A quick update – May 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  My intent was to  use this as a journal of my progress and update it at least once a month.  But, life has been busy and at times chaotic.  Anyway, I’m back now.

 

I’ve made some great progress (but still have a ways to go).  I have now stabilized my income, so at least I can pay all of my short term bills (mortgage, food, electric, car, etc.).  I’ve made some great progress on paying down my debt, but I still have a ways to go.  I know, I need to be patient on this one.  It will happen all in good time.

 

I’ve been able to monetize my flooring blog, so I’m now making around $1,500/month.  It’s a great start, but I need to figure out how to accelerate this further.  My original goal was to get this to $5,000/month by the end of the year, but I’m now realizing that this is harder than I thought and it’s going to take me longer than I expected to get there.  So my new goal is to get $2,500/month by the end of this year and $5,000 by end of next year.  This will take some hard work, and I realize need to focus on this since it’s my future.

 

I had a bit of a hiatus on my blog for around 7 weeks (combo of my blog having some overhaul work (I was having site speed issues), spending time with my dad (as he had double bypass surgery) and then just being busy with work.  But, now I’m back in the swing and just did 3 blog posts in a row (i.e. one per week).

 

I’m now working on trying to improve the ranking of one of my top articles on Hardwood flooring trends for 2017.  This article is doing well, but it could be doing better.  Currently it’s ranked #2 and I would like it to be #1 (historically for my trend posts, my annual trend article has been #1).  I believe that my article is stronger than the one in first position, but that article had an advantage from order of entry (it was written 2 months prior to mine).  So, I have some work ahead of me.

 

I’m now working with a painting company in Westchester.  That has been great both in paying the bills and keeping my mind going.  I’ve had fun (as I love decorating) and I’ve learned a lot in the process.  This is just a part time job while I’m working on my blog (as well as my new marketing business).

 

I’m now doing blogging work for several customers in varied industries.  This has also been fun as I’m learning a lot about varied businesses.  One of my favorite clients is Rich Witt and he buys houses fast and for cash on Long Island.

 

I really didn’t understand how this worked until I spoke with him and got educated on the subject.  I used to think that these places were scams (and in all fairness, some are).  But Rich is highly ethical and really helps people that need it.  Some of them have assets, but they just don’t have the funds or capital (or time) to fix their homes, and they really need to sell quickly.  Often this happens with houses that have been inherited.  Some of these homes have been neglected for years and need a lot of repair and improvement and the heirs just don’t have the capital to put into the home until after it’s sold.

 

I also had a bit of an idea yesterday on how I can use this blog better to help me and my clients.  For several of my clients, I need to build backlinks for them to strengthen their domain and page authority.  And, I’ve been doing that in several ways.  I remembered that one way to do that is to create a free wordpress.com site and then backlink to them via blog posts I write.

 

And, then I thought, duh…I already have a paid and hosted blog (which is better), so I can now just develop this blog further and write targeted articles for them on here.  Of course, I can use this for my benefit, too.

 

So, I’m very excited about this realization.  More blog posts to come soon.   Real soon.

My 1st Passive Income Report – December 2016 – $1,140

Dec 2016 - 1st Passive Income ReportThis is my first passive income report.  I really started trying to monetize my blogs in January 2016.  My first month, I made just slightly over $100.  It was just extra income, and I was running a more than full time business, so I was happy with it.

 

While running my very full time business, I was gradually learning and getting better, but this passive income thing has been much more challenging and slower than I expected.  By the time I reached August, I made a bit over $300.  From August- November, I ranged from $286-$452/month – and it was a bit up and down.

 

I was getting a bit frustrated and depressed, and knowing that my website traffic dips from Thanksgiving to New Years, I thought I’d be lucky to reach $500 for December.

 

Now that I no longer have my business (and trying to start a new one), I’m now all of a sudden more dependent on this income, and I need it to rapidly grow so I can reach my bills (and make it through my start up phase (more about that in a future post).

 

Finally, on December 1st, I added ads to my website.  I had started the application process in October and Monumetric approved me on Nov 3rd.  But, there were various delays (at first on my end just finding the time to schedule the initial conference call) and then on their end (my person had some personal/family issues and then Thanksgiving).  But voila, we were live on the afternoon of December 1st.

 

I used Monumetric as they set up everything for you and have an excellent reputation.  When you work with a company like Monumeric (or Adthrive), you generally keep a higher percentage of the profits vs Adsense and they know how to drive the ads better.  (note: I have no experience in setting up ads).

