Obstacle.co

How I Made $7,000+ In My 3rd Month of Blogging

When Things Really Start to Click

Updated: October 26, 2016

By most standards July was a successful month of blogging when I made $697. However, the goal was for much more and even though it was only the 2nd month I was a bit disappointed in how things went.

I promised myself I wouldn’t let the same thing happen in August.

And it didn’t.

August Goals

Before we dive into the numbers let’s take a look at the goals I set for August:

  • Launch a book
  • Launch two video courses
  • Increase Pinterest followers to 700
  • Increase email list subscriptions to 750
  • Reach 10,000 page views
  • Make $7,500 in revenue
  • Get two guest posts published
  • Publish 10 new posts on the site

Some pretty lofty goals there!

I’d like to tackle each of these goals one-by-one.

Launch a Book

I didn’t have plans to do a full book because I knew I was going to launch some courses. However, I still wanted to get a book out there and I came up with an idea. One of the courses that I pre-launched is a course on Pinterest. However, I think everybody should understand the power of Pinterest and get the most out of it so I wanted to create an online guide to Pinterest for bloggers.

This is what I call a living document in that it will be constantly updated with new Pinterest strategies as I move along. I figured I would also take all of the writing I was doing for it and publish it as an e-book.

The e-book is no different than what you can get for free online, but some people like to have organized books to carry around with them.

So technically I did launch a book that also acts like a tripwire.

What’s a tripwire? A tripwire is an item you put up for sale for a small amount of money compared to your other offerings. The idea behind it is that it helps you get people into the door with your products where you can later upsell them on the other products you are offering.

Eventually, I want to fill Obstacle.co with products that benefits everyone no matter how much you can afford to spend.

Launch Two Video Courses

I wanted to get two video courses out the door and I knew I was going to do it with little fanfare. When you read about people doing course launches they are usually a really big deal. You go into this whole email sequence and some people like to bring in affiliates.

The end result can be a 5 or 6-figure launch. While those numbers would’ve been great in August that wasn’t the plan. Because of Obstacle.co still being young and my reputation in this industry still needing to grow, I wanted to get these courses out to help establish authority.

Oh, he’s done a course on X…

When new visitors come to the site and see courses available it starts to put them in a mindset of seeing me as someone who knows enough about the subject to sell my knowledge. This is a huge stepping stone to converting visitors into buyers.

It’s why most bloggers wait months or years before launching their first course.

One, they want to feel comfortable creating a course and two, they want to feel confident that people will buy it. If you’ve done a good job of growing your mailing list and do a decent job of launching, people will buy no matter what.

I’ve done all of this talking and haven’t shown you the two courses yet! Here they are:

  • The Gain 1,000 Course: Takes you through the blueprint I’ve used for past sites, this site, and future sites in gaining 1,000 subscribers and making $1,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Powerful Pinterest Profiting: Pinterest has been the sole reason this blog has done so well in its first 90 days. This course shows you how to use Pinterest to really bolster your blog and get the jumpstart you’ve been looking for.

Both courses weren’t officially launched/started in August, but they are close enough that I’m considering this goal as being met.

Increase Pinterest Followers to 700

Well, I crushed this goal. Obstacle.co reached 945 Pinterest followers. A really large jump when compared to the previous months.

  • June: 84
  • July: 374
  • August: 945

Every month I gain a better understanding of Pinterest and with over 8,000(!!!) pins I have a lot of data to comb over to see what is working and what isn’t.

I cover a lot of my strategy in The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Bloggers, but I will say that if you want to get anywhere with your Pinterest account you need to pin often and be in group boards.

This holds double if you are starting from scratch.

A lot of the people that create Pinterest courses do so from the experience of taking their 3-4-year-old Pinterest profile with a couple thousand followers on it already and growing it.

Obstacle.co started from 0 and has seen insane growth. This is even more impressive when you consider that I skipped 2 whole weeks of pinning in July.

If you’re looking for a social media platform to jumpstart your blog’s growth, then Pinterest would be my recommendation.

Increase Email List Subscriptions to 750

My first failure of my August goals. The final subscriber count for August was 305.

