Welcome to our Project G Challenge, where we (Richard and Zarina) share everything we do to try to go from $0 to $100K per month within a year.
As you can tell from the title, by August 2023, with lots of work and seeing little return on investment, we’re feeling highly demotivated and burned out.
We feel it’s important to share because EVERYONE experiences that at some point of their online journey.
For us, even writing these Project G monthly reports are a challenge now, but we’re still doing it because we promised to do it for at least a year.
(And we’re keeping that promise.)
Now, if you’re new here, read these posts first:
In the beginning of our journey, we shared that we’re in a very expensive niche that has the potential to bring us high commissions.
But we’re also in a super competitive one, and as you can guess already, this definitely turned out to be a challenge.
In this post, we’ll be covering our Month 8 progress and what milestones we reached (or haven’t reached).
So, grab a coffee, and let’s get started.
In our first post, we shared that for this project, we had 7 people involved who do what they are best at.
Here’s our current team and their roles:
- Richard (Co-founder): KW research
- Zarina (Co-founder): Article editing
- Martin (Designer): Custom graphs, featured images, etc.
- Joseph (Designer): YouTube thumbnails
- Kyle (Voice Actor): Voiceovers
- Sonny (Video Editor): Faceless YouTube videos
- Kim (Writer/Editor): AI content editing
While we kept working with the same guys for the most part, we made some changes in July.
We had a shift in strategy and ChatGPT to create content to speed up the process, and also had to let go of our expensive American writer.
Instead, we work with Kim we hired from OnlineJobs.ph, who does the first round of editing the AI content and making sure it has the human touch and sound.
As mentioned in the July report, the way it goes now is:
- Richard: submits decent AI content
- Kim: fact-checks and edits using originality.ai detection tool
- Zarina: final round of editing, image/video embeds, optimization
While I continue to give feedback to Kim about the way I’d like to have intros etc to have better quality, she keeps getting better, and our workflow seems to be a bit faster.
And we’re happy with the amount of articles we produced in July and August.
August 2023: Goals & Progress
Right now we set pretty simple monthly goals.
Here’s a visual checklist of what they were for the eighth month of this year:
Here are the actual results:
Even though we let our original writer go, focusing on AI content as a team (the way I explained it earlier), helped us produce great, pretty human sounding content at a much faster pace.
In July and August we managed to publish twice as many words of what we used to without AI’s help.
Have a look:
As you can see from this screenshot, we published:
- 2 listicles
- 11 informations articles
- 23,665 words in total
Clearly, with AI we publish more content/words lately.
You might have noticed that we started posting a lot of info articles, and there’s a reason to that.
We started slowly getting out of Google’s sandbox and having our content ranked, and the lower competition info keywords Richard chose should help us get ranked easier.
Plus, they should do fairly well on YouTube as well.
No news here.
We have Pinterest and Twitter accounts set up, but it’s not our focus.
For now, our main energy goes towards building out the website and YouTube channel.
Our monthly goals when it comes to YouTube videos is to try publishing at least 8 videos.
In August we published 6 videos, BUT 4 of them were super lengthy (between 15-20 mins) and pretty challenging, so we’ll take that as a win.
(Keep reading for the YouTube stats later.)
Our goal was 8 episodes as usual, but in August we ended up publishing only 5 episodes.
The stats for the month are pretty average:
The downloads are a little bit up from June and July, but pretty average still.
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we don’t think our podcast listeners actually click on our links in the episode descriptions; however, we believe that it’s a great idea to build a brand.
The more quality content you pump out, the more likely people will notice you, trust you, and choose to buy from/through you.
In August, we didn’t do any paid ads.
We’ve been investing a lot of money into this project without virtually any ROI, so we wanted to take it easy with paid methods and focus on what we do best – creating and publishing top-quality content.
(Even with AI’s help.)
In August, we managed to attract 2 leads, but unfortunately, they weren’t qualified:
If you look at the screenshot, you’ll see that we had 66 unique visitors and a 3.03% conversion rate, which is ok.
More importantly, we gained these leads organically, so it’s in our hopes that producing even more text-based and video-based content will result in more sales and conversions.
We really hope so!
It’s important to share that by the end of August we started experiencing a MASSIVE burnout and a high level of demotivation.
