Passive Online Income and Business Report – Q2 2014

We’re at the mid-way point of the year. The days are getting shorter. Summer turns to winter. Time to see what I’ve done and where I’m going.


If you haven’t been here before, welcome to the second of my three-monthly online passive income and business reports of 2014. Why is there an image of a cat above? Why not!

My passive online income

I have a big love for passive income. Why? Because it’s scalable. Passive income (digital product sales, affiliate and advertising income) can increase without an equivalent increase in effort or investment. You’ve just got to be smart. My passive income target for the three months until June 30th 2014 was $9000. Let’s see how I got on.


Let’s start with my biggest passive income earner – my video courses on Udemy. I now have 10 courses there – five free courses and five premium courses:

You can purchase any of these courses at a discount if you click one of the links above. Here is my Udemy revenue:

Period Revenue
2013 Q3 $3617.10
2013 Q4 $3127.69
2014 Q1 $4777.50
2014 Q2 $6382.89

My Udemy courses have brought in $6382.89 this quarter.

Important: Udemy have just changed their instructor commission and promotions rules again. Unfortunately, a main part of my Udemy strategy was to create free courses and promote discounts to the people there. This is now not allowed so it’ll be interesting to see how these new changes affect my revenue.


Whoa! What’s this, a new kid on the block? Udemy is just one online learning platform where you can sell video courses. There are many others and none of them insist on exclusivity, so I’m experimenting with others at the moment.

One of them is Skillfeed, an online learning platform from Shutterstock, the stock photography website. They have a completely different income model from Udemy. They charge $19 a month for access to all the courses. So course creators are paid per minute watched. I have all my Udemy courses (both free and premium) plus a lot of YouTube videos on Skillfeed.

Period Revenue
2013 Q4 $168.25
2014 Q1 $670.47
2014 Q2 $1196.32

So, it’s definitely not as lucrative as Udemy but it’s worth being there. All you have to do is upload your course videos (direct from Dropbox – nice and quick) and that’s it!

New courses tend to do very well on there at first but the viewing figures take a serious nose-dive after the first month so, now that I’ve got all my courses on there, I doubt if the next quarter’s figures will be as good. But we’ll see how Skillfeed pans out

Amazon Kindle

Here are my books:

I believe that everyone should consider writing a Kindle book of 12,000 words or more. And, look, Amazon have given us a new sales dashboard to play with! amazon sales dashboard I sold 478 books in the period from April 1st until June 30th. An average of 5.25 a day. As you can see from the red line above this fluctuates wildly as my record is 13 books a day and some days I sell none! :( The blue line is for books borrowed. Now that Amazon gives you the figures immediately I can give you an exact figure of how much I earned with my Kindles in Q2 2014: $965.09.

Sales of my PDF e-books

I sell two PDF e-books from this site:

My product 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2014 Q1 2014 Q2
Running a Web Design Business $338.22 $157.87 $178.79 $123.52
How To Get Clients $21.20 $42.40 $72.93 $103.13
Total: $359.42 $200.27 $251.71 $226.65

I don’t promote these much but you can get to the sales pages via the top navigation menu and I also advertise them elsewhere. Interesting to see that the poorly selling title How To Get Clients is doing a little better nowadays. I’ve no idea why.

Google advertising income

Google pays me for my YouTube channel as well as the unobtrusive ads here on my website in British Pounds around the 25th of every month. I convert these payments to dollars and share the amount here. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a payment in May as my earnings were so low. I don’t know why. My YouTube video views are picking up now so, hopefully, this will improve next quarter. Total income from Google this quarter: $315.54.

Google revenue 2013 Q4 2014 Q1 2014 Q2
Total: $498.30 $561.89 $315.54

Affiliate sales

I am an affiliate for certain products that I recommend or mention here. I get a commission if a sale is made through one of my affiliate links.

