Leaving Work Behind

My Monthly Income & Expenditure Report – December 2011

Written by Tom Ewer on January 3, 2012. 31 Comments

Test Track

I spent the beginning of the New Year speeding around Epcot Center’s Test Track ride whilst fireworks went off in the background. Needless to say, it was pretty exhilarating, and great fun.

I am hoping that my introduction to the New Year will seem fitting when reflected upon come December 31st 2012. I have very high hopes for this year, and do not intend to let myself down.

In my last income report, I predicted that December would be “the calm before the storm”. In terms of moving forwards with new clients and progress on my niche sites, that has been the case, but it has been another record month in terms of earnings. Let’s take a look at how I got on!

Any links to products on this page are not affiliate based – I do not get paid a commission if you buy any product that I recommend. If you would like to know why this is the case, check out my article: Why I Am NOT Trying To Make Money From This Blog.

Freelance Writing

I’ll be honest – I haven’t looked for any new clients yet. I decided that I would would try to limit the work I do on my holiday (which lasts until 11th January). After all, it’s going to be nothing but hard work once I am back home! Separation of work and play is extremely important – what is the point in trying to establish a successful business if you cannot fully enjoy your downtime?

However, that does not mean I have been doing no work at all. In my first holiday I continued to work for both clients, and in my second holiday, I have continued to work for my second client.

So although I have earned a great deal more in December from my freelancing work, I haven’t actually attracted any more clients.

Authority Sites

I’m not going to say too much here, as I will be publishing full updates on both of my authority sites in the next couple of weeks. However, as predicted, December has been a month of gradual progress in terms of keyword rankings. Nothing spectacular, but progress nonetheless.

My backlinking has been very modest, so I am not surprised by the outcome. I have been building just one link a day using popular private blog network Linkvana. My initial thoughts are that it is not as user-friendly or intuitive as Build My Rank, but I will continue to experiment. In terms of the quality of the links, I am withholding judgment on that for the time being.

Income & Expenditure – December 2011

Income & Expenditure - December 2011

That's about $1,450.

I still have no income from AdSense, which I predicted last month. I would like to think that January will bring about my first AdSense earnings since Modeling For Kids suffered its untimely demise.

Article Roundup

December was a month of few posts, relatively speaking, due to the fact that I was on holiday for most of it! However, two guest posters were kind enough to fill a couple of gaps with extremely useful and informative articles. If you have any interest in virtual assistants, you should read Michelle’s post, and if you know that you are going to be stuck in your job for some time yet, you should read Bon’s.

For authority and niche site builders, there were two articles for you in December: 10 Link Building Methods Revealed And Reviewed, and 3 Reasons Why Targeting Multiple Low Competition Keywords Is Good For Beginners.

Finally, this month’s article roundup would not be complete without mention of my 2012 goals post. If you haven’t set goals for the coming year, now is the opportunity.

Speaking of goals…

My To Do List For January

I mentioned in my 2012 goals post that I would be setting “micro-goals” for myself every month. Each micro-goal is set with my quarterly goals in mind. Here are this month’s:


Authority sites

Niche sites

Leaving Work Behind

What’s In Store For January?

I feel really confident about achieving the vast majority (if not all) of my micro-goals for January. In terms of an increase in earnings, that remains to be seen. Although my earnings should be around the same for my existing clients, I have no idea how quickly I will be able to find new clients (and therefore increase my freelance income).

I don’t know how quickly my link-building efforts will lead to increased rankings in Google for my authority sites (and subsequently AdSense income). I doubt there will be much to write home about in January. I am expecting that February will be the month that income diversity begins to emerge.

Creative Commons image courtesy of Loren Javier

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31 Responses to “My Monthly Income & Expenditure Report – December 2011”

  1. Jeffrey
    January 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Well done on the writing income, Tom! Is the level of income for those clients maintainable going forward? If so, that’s fantastic.

    I like the editorial calendar, too. Another blogging thing that I know I should do but haven’t done yet.

    • Tom Ewer
      January 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      The level of income for those two clients should be maintainable/increasable moving forwards. Only time will tell though! Obviously, freelance writing income can be volatile, and I recognize that.

      The editorial calendar idea thing is something that has been playing on my mind for a while. I have around 30 ideas for articles, but since I tend to write at the last minute, I never go through with some of the more useful ones (as they involve research etc). That’s going to change now.



  2. Adem
    January 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Amazed by your writing income too! How many articles did you write for that? Do you get paid per article? Just curious.

    I just wrote my income report for 2011 and made £1642.32 over 8 months from AdSense but am aiming to earn a LOT MORE but will need to do more work too.

