Howdy folks! Another month swings on by and we find ourselves pondering (like we do every year) ‘Can you believe it is already May!?!’ followed by ‘where does the time go these days?’. Most likely a terribly British thing to say, but in all honesty, 2019 is racing by.

Life Update

I’ve been keeping my head down with work given that Brexit has taken a few clients by surprise in cutting back on marketing expenses. Fortunately, our business model is good with cash and the need for SEO with rising Paid Search Costs (Google AdWords) is turning many small to medium sized businesses across to the service, meaning demand is there. Google’s algorithm has also settled down nicely and we’ve seen some good improvements for many of our clients throughout – this causes us some serious aggravation as since August 2018, Google have clearly made some big changes, which they’ve had to revisit over the last 3-5 months. Alongside this, we have a new member joining our family – ‘Major’ our working cocker spaniel joins the crazy house of our Labrador and Border Collie.

Our 13 Week Old Working Cocker Spaniel

He’s definitely got some personality and already showing some fantastic traits in his ability to learn quickly. On a similar par with our collie when we trained her.

Alongside this, I’ve been out in the garden most weekends building my raised beds and a soon to be fence area for the chicken coop that we shall soon be purchasing! I find it a good way to ‘escape’ from the screen, after staring at it for over 60 hours a week, it’s good to slow down and go back to basics. Here’s a picture of an area of the garden I’ve been working on;

All raised beds hand built, cut, stained and fitted together. Timber cost around £500, screws around £30. In comparison to ‘Wood Blox’ which is a raised bed building kit, you see the large / tall raised bed at the back of the picture? I had a quote from Wood Blox for just over £3,300 for that one bed!!

Veg planted this year: Sweetcorn, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Spring Onions, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Runner Beans, Carrots, Courgette, Potatoes and Onions.

I also like the premise of being able to grow your own vegetables (as you can probably tell :P). For anyone that is interesting in doing a bit of gardening but have no idea where to start, my best recommendation is to start with potatoes! They are so so easy to grow almost a ‘shove em in’ and forget about them kind of vegetable. They also take up very little space for readers who are based in town / city and may not have the space – simply a patio area / front-garden is good enough! (as long as it has around 50% of sunlight a day you’re good to go!).

Step 1: Buy a couple of potato grow bags. (Here’s a good example for around £8.99).
Step 2: Buy some compost. (Here’s plenty enough – £11.99).
Step 3: Buy a bag of seed potatoes (Here’s just one of many examples – £6.99).
Step 4: Place about a foot of compost into the bottom of the grow bag.
Step 5: Place 3-4 seed potatoes evenly spaced in the grow bag.
Step 6: Water well every few days depending on weather.
Step 7: As soon as shoots start to appear, top up compost near to the top of the potato grow bag.

Hey presto, that 1 potato grow bag will deliver around 20 – 30 potatoes in 3-4 months time (depending on the variety of potato). Extra fluffy, fun and organic!

Financial Overview

Income & Savings Rates

My income this month came to a total of £10,575.00. £6,650 of this was saved resulting in a savings rate of 63%! Nice! Super proud of that, given that I’ve only just raised the bar to 60% for April-19 onwards. Personally, it did feel like a bit of stretch – there were a few things I’ve held off buying as a result and likewise things that we did need but would only result in being a one-off cost. For example, had to purchase 3 dog crates for the caravan (as we’re off on a long weekend break away soon) and having dogs climb all over the place, wet, filthy after a long walk isn’t particularly welcoming (even though we love our dogs to bits!). These crates cost over £140.00 but they’re now here for life.

Here are some graphs to represent the current growth trend. It’s good to see that the green line (which is actual return) is now greater than the red line (which is the book cost). My ISA is doing particularly well at the moment, showing returns of 14%. Whether this will continue no-one knows, but fantastic none-the-less.

As part of my investment strategy for 2019, instead of depositing the planned £1,666 per month to reach the £20,000 ISA limit evenly across the year, I’ve instead diverted all of my savings to my ISA to max it out as quickly as I can. At the current rate, I should max out 2019/2020 ISA by September 2019. This is all down the the little known fact of seeing greater returns of ‘time in the market’ instead of ‘timing the market’.


