As I complete my taxes for 2016 I am compiling all of my earnings from various side hustles. Current side hustles for Miss QCI include being a workout instructor, doing office work at the gym, watching children with autism and babysitting. My side income includes the rentals, Airbnb income and finally a niche site which accidentally earns income with zero work involved. In this post I’ll share the power of a niche site and the opportunities that can come from writing about something you’re passionate about.
Back in 2013 I created my first niche site. I have always been interested in just how easy it is to create a presence on the internet and how your content can automatically be indexed and found by Google to build an audience. The website while I was running it was never revenue generating until (ironically) after I stopped managing the website in February, 2015. However perhaps more importantly the site led to a position with a startup, a drastic change from the Fortune 100 company I was working for.
While from a purely monetary perspective this new job has been less lucrative than my first career as a software developer, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and feel like I have an impact on the company I work for. I now work full-time from home for a company based in NYC but still in my low cost of living midwestern city. I often get blank stares when asked if I live in New York or San Francisco and it’s a treat when they’ve heard of the small city I live in.
It’s hard to overstate the amazing world we live in today and the opportunities that exist – my career is proof. My niche site was truly a passion project and given the amount of effort I put into it I never expected it to lead to anything. I wrote relatively infrequently, maybe once per week, only when the urge struck. Looking back at the content I produced it wasn’t that great, buy hey, I was on the list (The Wealthy Accountant describes this concept perfectly). When a company in the industry was looking for help as their business grew I was an obvious (and only?) choice.
With my new position I had to agree to stop the day to day managing of my niche site. However, I was approached by someone who wanted to use the website as a platform to create their own content. This led to content being created on the website for free and as time went on I joined any relevant affiliate programs in hopes to offset any costs of running the website. Surprisingly, some of these programs drove conversions and now the website earns a majority of its income from companies in Europe (The US was the focus of my writing).
Total income for the site was $1843.69 in 2016. (Up from $1111.22 in 2015)
Total expenses for the website – just $73.84. (The cost of running a site is never an excuse to not take action)
There are certainly people who run much more successful niche sites, but it’s important to remember that I personally haven’t published any content in over 2 years. This income is just icing on the cake and goes directly to our investment accounts. While it’s likely this income will fall (affiliate income can be fickle) it’s nice to see how an upfront investment in a site and content can pay off many years down the line. This income, along with my increased profit from rentals in 2016 had me paying in more to the tax man even though I earned less in my W2 income in 2016.