Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
In January, things were slowly starting to open up after the lockdown. I went back to working at the office. Commuting was a welcomed experience after almost three months of sitting at home all the time. My old routines were back in no time – meditation on a train platform, reading on the subway, and so on.
My day job wasn’t one ounce better than usual, but any change was desirable.
I was only surprised how commuting robbed me of my stamina.
I often napped on trains, especially on a way back home. We had a wave of cold in Poland. One day, I noted in my journal -15 Celsius. Luckily, this lasted only a week or so.
I remember seeing on Facebook a traffic jam photo in San Diego by Brian Buffini. He said it’s nice to see things going back to normal. I had a similar experience with my commute. Polish railroads are awful when it comes to being on time. One day, I arrived at the platform, waited 15 minutes to hear an announcement that a train will be delayed by almost an hour. So, I just picked a birthday gift from a delivery automat for my wife and headed back home. I worked remotely that day.
I still walked a lot, despite freezing temperatures. Well, I also learned to maximize walking opportunities around the house. I walked while taking my daily accountability call, speed reading exercises and reading a book written by a saint.
There were days – especially when we had freezing temperatures – when I made my whole 10k steps inside the house.
I discovered that search terms on Amazon could be generated on a recurring basis. Since it was one of the steps of the new process I had in mind for processing keywords, I was stoked. It was enough to create the reports once and regularly collect the data. Of course, like everything with Amazon, it wasn’t so easy, but easy enough. Together with my sister, we made some experiments and finally figured out how to create those bloody reports, so they contained the data we wanted.
I also started a process of hiring a VA. The timing wasn’t all that perfect, I was in the middle of the deepest financial dip since we bought our home, but my wife gave her consent. With her reluctance and lack of understanding business, it was like a sign from God for me.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t very diligent about the recruitment process. I got just a couple of referrals and only one of the gals applied. I decided to hire her if she didn’t drop the ball during the process.
The Financial Dip
To give you an idea how deep was the financial dip – at the end of the month the VA candidate was close to finishing her recruitment tasks, and I scrambled to pay her $20 I promised for this job. I had to invoice a customer to get the $20 I needed.
The previous quarter was horrible when it comes to revenue. I consistently used up my savings to pay bills, birthday gifts, mortgage, business expenses, and Christmas gifts. I had funds for all of those things, but their levels first decreased and then I needed to do some creative accounting to pay for my mastermind. For example, I ‘stole’ money from a fund for my kids’ school trips since there were no trips to be held in the foreseeable future. I had just about $100 left in my fund for monthly bills in January. Normally, there should be about $700.
The whole situation stung mostly my ego; we still had a peace-of-mind fund (called rainy days fund by most) that could easily sustain us for another half a year. But it was under my wife’s control, so there was no chance I would ‘steal’ from it.
I reached out to my mentor who hosts the mastermind group I’ve been a member of, and told him that January may be my last month in the group, since I no longer could afford it.
Also, the situation humbled me enough to ask my friend, a real estate millionaire from Texas, to invest into creation of a couple of audiobooks. He agreed without much consideration (or any at all). He told me later he did it to prove to me that he believed in me.
I quickly exchanged a few messages with Archangel Ink; we established the costs for two books, and Jerad sent a payment on the 23rd of January. Before we reached that phase, I needed to go over the manuscript of The Art of Persistence and prepared it for the audio version – removed or renamed the links, and the like).
Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day
In the first half of January, I also continued to work on the launch of the bundle of Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day series. The paperback was out at the very end of December, so we finally started ads. I purposefully used quite high bids, as uncomfortable as spending more on ads than making on them makes me.
I begged out a few more reviews and scheduled a few promotions with promo sites. But the best results, as usual, I got from asking for help from other authors. One of them sent an email broadcast at the end of the discount period and generated approximately 230 sales in two days; which made over 25% of the whole launch period sales.
I felt like at the beginning of my self-publishing career with this launch. I produced the book practically for free – no editing or proofreading involved since I repurposed the old content; my friend made the cover for free; the same friend formatted the book for me; I already had all the know-how needed, so I didn’t need to pay for it. The only thing I spent the money on was promotion and over 80% of it was my ad budget (I spent $410 in the US alone). Amazon charges for clicks at the beginning of the new month or when your spendings reach a certain number (it’s $500 for me), so part of this cost was delayed in time. Considering my poor financial situation it was VERY desirable.
And I spent just $36.09 on ads in December.
The results justified the effort. I sold 254 copies in December (all but 1 were discounted Kindle copies) and made about $80. In January, I sold 527 copies till the end of the launch period and another 58 copies after the launch.
I was encouraged by the results. The whole idea with this bundle was to create another revenue stream from something I already had. Definitely, this bundle proved the concept successful.
So, I already started to work on the bundle for the Six Simple Steps to Success series.
If I can make money by repackaging what I already had, why not?
I write this report with some delay, at the beginning of May. It struck me when I saw in my journal in the middle of January first mentions about my daily accountability calls. Soren, one of my mastermind buddies, proposed that we call each other every morning and go over our priorities for the day. He did that after I complained I cannot find anyone who could keep me accountable as good as I do it for myself.
It was a game changer, and not just for me. Like me, Soren is reasonably productive. But thanks to our calls, I was able to recover from my mad scramble after the COVID brain fog, and he became more consistent. In one of the first calls, we decided to go after “the one thing” in our calls. If you are familiar with the book The One Thing, you know that ultimate question:
What’s the one thing I can do today that will make all other things easier or unnecessary?
We don’t approach this question ad verbum, we don’t ponder if today’s priority will make everything easier or unnecessary. However, thanks to having this question asked every day, I was able to focus more on the long range. I always have multiple tasks to perform. As an authorpreneur and solopreneur, I always have the never-ending to-do list. I need to do them anyway. If I don’t reply to prospects or don’t invoice customers, I will eventually starve. So, whenever Soren asks me for the “one thing,” I pick one of my longer projects (publishing a book, creating a business process, and so on) and move the needle forward.
The January 2021 Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €1,237.63 ($1,497.53)
Coach.me fees: $155.26
Audiobooks royalties: $26.89
D2D royalties: $40.95
PWIW personal coaching: $383
AMS service remuneration: $2,923.58
Publisher Rocket affiliation: $91.62
$23.37, BirdSend fee
$1,631.23 Amazon ads
$500, ISI mastermind
$300.92, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$30, SiteLock fee
$96.55, royalties split with co-author
$102.55, Advanced Amazon ads
$77.28, book promotions
$100, an obligatory monthly fee for LLC
$92, my accountant’s monthly fee
Net Result: $2,295.76