I really love putting together these reports – it’s a lot of fun to see where I’ve progressed each month. Until the last few months, these reports were primarily to show you how much I’ve been working and writing because the income hadn’t caught up to my input just yet. But now? We’re to the part where the income is finally catching up to the work.
Okay, so technically you’ll get to see what I earned in March and got paid this month. Next month you’ll see what I earned this month. But that’s because I do cash-based accounting. And just in case you missed last month’s report, I passed a huge milestone I’d been working for – $500/month earned. And after working for months to reach that point, I almost hit another milestone. I won’t leave you hanging, though – I’ll tell you what the next milestone is: $1000 in a month.
April 2021 Statistics
April was another Content Warrior challenge with Income School – I was able to complete it with room to spare. I’m slightly competitive, what can I say? Plus, I like getting the new badges – and the huge boost that the content influx gives my sites and income.
In any case, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s dig into the stats for my sites.
- Articles published: 17
- Videos filmed, edited, and published: 0
- Stories I wrote this month: 0
- Stories submitted to publications: 0
- Stories edited: 0
- New stories outlined and plotted: 0
- Total word count published this month: 36,938
- Total Page Views: 46,180
- Total on-cash received this month (earned in previous months): $850.75 (up from 457.13)
- Overall EPMP: $18.42 (up from $13.52)
For reference, I count a video as 2,000 words. It’s my standard, based on the fact that a picture is worth 2,000 words – but a video has at least two pictures.
Now, you’ll also notice that the published word count is less than the 60,000 word count for Content Warrior. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of unpublished content to get me past the 60,000 mark. And that’s just in content – it doesn’t include the massive manual I wrote to systematize everything I do. That was another few hundred thousand words. And while it’s not public, it’s vital to my business so I’m counting that as part of my word count. So all told, I did the challenge at least twice over.
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Month 21 of Project 24: Report & Review
April was my 21st month with Income School Project 24 – a 24-month project to reach a full-time, online income. Per their program, I’d have stuck with ONE project for the entire 24 months. I didn’t do that – I picked 3 projects, plus this site. It existed prior to taking that course, but I’ve overhauled it since then. Only one of those was started 21 months ago – the other two just finished their 16th month.
This was intentional, even if it did turn a 24-month project into something that will be longer. My personal plan is 36-48 months. Even if it takes longer, that’s okay. Because a good goal doesn’t get trashed just because you didn’t meet the deadline. Instead, you keep the goal and just change the timeline.
I know – ideally, you’d keep the goal AND meet the deadline. I’ve got several friends from within the Project 24 community who did do the recommended ONE project – and they are on track for the stated goals of a “full-time income” (earning $4,000+ per month) from their online business. They’re awesome and inspirational and all that jazz.
However, I’m also a huge fan of working with your creativity instead of against it. And my creativity needs a lot more wiggle room. So working on multiple projects at once actually helps me stay more motivated. So I’ll keep the goal of making this writing gig a business that earns a full-time income, while still writing the things that help me feel fulfilled as a creator. I’ll just adjust the timeline. 🙂
In any case, here’s how the numbers stack up as far as how Month 21’s ROI is looking.
- Investment fees to date (the yearly membership dues are paid through August 2021): $648
- Cash earned and on-hand solely attributable to Project 24: $6109.75
- ROI: $6109.75/$648 = 9.42 (up from March’s 8.12X)
I calculate the ROI (return on investment) because of what a wise friend once shared with me: any course or program (or whatever else) you take should have a net, positive, 10X return on its investment. And it should have that within 1 year of finishing the course.
How does this compare to other courses? Well, the next-best course I took had a final ROI of 3 – which doesn’t even meet the 10X benchmark. So for me, the Income School Project 24 has proven itself to be totally worth it to me.
However, given that this course has just about passed the 10X rule at month 21 (instead of at the 1-year after-the-course mark), I will probably discontinue tracking this metric once it passes 10. I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s going to depend on several factors – the main one being that I’m up-leveling all the things – and it’s going to be harder to track this metric as I invest in hiring people to help me grow the blogs.
In-Depth Analysis of Sites in April 2021
Now, part of the analysis I love doing is looking at each of my individual sites – and seeing how they did. So here’s how each stacked up in March 2021.
- BackyardHomesteadHQ.com – I published 15 new articles on BYH-HQ this month. The total word count is just north of 30,000 words.
- GenealogyPals.com – Lots of analysis this month. Zero movements.
- KimberlyCStarr.com – One new article for this site: it was last month’s writing report.
- SleepTrainingKids.com – One new post was written last month. It was just shy of 3000 words.
- YouTube Channels – On hold during the content challenge. Nothing posted.
- Backyard Homestead HQ – Despite no new videos, this channel just passed 200 subscribers!
- Genealogy Pals – Nothing new. It’s kind of embarrassing, but it is what it is.
- Kimberly C Starr – No new videos, but I have a bunch planned for once things are stabilized.
I find that when I don’t have the mental or creative energy to write, it’s still vital that I work on my business. So here are some of the less-obvious things I did last month to keep things moving forward.
- Lots of learning. As of publishing this, the Income School new blogging course has just landed. I’ll be digging into that for the next bit, thanks!
- Rethink my strategy for social sharing. No, I still don’t love social media. Some of my readers do, though. However, the data is saying that it’s time to reevaluate and re-tool the plan. So I’ll do that.
- Image optimization and accessibility. I’ve been working on image optimization and adding alt tags (and descriptions) to images for FOREVER. At least it feels like it. It’s a project that will continue for some time. However, it’s an important one that will make sure my site is more accessible to the differently-abled, so it’s a worthwhile project.
