Affiliate Marketing Income Report: November 2014

February 23, 2015 Posted by Tyler Cruz

With my health slowly improving and in a continued effort to try to get "back on track", I thought I’d go ahead and post another affiliate marketing income report.

November 2014 was an interesting month because it kind of caught me by surprise and actually ended up being my 2nd highest profiting month since June 2013!

As usual, I’ll discuss more details as this report goes on, but it’s nice to know that I still have some good months in me here and there. If I get 2 months like this back-to-back, for example, that’s roughly enough down payment for another investment property (albeit a cheap one)!

Anyhow, here’s how November ended up performing:

November 2014 Affiliate Campaign Income:

$40,842.32

Affiliate Network Breakdown:

  • Affiliate Network #1: $40,842.32

(This includes conversion from foreign currencies to USD)

It’s a little rare for me to use only one network, but I really wasn’t seeing too much action in terms of new offers around this season… perhaps the advertiser’s running out of their yearly budget early or something?

Expenses:

$23,018.80


Traffic Source Breakdown:

  • Traffic Source #1: $10,337.89
  • Traffic Source #2: $2.12
  • Traffic Source #3: $953.05
  • Traffic Source #4: $11,484.08
  • Traffic Source #5: $58.11
  • Traffic Source #6: $183.55

    In November, I continued to work on mobile on a primary mobile source I started using 1-2 months prior, and scaled the volume up. I also started a new mobile traffic source that my affiliate manager recommended to me, which you’ll see me really scale up the next month.

Net Profit:

$17,823.52

Nice! I have to admit, ending the month nearly 18K up felt nice. The last time I made that much was back in June, so it did give me a morale boost. It ended up working out to a 77% ROI.

2014 Affiliate Marketing Results

First, here’s a recap of how 2013 fared for the entire year:

Year Gross Expense Net ROI
2013 $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Total: $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Monthly Average: $68,657.00 $47,085.36 $21,571.64 46%

And here’s a monthly breakdown of 2014 so far:

Month Gross Expense Net ROI
January 2014 $10,922.80 $8,908.47 $2,014.33 23%
February 2014 $25,941.97 $15,900.52 $10,041.45 63%
March 2014 $24,202.06 $15,408.95 $8,793.11 57%
April 2014 $3,486.55 $3,150.00 $336.55 11%
May 2014 $57,015.00 $38,765.01 $18,249.99 47%
June 2014 $60,753.58 $43,095.35 $17,658.23 41%
July 2014 $50,162.81 $37,073.59 $13,089.22 35%
August 2014 $27,317.35 $21,291.31 $6,026.04 28%
September 2014 $29,935.71 $22,872.08 $7,063.63 31%
October 2014 $44,811.48 $35,625.55 $9,185.93 26%
November 2014 $40,842.32 $23,018.8 $17,823.52 77%
Total: $375,391.63 $265,109.63 $110,282.00 42%
Monthly Average: $34,126.51 $24,100.88 $10,025.64 42%

November’s great performance increased my monthly net average in 2014 up to $10K a month!

The Larger Picture: 23-Month Analysis

Below are my overall numbers from my campaigns since I started recording them in January 2013:

January 2013 to November 2014 Gross Expense Net ROI
23-Month Total: $1,199,275.64 $830,133.96 $369,141.68 44%
Monthly Average: $52,142.42 $36,092.78 $16,049.64 44%

After close to 2 years of recording my affiliate marketing numbers, my monthly average sits at $16,000 profit a month! Geez, that’s really only sinking in now as I write that… because I’ve had some insanely really bad months lately (hint! hint!), and with months like April 2014 and January 2014 I sometimes forget that overall I’m still doing pretty well!

November Recap

As mentioned earlier, I really pushed mobile hard in November. I still ran web on the side, but mobile made up for probably around 60% of my profits. I split test a lot of mobile offers and spent a lot of time (and money) trying to work out a "sweet spot" at the mobile traffic network where I could maximize the net profit by balancing out my bids and my ROI’s.

