Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are You Causing Your Earnings Plateau?

Have you been stuck in the same earnings bracket for weeks or months ... or even longer? Is there a monetary ceiling that you just haven't been able to crack? Whether you earn $500 a  month from your articles and blog or $1,000 in residual income every week, if the numbers don't change much from month to month ... you just might be the reason your earnings are stagnate.

In Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, author T. Harv Eker posits that each of us has a "money blueprint" that determines more or less our earnings potential and our spending habits. Some people have relatively high blueprints and thus achieve wealth more readily than others. Others might have a poor financial blueprint, created by a variety of factors throughout their lives, that predisposes them to spend every penny they earn, never getting ahead of the bills. Still others neither earn nor spend very much; it's just how they are wired.

Reading this chapter resonated with me -- I realized that I had set my blueprint for online residual income at about $2,500 a month and there my earnings sat, fluctuating slightly, for over a year. You see, I was subconsciously satisfied with that number. It was far more than I ever thought I would earn online, and just what my family needed to make ends meet every month, with a little extra for getting out of debt and for savings. It was all I needed to earn, all I intended to earn, and so it was all I earned.

Reset Your Money Blueprint

It's incredible how powerful your mindset is in determining everything from your mood to your character. It affects your interpersonal relationships and determines the kind of person you will become. And, it seems, it predicts how much money you make. (Of course, money seems trivial when juxtaposed with things like virtue and character, but it is simply one aspect that is influenced greatly by mindset and more to the point of this blog than the others.)

Steps you can take today to reset your money blueprint and increase your monthly income:
  1. Make a higher income goal than the last one you achieved. Don't pick some lofty number you secretly  think you'll never make. Decide how much you want to earn, a number you will actually work toward, and write it down. Commit to this goal.
  2. Change your negative thinking processes. You know, the ones that say you can't do it, or that you're getting in over your head. Believe in your abilities to succeed and to help make the world -- or your corner of it -- a better place.
  3. Calculate your net financial worth and update it every month. This simple process is highly motivating as you get out of debt and build wealth.
Have you subconsciously been satisfied with your level of earnings and seen a plateau? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  

Recommended Reading: Making Goals and Setting Tasks

Recommended Resource:  Wealthy Affiliate University

Friday, September 17, 2010

List My Five: Not eHow, but ...

"Writers Compensation Program." "Residual Income." "(Your Name Here)'s Articles." Sound familiar?

No, it's not eHow. It's not even close. But the name of their revenue-sharing program, also abbreviated by its initials, WCP, and the promise of residual income based on user-submitted content's popularity, topic, quality and number of pieces written, sure sounds like it comes from somebody at least familiar with the eHow model.

It's called ... List My Five

And while the site is brand-spanking new (the first time I searched Google for "List My Five" it wasn't even on the first or second page) it's well done, with a simple, attractive, user-friendly interface. The content submission form works properly and has already evolved since my first perusal: you can now add links in a resources section after the article's content (hmmm, where have I seen that before?).

Sadly, the RRC folks will have a field day on ListMyFive: their FAQ includes the following as a factor that will increase earnings: "User response to your lists, such as positive ratings and comments." Oh, dear. Do they realize what they have unleashed? [For those unfamiliar with the day-to-day life on eHow forums during their WCP heyday, there was  Read, Rate, Comment Club on eHow whose devotees would spam inboxes and forum posts with pleas for other site members to "Read my articles so I can earn more! I'll return the favor!"]

List My Five Communication ... not great.
On September 6, I requested via email to interview the site owners or representative via email or phone. I received a prompt reply:


Thanks for taking interest in List My Five.  We would be happy to provide information about our website and opportunities with our WCP for your blog.  We would ask that you send us an email or form with a list of questions we could answer for your blog, along with your blog's URL. We will return your requested information asap.


The List My Five Team.
I sent the required information and waited. I followed up politely, and then heard back on September 9:

We have forwarded your request and it should be completed by the founders at their earliest convenience.

Thanks for your patience,

The List My Five Team.
But despite two follow-up emails from me since then, I haven't received another reply and none of my questions were ever answered. I wish they had been, because I could share the information and probably help them increase interest in the site.

Just today, a new "Support" tab appeared in the user panel. So it's clear the site is being maintained and updated; I wouldn't be surprised if they add forums soon too. Perhaps as the site grows there will be better response from the folks behind it, but I had better communication from eHow, InfoBarrel and Bukisa in those sites' early days.

ListMyFive for Residual Income
There's no way to know, yet, what to expect from earnings at this new site. It's just way too young and there haven't been any results to analyze yet. Well, one of my articles has earned a penny ... but I wouldn't stake your hopes and dreams on a penny.

Since the site is so new, it doesn't have the page rank or search engine strength to boost your submitted articles to the front page of Google the way eHow did. To achieve this, your strategy would have to be very heavy on building backlinks to your published top-5 lists.

In which case, adding content to your own niche sites and topic-specific blogs would be in may ways superior as you OWN them. As someone whose monthly online earnings are still top-heavy with eHow, I am focusing on building my residual income through affiliate marketing and personally recommend that at least half your web-based income come via sties that you personally own and control.

That being said, my hunch is that ListMyFive will grow quickly and have a wider user base than other rev-share start-ups, such as InfoBarrel. The site is so easy to use and the articles are quick and fun to write: that's hugely attractive to web writers. The talk of residual income will be endearing as well. So in a nutshell ... write a few articles, link to them, and see where the site goes.

