2013 WAS PRACTICE
2014 WAS WARM THE UP
2015 IS GAME TIME
I really feel like everything up to now was my schooling – my training. 2013 was the year I really started figuring the mechanics of how to make money online. I was practicing. 2014 was the year I took what I learned form my experiences and stripped out the wrong & outdated ideas, and really started to get focused on the right things. It was the year I started to make regular monthly income every month – it was my warm up. Now I’m ready for GAME TIME! I have big plans and even bigger dreams. I’m ready to take what I’ve already built and turn it into a real business. First let’s take a brief look at 2014 …
Here’s the good from 2014
- 2014 was the year I finally started making money online. True I made a little bit here and there in 2011 – 2013, but 2014 was when I really started to see some regular monthly income. It’s the first year I made over $100 every month.
- 2014 was the year I started blogging about my experiences making money online. This has been huge for me so far. In previous years I didn’t really mix with the Internet Marketing community very much, but in 2014 I made a conscious decision to start putting myself out there. It’s been totally worth it. I’ve made some great friends, colleagues, and connections along the way. And I’m just getting started….
- 2014 was the year I took one of my sites to $600+/month for the first time. The site started as part of Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Challenge #2 (which really seemed to fizzle out and was a huge letdown for me along with a lot of the participants). That’s okay though, because the site I built ended up being my most successful niche site to date, reached $600/month, and it spawned the idea for my first digital project. Much of my current successes stem form this project. Although the Niche Site Challenge fizzled out, it was a major turning point for me.
- 2014 was the year I landed an awesome new web development job at vibethink.com. Looks like I’m moving to Charlottesville, Virginia in January! * If you are located near Charlottesville, please shoot me an email and let’s get together! Hopefully this will be my last full-time job working for somebody else. Put in a few good years here and then make the switch to being self-employed.
- Lastly and possibly most importantly, 2014 was the year I launched my first product, the Ultimate Azon Theme. I just launched the WordPress Amazon Affiliate Theme on November 7, 2014 and haven’t really promoted it yet. The promotion will come in 2015 but I really want to develop a solid plan of attack before jumping into it.If you’re looking for a new IM product to promote and earn some commissions with, visit my affiliate page.
Here’s the bad from 2014
- In 2014 I spread myself too thin in the first half of the year, delaying my progress and results. This was my frst big mistake of the year. I was still trying to do too many things, work on too many sites, and I’m sure my results would have been much better had I just focused on a few things, and cut out all the excess. Live and learn I suppose.
- In 2014 my winning niche site dropped dramatically in rankings and income due to lack of attention. This really was because I spent the whole second half of the year designing, developing, and launching The Ultimate Azon Theme – my first digital project.
- In 2014 it took me a long time to realize how focused I must be to succeed. You know, I thought I was focused going into the year but while reflecting on the whole year, I realized that I still was not focused enough. You need a laser focus to succeed. I think I have that now. I know I’ll still struggle with time management and make some bad decisions in 2015, but I’m focused more than ever now. Hindsight is 20/20.
Goodbye 2014 … Hello Future!
So after an overall great 2014 – I’m ready to work harder, focus more, and crush it even better in 2015. I’m going to start out by developing a detailed and focused business plan to follow. That will give me a clear roadmap of what I need to do and accomplish to grow my online business as fast and efficiently as possible.
Developing a detailed business/life plan.
Up to now I’ve been experimenting with different methods of making money online, finding what I like, what I’m good at, and discovering exactly what I want to do to earn a full time living online. I’ve already taken my side income from $0 to a few hundred dollars per month. I’ve also been trying to live a healthier lifestyle and get in better shape so I can live a nice ling healthy life with my awesome wife Lori. I know I could be making a lot more per month right now and be a lot healthier – if I had been following a solid plan to grow my income and improve my overall level of health this whole time. But I haven’t been. I’ve worked really hard at my goals but lacked a crystal clear direction and focus.
My monetary monthly revenue goal for 2015 is to get up to over $1500/month. Right now I’m averaging about $300/month. (I have not set any health goals yet)
How am I going to do this?