Yes, we reduced some of our expenses and started using edited AI content to speed up the process, but when it comes to mental state, finances, and motivation, we’re basically running on fumes.
We try to remind ourselves that making 1-2 sales will cover all our previous expenses, and it’s still worth continuing even if we make sales 1-2 years later.
Plus, once we see a significant ROI, we’ll be more comfortable scaling the content production and investing in paid ads.
If you’re new or even an experienced marketer/content creator, be aware that the periods of burnout and not being motivated will take place on your journey.
But having a great team/partners, as well as systems in place will be helpful.
You can also join platforms like Wealthy Affiliate to connect with like-minded entrepreneurial folks, learn from them, and have a boost in motivation.
You can also join our Telegram channel, because Richard and I certainly have a lot to share, especially if you decide to try the same niche that we do.
With this comment out of the way, let’s talk about our expenses for August.
Eighth Month Expenses
As for August, we had lower expenses than the month before. We spent $794.5 in total (or $397.25 each).
Considering that we already invested a lot of money in Project G in the beginning of the year, I’m glad that we keep our expenses under $1000/month.
While also publishing more text-based content thanks to AI.
Eighth Month Stats & Earnings
In this section, we’re going to take a closer look at our website traffic and YouTube statistics.
Our organic traffic is slowly growing, in fact it almost doubled from our May traffic which was 114 clicks.
In June, we had 178 clicks and 30.5k impressions.
In July we had 213 clicks and 37.1k impressions.
And in August, we had 228 clicks and 36.3k impressions. See below:
The numbers on Google Analytics (organic and referral traffic) show that we had an overall decrease from previous months, only 367 users on the site:
(For reference, in July we had 324 users.)
Now let’s talk about YouTube.
This platform is a very important part of our strategy, and even though we don’t publish as much content as we wish we did, we try our best and focus on top quality only.
We hit a bit of a bump in terms of views in May and June, but in July one of the videos went kinda viral which improved the amount of views for the month.
To remind you, in July, people watched our videos 4,791 times because of the second last video of the month:
Unfortunately, in August we didn’t go viral and didn’t gain as many views, but the results are still pretty decent.
We published 6 videos, 4 of which were super lengthy, and people watched our videos 3,752 times according to YouTube analytics tab:
We gained 37 new subscribers (and probably lost some too), so by the end of August we had around 430 subscribers in total.
I’m thinking of trying to do remixed videos again every once in a while, especially when we wait for long videos for a while, and see how they can help us with getting more people to land on our channel.
In any case, YouTube is a HUGE focus for us now.
We’re in a competitive niche, so the website is taking a long while to get ranked, meanwhile the videos get decent views.
August Summary (Earnings, Expenses & Traffic)
Eh, this section will show red numbers again, but we don’t despair and keep posting great content to the best of our ability.
Here is the summary:
Project G Plans for August 2023
Nothing fancy with our plans, sticking to the same old good content strategy.
Probably will keep publishing over 20K words per month thanks to ChatGPT, which is reflected in our September’s list of tasks/goals:
As you can see, pretty simple and straightforward.
Tools/Resources We Use & Recommend
This section is included in every post.
This is where we 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.
OnlineJobs.ph – To hire affordable freelancers from the Philippines.
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 designers 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 wage rates in the Philippines are 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.
Originality.ai – AI content checker/detection tool.
Lately, AI tools for writing content have become VERY popular among freelancers, so make sure to scan every single article for AI-generated content.
We like originality.ai for its simplicity, affordability, and accuracy.
Ahrefs – SEO, keyword, competitor analysis tool.
We started using it again for keyword and competitor research.
One of the popular tools, but quite a bit expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you can invest in it for a month to gather info and keywords, and then cancel the subscription.
Well, eight months of hard work are behind.
We hope that going forward; we’ll see more rankings and more traffic to our website. And more traffic means potential leads and sales.
At this point, it’s challenging to keep going, being demotivated and burned out, but we have experience and expertise on our side, so we just keep plugging away and pivoting when needed.
READ NEXT: Project G Challenge: The Struggle Continues (Month 9)
I’ll keep repeating this like a parrot, but remember that REAL BUSINESS TAKES REAL WORK.
Feel free to join our Telegram group; while we’re not yet active there, it’s still a good idea to join and have access to us should you have any questions.