This is my 4th income statement and the final income statement for 2020. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.
I publish these quarterly.
So this is for the 4th quarter of 2020; Oct-Dec. Virtually all of 2020 was a challenge for a lot of people all over the world. And while it was certainly unusual for me, my family, and my online business efforts, it has been my best year in many, many ways.
As you know if you read my 3rd quarter report, I was able to quit my day job in September and then head out on the road for a month with my family in our RV in October. It was a dream come true. I was also interviewed on the Income School YouTube channel while on the road. Check out that interview below.
Let’s get into the details. The 2020 yearly recap will follow the quarterly results.
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GROSS REVENUE – $78,364
Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes.
Quarter 4 was up 71% from quarter 3. Quarter 3 had a gross income of $45,794. Remember too that I have 4 sites with ads from Mediavine, so a good check of the revenue was just from ads on those 4 sites (details on that below).
Lastly, the YouTube channel I started for the hot tub site late April 2020 is doing really well too. I started a new YouTube channel in October, but it’s still struggling to get going, so no revenue there yet.
I also started 2 new websites in Q4 and am slowing down or stopping publishing on some of the older ones.
My intention is to sell 2 of my existing sites in Q3 of 2021, and hopefully, those new sites will be earning something by then.
Aren’t familiar with selling websites?
Generally you multiple somewhere between 25-40 times the amount a website earns per month to get the figure it would likely sell for. So a website earning $2,000 per month could potentially sell for $80,000.
Another good reason to start a website of your own!
So here’s looking forward to 2021!
Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning).
Gross income was $21,211
Gross income was $27,477
Gross income was $29,675
As you can see, the month over month increase was pretty good! All 3 months were also a fair amount better than any of the 3 previous months.
Blogging Income by Category for Q4 2020
Ads on my websites – $46,401
If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of 86% over Q3! Not quite the 123% increase I saw between the previous quarters, but great nonetheless.
The grocery site has grown the fastest and is doing great on ads, but all sites are doing over $3,000/month each. Of course, I do expect that to drop off in Jan 2021 when ad revenues are traditionally low. But even with the January blues, ad revenue this month should still be well over $2,000 per site.
Again, here’s looking forward to 2021!
Here’s what I did in Q4 for each site in terms of RPM:
Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q4 is always considered the best quarter of the year due to the amount of shopping that takes place in Nov & Dec.
Middle Class Dad – $35.49 (was 27.56)
Kitchen Appliance HQ – $38.49 (was $25.12)
The Grocery Store Guy – $39.29 (was $31.27)
Hot Tub Owner HQ– $47.52 (was $34.19)
As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors. So eventually, as my traffic grows (it’s the smallest of my 4 sites by a little bit), it will become the top ads earner.
That’s due in large part to the demographics of who visits a site about hot tubs. Boomers with money, if I just say it like it is. And advertisers want to be in front of people like that.
Ads breakdown by website
Middle Class Dad – $7,802.81 (down from $4,517.31)
Kitchen Appliance HQ – $9,294.59 (up from $4,467.35)
The Grocery Store Guy – $18,743.47 (way up from $10,440.94)
Hot Tub Owner HQ – $10,560.95 (way up from $5,480.07)
Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $2,108 (up from 1,117)
Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $7,523 (up from $3,302)
Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll know that’s also up quite a bit from Q3.
Q3 saw Amazon at $3,302, so Q4 went up by 128%. My YouTube channel, linked to the hot tub site, did almost $500 on Amazon just last month alone.
Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:
Middle Class Dad – $1,048 (down from $289)
Kitchen Appliance HQ – $1,180 (up from $571)
The Grocery Store Guy – $44 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads – (up from $21)
Hot Tub Owner HQ – $3,985 (up from $1,962)
Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,264 (up from $457)
Other Affiliate Income – $4,377 – up 25% (up from $3,515)
I use a number of other affiliate networks with small, but varying degrees of success.
I generate very small amounts of revenue from the following affiliate networks:
- Max Bounty
- Commission Junction/CJ
- Share a Sale
- Impact Radius
Most of the affiliate revenue is from BetterHelp on my relationship posts, BuyerZone on both Hot Tub channels and the Grocery site, and Instacart on the grocery site.
A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:
- GQueues – A desktop/app task organizer program that I literally couldn’t live without
- Project24 – The only blogging course I’ve ever purchased, and one I highly recommend in this article
- Acabado WordPress Theme – The WordPress theme you’re seeing now. I love it and use it on all my sites
- Name Cheap Domain registration & Hosting – Very inexpensive way to get started blogging!
Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.
Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.
So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.
Sponsored Posts – $17,219 (was $12,759)
I recapped sponsored posts in my last income report, but I’ll restate it again, more succinctly, here.
What is a sponsored post?
A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.
In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.
They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.
While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.
It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.
I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And I only do them on this site and not my other 3 sites.
Consulting – $774 (was $193)
I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.
It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.
I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me.
While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.
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Blogging Expenses by Category for Q4 2020 – $4,275. (was $5,935)
Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)
I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 5. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.
On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.
But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis. So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.
And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics.
But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it.
CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link
WPX Website Hosting – $149.97
This went up as I upgraded with WPX to allow for more than 5 websites.
I was paying $24.99/month, and unfortunately, the next level up is double that. But I needed that as I was launching my 2 new sites, and also host sites for my brother and brother-in-law respectively.
I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month.
Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link
I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.
So after 2 months of investigation, I settled on WPX and overall have been very happy.
So if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend them.
CLICK HERE to check out WPX with my affiliate link
ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)
Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).
ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.
If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns.
It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.
I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.
CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link
Hired Writers & editor – $3,810. (was $5,417)
I was surprised myself to see this had gone down. However, I have lost 3 writers and not replaced them, and I’m not adding any new posts to the kitchen site other than a few I have already written I haven’t published yet.
I changed editors right before the start of Q4 and now use the company Get It Done For Me Virtual Services.
They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.
And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.
Right now, if we’re talking posts under 1,700 words, they prepare 10 articles a week for me.
I don’t publish quite that many as I have so many other tasks to juggle, and I only publish posts that are as good as they can be as I’m picky.
Here’s what they do to prepare the posts for me for final editing, main image, and publishing:
- Run through Copyscape to ensure none of my writers are plagiarising
- Use Grammarly to check spelling & Grammar (which I use the free plan for also)
- Insert images throughout the post above each subheading (I like using embedded Twitter images)
- Insert a relevant YouTube video above the final subheading
- Insert answer targets at the top and below each subheading if the writers didn’t include them
I have 6 writers I’m using, which is down from the 8 I had previously.
Most came from an ad I ran on the Problogger job board, and 2 are on Upwork, and 1 is independent. They all have pros and cons; some are super fast, and others super thorough, and both of those have merit for different reasons.
I don’t just tell the writers the title of the articles and hope for the best though.
Instead, I give them an outline with the title, subheadings, internal links I want added, and I also spell out what I think the searcher intent is.
Not sure what I mean?
Figuring out searcher intent is KEY to writing the article that the Google searcher is looking for. Check out my ultimate SEO guide to learn more about how I do this, and all of the SEO tips and tricks I use (which are all free).
Just click that link to read it here on my site.
Logo expense – $100.
Having paid for 2 logos in Q3, I realized how much better they were than the ones I was creating, so I got the same guy to do 1 more for me. I found them on 48 Hour Logo and I liked the process (different designers submit designs and I pick the one I like the best at a set price of $120.
Now some of the logos submitted were pretty bad and looked like something I could have done in about 2 minutes using Photoshop. But there were enough good submissions for me to feel good about recommending them.
Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $74,089 (was $39,859)
That’s a monthly average net profit of $24,696.
So, after the major expenses, that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get taken out, of $296,355, or an increase over Q3’s net profit of 86%. The previous increase was 72% so we’re heading in the right direction!
Q1 of 2021 will see continued ads growth on the Hot Tub site especially and ads added to the hot tub YouTube site, although they feel flat despite my adding new videos each week.
I also need to think of ways to add monetization to the grocery site aside from ads.
But I’m very happy with the growth.
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Total Gross Revenue – $167,484
Total Expenses – $14,065
Total Bottom Line Profits – $153,418
As you can see, 2020 was a banner year for me despite the obvious challenges my family and all families have faced this year.
I started 2020 earning a gross of $6,116, and last month grossed $29,675. That means over the course of 2020, my overall gross revenue increased by 385%!
Adding more than 1 website was key to that, and also jumping onto YouTube (although I don’t feel like that’s crucial for success if you’re hesitant).
Now, I’m no genius. So if you want to do what I’m doing, there’s no reason you can’t!
And again with how 2020 has gone so far, there’s really no better time than now to take your future into your own hands and take control of your destiny.
Here’s my interview on the Income School YouTube channel as promised!
What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?
Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.
It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.
I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56
Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.
CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.
What do you get in Project 24?
A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.
And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.
Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).
Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?
CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.
Want more detail on how I do what I do?
Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.