What a wild ride 2020 has been so far. COVID-19 pretty much killed the travel business (my primary niche), cities are literally burning here in the US due to riots, yet the stock market is Inching back to all time highs.
Not only that, my income hasn’t totally imploded yet either. I’m still chugging along doing the best I can to keep the money flowing in.
All the things that went well in May:
The best thing about the month of May was that I finally got real with myself. What I mean by that is I finally started to take action on diversifying my portfolio of websites and online projects more than ever.
Travel blogging has been my primary focus for so long that it just didn’t seem right to break away from it for the time being and focus on some of my other profitable niches. It’s been hard to let go of for sure!
Anyway, here are a few highlights of all the things that were positive for the month:
- For the first time in months, I had a YouTube video do extremely well on my travel channel. Actually, it did as well as I typically do in normal months, but YouTube traffic has been so bad recently that ”normal” feels really good right now. Is this a sign that travel content is starting to come back on YouTube? It’s too early to tell right now, but the performance of that video is encouraging…
- I freshened up a couple small niche sites that I had lying around that I wasn’t doing very much with. This also included creating templates for doing product reviews, which is going to help out immensely as I get going hard-core with affiliate marketing.
- Digital product sales continue to be fairly strong. This is surprising to me considering how bad the economy seems to be right now with so many people out of work.
- I started investing into the stock market heavily back in March of this year when the COVID-19 thing was just getting started, and I bought a ton of dividend-paying stocks. May was the first month that I started seeing the dividends start rolling in. Do be sure to read my dividend stock tutorial (written ages ago) to learn why it’s so great as a passive income source!
All the things that didn’t go well in May
For those of you who don’t know, there are essentially two sides of my business:
- My travel blog
- Everything else
Everything else seems to be running fine with no issues. However, it’s my travel blog that is causing me the most depression at the moment.
- Traffic on my travel blog (my largest / most established blog) continues to depress me. Seriously – every time I look at my Google Analytics, the extremely low number of daily sessions is nothing short of heartbreaking. It’s also incredibly frustrating, and it’s driven me to make the decision to stop working on it for the time being. More on that in a few moments…
- Although views seem to be slightly up on my travel YouTube channel, ad revenue is still horrifically bad (at least compared to what it was just a few months ago). I’m feeling encouraged by the uptick in views, but the extremely low revenue that I’m seeing is making me think that it’s not worth my time to produce a video every week. Again – more on that in the moment…
May 2020 income report (7 blogs and 3 YouTube channels):
- YouTube Ad revenue: $228.79
- Website display ad revenue: $49.97
- Affiliate Marketing: $177
- Sponsored content: $900
- Patreon: $790.61
- Digital product sales: $825.29
- Dividends: $83
Total income: $3,054.66
May 2020 Business expenses:
- HostGator (web hosting): $187
- ConvertKit (email marketing): $27
- SEMrush (keyword research): $99
- Gumroad (for selling digital products): $10
- QuickBooks Self Employed (for bookkeeping and invoicing): $10
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $52
- Vimeo: $7
- AmaLinks Pro: $11
- Shopify (for selling digital products): $29
- Epidemic Sound (for YouTube music): $15
Total expenses: $447
Total profit (income minus expenses): $2,607.66
As you can see, having a sponsorship really saved my bacon this month. If you haven’t been reading my recent monthly income reports, you should know that I signed a contract back in January of this year with a company to do a sponsored video every month through the month of June.
I’ve got one more month to go in that contract, And I’m not sure what’s going to happen after that. If I lose sponsorship income, that’s going to be a huge hit to my bottom line.
Things I am working on for the month of June
Despite all the doom and gloom I’m feeling about creating travel content over the course of the next year or so, I’m actually pretty excited about some of the other things that I’m working on. Here’s a brief summary of what I’ve got cooking:
As I alluded to above, I’m scaling back the amount of content that I’m publishing for both my travel blog (and it’s associated YouTube channel). As much as I hate to admit this, publishing travel content is not a good use of my time. Being self-employed, it behooves me to focus on things that are working and slowing down or completely ignoring all the things that are not.
Why spent a majority of my time creating content that isn’t going to produce very much income right now? I have a handful of other blogs and tiny YouTube channels that are giving me much more bang for the buck at the moment, and that’s what I’ve been focusing on for the past four weeks or so.
Travel blogging is completely dead right now. However, some of the other niches that I create content for are doing quite well. As a matter fact, I’m seeing record numbers and both traffic in revenue in two of my other online projects.
In regards specifically to my travel content, I’ve reduced my YouTube upload schedule to one video every two weeks (or two videos per month). I’ve also reduced my blog posting schedule to something like one or two posts a month.
Basically, lightening up on the travel content allows me to spend a lot more time on some of my other projects (which are far more profitable right now).
Of course I’ll come back to the travel content once I start seeing a better return on my investment, but for right now it’s pretty much a dead industry.