I know that most people didn’t love 2021; it was just 2020 part II for many people. And while that was true here to an extent, 2021 was also an amazing year for me – at least in regards to writing and the business.
Because while 2021 may have been 2020 part Deux, my business also grew by a factor of 10. And during a pandemic, that’s kind of amazing. So yeah – I’m feeling pretty good right now, even if I still haven’t actually taken home a paycheck just yet.
Ready to dig into some cool statistics? Let’s do this.
December 2021 Statistics
Here are the statistics for December.
- Articles published: 25
- YouTube videos published: 2
- Total word count published: 52,007
- Total page views: 101,311
- Total cash earned (paid to me this month): $1,363.89 (up from $1,044.80)
- Total invested in published content: $857.73
December was a great month. Not only did we keep the ball going, but we also got to enjoy the benefits of Q4 ad revenue. I totally get the hype around Q4 ad revenue now!
That being said, we still worked hard to keep publishing the best possible content – while also taking time off around the holidays to enjoy being with family.
2021 Year-End Statistics
- Articles published: 190
- YouTube videos published: 17
- Total word count published: 437,522
- Total page views: 836,013
- Total cash earned (paid to me in 2021): $11,196.68 (up from $1,890.79)
- Total invested: $12,021.58 (up from $560.19)
2021 End of Year Review
I’m not including a personal investment I made into the business as part of our revenue, as it was an investment. I’m sure the accountant will want me to include it, but it’s not pertinent to this report. Just know that we did choose to invest some money into the business this year.
But even while we 10X’d the business this year (compared to 2020) in both revenue, we also did at least that via investing into the business.
Translation: I grew the company by 10X, but I still haven’t paid myself for all that work. In fact, it’s been more than 2 years since I’ve paid myself.
That is something I aim to fix, but probably not until at least Q3 2022.
Instead, I’ve been focusing that money on investing in content, hiring freelancer help, and growing the business.
My goal for 2022 is to 10X the business again.
Profit and Loss
As a huge fan of cash-based accounting and paying cash for pretty much everything I can, it would be silly to run up a bunch of debt to expand the business.
That being said, we did choose to invest personal money into the business this year, and it’s having explosively awesome results.
We continue to earn more money than we pay out month-to-month, but we are cutting it as close to zero as we can while we grow.
We do plan to build a reserve, though, and we’ve got a plan in place to do just that.
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Month 29 of Project 24+
December was my 29th month with Income School’s Project 24 (this is my affiliate link to their course).
Finding a mastermind group and friends who “get it” is probably the best thing you can do to grow your business. Not only do you get to brainstorm with people who understand you, but you can also stop talking “shop” with family who don’t want to hear your humble brag.
In any case, every course I take gets evaluated by the 10X ROI rule. Within 1 year of finishing the course, it must have had a 10X positive net impact on my business to be deemed worthwhile.
Officially, Project 24 “ended” 5 months ago for me, so I’ve still got 7 months before I pass the final verdict. Even so, Project 24 has already outperformed the 10X ROI rule. In fact, it reached the 10X ROI in month 24.
To date, Project 24 is the only blogging course I’ve taken that has passed the 10X ROI rule. I very much recommend their course.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s a lot of hard work. And there are never any guarantees with business because circumstances are always different. But I’ve found it’s worth it to me.
Teamwork and Systems Report
Over the course of the year, the team dynamic has shifted a ton. I started the year with no writers, a Pinterest assistant, and me doing a ton of work.
I ended the year with a handful of amazing writers, an editor, and two virtual assistants who help with a wide array of tasks.
I also chose to partner with Ezoic long-term, and it’s proving to be an amazing blessing to the business. If you haven’t signed up with an ad partner, Ezoic (who’s not actually an ad partner) is a great ad partner to choose.
They, like websites, require a lot of frontloading the work. But then you see a compounding effect from all that work. I don’t want to debate an “Ezoic vs. Mediavine vs. AdThrive vs. the rest” debate, but… I will say this.
I’m seeing similar to potentially better results with Ezoic than my friends on other networks are seeing, and I don’t have their levels of traffic yet (that’ll change here soon).
Again, I can’t guarantee your results. But I’m quite pleased with mine.
Niche Site Report
Niche sites continue to grow well, though an experiment I did in Q4 backfired. I know – never do experiments in Q4!! Failure on my part, but I learned a lot of valuable information, and so it wasn’t a total loss.
