the 100k project

100K Project: Episode 15 (1 Year On)

Damn, days are moving fast.

It’s time for an update of my $100K Project.

If you missed any previous episode in this series, you can see all the entries here.

June was the 12 month of the project. The baby is now 1 year!

1st year
Project Turns 1 Year

And at this time, I feel it’s time for me to sit back and reevaluate the project, note down the lessons learned, challenges overcome, and the way forward.

First off,  I’m thankful I started to blog about the niche site.

To be honest, blogging kept me in check.

There were many times I felt like giving up…but when I remembered I had to provide an update at the end of the month, I got some motivation (even though subtle) to work on something.

Granted, I’ve not been putting 100% into this project. A lot of stuff happens (life, freelancing work, personal stuff, etc). Despite all these happenings, I was able to make some progress.

When I started the $100K Project, my goal was to take the niche site to $1000 in one year, and then scale it to $10,000 from there.

It’s one year now, and though I did not hit the $1000/m goal, I’ve ended up with an asset that gives me some decent change. I mean, I’m like a landlord renting a studio at $500/m.

Now I just need to get a couple of more ‘studios’ or just increase the rent to $1000.

Project Challenges

The past 12 months of working on this project have not been smooth-sailing. I’ve had my fair part of challenges.

Most of the challenges were mental. There were times I felt that I could just not continue working on the site.

Sometimes, I got burned out with the niche. Other times, I thought of starting a new project as I wasn’t seeing results as fast as I wanted.

I’ve been slowly building my mental strength over time. And now, I’m at a point where I no longer see the project as a “niche site” but as a brand.

Initially, I would have stopped working on the site in about 6 months. Now, I’m willing to go for a couple of more years and build something I’ll be proud to plaster my name on.

The easy way out has always been there. I’ve been dabbling with Rank and Rent sites on the side, an offline business, freelancing, and a tad more on my plate.

But like they say, there is no payday for a half-done idea. So, I need to see this project to completion.

half done ideas
There’s No Payday for Half Done Ideas

What I Did in June

In June, I was busy looking for dropshippers. I finally whipped up the WooCommerce store that I’ve been planning like forever.

I’ve dropshipped products from AliExpress before. Therefore, it was only logical I start looking for suppliers from the site.

However, times have changed and the US-China political showdown is turning out to be bad for business. For example, about a year ago, it was possible to ship items from China to US in under a week. Today, shipping takes 30 to 60 days!

Ouch!

My US customers cannot bear this long shipping time, especially since the items I want to dropship are not unique. They are easily available on Amazon and other US online outlets.

And just to emphasize the point, here’s what I’ve been dealing with due to the long shipping times:

shipping complaints

This store is not related to this project. However, I know if I dropship from China, I’ll have to deal with similar issues.

With that said, I was looking for US and EU suppliers that carry high-quality products and have shorter shipping times.

I found a major dropshipper from UK that carries a wide range of products in the niche. With this supplier, shipping is much faster (3-5 days), compared to the over 30 days that’s with Chinese dropshippers.

I had turned to AliExpress because there’s a ton of cheap stuff on the site. However, when I looked at my competition, it’s clear they are not competing on pricing.

I’ll still be able to make good margins with the UK dropshipper (100% profit) without my prices being lower or higher than the competition.

I also approached some world-renowned brands to carry their products. These companies do not dropship but sell at wholesale. The wholesale price is okay. However, I’m still not at a point where I cannot take inventory beforehand.

Other things I was involved in include looking for a private logistics company and heckling with some manufacturers from China (I have plans to do private label).

It’s all vague at the moment but I know what needs to be done.

Other Stuff

There’s also the usual stuff that I’ve been doing..pinning, answering questions on Quora, linking from my Q&A site, and participating in forums.

With that said, here’s how the site performed in June.

Google Analytics

Seems like there was an update reset. The site saw a 41% increase in visitors.

June Google Analytics Traffic Increase
June Google Analytics Traffic Increase

SemRush

On the SEMRush front, the site’s also been going up. More keywords have hit the first page of Google.

Like I indicated in my last post, I am now using SERPWoo to track my keywords.

100K Project; SEMrush Stats June, 2020
100K Project; SEMrush Stats June, 2020

Earnings

Amazon earnings also went up, from $456 to $624.

Project 100K Amazon Earnings (June, 2020)
Project 100K Amazon Earnings (June, 2020)

Other earnings came from Svorn, Skimlinks and some private offers. These earnings totalled to $122.

Skimlinks Earnings June 2020
Skimlinks Earnings, June 2020

Skimlinks earnings: $39

June 2020, Google Adsense Earnings
June 2020, Google Adsense Earnings

Adsense also brought in $5, lol!

I turned off Adsense on all commercial intent articles on the site. These earnings are from a few info articles that I have on the site.

But come to think of it, Adsense is not a monetization avenue I’m keen to pursue with this site. Therefore, I removed the codes from the site at the beginning of July.

June 2020, Svorn Earnings
June 2020, Sovrn Earnings

Sovrn earnings: $14.

Impact Earnings, June 2020
Impact Earnings, June 2020

Impact earnings: $62

Total Earnings were $744, which is $240 more than last months.