I'll be keeping an eye on ListMyFive ... and publishing my own lists there from time to time. What about you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

August Earnings from eHow, Adsense & Affiliate Sales (and Bukisa)

I know how much people enjoy seeing earnings reports from writers and internet marketers -- it can be both encouraging and reassuring that making money online is really possible. When I was first starting out it was a real boost to my confidence to read updates from bloggers making $500 and $1,000 or even $10,000 a month. It was very inspirational to me. So ... here are some of my earnings from August 2010:

eHow                $1,825.05

Google Adsense   $332.77                 $224.92

Amazon             $168.25

WA                   $110.00
Clickbank             $60.06

Bukisa                  $53.27

 Total reported here:             $2,774

(I also have miscellaneous earnings from single-company affiliate programs, my ebook, and a few other sources.)

August was a very good, although not record-breaking, month for eHow earnings. (The number here is just for my earnings under the WriterGig profile; I also have residuals from Demand Studios eHow articles and from another eHow profile not included here.) After checking the month's earnings, I found myself wishing I'd written just a few hundred more eHow articles than I did over the nearly 3 years the eHow Writers' Compensation Program (WCP) existed. Yes, I'm building up my own sites and blogs ... but these articles and pages take much longer than eHow articles did to start earning. You really can't beat eHow's great pagerank and traffic. But I digress.

Google Adsense was also strong, my second-highest month by a few dollars. This is encouraging as my main Adsense earner actually does best in the spring, so a strong August is very promising. My other niche sites are starting to show up with Adsense impressions and I'm looking forward to seeing these numbers grow as I add content and build backlinks.

My sales were more than $200, and the bulk of that is for a specific product I started marketing three years ago simply by adding a link under one of my eHow articles. I have four eHow articles that link to this product; those few links from 2007 have brought in over $2,000 in sales commissions. That is about as passive as income gets.

Clickbank is on the rise for me, which is a direct result of putting into practice the methods taught at the new affiliate marketing membership site I joined back in June (I'll blog more about this in an update post soon). It's great to see these sales, especially since they amount to $20 per sale. So three sales for the CB product I promote yields $60 ... I had to sell 123 products on Amazon in August to get the $168 listed here. But I'm not complaining about those Amazon earnings ... most of them are from years-old links as well and are a great boost to my monthly earnings total.

Was August a good month for your online earnings? Have you added any new residual income/ passive income streams this summer?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Work at Home Jobs for Moms 2: Blogging

 This is the second post in my work at home jobs for moms series. 

How much money can you make from online blogging?

There are thousands -- hundreds of thousands, maybe millions -- of "mom bloggers" who share their thoughts and ideas on their blogs. You're reading one of them right now. While most bloggers blog for personal enjoyment or to share their family news with friends, some do it to earn money. And of those who hope to earn from their blogs, only a small percentage actually succeed at building a significant or even part-time income from their work.

What sets the "earners" apart from the "non-earners"? I think there are a few things that increase your chances of making money from a blog:
  1. Niche: The theme or topic of your blog needs to be narrow enough that you have a definite focus, yet broad enough that you always have topics on which to write and a large enough audience who cares about the topic.
  2. Strategy: How will you make money from your blog while helping your audience? If every post is an overt effort to sell something or promote a paid review item, readers will lose interest and profits will be sparse. A good blog monetization strategy considers first and foremost what your audience is looking for and what you can do to help them get the information or things they need.
  3. Content: Good, original, useful information will draw readers, keep them coming back for more and cause your readers to share your posts through social media online. Dry, stale, redundant posts will have the opposite effect. As a blogger, it's your job to bring fresh, helpful, funny, interesting, or beautiful content to the table whenever you post. 
One of the first things you should do when you start a blog is to write down your plan for each of these three areas. What is your niche? What strategy will you use to earn money in this niche (adwords, paid advertisements, sponsored giveaways, affiliate links)? How will you produce good content for your blog?

To start a blog you need to do a few quick things:
  • Buy a domain name (this should be keyword specific, ie buysilveronline, not marksonlinesite).
  • Purchase a web hosting plan (I recommend using HostGator web hosting).
  • Install a blog platform (with HostGator, you can install a WordPress theme in a few minutes).
  • Start writing. 
The best resource I've found for beginner bloggers as well as more seasoned bloggers who want to increase their productivity and earnings is Amy Bass' blogging course. She has a free report on how she went from 0 to $5,000 a month and how to replicate her success. Definitely check it out -- I love that she offers that for free so you can get started without spending a dime .. other than on web hosting, of course.

Once your blog is online, there are four important things you must do to get your blog off to a great start:

1. Create an "About" page. This is such a key part, but often overlooked by bloggers. Let your readers know who who are, why you're blogging, what ties you have to the topic, and what they'll find on your blog. For example, on my About page I introduce myself, include a picture, explain that I'm a work at home mom who is seeing online success and share my goals as well as topics I'll cover on the blog.

2. Use your blog's header to tell what your blog is about. The blog tagline should be descriptive and convey in a few words what your niche is. As you see, mine mentions "tips on maximizing online income while balancing work, home and family." Visitors get an idea right away as to what type on content they'll find on the blog.

3. Include a short bio of yourself on your main page. Mine is on the top of my left-hand sidebar right now, just a headshot and a caption to give readers a sense of whose articles they are reading when they come to my blog.

4. Find related blogs in your niche and network. Start by commenting on these blogs -- look for busy ones with great content -- and link back to your blog. Link to these blogs from some of your posts when something is especially interesting or helpful. Over time, ask if you can guest blog or if the other blog authors would like to exchange links. You can get some great traffic in the beginning by commenting on many other blogs and having readers follow your hyperlink back to your blog.

The answer to my question at the beginning of this post is ... top bloggers earn thousands every month, and even tens of thousands of dollars, just from one blog.Will yours be next?