The experiments did lead to a small dip in traffic. At first, I thought the traffic dip was due to seasonality. After all, some of the niche sites do have a seasonal component to them.
However, when I realized that the trend was similar across all sites, I realized it wasn’t all seasonality (if it was seasonality at all). It had direct correlations to the experiment.
So I pulled the plug on the experiment, and traffic is already recovering and growing nicely.
Again, I’m glad I did the experiment because now I don’t have to wonder. And while I did do it in Q4 2021, I’m glad it’s over and done so I don’t have to wonder when my traffic and ad revenue are higher and I’m more stressed about dips in both.
Because my ad revenue most definitely did NOT dip – so I still got the data, the results, and the ad revenue. Gonna call that a solid win!
All told, the 5 niche sites I’m reporting on currently are all doing well! The plan for niche sites #4 and #5 is to start reporting on them mid to late Q3 2022, as their launches were delayed.
YouTube continues to be a baby-step kind of thing. That will be the continued plan in 2022.
Even so, it’s amazing to me that, in 2021, I was able to get my first channel from nothing to more than 500 subscribers.
It proves to me that building a solid channel is totally doable, which is kind of awesome to know.
I’ve got plans for all of the channels for 2022, though I am still building out the roadmap for making those plans happen.
I continue to be a fan of minimizing risk when and where possible through meaningful diversification. I’m still at the start of the business journey, though, so things aren’t as diversified as I’d like… yet.
- Ads accounted for 97.7% of all income in November.
- Amazon affiliates accounted for the other 2.3%.
Give me some time and that will change. How much time? I need several years, please, and thank you.
One way I diversify is by having multiple niche sites. Here’s how they contribute to the diversification of income. They’re listed by niche site number.
- 63.7% of revenue came from niche site #1.
- Niche site #2 generated 0.1% of the revenue.
- Site #3 generated 9.1% of the revenue.
- Site #4 is still off the radar.
- Same with niche site #5.
- Niche site 6 generated 1.2% of revenue.
- Site #7 earned 26% of the income.
Niche Site #1 continues to dominate, but things did spread out more evenly from November to December across the board.
That being said, 2021 was not as diversified as I’d have liked. I will work on that in 2022 and beyond, though it will likely be at least another year or two before I’ve built up enough of a buffer that I’ll be satisfied. And even then, I’ll continue to work on it.
2021 was most definitely not the best year for fiction writing. I am not happy to acknowledge that fact.
However, I did keep pace with several well-known authors. I am extrapolating off of NaNoWriMo data, mind, but several prolific authors I love report being able to publish about half of a million words per year.
I was able to write, manage, edit, and publish 437,000+ words this last year. Now, I didn’t write every single one of those words. I do have writers, remember?
But I did have to spend a good deal of time designing, writing, testing, and refining multiple processes to build the business. And I personally read and edit every word that I publish in my business.
So that definitely pulled me away from writing fiction this year. However, as the process continues to refine, the plan is to continue to grow the business while also making more time for me to write – because my kids are demanding I write more stories in Oriana’s universe.
TL;DR and Next Steps
December (and really all of 2021) ended up being an amazing year. There was a lot of pivoting, shifting, reworking, and improving things.
But all told, I believe I’ve built a solid foundation to this business. Then, I helped it grow ten times what it was in 2020. And, I think this base will support another 10-times growth in 2022.
But with a 10X year in 2021, I feel confident that even if the base isn’t completely ready for a 10X 2022 growth, I can refine and reinforce things to get it as close to a 10X as possible.
Want to see if I make it? I’d love to have you along for the ride – you can join my free newsletter here. I’ll send regular (but not too frequent – nobody wants that!) updates from the blog, as well as information on new stories I write. Either way, it should be an entertaining ride.
Resources I Use and Recommend
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 the 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.
- Big Scoots hosting – we just switched to Big Scoots and it’s been as easy as April told me it would be. Seriously. It’s a great hosting option.
- 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!
- ClickUp – Hands-down the best software for keeping track of all the things. I use it for stories, websites, and family stuff. Everyone can access what they need, it’s all centralized, and it connects with our calendars.
These resources really have proven invaluable to me – and I think you’ll benefit from them, too. Happy writing, friends.
Cite this article as: “2021 Writing Report and Recap.” Kimberly C. Starr, 6 January 2022, kimberlycstarr.com/2021-writing-report-and-recap/.