Project G Challenge: From $0 to $100,000 in 365 Days (Month 1)
Welcome to our Project G challenge, where we will share everything we’ll try to go from zero to $100,000/mo in a span of a year.
And before you annoyingly click away, let it be known that we’re working in a very expensive niche, and there IS potential to make that kind of money.
(Plus, we’ll be relying on both free and paid methods.)
The purpose of this challenge is to document our journey with a brand-new website.
We’ll share everything that we’ve learned as content creators and affiliate marketers and, more importantly, INSPIRE you on your own journey to online success.
Last but not least, writing these posts will also help us stay accountable.
This is our first post. It will be a bit longer as we’ll give you a bit of background on who we are and what our goals are for the whole year and how we are going to achieve them.
Then we’ll share our process, expenses, earnings, traffic, and plans for the upcoming month.
You can expect a total of twelve posts in 2023, tracking everything as we go along with our thoughts, experience, and even mistakes.
We will give you the full scope.
And if you’ll enjoy these posts, we encourage you to share them with your online entrepreneur friends or family members, or simply anyone who may find this helpful or interesting.
Not only will this give you an exact blueprint of how to become successful online, but we also have a big announcement to make if we do succeed with this challenge. *Wink-wink*
So, grab a coffee, and let’s get started!
Who Are We? (Backstory)
We are Richard and Zarina – digital entrepreneurs, content creators, affiliate marketers, online friends, and now business partners.
We are also long-term members of Wealthy Affiliate training platform, and that’s exactly where we met.
If you’re not a member yourself, we strongly recommend you sign up TODAY.
That’s where we got started on our online journey and where we send anyone remotely interested in becoming successful online.
For the past few years, we shared our progress with each other regarding our individual websites, exchanged some nuggets related to SEO, and at the end of 2022, we thought:
“Why not combine our forces and create a life-changing project?”
And that’s how the new website, which we’ll call Project G, was born.
As you may have guessed from our financial goal, we have some experience under our belt. We both are full-time online entrepreneurs with our own profitable websites.
Zarina’s main website is 5+ years old in the photography niche, and in December 2022 hit her personal record of $9,300 (read income report here).
While I, Richard, have a 3-year-old technology website that generated of $80,000 in 2022 alone.
So with more than ten years in the affiliate marketing industry, we think now is the perfect time to partner up and create something bigger – we have the experience, drive, and funds needed.
The Birth of Project G
With the boring stuff out of the way, let’s discuss what you came here for.
The idea for this project was born in November 2022.
As usual, we were discussing our own websites and going over different content strategies. Turned out both of us thought about partnering up with someone for quite some time.
We hopped on a call one night, and in a span of two hours, we essentially agreed on everything.
And we went after it right away.
We laid out everything at the end of November, and by the end of December, we had our website up and running with our custom design, logos, and features we agreed on for a better user experience (UX).
Our first published post was a review of the company that we decided to promote as our #1 recommendation, and it was published on December 19th, 2022.
We then celebrated Christmas, published one more post after on the 24th, and that’s basically it.
Naturally, our December expenses were the lowest, around $600 total.
These were for:
- Three articles from WriterAccess.com
- VoiceOver talent from OnlineJobs.ph
- Astra Pro (WordPress Theme)
- Elementor Pro
With everything set up and ready during December, we were able to start grinding right after New Year’s.
If you’re wondering how many people you will need to hire for a project like this, here is our current team with everyone’s role (this will be updated every month as well):
- Richard (Founder): KW research
- Zarina (Founder): Article editing
- Martin (Designer): Custom graphs, featured images, etc.
- Joseph (Designer): YouTube thumbnails
- Mary (Writer): Article writing
- Eric (Writer): Article writing
- Kyle (Voice Actor): Voiceovers
Yep. Seven people to start with, each focusing on what they do best.
There are three reasons we decided to hire professionals for our team.
First, we have the funds from our own websites, so extra couple of hundred bucks (so to speak) doesn’t hurt too much.
