Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
April was a good month. I was productive. Cash was flowing in. COVID numbers in Poland rapidly declined, and I was looking forward to some normalcy.
My accountability partner started his 12WY goals in Q2 of 2021. I decided it was a good idea for me to go back on the goals bandwagon. So I set three goals for Q2:
- To publish 100 articles on Medium before the end of June.
- To work on publishing my own books; including the new book about my The Slight Edge journey, audiobook for the Art of Persistence and a bundle for the Six Simple steps to Success.
- To create procedures and systems for my business.
Execution on the 12WY Goals
As you can see, I wasn’t super specific, only the first goal was truly measurable. And I made the most progress with it. At the end of April, I had 28 articles published on Medium and I earned $14. I published the first article on the 8th of April, so publishing 28 pieces took me only 22 days.
I made quite a lot of progress with The Remarkable Power of Consistency. I finished the editing phase. My proofreader went over the old reports and I corrected them too. I wrote the back cover text, so my cover designer could create a cover. I worked on the marketing message, which resulted in writing the book description. I created the Advance Reading Copy and sent it to my launch team.
While working with my VA on the import of my Quora answers into Medium, we created a procedure for doing that and a checklist, so she could double-check her work before submitting the draft. Once more, it was more work for me. I spent quite a lot of time reviewing and rewriting those documents. We weren’t ready around the end of the month.
Soft Skills Trainings
I continued trainings for PwC juniors in my day job. Actually, I gave the training totally on my own for the first time. And second. 😉
I enjoyed those meetings thoroughly. We made them hybrid – a few people participated online, and a few were with me in the conference room. The first session was about emotional intelligence, and the second about motivation.
I got quite favorable feedback from my coworkers, and those sessions made the whole day job experience more enjoyable.
The number of the COVID cases in Poland was in a steep decline. Doomsayers predicted that we would have a disaster right after Easter, which plenty of people spent in the family gatherings – a Polish tradition. Then, the same doomsayers predicted the ‘end of the world’ every day. None of that realized.
The health care system was hammered in March. Some days, we were the world leader in the number of deceased per million citizens. But in April, everything turned around. In fact, it turned around at the end of March and I was exasperated with the lockdown. We had just a 2-week break in extreme anti-COVID measures. I was so hungry of going out that I even enjoyed my commute to work.
The weather wasn’t adding much to my mood. It was warm enough for biking only twice in April, including one time when I biked in a jacket and scarf in 14 degrees Celsius [57 Fahrenheit].
Resurrecting Books Projects
In April, I finally made my book, Slicing the Hype, permanently free. It got immediately picked up by some promo site and got a few hundred downloads. Notifying my email list also helped. I shared this on Facebook, and my customer with several business books noticed the post. He inquired about my results and decided to turn six of his books into permafrees. We had not had much success with his book up to that point in time. We were able to generate a dozen or two sales around the break-even point.
Jim is a doer, so he managed to turn three of his books into freebies before the end of the month. And he got quite a number of downloads – 5,442.
We also finished the work on Don’t Buy a Duck, a book of my friend from my ISI mastermind tribe. I remember publishing it at the end of April (Derek gave me the access to his KDP account). It was good to take it off my plate.
The last 1-time project was consulting for David Jenyns, the author of SYSTEMology. He inquired about my services, but I advised him against using my system. His book had too good bestseller rank; it would rather hurt his sales than help him. But he agreed to pay for my time, so I would help his team work smarter on his ads.
I logged into his AMS account for the first time and I thought: “Hmm, it seems there will not be much work for me.” The campaigns had excellent conversion rates. My client was losing a bit of money, but not that much.
Then, I looked into his campaigns and it appeared I’d have a lot of work. All the campaigns were basically only targeting his book. Which is the exact opposite of what you should do with the AMS ads! Whenever I create ads which can be duplicated, I actually put the author name and the book title in the list of negative targeting. I don’t want people who look for a particular book to see the ad. Amazon will provide them the book in the search results anyway and I will not pay for clicks.
In the first three months of 2021, David paid about $400 for nothing; for showing his ads to people who were already looking for it on Amazon by title and his name.
Later, Soren told me that this was the Google SEO approach to target your own product in the ad. David’s employee copied the way he operated with Google ads into the Amazon ads – with terrible results. The AMS campaigns didn’t show him what are the other books he could target, and he was lullabied into the belief that his ads were doing well because the results were there, on paper. Or rather, in the AMS dashboard.
I quickly recorded a video explaining why this wasn’t a good idea and what to do instead. I also had a coaching call with two people from David’s team, when I taught them how to properly leverage targeting on Amazon.