That is pretty low considering all of the stuff I spout about the important of building your mailing list, so what gives? A number of things actually:

  • I need more content upgrades that are attached to specific posts. Currently, all of my offerings are email courses which many people are reluctant to sign up for because it means going through a lot of emails. However, the people that do sign up are super, high-quality leads. In September, I will produce more content upgrades that focus on downloadable goodies.
  • My CTA wasn’t working as well as I had hoped. Convertkit gives you a nice form to use for your CTAs at the end of the blog post and I think the lack of images/downloadable products killed the conversion rate on them. So this past week I’ve changed how some of the blog posts handle the CTA and I’ve made it bigger. Results are improving.
  • Not a huge amount of traffic. I received over 10,000 page views in August which beat my goal, but that still isn’t a lot of traffic in the grand scheme of things. To increase your subscriber count you can improve two things:
    1. Your traffic
    2. Your conversion rate

    I focused on the conversion rate. Why? Because I didn’t want to waste a large amount of traffic. It’s better to ensure you got things close to where you want them before turning on the firehose.

I’m not making any excuses for not reaching the goal. It was definitely attainable if I had put more focus on it, but as we talk about revenue you’ll understand why my focus went elsewhere.

Reach 10,000 Pageviews

As I mentioned I eclipsed this number pretty easily. Pinterest gets all of the credit on this one. The total page views for August were 12,391.

Make $7,500 in Revenue

I probably should’ve put this one first since this is all you care about, but I had good reason to squeeze it into the middle. The revenue number makes sense after you understand what happened with the other metrics.

The final tally for August came out to $7,351.64.

Very close. This doesn’t count the money that hit my bank account on September 1st. Since I use Stripe for some of my transactions, they currently have me on the 7-day rolling schedule and that meant some of the money just didn’t arrive in time for August. In other words, I sold enough products and services to reach the goal, but the money didn’t get there in time.

This also means I have a nice jumpstart to September.

So how was the money made? Again it was a mix of products and services. The numbers below are minus Paypal/Stripe fees.

  • $3,000 – Custom blog development. This one was interesting because someone approached me with a proposal. Instead of writing up a 90-Day Blog Rocket Plan for them, they wanted me to execute it for them. That means I take over their new blog for 90 days and do everything that I would do for one of my blogs. It’s going to be fun!
  • $970.70 – SEO/Social Media. Again, this was another custom proposal someone brought to me where they wanted help getting their SEO and social media in the right place. I’ve helped them set up the same tools that I use for social media to allow them to focus more on what they want to do.
  • $1,777.55 – Full design and branding. A fun little project where I overhauled their blog and setup some custom sections like you see here on Obstacle.co
  • $1603.39 – Course sales. Wait, aren’t you supposed to have a 5 or 6-figure launch when you do a course? As I explained above the purpose of the course launches was twofold. Make a little bit of extra money and to establish some authority. The goal is by December to move all income over to course sales.

Obviously, these numbers aren’t normal for the 3rd month of blogging. However, they do show you that one of the fastest ways to make a healthy amount of money from a blog is by offering services. You can’t just slap a “Work With Me” page together and expect people to make the plunge, though.

Whatever services you are offering you have to show that you are very good at them. I can’t offer design and development services if Obstacle.co itself looks crappy. I can’t do Pinterest consultations if I’m not showing consistent growth with my own Pinterest account.

If you see a service not listed on the Services page don’t hesitate to shoot me an email to see what we can work out. I’m here to help.

The reason why services can work for you right now is because they don’t require any setup. Selling a course or another digital product is awesome, but it also takes time.

The September theme for Obstacle.co is making money online so I’ll be going over all of these topics a bit more in-depth.

Get two guest posts published

I didn’t get around to this one, but I’ve already started to get to work to accomplish that this month.

Publish 10 new posts on the site

Didn’t do this one either although I did write up some pretty damn good content.

When it comes to writing content some bloggers believe that more is better and that is only true if the more is actually better. Writing just to write isn’t going to help you. My goal is to write long form pieces of content that provide great value, are evergreen, and I can promote for a very long time. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t get 10 posts out, it just means that I didn’t make it a focus.

Now that Obstacle.co is over 3 months old I’ll also spend some time going back to older posts and updating them and doing a better job with regards to SEO for them.

Other accomplishments

What else was I able to achieve in August?

Overall not too bad. After Labor Day weekend I think I’ll finally have 2-3 months of zero major interruptions (fingers crossed) so I can really start to dive into Obstacle.co and the other sites.

Goals

What are the goals for September? Let’s crank it up a notch…

  • $12,000 in revenue
  • 4 guest posts
  • 10 new posts
  • Secretly launch another blog
  • 2,000 Pinterest followers
  • 1,000 email subscribers

Doable? I think so. Easy? Not at all, but all of this is setting up for the second 6 months of the $500,000 challenge.

Here is to a great September and be sure to keep following along on Twitter.

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