Affiliate product 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2014 Q1 2014 Q2
Genesis WordPress theme $653.12 0 $356.78 $471.45
WPML WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin $345 $283 $453 $376
GoDaddy domain name registration $27.82 $27.54 $27.54 $0
E-Junkie shopping cart system $14.40 $7.20 $7.20 $0
Aweber email marketing and delivery $43.50 $47.90 $43.20 $46.20
Others $130.96 $234.66 $138.98 $250.35
Total: $1214.84 $600.30 $1024.72 $1144

I am definitely not profiting enough from affiliate sales. I used to make a lot more from various hosting companies but the income from those sales has dropped along with the traffic to some posts where I recommended them (companies like Bluehost, Hostgator, etc.) My two best earners now are WPML which I promote in my WordPress Multi-Lingual plugin videos and the Genesis WordPress theme framework which I recommend in all my WordPress tutorials. Interesting that GoDaddy and E-Junkie have suddenly stopped after paying me a little monthly income for years. There are also a number of products I promote quite heavily that steadfastly refuse to pay me any commission!


All together the Udemy and Skillfeed income along with the e-books’ sales, the Google income, Kindle sales and the affiliate commissions brought in $10,230.49 in passive revenue in Q2 2014. It’s my best quarter ever (see below).

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
2014 Q2 $10230.49

It’s good to see the figures going up but the increases have largely been down to Udemy and it’s never good for one passive income stream to be much greater than all the others. I need to spread my bets.

Business targets

Specific business targets

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

Target Q2 2014 target Q2 2014 actual Q3 2014 target
Passive Income $9,000 $10,230.49 $15,000
Monthly unique visitors 20,000 15,011 17,000

Again, I exceeded my passive income target but missed my visitor targets. I really should do more guest posting to improve the traffic figures.

General business targets

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

  • Publish another Kindle X Target Missed!
  • Create two more premium Udemy courses X Target Missed!

Why have I been so bad with this? You’ll find out later.

By September 30th 2014, I will:

  • Create two more Udemy courses (on Photoshop and Illustrator)
  • Write and publish two Kindle books
  • Have my membership site up and running with over 100 paying members!

Whoa! Big targets!


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

Indicator 30th Sep 2013 31st Dec 2013 1st Apr 2014 1st July 2014
My Twitter followers 2425 2523 2596 2742
My YouTube Channel, subscribers 773 964 1221 1477
My YouTube Channel, video views 273,007 322,185 373,423 428,668
Facebook page Likes/Fans 525 585 638 720
Subscribers to 6249 6491 5948 6276


Personal goals

chris-ducker-mastermindI haven’t been very productive in terms of product creation these last three months. However I do have some excuses. I have been very busy for a number of reasons. I went to Chris Ducker’s mastermind in April (see left, I’m the bald dude at the back). I met and re-met a number of clever people and learned a lot as always. I was advised to do something I already knew I had to do: sell my video courses from my own site. I was putting off selling more products here and less on other platforms because I knew it would be difficult to set up. And, sure enough, setting up a membership site at has taken up a lot of time since, but I’m getting there.

I have also been on a number of podcasts and public speaking gigs in the last month, including this one (below) at the 4-hour Work Week meetup in London. I was very pleased to be asked to do this talk in particular as it was a 40 minute presentation in front of an audience of 70+ people followed by questions.

4hww group talk Rob Cubbon

So I am going to add public speaking to my list of personal goals that I will concentrate on more in the future. I have always been quite shy and nervous of putting myself out there so I think this will be a good thing. I have also kept up my Tai Chi, exercise and meditation routines and I have added drinking a litre of water a day to them. I’ve also got to say that I’m hardly drinking any alcohol these days.

Another personal goal that’s working quite well for me is avoiding newspapers and television. We all know that we shouldn’t poison our bodies with saturated fats, sugar and alcohol but we’re less worried about the poison of negativity we feed into our brains on a daily basis. So why consume media that is trivial, inaccurate or fuelled by hatred or fear? I’m trying not to identify with negativity.

Previous passive income and business reports

H1 2012
Q3 2012
Q4 2012
Q1 2013
Q2 2013
Q3 2013
Q4 2013
Q1 2014

You can do it

I hope this passive income and goal report inspires you and gives you ideas on how you can increase your income streams. Let me know in the comments what you think.

It’s my first 6-figure quarter. We’ll see if I make $15,000 on 1st October 2014 – that would mean $5,000/month.