Second, we understand how having a professional design and top quality content can be extremely beneficial for conversions and acquiring leads.
And lastly, we only need one sale in the first three months to be in profit.
If you’re new, this may seem like a lot of people for 1 website, especially when we said this is something you can follow yourself.
But don’t worry – you can do this by yourself. It will take you more time, but once you make consistent sales, you’ll be able to outsource most of your work too.
In fact, we do recommend you start on your own if you’re a beginner – you need to learn all the ins and outs of the business before you start outsourcing.
Start with the Wealthy Affiliate training platform.
This is what both of us did with our own websites a few years ago, and that’s the reason why now we have such great skills.
January 2023: Goals & Process
As mentioned earlier, we didn’t set too many goals, but we sure did set a big one.
$100,000 per month may seem out of reach.
Maybe even laughable.
(Especially if you’re new to the world of affiliate marketing and making money online.)
But both of us believe it is doable, and we’ll do our absolute best to achieve it.
The key to achieving this is in the niche we’re going to pursue.
We decided not to share our niche for now, but might reveal it in the future once we make it work.
What we can say for now is that it’s in the finance/investing sector, and a single sale can earn us anywhere between $3,000-$20,000.
As you can imagine, it’s also extremely competitive.
Every donkey is promoting these companies, and even the low-hanging fruit keywords are dominated by big websites.
So while it’s extremely difficult to get traffic for ‘money’ keywords, we’re confident in our skills.
Not only have we launched a highly-professional website, but we’ve also started a YouTube channel with professional videos and social media pages.
We also plan on doing paid advertising.
This should help us earn our first commissions relatively soon, which we can reinvest back into business and accelerate the whole process.
Here’s a visual checklist of what our goals were for the first month of this year:
And here are our actual results:
We didn’t end up setting up Twitter. It wasn’t our priority; everything took longer than we thought.
Even though we had someone responsible for that in our team, he is also a designer and video editor, so our focus was website featured images, graphics/charts, and videos.
We wanted writers who had a professional background and hands-on experience in our niche.
Our main writer was actually hired in December for 6 cents/word (and then we’ll be paying his standard 8 cents in a few months).
In January, we tried a couple more and kept one of those for 4 cents/word (which is also an initial rate which we’ll raise later).
We use WriterAccess.com (now acquired by RockContent).
I (Zarina) learned about this platform about 1.5 years ago from Miles Beckler, who was speaking very highly of this platform in this video:
Back then, I instantly gave it a try and stayed with them.
While before I didn’t submit orders regularly, with this project, Richard and I using this platform because we needed great writers from the United States with a professional financial background.
If you outsource articles (or plan on doing so), WriterAccess is by far the best one we’ve come across (we tried UpWork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and a couple more).
A word about WriterAccess customer support.
It is outstanding!
The thing is that we had one writer who sounded promising, and we gave him four orders right away. Over a week later, all of those were cancelled and sent back to me.
The writer simply didn’t work on them and didn’t even care to notify us.
I used the platform’s live chat to ask if it’s a normal thing and showed my disappointment that I lost so much time waiting for the articles, which delayed our progress.
They told me my personal customer rep will take care of the situation…
And they did!
They found two writers who were ready to work on two articles each and submit the following day. And now we work with one of them on a regular basis.
I shared this whole situation with Richard, and he was impressed:
Sure, we had our bumps with the content writers.
But these issues were quickly resolved.
So, if you enjoy top-quality service in every sense, then definitely check out WriterAccess.
Amount of articles
Our goal was to have 12 articles published in January.
Now, the whole process of editing, publishing, and adding custom-made images and graphs took quite some time to get going and improve.
And we were close to achieving this goal – 11 posts.
Here’s screenshot of the number of keywords we covered, what type of content it was, when those articles were published, and how much money we paid:
As you can see from this screenshot, we’ve published the following:
- 1 versus post
- 1 listicle
- 2 reviews
- 2 guides
- 5 informational articles
(We tried one writer from UpWork, but ended up sticking with the WriterAccess platform.)
