The $3K Challenge: Final Update

$50 Amazon Gift Card from Wordcamp NYC

$50 Amazon Gift Card(Photo credit: adria.richards)

The year is at a close. Just 12 short months ago, I came up with the idea of earning $3000 through various online efforts. To motivate me, I made a challenge of it. I opened it up to other small bloggers. First one to $3000 gets a $50 Amazon gift card that I earned from completing surveys.

I haven’t kept as close contact with all of my challengers as I out to have, but a few are still regular visitors to my site. I will be emailing all of the challengers before Christmas directing them to provide their year end results. Since no one emailed me saying that they hit the goal, I’m guessing everyone fell short.

That’s okay, because I did too. In fact, for the entire year, I didn’t quite hit $1000. My year end total is $592 after expenses are deducted. Between domain fees, paying a copywriter, and material costs for the taco seasoning, I spent a little over $100 to further my online efforts this year. That means that I earned just over $700 in gross revenue online this year.

It may not be my goal of $3000, but it’s $700 more than I made in 2011. For this quarter itself, my total is $206.48 Not as good as last quarter’s $325.

SEAM Publishing

I only had one client this quarter, plus a small amount of hourly work. I’ve been writing a series of tutorials for publishing on various platforms in hopes of building my authority and gaining more clients that way.

The LinkedIn advertising I mentioned in the last update garnered a lot of interest, but no sales. I’ve now expended over $200 in free advertising offers without gaining a single client.

Books are starting to sell on Amazon, and I’m starting to receive payouts. I’ve also started using Pinterest as a platform for marketing books. The cover to each book I publish is pinned with links to everywhere it can be purchased. I’m using Pretty Links to track clicks. There are already starting to happen. Let’s see if they can turn into purchases!

Speaking of books, I still didn’t complete the cookbook I mentioned earlier. Nor have I completed my Recipes of If You Can Read, You Can Cook — Year 2. I’ve been too busy pumping out longer, quality posts for the 5000 word challenge. But they are both on my radar for January, along with starting a small book of Tex-Mex recipes to sell with my taco seasonings.

Taco Seasoning

This quarter, I sold a grand total of 3 jars.

Advertising

I did secure one private advertising deal for a website. It didn’t pay as well as my last private deal, but it was in a lower paying niche.

AdSense income was building nicely; I was averaging $5/month for the past 3 reconciled months and am halfway to a payout. December has been back down to previous levels. I’m hoping it’s just¬† with Christmas and that it will rebound in the new year.

I have gotten started with a new CPM advertising partner. I just started displaying ads for them, so we will see how that goes.

Foodie Blogroll

If the amounts weren’t so low, I would consider taking legal action against Foodie Blogroll. I am participating in their advertising program, but they are not holding up on their end of the bargain. Payments are supposed to be on a NET60 basis, but the last month to be reconciled was June. That seems like a bit more than 60 days to me. Heck, their website isn’t even showing how many paying ad impressions it’s served since October 29!

In August, they partnered with food advertiser SWOOP to inject ads into recipes. All of the marketing material states “guaranteed minimum $.80 CPM” However, every time I look at my estimated earnings, the numbers get lower. After previously reporting the September SWOOP impressions were at $.80 CPM, it is now reporting that October paid out only $.23 CPM! for my SWOOP impressions for the month.

Concluding Thoughts

Traffic-wise, everything is coming along nicely. If You Can Read, You Can Cook hit a fall slump, but is rebounding.¬† Overall, traffic doesn’t fit on the same graph this year as it did last year. I have just 5 more months left in the Google Sandbox and then I imagine that traffic will really impress me. I’m holding to my earlier prediction of 10,000 pageviews per month by the end of next year at a minimum.

I did just received some very good tips for growing the taco seasonings. We will see if I can build that up into some solid income.

This site is also hitting it’s stride. It’s grown beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve had mentions on MSN Money and the Consumerist! I’m excited to see what 2013 brings.

SEAM Publishing is starting to attract some notice. I have three cookbooks that I’ll be trying to complete in January. Plus the Pinterest efforts. In between, I will be working on an overhaul of the site. It’s a good excuse to advertise it on social media by saying “what do you think of the new design?”

 

So,my $3k Challengers, how did you do? Remember, you must post your results by the end of the year to win the prize!

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23 thoughts on “The $3K Challenge: Final Update

  1. I wish I would have joined that challenge earlier in the year but I totally missed it. Sorry to hear that you didn’t hit the goal…but hopefully you’ll be able to make $3k in 2013!!

    Great job on getting picked up by MSN and the Consumerist. Which article did they pick up? I’ve never gotten any recognition by sites that large.
    Jason recently posted..How to Decide What Financially Matters in the New YearMy Profile

    • The original $3k Challenge post got picked up by Consumerist by way of Budgets Are Sexy. J$ had run a post on financial challenges and included me and Consumerist picked his post up.

      MSN Money may have also been thanks to Budgets Are Sexy. The Frugal Nation columnist has guest posted there repeatedly. But she liked my pet peeve post about frugality vs earning more enough to write her own post talking about my post.

  2. Edward, I missed the challenge as well; and sorry to hear you din’t quite hit your goal. The way I see it though, it is important to have something to orient your effort even if you miss – so it is not a goal but more like a pole. You have done well so give yourself some credit and keep going.

    Using the opportunity to wish you a very successful and properous year ahead!
    maria@moneyprinciple recently posted..Is getting in debt the best thing that could have happened to me? Really?My Profile

    • To be honest, I’m horrible at that sort of thing. The last time I tried to optimize my AdSense earnings, I wound up LOOSING revenue. Clicks dried up to almost nothing. And that was switching from banner ads to text ads which “always” perform better.”

  3. Here is my income for the year:

    Advertising (AdSense): $100.13
    Sponsored Posts: $1,660.44
    Staff Writing (not sure if this counts): $1,372.22

    Total: $3,132.79

    Of course this is just income, not my expenses for the year. When I factor in my expenses I am closer to half that total. Overall though I am happy with the progress I made in 2012 and I am hoping to double this income for 2013.

    • Sure, staff writing counts. Great job!

      As far as expenses go, I guess it depends on what they are. I did originally just say income, but I wouldn’t count money I receive for shipping a jar of taco seasoning to someone as part of my income!

      I’d say, for the purposes of the challenge, ignore any expenses that would have been accrued regardless of making any money, like domain names and hosting fees. But deduct any expenses that were required for the earning your income, such as my example above.

  4. Hi Edward,
    I definitely didn’t win. I made $1,920 in gross income this year! I made all of my income on ads and guest posts thanks to Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Congrats on the money you’ve made this year! I am willing to contribute $25 in either PayPal cash or an Amazon gift card for next year’s challenge.

    Thanks for hosting the challenge!
    CrystalH recently posted..Join My Weight Loss Challenge on Diet Bet!My Profile

  5. Pingback: Fearless Men's Weekly Round-Up | December 27th, 2012

  6. Well done anyway! As a percentage of your income, heck, just as income, that is nothing to scoff at. Glad to hear that you’re gaining momentum with some of your projects. Income has been practically nil for me, you’ve got me squarely beat.

    • Mine was basically nothing as well for 2011 and was exactly nothing in 2010. I think it takes a concerted effort to make the first steps in earning income. Simply setting up AdSenese and hoping the money will come in is a good way to wait 3 years to get your first payout.

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