I only tested one mobile landing page which did not do well, despite giving it more than its fair chance. I’m a complete newbie when it comes to mobile landing pages, so it may be a while before I find out what works and what doesn’t.

If I remember correctly (November was a while ago after all…), I had some really annoying server issues around this time as well since I was doing so much volume in mobile. CPVLab and my server were going a bit bonkers and I had to spend way too much time trying to manage all of that.

Charles Ngo strongly recommended to me that I switch from CPVLab to Voluum, and I gave it some thought, but I ended up deciding to stick with CPVLab (for now at least).

To to recap, November = mobile = $$$ Smile

December Plans and Predictions

Normally in this section I list the plans I have for the upcoming month as well as predict how I think the month will fare profit-wise. However, since December has already come and gone, I will be skipping this section in this report since I already know how it went.

I’ll have December’s report up in the not-too-distant future, so hang tight.

Posted: February 23rd, 2015 under Affiliate Marketing 24 Comments

Learning My First Big Lesson as a Real Estate Investor

February 15, 2015 Posted by Tyler Cruz

First, a quick update on my Meniere’s Disease. Fortunately, I’ve been feeling a hell of a lot better over the past few days. The worst "drop attack" occurred on January 31st, and I was definitely still feeling the after-effects of it up to February 10th, but around the 11th I started feeling a lot better and have been improving every day since.

I am still not back 100%, but I’m definitely dramatically better… I can even use the computer again! I don’t know if this is due to this disease just having super-long fallouts after the big main drop attacks, the medicine working, cutting out all caffeine and chocolate and heavily reducing sodium, or a combination of all 3. I’m just happy that I’m feeling a lot better.

And so, I thought I’d advantage of this opportunity while I can (as who knows how long it will last…) to write a blog post for you guys. By the way, thanks for all the well wishes to everyone who sent them. I received them all, just haven’t replied because I haven’t really had the chance to yet.

Anyhow, onto the post!

Learning The Hard Way

If you’ve been following my recent foray into real estate investing, then you’ll remember the Ocean View Duplex property I had been looking at.

It was the best property I had seen in person by far, and it cashflowed well. Location was not the best in the world, and it had an unauthorized suite on one side, but it was in superb condition and had a very nice ocean view. Oh, and it was priced very well.

So why didn’t I make an offer on it? Simply, because it was a new listing. It had only been on the market for 2 weeks, and it was right before Christmas at the time, which means that it hadn’t really had time to be "tested" yet and I wanted it to sit a bit longer so that I could wait for it to drop and then I could place an offer in. Even if it didn’t drop in price, I was still planning to make an offer sometime in late January once it sat for a little while.

Basically, even though I loved the place and the numbers even at asking price worked on paper, I wanted to get a deal on it. I thought that was the patient and wise investor thing to do.

…And maybe it was. I guess it depends what you’re looking for. I’m looking for a solid and safe buy-and-hold rental investment property that cashflows at around 4%+ capitalization rate, and my target market is very slow with very little inventory available. As a result, my decision to wait on this property was the wrong decision, since this property already met the criteria of what I was looking for. I was just trying to get a deal on it.

It ended up selling within a couple weeks of having viewed it myself. It was listed at $419,900 and sold for $415,000.

My original plan "on paper" was to purchase the property for $405,000. At that price point, here is what the numbers worked out to:

26

Considering the condition of the property, and the fact that those were conservative and padded numbers in everything, that was a pretty good return for over here.

But here’s the thing. Let’s say that I didn’t wait for the property to drop and I was like the other buyer who actually purchased it for $415,000.

At $415,000, here’s what the numbers work out to:

36

So, it’s a $464.02/month net profit at $405K vs. a $427.26/month net profit at $415K. That’s a $36.76/month difference!

I ended up losing out on this property because I was hoping to make $36.76 more a month. $1.22 more a day. $441.12 more a year.

Again, with the investor market here being extremely low in inventory, waiting out and risking losing out on this property for a possible $36.76 more a month was the wrong decision I feel.

Oh well. Lesson learned! The next time I see a fantastic property, I’m not going to sit on my hands and wait for the "perfect deal". I’m going to make a move on it immediately.

