Obstacle.co

How I Made Over $3,000 This Month From Blogging

Setting Up for the Future Comes at a Cost

Updated: January 8, 2017

I’ll get right to it.

In November, I made $3638.84.

That is my lowest amount since my 2nd month. What happened? This is a catastrophe!

Not really. It’s pretty simple, I stopped doing the things that make me money.

For the first 6 months of the $500,000 challenge I have been making the majority of my money through services. Last month I said that I wasn’t going to focus as much on services and that’s what happened. In fact, I didn’t focus much on any money-making activity.

Instead, I focused on two things:

  1. Helping my current clients prepare themselves for a strong 2017
  2. Getting my media network prepared for a huge 2017

Let’s talk about both of these things as they will help shed some light on the low revenue number a bit more.

Helping Clients

I don’t just blog to make money. I always expect to make money.

I blog because I want to help people. That is what drives me every single day.

The problem is I can only help so many people when I offer services and I have more than enough clients. They keep me busy and I love it so I only took on one more client in November while I made sure that the rest got my time and attention.

When you’re building a business around services this is what happens. If I want to make more money around a service-based model I would need to do one of two things:

  1. Get more clients
  2. Raise prices

I’m going to do one more service package this month but only because I’m done with a lot of the clients I picked up. I helped them, they reached their goals, and now it’s time to move on.

In January, I will start to accept fewer clients (maybe just take on 1-2 a month) and raise prices significantly. I am continuing with services because I like the relationships they help me forge. It’s as simple as that.

The only slight regret that I have about offering services is that I let them go on for too long. I can’t overstate how much I love helping people but I’m a softie and so the prices I charge are waaaaaaaaay below my normal rates.

When you don’t have much money to spend that won’t mean much but if I’m devoting 80+ hours to helping you out and I’m only getting $299 then you should be able to see who is getting the better deal.

Getting My Media Network Setup

When I came up with the $500,000 Challenge I had 3 main sites in mind:

  1. Obstacle.co
  2. Thrive/Strive
  3. Unlaunched site

As the months started to pass I started to consider more sites in different areas. That’s when I decided that I would start my own little media network.

Now that sounds fancier than it is. The reality is that I am just going to have more than a couple of blogs under my wing.

This is batshit crazy. Don’t do this.

Focus on one site and do a great job with it. Your life will be easier and you can still achieve great things.

The first thing one has to ask with this zany idea is how is it possible to run multiple blogs? Most of you barely have time for one! I agree, it was going to be tough and I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to be feasible at all until something clicked in October.

In October, after months of experimenting and studying other sites, I came across what I like to call the Pinterest Overload Technique. It’s a technique that I teach in my updated Pinterest course.

What I’ve found is a way to launch a site and make it feel like it’s in its 3rd month instead of its 1st.

One of the biggest problems of starting a blog is finding out ways to get traffic. Nobody wants to hear that it takes months or years to get a significant amount of traffic to their blog.

Like with losing weight many people want quick results and I found a way to make quick results a reality.

Granted, this won’t work for every single niche in the world and I’m not trying to sell you snake oil. I couldn’t care if you believe if this is possible or not because my success is not dependent on your beliefs. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

With this technique, I laid out a plan that now encompasses 10 different blogs (!!!!).

Again, this is absolutely batshit crazy.

The idea is that if I can build an authority site in one niche, then I can build up a neighboring site just as quick. Each site in the mini-network works to build up the others.

You see it all the time on a larger scale with media companies but each site has their own massive team. I have a team of two people: me and my brother (and he only works on the health sites).

So why do I think this will work?

Because I think there is a point for your blog where you don’t have to write as much anymore. The idea is that once you have X number of posts on your blog you have enough content to consistently bring in traffic so what you want to do is get to that point as quickly as possible.

If you look at Brian Dean’s site he only has 33 posts on it and receives 100s of thousands of pageviews every single month. Granted, his posts are always massive and a great resource all on their own, but the fact of the matter is you don’t need to slave over WordPress every single night if you are doing things properly.

