A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

2010 Second Quarter Goals Update

2010 2nd quarter goals update
We’ve reached the end of the second quarter of 2010…and what a blockbuster quarter it was! I’m excited to share my goals and income with you.

(If you’re new here, welcome! I set 3-5 major goals every year publicly on my blog and update my progress every quarter. Here are my goals for 2010.)

Let’s see how I’m doing!

Goal #1: Create and Release 10 New Products in 2010

This one has slowed down a bit–you’ll see why as you read the rest of this post! I’ve released four products: Guest Post Secrets, Best Blogs, my first one-day workshop, and Blog Set Up.

I did hold my first one-day workshop with four participants on June 26, and it was a huge success! I gained confidence in what I want to teach, which I plan to release as a product later this year. And all four participants gained great insight into their businesses.

I also learned that my projector, which I bought a few years ago, wasn’t up to the task…so I bought a new one! (Note: 1100 lumens is insufficient for anything but pitch black. I upgraded to a nice 4000 lumen Epson projector!)

I plan to hold another 1-day workshop later this year here in San Diego. As my blog readers, you will be the first to know about it.

Three of the products I’ve released have now made over $3,000 in revenue each: Guest Post Secrets, the workshop, and Blog Set Up all crossed the $3,000 threshold.

But what about Best Blogs? Let’s talk about what happened with it in the second quarter:

Goal #2: Create and Launch my Startup

The original Best Blogs prototype was developed in PHP by a developer I hired in Romania. There wasn’t anything wrong with this setup, except that I had to manage him, and I burned out on that pretty quickly. The prototype was (mostly) functional, but I kept encountering bugs, and it seemed like every time my developer added a new feature, something else broke.

The site stagnated. In early June, I realized no development had been done on the site since April. I had to make a critical decision. Either I needed to hire a developer who could be mostly autonomous, and pay him accordingly (U.S. salary), or I needed to scrap it and call it quits. Paying a developer would mean about $20,000 of my own money spent on development costs over the next 6 months with no immediate payoff. It was a big decision.

I thought about it for about a week, ruminating over possibilities in my head. Eventually I came up with what I believe will be an astoundingly profitable revenue model, and mentally let the $20,000 go in preparation to hire someone. (In other words, I promised myself I wouldn’t fret over paying someone $20,000 to develop the site.)

I found a local developer here in San Diego who agreed to redo the site from scratch. Best Blogs will re-launch later this year (probably August or early September), built on Pylons and being far better managed. The interface will be largely the same. I reviewed the revenue model with my developer and he “gets it.” I’ll talk more about that as we re-launch the site, but suffice it to say, it’s a common yet oddly overlooked model. And it has nothing to do with banner or display ads. 🙂

I’m again excited about Best Blogs, and having someone work on it with me that I trust makes it so much better. Since he’s local, we meet at a local coffee shop once a week to go over anything that needs to be talked about regarding the site. Next year, assuming all goes well with the launch, I will spin off Best Blogs into its own corporation and give my developer some equity. The business has huge potential, but probably won’t start showing revenue until Q4 2010 at the earliest. It’s a startup, so it’s still a gamble, but I like the odds!

Goal #3: Get 20,000 Blog Subscribers

I’m still plugging away at this one. My Feedburner count shows nearly 11,000 people. As we’re over halfway through the year, I’m going to have to pick up the pace. This will be a close one!

I had a nice week where three of my guest posts ran on three consecutive days on other popular blogs. I signed up over 450 new email subscribers that week. (If you’re one of them, welcome!) A few more weeks like that would do me well. It will take some more guest posting to really get those numbers up, though!

And now, the exciting part…my income numbers!

My Income Numbers!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that my goal was to make $10,000 a month blogging in 2008.

That didn’t happen.

Then, in 2009, I lost most of the year to being sick, and was eventually diagnosed with Celiac disease. By the end of the year, I was feeling better, but I still didn’t meet my goal.

In 2010, my blog began to really take off and I started posting income numbers. But I still hadn’t hit my goal.

Well…I am proud to announce that in June, 2010, I finally hit the goal I originally set in December, 2007!

It took me longer than I expected, and I had some setbacks, but I persevered.

And I not only hit my goal…I blew it out of the water.

Here is my income breakdown:

2010 income

Most of the income came from my Profit Instruments review. 183 people signed up through my link for Profit Instruments. What an amazing number! I thank all of you who signed up, and definitely understand what you (my readers) want now.

Marketers always send me programs to review. I go through 2-3 programs a week, and decline to promote 99% of them. (A reader recently asked me to go over why I don’t promote most of the programs people send me…I will write about that in the future.) Profit Instruments was a program I felt comfortable promoting. And while it hasn’t been without its snafus–mostly regarding Paypal–overall, people have been happy with the program. I’ve even heard a few reports of people taking action and using the Profit Instruments system to make money. Good! That’s what it’s all about!

I wasn’t expecting so many people to take action and invest in Profit Instruments, and I was humbled and pleased that so many did! The deluge of emails–both questions about Profit Instruments and people emailing me receipts–was quite a handful. There was one day where I sent something like 160 email replies. I think all I did that day was hit “Reply” and type out responses!

I quickly realized I needed to hire someone. It just so happened that a friend who is in college was looking for a summer job and not having any luck finding one. (She lives in Portland, OR, which I hear is a difficult city to find jobs in.) I agreed to hire her part-time as my virtual assistant, and she became my savior, sorting out all the receipts, getting everyone on an email list, and generally cleaning up my inbox!

(Note: I always have someone ask me when I write about virtual assistants: “Is the email I got from you really you?” The answer is yes–every email with my name on it is written by me.)

She’s also now doing the blog setups, so if you order a blog set up, you’ll get a reply from her! Thanks, Alonna, for making my life easier!

I’ve so far written about two people I hired last quarter. This week, I hired a third–my first full-time employee here at Inspiring Innovators! His name is Matthew and he lives in the Philippines, and he’s doing full-time SEO work for erica.biz and my other websites. So far, he’s on a 7-day trial and working out well. I found Matthew through Replace Myself’s job board.

It’s been an amazing quarter, and I am so grateful that I was finally able to achieve income levels I didn’t think were possible only a few short months ago! I look forward to continuing to grow my business, as well as being able to share my journey and help you along your path, too!

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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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