Passive Income and Business Report

So, spring is here (ahem, it’s freezing outside) and it’s time for me to look back on the last quarter to see how I’ve done plus set some goals for the next 3 months.


Last year, I made $8,553 passive income. And the year before (I wasn’t really counting) I made around $1000. So I’m really trying to “up my game” on the passive front. However, it ain’t easy!

My passive income

My target for this quarter was $3,000 – let’s see how I’ve done.

My passive income for these reports is divided into two sections: product sales and affiliate sales.

Sales of my products

I’ve been trying (and trying hard) to get more products out there. In fact (see below) having a product ready before the end of this quarter was one of my goals.

So far, my products are these two e-books:

Here are the sales from these books from the last three quarters:

My product 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1
Running a Web Design Business $570.59 $375.24 $511.21
How To Get Clients $238.16 $232.09 $26.47
Total: $808.75 $607.33 $537.62

Ouch! I’m noticing a trend here, and it’s not one I like. :(

My new product!

These last two months I’ve been locked away creating a course at Udemy called Creating a Business Website with a Responsive Design which is a 4 hour video course where I teach how to create this site. The whole experience was enjoyable apart from giving me a ScreenFlow-related RSI injury (I couldn’t move my neck for a few days!)

Above is a video about the responsive design course I created. The course is also part of a larger project which will eventually be a membership site over at

The course has only just been published and so far has 13 subscribers so I’ll include the passive earnings from this into my next quarterly report.

Affiliate commissions

Affiliate commissions can be earned where a special type of hyperlink on your site is clicked to a product seller’s site and a purchase is made. For example Genesis – a WordPress theme, WPML – a WordPress plugin and iContact – an email delivery service.

Affiliate product 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1
Genesis WordPress theme $493.45 $778.79 $76.94
WPML WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin $229 $315 $397
WishList Member WordPress membership site plugin $87.30 VPS hosting $85 $85 $340
A2 VPS hosting $170
Bluehost shared hosting $715 $130
Siteground hosting $80
GoDaddy domain name registration $5.69 $17.43 $31.66
E-Junkie shopping cart system $7.20 $7.20 $10.80
Aweber email marketing and delivery $36.30 $29.40 $37.20
iContact email marketing and delivery $163.80 $355.99 $137.97
Tara’s logo course $199.50
Others $66.71 $117.59 $98.26
Total: $1802.15 $2003.70 $1499.33

In a word, disappointing. So, what happened? Well, people are obviously buying the Genesis theme less and maybe that’s because I haven’t done any Genesis-specific tutorials recently and, as you will see below, my traffic has taken a nosedive since Christmas, although that’s only really my calendar traffic trailing off for seasonal reasons.

Another reason was not keeping my eye on the ball. I’d made a mistake on Commission Junction and some affiliate links had been working but not paying. You have to watch out for things like that.


So, if you add my income from sales of my e-books this quarter, $537.62, together with income from affiliate sales, $1499.33, you get a total of $2036.93. This is well under my target of $3,000. :( Poo!

Business report

Specific business targets

Here are my specific targets that I set three months ago and more targets for three months’ time.

Target Q1 2013 target Q1 2013 actual Q2 2013 target
Passive Income $3,000 $2,036.93 $3,000
Monthly unique visitors 50,000 36,500 40,000

So, having missed my passive income target so spectacularly, I’ve set the same target for the next 3 months, $3,000 – let’s hope the new Udemy course is a success so I can reach that by the end of June 2013.

And, as for the traffic, this is perhaps the most worrying stat of all. As I get such a boost towards the end of the year because of the immense calendar traffic I get, I really haven’t been noticing that the rest of the site isn’t performing so well. I have to address this issue and, at the moment, I’m not sure how. Any ideas would be gratefully received. So, I’ve set a target for 40,000 visitors for the month of June, that’s going to be a challenge.


General business targets

Right! Now time for some tough love. My passive income figures are moving in the wrong direction and the traffic figures are disappointing. I’ve got to get serious here and do something!

