October 2023 Recap - The Highs, Lows, and Earning Reports

October 2023 Recap - The Highs, Lows, and Earning Reports
Table of Contents
In: Journey

Hello November!

It's been 28 days since I began my #buildinpublic journey. Funny enough, I've been somewhat hush-hush about it.

Only a handful of people are even aware I've started publishing here, and even fewer have a clue about my plans.

I've dubbed October my "Month 0" – a month dedicated to laying the groundwork. Admittedly, it took longer than anticipated. My initial vision was fragmented, but now, it's gradually taking shape.

So, without further ado, let's dive into my October journey: the work, the lessons, the highs, the lows, and yes, the earnings!

October Earnings: $6,501

October earnings for my automated link selling sites are up by +$1,494 from September!

What caused the jump from previous month?

I can't pinpoint exactly, but these websites have fared quite well during the HCU update, mainly resulting in a traffic boost.

Which is quite ironic, because HCU stands for "Helpful Content Update", an update where a lot of content websites, specifically those not proving its value, got heavily hit.

And these websites are... well, mostly automated and only tend to carry value as backlinks to other websites. From a helpful content perspective, they are about the opposite of it.

But we all know Google can't yet find a winning formula to promote authentic and quality content, which is not to say they won't be able to do it in the future.

But until that happens, I'll make sure I milk every last penny by building these sort of websites that are very low maintenance and profit heavy!

These websites are, however, on a major decline comparing to earnings from October 2022. This is, for the most part, because during the late 2021 and for the entirety of 2022, I almost completely neglected these sites.

I took the term "passive income" too literally and decided against investing any time into improving or updating these sites, and that resulted in a hit on traffic (and therefore earnings) of these websites.

I am working on rectifying that, and I am looking to get these earnings over $10,000/month, as soon as the beginning of 2024.

What Was Done In October - Wins & Failures

  • Published 21 AI assisted content pieces on site #1.
  • Published 13 AI assisted content pieces on site #2.
  • Did enough KW research to have topics for all 3 sites for November.
  • Built an AI content workflow using Cuppa.sh, ChatGPT and Ahrefs.
  • Updated small technical errors.
  • Created an internal linking structure and plan in place to execute during the last 2 months of 2023.

Honestly, I could've done more. But launching Digital Media Lab consumed a solid chunk of my time, and I got pulled in different directions.

According to my Rize.io time tracker, I spent just under 13 hours on these projects. However, I've been a bit lax in tracking. I mainly use Rize.io for deep work sessions, often overlooking the sporadic tasks that arise.

A more accurate estimate? Roughly 20 hours of focused work, plus an additional 2-3 hours for those unexpected tasks.

Hourly rate: $6501 divided by 20h - $325/h

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

What I have learned: Google is still not capable of nailing down these websites, and my best guess is that they are going to be able to fly under the radar for quite some time.

Also, link building remains to be the core of SEO, so I am assuming that these projects will continue to remain profitable for the next couple of years, if I just stay consistent in updating and managing them.

What Is Planned For November 2023

  • Publish 10 AI assisted content pieces for site #1.
  • Do a large internal linking campaign for site #1.
  • Work on updating outdated articles that lost traffic over the last year (AI assisted, of course).
  • Publish 20 AI assisted content pieces for site #2.
  • Fix technical vulnerabilities on all 3 sites.
  • Figure out new design for all 3 websites and start implementing some changes.

That's about it, as far as my plans for these sites go for November.

No grandiose plans, but gradual changes in the right direction will lead to getting back on track with earnings on these.

October Earnings: $0

I haven't yet published the product, so expectedly so, the earnings equal $0.

I am very excited to be launching my first ever info product, but also a bit scared on how well it's going to be received. I don't have high expectations, however, and I'd be perfectly content if I manage to sell even a very low number of copies.

The goal remains to make at least $10,000 selling this product. I am even more excited of getting a taste on the marketing aspect of selling such products.

Another important reason why I am launching a product immediately, even without an audience, is because I want to have something to offer to people now.

The same thought runs why I immediately launched an email list - as I am building an audience, I want to convert people into subscribers and buyers, without any wait whatsoever.