I am at that point with Thrive/Strive (it has over 50 published posts) so now we can spend more time focusing on its sister sites. This wouldn’t be possible without Pinterest. If each of these sites were already receiving massive amounts of traffic from Google then the same concept applies but because they are young and don’t have many backlinks that isn’t the case. Establishing solid SEO takes time.

It’s why you have bloggers like Pay Flynn and Melyssa Griffin not publishing daily or weekly sometimes.

They have enough content and traffic sources now that they are guaranteed to get X number of pageviews a month on autopilot. That amount of traffic is coming in whether they want it or not.

Imagine if you could launch a blog and make all of that magic happen in the first or second month? Then you just need to continue to do little pieces of work on top of it to maintain momentum.

I know this all sounds too good to be true. I know it does and this strategy could have me falling on my face, but here is a new blog that I “launched” on November 26th (Thanksgiving weekend when nobody is online). This is how it looks after the first 20 days:

pinterest traffic

What I’ve done is used the techniques from the Pinterest Overload Technique and piggy backed on Thrive/Strive’s Pinterest account. It’s possible that this site will die down a bit because there are only 9 posts on it, but it’s still doing over 1,000 pageviews a day.

Pretty good for a new blog.

I Don’t Want to be a Poser

One of my greatest faults is that I’m in constant motion and keeping an eye out for ways to improve.

It sounds silly to call this a fault but in the case of my goal it is because the smart thing would’ve been to focus 100% on Obstacle.co and build it up to a goliath. After 6 months there is no reason why I shouldn’t be at the $75,000-$100,000 range with over 10,000 subscribers.

But as I look at the landscape of other sites in this niche I continue to see bloggers selling the dream based upon the one success that they had.

I am not trying to call anybody out. Almost every person I’ve interacted with in this niche is truly awesome and I’m happy for their success. The problem is that much of their teachings are based on hindsight.

They are history teachers.

They spent time doing things and after it all worked out they looked back and wrote the books. They don’t know if their techniques will work with other sites or even with their own site in the future.

The reason why I created a Pinterest course and continue to update it is because I continue to learn new things about the platform that help me grow brand new accounts. Most Pinterest courses talk about amazing growth a person has had, but they’ve been on the platform for 2+ years and already had an established base.

Everything I’m doing is from scratch.

In future courses, I will be teaching the methods that I use across 10+ different blogs, not just one.

Doing all of this work massively slows me down in the short term but I think the long-term payoff will be greater.

If you are trying to build a blog to make money who are you more drawn to:

  1. This person makes over $100,000 a year with a single blog. It’s their first blog and it took them 2-3 years before things finally clicked. They are rockstars now and everything they teach encompasses the things they did to finally reach their goals.
  2. This person makes over $100,000 a year with multiple blogs and it only took them 7-9 months. Down the road each blog is doing over $50,000 a month and these blogs range in topics.

When it comes to how to make money blogs there are two types of people:

  1. Those that love the idea and are all in on the concept. They understand the potential that blogs bring and are willing to make it happen and that usually means following the how to make money people.
  2. Think they are all bullshit because all they do is make money by teaching others how to make money.

I want both types of people to come to Obstacle.co and see the potential of what is possible because I’ve proven it over a number of different blogs.

Maybe it’s part of my ego that wants this to be a reality but I’m staking everything on this plan.

What Happened in November?

The floodgates busted open.

If you look back at the October Income Report you’ll see that I had traffic goals for Obstacle.co (30,000 pageviews) and Thrive/Strive (100,000 pageviews).

Obstacle.co didn’t even get close to 30,000 pageviews (5,997 total) but that’s because zero attention was paid to the site. Shame on me.

Thrive/Strive was a bit more ambitious because in October the site has only received 9,000 pageviews. I was hoping to jump the pageview count 91,000 pageviews which sounds silly but I knew I had a way to do it.