Notice that the last post was published on the 31st.
Even though we didn’t meet our goal of 12 articles in 1 month, I still felt on top of the world!
So much work was done in a fairly short amount of time, especially to produce top-quality content. That’s what really matters.
When Richard and I were discussing our project plan in December, he wanted to focus mostly on the website and only then branch out to YouTube and other areas.
However, I REALLY wanted to cover videos as well because:
- YouTube is traffic on steroids
- Easier to rank sooner there than on Google
- I had the perfect voiceover guy who I work with on other channels
I felt like it would’ve been a waste of time not to leverage this platform right away with our team members and the funds we have to outsource.
Luckily, Richard agreed to do it, and he soon realized that doing YouTube was a smart move by us 😉
Because in January, we only published two videos under 5 mins, which gained over 100 views total, and even generated a couple of leads:
The one downside was that our designer, who’s responsible for visuals, is only available part-time and can’t regularly work on the YouTube videos as well.
So, we knew that we urgently needed to find a video editor, as soon as possible.
Originally, the plan was to just work on the website, maybe have a Twitter account, and then branch out to other platforms.
As you’ve read earlier, we quickly added a YouTube channel to our game plan.
Just to give you context:
It’s a faceless type of videos with our team member Kyle voicing over the text-based content.
And as we listened to Kyle’s voiceovers, we realized that it would be a shame not to share such wonderful voice and quality information with the podcast world.
(Not to mention that we are basically using the same voiceovers for two different platforms. The power of repurposing!)
So, around mid-January, we adjusted and added a podcast to our plan as well.
We just make sure to stitch a “this episode originally aired as a video on YouTube” intro so that there’s no confusion about why we talk about graphs and such when it’s listenable-only content.
Anyway, we published two episodes on Buzzsprout at the end of January:
As you can see, we started with content that is around 5 mins or less and surprisingly had three downloads.
Buzzsprout also allows to connect and share the episodes with other major podcast platforms, so once it’s all connected, we can expect a bigger following.
By the way…
Another reason to publish podcasts is that we will be much faster submitting voiceovers there while we wait for our editor to create a quality video.
Not to mention that over time we’d build a brand across multiple platforms.
Richard and I may have an extensive experience in content websites, SEO, and affiliate marketing, but paid ads… not our forté.
However, we still decided to go for it investing a minimal amount of money.
We emailed over 50 websites where our target audience was hanging out, got a response back from a couple of them, and ended up working with a major news site.
Our agreement was to have one advertisement banner leading to our offer, desktop billboard only, 430k impressions for $600 USD.
The ad went live Jan 30-31, and to our surprise, we gained three leads!
This ad was running for about five days total, which was enough for us to get our feet wet.
We decided that we’ll try making money first using the methods that we know very well how to do, and only then invest into paid ads again.
Summary of goals
As you can see, some of our goals were a bit unrealistic or took longer to realize because we had to deal with a few different things at the same time.
(Not to mention updating our individual websites for 2023!)
But overall, we believe we’ve done a great amount of work in a short period of time, which we KNOW will pay off down the road.
Now, let’s discuss how much did all that cost!?
First Month Expenses
We are not counting December as the first month as it was mostly the ‘development’ stage, although we did mention earlier that it was about $600 of expenses.
In January 2023, however, we spent $2135.10 in total (or $1067.55 each).
A couple of things to note:
1) We paid for the articles submitted, doesn’t mean we publish them in the same month.
2) We realize that not everyone is willing to invest this much money in their first month, but we really want to drive home that this is totally doable for minimum expenses.
Without the paid ad campaign, this would be $1500, and if you’re going to write your own content, you’re looking at around $300-400 for professional graphics, voice-overs, and video editor.
Many people are able to do their own graphics in Canva, so you’ll just need to hire a video editor and a voice actor (if you want to branch out to YouTube), and you’re all set.
