December 2021

By: 
Tom Qiao
 | 
Updated: 
January 10, 2022
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Happy new year and a warm welcome back to Flexibility Is Freedom!

December was a busy month to close out yet another crazy (but at least productive) year.

Back in November, I successfully signed my first real estate transaction and I'm pleased to report that I closed on the property just before Christmas! #thanksSanta

I'm very excited to own my own place and live independently!

While it's not quite what I had in mind when I set out on my journey for flexibility and freedom, I believe it's the best decision I can make to counter the global (COVID variants) and macroeconomic (inflation and supply shortages) headwinds.

Meanwhile, TheDermDetective.com continued to perform in line with expectations - clocking in another $1,500+ per month (the 5th consecutive month of earning over $1,000).

And unlike last year, when I lost 70% of my traffic to the December 2020 Core Update, my website has managed to benefit from the 3 core updates this year in June, July, and November.

However, I know that it's only a matter of time before the next major obstacle comes my way, whether it's a Google Update, Amazon Associates rate cut, or another COVID variant.

That's why I remain laser-focused on setting actionable goals and building a detailed road map for a successful and productive 2022. Onwards and upwards! 🗻

Key Metrics (December 2021)

  • Revenue: $1,522 (-8% MoM, +363% YoY)
  • Sessions: 15,045 (+15% MoM)
  • RPM: $101 (-20% MoM)
  • Amazon Risk: 36% (up from 32% last month)

In December, revenue dropped slightly from November's record high levels - with last month edging out thanks to the signifiance of Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales.

Meanwhile, traffic actually increased to a record high of 15,000+ sessions, driven by increased clicks to a wide variety of pages, including new content.

That's a good sign as traffic was previously very concentrated in a handful of blog posts.

RPM slid 20% back into the $100 range (down from $126 in November 2021) while Amazon risk crept up to 36% from 32%.

Overall, business performance was still excellent and the website continues to hold its gains from the July 2021 Core Update.

Key Metrics (Annual 2021)

  • Revenue: $10,161 (+4% YoY)
  • Sessions: 94,716 (-26% YoY)
  • RPM: $108 (+41% MoM)
  • Amazon Risk: 38% (down from 60% last year)

In 2021, revenue barely budged from 2020 due to 5-7 months of low traffic and low revenue following the December 2020 Core Upate.

However, this was offset by a full recovery in July 2021 and 5 months of $1,000+ performance.

(at the current level of monthly income, the annualized revenue would be $18,000+)

Overall traffic declined 26% to 94,716 from 127,484 but this was more than offset by a higher RPM of $108 (+41% MoM).

Finally, and most significantly for this year, Amazon risk dropped from 60% down to only 38%, reflecting a successful shift to more profitable third-party merchants.

2021 in Review

I'm in the process of reviewing & reflecting on my progress in 2021 and making plans for a successful & productive 2022.

While I did not meet my revenue goal of $2,000 per month at the end of 2021, I did manage to successfully recover traffic and revenue for TheDermDetective.com to pre-Dec 2020 levels and grow it slightly to achieve a record high of $1,600+ in November 2021.

In addition, I finally pulled the trigger on outsourcing and hired my first couple freelancers including a talented content writer and virtual assistant.

And finally, I managed to make a strategic pivot in Q4 as part of my desire for home ownership, which included starting a new job at a digital agency. So it's been a busy & exciting time!

All in all, I still consider 2021 a very successful year. I believe I've set the foundations in place for more sustainable growth in the years to come.

Stay tuned for my 2021 annual report and next steps 2022 posts!

To Flexibility and Freedom,

Tom

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