 

Now the “catch” with these places is that you need to have a lot of traffic to your site.  Monumetric requires 80,000 page views/month and Adthrive 100,000 pages per month.  Thankfully, I was around 120,000 when I applied.  I was actually accepted by both, but Monumetric got back to me faster, so currently, I’m working with them.  (I may add Adthrive later…will have to figure out).

 

I tried not to be obnoxious with the ads (as I see some sites where they are so distracting and annoying and they slow things down.  I’m sure I could make more money by adding more ads, but I didn’t want to create a poor user experience, so this seemed to be a nice balance.

 

Commentary and key thoughts.

My total income came to $1,140.  I was very happy with this number, especially as I had set a goal at the beginning of the year to hit $1,000/month by the end of the year.  And, based on how things were going, I didn’t think there was any way I would come anywhere close.

 

Most of this came from ads.  But, this isn’t so bad, because as I write more content and (hopefully) get more traffic, this will gradually build.  I was happy with my Amazon associate sales (but things dropped off a bit around the 24th…surprise, surprise).  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t earn affiliate income from any other sources.  (Some of this is because I deprioritized some of those) and some is because I need to do some things differently in the future…I have some ideas, but I just need some time to implement…and some time for some of my new articles to percolate.

 

Income breakdown

Ads: $799.21

  • Monumetric $792.46
  • Youtube $6.75

 

Affiliate Marketing $315.28

  • Amazon $315.28

 

My ebooks (after fees) $11.64

 

Other

Buy me a coffee $14.26

 

Note: I’m not including expenses yet…because most of my expenses are already covered under my business, so they aren’t incremental.  But, I did invest in 2 items at the end of November:

  • Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Gardner-Schroeder.  For anyone who is looking to do affiliate marketing or monetizing their blog, I highly highly recommend this.  I learned so much and the course was easy to follow.  You can do it at your own pace.  And, you also get to join her facebook group which is very active and totally awesome.  You can ask Michelle and others for feedback and advice on your site.  And, there are many top bloggers in there who can help you.  Michelle also creates share days, where you can share a new post you wrote and others will share it, and you share theirs.  This course was soooo worth it.  (I almost never buy anything, but I’m glad I made this investment.

 

  •  Tailwind – I used this to make scheduling on Pinterest faster and easier.  I’m so glad I did.  It’s definitely lead to an increase in repins and traffic to my site.  I bought the 1 year membership (as that is only about $10/month and you have unlimited pins).  I used someone’s affiliate link, so it saved me $15 (and that person earned $15, too).  The same will happen if you use my link – you’ll save $15 and I’ll get a $15 credit.  (So, I only paid $104 for the year).  They have a free trial offer.

 

Moving ahead:

My goal for the end of this year is to hit $5,000/month. I’m not sure yet how I’ll get there, but I hope I can figure it out soon.  I have several ideas to try (and need to find some spare time to implement).

December’s numbers are a bit higher than other months, as ad rates are higher for the holidays, and more people buy gifts on Amazon, so I’m expecting things to decrease for January.  The goal I had set for January was $875 and for February $1,250 (as this will help me move towards my goal of $5,000 by December.  So far, January is off to a good start.

 

Right now, all of the income is coming from my main site, TheFlooringGirl.com.  My niche Amazon site (CoffeeTableBuyingGuide) hasn’t done much of anything, so I’ve moved away from this for now.  At the end of last month, I migrated my new marketing site to a new domain name to match my company name: DynamoMarketers.com.

 

Key articles written on December:

The Flooring Girl

 

Dynamo Marketers

(I wanted to hold off on writing here until the domain was transferred)

 

Making a bit of progress

I know this is going to be a roller coaster ride, but hopefully I will continue to move in the right direction.

Yesterday, I signed the papers…so I can now move on to the next chapter in my life.  It felt good.  Now, I can focus more.

This morning, I wrote my epic post Hardwood flooring trends for 2017.  It’s around 3,000 words – truly epic.  Last year’s post for 2016 trends did great – around 115,000 clicks.  I hope this one does well, too.  I shared it on social media and I’ll need to do more of that over the next few days.

This afternoon, I spoke on the phone with a blogger buddy of mine. I’ve known her for a while, but this is the first time we spoke.  I was trying to help her with one of her questions and give her advice.  And, as luck would have it, she gave me some advice on my new business, and I think I’m now closer to defining my niche.  Yay.

I will work on writing it out tomorrow and next day.

New Year’s Eve is upon us, and I can’t wait to be done with this year.  Next year will be a fresh start, and I hope to have a productive January and get things going.