By writing out an extremely detailed plan of attack and follow it with laser like focus. I’ll make sure to build in some flexibility into the plan so I can still experiment and adjust things as I need to. Although I’ll never reveal my exact business plan publicly since there will be a ton of sensitive information in it, below is the basic elements that will make up my complete plan.
Why this is my “business/life” plan.
The reason I’m calling this my business/life plan is that the whole reason I’m making money online, is to eventually be able to give myself and my wife the life we want. We don’t want to work our lives away building somebody else’s dreams, we want to build our own.
I no longer see a divider between work and life, and I’m considering everything when it comes to building the life I want. Internet marketing is just a part of the overall plan, albeit a large part of the plan since it’s what will enable us to become location and financially independent. Here’s the beginning of my business/life plan. I’ll be taking all of this soon and putting it into a long detailed set of documents outlining exactly what I need to do to make it happen. These documents will include higher level goals and tasks, and also break down everything into their exact small actionable steps. I’m leaving nothing to the imagination. Also when I finally start outsourcing some of these tasks, having all of this in place will make preparing the training material for my new help easier and faster. So here it is, what I’ll be focusing on and writing about in 2015.
Stick to working on my top two niche websites.
Although I love building and ranking new niche websites, I’m not going to build out any new sites in 2015. I already have two niche sites that earn regular monthly revenue and I feel like these niches are large enough that I can just focus on these two to get the results I want.
Tent Camping HQ
The first of these two sites is tentcampinghq.com. I run this site with a friend of mine, Dick Finke. Dick does a lot of camping, hiking, and makes outdoor related YouTube videos. He does most of the information articles and keep our Facebook page thriving, and I handle all of the web stuff, website maintenance, marketing, etc.
The camping niche is freaking HUGE. We already get a lot of Google traffic and Facebook Traffic. I know by focusing on killer content and making the right moves, we can turn this into a big money maker of a site that we both actually LOVE to run and be part of. Both of us are big outdoors people and campers, so we live the niche we write about.
LONG TERM MONETARY GOAL – I want this site to earn at least $1000 per month, which will be reinvested and the remainder split 50/50 with my partner Dick.
What I will be focusing on for Tent Camping HQ in 2015
- Launching new website theme. The custom WordPress theme is about 98% finished and I’m currently porting over the all of the content.
- Adding new camping product reviews. I’ll be outsourcing some of these, and buying products and actually testing / reviewing them.
- Running 2 or 3 giveaways
- Building our email list
- Build out our user recommended campsites map
Main Niche Site #1
This is the Amazon Affiliate niche site that I built for Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Challenge #2. I also wrote a lot about this site in my own Niche Site Challenge. I’ve never revealed the url of the website publicly and likely never will. Unfortunately almost every site that people share publicly eventually get negative SEO’d by some idiot lacking the mental capacity to actually make money online themselves. This site is my big money maker right now and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m sure you can understand!
LONG TERM MONETARY GOAL – I want this site to earn at least $2000 per month. The niche is large enough that I think this level is attainable.
Now although this site did really well in 2014, the rankings and earnings have dramatically dropped due to me focusing on the WordPress theme I started selling. I had to drop everything to build the Ultimate Azon Theme, set up the sales infrastructure, and get it out there to the world. One of the things I neglected was my Niche Site #1. The site’s monthly income dropped from over $600/month to under $50/ month gradually. Now a lot of people would be really worried and distraught over this, but I have longer term plans in place. Now that the UAT theme is out on the market, I can start focusing more on this site again and get it earning more than ever in 2015.
Complete Domain Change
So since this site dropped form 300 visitors a day down to 30 – 40 a day, I figured it was a good time to completely switch my domain name into a more brandable name that will serve the site well moving into the future. I also moved the site over to the Ultimate Azon Theme. I followed Google’s guide to changing your website address and sat back to see what happened. The results were actually great! Within 3 weeks, all of my pages were indexed for the new domain name. I was expecting to lose some rankings due to the move, but my rankings and total Google queries almost doubled within those three weeks. Since the move, I’ve went from 40 visitors a day back up to 150 – 200 visitors a day. In December the site earned a little over $250. November before the change the site earned about $40. Not too bad I’d say. It definitely seems that in my situation, changing the domain name really helped to give me a boost. Now I just have to keep the momentum going.