Other Updates

This is the complete dead time of the market here, and there’s only 3-4 updates in my small window of criteria each week, including price drops.

Property #6: The 8-Plex Historical, which I wrote about in my last real estate update, had a price drop. A pretty decent one too… $20,000.

Here are how the new numbers pan out:

37

So, cashflow isn’t a question. But this property could be EXTREMELY stressful as there’s a lot going on with it: 8-room student housing, 114-year-old heritage building, low-income renters, possible needing to upgrade water heater and furnace.

In the other post I wrote:

"In the end though, I think that this is a bit too much for me to tackle for my very first income property. It’s not out of the running, but I’d need it to drop in price a fair bit before I’d consider placing an offer on it."

$20,000 is a good drop… but I’m still very uneasy about this place. Even with property management in place, this could prove to be a real headache.

Even if it dropped another $20,000, it would only make a difference of around $75 a month profit. I guess I’m really just not interested in this one because I think it’d be too stressful… and I know that the market will only allow it to drop so much more before an investor buys it up.

Legal 4-Plex

There’s a legal 4-Plex with a half-decent ocean view that went on the market a little while back. It’s not the best location as it’s on a bit of a noisy/busy road, but it is near a lot of shopping.

It only breaks even in terms of cashflow, but was recently renovated so I’m not sure how much the rents could be increased down the road, if at all. It’s rare to find a legal 4-plex though which is why I’ll be taking a look at this in person once there’s enough other decent properties to warrant another search.

Duplexes

There are a couple of new duplexes on the market which don’t look too terrible, so I may give those a look too, but overall, nothing all that promising.

March will be when all the listings come back up on the market… the only problem being that it’s more of a buyer market at that point.

Anyhow, that’s my post for today. If my health continues to be as good as it was today (or even better), then I will try to post on a more frequent basis again.

Posted: February 15th, 2015 under Miscellaneous 22 Comments

I Have Been Diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease

February 3, 2015 Posted by Tyler Cruz

I apologize for the sheer lack of posting lately. I have been having medical issues.

In fact, I will have to keep this post fairly short because of this. It may also not be the most coherent, especially since it’s currently 2:29am as I can’t sleep due to anxiety.

A few days ago, on January 31st 2015, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. Wikipedia describes it as "a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo, low-pitched tinnitus, and hearing loss.".

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, let me tell you that it’s a hell of a lot worse than it may sound. While everyone has varying degrees of illnesses and diseases, I can tell you that my personal experience with Meniere’s so far has been absolutely brutal. It has absolutely disrupted my life and made me extremely depressed and anxious on top of the actual disease’s symptoms.

I developed Tinnitus around 3 months ago, which at the time I thought was bad enough. I saw a regular physician who referred me to both an ENT and audiologist. The audiologist ran some tests and discovered that I have mild-to-moderate hearing loss in my left ear, and the ENT didn’t really add too much other than telling me to take care of my ears.

I was depressed about the Tinnitus but actually eventually got used to it for the most part – some days are worse than others with it, and it can really range for me.

Then, on January 21st 2015, I was sitting at the computer when all of a sudden everything started spinning really fast. I went from normal to the world feeling it was spinning incredibly past within a few seconds. I don’t want to dwell on it too much, but it basically felt like the world was spinning at a circular angle from left to right at like 50 KM/hour. It was so severe and such a horrible feeling that I had to immediately close my eyes, clench down on my chair and just wait it out.

I felt extremely panicked and actually cried out for help several times. Fortunately it only lasted about a minute, but I was dizzy afterwards for several hours. I didn’t know what the hell it was, but I basically wrote it off as being dehydrated.

Things continued normally for me (still with the Tinnitus though) until exactly one week later, when I had another episode. This time it happened while I was taking a hot bath to warm myself out from the cold Canadian winter. This time it lasted slightly longer and I again was in absolute agony and high stress while the attack happened. I feel so helpless when it occurs, and it’s absolutely terrifying.

