My Passive Income and Business Report

We are three quarters through the year now. It’s time to assess my passive income and business plan and time to see if I hit my targets. Targets are good for lazy cats and dreamers like me.


My passive income

My passive income for the first half of the year was $3331.00. I earned this passive income (or income you can earn while you sleep) mainly through affiliate links on this website and selling my own products. The actual total could have been higher but it was well over my target of $2000 for the first half of the year.

My target for the third quarter of 2012 was $2000. Here’s how I did.

Sales of my products

I have two e-books:

Here are the sales from these books for the 6 months to June 30th 2012 and the 3 months to September 30th 2012:

My product 2012 H1 2012 Q3
Running a Web Design Business $976.22 $570.59
How To Get Clients $174.07 $238.16
Other $69.87 0
Total: $1220.16 $808.75

It’s good to see stable sales of the products – we’re comparing 3 months with 6 months here.

I have re-written my e-book How To Get Clients in light of recent Google changes. I’ve also improved several sections, most notably the sections on social media and link building. I haven’t mailed most of my list about this yet so I’m hoping for more sales next time.

Affiliate commissions

This income comes from products purchased through links in my site. For example, I wrote about the WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin in an article about multi-lingual websites in WordPress so if anyone purchases the plugin through my affiliate link in that article I get a commission.

It’s difficult to calculate affiliate income within a certain period. Every product has a different type of affiliate scheme and a different way of paying. I’m trying to be as accurate as possible and as I do more I’m sure the data will become more reliable. But with that in mind, here are the figures from H1 2012 and Q3 2012.

Affiliate product 2012 H1 2012 Q3
Genesis WordPress theme $425.05 $493.45
WPML WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin $247 $229 VPS hosting $340 $85
Bluehost shared hosting $325 $715
GoDaddy domain name registration $80.78 $5.69
E-Junkie shopping cart system $14.40 $7.20
Aweber email marketing and delivery $63.30 $36.30
Others $278.67 $66.71
Total: $2110.91 $1638.35

As you can see, there’s a lot of movement in the figures. Remember, we’re comparing 6 months with 3 months here. So, my earnings from Genesis, WPML and Bluehost have done much better. and GoDaddy have done badly. Whereas E-Junkie and Aweber are paying me the same amount every week.

I could go into detail about what went right and what went wrong but, all in all, I think this is going in the right direction.

What does this all mean?

So, if you add my income from product sales this quarter, $808.75, together with income from affiliate sales, $1638.35, you get a total of $2447.10. This is over my target of $2,000 and compares with $3331.07 from the 6 months earier. The real total could be higher as I don’t count affiliate income from Hostgator or Dreamhost which comes off hosting fees.

The first thing to say is a big “thank you” to all my visitors here for coming, commenting, writing me emails, and a big, big “thank you” to those of you who’ve purchased one of my products or who’ve purchased someone else’s product through an affiliate link here (I know some of you have done so on purpose as well!)

Secondly, as I always point out, this is only a small (although growing) part of my business and it’s important to remember that I’m no Pat Flynn and Google could suddenly do an about turn or something else could happen to reverse this initially promising income stream.

And thirdly, I seem to have a thing about cats at the moment, I do apologise.

business cat – this is an illustrative image, nothing to do with the subject of the article

Business report

I’m taking nothing for granted, which is why I wrote a review of my business plan two and a half months ago and set myself more targets. This follows on from a business plan for 2012 which I created at the beginning of the year.

General business targets

I made four general targets about what I was going to do in the next three months:

  • Do at least one Skype interview to post on YouTube and start podcasting. I’ve done two interviews with Tara Roskell and so I have my first two podcast episodes almost done and dusted. I just want to get a few more under my belt before I hit iTunes. Watch this space. βœ” Target sort-of achieved!
  • Collate last few years revenue, costs and profit figures for Rob Cubbon Ltd and think about setting more income targets for the whole business, not just the passive side. OK, I haven’t done anything about this, zilch, zip, nada! I have all my revenue and costs all collated for the taxman but I haven’t figured out a way to use this information to set targets in the way I can on the passive side. :( X Target missed!
  • Increase focus on money making side of the business while helping people more by providing more useful information for free. Well, what do you say to that? It’s not a SMART objective (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed). It’s a bit wishy-washy. X Target missed!
  • Improve my health. Go to the gym more and study Tai Chi. I’m pleased to say I’ve kept up with the moderate exercise regime I’ve set myself. πŸ˜‰ βœ” Target achieved!

