Passive Online Income and Business Report

If you haven’t been here before, welcome to my three-monthly online passive income and business report.

cat in a rubbish bin

Why you’d want to put a cat in a rubbish bin and take a photo, I’ll never know. I got this image from RGBstock. No animals were hurt in the making of this income report.

My online passive income

Regular readers of my blog will know I have a Tim Ferriss-like interest in passive income. I still spend time swapping hours for dollars, working for clients building websites, etc., but I love making money from products, affiliate commissions, advertising, etc. This is passive income – money you can earn in your sleep.

My passive income target for this quarter was $6000. Let’s see how I get on. (My passive income target for the year is $50,000, by the way, so I’d better get my skates on!)


The market-leading online learning platform Udemy is my biggest passive earner. I now have 9 courses there and plans for many more.

I published a new premium course there recently called Designing A Website in Photoshop, Illustrator (& GIMP) – my promotions for this course account for some of the earnings.

All the above links will give you a nice little discount.

Period Revenue
2013 Q2 $2137.50
2013 Q3 $3617.10
2013 Q4 $3127.69
2014 Q1 $4777.50

Over the last three months my Udemy courses have brought in $4777.50.

If you’re interested in Udemy, here’s an article on how to sell video courses with Udemy.

Amazon Kindle

my kindle books

Also this month, I published my third Kindle, a semi-autobiographical booklet entitled From Freelancer to Entrepreneur: How changing my life created my business and, again, I have plans to publish more. Here are my Kindles in chronological order.

Not many people make a full time living from Kindles – but I love self-publishing.

Amazon gives you the exact figures two weeks late so I’m going to under-estimate this year’s first three months earnings from Amazon: (let’s call it) $600.

Sales of my PDF e-books

I sell two PDF e-books from this site:

My product 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2014 Q1
Running a Web Design Business $470.14 $338.22 $157.87 $178.79
How To Get Clients $110.38 $21.20 $42.40 $72.93
Total: $580.52 $359.42 $200.27 $251.71

I put the price of these from $24 down to $9 as my Kindle e-books with a similar word-count are on Amazon for $2.99. At last these are moving in the right direction.

Google advertising income

This always seems more than what Google tells me in the Adsense backend and YouTube Channel Analytics. I’m getting bigger transfers from Google to my business bank account and so I’m not complaining. I think more of it comes from my YouTube channel than the unobtrusive ads here, but it’s hard to tell.

Total income from Google this quarter: $561.89. Still not very much but … whatever.

Affiliate sales

My strategy with affiliate sales is to promote or, more accurately, to mention products I like and link to them with an affiliate link. Here is a breakdown of my affiliate revenue.

Affiliate product 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2014 Q1
Genesis WordPress theme 0 $653.12 0 $356.78
WPML WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin $509 $345 $283 $453
GoDaddy domain name registration $35.43 $27.82 $27.54 $27.54
E-Junkie shopping cart system $3.60 $14.40 $7.20 $7.20
Aweber email marketing and delivery $38.00 $43.50 $47.90 $43.2
Others 0 $12 $174.66 $137
Total: $1231.03 $1214.84 $600.30 $1024.72

As you can see, it was an OK quarter for affiliate sales. Particularly good for WPML – the WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin videos I have on YouTube are doing that. It could go down next quarter as it all depends on when I receive the payments.


All together the Udemy income along with the e-books’ sales, the Google income, Kindle sales and the affiliate commissions brought in $7215.82 in passive revenue in Q1 2014.

It’s my best quarter ever (see below). However, I’m going to have to up my game if I’m going to make my annual target of $50,000. I’m going to start with trying to get over $2000 from Udemy every month.

Comparison with previous quarters

Period Revenue
2012 Q3 $2447.10
2012 Q4 $2611.03
2013 Q1 $2036.93
2013 Q2 $3,949.05
2013 Q3 $5191.36
2013 Q4 $4626.56
2014 Q1 $7215.82

Well, moving in the right direction but I’m not about to buy a caribbean island.

