Clever Blog Income Report #9: How I Made $4,712.33 My 9th Month Blogging In November Of 2016

Content may contain affiliate links
This month I have been blessed with the amazing achievement of reaching what I would consider full time income status if annualized, only from blogging! $4,712.33 X 12/mo = $56,547.96/yr in annual income. I expect to make much more than that, but I feel very humble and blessed thus far!

It is with great gratitude and appreciation that I bring you this months income report, but I’ll keep this short and expound on the deets at the end. I feel very fortunate to be in this position, and am extremely thankful that my efforts are paying off! I hope this motivates someone else to take that leap of faith on whatever venture they’ve been pondering, just like I was motivated by what is possible less than a year ago. I thought I’d have to pinch myself to try and make the feeling more real, but wait until you see next month’s numbers. 😉

Clever Blog Income Report #9 – The Numbers From My 9th Month Blogging

Affiliate Income Streams

Amazon: $2,432.94
  • I generate Amazon Affiliate income through several sources and product reviews. I explain how anyone can make an extra $200/mo by blogging about what you already buy in this article, and back it up with Youtube videos to drive extra revenue. All I did was scale this method.
Bluehost: $0
LiquidWeb: $0 (OOPS! I likely got the shaft here, which I’ll explain below…)
  • LiquidWeb is where I host all of my mission critical needs. Their Storm servers offer good redundancy, and allow me to spool up clones or resize my servers within the hour. Most importantly, they have 24/7 – 365 phone support, which is my #1 requirement aside from data center & network preferences.
Namesilo: $0
  • Namesilo is where I buy all my domains when I want a domain without web hosting. Best pricing in the industry, but more importantly, the best interface in the industry with no bullshit up-sells like Ho-Daddy.
Shareasale: $1,900.00
  • I’m an affiliate for something like 28 different companies inside the Shareasale network, and promote products and services I like such as Freshbooks, Shopify, PicMonkey, StudiopressTemplate Monster, WpEngine, etc…  (not all of this income is generated directly through this blog, some is from YouTube channel & other Clever Leverage properties. Click here to read my tutorial on how to do this for yourself, and make money with ShareASale.)
CJ: $150.00
  • I’m not a huge fan of the CJ dashboard, but one of the hosting companies I really like and have used quite a bit moved their affiliate program there (liquidweb)… and I found a couple other companies I use host their programs there too and made a couple bucks on, which was a nice bonus.
Ebay: $137.39
  • eBay affiliate income comes from product reviews and listicles where old models aren’t available anymore, or people are looking for used items specifically… So I went back and added some eBay affiliate links to those old posts and videos, and am getting a trickle here and there. (* note – I used to make a full time living with eBay when I was into it, and hope to do an eBay/Amazon niche site case study soon to test the waters again!)

Passive Income Streams

Youtube: A little over $92 (Adsense)
  • This is the most interesting income stream to me thus far… I have another 100 videos ready to go, I just haven’t made time to get them up. (the uploading can take a ton of time and energy to manage if you happen to be in a location with slow upload speeds! Need to find a better solution

Niche Site Income – (removed)

Working on this silently until I have something substantial to share… was wasting too much time trying to document it all instead of staying head down. Income is still lumped together at this point, but once full time income is established, I plan on changing these income reports to all the individual subsidiaries and starting over.

Total Income For November 2016: $4,712.33

Expenses: $78.95

These are going to go way up next month, as I’m reinvesting a large portion of these earnings for faster growth by outsourcing as we speak. (side note – everyone always says how easy it is to outsource… it’s been a full time job just managing this, and getting good at it. Full write-up to come with tips and tricks for the freelance platforms.)

  • SEMRush – $69.95
    • SEMrush is just a much faster way for me to do keyword and competitive research, and also use it on my own site to find areas of opportunity for content overlap, under performance, and comparing data with Google Search Console. (webmaster tools)
  • Tubebuddy – $9
    • If it weren’t for Tubebuddy, I wouldn’t make the passive income on Youtube like I do. It helps me with tagging, research, optimization, and also seeing where I can improve my videos for different genres.

*note – this is not meant to be a general ledger, and there will always be things unaccounted for like taxes. I don’t estimate taxes on these income reports, because my tax rate really depends on other income streams outside of blogging, and what else I have going on that particular year.

