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I Work Off The Clock

Make money. Save money. Be happy.

I’m facing an honest to god dilemma, a true crisis in my life:

Product review or Dino Cap?

I know I should work on my websites and write some more articles to build up my passive income streams, but all I really want to do right now is play video games instead.  Or maybe watch some TV…just a little.  Or maybe one or two — but you know, no more than three — Youtube videos.

Or maybe I should go read some posts on someone else’s blog, especially one of those “make money online” gurus.  Because, you know, reading other bloggers’ blogs about blogging is almost the same thing as blogging.



It’s a cliché.

I know.


But after all these years, it’s something that I’m only now starting to really put into practice.

“You have to build a business, not just a blog.”

To make money online, it helps to move beyond trying to build a blog.  Building a real, honest-to-god business is the best way to make money on the ground (out there in that scary, offline place known as the “real world”), so it makes sense that building a real business is also the best way to make money in the Internet world too.

I knew that.

Heard it lots of times before.

Started trying to do it — I mean, really do it — a year and a half ago.

But here I am in late 2014, and only now I feel like I’m actually starting to build a real business online.

Two of them, actually.

Here they are…

Real Online Business #1 — Article Directory

I started a small article directory a couple months ago.  It covers 13 different categories and currently has 25 posts on it.  It’s a small start, and that is the way I want it.  I cannot afford to do it any other way.

The main reason I am happy to throttle down the site’s growth is money.  I’m not making any yet, but I am paying out 50 cents per article per month.  This is not a revenue-sharing website like HubPages or Squidoo or Bubblews.  That setup just encourages spammy practices and ruins the site for everyone.  On my new article directory, writers get paid the same amount for every post every month, regardless of traffic and other stats.

1,000 page views per month?

50 cents.

Zero page views per month?

Still 50 cents.

Every post.

Every month.

So since I’m paying out of pocket, and it will be quite some time before the site picks up traction and starts ranking on search and making me any money, it’s a good idea to grow it slowly at the beginning.  Plus, I’ve never done this before, and I don’t have an expensive site design set up where everything is automated, so it’s probably better to keep things small as I iron out the wrinkles as they come up.  As my friend pointed out to me, I don’t want to grow too fast, make some huge mistakes and end up gaining a bad reputation.

Yeah…I’m thinking of Bubblews haha    ;)

So over the past few weeks we’ve picked up our first 5 writers, and right now we’ve got 25 posts published with a couple more pending.

Here is the site:

Real Online Business #2 — Hawaii Arts & Crafts Design

This one came up suddenly and unexpectedly, but it’s a total no-brainer and kind of a mystery why I wasn’t doing this all along.

I’ve always been an artist.

That was my thing.

When I was 12 years old, you ask anyone, “What is Chris good at?”  They’ll tell you, “He can draw.”

When I was 18 years old, you ask anyone, “What is Chris good at?”  They’ll tell you the same thing.

That was my thing, and it always was.

Even when I stopped drawing for years at a time and would only doodle a little for my kids’ school project or whatever…that was still obviously my thing.  And anyone who knew me could tell you that art was the thing I was best at.

But when I turned to the Internet to make a living a few years ago, I don’t know why I didn’t do the art thing.  Well, I kinda did go in that direction, at first.  My first business was a photography business back in 1997 or so.


Tried again around 2008…ish?

Did a lot better, but still failed.

Failed big.

Had some personal dramas over that one…

So when I went online to make money in 2012, photography and art were the last things on my mind.  Maybe I was too bruised and battered by having failed the first couple times.  I dunno.  But I turned to writing instead, made some money, but not very much.  Almost three years later, and I feel pretty burned out on blogging.

Of course, I always say that haha   ;)

Anyways, last year I started drawing and painting again for the first time in years.

Even sold a couple paintings.

Then I stopped to focus on other things…like blogging again.

photo (136)(Why?…WHY?!?!?!)

So now I’m back to arting.


So last week I started out with some blank pocket notebooks from the craft store, and I made some fun ink drawings on the covers…coconut trees, mango trees, papaya trees…that kind of stuff.  There’s probably someone out there willing to buy them.

And last night I started working on a little wood jewelry box.  Another coconut tree beach scene.  Did a coffee painting on the lid and will add some ink doodles or something on the sides tonight.  Then I’ll take some good photos of it and put it up in our online store on the new website…kind of an online boutique or something.

Here’s the site:

So things are looking good.

These aren’t just zero-budget blogs that take forever to make their first dollar (well, the first one kinda is, but adding lots of content will accelerate those earnings).

So I think I’ve officially crossed the line from building blogs to building real businesses, and it feels pretty good.  It took a ridiculously long time for me to arrive at this point, but I’m glad I’m finally here.