What I will be focusing on for Niche Site #1 in 2015
- NO more manual backlinking for me. I’m really pleased to say that I’m done with manual backlinking on all of my websites. Google is so volatile, the rules are always changing, and truthfully the thought of rolling out of bed to create backlinks does not make me want to get out of bed in the morning.The thought of creating great resources that people in my niches WANT to share sounds much more exciting. I know people will say ” but what about my niche product sites that I don’t really care about the niche or visitors?”. My solution to that is simple. I avoid those niches and only work on things I’m actually interested in.Truthfully, now that I only work on projects I truly love being part of – I’m making more money than ever.
- Running 3 giveaways. Back in 2014 I bought three of the top products in my niche to give away. I never really found the time to run the giveaways, but that’s okay because now I can use them to promote the new version of my site. I have developed my own giveaway method to try to get the most out of it. I’ll be writing a detailed guide on how I run my giveaways to get the most benefit, while keeping it very easy for the user to participate in. Basically my goals is to maximize the benefit I gain from having the giveaway. I’ll also be using these giveaways as a way to reach out to websites, facebook pages, twitter accounts, and pinterest accounts in closely related niches. The goal here is to network and attract natural backlinks, since my giveaway will actually be valuable and great for their audiences. I’ll write about it all in detail when the time comes. I think it will make a great base for a giveaway method that is repeatable. I’ll probably tweak the process for each of the three giveaways as needed.
- Adding tons of informational & educational articles. I think there’s really a lot of benefits to loading your website with informational and educational articles. It will help make the site more resilient in Google’s eyes, increase the overall value of the website to the visitors, attract more long-tail traffic, make it look like the site is not just all about making money, it will make the site more useful and more sharable. I think all of this will help the site stand the test of time. In conjunction with this approach, I’ll be funneling my website visitors to the product comparison tools and reviews.
Use my three less successful niche websites for testing on.
These are the websites that I built in early 2014 that never really got off the ground. I really think each one has potential. (all three have made a few commissions at least) Even though I won’t be building any new niche sites (yeah right, I know I’ll build at least one new one) I still want to experiment and test new methods and techniques on my niche sites. This way I can use these sites as lab rats, and not mess with my good sites in the process.
Who knows, maybe I can build them up, make them profitable, and sell them off for some seed money for bigger projects.
I do have a fourth site that I have purchased the domain for and had all of the content written, but have never set it up. Mainly due to lack of time. This was the site was gonna build based off of Matt Allen‘s keyword packages. I’m not sure, but I don’t think he’s offering these packages anymore. Matt, please correct me if I’m wrong.
Build & Grow DaveNicosia.com.
I’ve owned davenicosia.com for many many years. It’s been my learning grounds, my portfolio, and now my internet marketing blog. It’s had over 20 different designs and many different purposes. Who knows, maybe internet marketing won’t even be it’s final use, or maybe it will. Time will tell.
I really only started blogging in the spring of 2013. For some crazy reason, more and more people started reading and commenting on my articles so I kept it up. My blog started to get about 50 – 100 visitors a day and my email list up to over 150 subscribers. (Thank you!) Right when everything was at it’s peak I started working on the Ultimate Azon Theme and basically disappeared from the blogging world until now. That theme took up ALL of my extra time and energy for five whole months. I had to sacrifice the health of my own niche sites and davenicosia.com went back down to 10 visitors a day so I could complete my theme and get it out on the market.
Well now I’m back and ready to give you as much valuable content as I can. I’ll be back out there on the social platforms as well a bit more, but the focus will be on this blog.
Another thing I’ll be working on is a free guide to give away on my blog. Since I’m a professional web developer who specializes in high end custom WordPress installations, I figure why not share my advanced WordPress knowledge?
The guide will be called “WordPress Setup for Professional Websites” or something like that.
Promote The Ultimate Azon WordPress Theme.
