It’s the end of May and this will be the second time that I’ve released an income report from Discover Your Indonesia. I want to show you how I made my money online this month.

If this is the first time you’ve seen my income report, you might be wondering why I want to share these income reports online. Well, partly these income reports are for myself. It’s nice to be able to look back and see what I achieved in April and what I wanted (and maybe failed) to do in May.

These income reports are something that I hope will also inspire other people. I’m not a natural born hustler. I don’t have a nose for business and I make plenty of mistakes, but I’ve managed to grow a business from my blog.

Being my own boss is great. I look forward to working every day and I’m optimistic about what the future will bring. I hope I can share some of that inspiration and knowledge to help you make a change (only if you want to that is).

Blog Income in May

I earn most of my money through my travel consultancy service, with B2B (business to business) commissions that don’t cost my guests anything.

May has been a good, but at times frustrating month. I earned $2,527 from Discover Your Indonesia, which is a lot more than last month, though the payment for the freelance writing is actually for work I did in April. The work life balance is also there. I did some travelling (went to Nusa Penida) worked hard on the blog and moved house.

While I didn’t achieve everything that I planned at the beginning of May the blog is moving forwards. I conducted interviews for an assistant for the website, who will be starting in May, and have plans to hire a dedicated writer for the site.

These changes to the business will be a huge boost long term. Managing all of the correspondence with the orders I’m receiving is exhausting and I’m looking forward to sharing that burden. While I know setting up the systems to manage everything will be a headache in the short term, I’m confident that the long term benefits and greater freedom will be a huge boost (no more 7 day weeks, Yay).

INCOME

Source Income
Travel Consultancy USD 1,450
Freelance Writing USD 1,020
Affiliate Income USD 87
Total USD 2,557

Expenses

Source Expense
Hosting with Traffic Planet USD 25
Total USD 25

I use Traffic Planet Hosting for Discover Your Indonesia, because the site is receiving more than 30,000 unique visitors a month, so I can no longer used shared hosting. I recommend the service for anybody looking to upgrade their hosting provider.

Breakfast by the beach at Tugu Hotel Bali

Breakfast on the beach at Tugu Hotel Bali.

Collaboration:

At the start of May I had big plans to work with a lot of different hotels, but life got the better of me. In the end I only worked with one hotel, but it was a great break in a place that I used to live (which was quite a strange, but fun feeling).

Tugu Hotel Canggu

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I recommend using Hostgator. You can start a blog from just $5.95 a month. You will receive a free website worth $15 if you purchase through my affiliate link. While you can get free hosting, I really recommend self-hosting as it is more professional and there are more ways you can make money from your blog.

Latest Developments On the Blog

may-income-report May was a month of small changes and experimentation on Discover Your
Indonesia. I knew I wanted to diversify my income stream as I was earning almost all of my money from the travel consultancy business.

I’d been earning some affiliate income from hotels since the start of the year, so one of the things I focused on was growing this income… I did 🙂 My affiliate income from hotel commissions has gone from just $1 a day to about $5 a day or $150 a month.

Making this happen meant making a lot of changes to my articles. I experimented a lot going between Hotels Combined, Agoda and Booking, before eventually settling on Hotels Combined. The nice thing about this service is not only is it the most profitable, but because it’s a price comparison site, it also gives customers the best value for money.

Three things I discovered in my tests:

  • Booking.com just didn’t convert for me, even though I think it’s one of the best booking sites
  • A green button with ‘Check Price on Agoda’ written on it offered the best conversions so far on my website.
  • Links on non-related hotels posts convert really well, but generic links just don’t convert (like check price for Indonesia).

I’m really happy with this result from the affiliate income from May. It was a lot of experimenting and it did take time, but an extra $1,500 a year in passive income is a great result for a fortnights work. I’d like to build on this though, so I’ll be using the $150 a month I’m earning to hire a freelance writer to produce more hotel and travel related content for the website.

The second set of experiments I’ve been running on Discover Your Indonesia was to increase my conversion rates from Google to the site. Making changes to the SERPS (this is the bit of text that appears in the search results) for my most popular posts got me an additional 200 unique visitors a day. You can read more about what I did here.

I’ve also started to grow an email list for Discover Your Indonesia. I’m using Optin Monster Thrive Leads to grow the list and I’ve got almost 100 people as subscribers, which is great. However I still need to work on monetizing the list by offering valuable services to people and improving the conversion rate by adding content upgrades (my current conversion rate is just 1.13%. I know I should be getting a conversion rate of between 3-5%.

2 Failed Ideas

I advertised two new services on Discover Your Indonesia this month. One service I’ve started to offer is a freelance writing service. So far all I did was write an article about what services I offer. I haven’t got any interest from this so far, which means I probably need to implement an outreach strategy to start getting customers. I’ll put this on the backburner for now.

The second thing I tried was selling Google compliant advertising on Discover Your Indonesia.

Here’s what I did:

  • Find articles with a lot of traffic that I couldn’t monetize.
  • See what keywords the article was ranking for and then go on Google to see if anyone was advertising for related terms.
  • Contact the company directly to offer sidebar or in post advertising.

Given that I could offer traffic that I know would convert for what a company was advertising for I thought this offer would be a no brainer… It was a complete failure.

The other thing I tried was to offer a paid listing service for villas on Discover Your Indonesia. I made a list of villas to offer this service to. Emailed all of the villas asking to talk to the marketing person for the villa. Got a response from 30% of the villas and then realized I didn’t actually want to offer the service.

That might sound really stupid and a waste of two days. It probably was… I told you I’m not the best businesswoman. However, it made me remember something I think is important in business.

“Focus on Things You Believe In”

I think this is really important. I was trying to do the listing service, because a friend recommended it to me. It made sense, but it was all about the money and not a service I really wanted to offer. While I know other people can profit from listings I know this service is not for me and I’m glad I realized that.

New Content on DYI

May was been a mixed month for blogging. At the start of the month I published a lot of new content to the site. Then towards the end of the month I really slowed down.

Plans For June

I’m currently in Jakarta and will be doing a bit of travelling in the first two weeks of June, but nothing special. To be honest I haven’t got big plans, but I do have a lot of things that I’d like to do. The hardest thing for me will be setting up systems for the two employees who will be working for Discover Your Indonesia. I know this will require a lot of work and I’ve set two weeks aside to focus solely on setting up systems and getting the training in place for the new employees.

My other big focus for this month will be the email list. I want to increase my conversion rate for Yogyakarta, to grow the list, and create a sales funnel that naturally leads people signing up to the email list from needing information to booking the service through me. This might sound very business minded, but I believe it’s part of a process of offering a solution to people so they can go from having a need (finding information out about the place they are visiting) to receiving the solution. I believe this is what business should be about and a sales funnel should logically draw people towards the solution.

Final Thoughts

This is the second income report I’ve shared online. I realise as I read through this just how big a job and how many things I have to manage as I start to grow Discover Your Indonesia. Yet even though it can be complicated it’s great being my own boss, and soon the boss of other people. It’s great to think that all of these opportunities came from my decision three years ago to start a simple website where I just wanted to share my knowledge and stories with other people.

How did your month go? Are you planning to make a change in your life?

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I recommend using Hostgator. You can start a blog for just $5.95 a month. You will receive a free website worth $15 if you purchase through my affiliate link. While you can get free hosting, I really recommend self-hosting as it is more professional and there are more ways you can make money from your blog.