Got my BIG BOY pants on now!

Aloha everybody.

Thanks for stopping by to read my humble, little online income report.

I had a pretty good month.  Actually, I’m pretty excited about the progress I’ve been making on my new project.  I’m still not including it here in the monthly report, though.  Gonna keep the details under wraps for awhile.  But those of you who know about it, know about it.  And thank you for offering feedback and contributing to its success.  I’ll talk a bit more about it in another post later this week.

Anyways…let’s get on with the income report…

Blog 1 (iWOC) — I Work Off The Clock

  • New Posts:  2
  • Page Views:  924
  • Income:  $0.00 (n/a)

iWOC had a pretty good month, actually.  July had the most traffic this site has seen in the past 11 months, so thank you to all of you who have been dropping in to have a look and see what’s up.  I kept myself pretty busy with the new project — and also put in a little more effort over at Bubblews — so not much got done over here.  I did my last income report from June and then a little update on the new site, and that was it, really.

Still not putting the AdSense ads back in until there’s enough traffic/income potential to justify it.  So for now, please enjoy having no words from our sponsors ;)

Blog 2 (B2) — Photography Blog

  • New Posts:  0
  • Page Views:  64
  • Income:  $0.00

Traffic picked up a little from previous months, but nothing else to say about it really.  Should I even keep including B2 in my income reports, since I’m not working on it at all and there’s nothing happening there?  I dunno.  Maybe I’ll just skip it next month.

Niche Site 1 (NS1) — Knife Website

  • New Posts:  0
  • Page Views:  1,328
  • Income:  $17.05

Another decent month for NS1.  Last month it only earned me $7, so this was refreshing.  Traffic was EXACTLY the same as it was last December (DECEMBER!), so that is encouraging.  It still is nowhere near my pre-Penguin penalty days, but I’m very happy with the additional passive income I get from here every month.

I’m still getting spammy links coming to this site almost every single day, so that sucks.  Are they from a competitor?  I think so.  They definitely aren’t mine.  They already got me penalized last year, and who knows…might get me further penalized in the next update, whenever that will be.  Sigh.

Niche Site 2 (NS2) — Anxiety Website

  • New Posts:  0
  • Page Views:  188
  • Income:  $0.00 (n/a)

I was jammin’ on NS2 back in May/June, but last month totally cooled off while I went to work on the new user-generated project.  Still, traffic was at a new high again (slightly), but nowhere near the level I want it to be at when I put ads on there again.  Maybe if traffic levels get up to 2x-3x this amount, then I’ll put ads back on.  I’m still hoping to funnel readers towards more social shares in the meantime, though.

Niche Site 3 (NS3) — Flashlight Website

  • New Posts:  0
  • Page Views:  563
  • Income:  $14.98

After more than a year of nothing, this site is finally starting to pay off.  Last month it earned over $19, and this month is almost $15.  I hope that trend continues.  Not bad for a site that averages less than 20 page views per day :)

User-Generated Content Sites


  • New Posts:  22
  • Income:  $22.12


  • New Posts:  1
  • Income:  $47.10


  • New posts:  1
  • Income:  $7.00

Well, as usual, a good chunk of the money I made this month comes from articles I wrote for other people’s websites.  I had an old hub in progress for HubPages that I started eons ago and just forgot about, so I went back and finished it and published it.  It didn’t make anything yet (maybe 10 cents or so), but I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few months and see how it does.  My previously “viral” hub that was earning me $50+ a month only earned me about 90 cents in July :(

I also wrote some quick and easy posts for Bubblews and actually spent a lot of time interacting with my connections on there.  Even made a few more friends too.  So that’s an extra $20+ in my bank for basically just goofing around and having fun.  I’ll take it :P

I even crawled back to Textbroker with my tail between my legs and wrote a couple more articles for them.  One was accepted for $7, but the other one was sent back for revisions.  I was on a long plane flight to the Mainland the next day and totally missed my 24 hour window for making revisions, so it got rejected and deleted automatically.  That sucked, because that particular post was the one I DID NOT back up on my computer (I just wrote it in the browser).  I could have at least made a buck or two on Bubblews if I had saved it.  Oh well.  No biggie.


Recent Gross Income To Date…

  • July 2013 — $67.16
  • August — $63.58
  • September — $73.32
  • October thru April 2014 — Lost a lot of traffic/earnings.  Lost a lot of motivation too
  • May 2014 — $29.58
  • June — $77.45
  • July — $108.25

Well, I guess I did okay.  This July I made more than $40 above what I made online last July.  Not enough to pay the bills yet, but at least I made over $100 this month with my online adventures.  I guess I got lucky with that camera purchase through one of my articles on HubPages (over $20 Amazon commission!).

So overall this month was decent month for old Chris.

