Hi, friends! It’s income report day again! Each month my husband Donnie crunches the numbers and analyzes what went well and what didn’t for this little blog of ours, and we report our findings back to you! Why do we do this? Well, blogging has totally changed our lives and allowed us to do more than we’ve ever thought possible. We knew there were a lot of other bloggers out there trying to figure out the whole money and blogging thing too, and while we still have a lot to learn ourselves, we thought it might be helpful to others if we shared what we’re learning along the way. It also gives us an incredible amount of accountability since we have to report back every month, and that helps keep us motivated!
April was kind of an exciting month for us. We released our third eBook, The Paperless Home, which was mostly Donnie’s “baby,” so it was fun to watch him experience his first launch as the primary author. Check out his analysis below to see how it went! 🙂
And speaking of excitement, we’re sharing a *fun announcement* at the end of the post today, so be sure to stick around for that! But for now, let me turn it over to Donnie to run the numbers and analysis…
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
- Paperless Home eBook – $4,474
- Bluehost – $2,465 –> How to Start a Blog
- Framework eBook – $2,448
- AdThrive – $1,407
- Simplify eBook – $870
- Sponsored Posts – $500
- Ultimate Bundles – $388
- Amazon Associates – $311
- Genesis Framework – $203
- Evernote Essentials – $130
- Restored 316 – $106
- OptinMonster – $20
- Gumroad Transaction Fees – $429
- Affiliate Payouts – $267
- MailChimp – $220
- Virtual Assistant – $150
- Synthesis Hosting – $67
- StudioPress Theme – $56
- WP Affiliate Plugin – $50
- PayPal Transaction Fees – $29
- PO Box – $23
- Board Booster – $20
- SendOwl – $15
- Zapier – $15
- Stripe Transaction Fees – $15
- CoWorking Space – $15
- Crashplan – $14
- ViralTag – $12
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $11
- Vimeo – $10
- Google Apps – $10
- CoSchedule – $10
- Buffer App – $10
- Fizzle.co – $0 (usually $35)
April 2015 Net Profit: $11,874
The big thing in April was the launch of our third eBook: The Paperless Home: How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life. After a massive drop in Bluehost commissions (I haven’t yet investigated why.), it’s fortunate that we did launch a product this month or our April income could’ve taken a serious hit!
The Paperless Home launched on April 13th, so we’ve had a little more than a half a month worth of sales. Abby and I co-authored the eBook, but this was the first product where I was the main content creator. In addition to the eBook, we created a video package that included 17 screencast videos.
To be honest, the week leading up to the April 13th launch, I felt absolutely overwhelmed. Sure, I could’ve been more ahead of schedule and that certainly would’ve reduced my stress, but I think a tense week leading up to a launch is unavoidable and maybe even a good thing. I embraced the chaos, stayed up way too late most nights, and drank a year’s worth of coffee in a single week. It was crazy, but man does it feel good on launch day when everything is done and a few sales start to roll in.
Instead of giving you a sequential play-by-play of the entire launch, I thought it would be fun to give you a retrospective of my biggest lessons and takeaways from launching The Paperless Home. But first, here is the sales data from April 13th to the end of the month:
Combined sales numbers from both product tiers…
Data from the $18 eBook only version…
And sales numbers for the $32 eBook + video course version…
Sales came from the United States, Canada, Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Norway, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. I love looking at the country data!
4 Lessons From Launching The Paperless Home eBook and Video Course
1. A fixed and public launch date is the #1 motivator.
Abby and I set the launch day of April 13th back in December when we did our 2015 goal setting and planning. That date was constantly in my head as the year started. It’s easy to be wishy-washy about a launch date and say “oh, it’ll launch sometime this summer” or “we’re hoping to launch June.” I think that’s the wrong mindset. Depending on the scale of the product, pick a date at least three months out and commit to it. Carve it in stone, sign your name in blood, and then tell some important people in your life about the date. Sure, it will cause you a little anxiety and stress having committed so firmly to something, but it’s necessary.
How many of you know someone who said they were going to launch something and you’re still waiting more than 12 months later? I know a few. How many of those people never had a firm launch date? Most likely all of them. If you have a product in mind, take one seemingly insignificant but actually incredibly important step today and pick a launch date. Your future self will love you!
2. Creating the content is only half the work.
I made the mistake of thinking that once I had a workable rough draft, the majority of the work was done. Oh how wrong I was! If I could do it over, all content (eBook rough draft and videos) would have been finished a month before launch. It really does take 30 days to edit the rough draft, format the eBook, decide on a cover, edit the videos, create a landing page, setup payment processing, get an affiliate system in order (if you choose), set up email auto-responders, draft launch-related posts, and a million other tiny details that add up to a whole lot of decisions in a very limited time window. Unfortunately, I only left myself two weeks to do the above tasks. It just wasn’t enough time.
3. People like videos.
You can see from the data above that the eBook + video version had nearly twice the number of sales as the eBook only version. It was a much larger revenue driver. As much as I love reading books, most people prefer to learn through videos. I think this will become increasingly true in the coming years. If your goal is to educate, consider videos.