Wish me luck.

Trying to have a positive outlook

It is tough now.  I won’t sugar coat it.  On Tuesday, I had a few more set backs.  It’s very challenging to be positive right now as I keep feeling like I’ve gotten beat up, and I’m also very unsure about my future (esp the financial aspect of it).

 

So, one of the things I’m doing is trying to start my day off right with my Morning Miracle Routine.  This is my modified version of Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-so-obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8am).

 

Hal is amazing.  I first heard him speak on a podcast.  Wow, what an amazing recovery and miracle story.  He has the best attitude, and it’s super inspiring.

 

So, for the last week or so, I’ve been spending just 10 minutes or so, following his “SAVERS” guideline.  I modify the first S (Silence) to be spending a minute with my cats where I am silent, but I am listening to their purring.  They seem to purr the instant I touch them.  And, I think it’s one of the most comforting sounds and it always relaxes me and makes me happy.

 

You can get Hal’s book on Amazon.  I think it’s paperback, as well as a kindle version.  I highly recommend it.  I need to make sure I keep this habit up, as it is definitely getting my day off to a better start and it’s giving me more energy.

 

This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see a new lead for my new business, so I’m about to call them.

 

I have lots planned for today, and I hope it’s a productive one.

Save

Yes, It’s Time For A Fresh Start

Welcome to my new blog called “Time For a Fresh Start.”

I wish I could say this was a happy time in my life.  But, I can’t…it’s the opposite…probably the lowest point in my life (at least so far).

Without going into details, let me just say that I have had a tiring and stressful career for the last 9 or so years.  It has been draining in so many ways.  And, this last month has been an absolute nightmare.  I’m exhausted and feel beat up.

I have basically lost almost everything financially.  I lost my business (long story) that I’ve spent 9 years growing (probably working 100+ hrs/week on).  I’m bound by a non-compete clause, so I’m not allowed to operate it or anything similar for 2 years.  I’ve lost almost all my savings – I have enough to pay to the mortgage for January and most of February’s expenses.  After that, who knows?

Yes, I lost my job once before and had to reinvent myself.  But, when that happened, I had savings.  I had a cushion.  That’s all gone now.  And, now, I have a very large mortgage and a business loan that needs to be paid off.  Yes, I’m about to go into debt…it’s just a matter of how much, and how quickly I can get out of this hole.

This all happened the day before Thanksgiving.  Yes, it was a wonderful way to spend my favorite holiday and a wonderful holiday season.  NOT!

I’ve evaluated all sorts of options (including filing bankruptcy, short selling my house, renting my place, etc.), but all have significant issues.  Regardless of what happens (if it’s bankruptcy, going into credit card debt, losing my place, etc.), it all boils down to one thing…I need to figure out how to reinvent myself again and make money quickly.

It would be easier if I was younger and had more energy.  It would be easier if I didn’t have a huge mortgage and could just move back in with parents (and erase my mortgage).  But, I have to deal with the cards I’ve been dealt and figure out a new plan.  I had a plan (and a timeline), but due to circumstances outside my control, that plan won’t work and I need a new one.

On the positive side, my life’s journey has taught me many things and lessons, and I intend to learn from this for the next leg of the journey.  I intend to search and reapply my learning in my new business.

So, I need to start something fresh.  Something new.  And, I can’t miss a beat.  This blog is going to help me chronicle my journey and my progress.  It’s going to be part of the cure.

Today, it’s the day after Christmas.  December was spent closing down the business (and I have some loose ends that will continue on through end of January).  I’m taking this last week of the year to get my head on straight and refocus for the coming year and next phase of my life.  I know this is going to be a long and tough journey.  I want to be in a good place by the summer and have a super Thanksgiving in 2017 – the 1 year anniversary of all of this.

I have a budget…what I need to earn to earn each month to make it by (i.e. to pay the bills and make sure I stabilize the debt) .  It’s very stretching, and I have to do it  I have no other choice.  Once I get to those numbers on a steady basis, then I will put together a plan for growth with the first goal to be eliminating the debt and then continued growth so I can have a normal life once again.

Ultimately, I’m trying to move to reducing stress in my life and enjoying life more.  I do not want stress in my job, nor do I want to be stressed about income. It’s hard, because stress is now at an all-time high.  And, while I’m moving out of a stressful career, I have financial stress of making the new one work quickly.  But, nonetheless, my dream is to reduce stress and enjoy life more.  It will be a journey.