Be awesome, and I’ll see you in Q3. (Don’t forget to leave a comment!)

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

    Great work Rob. Those are some impressive figures.

    I will check out some of your courses on Udemy as I’ve never looked at it before.

    Interesting to hear about the meet ups and masterminds – I’ve not done any of that before either.

    Maybe your ‘get more clients’ book is doing better as people have read your other book and then moved onto that one? Who knows…

    Good luck with the membership course – looks like you got a good set of courses on there.


    • says

      Hey Joe. Udemy is a pretty good site, Joe, you should check it out. Meet ups and Masterminds are always a good thing and they can absolutely catapult your business – honestly, it’s awesome to meet entrepreneurs and talk business. Try but you can also sort out Masterminds via Skype and Google Hangouts, you just have to find like-minded entrepreneurs. :)

  2. says

    Great stuff Rob, onwards and upwards
    My Udemy has been a bit bit and miss. And I also stumbled on the free course promotion issues yesterday. That is the problem with a platform you don’t own – changing the rules.

    I have come to realise that my future income does not come from such avenues, so am building my business instead.

    As you mention in the post, it is a little dangerous to have a high amount of revenue from one source, who is obviously changing the rules constantly to suit themselves (which they have the right to of course). So focus on your own stuff, for sure.

    all the best

    • says

      Yeah, Ashley, what happened at Udemy recently is absolutely typical cautionary tale about relying on platforms. You have to spread your risk. It’s just like relying on Google from traffic to an Adsense site – you’re asking for trouble.

      Funnily enough, I received a Udemy announcement from you today so you should be making a few sales – and now we get 97% of our coupon sales!

      Thanks for your comment and your encouragement.

    • says

      I’m glad these reports have inspired you, Jay. I always appreciate people pointing out typos and I have made the correction. You’re the best, Jay, thank you so much.

  3. says

    Hi Rob,

    A few years back I tried to turn a hobby into a small sideline by putting myself out there as a web designer. However, by charging peanuts (if not doing jobs for free for mates!) it’s not really gone anywhere but I’ve recently been inspired to push it a bit harder and treat it more as a business than a hobby.

    I found your Udemy course on setting up your home business to be very inspiring and I’m on the 3rd play through at the moment (I run it through the speakers in my car and treat it as an audiobook).

    This post of yours has reinvigorated me more than ever so thanks!

    • says

      Hey Steve, glad to reinvigorate! Interesting that you used the course as an audiobook – I’ll have to make an audiobook one day. Best of luck with your business. Get past the stage of charging peanuts as soon as possible! :)

  4. says

    Hey Rob,

    Way to go and very impressive. You have a lot going on and although most of your training course are coming from different platforms you still have a lot on your plate. At least you aren’t replying on just one income stream and spreading yourself out and around.

    I think right now I’m so focused on creating my product that I can’t really think of anything else at the moment. My consulting clients keep me pretty busy so I’m very blessed with that. I still have some affiliate sites but nothing along the lines you’re pulling in which is very impressive.

    Appreciate you being such an open book, thank you so much and I have no doubt that you’ll continue to do better as time goes by. How can you not! You’re so knowledgeable.


    • says

      Thank you, Adrienne, and thanks for all your support on Twitter.

      You are so knowledgable too so you could benefit from some of this. My affiliate income doesn’t come from other sites, it all comes from this one. You have really good traffic and authority so you could perhaps do more there. And, product building teaches you a lot so best of luck with that. Let me know if you need any help.

  5. Wendy Bromilow says

    Firstly, well done on your growth, and thankyou for sharing your knowledge. Just settling down with your free e-book How To Market Yourself Online, I am sure I will find a power of knowledge to absorb.
    Thanks Again xx

  6. says

    Hi Rob

    I find your reports very interesting! as well as all the details! You’ll soon make as much as Pat Flynn per month 😉

    I’m very happy to learn from you!

    See you soon.

  7. says

    Hey Rob,

    Congrats on your best quarter so far! This is the first time I’ve read your reports and its been impressive to say the least. And so inspiring too. I’m new to this entire freelance world. and must admit it hasnt been easy. Its been over 4 months since I quit my corporate job and have finally landed my first project with a partner.

