Matt and I launched our first book this month 100 Ways to Make Money Online* and had great success (for our standards)!
Here are the stats:
$13.87 – one month of web hosting
$8.00 – keyword research tool
Profit for the year: $25.26
Our first profitable month!
As new business owners, we consider any profit an accomplishment.
It’s especially exciting because we have such low expenses and keeping expenses low is a major accomplishment for us as a lean startup with limited overhead.
Passive income – the sort of income we want to make
Some of you might wonder why such a small amount of profit excites us.
If you’ve read our books or our blog, you know our goal is to earn passive income.
Our book did just that this past month.
So sure, Matt and I could have gotten night jobs, become Uber drivers, or found some other way to trade time for money and make much more than we did.
Instead, we earned passive income from a scalable information product that can earn money till the end of time.
Sharpening our blog focus
Matt and I have thought a lot about the difference between blog posts optimized for search engines and blog posts optimized for social media.
The former revolves around targeting keywords while the latter focuses on shorter, shareable content with strong viral potential (think top 10 lists and Buzzfeed articles).
In our last income report, we shared that we changed our blog focus search engine posts to posts optimized for social media.
We have further narrowed our focus to Pinterest as our social media platform of choice.
Admittedly, we don’t yet understand Pinterest like we understand Facebook or Instagram, but we can’t help but notice its strong ability to drive traffic to blogs.
We discuss this in greater detail in our next book, but suffice it to say that the future of our blog excites us immensely.
Tools We Use
The sheer quantity and quality of free tools available for internet entrepreneurs astonishes us.
So we wanted to take some time to recommend a few that have helped us in the past months.
1. Canva: a simple and free web-based alternative to Photoshop
We love Canva and use it often because its intuitive platform makes editing photos a breeze.
It also makes classy text overlays and borders simple to add.
Canva even has preset image dimensions for all your favorite social platforms.
2. Pexels and Pixabay: free stock photos available for commercial use
With great stock photos and Canva to edit and organize them, bloggers can take care of most of their image needs without paying a cent.
3. Info.gram and Piktochart for data representation and infographics
Using data in a blog post can make the difference between viral content and a dud.
As such, we highly recommend using either of these platforms to show off data in your content.
Again, their freemium models allow you to create great content without monetary investment.
4. Mail Merge for Gmail
You can use any number of services to contact people who have already joined your email list like Mail Chimp.
But what if you want to email people en masse who haven’t joined your list?
Mail Merge for Gmail allows you to do just that; send bulk email to prospects.
Their free version allows you to auto-send up to 50 emails a day to different recipients.
We used this tool to send over 200 emails to people we wanted to review our e-book.
You could also use this tool for any type of email outreach like link building.
Matt and I wish we had known about this tool before spending several long hours manually sending emails to link prospects.
What self-publishing on Amazon taught us
1. Marketing is everything
Self-publishing on Amazon reminded us of the importance of marketing.
We did a decent (but not great) job of following our own advice of prioritizing marketing before attempting to sell a product.
We sent 260 emails to friends and Amazon reviewers requesting a review and received 17 reviews (~6% conversion).
For our next book, we plan to send 1,000 outreach emails netting hopefully 30 reviews minimum.
Why target 30 reviews?
SJ Scott says this quantity seems like the critical mass necessary to sustain long-term sales.
2. Helping people is gratifying
The quantity and quality of reviews made us really happy.
We received several heart-felt reviews and emails about how our book has helped people, and it really motivates us to continue to writing.
3. The topic (title), book cover, and quality/quantity of reviews drive e-book success
In general, online products about money, health and fitness, and self-help sell easily.
Obviously, our book topic fits nicely into the money category.
But we also painstakingly crafted our title to maximize our book’s appeal.
Despite the cliche, everyone judges a book by its cover on Amazon.
So Matt and I enlisted the help of my wife to create our book cover using (you guessed it) Canva.
She has an eye for aesthetics that we happily used to make a stellar cover (we’re biased).
This month’s income has propelled us forward and given us the desire to keep producing content.
We believe that with enough hustle we could make enough income to leave our day jobs by the end of the year.
We look forward to keeping you updated every step of the way.