Since both attacks occurred the day after I started playing badminton twice a day (I started playing badminton both in the morning and in the evening on Tuesdays and the attacks both happened on Wednesday), I thought that maybe the two things were related and again thought that dehydration may be the reason.

But then, only a few days later on Saturday, I had a 3rd attack. I was again at the computer, and the attack came on fast just as usual – within a few seconds. This was the worst attack yet and lasted probably around 2… maybe 3 minutes.

I’ve since learned that these attacks are called Vertigo – this isn’t what I thought Vertigo was. I thought Vertigo was more of a very mild feeling, usually due in relation to heights, but the attacks I experienced… were insane. Again, there is probably a large spectrum in terms of severity, but I couldn’t imagine my last attack to be any worse apart from lasting longer.

It was so severe that about halfway through it I started vomiting violently – only I had nothing to throw up as I had woke up not too much earlier. I continued "trying" to vomit until the attack ended, and by the end of it my throat was sore as a result.

Also, by the time the attack ended I was trembling very noticeably from sheer terror, shock, and agony. I also was sweating profusely… as if I had just run a marathon… it was actually amazing how much I had sweat within that short window.

Listen. I wouldn’t wish these attacks on my worst enemy. Not even Hitler, Osama, or Pol Pot. There’s just no reason for anyone to ever have to go through this.

I understand that there are probably worse diseases and situations to have out there, but I’d still say that this ranks pretty high up there… at least the Vertigo attacks. When they happen, I just want to die. I just clench down and beg for them to end. I couldn’t imagine them lasting longer than 2-3 minutes…

Anyhow, that very same day I went to see a doctor at a walk-in clinic and after a 3-hour wait, I was given 5-minutes with a doctor. She believed I had Meniere’s Disease, which is actually what I thought I may have, but didn’t say anything and she came up with it on her own.

I’ve been prescribed Serc which is a Betahistamine anti-vertigo drug. I’ve been on it for 2-3 days now and since taking it I have not had another Vertigo attack for which I am grateful for. However, and I am not sure whether this is due to the sudden onset of Meniere’s or the drug, since my last attack I have been feeling pretty crappy. I have a constant sense of being slightly dizzy, as well as a slight fogginess and blurred vision.

I’m not sure if the blurred vision is my actual vision requiring a new prescription or is due to the drug (or the disease), but it’s definitely an issue. I did have a ton of visual issues a year and a half ago, which ended up being fixed with a new prescription, but it just seems a bit odd that it’s so sudden and is happening at the same time I just started taking a prescription drug and with my Meniere attacks.

I should mention too that I am very likely to continue losing my hearing and eventually go completely deaf, at least in my one ear.

In the background of all this is my Tinnitus, but again that is so secondary to everything else that I could almost care less about it now. In some ways that’s almost a good thing because when I first got it (and realized that it was permanent with no cure), I was really depressed and anxious.

Anyhow, because of my constant dizziness and more recently my blurred vision, I haven’t been working. Yesterday I couldn’t even use my computer at all… within seconds of looking at the screen I would feel like puking. I’m lucky I’ve been able to use it as long as I have right now to write this post. I did decrease the resolution which seems to have helped a bit though.

In general, I feel so much better away from the computer, so… I dunno. Maybe I’ll have to give up working on the computer entirely and find a new occupation.

I just hope I get better. There are a lot of treatments available for Meniere’s, which all work to varying degrees, but I’m still early on the Serc trial so I have to give that 2 weeks before I consult with a doctor again. Internet research has taught me that a very low-sodium diet seems to help a lot too, so I am working on reducing my sodium as well. I think I need to get it to 500-1,000 MG a day, which is HARD.

The good news is that I actually changed my lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise 2 months ago and so have already been a lot healthier apart from this disease. In fact, I lost 20 pounds in the past 56 days.

I just came across Ed’s Meniere’s Videos as well which are awesome videos by a physician who has Meniere’s himself and has done a ton of research and tested everything to try to "cure" himself. I also subscribed to /r/Menieres on Reddit.

I’ll end this post by adding a few interesting tidbits from UFC President Dana White. He has Meniere’s too and underwent a surgery a couple years ago to try to cure it, but it didn’t end up working and he became deaf in his one ear as a result.

