I have been following Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income (SPI) podcast and blog for about the last 6 months. On SPI, Pat shares his journey and insights with internet marketing and digital business ventures, he also conducts interviews of other successful digital business leaders as well. Like a lot of Pat’s followers, some of my favorite articles are Pat’s monthly income reports .
In these reports, Pat shares background and context about what initiatives he had going on that month, what he learned, and most important to this article, how much he earned and from which sources. Pat started this report in October 2008, and has consistently published this report every month since, with only one minor miss in 2011 where two months were combined into one, but we wont hold it against him.
Ever since I started following the SPI blog and podcast, I have been really interested in starting an internet business, utilizing the insights and lessons learned from Pat and other thought leaders in that industry. One of my favorite inspirational speakers Jim Rohn as said:
“If you want to be wealthy, study wealthy people”
Taking Jim Rohn’s advice to heart, I have taken the data that Pat has shared since 2008, entered it into a central spreadsheet, and utilized the data visualization software Tableau in order to study and learn from it.
Pat himself provides a disclaimer on his website in regards to this data, calling out that these are approximate values and don’t account for fees, refunds to customers, and other costs. Pat also now includes his expenses in his reports as well, but for simplicity, I have not included those figures into my data. Also, because I copied this data manually, it is possible I made a couple mistakes in the data list. I did double check my figures, mainly because I caught a large miss on my part, but I would bet that I got everything 100% correct.
Year by Year By Source
In this graph, you can see how Pat’s amazing journey has lead to a huge income growth in just 6 years. In 2008, Pat reported just under $30,000 from October till the end of December. This sum equated to an daily average of $324 over a 92 day period, which would had resulted in $118,260 over a full calendar year.
For complete years, Pat saw the most gains between 2010 and 2011 with about a 120% increase, that’s more than double in one year on a income already in the six figures. In both 2010 and 2011, Pat’s biggest income source was affiliate marketing, bringing in $95,450 in 2010 and increasing about 185% in 2011 to $272,371.
Since learning about some of the various internet income sources being shared, I have been interest in affiliate marketing, so this was great for me to see how this passive source can be a viable income, with the right strategy and the right amount of traffic. In the chart above, affiliate marketing is colored blue, to which you can see is Pat’s dominant income source since 2010.
Income by Source
Just to show how strong affiliate marketing represents Pat’s overall income, above is a chart that only displays each of the different income sources reported across all six years.
Over the last six years, Pat has reported a total of about $1.4 million in affiliate marketing earnings, averaging out to about $231,250 a year.
Pat achieved this incredible amount by creating a large community of followers that trust him and his product recommendations, so emulating these results wouldn’t be easy, but is definitely worth the investment of my time and energy.
One of the major drawbacks I have seen when reviewing this data is the lack of consistent incomes Pat’s month to month. I can only image how I would feel if I made x amount in January and half that amount in the next month, however I feel this risk exists with any type of business, internet or not.
Most Profitable Months
Overall, Pat’s monthly average has risen year by year, however there are some unique months to call out. His most profitable month in this bubble graph in July 2013, representing $112,356 in gross income. Pat’s least profitable month in 2013 was $53,774 in October 2013, less than half of his income in July.
Pat’s least profitable month was his first, October 2008 with $7,907. I don’t mind saying that I make less than $7,907 a month currently, and that’s based on my 50 hour a week salary.
This type of income is definitely not for everyone. You need to be passionate about the internet, sharing & creating valuable content, and learning the tools of the trade to measure and increase your results. I have been studying affiliate marketing in my free time for several months and I still have a lot to learn, but similar to Pat and other leaders in this space, I have decided to get started despite my lack of mastery, because i am ready to learn in the most beneficial way possible, by doing.
To view an interactive version of these charts, see my public Tableau workbook below: