downloads total in Q3, we made a total of $4.70 in sales.
Unfortunately, I can't cash out the earnings quite yet as Gumroad's minimum payout amount is $10. Hopefully, some more generous people download the printables soon so I can hit that threshold.
This experience definitely has me wanting to put more printables out there too — just to see what they do. Which brings me to the question: Are there any printables you'd like to see released related to finance? Comment below!
Other Small Updates and Highlights
- Updated the Start Here page. This was needed for a long time, and I finally got around to just doing it. The thing holding me back was the fact I'd like to have 1 massive piece of cornerstone content for each of the 3 main categories on my site (Make, Manage, Multiply) but I decided to just get the Start Here page published anyway. I'll get the cornerstone content pieces out when I can.
- Got featured on All-Star Money – This is a daily content roundup of personal finance content by Motley Fool. There are only around 3 articles featured each day, so I'm really proud to have had my 100 envelope challenge article featured there.
- Slow decision making. Sometimes even the smallest decisions (e.g. deciding whether or not to send someone another paid survey even if the first one they filled wasn't great) can take me a long time to make. If there are no detrimental consequences, I need to learn to just make decisions more quickly. If my decision ends up being the wrong decision, lesson learned.
Blog Income and Expenses for Q3 2021
All income and expenses are recorded in Canadian dollars. Income is based on money that has actually hit my bank account.
Income Breakdown: $18,358.07 Gross Profit
Here's a monthly breakdown:
- July: $3,008.73
- August: $2,848.83
- September: $12,500.51 (!) (First over $10k month — more on how this happened below)
Here's the full earning summary:
- Affiliate Income ($13,372.82):
- Impact Radius – $164.28
- MaxBounty – $2,484.21
- Proofreading Academy – $73.45
- Advertising ($4,985.25):
- Mediavine – $4,985.25
As you can see, this was NOT a typical month in terms of income. Sweatcoin changed their payout terms for affiliates so I cashed out a ton of the referrals I had saved up. (In hindsight, I should've saved some as they gained even more value later).
Without the massive Sweatcoin payment, I would've only grossed $9,464.84 — a +$170.31 improvement over last quarter.
Expense Breakdown: $5,629.65 Spent
- MailerLite – $136.41
- GSuite – $31.77
- Siteground (hosting & domain, 1 year) – $416.24
- Bank fees & charges – $180.38
- Depreciation expense – $178.52
- Paid user review surveys (for Hustle Finder opportunity data) – $2,097.25
- Freelance writers – $2,135.75
- Slack – $33.01
- StickyPass Premium – $37.59
- Evernote Premium – $89.99
- Starter Story Premium – $128.99
As you can see, the big expenses this quarter were for freelancers. I ramped up my efforts in surveying users for data on Hustle Finder opportunities, and also paid writers to help create guides for many different opportunities. 70+ of these are sitting in drafts waiting to get published as I haven't quite figured out how to outsource the entire process yet. At the moment I'm a big bottleneck in taking review/guide articles from the guide phase to being published.
* Total Net Profit: $12,728.42 *
Traffic Breakdown: 338,300 Pageviews
I ended Q3 of 2021 with a total of 338,300 pageviews from 224,158 unique users. Pretty happy with that.
Here's how those numbers stack up to the past quarters in 2021:
- Q1 2021: 216,697 pageviews (-43% vs Q3 2021)
- Q2 2021: 276,502 pageviews (-20% vs Q3 2021)
And here's how traffic in this Q3 compared to previous Q3's:
- Q3 2018: 34,292 pageviews (-163% vs Q3 2021)
- Q3 2019: 128,769 pageviews (-89% vs Q3 2021)
- Q3 2020: 311,106 pageviews (-8% vs Q3 2021)
As you can see, Q3 of 2020 was actually really close to the same number of pageviews as Q3 2021. I would've liked to see a larger increase year over year, but I really haven't published a ton of content this year, so the numbers make sense.
Overall, I'm really happy with the traffic numbers this quarter (although I was just short of a quarter million unique users!)
Email List: 5,361 Active Subscribers
Started July with 4,720 active subscribers and ended September with 5,361. That's a 12% increase.
Here's my growth chart and averages:
The reason for the big difference in the “List growth” chart and “Avg. subscribe rate” is because unfortunately, many people who sign up for my list or email courses never confirm their email. I'm not exactly sure what I can do about this.
Swift Saturday Newsletter
The Swift Saturday newsletter is a weekly newsletter sent out (you guessed it) every Saturday. It's full of extra money ideas, job opportunities, business ideas and stories, financial tips, investment opportunities, and more.
Open rates for the newsletter this quarter sat at an average of 14.47%. That's a tiny improvement over the last quarter (the open rate avg was 14.325%).
Again, some letters had abysmally low open rates under 10%, which brought the average down.
I think I need to do a better job of promoting the newsletter. Right now, my email courses just funnel subscribers into it, which might be a weird transition.
I should also start publishing the newsletters online to let potential subscribers read them first before signing up.
Follow Up On Goals for Q3 of 2021
- Update my Start Here page – Done!
- More reviews and guides – Constant work in progress. Should've been more specific with this goal.
- More interviews – Have not been working on this. I think I'll pick this project back up once the Hustle Finder is more built out.
- Update my Make Money Online course – Still need to update this 😬
- Continue working on site speed – Haven't done much here. Still need to implement Cloudflare.
- Release the Hustle Finder – Done!
- Experiment with Tik Tok some more – Need to do this.
- Update more old reviews – Constant work in progress. Still have some very dated reviews that need updating, it just hasn't been high on the priority list.
- Update old articles – Same as above.
Goals for Q4 of 2021
Here are my main goals for the last quarter of 2021:
- Publish 50 reviews – This is just about how many draft reviews I have sitting right now. I'll be happy if I publish at least 20 reviews this quarter, but 50 is the big goal.
- Upload 1 hustle review to TikTok– I'd like to test out short review clips to promote the Hustle Finder and get people using it.
- Get reviews up-to-date with user reviews – I currently have hundreds of user reviews that need to be added to current reviews on Swift Salary. I need to figure out an efficient way to add them to articles to ensure they're helpful, don't slow down the page, and don't mess up the user experience.
That's really it. Adding to the Hustle Finder is my top priority atm as I think it has the potential to help a lot of people as more and more opportunities are added to it.
I have some side goals and I'll most likely come up with new goals as I go along, but I'm keeping my main focus this quarter simple.
Hope you enjoyed this income report and got something useful out of it. I always find it helpful to reflect on the past in these reports…highly recommend doing the same for your own business!
In the course, I cover the technical stuff along with how to pick a topic/niche for your blog, how to come up with content ideas, how to get readers, and most importantly, how to make money blogging.
- Have any questions about this quarter's blog income report? Leave a comment below!