So, I did not get to hit the $1000/m goal by month 12.

But that is fine.

ROI of the Project

Since it’s been a year since I started the niche site, I wanted to provide an overview of the earnings and my expenses so that you see what kind of ROI I’ve had.

Here is a breakdown of how much the site has earned over the past one year.

Project 100K Monthly Earnings Over the Past Year
Project 100K Monthly Earnings Over the Past Year

If you love charts, here’s how the earnings look like:

Project 100K Niche Site Earnings 1 Year
Project 100K Niche Site Earnings 1 Year Chart

In total, the site has earned $3669.50 over the past year.

So, is the site profitable yet?

Well, yes, but not very much.

For this niche site, I’ve been spending a maximum of $200 a month on VAs to help me with certain tasks. The tasks range from formating posts to creating images for Pinterest, commenting on forums to doing competitor research.

However, the most important thing to remember is that the budget never goes beyond $200 a month.

So, in total, I have spent $2400 on VAs for this website over the past year. This leaves me with $1269.5 as my profit.

Now, there are other expenses that this site incurred, but which do not really affect its earnings.

Here is a rundown of there costs that I incurred.

i) Domain name. Got it at $8.99 from Namesilo

ii) Hosting. I did not buy new hosting for this website. I already had bought hosting for other websites I’m running, such as the one that I’m building to flip. I’m hosting my sites with NameHero. So, the hosting cost for this project was zero.

iii) Logo. I made the logo for the site. If you are not a designer and are looking for a great logo,  use Fiverr. You’ll get great logos for just a couple of bucks.

iv) PBN links. I’ve been using PBN links on the site. The links are coming from my own private network. The network sustains itself and therefore, I did not incur any cost in terms of links. I host my PBNs with Noname Internet.

v) Other links. Other links that I’ve been creating have solely been link exchanges and guest posts. I’ve not bought any link for this project.

vi) Theme. I use the Cyprus theme by MyThemeShop. I already had a developer account, which grants me all MyThemeShop themes at no additional cost. Therefore, I did not pay extra for the site’s theme.

vi) Content. All the website content was written by me and my VAs. Like I indicated a few paragraphs above, my total VA cost per month for this project is not more than $200.

Value of the Website

The goal of this project is to get the site to earn $100K per month. You can bet this is going to be a long project.

However, should my goals change along the way, I may decide to sell the site. At this time, the site has been consistently earning about $500 for a few months.

How much would I get if I were to sell the site today?

Going by industry average of X25  to X30 of earnings, here’s how the site would have performed:

i) Average earnings for the last 12 months: 305.79

If we are to use 12 months’ average earnings, the site could go for between $7,644 to $9,173

ii) Average earnings for the last 6 months: 527.19

Going by the 6 months’ average earnings, the site could potentially sell for between $13,179 to $15,815.

I might decide to sell the site when the time is right. However, I want a big payday. So, I’m building a whole “business” out of the site.

This means getting email subscribers, social media followers, and other items that potential buyers would be interested in apart from the revenues generated.

That is an entry for another day. For now, the build is still on.

Going Forward

At this time, I feel it’s time for some optimization. The site is consistently getting 200-300 visits a day. I want to take it to at least 500 visits a day. That means just building backlinks and other non-Google related methods of driving traffic.

I have a ton of ideas that I’d like to experiment with; from giveaways to Facebook groups, forums to native advertising.

I’ll be blogging about the various experiments I’ll be undertaking in the near future.

About the dropshipping store, I’m also going to work on it. At the moment, I’m busy editing the photos I’ll be using from the store. The dropshipper sent manufacturer photos with watermarks and stuff. I’ve hired a VA from Fiverr to help me with editing the images.

I also realized that having an inventory of 4000 products to dropship is an overkill. I’d imported the products to my store but unpublished them, leaving just a handful of products for a start.

I’ll be slowly adding other products as time goes.

Other Plans
I grinded a lot on content for the first year. For the coming 12 months, the plan is to grind on traffic.

The goal is to get the site earning at least $3000 in 12 months’ time.

Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about marketing on and my mindset has changed. When I started this project, I was focused on getting Google traffic. However, now I’m at a place where I’m confident of experimenting with other forms of marketing.

I’ll also be slowly removing Amazon links and replacing them with affiliate programs from other merchants. I started the site as an Amazon niche site, but things change and money from any source is welcome.

So, come July 2021, I’ll be here with the 2nd year report.

Until then, I’ll continue posting updates. However, I’m not sure whether I’ll be posting every month. I was thinking of publishing every time I hit a $500 milestone, e.g., $1000, $1500, $2000, etc.

For the monthly updates, I’ll be sending them to my newsletter subscribers. If you want to stay in the loop, make sure you subscribe by filling the form on the sidebar.

As I sign off, I just wanted to give a shoutout to everyone that’s been keeping up with the project and providing advice.

Cheers to the second year of Project $100K

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7 Comments

  1. Boniface Muriuki July 25, 2020
    • Don July 25, 2020
  2. Boniface Muriuki July 25, 2020
  3. Lema July 28, 2020
    • Don July 28, 2020
  4. Waweru Njoroge July 29, 2020
    • Don August 6, 2020

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