July In Review – All-Time Highs, Small Biz Explosion, Real Estate Deal and More…

by Darwin on July 31, 2011

I’m really excited to announced another month of record results for the Darwin blog network AND my small biz venture a buddy and I started up earlier this year.  Following on a strong June Update where I started opening up with more details, here are this month’s results:


Traffic hit an all-time high here at Darwin’s Money after a bit of a lull in the spring.  While traffic to my higher grossing Adsense ECPM pages dropped off gradually (see below in the income section), I’ve been getting more diverse traffic across multiple posts, which is pleasing.  I wasn’t a fan of having 50% of my traffic going to a single post and in my opinion, search traffic has its benefits.  Months ago I wrote articles on stupid stimulus spending and the debt ceiling vote which are getting a lot of searches now.  It’s passive, so search traffic just continues to roll in if I’m on vacation or get bogged down with other stuff instead of constantly trying to promote the site.  I’d rather keep writing new, informative posts over promoting myself if given the choice.  Here’s the screenshot of the trend as of 7PM Sunday, so by midnight, I will have exceeded 22,700 views on the month.

(click to enlarge)

Earnings from Blogging

I had a massive month in July.  I made several thousand dollars across a few web properties I run.  To be fair, probably over $1,000 was due to large annual renewals of ad deals, so it’s not income that I would expect to repeat itself each month.  However, it’s nice to have a huge month nonetheless.  I also have about $500 in accounts receivable from some clients that tend to pay late… but usually pay.  So, for this blog alone and excluding the one-time renewals, the numbers are the following:

  • Adsense – $477
  • Affiliate Income – $418
  • Direct Ad Placements – $1519
  • Freelance – $468

Adsense did dip from last month at Darwin’s Money, primarily because a couple of the real high ECPM pages aren’t getting as much search traffic.  Although I did try an ad block which might have had an impact.  I’ll have to try out some split testing or something to figure out exactly what the deal is when I get some time.  I’ll be right around $1000 in Adsense across all my sites which is a nice number.  It’s funny, I used to say, “If I could make $1,000 a month in side income from blogging, I’d be ecstatic“.  Now I’m making that much just in Adsense; it’s really been an awesome ride!  I’ve finally reached the point where I’m making enough that I feel I can pass up opportunities when I’m feeling busy and just take a break for a few days now and then to recharge.  I just hope it continues!

But Wait!  There’s More!

Small Biz Venture

You might have been following the CAD Drafting Services business my college buddy and I started up a few months back.  In essence, there are a lot of outfits that either have 10 hours here, 10 hours there and don’t think it appropriate to hire a full-time CAD drafter in the states at a high pay rate (and benefits, health care, blah blah blah), or we have some clients that have like 3-4 FTEs worth of work at any given time and we supply high trained AutoCAD drafters out of the Philippines at $15/hr for the same quality and timeliness you can get here.  The business is really taking off.  We’ve quadruple our staff in the past 3 months, we’ve gone to a second shift and we’re finalizing plans on an entirely new office, as we’ve outgrown our starting digs.  It’s awesome!

On top of that, we’re drawing the attention of potential investors.  We’ve had a couple offers that value the company at well into the six figures for stakes in the company. We’re still mulling over some offers to see what makes the most sense to allow us to retain our majority stake, yet provide for some flexibility and capitalization to grow even more quickly.  We’ve blown away our wildest expectations on just what kind of market this is and we’re working great together.

Real Estate Deal

If my online properties and outsourcing biz weren’t enough, this week, another partner and I signed off on an agreement of sale for a set of real estate properties in a college town.  Ahh, good ole’ college days.  Well, there’s a set of 3 homes we intend on purchasing which take their beatings, but the cash-flow looks great… and if kids want to blow their security deposits on repairs, so be it.  But for anyone who’s lived off-campus in college, you surely know housing’s always in demand and the houses close to campus ALWAYS get filled fast.  So, we now enter the due diligence phase and secure our financing and hopefully, we’ll close sometime in September.  Getting into real estate has been the missing piece to my financial security I’ve always been trying to nail down and this looks to be the best opportunity in years.

Stock Market Returns

If you’re a routine visitor, you would have seen my latest portfolio update where I bested the S&P500 3 times over since October in the long portion of my portfolio.  Well, to add a little icing to the cake, I went wild with 20 puts and 20 calls on QQQ with Friday expiry figuring this debt deal was either going to end in a major market rally or a 25% collapse depending on where things are on Aug 2 at the deadline.  So, by the looks of the futures tonight (index futures up close to 2% at the moment), it looks to be a profitable Monday!  I can’t wait to see how much those options are worth at market open – leverage is a beautiful thing…

I’m going to do more in-depth updates on the learnings from this real estate deal (lots of legal advice), the small biz/investor saga, and more on how I make money blogging, so make sure to subscribe to emails or RSS for more updates!


So, that’s my July – Anything Hot In Your Neck of the Woods?



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Moneycone August 1, 2011 at 7:23 am

Congrats Darwin! The chart is very pleasant to look at!

And good luck on your business ventures!


Jerret August 1, 2011 at 8:35 am

Good luck with the real estate deal. It hasn’t been as lucrative as many “experts” make it out to be. It’s a balance between riding your tenant’s ass and giving them space. I chose the latter more often than not and now I’m paying out the wazoo to get things cleaned up.

It’s true, people who don’t have skin in the game (ownership) don’t take care of other people’s stuff. At all. Period. They destroy stuff faster than 5 unsupervised 2 year olds. And this is grown adults with families. I shudder to think about renting to college kids.

Stay on top of things and you should be fine. Just keep your expectations really low. Or non-existent. Good luck!


Peter August 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

Great job on all the side hustles, blogs and so forth. Sounds like you’re definitely taking that “diversifying your income” piece to heart, and it’s really starting to pay off!


Jeff @ Sustainable life blog August 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Sounds like you had quite a hot july – and great work with the CAD sourcing company – it sure seems like it’s taken off faster than you expected.


Sandy @ yesiamcheap August 2, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I remember when you mentioned that you were thinking about the drafting venture. It’s nice to know that it’s taking off like it has. Good for you! I am sitting on my hands with something that I’ve love to get off the ground but I am mapping it out now and will see about it in the future.


101 Centavos August 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Amazing results, Darwin! I’m going to hoist an iced one to your continued success. Salud!


cashflowmantra August 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Wow. It looks like you are humming on all cylinders. Keep up the strong work.


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