If you’re looking to start a blog of your own, here’s where I buy all my stuff:

Other tools that might help you if you’re new:

Important Lesson Learned About Checking Your Affiliate Links (prob cost me some money!) & An Important Reason To Do Income Reports I Never Thought Of!

So Liquidweb is the web host I use for all my mission critical stuff, and I normally get a commission or two throughout the month from readers signing up with them. If you notice, my income for hosting is ZERO this month, and it’s probably my fault. (I didn’t update my links!!)

Normally I don’t check all of my accounts regularly, and I do have my #1 recommended wordpress plugin (broken link checker) running all the time, which sends me an email whenever a link is dead on my blog. Well, what happens when your links still work, but a company changes their terms and doesn’t count your links anymore?

Free business for them, no commish for you…

I’m sure they sent a bunch of emails alerting pubs about this change (for which I’m most likely unsubscribed because I don’t like to be bothered lol) but I never updated my links, so I don’t get credit for any sales. If I didn’t do income reports every month, I would’ve likely never seen this for another couple months.

This is the number one reason why I say a blog monetized by only affiliate marketing, is not a business. Until you graduate and become a product producer and sell something of your own, that you can drive your own traffic to, you’re operating a job. (yes, this is my job, but I’m okay with it because it will ultimately lead to a business I love)

So what happened?…

Liquidweb changed to Commission Junction instead of their own platform for tracking, and legacy links no longer tracked any signups.

So why am I sharing?  Because this is a good lesson on why you should use shortlinks to manage your tracking ids. If you look at the screenshot below, you’ll see all I have to do is log in to my dashboard, and update the destination url for my liquidweb shortlink. (this is FAR much less work than updating every location that particular link is listed across my entire website!)

This is why I suggest every blogger always use a plugin or link manager software to run their affiliate links. Now with one click of the mouse, I can change where routes to in every single location it was every mentioned… with no additional work. (this is why I always try to use shortlinks for youtube videos… can you imagine if I had to update links in 100 different videos???? Eeek! no thanks)

Now many people might say this is a sneaky way affiliate programs syphon dollars that a broken link detector doesn’t catch… And while they’d be right in some cases, LiquidWeb is a reputable company and this is totally my fault. Again, if I didn’t do these monthly income reports, I would never know… So take this as a lesson in how to protect your hard work and ensure you’re monitoring your earnings at some regular interval. And of course, USE shortlinks!

Another Mistake I Made That You Can Use To Make More Money Quicker With Your Blog

One thing I overlooked, half intentional and half non-intentional, was tracking stats at the page level. If you’ve read any of my earlier income reports, you’ll notice I kept saying over and over that I didn’t want to track analytics and whatnot so I could avoid becoming a stats addict and get back to work. (checking analytics in the first few months of starting your blog is pointless because nothing is going on… it’s just a time waster.)

Now the mistake I made, was not planning correctly for the time when I WOULD BE needing to check that data, so I could know what was working well and expand on it later on down the road. Specifically, what I should have been doing is using unique tracking id’s for every affiliate program, content source, etc… that way when I pull my monthly reports at the end of each month, I would be able to see exactly where the revenue is coming from, and be able to better analyze it to see if there’s potential opportunity for improvements.

I know better, but I was so wrapped up in getting everything going I just ignored it. Easy fix, just time consuming!

How can you avoid having to go back and edit everything?

When you setup your YouTube channel, also add a YouTube campaign in every affiliate network you’re a member of, and only use those links in YouTube descriptions. For things like Amazon, generate a unique affiliate tracking id to use in the various places you recommend or review products. For example, in my Merax Finiss review mountain bike review I should have a unique id for that page, as well as a separate one for the corresponding youtube videos. (and possibly even take it a steps further, since there are 7 videos!)

That way, when I go to check my reports at the end of the month, I can spot the channels or specific pieces of content that are generating the most sales, and see if I can improve them in any way. As it stands right now, I don’t know what percentage of the commissions come from my blog, the videos, or other places where my content has been syndicated. (I don’t really care too much… this is small potatoes. But as things grow, this is SUPER super important!!)