Expenses

My ‘bad’ expenses for the month (everything bar from the mortgage) came to £2,826 for the month. Admittedly, £1,716 was down to paying off the credit card and in May, there will soon be another credit card bill to pay as we clear the balance for our up and coming 24 night cruise! (Can’t wait!).

I also had a few family gatherings, birthday presents to purchase and what not. This led to some additional purchases along with the various items required for the dogs / caravan.


MB – Side Hustle

I haven’t been too involved in MB front in April only placing around 30 bets in total. This is mainly down to taking a break away from it. The needs of the business (my main income source) and the time required to place bets, track, record them for me are outweighed by the time required on my work / career. I am going to look at having a Personal Assistant carry out these bets for me and take things from there – something which does require having the Odds Monkey Matcher open on the screen most of the day which disrupts my line of work.

There’s also a real sense of ‘FOMO’ (Fear of Missing Out) with each way betting as well, with many requiring being able to place bets in an instant (otherwise the odds advantage drops too quickly). The Slack Channel of Pursue FIRE which Dan created has been absolutely fantastic with lots of support, laughs and community spirit.


Amazon Affiliate Store

It’s great to see that we’ve starting to make some excellent traction with the cementshop.co.uk. We’re now in 2 months into the SEO programme for the website and we’ve started to see some good progress with some actual SALES coming in! Now don’t fall back in your chair, but we had two sales in April, resulting in total earnings of £19.96! Eyy, not too bad given that I’ve only been working on off-site activities for the time being.

In total, the website has had 64 clicks to Amazon and 2 total ordered items, resulting in a conversion rate of 3.13%. Anything above 2% in the ecommerce world is good going, so I’m pretty chuffed with this so far. The first step is to reach a £100 per month with the Affiliate Store, which should be roughly 6 – 10 sales per month depending on the total cost of the items that users have ordered.

The good thing about this type of income, is that bar from a few hours spent here and there tidying things up, it is as close to passive income as you can make it!

In terms of ranking progression, we have seen some very good improvements, with green (positive) improvements showing across the board. Here’s just a quick snapshot of those rankings filtered by the highest search frequency;

There’s still a good way to go with the phrase ‘Concrete Mixer’ which is currently sitting on page 4 of Google, but ‘Electric Cement Mixers’ and ‘Cement Mixers’ are now both just edged themselves onto the first page. This is great to see! However, I do fully anticipate to see rankings materialize and fluctuate during May, as we begin to making finer on-site changes in line with obtaining the necessary ranking to start to really see orders improve.

Given that we have some rough figures (3.13% conversion rate), we can now begin to apply some rough outlines on the potential earnings of the affiliate store. Of course, all potential until we hit those higher ranking positions. By looking at the top 5 ranking results;

  • Cement Mixer (11,340 searches p/m)
  • Concrete Mixer (10,440 searches p/m)
  • Cement Mixers (9,230 searches p/m)
  • Concrete Mixers (2,040 searches p/m)
  • Cement Mixer for Sale (1,880 searches p/m)

We can identify a total search frequency of 34,000 +/- searches per month on Google, in the UK. Upon achieving position 1 rankings, we would anticipate to achieve an average CTR (2019 update) of 18% which shall result in 6,287 visitors to the website each month. Applying our current conversion value of 3.13% this shall result in around 196 sales each month (there may be some seasonality to take into consideration – I.E. I imagine winter time not many to be buying cement mixers etc). Averaging £10 commission on each sale, this shall result in a monthly income of £1,967. And this is just based on 5 keywords! We’re currently monitoring 60, so the potential earnings are pretty good.

Based on all the searches we’re monitoring (50,530), our maximum earnings we predict from the website on a month by month basis is around £2,846.

Of course, these are all averages are we aren’t expecting to hit these in the next 6-10 months. First goal is £100p/m and we keep calm and carry on!

Thanks folks!