February 2013 Earnings & Spending Report

Uh oh… that month has come where my earnings start to slip and I start to fret and worry that everything will come crashing down around me. I earning $3,174 in February which is my lowest month in over two years! I was at around the same place in February 2011… scary. But, I had a crappy month this past August and then broke the $11,000 mark a couple of months later. So, one thing I know, is that this business is pretty unpredictable. I have a $1,200 payment pending for February and the British pound is very weak against the dollar at the moment which makes everything just a little bit worse.

Earnings Breakdown:

  • Adsense — $226 – Lowest month in awhile. Has anyone noticed the quality of Adsense ads has fallen drastically in the past few months? I feel like I’m seeing a lot of ‘look younger’ and ‘lose belly fat’ type ads on my pages. I wonder if people are moving their ad campaigns over to Facebook. I know I’m using Facebook ads… although I’ve never tried Adsense.
  • Affiliate sales — $45 – Blah again.
  • Advertising — $2,868 – Pretty quiet this month on the paid posts and links front. I turned down a few offers that I felt weren’t offering enough and I’ve still got a few payments to collect for link renewals, but they’ll all roll over into March.
  • Ebook Sales — $35 – Five sales.

Spending Breakdown:

If you have to spend money to make money then February is a fine example of this. I didn’t earn as much as usual but I also only spent $182.

  • Link Building Services — $147 – I’m still using Linkvana (14 day trial for $5 affiliate link/50 free outsourcing credits affiliate link) but I haven’t actually done any link building for the past coupe of months. I need to get on that!
  • Facebook Ads – $30 (£20) – My plan was to let my Living in Kigali Facebook page grow organically for February but that was taking too damn long so I chucked a bit more money at it. I’m up over 6,000 people and want to power on to 10,000 before I slow things down. I feel like, in the end, it’ll be money well spent. Not only will it allow me to drive more traffic to my posts (in theory) but it’s also an attractive thing to advertisers.
  • Ebook — $5 – Monthly cost to sell my ebook.

February was a step backwards for sure but I’ve got a few exciting things on the horizon. I’m taking some serious steps towards monetising my Kigali site and already have several people tentatively lined up to be partners. It’s not going to be a huge money-maker (even with all of my ad slots filled the maximum I’d be able to make with my current plan is $1,750 per month) but it’s enough to kick my overall earnings up and, most importantly, move my business model away from paid guests posts and more toward something that feels ‘real’ and sustainable.

I’ve also got a couple of meetings with people doing some very interesting web things in Kenya. There’s a guy who runs a restaurant listing website who says he earned $250,000 last year and $100,000 the year before. I think his model is having restaurants pay for listings on his busy site. Nairobi is a massive city that’s a lot more web savvy than Kigali so it seems feasible. He’s looking to expand to Kigali and wants to partner up with someone who’s here, so I guess that’s what we’re meeting about. There’s another guy with a Kenya-based hotels website too who wants to meet. I feel like this might be a good time to finally get rolling on my living in Nairobi site and see if these guys know of anyone in Nairobi who might want to partner with me on that.

I had a couple of meetings also with a guy who runs a hostel, guesthouse and tour company in Musanze, a city a couple of hours outside of Kigali where the gorillas are located. He’s also got a presence in Goma in Eastern Congo (where there are also gorillas, volcanoes and some seriously adventurous travel opportunities). We chatted a few days ago about the underdevelopment of anything to do with Eastern Congo online… and after a quick search, it’s true! While there aren’t masses of people heading to this area for travel, there are still some adventurous souls and they’re willing to pay big bucks. Anyway, he knows all about the area and I know about web stuff so we might team up to corner the Eastern Congo web online market… there’s something I never expected to say. Not sure where it’ll go, but I’ve got some good domains. Plus he tells me that there are more foreigners living in Goma than in Kigali and the city is certainly a lot more intimidating… so maybe a ‘Living in Goma’ site is on the cards!

I’m not too worried about my crappy February. I’ve already racked up about $1,600 in owed payments for March and have a few decent sized deals on the horizon. I am pretty excited to see what these Kenya guys are up to and to explore advertising on my Kigali site. I think East Africa is where I want my focus to be. So much opportunity and I’m very well-positioned… at least for Rwanda-related stuff.

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