What Was Done In October - Wins & Failures

  • Wrote 20,000+ words.
  • Heavily edited and cut out about 8,000 words from copy.
  • Wrote an initial sales page and set it up here on DML as well as on Gumroad.
  • Created a draft of a 12-month long marketing strategy.

I started working on creation of this info product in late September, and all throughout October I have focused on writing the content, and ensuring the future buyers get all of the necessary information that can help them recreate the "success" I had in launching and monetizing my automated link selling websites.

I have also received first feedback on the product which helped me a lot (from a friend in SEO industry) - I've realized the product still lacks quite a bit of substance.

I had planned to create the entire product in October, but decided against rushing it to the market. Even though I am a huge proponent of shipping things fast, I also don't want to put out a half-assed product that will damage my reputation.

The method is also quite straightforward - or at least looks like that to me. I am having a hard time placing a number value on it, so I still have that to figure out.

I am leaning towards placing a lower value on it - sell more copies faster, get people to trust me, and use it more of an audience builder than a money-maker.

What Is Planned For November 2023

  • Finish writing and editing the entire playbook. I am likely to be adding at least 5,000-10,000 words of content to it.
  • Record 3-5 videos explaining the harder concepts.
  • Add a bit more imagery (screenshots and visual explanations) to break up the text, and add another dimension to a product.
  • Publish the playbook and launch a marketing strategy.
  • Make at least $1 from it.

I don't have a breakdown from Rize.io time tracker as I haven't tracked hours for it.

This is something that I actively plan to start doing for all projects as I would love to add more accountability, be better organized, and give better insights to anyone who is reading this on how much work something actually takes.

Project #3 - Digital Media Lab Website & Audience Growth

October Earnings: $0
Subscribers: 3
X/Twitter followers: 174

For this project, I will not only be tracking earnings as the main KPI, but also subscribers (on website) and followers on X. If I start becoming active on additional platforms (like YouTube or LinkedIn), then I will track stats from those, as well.

Earnings will be calculated from:

  • Productized services.
  • Custom services.
  • Newsletter sponsorships (once I build a solid base of subscribers).
  • Affiliate links (once I start publishing in-depth guides).
  • Any display ads I may end up putting up (only targeted, and non-spammy stuff).
  • Anything else that can be attributed to Digital Media Lab, that I obviously can't think of now.

I expect this to be a very slow and gradual growth - I have no experience building a personal brand.

Also, given my introverted nature and previous lack of desire of publicizing things I am doing and my philosophy, I definitely expect this to be a very significant challenge for myself.

But challenges are fun, and they are meant to drive you outside of your comfort zone, and force you to adapt and learn new things.

What Was Done In October - Wins & Failures

  • Developed a solid strategy and a rough roadmap for this project.
  • Set up a website using Ghost and the back-end that allows me to publish content, collect emails and do everything I need at this moment.
  • Developed and launched 2 productized services.
  • Created a content plan for in-depth guides that I plan to add on this website.

What Is Planned For November 2023

  • Entering the first stage of the marketing funnel - the discovery phase. Letting people know about what I am building and starting to promote it on Twitter.
  • Regular daily updates and building in public on Twitter to get some initial growth.
  • Write 4 in-depth guides for a "Guides" section of the website.
  • Develop a strategy to start publishing founder stories and figure out a way on how to get started with that.

It's likely I am going to keep adding onto this. Never before have I planned for a complete month ahead in specific steps, but rather took what I felt like doing at the moment, and what felt right. It's also about recognizing opportunities that come along, as well as adapting to the life and everything that life throws at you.

For more granular daily updates, follow me on Twitter. I plan to publish regular daily and weekly updates over there, while keeping the DML website reserved for:

  • Monthly and mid-month journey breakdowns and recaps.
  • Live challenges and breakdowns.
  • Newsletters.
  • In-depth guides.
  • Creator stories.

Any feedback is welcomed!

As I am still in the infant stages of building my own creator business, feedback on what you like, don't like or what you would like to see is crucial.

Don't hesitate to give me some praise or some slaps in the face!

If you like what you have read here, I encourage you to subscribe!

Written by
Maxwell Byte
I'm Maxwell Byte, a seasoned SEO and digital marketing expert with 12 years under my belt. From high-flying wins to humbling setbacks, I'm here to share my unfiltered journey in the digital realm
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