So I already mentioned that I spent 5 whole months doing nothing but working on the UAT theme, which in my opinion is the best Amazon Affiliate WordPress theme that is not a storefront style theme out there today. It launched on November 7th and has been making sales ever since.
Well after my soft launch, I haven’t really done to much to promote it or attract affiliates to promote it. I’ve been too busy the past two months catching up on other things and getting ready for the holidays.
I did run a Christmas Sale remarketing campaign through Google AdWords, which has netted me some sales. Remarketing is something I’ll be doing a lot of in 2015 and writing about as well.
The main thing I’ll be doing to grow sales on my theme is reaching out to new affiliates, and creating as much high quality affiliate resources as I can. Graphics, videos, and anything else I can think of that would be useful.
So far about 70% of my sales have come from affiliate referrals.
Develop 1 or 2 new WordPress plugins.
I absolutely loved creating, building, and selling the UAT theme. Now I want to create a few more useful products. I have a few ideas for WordPress plugins that would be great, and I’ll probably sell them at a $7-9 price point. Make the value high and the price low.
I don’t have many details on this yet and it will most likely come in the second half of 2015.
Start outsourcing more once my income grows to over $500/ month.
One of my hardest challenges is letting go of the daily work that I could hire somebody else to do while I focus on higher level tasks. This is an area that I definitely want to improve upon in 2015. I’ll be doing this by slowly by working in some outsourced tasks such as graphic design, content publishing, finding free images to use, etc.
I don’t want to start outsourcing until I am making at least $500 / month consistently. I think it will happen very soon since the UAT theme has already been adding a few hundred dollars to my monthly revenue, on top of my Amazon earnings.
Ditching my detailed earning reports.
Back in April 2014 I started my first detailed income report. It was a ton of work and took a lot of time to write, then I never really followed through on the next months due to lack of time. Since there’s already so many great internet marketers publishing monthly income reports, I decided to stop. It doesn’t really fit in with my plan for 2015 and in the spirit of focusing – goodbye income reports.
Moving to Charlottesville, Virginia.
I start a new job at a really cool web design agency called VibeThink in Charlottesville, Virginia on February 2, 2015. Talk about a new start! My wife and I will be trading in dirty old Philly for the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Why am I telling you this? Because if you remember, I’m discussing my business/life plan for 2015 and well, this is a really big part of that! This move will be good for us on soooo many levels, I consider it a major upgrade in our quality of life.
Right now we live in an very expensive area of the country filled with rude jerks and “keep up with the Jonses” type. I really feel like this area of the country is making me bitter and angry, and I don’t like it one bit.
I’M READY FOR THE MOUNTAINS!!!
Help my wife follow her dreams and become a beekeeper.
My wife has been my biggest supporter this whole time. Even when I was spending countless hours working on this and not making any money yet, she had faith in me that I could do it. She helped push me forward when I was ready to quit.
For the past few years, Lori didn’t really know what she wanted to do. She’s been working as a dental assistant but doesn’t like it anymore. She wants to do something more meaningful with her life but didn’t know what.
Well she has finally figured out her calling in life – to be a beekeeper and help educate people about bees. Needless to say, I want to support her as much as I can and in any way I can.
Turns out it’s hard to be a full time professional beekeeper, so as soon as I make enough money online to let her only work part time and become a beekeeper in her other time, I’ll do it. Although my ultimate goal is to work for myself, I do love what I do and will happily put in a few more years working at my new job at Vibethink in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I’m ready for you 2015…
2015 will be my year, I can feel it. Many things have been put into motion over the past two years that will really start to shine in 2015. I have my basic infrastructure in place, and I think it’s enough for me to start making at least $1500 each and every month. I have a game plan and it’s game time.
2013 WAS PRACTICE
2014 WAS WARM THE UP
2015 IS GAME TIME
So now I’m off to figure out all of the details of my 2015 Business / Life plan. If you want updates when I publish a new blog post, run a special on the Ultimate Azon Theme, or release my plugins, just get on my email list.
Take care for now and Happy New Year!
What are your plans for 2015?
I’d love to know where you’re at in your business and what your plans are for 2015! Please leave a comment below if you would like to share it with us. If you have a blog posts written about it, please link to it in your comment.