- Lots of reading. I’m still reading submissions for Deep Magic (an awesome science-fiction and fantasy publication) as well as books on my own. There’s a new anthology due that the Board is working on – and then there’s always more submissions to read.
In case you’re wondering if you should follow me on social media, you’re more than welcome to. Of all of the platforms, YouTube is probably the best bet, as it’s the one I’m enjoying most. I mean, I actually enjoy it – which is saying something since I don’t really like most social media platforms.
However, I’d still recommend that if you can only pick one place to hang out with me, you pick the newsletter.
Okay, work details covered. Let’s go into the detailed income reports by site.
|Site||Percentage of Income||Income Sources|
|BackyardHomesteadHQ||61.45 % (up from 41.6%)||1. Affiliate revenue|
2. Ad income
|GenealogyPals||4% (up from 3.7%)||1. Ad revenue|
|KimberlyCStarr||3.3% (down from 4.8%)||1. Ad revenue|
|SleepTrainingKids||31.2% (down from 49.9%)||1. Ad revenue|
2. Affiliate income
3. Book royalties
I love that things are diversifying – and that there’s income from three sources across multiple website and projects. It takes a lot of legwork to get this kind of diversification set up, so it’s nice to (quite literally) see it paying off (out?).
It’s also really gratifying to see that there are some book royalties getting added to the list. Officially, the book currently available is on sleep training – and it’s a journal/planner. But it will one day include books I’ve written based on stories I create – only then it’ll be listed under the KimberlyCStarr banner.
Also, this month notes a big shift that had been coming for a while now – Backyard Homestead now officially outranks Sleep Training Kids as the “big site” in my portfolio.
Teamwork Report for April 2021
Working with a team has continued to help me move forward. Here is how the teamwork has unfolded for this last month.
- Upwork has been a good source of writers. I’ve hired 6 writers to do research and writing for me. I’ve been very pleased with the work they do so far.
- Passion Posts is more expensive than Upwork, but the more-than-double price so far continues to more than offset the time savings. I plan to keep working with Passion Posts for the foreseeable future. Their posts still need some touch-ups, but they’re generally very well done. If you want to check them out, please tell them I sent you.
- A virtual assistant is my newest hire. She’s fantastic – and she’s in the process of learning all of my systems and her new role. She’s only been at it for a few days, but she’s already making a difference.
- YouTube was on pause last month for the content challenge. However, my kids still very much so want to get involved. So does my husband – with a drone. However, we’ll have to make sure we’re properly licensed and trained before we add any drone footage to any videos. For now, the drone is purely for family fun.
You’ll note that I no longer have a graphic designer – that’s in part due to my reevaluation of my social media sharing strategy and a financial decision. At this time, one assistant is enough. And it makes more sense to have a general VA, so my graphic designer and I parted on good terms.
Fiction and Story Report for April 2021
No stories were written this month. I have continued to read for Deep Magic, re-read Save the Cat (you can check the price on any of the various Save the Cat novels right here), and read with my writing group in the League of Utah Writers. I’m in the Layton chapter, called the Writer’s Hi, just in case you want to join us.
I also find that reading for Deep Magic as a first reader and being part of the League of Utah Writers are other great ways to help me become better as a writer. Learning to not only be a slush pile reader but also a good writing group member are helping me see new angles and improve my creative craft even more.
It’s a short report this month, because I have to get the blogging writing system finished first. Then I can focus on the craft of storytelling in fiction.
April 2021: Final Thoughts
While April marks a significant upswing in content production (up to 17 new articles from the previous month’s 6), it’s also been a huge swing for me in the overall business. You see, it marks the change from me working on my various blogs to really focusing on building a sustainable, online business.
Project 24 has been amazing for getting me going on the right path. Then, once in Project 24, I met some of the most amazing people. Together, we created a mastermind to encourage each other and help where we can. One of the most influential people in that group has been April of BloggersontheRise.com. She runs 20+ niche websites and has a system to make that kind of insanity not only possible but doable. She’s been influenced by Anne Yeys, who I’ve also taken to following.
In any case, these amazing women have helped me see that bigger things are possible – and that it’s time to scale up from the technical writer to the managing editor. So that’s what’s in process. That’s why there’s a 200+ page document that didn’t get published – but it’s now the guiding set of systems to my business.
It’s also the first month where my husband and I invested money into the business. Before this, everything was bootstrapped or paid for from business earnings. It’s not a huge investment – but it is enough to help take things to the next level. This is another reason that it’ll be harder to keep evaluating the ROI of Project 24 – because I’m adding in paid writers, a VA, and a financial investment that doesn’t go towards the course.
However, I will keep doing these writing reports – both from the financial and final product points of view. They’ll just keep evolving to keep up with how things are going.
Resources I Use
These are the resources I’ve found most valuable – so I recommend you go check them out. They’ll help whether you’re writing fiction, writing for niche blogs, or building an online business. I keep an up-to-date list of all of the tools and resources I use to manage my blogs on my Tools and Resources page. I use referral links to advertising partners.
These are my top tools that I use and recommend:
- Project 24 – hands-down the best course for building a niche site or an online business that focuses on content.
- Ezoic – once you’ve got a website and some content, think about these guys. They’re doing some amazing things – and have helped me earn several thousand dollars (in ad revenue) that I’d not have earned otherwise.
- Link Whisper – I’ve just started using it, and it’s been a great tool to help me build up my linking strategy.
- Kindle Unlimited – this is a great way to try out new books and classics. Make sure you add the latest editions of Deep Magic magazine to your kindle shelf!
- Audible Plus – I love listening to podcasts and books while I’m doing the normal, everyday life things (like laundry). This has been a huge way to up my creativity!
These resources really have proven invaluable to me – and I think you’ll benefit from them, too. Happy writing, friends.