I have since gone back and edited a lot of my stuff to incorporate better tracking, but if I were starting over, this is one of the things I would spend do differently… It’s worth it to spend the extra five minutes on when setting it up the first time, even if you’re not going to use the sales data for a while.

A good example of this maybe for a mom blogger that’s super active on social media… You’re going to want to know if you generated commissions on that epilator, from that Facebook post you shared last week or somewhere else, so you can do more of what’s working! (kinda hard to do that if you’re in the dark!)

Past Income Reports

I list out my past income reports, but I’d encourage you to not read them for the numbers. Yes, it’s good for you to see what is possible, but if you read between the lines and scroll down to where I documented my thoughts and feelings while I was going through that particular phase, I hope there’s something you find in there that you identify with.  “One man’s ceiling, is another man’s floor.” – Paul Simon

What’s Next?

What’s next is something I shouldn’t do financially right now, but ultimately something that I need to do… And that is expand. I started spending money I don’t have, to expedite the build out of my secondary sites immediately. Keep in mind, a lot of this income in the income reports doesn’t hit my bank account for a while (net 60-90), so when you’re starting from scratch and you go all in, floating some balances can be a tricky thing. (i.e. – stressful too!) Fortunately for me, I started fixing my credit a few years ago, and rebuilt it to a decent score to where I qualify for just about anything. I would imagine that my recent use of credit will likely ruin that score temporarily though, as my debt to income ration goes haywire over the next 6 months since I stopped paying myself, but the alternative is to save a few grand which is pretty much worthless long term…

On top of that, my intuition tells me I have the ability/potential to be one of the best in the world at teaching how to build a lifestyle blog you can live off of, and I feel a sense of duty to start doing that at some point. But first, I’m going to go build it myself, and prove the model again, and then replicate it. Once that’s finished, I feel confident I can train other people to do the same… in my sleep.

I was always a kid that never knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. Parents, relatives, and elders would always ask me, and I never had a good answer that I deeply connected with. The only thing I knew, is that I loved building things. Little did I know that my earlier rebellion against the traditional way, would groom me to be a perfect fit for what is now the pursuit of my ultimate lifestyle.

What am I getting at?  I’m getting at the fact that I too struggled GREATLY with “go to school, so you can get a degree, so you can get a good job, so you can buy a white picket fence house, so you can have a family, so you can retire at 65 working your whole life away” To put it lightly, I gave my parents one hell of a time! I hated school, was always intelligent, just absolutely knew at my core I hated book work. I was a hands on guy, I just didn’t know it at the time, and rebelled like a mofo trying to make everyone else happy with my “life path.”

I identify and recognize there is a coming generation of young people, who have access to things and leverage that was just coming on board when I was graduating school. They’re going to grow up with it, and have so opportunity it’s insane. That is, if they stop being addicted to fucking video games and do something with themselves!

I think I can positively affect thousands of lives by building and sharing my master vision, and also make a lot of money in the process if I can create the best training you can find anywhere on the planet.

The only trouble is, I’m committed to a singular focus right now. I haven’t built what I would consider a sustainable income, to the point where I can work on another new project without pulling any income in for months at a time… again. (keep in mind, I’m still kind of already doing that now!)

But like I mentioned before, fortunately I started rebuilding my credit a few years ago, so if I feel strongly enough about moving forward with another endeavor, I can at least string a few expenses along on credit cards, so I can keep some sort of savings left for a mental safety net. I’ve found in the past, that a delicate balance of security and just enough scarcity produces enough hunger in me to do what’s necessary to succeed. Too far in either direction, I start to freak out a little bit. (not that this is a bad thing, I normally perform well under pressure… I’m just a lot more stressed out and my personal life goes to shit. Ultimately, it DOES work though.)

