It’s the end of the year – and I REALLY need your help

Shane Labs December 20, 2014 14

I’ve been running SideProjectProfit for exactly a year now, and it’s been quite the eye-opening experience. I’ve met tons of bright, motivated individuals just like myself who are sacrificing all their free time to make their side project dreams come true. It’s awesome, but it also comes at a cost to me, which is why I need your help.

Let me explain by first looking back at the last 12 months:

Looking Back at 2014


It’s always important to reflect on your progress – here’s mine over the last year:

Side Projects

  • Counts:
    • 1 site retired (TaskShot)
    • 1 new site (HostBenchmarker)
    • 10 total websites (including this one)
  • Popularity:
    • Most traffic: SongKeyFinder (299,125 visitors)
    • Least traffic: BuyingMyFirstHomeBlog (2,132 visitors)
  • Profit:
    • Most earnings: MoissaniteVsDiamondRings (+$1,217)
    • Least earnings: AmpedSense (-$629)

  • Traffic:
  • Profit:
    • $307 earnings
  •  Social:
    • Twitter followers: 54
    • Newsletter subscribers: 89
    • RSS readers: 16
    • I’m not even going to report facebook likes or google+’s, it’s pretty much nothing.

Looking at those numbers, I’m pretty stoked on my side projects, after all I’m just one guy doing this in his spare time. But how sad are my profit and social numbers for this website??

I need your help

The social stats above show that I’m not appealing to what you (yes, YOU!) want. And with even more limited time now that I have a newborn, it’s evident I need to focus a little better. It’s time consuming to do these profit reports, interviews, and project updates, so I need to know – what do you really want out of this blog?

Seriously – I really want you to let me know. Comment below, respond to one of my emails, or use the contact form.

If I get a lot of great feedback from you all I can cater to exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll be more engaged, and we all win.

And if I don’t get any feedback it’ll be obvious that this blog isn’t benefiting anyone, and that leaves me with more time to work on my side projects in private. It’d actually be nice not to do my monthly profit reports anymore.

Either way I’ll be happy about the response (or lack thereof).

So now’s your chance. Let me know:

  • What do you like most and want more of? Profit reports? My side project experiences? Learning about how others make money? My inner ramblings?
  • What do you hate? Don’t hold back – I can take criticism.
  • Have I inspired you in any way? Care to share your story?

 Happy 2015

As the year wraps up, let me thank you for following along with me. May your holidays be merry and bright, and your future be full of many, many successes. Cheers!

(now tell me what you want!)


  1. Kent C December 23, 2014 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Shane, congrats on your new born. 🙂 It’s always exciting and tiring first year.

    Going forward for 2015, I love to see you focus on your winning business, and see how to take it to $500 or even $1k/mo.

    Your monthly income is inspiring.. maybe share your lessons and how to benefit others.

    • Shane Labs December 23, 2014 at 5:10 am - Reply

      Thanks, Kent! I think you’re right, focus is key – and I’ll try to focus on focusing. Trying to reach $1k is a great goal, and something I feel I can achieve. Will do! Good to hear from ya :)

  2. Arthur December 23, 2014 at 4:23 am - Reply

    I wouldn’t worry too much about “social” numbers. Personally i don’t really use twitter, facebook or g+ (are there actually people using google plus ???) or not that much. I don’t feel like i have enough time for that :). And i don’t use rss that much anymore since the shutdown of google reader.

    Do you have a stat on the opening rate of your emails out of your 89 ? I guess that is the most important metric for me because we all receive tons of email and if people are opening your email, that means they find some interest.

    If you feel like your monthly profit report are taking too much time, you might consider reducing the frequency (every 3 months ?), and removing the part of your report that takes the most time. Or scrap it together if it’s not sustainable.

    I guess you need to find a way to make it sustainable because it takes a long time to build an audience.

    What i like is to see the different side projects you are trying. It keeps my own motivation to continue working on my own side projects.

    • Shane Labs December 23, 2014 at 4:32 am - Reply

      The only reason I fret about the social numbers is because it’s the only hold I have on my audience. If Google decides to change its algorithms overnight and SEO takes a dump, I’d be at square one. But I hear ya, and you’re right – Google+ is dead.

      When I first started the newsletter my open rate was about 90%, which I thought was amazing. Since then the email industry has changed some things (Gmail’s tabs), and I think some of you have become blind to my emails, and the rate went down to an average of 40%. But this last one is back up to 80% – perhaps I need to learn to change my subject line more often? Or maybe it was just good timing with the holidays. It’s great to know there are still people like you that read them!

      Thanks for the input, will definitely spend some more time writing about my specific side projects.

  3. Shane F December 23, 2014 at 4:34 am - Reply

    Shane, really like your site. maybe it’s because my name’s Shane Also. But you’re taking action and that’s what’s most appealing. I look forward to your updates monthly and like that you’re not killing my inbox 🙂

    Things I might me interested in:

    The backstory/origins of your side projects how you came up with the ideas may be of inspirational to some. Did you validate, or was it just solving your own problems, was there an MVP first.

