Monthly Growth Report – November 2014 (SMB)

Welcome to the November monthly growth report here at SelfMadeBusinessman.com.

Every month I give a status check on the progress of the website and have a candid chat with my audience about what's working and what isn't. You can see past monthly growth reports.

Some of the main benefits of doing this are holding myself accountable on my goals, as well as keeping myself and this website "grounded". By that I mean, it's important to show that I do NOT have all the answers and most importantly that I don't think I do either. These monthly reports will show that I am struggling just as much as everyone else to grow my blog and monetize my projects.

What's New?

November has been a very frustrating month for my blog and my business. Here are the posts I published plus the guest post on Google Analytics:

You may have remember that last month the blog took a dive because, for unknown reasons, the blog lost a considerable amount of its organic traffic.

Just when I thought things couldn't get worse - my business NinjaOutreach got hacked!

Yep - somehow some malicious code got in and affected the whole website.

And to top it off, since that business is on a hosting with SelfMadeBusinessman as well as AvocadoPesto, it brought down all of those sites for about 4 days.

And to top THAT off, after we got them up and running, some issues seemed to result in WMT errors, in which Google was no longer able to crawl the website and the organic traffic really suffered.

In total, that was about 8 days of hell from an internet marketers' perspective and we haven't fully recovered on SMB or AP.

Want to know what to do when your website gets hacked? Check out this post by Adam at Blogging Wizard.

november traffic

As you can see the traffic is now at half the levels that it was only only month ago, which was already down from October after the first Google hit!

Project Updates

NinjaOutreach - Blogger Outreach Software

NinjaOutreach entered beta in late October and has since remained there over the last month.

During that time we have been dealing with bugs and holding meetings with customers.

We've also added two new features (import and a contact form submitter).

Of course progress feels slow with only one developer and the project being self funded, but after a month in beta I think we will be ready for a commercial release in late December. We almost have all the bugs worked out, and then there is some back end stuff to automate, but after that (two more weeks?), we should be ready to go!

So how many people are using it so far and what do they think?

So far we have just over 60 people who have activated the software.

We've probably talked with upwards of half of them (the other half just aren't interested in chatting), but so far feedback has been very positive.

I'd say the most difficult part has been getting people to activate the tool, since it is a desktop for windows only, but once they do they seem to like it (at least according to the feedback we've received on calls).

That said, there is still a lot up in the air. It's difficult to know how often people are using it and how much they really like it. A lot of people say nice things on the phone, but at the end of the day they will never be an active paying customer.

I will do a fuller update this month on how the beta went and lessons learned.

Here is our knowledge base where you can see some videos about how the tool runs and what you can do with it.

If you'd like to try out the tool simply shoot me an email or sign up for our newsletter, and we'll get you over a license key and a free version to try out!

The Mastery - A New Community For Entrepreneurs

This month I launched a private community for entrepreneurs called The Mastery.

Currently there are around 200 registered members.

I need to give a detailed update on how that launch went (but want to check with my partners before doing so). Needless to say it fell drastically short of our expectations and is forcing us to pivot on our original plan.

Other

I keep a few side projects fresh, one of which being helping my mom with her Etsy shop.

Unfortunately the awesome case study I wrote had to be taken down because it got picked up in the forums on Etsy.

However, in Sept and Oct the shop did 80-100% better compared to the same months last year, and 50% better in November. I can't take all the credit but definitely some of the changes I implemented are working. It just goes to show the power of applying digital marketing practices to an unoptimized business.

As for AvocadoPesto, along with this website it took a hit after getting hacked and hasn't fully recovered in its organic traffic. Matthew Barby has generously offered to take a look at it for me, and hopefully we can figure out why it isn't performing at the same pre hack levels after everything got cleaned up.

Subscribers

This was a pretty slow month because of the hack. My subscriber count is now taking a beating since, due to the drastic decrease in traffic I am only getting 5-10 opt ins a day as compared to 30-40 opt ins a day two months ago!

Email: ~1800 (I actually cleaned out a lot of inactives so my email count is lower than it was last month.)

Income

Right now I only monetize my blog with AfterOffers. Normally AO provides around 300 a month, but with the downtime this month it was very poor.

AfterOffers - $135.6

I know there is a bigger market if I was interested and willing to create some digital products and courses, or review some affiliate products, but to be honest I can't be bothered. Firstly I'd have to work on growing the blog much more actively than I currently am. I'd have to sell a lot harder (or at all).

Neither of which I care to do right now.

The opportunity to make a digital product or course is not going away anytime soon. I'm trying to focus on the big picture and projects I can be proud of.

Conclusion And Goals

The last two months have taken a serious down turn and if I can't figure out what went wrong it's going to have a severe negative impact on the long term value of the blog. At the current rate of opt ins it would now take me 4 years to get to the same place I thought I'd be one year, from two months ago.

At the same time, because my other projects are 100x more important than this blog, it is difficult for me to find the time and enthusiasm to try to fix things and get it back on track, especially since I am on a road trip.

I failed on the only two goals I had - but they were stretch goals and we definitely made positive progress in both of these areas.

My goals for last month were:

    1. Launch my product and get 20 paying customers (Fail)
    2. Build The Mastery email list to 1k from ~400 (Fail)

My goals for this month are:

    1. Launch my product and get 20 paying customers

Trying to keep lightening focused here on what needs to be done.

dave

Dave is the Co-Founder of Ninja Outreach and has a passion for digital marketing and travel. You can find him at @ninjaoutreach and [email protected]