My products so far have been generally well-received. My two e-books, How To Get Clients and Running a Web Design Business, have netted me more income than if I’d been charging a client an hourly rate.

Passive income is cool!

I’ll endeavour to create more products. One of my goals from the last quarter was to create a video course and I have at last done that: my responsive design Udemy course which has just been accepted (see video above).

So I’ll therefore try to create two more video courses by the end of June. Hold me to it!


Now my follower numbers …

Indicator 30th Sept 2012 31st Dec 2012 31st Mar 2013
My Twitter followers 1891 1884(!) 2,093
My YouTube Channel, subscribers 212 280 409
My YouTube Channel, video views 106,729 143,049 183,271
Facebook page Likes/Fans 291 339 406
Subscribers to 5,031 5,488 5,949

If anything, we can see that YouTube is maybe growing faster than anything else. Another reason to create more video courses.

Personal goals

One of my personal goals for 2013 was to help people. I’ve been trying with this although with mixed results. One idea I had was to do a free website design and development for some organisation or non-profit that needs help. Let me know if you have any ideas on this.

I’ve been keeping up with my physical fitness and T’ai Chi, although sitting at a desk for long periods really doesn’t seem to help!

What do you think?

So, another quarter, another business report. This one was difficult to write as it wasn’t the most successful three months. What do you think of my plan to create new video courses? I’m always pleased to hear your feedback.

Did this help you? If so, please share!

Download my 2 free e-books and 2 free MP3s on running an online business & getting clients

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two free books and two free mp3s and a list of favorite online tools


  1. Eric Suiker says

    Hello Rob,

    That is a tough nut to crack.
    I know you have been working hard to reach the goals you ser.

    I can only speak for myself, but I can tell you why I am less interested in your updates.

    When searching Google for Genesis tutorials, it wasn’t long before I found your website. And it was a great discovery. Not only Genesis but some great Photoshop and other tutorials I could use.

    That was my main reason for following all your updates.

    But lately you seem to have changed directions. Not the tech tutorials I was used to, but videos about NLP, personal growth etc.
    Not that this is bad, but it’s certainly not the reason I chose to follow you.

    Again, I can only speak for me, but I can imagine there are more followers like me. You changed directions very rigorously and that’s just not my cup of tea.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will certainly stay subscribed to your updates, but it will be of a lesser priority to read and view all of them.

    Pardon me if my Englidh is not as good as it should be, but I hope you understand what I mean.

    I guess the point is to make a clear choice in the message you’re trying to get across.
    Either you’re the tech guy or you’re the personal coach. But do not try to be a little bit of both. For me, that will just not work.

    Please do not misunderstand. There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing, but it’s just not what I was looking for…

    Still looking out for your updates.

    Eric Suiker

    • says

      Hi Eric, you’re making an excellent point. People really hate it when you go “off-topic” on the net and Google hate it because they love to pigeon-hole everyone.

      But I have to ask you, what updates are you talking about? There hasn’t been an article or a video on this site about personal growth in years! My Facebook updates referred to a personal growth video once in the last 50 posts. Similarly, there must be about 5% personal growth updates in my Twitter and G+ streams.

      Of course there have been a couple of articles here about email capture forms and podcasting that have use my personal growth site as an example but the content of these articles was of a technical nature.

      So I have been trying to keep these two sites fairly separate. However, where I think I must have failed has been on my YouTube channel. I thought long and hard about setting up another channel specifically for the personal development stuff. But Google make this so hard as you have to continually log in and out of your Google account in order to do this. Plus I thought my YouTube subscribers might be interested? And, there are only 400 of them!

      Your English is obviously perfect enough to make this distinction, so I’d really love to know where you get my “updates” from because I clearly need to keep an eye on this.

      Thank you.

      • Eric Suiker says

        Hello Rob,

        Sorry for the (very) late response to your answer.
        It’s that time of year where you want to do all sorts of stuff, but you really have to take care of your clients. Being an entrepreneur is great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes………..