So, sorry, they were fairly crap goals. I’ll think of some better ones for next time.

Specific business targets

Here are some more specific targets I set myself

Target Q3 2012 Target Q3 2012 Actual
Passive Income $2000 $2447.10
Monthly unique visitors 35,000 42,977
Number of meetings attended with groups of business-people or β€œmastermind” groups 8 4
Number of new clients securing revenue of over $1000 2 0

A mixed bag here, I’ll go through the above in order.

  • First of all, I exceeded my passive income target. As you can see at the beginning of this report (I put the passive income bit at the beginning of the report because everybody seems to love passive income :) ), I earned at least $2447.10 in passive income and I targeted $2000. βœ” Target achieved!
  • Secondly, monthly unique visitors, I’m glad I’ve got a chance to talk about this! Ever since the end of August I’ve been getting insane increases in organic traffic. Google now sends me 50% more visitors that they did a couple of months ago. I don’t think this is down to any algorithm change so it must be the result of my on-going blogging activities, natural linking and guest posting. Long may it continue, although you never know with Google. βœ” Target smashed!
  • Thirdly, meetings attended, h’mmm, maybe an ambitious target. I did still go to some meet-ups in London but not as many as I would have liked. X Target missed!
  • And, finally, new clients. I’m sorry to report that no new clients that did over $1000 of business revenue were acquired this quarter. Most of the quarter was spent working on new projects with established clients. There were some promising contacts made, though. X Target missed!

I think I can learn from these objectives to set some better ones for the next quarter.


This is a bit of a waste of time, but fun! I noted down several indicators at the beginning of the year. Let’s see how I’ve done.

Indicator 21st July 2012 30th Sept 2012
My Twitter followers 1497 1891
My YouTube Channel, subscribers 155 212
My YouTube Channel, video views 83,000 106,729
LinkedIn connections 415 445
Facebook page Likes/Fans 240 291
Subscribers to 4,516 5,031
My Google+ Profile 1,303 1,427

OK, this is a bit silly. I may get rid of a few next time. This is no way to judge a business!

Finally, business targets for quarter 4

Here’s the important bit …

General targets for the next three months

Hopefully, these will be SMARTer than last time.

  • Podcasting. I aim to launch my podcast in the next few weeks. As I’ve said already, I’ve recorded two but I need to crack on and get some more interesting people to interview. I’m welcome to any suggestions. Target: launch podcast.
  • Guest posting. I’ve gone a bit crazy with guest posting recently. I’ve never really taken it seriously before but now I’m trying to get published in a blog that’s in the top 1,000 popular websites in the world! Target: write quality guest posts for quality blogs.
  • Video courses. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I want to create a video course on Running A Web Design Business. Also, Tara Roskell, my interviewee in two of my upcoming podcasts, has had amazing success with a video course on Udemy (stay tuned for more on that). So, I potentially want to create a free course on how to use the Genesis theme framework in order to develop a profile there which would be useful if I decide to sell my Running A Web Design Business video course there. Target: create a video course.

These are going to be a tall order when you consider the next three months are usually pretty busy with the run up to Christmas. Feel free to have a right go at me if I don’t make them!

Specific targets for the next three months

Here are my more specific targets from now until the end of the year.

Target Q3 2012 target Q3 2012 actual Q4 2012 target
Passive Income $2000 $2447.10 $3,500
Monthly unique visitors 35,000 42,977 55,000
Number of guest posts published n/a n/a 4

See you on or after New Year’s Day 2013 to see if I’ve hit these targets!