What I Did From Start To Finish (to get where I am today)

  • 5/15/15 – Came up with an idea, searched around for evidence that it was possible
  • fiddle fucked around trying to “learn” everything I would need to know to be successful at blogging
  • bought domains, setup websites, bought different themes, changed the look and feel
  • scrapped all of that and started designing a custom layout and grahpics
  • wasted 2 months trying to get it “just right”
  • Got fed up with myself, bought a stock theme from ThemeForest, and started planning my content
  • 1/1/16 – Launched my blog with 8 short, poorly written, blog posts about things I wanted to write about (really just turned it on… flipped the switch from private to public lol)
  • 2/1/16 – nothing happened, no income, no additional work, didn’t pay attention to it the whole month of January
  • 3/1/16 – got pissed off that I wasn’t working on my vision, and decided to do something about it (started writing and filming more, WHILE on my snowmobile trip in March)
  • 3/14/16 – picked something, no longer allowed myself to make any design changes, became open to the idea that I could become a professional blogger, wrote it down to make it real, wrote out my long term and short term story (another way to do affirmations in a sense) , decided to stick with it and start working consistently
  • 4/1/16 – Started giving it hell behind the scenes mid-march, adding content written the month prior, researching what people wanted, how to help them, commercial intent product stuff, reviewing things I bought, making videos to inject personality into the posts, and supplement traffic with YouTube.
  • 5/1/16 – started creating, learned to leverage existing knowledge in new ways, and turn it into opportunity
  • 6/1/16 – repeated what was working 100 times, had so much content, ideas, and half finished work I could publish everyday for a year and still not be done.
  • 7/1/16 – took inventory of performance, started looking at data, turned on all analytics in order to start strategizing to scale
  • 9/8/16 – went into to seclusion in Maine, lived in cabin in the woods, removed all outside influences
  • 10/10/16 – began testing alternative content styles, researching highly productized intent, isolating methods and content styles that catered to topics with buyer intent. Rolled out a ton of test content…
  • 11/1/16 – developed better habits and rituals, 4:55AM wakeup, intentional cold weather firewood gathering in shorts & flip flops @ 35 degrees, rigid uninterrupted work time from 5:30AM – 9:30PM, calculated break including a walk to check on the grandfather at a certain time
  • 11/15/16 – improved discipline, determination, and resolve, began the drive from Maine back to Florida
  • 11/30/16 – struggling again maintaining the pace I set for myself while in the cabin in the woods… Much harder for me in the city, ready to go back

I keep thinking about how can I make these income reports better, and actually useful! I feel as though the real value isn’t in the numbers, but what’s behind them and what it took to generate them. I try my best to write about the trials and tribulations each month in the reports, but often find myself conflicted.

It’s hard for me to write like this, because it’s difficult to differentiate between documenting, teaching, tips, pointing out hardship for mental endurance… there’s so many things I wish I could have read before I started this blog, that relate to all of this. But it’s hard for me to capture it all during different periods of the experience, and then articulate in a way that’s “documenting” instead of telling people what to do. When I think about it, and put myself in those shoes, I would want someone to tell me what to do (forcefully at that!) so my stubborn ass could avoid learning things the hard way…. But I know not everyone relates the same way I do, so I don’t know the best way to keep doing this. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m basically an amateur writer, and find it difficult to articulate some of the feelings and experiences unless I’m writing it right in the moment while it’s happening.

If I Were Starting My Blog Today, What Would I Want Someone To Tell Me?

I keep thinking back to a year ago, and asking myself… what would I want to read about starting a blog if I were starting over? Then I can’t help but to think, what did I really need to hear, instead of what I wanted to hear?

A lot of my tone in writing these income reports the last few months, and trying my best to document the hardship, yet still find a way to be “tough love motivating” at the same time… Is exactly what I wish someone would’ve produced in the blogging world when I started. Maybe it already exists and I didn’t find it, but I just want to make sure I stay true to my roots, and put out the most raw, true to form content in the blogging world.

There must be people out there like me, that are going to be where I was a year ago… Now and in the future. I want to help inspire them, just as I needed to be inspired to truly start. I only hope my stern, brash way of doing so, will be heartfelt in the end.

It’s how I grew up. It’s what I relate to. It’s what cuts through the noise when life really gets tough and you’re making excuses.

Ultimately, for me, it’s what moves the needle instead of wasting life away.

There’s no room for pussy footing around. And you can thank one man for that: Raymond Armandi.

Meet The Man Who Instilled These Values In Me

At the end of the day, I believe it’s what needs to be said in a world full of get rich quick schemes and bullshit info products. My hope is that some portion of what I document will be both motivational and educational at the same time, encouraging/forcing growth in the lives of those who resonate with it.

