I really love putting together these reports – it’s a lot of fun to see where I’ve progressed each month. Some months, it’s just getting to tally how many words I’ve written. While others, it’s fun to count the words, videos, and the income. And the income has been steadily rising. I’m super excited to be able to show you what I earn next month.
Okay, so technically you’ll get to see what I earned in March next month – in May for April’s report. But that’s because I do cash-based accounting. So you’ll finally get to see that I passed a huge milestone that I’ve been working for like crazy. I won’t leave you hanging, though – I’ll give you a hint later in the article.
March 2021 Statistics
March was mostly spent doing two things. First, I spent time finishing recovering from my epic writing year otherwise known as 2020. It was an amazing push to write as much as I did in 2020, but it took a toll. I need to find a better way to manage my writing so that it’s more sustainable – and I don’t need such long stretches to recover. Second, I spent the month prepping for April – it’s a content challenge month.
In any case, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s dig into the stats for my sites.
- Articles published: 6
- Videos filmed, edited, and published: 1
- Stories I wrote this month: 0
- Stories submitted to publications: 0
- Stories edited: 1
- New stories outlined and plotted: 0
- Total word count this month: 13,485
- Total Page Views: 33,802 (compared to February’s 31,045)
- Total on-cash received this month (earned in previous months): $457.13 (down from $469.51)
- Overall EPMP: $13.52 (up from $13.24)
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.
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Month 20 of Project 24: Report & Review
March was my 20th 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. Only one of those was started 20 months ago – the other two just finished their 15th 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.
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 20’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: $5259.00
- ROI: $5259/$648 = 8.12 (up from February’s 7.41X)
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.
However, this course promises some amazing results – within 24 months. So while I’m still in the middle of it (I’m in month 20, remember?) I’m already calculating my ROI. And at month 20 I’m already to an ROI over 8X. And I’m behind their timeline. That’s insanely awesome.
Can you imagine what my ROI will be in another 16 months, when I’m at the “1 year after you’re done taking the course” point? If my numbers continue as they’re trending (which I fully expect them to), then I’ll be well past the 10X.
How does this compare to other courses? Well, the next-best other 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.
In-Depth Analysis of Sites in March 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 five new articles on BYH-HQ this month. The total word count is just shy of 10,000 words.
- GenealogyPals.com – Breanne has a handful of articles and topics researched for us. This month, I’ll dive in and next month I’ll get to report something other than “zero new articles published” here.
- KimberlyCStarr.com – One new article for this site: it was last month’s writing report. I’m still debating adding my short stories to this site, though. It’s not a quick decision, apparently. The decision has also been put off until at least May, due to the content challenge.
- SleepTrainingKids.com – No new articles written last month. I have been focusing on promotion via Pinterest.
- YouTube Channels – I’m trying a new type of video – one that focuses on making things fun and entertaining. The plus to this – better view time, retention, and more subscribers. The downside? More editing.
- Backyard Homestead HQ – One new video edited and published. I had fun making it.
- 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. I’m excited to make them!
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. My brain loves to learn. So I keep learning. I’ve picked up a few new channels to watch on YouTube, a few new series to read, and some new hobbies to keep me busy in all of that downtime I don’t have.
- Continue to work on social sharing. No, I still don’t love social media. But my readers do, so I work to overcome my tendency to avoid social media. Having a graphic designer create images for social media has been such a blessing to my business. It’s been a great investment, even if the ROI on it doesn’t quite match the Project 24 course.
- 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. The Spring 2021 issue just came out – and it’s really good. I forget if I read it first or second, but one of the pieces in the issue is one that I slushed. I really liked it – and it made it into the issue! So that was really cool. I feel like I’ve “arrived” as a slush reader. My husband also picked us up the Grishaverse books. We finished the main trilogy in that series.