    But your post has given me a fresh lease and am hoping to apply some of these ideas.

    Thanks a ton! Really appreciate you sharing these experiences in such detail.


    • says

      Thank you, Swati. It usually takes a while to set a business up and 4 months before your first client is quite normal or quite good!

      Best of luck in the future and I’m glad this has inspired you.

  8. says

    Very impressive report and thanks for being so candid with us. Have you ever thought of selling your video courses on That could be another revenue stream for you.


    • says

      Hello Eric, I have thought of Skillshare but I haven’t got around to investigating. There are loads of other platforms and I will be exploring them all and I’ll write about it here. Thank you for the idea.

  9. Ann says

    Very inspiring! By showing that YOU have done it, and how it has done for you… makes you more credible. Makes it seem worthwhile for others to give it a shot. Way to Go!!

  10. David Waumsley says

    As always you are an inspiration Rob. What a fantastic achievement and thanks for sharing.

    I cut out newspapers and TV some years back. I completely live in La la land, but it’s a lovely place.

    • says

      You’re an inspiration too, David, because you’re in a lovely place – not lala land but Indiaaahhhh! That’s awesome. Yes, I’m hoping to really improve on my media diet. It’s not so easy with the World Cup but that’ll be over soon.

  11. says

    Hi Rob, thanks for sharing your figures, which not many people are bold or honest enough to do! I find it really inspiring, and it prompts me to get on with my passive income projects as well.

    Thank you again for your generous advice and information.

  12. says

    Rob, you are in the league of the most successful of internet marketers. Well done and hope you increase your earnings month after month (and show us how you are doing it so that we can follow in your footstep). Well done!

    • says

      Thank you, Shalu, I don’t think actually in the league of the most successful internet marketers. I think there are loads more successful than me – they don’t all publish their earnings though. I’m probably in the second or third division. And, I like that my earnings are modest so they can seem achievable to others. (I’m reading your Real Ghost And Paranormal Stories From India at the moment, Shalu. Fascinating!

  13. says

    Good stuff. I have a book out myself and about to launch my first Udemy course today. Thanks for the inspiration. Do you ever do webinars or Google+ Hangouts? Would love to chat sometime. – DJ

    • says

      Hello, Dennis, I don’t do webinars or Google+ Hangouts yet but I’m hoping to sometime soon. If you have any questions, ask them here or email me.

  14. says

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for doing these reports. I know you and others appreciate reading mine. It’s awesome to see the income picking up for the both of us. Hopefully it keeps going up and up and up! And I have a good feeling that you’ll get to that $15,000 goal!


  15. says

    First time I have seen your report. It is very generous of you to share your numbers. They are an inspiration for me. I should post them in my fridge to remind myself that I want to do the same. 9,000 extra each quarter could not hurt!
    As always, I send you my best,
    Jose Luis (Joe) Cortes

    • says

      Hello Theron. “Holy smoke” – love it! I haven’t heard that expression since watching Batman on TV, many years ago! Thank you for your positivity and interest, Theron, I appreciate it.

  16. says

    Hi Rob,

    Nice set of results. Thanks for being so open and transparent about the numbers. Gives us all hope…
    Incidentally I just found you through one of your Udemy free courses so it has that added advantage of getting you subscribers as well as passive income.

    Keep up the great work.


  17. says

    Decide on a tracking mechanism for each offer you send out
    so you can analyze your response. Etisalat Yellow Pages Telephone Directory in UAE will publish all the telephone numbers in UAE.
    Due to this facility, the businesses can upload descriptions, pictures,
    videos and much more to attract more and more desi customers.

  18. says

    Holy smoke! You’re coming along very nicely with the passive income. Congratulations! And your new online school looks excellent.

  19. says

    So course creators are paid per minute watched. I have all my Udemy courses (both free and premium) plus a lot of YouTube videos on Skillfeed.

    • says

      No, Shawn, different online learning platforms employ different ways of reimbursing you. Skillfeed is per minute watched. The others aren’t. It makes sense to put everything on Skillfeed.

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