  • Income on my niche sites is increasing.
  • Income on HubPages and Bubblews is increasing.
  • And traffic on every one of my own sites saw some improvement as well (every one of them!).

So things are looking a little brighter this month.  I’m also really excited about the new project and will give a quick little update on that pretty soon, for those of you who are interested.

So how are you guys doing with your blogs and freelance stuff?


Not so much?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below…

Aloha, Chris

Well, I now have the new website up and running.  It’s still very bare bones, but I’ve got my main pages up for contributors (site intro, how to sign up, submission guidelines, payment info, privacy page, etc).  And I’ve put up three blog posts of my own so that interested writers can see what kind of content I’m looking for from them.

The design is simple (just a basic WordPress theme) and cheap at this point.  I could spend money on the design up front, but then I’d have a pretty website with no content and no writers and no more money to pay them haha.  So I think it’s more important to put that money towards paying contributors first.

I did make a few changes in the rules and structure, though.

Keeping It “Niche” (sort of)…

A comment from a reader, Gil, a couple of posts back got me thinking about the topics to be covered on the site.  Gil asked whether it would be a niche site focusing on one main topic or if it would cover just about anything.

My original vision for the site was that it would be similar to HubPages and would cover practically everything under the sun.  But I had to abridge that, because I am going to guarantee writers that every post they publish will make the same amount of money every month, regardless of traffic…totally consistent passive income that is not based on page views, stats, etc.  If I let contributors write about ANYTHING, then I’m going to lose a lot of money haha!  So I narrowed it down to 13 potentially profitable categories, and I figured I’d let contributors write about anything that fit into one of those categories.


It’s going to take FOREVER for me to organically and legitimately rank a new site that has no focus.

So I’ve decided to have new contributors pick one of the 13 categories as their niche, and their first 30 posts must be in that category.  After they get 30 articles published in their chosen niche, then they can branch out and write stuff for the other 12 categories.

So that was one change.  (Thanks Gil!)

Simple, Straighforward Pay Rates

Another change was how much I would pay the writers.  If you saw my previous post on this, then you might remember this big long payment scale where writers start out earning 25 cents per post per month and then gradually work up to 30 cents, 35 cents…all the way to $1.00 per post per month.  But that would take pretty much forever and would discourage a lot of writers (although it would motivate some quite well).

Anyways, I simplified that and went back to my original plan, which was to pay 50 cents per post per month.  It’ll cost me more up front, but I think it will be more enticing for new contributors and could make the difference between them signing up or walking away.

External Links

The last big change was concerning external links.

Originally, in my zealousness to build a website that would be more or less spam-proof, I was not going to allow any external links in posts, not even in the author byline at the end of each post.  But that was overkill, and it would make for a possibly frustrating experience for both the readers and the contributing bloggers.  So I amended that rule to allow a link in the byline that goes to the contributor’s blog homepage.  That way, if the reader loves what they read and wants to comment or interact with the author, they can just click the link and go straight to that contributor’s blog.

Plus, it’s a small incentive for the contributor, getting a link to their blog from every post they write.


So, that’s where I’m at today on this project.

Now I’m asking a handful of bloggers I know and trust to take a look at the site and let me know what they think about it.  These folks have written for sites like HubPages, Squidoo, Textbroker, Odesk…and they have their own blogs as well, so they know their stuff and would likely be able to offer some great feedback.  After that, I may or may not make some more tweaks to the rules and guidelines.

Then all I need is content ;)

Aloha!  Once again, welcome to my little monthly progress report.  I made more than twice as much as last month, so even though it’s not a lot of money, it definitely makes me happy to be earning and picking up some momentum again.

Here we go…

Blog 1 (iWOC) — I Work Off The Clock

  • New Posts:  11
  • Page Views:  809
  • Income:  $0.00 (n/a)

I decided to make a couple of changes on this site after the last income report.  First, I ditched the “How To Start A Blog” page, along with the affiliate links in it.  I also decided to delete the backlinking tutorial/free ebook offer from my sidebar.  It just seemed too spammy and black hat to me, so I decided to dump it.  Last, I deactivated AdSense.  I wasn’t making more than a couple bucks a month, and I was seeing some really crappy ads on there.  Perhaps I’ll bring it back later on when there’s more traffic and more relevant ads showing up.

Traffic-wise, that’s the highest number of page views iWOC has had in the past 10 months,  but I’m not sure if the changes I made are responsible for that increase.  But they could be.  I got rid of a bunch of affiliate links to sites that Google might consider to be questionable (even though the content was actually good, helpful stuff), and doing away with above-the-fold AdSense ads probably helped too.  Still, things are always changing online, so who knows for sure what caused the increase.  Either way, it’s only a small improvement — not very significant – so I’m not gonna spend a lot of time trying to figure it out.