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||41.6% (up from 32.7%)||1. Ad revenue|
2. Affiliate income
|GenealogyPals||3.7% (up from 2.4%)||1. Ad revenue|
2. Affiliate revenue
|KimberlyCStarr||4.8% (down from 7.5%)||1. Ad revenue|
2. Affiliate income
|SleepTrainingKids||49.9% (down from 57.4%)||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. 🙂
Teamwork Report for March 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. Most submitted articles still require a decent amount of editing, and it’s real work to find good writers to work with. I have a few writers that I work with on Upwork. I have some plans to expand over time. Upwork is part of that plan, even though it does have a time-intensive aspect to it.
- 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 graphic designer who makes my Pinterest images. That was probably one of my least-favorite aspects of marketing via social media. But my niche sites do well on that platform, so it’s important that it gets done. The guy I work with has done a great job so far. I plan to keep working with him.
- YouTube continues to be more and more fun. Changing the video format turned out to be a huge key to unlocking the “okay, so YouTube is actually fun” puzzle. My kids continue to help me with filming B roll, while I work on scripts, voiceovers, and editing. The older boys can’t wait to learn how to edit video – and to get their own channels rolling already. I’m working on their plans with them.
They’ve been peeking at my ad network income – and they want to build their own little businesses, too. Okay, fine: they want to earn money creating content, too.
Fiction and Story Report for March 2021
No stories were written this month – at least not on paper. However, I’ve been adding more storytelling to my kids into my day (particularly at bedtime) that’s helping me continue to improve as a storyteller. I’m also re-skimming “Save the Cat! Writes a Novel” as I’ve already read it several times.
But it’s a really good book/series, so I recommend that anyone who wants to incorporate storytelling add it into their reading list. You can check the price on any of the various Save the Cat novels right here. Feel free to get any of the versions – novels, screenwriting, writes for TV, goes to the movies, whatever. They’re really insightful.
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.
Now, if you aren’t here for the fiction, I’d still like to offer you an important lesson: still find a blogging or YouTube mastermind group. I’m in some of those, too. And the feedback, support, and camaraderie you get from these is invaluable. So go find a group.
March 2021: Final Thoughts and Recommendations
While most of what I got done in March was behind-the-scenes, I’m still excited for the trajectory it’s putting me on for the rest of the year. After all, you can’t constantly and consistently churn out amazing stuff unless you’ve also got a solid support system and an epic plan in place.
So taking these few months’ worth of what seems like a step back in sheer volume published might seem like it’s the antithesis to what I need to do? It’s actually not. It’s been focused on making sure that I can do this sustainably, reliably, and awesomely.
Doing this is what helped me reach a huge milestone and goal that I’ve had for years. It’s this: to earn $500 in a single month from my online business and writing. And I did it this month! Now, I won’t get that payout until the end of April. That’s just how ad revenue works.
That’s right: the whole $500 is just from ad revenue. I earned even more in March from affiliates that should make for another sweet payout.
But this puts me halfway to the first goal I’d ever set as a creator: to earn $1000 in a month. This is an old goal – from 2015 when I first learned that my mommy blogging friends were earning that and more. Some of those blogging buddies have retired. Others are still in the publishing game. Many of them have changed directions or projects.
I’ve changed directions since then, too. In fact, if you went back to 2013-2015 and saw the kinds of things I was writing, you’d wonder if I was totally crazy – or just totally sleep deprived. And the answer is I was totally sleep deprived – that’s why one of my niche sites is on sleep training. Because I wasn’t sleeping well until my youngest was almost a year old – in 2018.
So even though I didn’t start Project 24 until late 2019, all of those years of writing weren’t wasted. They were great practice. And it’s been great to get a lot of the “less awesome” writing out of the way. After all, authors have to write more than a million words just to become ready to be authors.
In other words, it’s nice to be past the “paying my dues and learning the ropes” phase. Okay, in some regards I’m still very much so still there. But to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel? So amazing. And I’ll keep journaling my progress here – so that one day in the future my kids can look back and realize that my 10-year-overnight-success still had the 10 years of hard work before it finally “happened.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to stop daydreaming and get back to writing helpful content and stories for my family, friends, and readers. 🙂 I do love so being a creator.
In any case, 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.
- 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. 🙂