I decided to expand my income report because as I looked back on the first two I did… I quickly realized how boring they were. LOL!
In reality I’m doing OK from an income perspective on ll my ventures and I should be sharing all those small online pursuits. So it’s only fitting that I post about it all…the good, bad and ugly. Since this will be the first income report where I peel back the curtain and share what I’m doing, I’ve broken each effort or business venture into sections. And these sections represent the actual timeline as to how I came into each business venture as well.
So this income report is more like a story too.
This is my very first attempt at blogging. I started Food Revolt September 2015 essentially and have been working on this blog ever since (roughly about 1.3 years). I like food trucks and attempted to do a Kickstarter campaign to launch a “Yelp” like site for Food Trucks. Yelp is not kind to food trucks in my opinion. I was only able to raise about $3K on a $15K goal so it pretty much failed miserably. So plan B was to create a blog about food trucks and follow in the footsteps of other successful bloggers.
Well, let me tell you….it has been a long slog of frustration, tears and very little moments of joy or success. But this isn’t a really bad romance movie that ends in the death of a loved one. I’ve actually turned the corner with the blog recently.
And to be honest, I wouldn’t have done it any other way looking back because once you taste a little bit of success…it’s even sweeter knowing how hard you worked to get there.
The Moment that Changed my Life
What you see above is the most current version of FoodRevolt.com. Previous versions were just ok but it wasn’t until I upgraded the WordPress theme to the SociallyViral theme from ThemeShop that my traffic jumped up.
I remember the day it happened. I checked my Google analytics about a month after installing the theme and got so excited about the jump in traffic that I jumped up and slammed my knee on my desk. 🙁 🙂
Every freaking metric was hitting hard and off the charts. Bounce rate was down to 4%, traffic was way up and I started actually making money off of Google Adsense.
This little bit of hope (and I can’t thank ThemeShop enough and highly suggest you get this theme) was all I needed to sky rocket in confidence and forge ahead. Fast forward to today and here are some ways I am monetizing the website.
How I Make money with FoodRevolt
I was listening to a lot of blogger podcasts at the time and kept hearing that creating your own digital products we’re a foolproof way to monetize your site, control your brand and truly have passive income. So I came up with a digital product that I could sell from my best performing blog post.
So I made this product back in January (hmmm…New Year’s Resolutions anyone?) and I haven’t touched it since. No upgrades, no muss no fuss. And here are the results for 2016.
That’s not too bad for not touching the product at all and considering it only cost me $100 to get it made on Fiverr and I now have “proof of concept” that it works. In 2017 I plan on adding to the product and making it more useful and raising the price. If you’re curious, you can check out my Food Truck Wedding Planner and Checklist right here. i would love to her your thoughts on how I can improve it.
Currently I’m making around $25 a month and have made a total of $326 on the website since I launched it. The goal for 2017 is to grow the site and increase page views to 100,000 per month. Currently I’m hovering around 20,000 per month. But I haven’t tapped into Pinterest like I should be nor have I been very active on social media with the site.
This past month something really cool happened. I started getting requests from SEO agencies for sponsored blog posts. They offered to write articles for me (in my niche) and pay me to post them on my website so long as I included a link or two of their website or their clients.
Talk about AWESOME! I have heard about other, more popular websites enjoying this kind of service but never dreamed I would be in the same group with them. I just got paid this month (Dec 2016) $70 to post two articles.
The best thing is that I don’t have to even write the articles, I get paid to just post them…and I get all of the SEO benefits from the traffic the posts create. #winning
I won’t delve too much into this subject because I could write an entire book on it but I’ve been selling on Amazon for around two years now. I sell mostly books and CDs and it started as a side hustle because Food Revolt obviously wasn’t paying any bills yet, lol. It s a very transactional business and there are hundreds and hundreds of millionaires that have created their wealth just from selling on Amazon. A good place to start is over at TheBookFlipper.com if you want to learn more about selling on Amazon. Here are my results since I started. These are gross figures and not net.
It was my frustration with some of the only inventory listing apps out there that led me to create my own. So I searched out for a technical co-founder and oon May 2016 we launched with our very first MVP (minimum viable product).
I currently don’t take any income from AccelerList but hopefully my partner and I will, some time near the end of 2018. This is my first foray into building a SaaS product (software as a service) and the learning curve has been steep!
It started out because I was selling on Amazon as an FBA Seller and participating in a bunch of groups that were discussing the apps currently available. I sensed a lot of frustration with these sellers and I was experiencing it too. So I set out to build my own and see where it goes. Nothing like scratching your own itch.
For future income reports I’m going to just post sales numbers but I’ll blog about more “insider” in other posts.
We’ve been up and running since May 2016 and have over 100+ customers using our listing app currently. We’re in the middle of a big development push to our v2 and we’re looking to expand up to at least 500 customers in the next year, hopefully more.
There are so many lessons learned in my first 7 months that I could write a book (and I plan on it actually) so for now feel free to just ask questions in the comments below until I can blog about more details. But here is a bullet point list of some big lessons I’ve learned so far.
- You can leverage today’s tech apps and run your entire business from a laptop and an iPhone
- You need help, lots of it. Seek advice everywhere.
- You have to have great communication with your co-founder (if you have one).
- Developing software for the Amazon niche is a pain because they are constantly changing things
- Customers can be fickle and you have to fire some of them (and that’s ok)
- Customer loyalty and customer service is everything
- Expect everything to go wrong, because it will
Because I’m selling on Amazon and hanging out in numerous Facebook groups I came across a new side hustle in the Amazon world. Turns out, Amazon got into the POD (print on demand) tee shirt world over the last year and they we’re on fire.
So everyone has been designing shirts (both ugly and good) and uploading them to Merch.Amazon.com and then selling them to Amazon customers. The cool thing is, you don’t have to actually create the shirts. Amazon creates the shirts for you once they sell and handle everything else!
So I jumped right in and started to design my own shirts and upload them. Then I quickly realized…how the hell am I going to “scale” this to make some real money. Well, I needed help designing. Turns out, I’m pretty good at identifying talent and negotiating. So I used those skill sets to round up a bunch of designers who were willing to make designs for me at a steep discount. The catch was, they wanted consistent work from me or else it was a no-go for them.
This business is almost entirely run by my virtual assistants but is still pretty laborious. The model is a half SaaS (as there is a monthly membership component) and half design agency as we’re providing agency quality designs to our members. It’s only been around for about four months now but the income is encouraging for sure. I will way out whether I want to keep the business or sell it on Flippa.com or another broker website. I love my members so if I did sell it, it would be hard.
2017 ideas and focus area
This next year I want to focus on AccelerList and really grow our user base to 500+ customers. With a current price point of $29, that would be MRR (monthly recurring revenue) of around $14,500. That would give us enough room to hire a full time developer and really continue to build out a solid product. We love our customers so we want to give them more than they are expecting.
I have other plans to launch an Etsy Chrome extension and monetize it along with helping my wife create her very first online course over at DentalOfficeMBA.
What’s your advice?
Everyone has a thought or two and I want to her yours. Do you have any advice for me? Like what you have read today? Feeling inspired? Sound off and leave a comment below and I promise I’ll respond quickly.