Here is what happened:

getting blog traffic with Pinterest

The Orange line is October 2016 (9,456 pageviews) and the Blue line is November 2016 (129,677 pageviews). As you can see from the image that is an increase of 1,271%.

This is where you might be thinking I got lucky. I would say the same thing so here is the analytics for December so far:

blog traffic

18 days into the month and the site has already cross the 100,000 pageview threshold. Because it’s a health and fitness site and Christmas is approaching I don’t expect any more crazy surges of traffic but this sets things up nicely for January.

Now that I had verification that my new Pinterest strategy was working I decided to launch another site with my wife. This one completely focuses on weight loss for women. Bitch A Fit has received over 77,000 pageviews in the first 20 days and will cross 100,000 pageviews in its first month of existence.

Last month I was trying to get a site that had been around for 5 months to 100,000 pageviews and this month I’m going to do it with a site that isn’t even a month old.

Again, this isn’t secret sauce or black hat tricks. This is done by using techniques that anybody can learn.

Revenue Breakdown

Warning: I plan to go back through all of these income reports and redo the revenue breakdowns to show the numbers better, but that isn’t going to happen at this moment so for now, you just get a generic breakdown.

As usual, all numbers are after credit card processing fees and only money that has entered my bank account. For example, if I sell $500 worth of affiliate products, but don’t see the money till February then that money is not presented here, it will be presented in February’s Income Report.

I can’t pay my rent on future earnings.

Obstacle.co – $1,110.22

Obstacle.co did $1100.22 of revenue. This is a severe drop from previous months but it’s important to think of the site in hibernation.

While there is great content and awesome email courses, none of them are optimized to drive traffic to my products. Essentially I have a great library and I need to convert the library over to a bookstore.

I’m not ashamed to say any of this because it is the reality of the situation and it is what I’ll be spending December correcting to prepare for 2017.

SproutKit – $2427.20

All services previously on Obstacle.co got moved over to SproutKit. Not much more explanation needed there.

Thrive/Strive – $154.33

With traffic finally starting to flow into Thrive/Strive I figured it was time to start monetizing. Unfortunately, I wait till half the month was done before putting up some affiliate links.

Because we didn’t have any products of our own at the time and we weren’t equipped to offer any services, affiliate marketing was our best bet.

I went on Clickbank and found relevant products with great sales pages and at the bottom of each post included a mini-sales page to push traffic to the affiliate products.

affiliate sales with clickbank

Ideally, you want to get people to sign up for your newsletter then you put them into a sales funnel that pushes them to affiliate products but I wanted to see how well this technique would work.

It’s done decently and I’ll keep at it through December, but I do think that holding off on the affiliate pitches until after they’ve gone through a funnel is a better approach.

December Goals

December is going to be another low revenue month because I will be working on building a foundation for my network.

I made the mistake of not focusing on SEO while building up Obstacle.co and Thrive/Strive so I’m going back through all old posts and making SEO tweaks to help improve organic search traffic.

I am also starting to consolidate some posts on the sites so that I can have more resource type posts. This is a strategy that I will be using more across all of my sites. Here are some examples:

These 4 posts account for over 20,000 words!

The goal is to make each one the one place to go to learn about a specific topic. Consider them mini-books on a single page.

I’ll still be writing small posts (1,500 – 3,000 words), but I will be more selective with what I put out there. This is part of bigger experiment that I’m doing in December and I’ll be sure to report back the results.

The goal is to get a balance between Pinterest and Google traffic.

I’m not setting any revenue goals for December because I am not actively trying to push anything. This probably seems like a copout but with the Holidays it doesn’t feel like I could reach any major revenue goals unless I suddenly get in the toy biz.

However, I do have traffic goals. Some of these have already been broken:

Site Pageviews
Obstacle.co 10,000
Thrive/Strive 150,000
Bitch A Fit 50,000

This month is 100% dedicated to getting ready for January with 9 content sites so expect to see more sites added to this table in the December Income Report.

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