What Sharing Can Give To You In Return (even if it’s uncomfortable at first)

Expressing this experience has also been one of the greatest gifts for me. I can remember, and this still happens to this day, when I was afraid to hit publish on an article with my raw thoughts in it.

What will people think?

Is this really serving anyone?

Will I be misunderstood and people be offended?

Will I be ridiculed for putting myself out there?

At the end of the day, there are internet trolls everywhere, and you can’t please everyone. Step #1 is recognizing if any sliver of WANTING to please everyone exists in your body, and if so kill it like the plague. If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you help others? That is the ethical element of selfishness I learned from Dr. Brian Clement, the director of Hippocrates, that I still have a hard time sticking to even today!

If you’re going to help others in some way within your lifetime, what the fuck are you waiting for? Everyone has something to give, everyone! Part of our natural need for fulfillment, I believe, is figuring out what that is and letting it out.

For instance, I think I have the ability to be one of the most relate-able people in the world at teaching people how to start a lifestyle blog they can live off of, so they don’t have to keep living in real life slavery: sitting in traffic commuting to work, barking orders from a bullshit boss, getting shit for pay when you over-perform, feeling unappreciated and hating your work, and on and on.

But the reality is, there’s a hurdle that creates separation here. First you have to be aware another option exists. You have to break that bullshit 11 o’clock news thinking that brainwashes our society into believing shit that means nothing, actually matters. Second you have to want it. There’s a barrier to entry, and it’s a goddamn big wall Mr. Trump… bigger than you’ll ever proclaim to build, but the funny thing is it only exists, within you. YOU are the real work that needs to be done and overcome. The universe offers unlimited potential for those who tap into it. I can’t explain the true depths of what I mean by this at this time, as I’m still just getting acquainted with her… if you know what I mean. (yes, you’re supposed to lick it before you stick it, capiche? Same thing here pal!)

My Biggest Realization In This Whole Thing

You can’t do the same thing you’ve done your whole life and expect to live a different life. If you want to live something different, you must BECOME something different.

You will meet massive resistance most likely. Your friends and family will test your ambition. Negativity will try to keep the chains on you holding you down to it’s bullshit standard. You must know in your gut for certain, you don’t want to live the life you’re currently living. You must believe there is another way. You must commit and be determined to succeed no matter what, because you have no idea just how hard it can be… and likewise, just how easy it might be for you if you just tap into your true gifts and let them out to the world.

And third, you must be willing to sacrifice and do the work. I believe where most people fuck themselves, is by not willing to sacrifice short term pleasures, for long term gains. You see this in almost every success book on the planet, even MJ Demarco’s Millionaire Fastlane. (scroll to the bottom of the first page in the book… You’ll see my testimonial ;)) I believe this is the number one thing that stops most people from succeeding based on what I’ve experienced the last few months.

It’s damn hard to work on something, without seeing any meaningful results, without getting paid a dime, risking your hard earned dollars when you only have a few left, for months at a time, not knowing if it’s going to work out or not.

One of the most succinctly described messages I’ve ever seen posted online elsewhere about this, relating to the blogging world, is this message on Builder Society. I keep referencing it, because I love it. It’s the words I didn’t know, when I was experiencing what they describe 6 months ago.

Internal VS External Battle

One of the best books I’ve ever read, The War Of Art, outlines the internal battle that goes on when trying to accomplish something like this. But the one thing it doesn’t cover well, is external influences. When you start to become different, your surroundings might not like change. (yes people included)

I experienced an incredible amount external resistance, or at least that’s how I interpreted it. You see, when you’re on the edge of doing something outside of your comfort zone, I believe every little thing matters energetically. Those friends that complain because you won’t go out on a Friday night and have a beer, because you know you need to get up at 5AM sat morning if you’re going to accomplish your goal sooner than your deadline, won’t understand what you’re trying to do. When you try to have conversations about living a different life, with people who’ve been in your life your whole life, only a few will likely be open minded to it. If you stretch it too far out there, outside of what people think is possible after consuming their brainwashed daily dose of Facebook, news, and tabloid messaging, you might catch some flack as if you’d flown off the deep end.

