2013 was a pretty big achievement for me as far as passive income goes. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought that taking advantage of a few free credit card offers or checking account promotions was the way to make some good money on the side.
Little did I know, however, that through treating my blogging ambitions more like a business rather than a hobby that I would be able to make more money in a month than I made in a whole year using those methods!
In 2013 I made a commitment to really ramp up and diversify my multiple streams of income beyond just My Money Design. I was really encouraged by more “online entrepreneurial”-type websites like Sparkline (formally Think Traffic) that proclaimed one-sentence mantras like “a blog is NOT a business”. After researching and learning a ton about niche websites from websites like Niche Pursuits, I decided that this was going to be the best way to build up my revenue beyond what I was making from just my blog. For anyone that needs any further encouragement in this area, I invite you to look at how much Adsense revenue Pat Flynn takes in each month from his Security Guard Training HQ niche website. Are you making +$1,800 each month with no effort?
Why So Much Focus on Multiple Streams of Income?
A few weeks ago we did a pretty deep dive comparison between two retirement savings strategies: Using a taxable one like a regular stock or mutual fund brokerage account versus a tax-sheltered one like a 401k plan. Not only did we confirm that the 401k-like approach was the better deal (go figure …), but we also learned (myself included) something very important about this strategy: By just how LARGE of an advantage the tax-sheltered plan really is!
Despite this seemingly good news, it also comes as a huge disappointment to my overall early retirement plan. In previous posts I’ve talked about how a large part of my approach to become financially free would include building up my taxable accounts by possibly even diverting some of my usual tax-sheltered savings to it.
But now I’m not so sure that’s such a good idea anymore. After looking at how much money I could potentially be cheating myself out of, how can I in good conscious sabotage our future like that?
So then what can I do about it?
The only thing I can do – Make more money!!
Truthfully? All this revelation does is incredibly motivate me to push my efforts even harder to build more multiple streams of income! Regardless of what I decide to do with my investments and how I choose to save them, I know that the simple answer is to make more money than I am right now.
If I did that, I wouldn’t have to put so much emphasis on what or how I save. This way I could use the extra income to fund whatever endeavors I desire.
So then going forward for 2014, what am I going to focus on?
For over a year the front-runner of my passive income initiative has been to develop niche websites. And for the foreseeable future they will probably continue to remain so.
Since the beginning, my ultimate goal has been to build several of these sites and make multiple streams of income somewhere between $500 – $1,000 per month per site.
Can you imagine it? If I was successful at building up just a handful of these sites, that would almost double my take-home income.
So how’s that going? You can click here to read my most recent niche website progress update. But basically we’re up to over $600 per month with very little maintenance.
I’ll be honest and tell you that in the beginning of 2013 it was a very slow-go with this passive income building effort. Unless you’ve built successful websites in the past, you’ve really got a lot to learn (as I found out) when it comes to properly strategizing, researching, creating, and promoting these kinds of sites. That’s exactly what the bulk of my time was spent doing.
Seems kind of defeating, but the good part is knowing that they do work! Every week I read several different blogs that report their niche website income and there is lots of evidence that they can be a very significant stream of income.
So even though I’ve got so much further to go, I’m extremely proud to see increasing month-over-month progress and increasing profits! And going forward I’m going to commit myself to this effort by doing the following: Focusing!
Earlier this year when I committed myself to making my first niche website (which I’ve dubbed NS1) a success, the site went from total obscurity in the Google search results to No. 5! Around that time it also started to make a few hundred dollars per month passively in Adsense. Sweet progress!
Now my goal is to turn my attention to my NS2 and NS3 projects to get them up to the +$500 of revenue as quickly as possible.
Beyond that, I’d also really like to get started on something else that’s on my mind … NS4. I’ve got a plan on paper and I’ve been somewhat antsy to create it. Why? Because the monetization strategy would be different. With this new site I’d use Amazon instead of Adsense to generate income. From other websites I’ve read I’ve heard nothing but good things about Amazon and how you can make so much more than Adsense by using it.
Other Website Related Initiatives:
Related to the subject of niche websites and blogging in general, there are certainly a lot of other off-shoot ideas we could try to earn some extra cash. Here’s a brief list of some of the other things I may end up trying to build up my multiple income streams in 2014:
- Selling my niche sites. What better way to lock into my earnings than to sell my sites when they are at their peak?
- Flipping websites. If my niche site building techniques work well enough, perhaps I could purchase already established websites and breathe new life into them to the point where they start to see some profitability.
- Other blogging services. I’ve considering putting some of my know-how up for sale to those who need it. These would be things like keyword research, content creation, link building, etc. I’m sure I could provide good value to those who need help doing the things that I do every week.
- Write an eBook. This has always been an interest of mine, and it is one that I hope to act on in the upcoming year. eBooks can be pretty lucrative as side income if marketed correctly.
- Private advertising across my sites. It’s worked for this long. Why stop now?
As you can probably guess, managing your money is just as (if not more important than) making it. That’s why I will always continue to educate myself in the ways of taxes, retirement savings, and investing in general.
Using a lot of the money I earned in 2012, I was able to start off 2013 by funding my first major dividend stock purchase. I used a combination of strategies such as the Dogs of the Dow and the Dividend Aristocrats to make my selections.
While I don’t fancy myself the next Warren Buffett, I have been pretty lucky with a few of my individual stock picks over the last 2 years. For example, when I owned Apple (AAPL), it went up almost 75%. My current holdings of Pitney Bowes (PBI) are also up almost 100% for the year.
Does this make me some kind of stock picking wizard? Not at all. But it does seem to suggest that spending a little time researching company fundamentals and making conservative decisions can result in worth-while payout.
Even if we devote only a small portion of our overall portfolio to this particular endeavor and it results in an increase of a few thousand dollars, that would be almost as beneficial as say creating a niche website and making a few hundred dollars every month. Plus it would again be a nice diversification from the blogging side of things.
Readers – How about you? What will you do to push your multiple streams of income in 2014 and make even more money than you are now?
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