What you can do

Set targets whether they are monthly, quarterly, yearly, or whatever! You learn so much about what you want to do and how to get there. I’m even learning from the silly targets I set myself that I miss. The whole process aids productivity and focus.

What do you think of my targets? Can you think of any new ones for either yourself or me?

Did this help you? If so, please share!

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  1. says

    Thank you. Fascinating as ever Rob. Your “passive” income is more than what me and the better half (she thinks) are spending living out in Goa. Probably best that I’m not you or the family back in good ole Blighty may never see me again.

    Looking forward to the Podcast. I don’t have any suggestions, but I bet I’m not alone in enjoying hearing how others manage their lives and incomes working from home. It’s good to hear what went wrong for folks as well as right too.

    • says

      Stop tempting me with ideas of a cheap Asian paradise else I’ll be packing my bags and heading straight for Heathrow!

      Do let me know if you think of any such person. It’s a really interesting topic and I can’t wait to interview more people.

      Cheers, David.

  2. says

    Congrats Rob, you look like you are doing pretty well to me! And your visitor numbers are amazing especially after all the Google changes. It just shows you are creating good content (move over Pat Flynn). I am really looking forward listening to the new podcasts (not the ones with me in :) ) but I know you will have some great guest. I will see if I can think of anyone else, we need a few more good graphic design podcasts.

    • says

      I think you’ll be telling Pat Flynn to move over considering the success your having with your first course. Tara, you have to listen to the ones with you in – you’re really great in them!

      Yes, visitor numbers have just seen a huge increase recently. Not sure why.

  3. says

    A great article, really shows you need to set targets (and review them) to get a measure of whats happening.

    Came accross this article via a tweet from friend and glad i did!

    looking forward to hearing the podcasts and thanks for the introducton to Udemy as i will be looking on there to see if i can impove a bit on my skills!

    • says

      I’m glad you arrived here via your Twitter friend as well, Chris. I’ve found setting targets (and writing them down) a really useful experience. I hope you subscribe to the podcast and enjoy them. :)

  4. says

    This is one of the best income report I’ve read. Thank you for opening to readers. :)
    I’ve reached similar milestone in the first half of 2012 but I can’t say it is passive income because I still have to update my blog almost everyday. Your revenue sources are totally different from mine, so I could learn a lot from you.
    Thanks again.

    • says

      That’s great that you can learn something from me, Tuan, and welcome to the site! Well, this isn’t passive income either as I update the site once a week and I had to create the e-books! Thanks for the comment.

  5. says

    Hi Rob, great post! I always find it interesting to read these kind of reports from other bloggers. I like the fact that you list both what went right and what went wrong.

    Looking forward to the new podcast. Keep up the great work!

  6. says

    Fascinating article Rob – and a useful reminder that targets are so important.

    Without them, maintaining focus – especially for creatives – can be near impossible.

    • says

      It’s true, I find it very hard to maintain focus with client work flying across my desk all day! Targets do help. Thanks for the comment, David.

  7. says

    Really detailed and inspiring blog post. You have inspired me to do the same about my online business. My click bank products are quite slow on selling so i guess i need some marketing tips to make it go up.

    • says

      Hello Phil. It does take time. I’ve been messing around with affiliate links and products for at least a couple of years. But I’m sure the effort will be worth it in the long run.

  8. says

    Really interesting post Rob. I’m also a freelance web designer like yourself and I’ve recently got into the world of affiliate/internet marketing. It’s also nice to find a great blog that’s produced by a Brit for a change! :)

    • says

      Thanks, Mark. Keep at the passive income side. In my experience it doesn’t happen straightaway but you’ll reap the rewards later on. Pop back later and let us know how you’re getting on.

  9. says

    Sounds like you have a pretty solid plan in place with goals for this quarter.

    Do you really only on SEO for traffic or do you have other methods.

    • says

      Hi Steve, thanks! :) Pretty much just SEO. I don’t do Adwords or anything like that. Just organic Google traffic and a bit from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the odd guest post, etc. It’s mostly Google, which is bad because you don’t want all your eggs in one basket.