And that brings me full circle. After you’ve experienced this, you may realize a bigger picture. You may see that everyone is trying the best they can. You may see that when you start to elevate yourself to a higher standard, you can’t bring everyone with you if they’re not willing. You might begin to see that the barrier to entry, a lot of time, is also a required element of self growth, which causes you to go through growing pains, just like when you were a child. You might find it useful to pay attention to your influences, habits, and rituals. If you’re not living the life you want, it’s because YOU are not LIVING the life you want. I realized, if I’m to become this professional blogger that I aspire to be, be able to make enough meaningful impact on the world to satisfy my desire and duty for fulfillment, and make a living from anywhere in the world, that can afford my toys and create fulfillment for me at the same time, I’m going to have to become a man that does that everyday. It’s tough to be in your thirties and realize you want to be something a bit different. But it’s also beautiful at the same time! What an amazing opportunity to be alive during this time period! What an awesome thing to “be able to” struggle through something, grow, create something for yourself, and help others in the process! It truly is a privileged, and I believe there’s strength and fulfillment by choosing to view it that way. But don’t get it twisted, that viewpoint, fully digested, only truly comes from having been through some of the experiences yourself! But what a ride… What a ride. Truly a blessing to live during the next gold rush where anyone can make la living doing almost anything! The internet is an amazing opportunity… if you’re open to it, that is.

What’s Worked Well (prob not what you think!)

Social media has been a joke. Everyone that says you have to fire up social media to make money is on crack I feel like. Now, I will say, I think there is an underrated Pinterest strategy that I should be using, that I haven’t tested out yet… hey why not, free traffic to money pages right? The trouble for me is, I haven’t made time to create those money pages yet!

I noticed I’m not the only one reporting the same thing either…

Why Do I Share My income Reports?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, because I almost stopped doing them two months ago. I knew I’d be successful at this eventually, and I really don’t need to go shouting from the rooftops about it. But to date, I haven’t gotten a single comment on any of my income reports, and not a single person has ever asked me about them. In fact, I don’t think anyone is even reading them. lol  But like earlier in this report, I mentioned how some really good things have come as a result of doing these monthly reports.. One is just the habit of checking everything, catching mistakes and finding errors that are costing the blog money, being very mindful of performance every month, and ultimately just putting continued attention on the direction I want to go.

And let’s be real here…

Because if it weren’t for those who cam before me, sharing their success, whether humble or boastfully, I wouldn’t have believed in myself enough to try what I’ve tried. I wouldn’t have known it was possible. I wouldn’t have wondered if my ideas would work, since theirs did.

I will likely share my income reports until I reach $100k/yr and then I’ll stop for two reasons. A) there’s no reason to continue boastfully, and I think realistic numbers for most people are more attractive. And B) I’m going to change the way my income reports are structured altogether at that point, and will essentially be starting over with multiple sites. I’m going to take my test data for what I’ve been planning all along, and that is to build other examples and replicate this success covering other topics. My income reports will no longer be about how to build up clever leverage, but clever leverage will become the umbrella for all projects. This is what I wanted from the very beginning, but I had to prove the model to myself, and I also needed to create an income stream so I would have money to reinvest in these other projects. I won’t be doing all the work on these other sites myself, only the core of it. I will be outsourcing and partnering with others for these, as managing one site is too much as it is, let alone 5 others. But in the end, what you will see is my master vision and cleverleverage ecosystem plan coming to life. It will be a great adventure and journey for me, as well as building something of value for you, illustrating how anyone can do this for themselves if they want it bad enough.

There is another reason I do these income reports, and blog in general about the struggle, my aspirations, etc… that is hardly ever talked about. I’m not what you’d call an overly expressive person, in fact, many people would describe me as a man of few expressions. Often requiring people to pull information out of me when it comes to what’s going on in my life. Blogging has been a way for me to express things I normally do not, in relation to goals, struggles, aspirations, and action steps. I believe this is so important to shaping the direction of your mind when it comes to focusing on succeeding during the hard times, and you’re actually physically creating when you consistently put your action steps, ideas, and commitments out on a regfular basis. It becomes real. It becomes tangible. In becomes scary. It becomes the route of the roadtrip you’re about to embark on. All good things.