        Personal growth was not a term I should have used. What i meant to say was, that your video and website updates were heading in the direction of running a business and the mindset things like NLP.

        I can imagine that a lot of people love to read this, but speaking for me, I’m more of a tech man. Step-by-step guides on WordPress like your last video about speeding up WP.

        So nothing wrong with what you’re doing. On the contrary. But you were asking yourself why things had slowed down a little and I thought this could be one of the reasons.

        We still friends?


        • says

          Eric, of course we still friends!!! I do think you’ve got a point but it would be about the YouTube channel not this site. I think you must be talking about the YouTube channel (are you a subscriber?) as I haven’t mentioned NLP on this blog much at all. Please tell me you’re not talking about the site?

          I’m going to think long and hard about whether to keep putting the self-help videos on the YouTube channel. However, this is all Google’s fault! (I do love blaming Google!) You can’t segment a channel, you have to make new channels on a different ID and new channels can’t carry long video. :( (I’m pretty sure I’m right about that.

          • Eric Suiker says

            Hello Rob,

            Yes, this is about the YouTube channel indeed. Mostly about the interviews. They were just not my cup of tea.
            But there must have been a lot op viewers who loved it.

            Oh yes, blaming Google is great isn’t it? I sometimes do it myself, so I know exactly how it feels 😉

            Keep up the good work…

            • says

              OK. I’ll go easy on the YouTube channel. Plus there is a box you can check, I think, to make sure a new video doesn’t go out to subscribers. Thanks, Eric.

  2. says

    Hi Rob
    Sorry to see the results are not so good but I do question “One idea I had was to do a free website design and development for some organisation or non-profit that needs help. Let me know if you have any ideas on this.”

    That would be great as a good deed but is it a good business proposition.

    I was once a member of the Association of Speakers Clubs and a set up websites for half a dozen of their clubs in the UK.
    Small html sites at very low charge and cheap hosting – I also sorted their SEO for their geographic location, but I think they actually wanted me to do it for nothing!

    Have you thought of tweeting more on #genesiswp for your courses and web design services?
    Just a suggestion.

    • says

      Hi Keith, you are absolutely right to question my statement about providing work for free. I have always advised people against this so it seems really hypocritical. What I’m against is for designers to work for companies for free with the “promise” of some future benefit (paid work, kudos) as the perceived “payment”.

      What I’m proposing is offering my service for free (without being asked in the first place) to some group of people who I would enjoy working with as I think the results would be important. So this would be to help or educate a large number of people as a result.

      Great idea about the #genesiswp tweet! I have tried it already. Thanks, Keith.

  3. says

    Rob, get your saleable items further up the page. Make them more noticeable. At the moment, the two books you’re selling are hidden down beneath “Topics”. Infact, you’re promoting your free stuff nicely right up the top there, but is that making you money?

    Question – are you doing any tracking onsite?

    Think about what you want people to do when they hit your site, and remove anything that may be distracting from that. In other words “simplify”.

    • says

      Thanks, John. I was thinking of putting a link in the top navigation menu called “Products” which would dropdown with links to my e-books and courses.

      The only tracking I’m doing is how many people click on the affiliate links.

      I appreciate your thoughts on this. I’ll think more about simplification.

  4. says

    I think it is really refreshing how open you are about how your passive income goals are progressing. The internet needs more honest people like you. I’ll be returning to this blog to see how you get on in the next quarter.

  5. says

    Fascinating as ever Rob. The Udemy course look an interesting development. The drop off on Genesis affiliate link is surprising as you seem to appear in searches on Genesis. There does seem to be a lot more competition there.

    • says

      Thanks, David. Maybe it’s the competition. I find that if you write a really good article on something you get loads of affiliate commissions but it really trails off soon after. So much for “passive” income! However, I shall keep at it. And, I have high hopes for Udemy. :)