Business targets

Specific business targets

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

Target Q1 2014 target Q1 2014 actual Q2 2014 target
Passive Income $6,000 $7215.82 $9,000
Monthly unique visitors 30,000 15,052 20,000

As you can see, I exceeded my passive income target but missed my visitor targets. The organic traffic continues to drop. I’m not too concerned about this as I have posts that do very well towards the end of the year and this explains some of the decrease in my site’s visitor numbers.

General business targets

Last quarter I had two business targets. Here’s how I got on:

  • Create two more Udemy courses (Target Achieved!)
  • Write and publish a Kindle book (Target Achieved!)

OK. Let’s see how I get on in the next quarter. By June 30th 2014, I will:

  • Publish another Kindle
  • Create two more premium Udemy courses

Not very imaginative. I’ll do better next time.


These are a bit of a waste of time but I keep doing them.

Indicator 30th Jun 2013 30th Sep 2013 31st Dec 2013 1st Apr 2014
My Twitter followers 2353 2425 2523 2596
My YouTube Channel, subscribers 599 773 964 1221
My YouTube Channel, video views 231,097 273,007 322,185 373,423
Facebook page Likes/Fans 491 525 585 638
Subscribers to 6130 6249 6491 5948

My email list subscribers have gone down because I deleted hundreds of old addresses that hadn’t opened in a year.

Personal goals

January and February have never been my favorite months here in the UK. This year I was struggling to get back to my previous level of physical exercise after breaking my arm last year. Added to this I seemed to get more than my fair share of coughs and colds. I’m still not there yet and I haven’t got full movement back to my arm but things are getting better. I hereby declare that I’ll spend most of January and February 2015 out of this country!

I’ve kept up my meditation, tai chi and running levels more-or-less. I’m going to have to work at these in the coming months to make sure I don’t let it slip.

Previous passive income and business reports

H1 2012
Q3 2012
Q4 2012
Q1 2013
Q2 2013
Q3 2013
Q4 2013

You can do it

I hope you enjoyed this passive income and goal report. It may have been the best financially but, in terms of goal-setting and personal progress, I feel there’s still lots to be done. I will continue to work on this.

How are you achieving your business and personal goals? Does this report help you or give you any ideas?

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

Plus a list of my 12 favorite resources for online business

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


  1. says

    Thanks for sharing the report Rob. Not many people online has the will to share their business logics. Looking forward to learn more from you throughout this year too.

  2. says

    Great report. It’s always interesting to see how others are doing. I had a look at some of your ebooks, they seem to be doing great. Wish you the best. As far as ebooks are concerned, fiction seems to do better. There is a demand for erotica, thrillers and that sort of stuff but then not everyone is a fiction writer. I had a question. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to sell my books (on KDP) from my own site too?

    • says

      Hey Shalu, I’m glad this report may have helped you in some way. I think you are probably doing better on Kindle than me, Shalu! I never sell more than 10 a day. Yes, if your books aren’t on KDP Select and your website gets a following then you could sell them from your site. Why not? You could add extra images and bonuses to sell them at a higher price. You may sell less than on Amazon but you’ll make far more per unit.

  3. says

    Wow, great work Rob. Thanks for sharing this interesting and valuable information. Do you think there is room for another Japanese course on Udemy? My wife is Japanese 😉

    • says

      Hi Mark, yes, languages are quite big on Udemy. There are Japanese courses on there but they don’t seem to be doing very well. With Udemy, it’s best to have a website and a YouTube channel to create an audience first to get some sort of momentum when you launch a new course.

  4. says

    Interesting to see what income streams you are using and benefiting from Rob. Really helps us up and comers :> much appreciated.

    • says

      I know plenty of people have tried Udemy and Kindle – and affiliate stuff – on the back of these, Ashley. Happy to continue if it helps.

  5. says

    Hi Rob,

    Your updated earning sparks up an inspiration in believing on the possibility of making sustainable income online.

    Can you kindly check and advise on what to do on my blog ( its just 6 month old) and not bringing in any income at the moment, despite my monetization techniques applied.


    • says

      Hi James, thank you for your comment. Your blog looks very good and you are posting regularly. Maybe you have too many affiliate links in the sidebar and you’re writing about too many different tools and themes in one post and you should hone in one just a few that you find are the best and most useful?

  6. says

    Hey Rob, this is so inspiring man.