In a few weeks, SYSTEMology had a totally different set of ads, and David started paying for the actual advertising – showing his book to people who hadn’t heard of him before. In April, his ads sold 44 copies instead of 31 in March (among which about 25 were from people who would have bought his book anyway).
One of my subscribers, who had been on an extended Internet hiatus, saw my offer for accountability coaching at the end of March. She paid me $300 so I would help her be accountable about growing her book business.
My coaching client with whom I started weekly calls in March paid me more than usual. Together with the consultancy fee for David, I made over $1,000 for coaching in April. I think that was my first ever month when I made four figures from non-book and non-business stuff.
I also got one coaching client on Coach.me. He read a couple of my books, tried to sign up, but I turned my coaching off on that platform. So he reached out to me via email. I invited him on the intro call. Faik lives in Azerbaijan and is an awesome dude. He represented his country at the Olympics, and he is doing 6-figure projects. He reached out to me because he was stuck. He knew he should start a new project, but at the same time he had enough money to live comfortably for the next few years. He wasn’t able to force himself to start.
Our conversation lasted about an hour. I remember thinking: “Oh, that was an interesting conversation, but it doesn’t seem anything will come out of that.” It took Faik a couple of days before he signed up. Then, he crushed it. He had a very ambitious goal for someone who was complacent and stuck – to work three hours a day on his project.
Once he started, he didn’t miss a beat.
I hit my record profit in April 2021. I made about $50 more net than my previous record month, but still, it was more! It felt especially good after several weaker months. I could pay my mastermind fee in May without problems!
I remember sharing this news in my mastermind with a dispassionate voice. For me, it wasn’t a big deal at all. It’s just money! My buddies made fun of me that this is how excitement looks in Poland.
My mother-in-law visited us in April and stayed for 10 days or so. My wife takes always her obligations as a host very seriously, and it showed very strong during that visit. It strained my wife’s sanity. Sometimes I felt at home like on the minefield. I was glad I could ‘escape’ to my day job from time to time.
One day, I “stepped on the mine.” My wife asked about the COVID vaccines the very first day we were allowed to sign up for one. I said something dismissive and she erupted.
Needless to say, the very next day I was signed up for vaccination. She cooled off next day, and we signed her up too. Then, we decided to game the system a bit. The sole reason I wanted to get a vaccine was to be able to travel. Two-dose vaccines could’ve taken us the next three months before we would be allowed to travel. So, I called the info line and inquired about the dates for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We got one for both of us on the 21st of May.
That meant, we could start traveling in mid-June!
$500 of a Confidence Fund
My mastermind buddy, the same who agreed to invest into my audiobooks, stopped me at the end of one of our weekly calls and told me:
“I’ll give you $500, so you can invest it in your ads. My only condition is that you will document the process. Why? Because I believe in you!”
Gosh! It’s so great to have such guys in my life!
I took the offer and decided to experiment with targeting ads for The Art of Persistence. I turned off all the keyword ads (over 130 of them), and started from a couple of auto-targeting ads.
I used crazy-high bids, about 70 cents or so. I quickly scaled those down, and repeated it a couple of times. The ads were spending money like water and didn’t bring much in return. Well, they sold some copies, but the whole experiment was in red. Finally, I stabilized the bids at 40 cents.
In the next week, I added several ads with my own ideas for targeting. However, auto ads were doing much better than them, especially the ad of the paperback version. One discovery I did in April, thanks to those ads, was that paperback advertising was more effective and cheaper than advertising Kindles.
Amazon Ads Mastermind
In April, I had a first call with Alex Strathdee from Advanced Amazon Ads and Denis Caron from WeekendPublisher.com. After the call we decided to utilize our discussions online.
It was a blast! They were not only like-minded; they both had similar businesses. You have no idea how awesome it felt to chat for an hour with a couple of guys who intimately understood the advertising language I operated with.
April 2020 was exhausting. Training my VA was taxing. I also took a new goal – publishing on Medium – and continued the work of my new book. I was tired. The extended lockdown didn’t help. But the growing revenue certainly made it easier for me to keep going.
The April 2021 Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €2,584.38 ($3049.57)
Coach.me fees: $127.55
Audiobooks royalties: $19.99
D2D royalties: $45.15
PWIW personal coaching: $857.7
AMS service remuneration: $2,325.65
$23.37, BirdSend fee
$1,362.82 Amazon ads
$839.05, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$30, SiteLock fee
$500, ISI mastermind
$49.53, royalties split with co-author
$102.55, Advanced Amazon ads
$68.77, web domains
$100, an obligatory monthly fee for LLC
$92, my accountant’s monthly fee
Net Result: $3,372.03