Here’s what I’m doing (job wise)

1. I’m starting a new marketing business.  This will be the bread and butter for my income (at least for now) and hopefully, it will blossom into a large business.  It may be sporadic at the beginning, but eventually, it will be steady and growing.

2.  I’m trying to grow passive income via a couple of blogs I already own.  This will be supplemental income to steady things out for now, and I will will spend “downtime” here to continue to grow this because ultimately, this will be a big piece of my income.  It will eventually enable me to both make more money and work fewer hours on my active income.

3.  In the meantime, I will likely supplement my income w/ some other part-time income streams related to home improvement.  Unfortunately #1 and #2 will probably not bring in enough income short term to meet my costs.  This is something I may do part-time for 6-12 months (or maybe I’ll find a temp part-time job in corporate America) to help make ends meet, while I’m building #1 and #2.  I’m restricted on some of the things I’m allowed to do, but there are certainly areas that don’t conflict with my non-compete.

Progress on #1 – My new marketing company

  • I have a name and business cards
  • I’ve established an LLC
  • I have a new website set up
  • I have someone who wants to hire me mid Jan starting at 10 hrs/week and then gradually moving up to 20 hrs/week.  This should last for at least 3 months.
  • I have several friends and business colleagues who are interested in me doing a project or two for them.  These a piece meal projects, but can add up.  I’m planning to do at least 1 of them this week.

Goals and progress on #2 – Passive online income streams

My goal is to earn $1,000/month from passive income by the end of this year and $5,000/month by the end of December 2017.

I’ve been earning a bit of passive income from affiliate marketing (around $300-$400/month for the last 6 months.  It’s not a lot, but it’s a start.  On December 1st, I finally took the plunge and added some ads to my main site, and they’ve done pretty well.

Due to the ads, I’m happy to report that it now looks like I’m on track to earn $1,000 for the month of December.  Woohoo.  (Now, I won’t get paid for this until Feb/Mar), but at least I think I will make it.

Now December has higher rates for ads and more purchases on Amazon (holiday shopping), so the numbers will be lower in January.  I would guess that translates to around $600-$650 for January.

To stay on track towards $5,000/month by end of Dec 2017, that means I need to earn $875 for January, $1,250 for February and $1,625 in March, so I have my work cut out for me.

As I am now writing more content and learning how to use Pinterest better, this should help me, but I’m still going to need to figure out how to build on what I’ve already built.

I hope to share monthly passive income reports on here and share my learning as I go, so stay tuned.

 

Progress on #3 – Additional part-time income streams

I’m going to be meeting with a general contractor (one of my boyfriend’s friends/acquaintances) later this week.  I also thought of a few others I could contact if this doesn’t work out.

 

Personal Goals:

As I mentioned, I really want to reclaim my life.  It’s gotten out of whack in many many ways.  It’s challenging to quantify some of goals (e.g. happiness, more time with friends/family, more time to myself, etc.) but in the meantime, I want to outline some goals:

1.  Lose 20 pounds by end of 2017.

My weight has gotten a bit out of control (for many reasons including poor eating, not enough exercise, too much stress, not enough sleep and some steriods.  I don’t like the way I look, nor the way I feel.  And, it’s not good for my health.  When I went to the doctor in the end of June, I was shocked by my weight – an all time high and borderline dangerous (in my opinion).  My blood pressure was also high (partly due to the weight.

So I figured that I need to lose the weight.  It will make me feel better and look better, and that in turn will make me feel better.  When I feel better, I have more energy and I’m more productive, so it’s a win win.

I’m happy to report that I lost 9 pounds in 6 months, and I can definitely feel it and a few people have noticed it, too.  Yay.  So, I need to continue this journey and lose another 20 pounds.

I will write more about this soon, and I’ll be keeping track.  I’m hoping to do this through a combo of eating better, sleeping more/better and more exercise.  Stay tuned.

 

2.  Clean up my apartment by end of January/February

Yes, I’ve let my place go.  I need to fix that.  It’s such a huge mess.  It will take a long time to do (especially because I have a lot of other things to do now, too).  I want to get the main decluttering done by end of January and full clean/decluttering by end of February.

This will make me feel better and be more productive.

 

After I have #2 complete (and #1 underway), I’m going to move on to some other personal goals and habits.

 

So there you have it.  This is first post of many to come.  I’m hoping that in a year from now, this blog will capture many successes and I will be in a strong and happy place by next Thanksgiving.  I’m hoping that 2 years from now I will be in a great place and 5 years from now, I will really look back at this difficult time and say that this was the best thing that could have happened.