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Its Spring! End of a Quarter Report – How To Manage the Dollars

So its the end of another month – another quarter anywhere so how is my journey to passive income online.  Well to be honest its been flat-lining since my record of making over $2000 in one month – in July. Bouncing around at the same level give or take in US$ terms, dropping in local currency because of the strength of both my local currencies (yes I run accounts in two countries – I don’t recommend it!).

Oh and finally spring has sprung – downunder in Perth anyways – finally I might add, so much for global warming its been freezing here for far too long. The photos in this post were taken in King’s Park, Perth a couple of weeks ago – yes we have quite a display of wildflowers at the moment.

New Custom Thesis Theme

DSCF4831I’ve been spring cleaning this blog too – a couple of you have noticed that the design has changed a fair bit.  None of my doing – Costa who makes cool custom WordPress themes at wrote to me saying that my previous design hurt his head and here is a new one. Well OK I can take a hint – I never claimed to be a designer – we played with his suggestion a bit so I am now down the beach (Indian Ocean) with my laptop. (BTW for any of you whose dream it is to sit under the sun umbrella with your laptop -reality check – sand is not good for laptops, sun umbrella as illustrated won’t stay up in an off-shore breeze, and won’t stop enough UV to prevent you coming out looking like a lobster. Leave the laptop at home when you go to the beach- but yes the beach is less than 10 minutes walk from my house! ) . Anyway if you want to know techie stuff like how to remove dates from any WordPress theme then check out Costa’s site. And BTW don’t tell me you aren’t technical – go learn how to do this stuff – its not hard and blogs like Costa’s will give you the right information. HTML and CSS are the basics of the Internet and yes you do evenutally need to know a bit about them.

Tracking Your Monthly Income Online

Anyway back to the subject to hand monthly income and managing cash. I don’t know about you – I am yet to see a QuickBooks or similar version which says – this is how to manage your online money – so I have kinda made up my own version – I thought it might help some of you. From day one its been important to me to know how much I made each month – that was my basic aim – $5000/month – so I really needed to see where I was at – even when I didn’t like the answer.

For the last year or so I have run a spreadsheet – its imaginatively named “income” – across the top I have the months : Jan, Feb etc – down the page I list my online income sources for the month. Note I ignore when I will actually get paid  that income – I just record what I earned that month. This is important – clickbank took over a year to pay me out, Amazon hasn’t yet, some affiliates pay 90 days in arrears. All of that is very relevant to your cash flow – but not to my aim in this case: to track my actual income from the month.

DSCF4823I categorise my income into the following block – and use sub-totals so I know what percentage of my income is passive and what is “active” – currently I am running rows down the spreadsheet which look like this:

  1. Niche Website  income
    • Adsense
    • eBay
    • Amazon
  2. Make Money Online Affiliates
    • various things I flog from this blog and my HubPages which you guys are kind enough to give  me the commission on – one line per an affiliate
  3. Freelancing and Consulting
    • Various writing clients
    • – yup they still pay me  (a little)
    • SEO consultancy
    • Hosting for clients
  4. Website /Domain Sales

The interesting thing when you split your income up like this – you will see the swings and round abouts far more clearly – Adsense tanked for me in September, but I had my best eBay month ever and a pretty good one iwth Amazon. You can step back and see the weakness in your business model. Basically the income in the first two groups are fairly passive income sources. The income shows up at least a month after I do the work – sometimes several months.

I try a lot of stuff in group two some work well but then the product is withdrawn e.g. NicheDevil, some work well but are too cheap and too niche to make me much (Elegant Themes), some are surprise stars (7 Minute Articles), others just trundle on and give me a sale or 2 a month without much effort (Hostgator) on part – everyone needs hosting from time-to-time.