    Good luck for a work-free 2012!

    • Tom Ewer
      January 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Adem,

      Unfortunately I have non-disclosure agreements on certain details, but I’ll tell you what I can:

      – I am paid by the hour by my first client, and work involves writing articles, responding to comments, and doing some social media stuff. I write 5 articles per week for them (although I haven’t written nearly that many this month, because of my holidays).

      – I am paid per article by my second client, and also do other work for an equivalent hourly rate. I have a great relationship with them – they compensate me well, and I am happy to go above and beyond in return.

      Your income report is sitting in my RSS reader, ready to read 🙂



  3. Kent F
    January 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Tom -well done! Question for you. My oldest daughter is in grad school as an English major, and is looking for writing jobs. Do you have a post or suggestions of where she may start? Sorry I don’t know what WPMU is – you’ve mentioned it before, but I was not aware. Thanks!


    • Tom Ewer
      January 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Hey Kent,

      Thank you! 🙂

      You’ve posed rather a broad question – does she have expertise in any specific area? I sourced my first two clients from the ProBlogger jobs board (just Google it) – I was amazed at how easy it was to find work, to be honest. I’ll be writing a lot more on the subject the future.

      If she is working on an English major she is likely to be a talented writer. What is perhaps just important, when it comes to blogging, is knowledge on a certain subject.

      I’d be happy to help you as much as I can if you or your daughter want to get in touch 🙂



  4. Kent F
    January 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks Tom! I actually found some good info. on your start here page. In addition to rather odd categories such as Irish Poetry, her area of expertise presently is actually in composition – so she helps others write and may want to look at some editing freelancing. I will have her contact you privately if that is ok, in addition to showing her your links here.

    • Tom Ewer
      January 4, 2012 at 12:52 am

      I’m not sure there is much money in Irish Poetry blogging, but I’d love to be proved wrong 😉 maybe it’s an untapped niche!

      Proof-reading and editing could be right up her alley.

      No problem at all about her contacting me 🙂

  5. Justice Wordlaw IV
    January 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Great work so far Tom. Google adsense is going to come very easy for ya. If you place the ads in the right spot with a merging design your going to rock out this month. What plugin did you use for your Facebook sidebar? I’ve been looking for a way to do that and the resource box that I see on Facebook never seems to work for me. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  6. Simon
    January 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Hi Tom

    I’ve been lurking around a few bloggers but find that now the only people I bother to read with any regularity are Yourself and Steve Scott. And for both of you its the same reason- straight talking, honesty, lack of bullsh*t with simple sound advice.

    I’m at the start of this internet income craziness (as in starting to tackle it in earnest rather than buzzing around the issue and reading stuff). I’m in a slightly different position that I have actually been freelancing in the offline world for several years (and often doing it very badly in the past). So my goals are to alter the way I do my freelance work to make the hours more under my control and to develop residual income systems- using themed niche sites to start with.

    Best of luck and I look forward to seeing how you progress.

    • Tom Ewer
      January 5, 2012 at 1:57 am

      Hey Simon,

      Thanks for your kind words – it means a great deal to know that you recognize me as honest. There are so many people out there who just want a quick buck, and I am working very hard to separate myself from them!

      Sounds like your professional goals are bang in line with mine – please keep me updated with your progress! 🙂



  7. Sudarshan
    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Great work TOM and happy new year and I read “deal with anxiety” blog, I am very happy with the quality content and the amount of work you put into it… Thanks a lot tom and all the best for 2012 🙂

  8. Androidage
    January 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm


    Wonderful income from writing and congrats to all. If you are good in Adsense, you can reach $2K+ January.



    • Tom Ewer
      January 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Hello Vijay,

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Diversification of income is a huge priority of mine, and I hope to start building a notable AdSense income as soon as possible.



  9. Duy
    January 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Tom 😀

    Although this is my first comment on your blog, I believe that you still remember me. The guy asking you for whether or not buying Market Samurai is worth it on your guest post at Steve blog. Just to let you know, I’ve bought it recently and it really helps with keyword research and many other things.

    It’s good to know that you’re confident about your next steps. And I think I should write down some micro goals like you did and see if I can accomplish them. Because I will build a new niche site soon and try to rank it with multiple long tail keywords.

    My first niche site is a failure but I’ve learned many things from it. I know I will do better this time because the niche it much smaller now and I know I should do with my link building campaign.

    So, thanks for sharing with us your report and best wishes for you in 2012 😀


    • Tom Ewer
      January 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Hey Duy,

      Please accept my apologies for not getting back to you sooner – your comment got caught up in my spam filter and I only just found it!

