This is a 3-part series about my InfoBarrel experience. Part one covers my earnings to date and some backstory. Parts 2 and 3 cover what exactly my methods are - every tactic, tip, and technique revealed.

In The Beginning: How I Learned About InfoBarrel

I first discovered passive income through a book by Tim Ferriss: The 4-Hour Work Week (4HWW). This is not the place to go into what I learned, but it did lead to a number of things: I started my first blog (which has undergone 2 revisions and is finally at a place where I'm excited about), and I started reading a lot about passive income online. On Eric's "My 4 Hour Work Week" blog he proposed a "passive income experiment" - writing 3 articles per day for a website called InfoBarrel until you have 2000 articles, with the hope of making at least $2000 per month. Lots of accompanying statistics about InfoBarrel's relative youth, and rapid growth persuaded me that this was worth a shot. I'd recommend you sign up now, but if you need more convincing, read on.

I have chronic tendinitis, which keeps me from doing much typing - or returning to university for my final year of a jazz guitar performance degree. If this were a movie I'm sure a great big deal would be made of this fact. It's really more of an interesting side note. The important thing is that I bought speech-to-text software as a result, more on this later.

Between July 26, 2010 and August 3 I wrote 21 articles (many lifted from my first, defunct blog), purchased the InfoBarrel Success package by Jason and Howie, and Market Samurai - a keyword research tool. I also studied SEO with the book The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization, written by some of the leading minds on the subject (and it's over 600 pages, whew!). The only article from this set that I didn't make a charity article is How to Get Rid of Raccoons. This would be my case study for much of September, applying what I picked up from the various resources at my disposal, especially the IB forums and studying jcmayer and Travis.


September & October 2010: Building a System, Building a Team, Building a Plan

September was rather uneventful, I totaled 61 articles at the end of the month and earned a total of $7.01. While the earnings were nothing extraordinary, I was slowly figuring out how to best split my time between writing, rewriting, backlinking etc.

October saw things pick up, I ended with 104 articles (12 of them charity). I earned more during the last two weeks than I had in September ($10.08 and $12.30 respectively). During October I tried outsourcing backlinking with minimal success. I don't regret trying though, as it forced me to refine my strategy further and overall things improved. I had wanted to win the contest this month, but was totally unprepared to go up against DKRunner, and I gave up somewhere during the second week.

The most important thing that happened during these months is I started talking to my friend Alex, who lives in Calgary, about IB and what I was doing here. He, like myself, doesn't like the idea of working the 9 to 5 forever so we developed a plan: I would come live with him and focus my attention completely on IB - he would work his job (which payed far more than I would make) and cover food and rent. IB earnings would eventually pay down these numbers, until he didn't need to go into work any more. Nice guy, he would even help with the more arm-intensive tasks regarding optimization.

I ended up with $32.78 for the month, a 465% increase. More importantly, I was now earning every day, and started daily tracking in my spreadsheet (using the =x1+x2+x3... function).

 

November 2010: My Earnings Report

My goal for the month had initially been to make $100, which I later bumped up to $150. Either way I crushed this number. My only other goal was winning the contest I didn't set any other specific goals in terms of articles published, page views, or clicks.

On November 12th, I moved to Calgary from Winnipeg and started focusing exclusively on IB, which I imagine counts for the incredible earnings increase during this month.

  Articles Page Views Clicks AdSense $ Chitika $ Amazon $ Total $
September 2010 55* 487 8 $6.46 $0.59 $0.00 $7.05
October 2010 92 2889 115 $29.88 $2.58 $0.32 $32.78
November 2010 351 8083 598 $176.87 $22.11 $0.00 $198.98

*I'm not sure how many charity articles I had in September so this marks the grand total. Other figures represent total articles that earn.

It's much easier to get inside the numbers and see what they mean on a smaller scale, this doesn't really look like slow, steady, growth - but my week-by-week earnings update makes sense of all this in detail.

Weekly totals for the four complete weeks in November: $24.18; $33.18; $49.62; $71.22

I added 259 articles in November. While this seems like a ton, many of these were unpublished holdovers from October upon realizing I'd never catch DKRunner for the contest.

I only had AdSense channels set up for about 175 articles. Out of those, 65 earned over the course of the month. Only 2 articles earned over $5, and InfoPirate was my second highest earning channel. I finally integrated AdSense with Google Analytics, so from now on I will have the complete picture, but by these numbers 1/3 of my articles earned. Keep in mind this is without doing optimization or almost any backlinking because of the contest.

While I ended up with about 4x as many articles in November as October, suggesting earnings of maybe $130, I didn't spend most of the month at 351 articles. I spend almost all of October at 92. The discrepency is actually quite large. My earnings rate per article almost doubled over the course of the month.

I ended up winning the contest with 506 points, a new record score for the contest. The end was extremely difficult, I had a terrible cough that wrecked my throat and made me have to essentially stop talking. Remember that I use speech-to-text software? I had to physically type everything out over the last 4 days and it was rough, but I was determined not to let 26 days of hard work disappear.

The best part of the month was the last full week (Nov 22-28, my weeks start on Monday). Predicting a $70 total for the week, Thanksgiving seemed to get in the way of people's spending. After 3 and 4 days I was looking at not only missing the $70 mark, but falling short of the previous week's $49.62. On Sunday though, I had a record day totalling $20.02, bringing my total to $71.22 for the week. Ups and downs will happen, but the trends over time won't lie.

I've been earning a lot using social bookmarking sites with revenue share - almost 20% of my earnings are coming from these sites. (Use the link to see my list of the best ones - they're all free)


Past and Present Predictions

So far, I've made every single one of my earnings goals. To get to $70 one week up from $49 the previous is the most shocking success I've had so far. I keep trying to make predictions that I can't quite reach, but they end up working out somehow. Who would have thought I'd earn $198.98 one month after earning $32.78? Not me that's for sure. With that in mind I've created a set of December goals I think you'll find wonderfully unreachable:

Earnings: $700 ($23.33 average over the month - I currently average about $10/day)
Total Articles: 500+ (additional 150, this should be doable)
Forum Posts: 1000 (17/day)
Article Earning Rate (per week): $0.35/Article - aided by more social bookmarking with revenue share
1 Referral
Any Amazon earnings
A single $40 day by the end of the month

 

For how I actually do things, and plan on reaching $700 up from $200, (this is the interesting part folks!) head on to Part 2: Let's talk tactics