Here’s a quote from him right before he had the surgery:

“This thing is indescribable. People … can’t deal with it. It drops you. It puts you down. You can’t open your eyes for hours or sometimes days. You have to keep your eyes closed. Every time you open your eyes, you throw up.

“And it’s pain like you can’t imagine. You start sweating buckets of water. You can’t open your eyes. You curl up into a fetal position for hours or days. You just lay in bed and pray you fall asleep. You want the room as dark as you can get it.

“I’ve been traveling all over the world for 13 years. I’ve had the flu. I’ve had food poisoning. I’ve had just about everything you can have, and it doesn’t faze me. I just keep going. This thing puts you down.”

Good Lord, I couldn’t imagine dealing with an attack for a few hours let alone a few days. I’ve heard of some people having it for up to 2 weeks. I would beg to die long before that.

But, Dana describes it similar to me. It’s horrible…

Anyhow, a few months later Dana white underwent a very new and experimental treatment.

Here are some snippets from the article:

"Invented by Dr. Wehling, the procedure involves removing some of the patient’s own blood, incubating the blood at a slightly raised temperature and than running the blood through a centrifuge to isolate naturally occurring anti-inflammatory proteins, which are then injected back into the patient.

White underwent the treatment this past weekend, and he said the procedure essentially cured his condition…"

“I haven’t felt this good in two years,” White said. “I’m working out like a maniac. I’ve never felt better in my life.”

The UFC boss said he will undergo another treatment session in approximately three months, but he’s excited for the results thus far.

The UFC boss seemed in incredibly good spirits as he recounted the tale and is hopeful his days of dealing with Meniere’s are over.

“I told them, ‘I don’t give a s–t if I start growing a horn out of my head. If you can stop this, I’ll file the horn down,’” White said. “But according to them, there are absolutely no side effects whatsoever.”

That’s great, I thought at first, but Dana White is a billionaire. The treatment probably costs like $100,000-$1M. But, according to Wikipedia, Orthokine is "only" around $8,000. I may have to get it done in Germany since it’s not approved in the US (and if Dana went to Germany, then probably not Canada either). Hmm… so maybe $11,000~ for travel and expenses if that’s right, assuming no follow-up treatments or anything.

Hell, I may end up using the same doctor that Dana White used.

If so, that’s some positive news.

Heh, it also gives me some motivation to stop slacking like I have been lately, and really work HARD like I used to back in the day… simply because the more cash I have, the more treatments that are available to me.

The Wikipedia article continues:

Chris Renna, a preventive medicine specialist who has referred American patients to Wehling since 2003, said that "because of its expense and status, the treatment is for the 1 and 2 percent of our society."

I’m not sure if I fall into the 1 or 2 percent, but I’m hoping that this is an option for me and that I can afford it. While I do with everyone could afford the treatment, it does shed some reality on another reason why making money is important.

It’s not just for prestige and to live a very comfortable life – it’s also extremely useful for situations such as these.

Anyhow, I’ve been on the computer for a bit over an hour now and it’s nearly 4am. I’ve been lucky I’ve been able to last this long, although it has been a little bit of a struggle. I need to go back to sleep as sleep is apparently very important for Meniere’s, but I was getting very dizzy while trying to sleep so I’ll stay up a bit more until I’m basically too tired to notice the dizziness.

I don’t know when I’ll post again – it may be quite a while to be honest. I hope none of you ever have to go through this.

Posted: February 3rd, 2015 under Personal 49 Comments

Affiliate Marketing Income Report: October 2014

January 6, 2015 Posted by Tyler Cruz

It’s time for another affiliate marketing income report.

I’ve been noticing a problem lately… I’ve been getting pretty complacent and lazy with my affiliate marketing efforts again. As I mentioned before, I usually tend to put in a lot more effort when my earnings are doing really well or doing really poorly – when they are just mediocre, I lose the incentive to make the added effort because I am comfortable where I am. This is something I need to overcome.

I think the other part of it is that my mind has been more on real estate investment lately, so it’s hard to initiative to push myself on my campaigns.