First Month Stats & Earnings
This might not come as a surprise to you, but we haven’t made any money in January 😄
I mean, after all, it is our first month of consistent publishing.
And while we were hopeful to make some sales from paid ads, we weren’t setting very high expectations for January.
This month was about laying the foundation and building a team.
As for the stats, here is the screenshot of our Google Search Console:
Pretty sure a couple of those clicks were from us, haha.
And here’s a screenshot of our YouTube channel analytics:
In terms of subscribers, most of them are from our team’s accounts, so that’s not entirely accurate.
But still pretty cool to see some real views.
Summary for January
To summarize everything and to make it easy for those of you who don’t want to read the whole article, we’re going to include this section in each of the twelve posts.
Summary for January 2023
(Please share your thoughts in the comments, whether you think it was a good progress, or what you think about the amount spent.)
Project G Plans for February 2023
So, what are our goals for the upcoming month?
We feel that it’ll still be about laying the groundwork. Specifically, hiring new people and creating the systems for the whole team.
Have a look at this screenshot:
The first task is almost done 🙂
Tools/Resources We Use and Recommend
This section will also be included in each of the upcoming posts.
We’ll share a few tools or services we personally find super helpful – we won’t be sharing anything we don’t use ourselves.
So here it is, the list of useful resources that you can benefit from too:
Wealthy Affiliate – Online business community and training platform.
We just have to share this one.
This is where we started our journey, this is what we owe our success to, and most importantly, this is where we found each other and many other good friends.
Astra Pro – Fast and easy to use WordPress theme.
We did a lot of research on themes going into this project. We wanted something fast and highly customizable.
Astra Pro, coupled with Elementor, fits the bill perfectly.
LinkWhisper – Smart, fast, and easy to use plugin for internal links.
If you’re a pretty experienced affiliate marketer with one or more established websites, we encourage you to check it out.
It’s an impressive tool created by Spencer Haws (the founder of Niche Pursuits), and we didn’t realize just how much it would save time when doing internal linking.
Doing smart internal links is important for SEO purposes, and this plugin can potentially help you improve your Google rankings.
WriterAccess – To hire the best freelancers to streamline your workflow.
As mentioned before, we’ve tried many platforms for hiring freelancers, but WriterAccess is by far the best one. It’s a bit more expensive than others, but they make sure you get professional-level content.
OnlineJobs.ph – To hire affordable freelancers from the Philippines.
On the other hand, if you want to hire someone for cheap, OnlineJobs is amazing for that.
On this platform, you’ll be able to hire full-time video editors and writers for around $700 a month, or doing graphics for $300-400.
For comparison purposes, a full-time video editor or writer would cost you at least a couple thousand dollars in the US.
This is because the cost of living and their wage rates in the Philippines is MUCH lower than in North America. So $700 is considered to be a pretty great full-time salary.
Note: When hiring, be mindful that every profession has different rates, and that in some cases you’d have to train them (for example, writers).
NitroPack.io – All-in-one speed optimization for your website.
With the recent additions of the Core Web Vitals, your website’s speed is more important than ever before.
We’ve had some performance issues for a while, but by adding NitroPack (they have a free plan for up to 5000 page views/mo), everything was solved, and all of our websites are soooo fast now.
Absolutely loving this one.
Overall, these are the tools and platforms that we personally use, love, and recommend.
Of course, it depends on your needs, how skillful you are, and what you do in your online business, but if you’re a content creator/affiliate marketer, then some of these resources might be helpful to you too.
So here you go; these are all the ins and outs of our project.
Don’t worry, the next posts will be shorter 😄
Update: Month 2 progress and our first commissions!
Now we want to hear from you:
- Is there anything we missed when documenting the process?
- Do you have any questions about our project?
Also, if you need a hand with anything, feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.
Share your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for the next post!
I am totally impressed with your strategy and determination. Such a broad and professional approach from all possible sides. Simply amazing. Thank you for such a detailed description of everything you did, and no, do not make it shorter next time, this text has a great informative and teaching value. I wish you two to succeed in this.