Analysing Your Data To Plan Your Business

This month I went back through my last few months of the new tax year (1 July in Australia) and identified each item for my accountant – I got to wondering about my expenses – I have never tracked them in detail – they have always been lower than my income (i.e. if there was money in my PayPal account I could afford it – if there wasn’t I couldn’t), but I looked more closely this month. My current on-going expenses are;

Hosting: $25DSCF4808

The KeyWord Academy: $33

Various services for distributing my articles $125

Average cost for domain renewals $40 – this is very up and down because last year I went thru cycles of buying domains and then giving up on new domains for months at a time.

So my fixed expenses to stay in business are around $225 – I don’t know about you – but that’s pretty darn cheap rent where I live! For tax purposes of course I add in the Internet, a percentage of my rent, power bill etc etc – but those are the real costs of doing business – doing business online is not free – but its pretty darn cheap.

The obvious thing that struck me once I wrote these figures down is that I needed to spending more money! I am considering a nice resort for Christmas actually – well yes-  but that’s not what I meant. In terms of the business I needed to be investing more money back into it. I don’t know what figures are supposed to be  a good rule of thumb – but  for me I figured I should be spending at least 50% of my passive income into building more of the same – that only makes sense!

Having said that I immediately decided to up my budget for outsourcing writing on my sites and also decided to budget at least five new domains from freshdrop a month – where a dropped dot com costs me $12.45 after using the emma30 code which will get you the renewal for $7.49). Given that I have decided to try look to start selling five websites a month – it seems reasonable to buy the stock at that rate.

I am almost certainly going to buy new hosting – nothing wrong with HostGator but I want to spread my IP’s around if you know what I mean. BTW if anyone is looking for some very cheap hosting check out QiQ who has an offer until the 9 October for a years hosting for £11 ($17) – only one site and only per a customer – but that’s less than $1.50/month!

This turned into another long ramble – but I hoped it was useful to some of you.  As a business owner you need to look hard at your figures to know where to go with your business in the next month. I have found that my start of month routine is less and less about wow I made some money from an affiliate and more and more about he big picture – where is the money coming from – will  it continue?, how can I can I make it continue? how can I diversify? did I achieve what I wanted last month? if not why no? if yes why?

Quick Update

For those of you who are still confused as to which you might want to check out – or at least Grizz’s take on Darren’s site!


44 replies on “Its Spring! End of a Quarter Report – How To Manage the Dollars”

Some good food for thought here. A business idea first .. there is nothing online of off the shelf in the computer store to suit the needs of expatriates … citizens of one country living in another. Running accounts in both countries is nearly a necessity, products like Quicken or MS Money have no clue. There ought to be a program that takes exchange rates into account, banking fees, etc. Many people need to track income in at least three currencies … US dollars, home country currency, resident country currency, etc. It isn’t all that complicated from a programming sense, but no one has attacked it. Wide open opportunity there. Should I charge in US dollars, or Eros or Pesos or Aus dollars, or? … and if xxx number of sales come in that month, which currency will net me more? Also, which currency will minumize my bank charges and exchange fees?

Oh totally Dave – I actually checked Quicken and own MS Money – they think my entire life is in one currency LMAO – I don’t think so. I run the business basically in US$ – my accountant translated to A$ for my tax return – but yes it gets complex fast!

I’m a firm believer in setting goals, both on a month-to-month basis and loftier longer-term goals. I have a one year salary goal and a five year goal, the latter of which is beyond my wildest dreams… although I would’ve thought that about my one year goal a few years back!

You might want to check out Dreamhost for hosting. I’ve found my sites are spread over about 3 different IPs, two of which are on different C-classes, due to the way they manage their servers I guess. It’s a bit of a random allocation, but as you say it’s welcome to have more than one IP at your disposal 😉

Eek! That’s scary. It’s always hard to tell how widespread such practices are. I haven’t had a single issue with Dreamhost so far, but I’ll be cautious… thanks for the heads up.

Hi Lis,

Other than the beach, you like camels too huh? LOL!

Anyway thanks for all the plugs!

Talking about domain sales on your netmarketingtoday site, do you accept third party sites or are you building your own sites and selling them there? If so, I have a bunch of sites I want to dispose off.