    Maybe a case study on how you choose a side project, launch a side project and the project management behind the project. (I’ve battled with shiny object syndrome an unable to follow through on things in the past so that maybe helpful to others, seems like you’ve not had this issue…being able to ship so many side projects)

    Sounds like your’e more moving to the business/marketing side of thing but I for one am an aspiring developer/programming hobbyist that would like to know more about the mechanics of your projects.

    Hope this is helpful (Selfishly of course I hope you’ll find some common themes with the rest of your audience)

    • Shane Labs December 23, 2014 at 4:39 am - Reply

      Nice name! Do people ever give you movie references to Shane the cowboy?

      You bring up some great topics. Learning how I came up with the ideas, validated them, and the built them is something I think lots of people would enjoy. Most of them have come from a need to solve my own problems, but they each have an interesting story behind them. Will add to the list to write about.

      Good to hear you’re a developer/programmer hobbyist. That’s exactly how I got started and it’s a fun path. Keep with it!

  4. Tito December 23, 2014 at 4:41 am - Reply

    This is Tito writing from Kansas. I am a sideproject guy just like you. I stumbled across your blog sometime back and have been a regular reader of your newsletters. I really appreciate you making time for side projects with a family at home.

    I am much inspired by your efforts and I am also trying to spin out multiple products (currently I have two desktop apps selling as shareware model) gives me enough for gas and utilities.

    What I would like to know is your side project experiences in your future newsletters.

    • Shane Labs December 23, 2014 at 4:45 am - Reply

      That’s a great suggestion, and I’ll try to incorporate more of my side project experience in my newsletters. I know the numbers can be quite bland and you’re not the only one who’s said that before.

      I’m thrilled to hear that you have a few side projects and they sound pretty successful – enough for utilities and gas is quite a chunk of income. Congrats!

  5. Josh D December 23, 2014 at 4:47 am - Reply

    I like the reports. It inspires me to see what works and what doesn’t. I don’t need to follow you on the socials because the reports via email are great and all I want.

    What do you want out of this? Revenue? Increased exposure?

    • Shane Labs December 23, 2014 at 4:53 am - Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to write – I really appreciate it. Validation from people like you is what I need to know that I should keep posting my numbers and writing about this adventure. Will keep it up 🙂

      You bring up a great question, and it’s one that I’ve thought hard about. I’m not looking for fame or to sell you guys anything. I think my number one thing is motivation. Hearing from my followers that they’re interested in what I’ve been doing and that I helped them keeps me passionate to keep going at this. Although I should also mention that I secretly hope that by following my side projects you’ll learn about them and in pass on the word if/when you ever come across someone that could benefit from them.

      Anyway, I just hope that it’s a mutually-beneficial win-win situation for all.

      Good to hear from ya!

  6. Owen M December 23, 2014 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Thought I’d drop you a note to say that I enjoy your monthly newsletters. I have been signed up since around the middle of the year – not sure how I stumbled upon your blog!

    A bit about me: a mechanical engineer by background, more into operations now, from Melbourne, Australia running a startup with a business partner during the day.. and have a few things on the side. My side things are more of physical products at the moment.

    Your Newsletter
    Just have some ideas on how to make them a bit more interesting (at least to me..!).

    – how you came up with ideas (you have a lot of projects, so be good to see where you came up with the ideas. I think hostbenchmarker was due to all of the similar services being rubbish affiliate filled hellholes).
    – what services/products you use for your side projects (any SaaS, plugins and whatnot) with details why (why you use it-savetime, competitors, why chose that exact one).
    – probably less of direct number (e.g. you seem to do a lot of paragraphs of just solely AdSense and traffic numbers: can be a bit boring!).
    – ramblings are great: always good to hear ramblings from people who are doing stuff like this.
    – what successes and fails you had for the month/since last report (e.g. when you got a big traffic spike: we don’t need the Analytics graph, just a brief detail on number, say a normal day is X visits, the spike had 20X visits, where the spike came from and how you got it — mention on XYZ News as I sent the journo a press release type thing).

    Well, this is longer than I intended. But thought you may appreciate someone out their that is reading your mails! (looks like there is only 89 of us?). And you may be sowing the seeds of me starting my own blog/newsletter about what I have going on.

    All the best for Christmas and the New Year, and congratulations on your baby!

    • Shane Labs December 23, 2014 at 5:09 am - Reply

      An engineer, eh? I used to work at an large aeronautics company, so I can appreciate your kind. Impressive!

      All of your newsletter ideas are fantastic – it’s just the level of input I’m looking for. For 2015 I’m planning to spend some more time focusing on the stories behind my side projects – how I came up with them and how they work. Hopefully it’ll be just what you’re looking for!

      Congrats on your success so far, and I’m thrilled to hear you’re pondering starting a community of your own. Let me know when you do, I’ll be first to sign up!

  7. Joey A January 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Hey Shane,

    First let me say that I’ve been inspired by your work (projects) and overall with this site (please don’t go!! …lol). What i am mostly interested in from are your side project experiences and also learning about how others make money (tech related preferably). I do enjoy the profit reports..but if you do decide to scrap it…thats fine. I’m not displeased with anything so keep doing what your’re doing man…I’m sure folks on here including myself will support Thanks for dedicating your time and efforts.

    • Shane Labs January 8, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Hey Joey! That’s so good to hear, and I appreciate you letting me know. Will keep it up, especially about the experiences. Thanks!!

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