Blog 2 (B2) — Photography Blog

  • New Posts:  1
  • Page Views:  34
  • Income:  $0.00

I finally added some new content on here, after more than a year of nothing.  I wrote 5 small posts — little photography tips — and then I decided to just roll them all into one big FAQ post.  So perhaps if I keep adding new content there things will pick up?  I’ll need links, and I’m not going to artificially build them, so that means I’d have to just go make friends in that niche again.  I’ve been out of the photography game for over 3 years now, so I dunno.  Maybe I will work on that when the mood strikes me.

Niche Site 1 (NS1) — Knife Website

  • New Posts:  0
  • Page Views:  1,301
  • Income:  $7.06

That’s the highest amount of traffic I’ve had in the past 6 months (since December, which is always inflated due to holiday shopping).  If you don’t count December, then this was the highest amount of traffic I’ve had since the site was penalized back at the beginning of October 2013.  So I guess that’s something positive to take away.  It only earned $7 though, but that’s totally passive income, and I do like that!  :)

Niche Site 2 (NS2) — Anxiety Website

  • New Posts:  4
  • Page Views:  182
  • Income:  $0.00 (n/a)

Traffic was slightly up, but not by much.  I am expecting all the new content I added in May to start kicking in over the next couple months, but it will still be quite a while til this site is able to earn more than a dollar or two per month, so I won’t be adding AdSense until the traffic is significantly higher.  Why distract the few readers I have with a big juicy ad to click on just to make a dollar?  I need social shares and organic links more than ad clicks if I want this site to ever get anywhere.

Niche Site 3 (NS3) — Flashlight Website

  • New Posts:  0
  • Page Views:  484
  • Income:  $19.02


That’s why I chose this niche in the first place:  because the commission per purchase would be pretty decent for an Amazon product.  This site is almost a year and a half old and has never made more than a few dollars per month (often zero), but last month I finally made a solid sale (2 items, in fact).  I’m so glad I made the last minute decision to renew it for a second year (this was back in March).  So now we’re talking.  Now I’m getting excited about this niche site again!

But watch, next month it’ll make a dollar or something haha.  Ah well, that’s how it goes…  ;)

User-Generated Content Sites


  • New Posts:  23
  • Income:  $15.91

Well, it’s July, and Bubblews still makes me want to love/hate it.  Lots of people on there have been talking about how much faster and more reliable the site/server is, but I’m not seeing it.  In fact, at this moment I still don’t know exactly how many new articles I published there in June, because the site keeps timing out every time I try to count them up!

(UPDATE:  23.  It was 23…)

Anyways, it’s still easy money over there, but I don’t see Bubz being my bread and butter any time soon, since it has never shown me any passive income love.  If I stop posting for a week or a month, it all grinds to a stop (unlike HubPages and my niche sites).  So it’s obvious to me where my focus needs to be.  Bubblews is just a nice place to post when I’m feeling burnt out or when I just need a quick little break from blogging.  It definitely has its place, so I’ll be posting there next month, but I can’t camp on there all day like some of those guys do.  That would just make me go cuckoo.


  • New Posts:  0
  • Income:  $35.46

That’s actually more money than I made from all sources last month, so I’m happy about that.  But honestly, last month was just really low.  But at least things are kinda picking up a little.  That is purely passive income at this point (I haven’t written for HP in ages), so as you already know, passive income makes me very happy.  :)

Oh, this morning I logged into my Amazon account and found that one of my old hubs brought in an Amazon sale worth over $20 in commissions, so that will reflect in next month’s report.  Hopefully they won’t return it!  We’ll see how everything else turns out, but that sure is a nice way to start the month.


So, that’s it for this month.  I’m starting to bounce back a little bit from the -$50 a month loss on HubPages a few months ago and the -$40 a month loss on NS1 last October, so that’s putting a little wind back in my sails.  My plans for this next month are to push out more content on the new website (not listed in this income report, but I mentioned it in my last post) and to do that, I either have to write it myself or sign up some writers and pay them to write it.  So now I’m off to find someone who wants to “rent” me their articles.  If you or someone you know might be interested, hit me up on the Contact page.

Gross Income To Date…

  • July 2013 — $67.16
  • August — $63.58
  • September — $73.32
  • October thru April 2014 — Lost a lot of traffic/earnings.  Lost a lot of motivation too :(
  • May 2014 — $29.58
  • June — $77.45

I just realized that this month was my best month ever in terms of gross passive income from my websites and articles.  Huh.

Will I Make $100 Next Month?

Wanna see how much money my websites make next month?  Subscribe to this blog in the sidebar — if you haven’t already — and you’ll get email updates whenever I post something new…