So many people say (or would say if you could force the truth out of them!) they do blog income reports because they attract attention, links, and they make more money selling picks to miners, than mining for gold themselves. I had a slight amount of interest in maybe garnering some attention once I achieved some sort of measurable level of success, but in the beginning when I was making zero dollars the first 6 months, it was really just to keep me accountable, and inspire those who come behind me or find themselves in a similar situation in life. It turns out still to this day, I haven’t had a single mention of any of my income reports, no links, and literally of all the affiliate commissions I make, none of them have been from the income reports. But what I’ve received instead, is better than anything money could buy… Concreteness. Determination. Confidence. Relentlessness. Learned Patience and Sacrifice in relation to building a blog… and it’s all from writing, and pouring my heart into documenting what I think is best, at the time while I’m going through it. My writing might not be great, and I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but it’s still working.

The second best thing I’ve done for this overall blog building process, is going into seclusion so I could learn to create my master vision. I knew what it looked like, I just didn’t know all the steps. I didn’t know all the challenges to come, but what I did know, is there was a way. And it was a frustrating way lemme tell ya! But, by going into seclusion, away from everything and all influences, I was able to dig deep and really get into the mind frame I needed to be in to allow it to come to the surface. Little by little, chipping away at it each day, making it my #1 priority at 4:55AM, I made the decision that THIS is what I was going to do. I became willing to sacrifice everything. I became open to the possibility of what I was capable of. It scared the fuck out of me if you want the unfiltered truth. I committed to becoming relentless in pursuit of making this work, doing whatever it took to get where I wanted to go. Resistance emerged, and showed it’s ugly head in many many ways, even those around me unknowingly were resistant to the new ways of Matthew. But that’s okay, it’s all part of the trials of becoming someone who can live the life you really want. You see, you can only life the life you are living right now, by staying the same person you are right now. To live a different life, requires you to become someone else. You want freedom and say fuck your 9 to 5 hell? What does a man that has that freedom do? What are his daily actions? Who is he? What disciplines does he have? What are his priorities? What does he sacrifice? What is he determined to accomplish? How does he do what he does?

Cuz if you’re not willing to ditch the old you and start becoming someone new, you’re going to keep living the sub par life you’ve been unhappy with for the rest of your life.

Change is the only constant in life.

You must be open minded to becoming a better version of yourself. I learned that from Elliott Hulse, when I went to his very first grounding camp BETA in 2014 at the old Strength Camp location in St Pete, Florida. I got more out of that mindset, than I did from the active meditation, but Elliott has an amazing charisma that is contagious as fuck, and I have nothing but respect for his work.

Maybe one day someone will find these income reports, and see they’re much more than just income… reports. Maybe one day someone will be moved by my struggles, and it’ll help them along the way on their own journey. I’ll be happy if that happens to just one person…

The Struggle Is Still Very Real Even Though You See Dollar Signs!

Meanwhile, I’ll be building the next phase of Clever Leverage, now that I have a full time income I can reinvest…

This is still a struggle now more than ever. It doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it becomes commonplace. Continuously making better decisions gets easier, because you get used to it. I must tell you though, I believe environment plays a huge role in the beginning stages of this transformation from what I’ve seen so far. I think the biggest thing is creating a different life from the norm, and any little negativity or influences can derail the train you’re on from ever leaving the station. It’s imperative that until you get rooted in your new path, you structure your environment the best way you can to succeed. For me, this means removing everything, so there’s nothing left me and my work.

Now that I;m back in Florida, I have a harder time keeping the same pace that I set, in the middle of the woods in my tiny cabin in Maine. There are all kinds of distractions, friends that want to hang out, late night activities I have to say no to if I want to be able to work on Sat morning at 5AM, and on and on. Bad food choices, negative influences continually trying to pull me back toward mediocrity, and on and on…