Hi Costa – I threw the camels in for the overseas readers – I think camels are even more obnoxious than horses – thank goodness for the car is all I can say! RE domain slaes – I’m thinking about it as I know there are real issues with the options for selling sites at the moment. I’ll be in touch

I can’t believe it! You are spending less than I am 🙂 Well I always planned to invest 100% back in to the business until I start making a decent income – if I was making 2000$/mo I would prolly be outsourcing with 1000$ at maximum.

How freezing is it there really? Here we are already below zero – waiting for the snow to fall 😀

Really cold! Its 20c (69F) here today and the locals still have jackets and scarves on – I have a T-shirt! Yes $1000 sounds about right to me – need to spend more!

LOL. Our summer is basically 20c if we are lucky. And that lasts for two months if once again we are lucky! And we have basically a maximum of 20 days when it is not raining and this is again if we are lucky LOL! If you want a lot of IP’s for cheap, check out 2gb hosting and their SEO package. Their servers are not necessarily the best set up but if you are just looking for some basic blogs then there should be no problem. are affiliate links okay in the comments LOL ? 😀 – strip the link if it is not.

2gb hosting Seo package you get 5 C-class IP’s with under 10$ a month.

No I was too busy laughing at your definition of summer – actually is sounds even worse than New Zealand – you must be Canadian or English LOL Off to check out your affiliate link thanks

No you are way off with your guesses 🙂 I will give you one hint: located between Sweden and Russia. That should be enough to catch my breeze..

For what it’s worth, July was my best month as well (I think google suddenly sent a large number of visitors to my main website). Sales completely tanked in August (google decided not to send me any more visitors, thank goodness for EzineArticles and Bing), although costs remained fixed. Luckily there was some recovery in September (all my traffic still came from EZA and Bing, 0 visitors from google).

Most of my income came from Adsense (went up a bit in July, down a bit in Aug, up a bit in Sep) and Clickbank (spiked up in July, dropped like a rock in Aug, recovered slightly in Sep). Never made any profits from Amazon for the last 3 years.

I wonder if anyone else saw this same pattern in their last 3 month’s income?

Love love love the pics! Here in Chicago, we are entering winter and your spring flower pics were a nice shot in the arm for me Lis.
I like how you are so very organized and you treat this like a real business. I think so many people want that passive online income, but they just want to waste it on crap instead of re-investing it into growing their biz.
Good stuff, and keep the updates coming, they are encouraging!

Allyn – Im getting organised – Im not that organised naturally. Oh I totally get the bit about reinvesting – it saves me doing the work – see lazy is good in this business!

HI Lis,

First time commentor here but I was following your blog since it caught my attention when Griz mentioned it.

I wanted to ask you a question. Since you have been at this money making for sometime and I believe you also followed the methods advocated by Griz, do you really believe that Griz’s results can be achieve by everyone?

His money making blog along for example makes around 3k+ per month and he achieved it within 2 years. Do you think you can achieve the same results?

Aaron Griz wasn’t a beginner 2 years ago when he started his ugly blog- he knew exactly what he was doing – I think he’s been working online since pre-historic times i.e. last century in Internet years. I’d never make that amount from this particular blog – there is just not the traffic for my keywords – and to be honest this blog is not the main focus of my making money endevours. In fact I am close to making 3k now – but not from just one blog -and do be honest I prefer a diversified portfolio.

No I don’t believe everyone can achieve Griz’s results – his results are reproducable – but only if people are prepared to work hard and learn to think for themselves …

Here in old Blighty, I had to wear a scarf to work for the very first time this year – no it isn’t always cold here, grey maybe, but not cold.

Anyway, love your idea about creating a spreadsheet to see the overall picture of ones money making endeavours. I definitely should get on to that. Although I might become so engrossed in getting the figures together that I won’t get on and do the actual money making work.

Ah well, I need to get organised and get a good workable schedule in place because in my heart I know that this is the best way to improve future productivity and earnings.