This was our first video product so we made it as easy as possible and made screencast videos. Fortunately, no one had to actually look at me. They just listened to my voice and watched as a navigated around my Mac.
The videos may have been a hit, but they almost didn’t happen. At one point we almost dropped the video idea and considered a strategy that involved putting the eBook in the Kindle store instead. A certain wife who will remain nameless kept pushing for the videos, though, and ultimately we decided to maintain the control over our products by keeping them on our own sites and added the videos as a fun bonus. This certain wife would hate to say “I told you so” but… 😉
Moving forward, for lower priced products, a neat strategy might be to only include screencast videos with no corresponding eBook. It would be easier to create as well. I spent 5x more time writing the book than I did recording and editing the videos.
4. Email drives product sales.
How many of you know your blog traffic for yesterday? I would assume most of you. How many of you know the number of new email subscribers you had yesterday? Probably less of you. When it comes to product sales, I would argue the email number is vastly more important. Not only for launch day, but for continuing product sales.
Leading up to to the launch, Abby and I linked in numerous places to a landing page offering a free sample of the book. In order to get the free sample, visitors had to input their email address. Over 2,000 people input their email address to get the free sample. This is like 2,000 people raising their hand and saying, “Yes, I’m interested in going paperless.” You can see from the sales numbers that only a portion of these people purchased the eBook or video course, but this whole sales process happened automatically. Once they received the free sample they would automatically receive a few educational and follow up emails that eventually directed them to landing page for the course, where they had the option to purchase.
My #1 mistake in this launch was not having my email marketing autoresponder and educational email series 100% complete before launch. I was playing a little catch up and didn’t have the entire system worked out until after launch. The result, most likely, was some lost sales. Someone may have been excited after reading the free sample but then a few days went by before they heard from me and they might have lost interest.
In my next launch, I’m going to dedicate an entire week to setting up and perfecting my email marketing series. It’s that important.
If you’re interested, here are the various tools and technology Abby and I used to launch The Paperless Home: How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life:
eBook creation: iBooks Author with our own homemade template
Cover: Allison from Just Add Confetti
Project Management: Trello, Evernote, and ToDoist
Video recording: Screenflow
Landing Pages: Homemade with Instapage
Payment processing and content delivery: Gumroad
Email marketing: Combination of MailChimp (Abby’s list) and ConvertKit (my list) connected with Zapier
Three Legs of Blog Income
- Affiliate Income – $4,123
- Ad Revenue – $1,407
- Product Sales –$7,792
Top Posts of April 2015
- How to Make Pretty Labels in Microsoft Word + FREE Printable
- Our Secret Weapon For Saving Money: The 2015 Budget Binder
- 10 Simple Habits that Will Help You Stay Organized
- How I Organized My Whole Life
- My Secret to Getting Things Done and Accomplishing Goals
Email Subscriber Statistics
- 2,046 New Subscribers
- 23,444 Total Subscribers
RPM is a metric to track revenue per thousand pageviews. This is a measure of the overall effectiveness of a blog and is a handy benchmark for comparing blogs even if they have vastly different traffic numbers. I first learned about this metric from Bjork of Pinch of Yum.
April 2015 RPM: $35.58
and to recap…
Gross Income: $13,322
Net Income: $11,874
Yay, April! Each month at the beginning of the month I think to myself, “This is the month where everything is going to tank! There’s no way we can keep this up!” But somehow, the numbers always seem to work themselves out, and we are so thankful to you, sweet readers, for supporting this blog and making it all possible! You guys are the best!
BIG NEWS: A Building a Framework Revamp!
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I was away at a hotel this weekend
eating chocolate and drinking lots of caffeine working on a major revamp of our eBook for bloggers, Building a Framework!
Since things in the blog world are always changing, it was due for some updates AND I wanted to be able to share a whole bunch of new info I’ve learned since the last release of the book, so there will be several additional chapters as well as extra information in existing chapters too! Woohoo! Everyone who has purchased Building a Framework already will get the updated eBook for free, so watch your inboxes for that in early June.
Oh but that’s not all, friends! Since we loved doing the videos along with The Paperless Home and they seemed to be really helpful for people, we are adding some video options to Building a Framework! These upgraded packages will include even more in-depth information and tutorials, and I may even be collaborating with some of your very favorite bloggers and mine for some extra-special additions. 😉 It was so fun to celebrate my birthday with the release of Building a Framework last year, so we decided to do it all over again…
Mark your calendars for *June 10th* for the big relaunch!!
I absolutely cannot wait so share everything that will be included, but I’m telling you now… it’s going to be GOOD! If you’re interested in receiving updates about the launch, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get all of the insider info!
But if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog and just don’t know where to start, you certainly don’t need to wait for June 10th to get a jump on it! Head over to our How to Start a Blog page to get all of the info you need to know to set up the technical side of things, or join our “7 Days to Start a Blog” Challenge to get a step-by-step guide sent right to your inbox!
Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and support month in and month out. We truly could not do this without you and are so grateful for all you do!! Have a wonderful week!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.