It’s tough, but I know now that my resolve is tougher, and my habits are established so I can continue to succeed wherever I am. That said, I’m considering going back to Maine in the middle of the winter, so I can do another stint for a couple months in the mountains, since that is where I truly thrive. It’s funny, I can accomplish more in one month in Maine than I can in three months in Florida. I feel at home in the mountains. It’s lonely, it’s cold, and it’s personally mentally challenging at times, but goddamn it’s the most productive and fun experience I’ve ever encountered. I set myself up to succeed there by giving myself all the tools that I need to succeed. I have four wheelers and snowmobiles to take daily breaks on, so I don’t get too wound up with cabin fever. Those are my favorite activities on the planet as well, so my happiness scale shoots up on the daily. This makes a huge difference in my stress levels, sleep schedule, and overall mental and physical fitness. My performance skyrockets, and though I frequently get lonely some days when I’m not fully engulfed by my mission, it’s the best way for me to get into unbelievable creative states. My unrelated success habits like nature walks, early afternoon Coors Light sessions (so it doesn’t affect my sleep, the next mornings productivity), and tinkering with tractors and firewood in the garage, all contribute to getting my brain to unleash at it’s full potential. The ideas I get from being out in the mountains on a long four wheeler ride are ridiculous. The appreciation I sense from being able to do this and live this life, is unparalleled and I just feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and thankfulness. My determination to succeed is at an all time high, because I feel like I cannot return to civilization until I have succeeded. The financial burden of keeping a place in Orlando while living in Maine when I’m not getting paid may or not be a good thing, but my awareness of just how critical my actions are is at an all time high.

I also believe I can become one of the best in the world at teaching people how to create a lifestyle blog they can live off of. I don’t think there’s anything that special about me that allows me to do this better than anyone else, but my life experience is fairly unique, as is my history in web services, local lead gen, internet marketing in general, as well as affiliate marketing. I have a unique ability to see opportunity in just about everything, and that didn’t come entirely naturally. It was cultivated over many years of struggle, and I believe everyone has something to offer. In this day and age of the Internet, connecting with others is as easy as it’s ever been, which means opportunity for anyone to connect with like minded people. If everyone has something to give, and there’s always people in need, and very much like you, if you can create value in their lives that supersedes the value of a dollar, they’ll be willing to give you one. If you can collect one, you can collect $100, and if you can do that, you can 10X it. Then you can tell your boss to kiss his own ass, and go fuck himself. Then you become confident in your own independence, and realize you are in control of the life you live. You become connected to the fact that you are affected by who you affect, and that life is a sliding scale of moving toward scaling that affectiveness compared to the freedom you can create for yourself.

Now go and do likewise ladies and gents. Do not go to sleep tonight before you start your own blog for yourself today, so you can wake up tomorrow knowing you have a platform already setup that you can change your life with. Now come back to Clever Leverage and ask your questions to succeed.

How can I make these income reports more helpful / useful for you? What would like to see next? Comment below and let me know!

2 thoughts on “Clever Blog Income Report #9: How I Made $4,712.33 My 9th Month Blogging In November Of 2016”

  1. Matt,

    I love you site so far. Just stumbled upon it yesterday, and I am intrigued at how fast your income is growing with your blog. It looks like you have put in an insane amount of hard work and it is paying off now! All the best – and I am looking to buy those studio lights you recommend – Derek.

    • Thanks Derek! Checked out a couple of your videos, yeah for sure man… For $80 bucks the lights would make a big difference when shooting product reviews in darker corners indoors, even if you’re just using a smartphone. For example, after you mounted your monitors (, and especially when you do those unboxing portions on your desk… it’ll be like someone holding the sun in your office! lol 😉

      You must be making a few bucks from your display ads, amazon aff, and Youtube yeah?

      I glanced at your blog real quick, and threw it into SEMrush for a quick overview… looks like you should be getting more traffic from 187 posts. One thing stood out to me though that might help you out immediately… are you using some sort of SEO plugin that’s encouraging you to drive your onpage keyword density through the roof? (like possibly Yoast SEO, though I don’t see it in your source code, that tries to get people to do the all green light bullshit??)

      The reason I ask, is that my gut feeling at first glance is that a lot of your pages are over-optimized, even though you’ve put in the work. I manually checked a couple of your individual pages: sprinkler blowout, disability, steak & shake, and the keyword density seems sky high to me. (4-5% in some cases) I would bet money that lengthening the articles, swapping repetitive direct/exact match subhead keywords for synonyms would both improve your overall organic pageviews, and add long tail traffic to your site.

      Not sure if you’re open to those thoughts/critique, but just noticed a couple things and thought I’d run it by you in case you’re trying to improve your metrics… No disrespect intended. 🙂


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