I remember it hitting 28C in London once when I lived there- all hell broke out – people collapsed with heat stroke – the ac couldn’t cope – the locals didn’t know to close the windoes and curtains to keep the sun out – it was pretty funny actually!
It only takes me about an hour a month to find the figures for mine now that I’ve been doing it for a while – and I think its well worth the effort cause it does focus my efforts for the next month

I use Quickbooks PRo 2008, I been using Qbooks for almost 20 years. It works great but may be overkill for online marketing.
Is it really spring there? Coming into fall here.

It’s nice to know when you spend so little to generate passive income.

Some people complain when an opportunity costs something.

It’s better to think that cost is one of the struggles in business but when it’s running smoothly, the cost remains constant and passive income grows even more.

Then, it’s only logical to get a bit from profit and get more ways to build passive income.

The millionaire mentality – This is what you have! Thanks for being kind enough to share.

Yes the trick I think Tomas is to make sure that your expenses don’t rice proportionate to your income

I personally hate tax time, well, it’s not even really a hate. It is more like stuff that I have to do than stuff that I want to do.
Just for fun let’s call this company…….Problogger and then lets say that this company is split up into 4 separate Corporations…….

Well that stuff won’t really work because 3 of the companies have nothing to do with Problogger but than in all honesty neither does the fourth even though It is indirectly related to Problogger.

Even though this probably does not make much sense, it does.

Getting back to Quarterly’s and taxes……Yes they are not famous in my book but there is one thing that is for certain.

If you owe taxes, then you are making money and this is what this is all about. I use Quickbooks for all 4 companies and I do like their software.

Even the the 4th company is really not Problogger, you could call it that because it is online and I have made over 1 cent in Adsence this year……Really…. No Fluff!

Just remember that anyone can be a Problogger… even Darrin Rowse.


P.S. Do you think Darrin has to pay any taxes?

LMFAO Dirk – in case some of you missed the joke check out Dirk’s link and I also added a link to Grizz’s orginal post on problogger – I am sorely tempted to invest in the opportunity though Dirk – did you sign up?
You know I guess I am a problogger – that’s seriously scary! The thing is I don’t really want to be a problogger – I have no desire to publish a book or, even worse go on a publicity tour and get speaking gigs – I hate public speaking!

Darren is Australian so he’s a silly boy if he’s not paying taxes – actually I got a large refund from the Ozzie Tax Office – its well worth declaring your income and then you get to deduct all these legit expenses which you have anyway like rent/power/Internet – very nice!

I never had a real chance to even look at the offer but it would be fun to see what is happening in the forum. The closest I came was taking the Snagit photo of’s front page for my post and do you know what?

Looking at that pic on my site brings “Sea Turtles” to mind (That Allyn) and even though I do not consider Darrin a nerd that pic really leads to that perception……… to me anyway.

Yes you are an obvious Problogger…LOL and really, you do have the makings for an e-book whether you like it or not. Just have to write it.
Call it………My make money online journey.

I would like to reserve the first copy………….. I need another write off.

“I don’t know what figures are supposed to be a good rule of thumb – but for me I figured I should be spending at least 50% of my passive income into building more of the same – that only makes sense!”

The whole reinvesting thing is new for me, but I have to say it feels a lot more liberating to loosen my purse (er, man-wallet) strings and spend some of the money I’ve made from advertising on premium themes, new domain names, and increased hosting storage capacity.

Dave I think subconsciously I was saving it for when my income went away again LOL – it seems a better plan to invest so my income doesn’t go away!

Hmm, Lis, this post is enlightening.

Just recently I was thinking about the topic of spending money to make money. Your comment about reinvesting the passive income makes sense.

I’m at the point where over 95% of my income is passive. I guess I could probably take my income to the next level if I were to spend a nice percentage of it in a reinvestment.

Thanks for the kick in the pants.