That being said, October was a pretty good month for me, seeing a modest increase over the previous month. Let’s take a look:

October 2014 Affiliate Campaign Income:

$44,811.48

Affiliate Network Breakdown:

  • Affiliate Network #1: $41,901.48
  • Affiliate Network #2: $1,450.00
  • Affiliate Network #3: $1,460.00

(This includes conversion from foreign currencies to USD)

Expenses:

$35,625.55


Traffic Source Breakdown:

  • Traffic Source #1: $13,649.89
  • Traffic Source #2: $2,440.35
  • Traffic Source #3: $1,415.32
  • Traffic Source #4: $448.72
  • Traffic Source #5: $723.43
  • Traffic Source #6: $16,947.84

    …a fair number of traffic sources used. I’m constantly hopping around various traffic sources.

Net Profit:

$9,185.93

It’s not 5 figures, but I’ll always be very happy with a $9K profit month.

It also shows a $2K+ profit/month increase over the past 3 months.

2014 Affiliate Marketing Results

First, here’s a recap of how 2013 fared for the entire year:

Year Gross Expense Net ROI
2013 $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Total: $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Monthly Average: $68,657.00 $47,085.36 $21,571.64 46%

And here’s a monthly breakdown of 2014 so far:

Month Gross Expense Net ROI
January 2014 $10,922.80 $8,908.47 $2,014.33 23%
February 2014 $25,941.97 $15,900.52 $10,041.45 63%
March 2014 $24,202.06 $15,408.95 $8,793.11 57%
April 2014 $3,486.55 $3,150.00 $336.55 11%
May 2014 $57,015.00 $38,765.01 $18,249.99 47%
June 2014 $60,753.58 $43,095.35 $17,658.23 41%
July 2014 $50,162.81 $37,073.59 $13,089.22 35%
August 2014 $27,317.35 $21,291.31 $6,026.04 28%
September 2014 $29,935.71 $22,872.08 $7,063.63 31%
October 2014 $44,811.48 $35,625.55 $9,185.93 26%
Total: $334,549.31 $242,090.83 $92,458.48 38%
Monthly Average: $33,454.93 $24,209.08 $9,245.85 38%

I’m at $92K net profit so far this year after 10 months in. That puts me on pace to hit $110K profit this year.

The Larger Picture: 22-Month Analysis

Below are my overall numbers from my campaigns since I started recording them in January 2013:

January 2013 to October 2014 Gross Expense Net ROI
22-Month Total: $1,158,433.32 $807,115.16 $351,318.16 44%
Monthly Average: $52,656.06 $36,687.05 $15,969.01 44%

Getting close to 2 years of recording my affiliate marketing stats, my monthly average sits at $15,969.01. I’m very happy with that. However, things are dropping; I averaged $21.5K/month last year, but am only averaging $9.2K/month this year. It scares me what things could drop to next year…

October Recap

October was a bit interesting as it was the first time I did any real volume in mobile.

I had tried mobile very briefly a couple times in the past, but we’re talking about only $1,000 – $1,500 a month in ad spend. This time, I ended spending about half of my entire monthly budget on mobile!

Since I’m still a major newbie to mobile, most of it was spent on simply gathering data, although I did end up making a small profit if I remember correctly.

I also ran web with my other half, but I had trouble scaling anything there. I also tried revisiting a couple of old traffic sources again, which ended up being utter failures.

I haven’t made any new landing pages in quite a while or even played around with targeting much. Mostly, I’ve been split-testing offers. To be honest, I’ve gotten pretty lazy lately in terms of testing new stuff (apart from mobile).

From what I can remember, I think I worked a decent amount on my campaigns in October, which is good and can be seen by the month’s results.

November Plans and Predictions

Normally in this section I list the plans I have for the upcoming month as well as predict how I think the month will fare profit-wise. However, since November has already come and gone, I will be skipping this section in this report since I already know how it went.

I’ll have November’s report up soon, keep an eye out for it.

Posted: January 6th, 2015 under Affiliate Marketing 36 Comments