      I do indeed remember you; I’m glad Market Samurai is working out well 🙂

      I just cannot stress enough the importance of setting goals. It really does make a huge difference to your potential for success.

      It sounds like you’ve got a really positive attitude towards niche site building – most people give up far too easily. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing how you get on!



  10. Mias Muller
    January 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Tom,
    Have you thought about NSM?

    • Tom Ewer
      January 10, 2012 at 2:10 am

      Do you mean Niche Site Mastery? Yes – I am considering taking that course.

      • Jason
        January 10, 2012 at 7:38 am


        I found your blog through your comment on Trent’s latest income report at OnlineIncomeLab. I have found Niche Site Mastery to be pretty good.

        Having said that, I do/did share your reservations because: A) he really doesn’t make that much from his self built sites, and B) it does seem very much that Trent is almost abandoning the Adsense model.

        In his defense, his sites are pretty young and he’s has other bigger pay off opportunities. Though I would think based on how he talks of Adsense, he would have a dedicated VA just constantly pumping out sites.

        The main reason I purchased was just to support the site/podcast for the massive amounts of free information he gives away.

        If you do purchase, I suggest the Baby Ninja. It’s a limited plan (no forum/monthly webinars/…), but it’s one time payment with access to all the videos. I had a limited two week access to the forum. The posts were good, but I couldn’t justify the monthly cost.

  11. Mias Muller
    January 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Yes Niche Site Mastery.
    Jason, I hear what your saying. I am a complete new beginner in internet marketing and in my personal opinion – just me thinking out loud – I’d rather join someone like Trent that is rising VERY fast. I myself, like you, have noticed that he is not as Adsense intensive perhaps, but as with any industry, you go where the gold is. I personally would rather invest a couple of dollars a month to see what works than spend months figuring these things out for myself. I agree with him that VIdeo niche sites like – see if you can both listen to the Nate Rivers podcast – is worth it’s weight alone. I think it is a massive market again, with much higher returns and with the way how Google loves Youtube videos, it is a sure fire way. Don’t think for a second I am saying that I do not want to do Adsense, all I am saying is in terms of diversification and looking at income streams – that is one to get into ASAP! I personally, and I hope you feel the same, am looking at Adsense as a foundation if you like to generate cashflow. God I sound like a salesman for NSM now…lol But the point I am trying to make is, always back a winning horse.

    One last thing Tom, are you in Rugby?

    • Tom Ewer
      January 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm


      Here’s the thing – you’ve both said that Trent has bigger fish to fry than AdSense, which is fine, in principle. The problem is that he is selling a product that teaches people to make money from AdSense sites. In my opinion, that puts the onus on him to put his money where his mouth is.

      Anyway, I don’t want to blow this out of proportion and would rather keep the discussion on Trent’s site (I would hate to think that he felt I was talking behind his back).

      Jason – thanks for the suggestion about the “Baby Ninja” plan – I’ll look into that.

      Mias – yes, I am in Rugby! Are you local?

      Cheers guys,


      • Mias Muller
        January 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm


        I agree,

      • Aaron
        January 27, 2012 at 8:59 am

        Hey Tom

        Found your blog through Mike at PennyOnTheFloor.com.

        I actually have strong feelings towards the niche mastery. What things will people learn from a guy that is making less than 1 k in adsense?

        In his defence, he will argue that he can teach folks who are not even earning 100 a month. However, he can’t help them to grow after that. That is my sore point. Heck, I used to make 5k a month in adsense. Should I create a course and sell it? : )

        Anyway, enjoy your style of writing. I like your fonts as well. May I know what theme you are using?

        By the way, the link to your “3 reasons …” article is broken.


        • Tom Ewer
          January 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

          Hey Aaron,

          Thanks certainly go out to Mike! He has been re-tweeting my content and sharing generously, which is great of him.

          I appreciate your points regarding NSM. Trent would of course disagree. Such is the way of the world!

          I’m using a Canvas theme that I have fiddled with and customized. Can’t recommend WooThemes enough – they do great stuff.

          Thanks for the tip – have fixed the link!



  12. Jason
    January 11, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I agree on all points. I actually have a site that’s making money off a product I created along with three android apps. I’m using the money I make off that site to fund my new Adsense sites. A little in reverse of the usual path I suspect most people take. Trying to keep diversified.

    If I have anything else to add, I’ll chime in on the discussion on Trent’s blog.

    • Tom Ewer
      January 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Hi Jason,

      No idea how I missed this comment! But you hit on a good point. Can’t say enough about diversification (when the time is right – no point spreading yourself too thin).



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