Yeah I think it will take it to the next level – I know the vast majority of small businesses stay small because entrepeneurs are my nature control freaks and can’t out source. I don’t have that problem – being lazy means I can watch someone else working all day 🙂 – but I need to follow up on this big time.

Hi Lis, I guess I’m confused about why you want to be spending more? Either way, I have an awesome spreadsheet that I use to keep track of all my income from each site I write for, plus my amazon, adsense and clickbank sales on my own websites. it organizes each month so I can view by site, or by the month, plus it tracks all of my expenses into the same categories as the US income tax documents, so that at tax time, all I need to do is print out the annual profit & loss statement. This year, I expect to top $25k so I’m really excited. Anyway, your blog is filled with resources I’ve never seen, so this has been a treat, thank you.-Lisa

Basically I want to invest more in my business- by reinvesting I can buy the one thing none of us can make more of – time : if I spend $100 on content and it means I can have a site up and earning a month sooner than if I’d put it on my own writing to do list – that’s good – even better if it makes back that $100 in the month- may not happen but that’s the basic idea. Its the basic principal of working ON your business not IN your business. Thanks for the spreadsheet – now if you could just adapt it to include a April start for the New Zealand tax year and a July start for the Australian tax year- do the appropriate currency conversions and take into account the different write-off rules each country has – LOL just kidding – it looks like a good start for many people.

Hey Lis,

Appreciate the great post! I second Allyn’s comments about the sunny pictures being a nice shot in the arm. I’m currently in Iowa – better than Alaska in the winter, but it’s already looking like it’s going to be a long, rough, and cold one this year! Always glad to hear about the updates. I’m still working away, and making sure to push myself since the “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” novelty of the $100/mo. from Google has worn off. Call me greedy…but I’d like to make enough to truly get away with being lazy, LOL.

Hi Shane – yeah I don’t do winters well – I need to get truely location independent and just keep on moving so I don’t have to do winter -oh except proper snow I like the odd bit of skiing!

Sistas United eh? Ha! had to laugh. I didn’t bother replying on Griz’s as it would have been buried under his 200+ comments! Nice pictures btw!

I’ve always used my own excel spreadsheet to keep my finances in some kind of order, but have a similar problem to you in that I get paid in $US and €uros (and have to pay the odd thing in £ sterling too) but have to account everything in € for… um… who, oh yeah…!

Haha Terry its my new USP – Vic and Grizz can’t be Sistas LOL In fact ocaisionally I get an email asking for a women’s view point – not sure what that is not having ever been a man LOL! Yeah the bloody US$ is tanking even against the NZ$ – but then its probably gonna drive my mortgage rate down – so swings and roundabouts on that! Thanks I carefully didn’t do the image tagging properly I just liked the pics I dodn’t need Googles’ image search to rank me for “wild flowers in Perth” 🙂

You mentioned shortly that some affiliates takes over 90 days to pay out your income and I truly hate this. Last few months I have spent more time working with SEM (search engine marketing), meaning I buy traffic directly to affiliate programs.

Directly when the user clicks on my add I have to pay the money, but then it takes over 90 days before I can use the income I made from the sale. To be honest, it’s worthless.

I’ve never bought traffic but can see how it would make worse the cash flow juggle. Unfortunately its nothing that any of us has control over – it is what it is

Nice success for you, I also would go for outsourcing first when it comes to re-invest my money. But aren’t you a bit incorrect with your expenses? Just from the top of my head I know that you had also expenses for buying a new theme, buying Niche Devil plus a bunch of .info domains… I personally keep track of my income as well as my expenses (even more of the expenses!) as it tells me what kind of investments bring me the most income in return, just my 2 cents, SY

I did specify fixed expenses, not one-offs 🙂 To me the important expenses are the ongoing, fixed ones – one-off expenses such as themes etc are discretionary, if I needed the cash for living costs I would use it for that, not buy the theme/software whatever and not directly affect my income – but the fixed expenses I have no real choice about, I have to pay them.

I agree to a certain extend, but believe me, this “on off” expenses add up! They might be more then your running costs. SY

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