    Congratulations on all your achievementes and I have zero doubts you’re going to hit all your targets on this next quarter!


  7. says

    Excellent thank you for sharing, Making a Udemy is on my list also and I will get there. I love all the passive income and continue to create products and build. This is very much the right time if you want to create products and sell them. Google adsense is one of the easiest ways, It is pretty amazing

    • says

      Let me know if you need any help with Udemy, Bruce. I look what you’re doing on Kindle and with publishing – that’s where I want to be with that! :)

  8. says

    Excellent and insightful write up Rob. Great to see you so open about sharing your stats. Congrats on the income. These quarterly goals are so important.


    • says

      Alex, I don’t know if you’ve commented here before but a pleasure to see you here and thank you! I do like to keep setting goals, although this quarter they weren’t so imaginative, so they’ll be better next time.

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing Rob. It shows if you put your mind to it, you can achieve great things even while you sleep. Well done on your income steams and keep pushing onwards.

  10. says

    Looks great Rob,

    I think you should do some basic SEO for your Udemy courses so you could sell more. I’ve found that Udemy courses rank really well.

    • says

      Thank you, Rahat. Your course looks like it’s doing well on Udemy. I might shoot you an email about Udemy SEO in the next few days!

    • says

      Thank you, Erin. How’s your Udemy course doing? Yes, I think having a few more courses there won’t hurt. And getting the right course subjects that are in demand is important. We’re lucky though, design stuff does quite well. Have you tried Skillfeed as well?

  11. says

    Thank you, Robb! I am really happy that you were able profit even higher than your set target for the quarter. Pls, don’t relent. Always remember you inspire someone like me. Secretly, I have been following your blog. Thanks for being so down to earth!

    • says

      Hello Adeniyi, thank you for your comment. I’m delighted that I’m able to inspire you. It makes me able to carry on. I love to hear from secret followers. :)

  12. Hal Katz says

    I’ve been getting your emails, but had only now looked in at you. I’m a little confused as to what you do. You seem to give away a lot of what you know. That is not what happens on the Internet. Most incoming unsoliciated email is trying to get over on the receiver. Could it be that you are different. I would like to know.

    • says

      Hello Hal. Thank you for coming by and commenting. I hope I am different from most of the unsolicited mail you receive, because my mail is not unsolicited. You subscribed on 08/01/12 at 3:47pm 😉

      I like to give away what I know. I don’t make most of my income through my email lists or through internet marketing so maybe I’m different in that way.

      However, there are lots of other people who give away great information through their email lists for nothing, Pat Flynn, Steve Scott and Alex Mathers above, spring to mind.

      I hope you benefit from my emails and blog posts in the future and I hope you stay with me. :)

      • Hal Katz says

        Rob, I’m 88 years old and still in there pitching. Some years after I was semi-retired at 65, I took a big financial hit and almost lost all that I had worked for all those years. I managed to hold onto enough to have a retirement home in New Jersey and a retirement winter home in Florida. I just manage to keep my lifestyle going. I still have one small business which keeps my eleven employees working but little profit for me. At present, I’m a consultant for a drug treatment program in Florida which I enjoy doing. Computers and computer programming intrigue me. I’m always learning and hope to learn a lot from you.

          • says

            Hey Hal, it’s so interesting to find out what the visitors to this site are doing. Quite a mixed bag, I can tell you. Best of luck with everything you do and, if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to ask me. Sorry we had you down as anonymous there’s a little bug on this site that loses your name when you come back and leave a second comment. I’ll try to fix it soon. All the best, Rob.

  13. Chandan Chakraborty says

    Hi Rob can you written how to set goal I have search your article but not find any article how we can set goal if you publish how we can set goal its really help.

    • says

      Good question, Chandan, I’ve never really written about goals. Just make sure they are achievable and time-based. So, “I will make over $2000 from Udemy this month”, for example. Push yourself but be realistic. And make sure not all your goals are about making money for yourself. Have some goals to help other people.

    • says

      Thank you, Arafin, I’m motivated and encouraged in part by the response from the great people, like yourself, who leave comments here. :)

  14. Chandan says

    Hello Rob you did not include your web design work income I mean Consulting income?