Monthly Goals Report for February 2013

By Spencer Haws |

As I sit down to write the monthly report, I realize that its already March 15th!  I’ve let half the month slip by before I even report on what I did last month.

However, in order to stay true to my goal, I feel like I need to provide monthly updates throughout the year on how my goals are going for my business.  You can read my original goals for 2013 right here.

At the beginning of the year, I set 6 business goals that I would like to accomplish.

February Goal Results

Here’s how I did in the month of February:

1. Build 2 Public Niche Sites: I have been making some great progress on my public niche site project.  You can read all the posts right here.  My survival knife niche site is doing VERY well!  In fact, as of this morning, it was ranking #7 in Google for its primary keyword (best survival knife).

As explained in my previous post, I had quite the scare when apparently my site was hit with a Google penalty for using too many affiliate links.  Luckily I was able to figure out what the issue was and regained all my rankings when I removed the affiliate links.

The issue was primarily caused, in my opinion, because of the nearly 100 Amazon affiliate links I had in my knife comparison chart.   I’ve since narrowed that chart down to only show the top 15 survival knifes, and to only use 1 affiliate link per listing.  So far, Google appears to be liking this much better.

I’ve also linked to a page on my site with the full comparison chart with 50 knives.  This separate page is a no-index, no-follow page.

Overall, this goal is going exceptionally well!  I’ve created one site, and hope to be able to do another one near the end of the year.

2. Accomplish at least 1 “Niche Pursuit”: A “niche pursuit” is a small business idea that can be bootstrapped.  Building niche sites is a niche pursuit, but so is selling Amazon kindle books.  Buying and selling used books would also be an example of a “niche pursuit”.   Right now, my focus is on my public niche site project.  However, perhaps in the next month or 2, I can get a voting form in place to let you vote on the niche pursuit you would like to see me try!

3. Double the Average Monthly Unique Visitors to  The traffic to my blog has been very good.  I attribute a lot of that too the public niche site project…people are really liking it!  My goal for the year is to have 400,000 unique visitors (double the unique visitors I had in 2012).  Below is a chart showing that I had 23,452 unique visitors in the month of February:


So, for both Feb. and Jan., I’ve had 45,081 unique visitors to my site!  A significant number, but I need to have quite a bit more if I hope to hit my goal of 400,000 by the end of the year.  (I should be at 66,666 visitors to be on track for my goal).

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4. Double the Affiliate Sales on I saw a small increase of affiliate sales in the month of February.  My top affiliate sales came from:

5. Double my Income from Niche Sites: I am making GREAT progress on this goal.  My niche site income is up about 20% since the beginning of the year.  I have a niche site, that I wrote about previously here, that continues to do well.  In addition, I’ve built a couple of other new niche sites (including my public niche site project) that are doing great.

This goal is definitely a stretch goal, but may actually be doable.

6. Read 1 Business Book Per Month:  In January I read: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh. You can read my review of that book on my last monthly goal report.

In February, I read the book, “The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime” by MJ DeMarco.  I devoured the first couple of chapters, and LOVED what he was saying.  However, something weird happened…he started dragging on hitting the same points over and over and over again.  So, I totally agreed with what MJ was saying in the book, but he could have said it in about a third of the space.

The principles were solid, that true wealth essentially comes not from holding a job and saving for 50 years, but from creating an asset.  One of the best ways to create your own asset is starting a business.  He had some great examples and charts of how creating a business and then SELLING the business is where true wealth accumulation can come from quickly.

However, he spent well over 100 pages simply stating that working at a job and saving in your 401k is not likely to get you rich.  There I said it.

So, did I like the book?  Yes, it had some great thoughts that I agreed with.  However, there was a TON of filler in this book in my opinion.  I should also point out that MJ and I were already on the same page as far as how to truly create wealth.  After all, I’m an entrepreneur and already have a business.

However, for others out there, this book could be a shift in their thinking.  For that reason, I would recommend it.  I’ve had several people tell me that this was an exceptional book or the best book they’ve read. I wasn’t quite as impressed, but overall its worth the read…particularly for those who may not have discovered that entrepreneurship is a WAY better route to wealth than working a regular job.

For the month of March, I’m reading, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini.

In Conclusion

Overall, I think I’ve made some great progress on my goals.  I hope to keep it up for the rest of the year…and thank you for keeping me accountable by reading this!  If you have any comments of questions, please leave a reply below.

Niche Business Ideas | 44 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

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Brian Dean

Looks like another solid month, Spencer. Glad to hear the niche site project scare was quick and (relatively) painless and that you’re on track with your goals for that “Niche Pursuit”.

I also read Tony Hsieh’s book and loved it. Just as an FYI the title is “Delivering Happiness:” not “Delivery Happiness”. : )

Spencer Haws

Thanks Brian! Just fixed the typo 😉


I read the The Millionaire Fastlane last year after hearing the author in an interview with Pat Flynn. I loved the book, but came away not liking MJ DeMarco very much… and I’m not sure why.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that the book completely changed the way that I thought about future businesses. It gets a lot better toward the last third of the book. Awesome information in there. I believe that every Internet marketer (and aspiring business owner) should read it cover to cover.


What impresses me most about your site is the level of engagement of your readers and the sheer volume of commenting. That is very cool and something that I’d love to achieve down the road!


Hello Spencer,

Glad to hear you’re progressing well on your goals.

I can’t believe how fast your site has shot up to 7. That is awesome.

I’d love my site to do the same, but perhaps my research was off.

I have been tempted to try out point blank SEO. Perhaps in the future.

Keep the updates rolling.


Sunil - Money Blog

good stuff Spencer. looks like things are rocking and rolling. great to see niche sites back. looking forward to more in this realm of things.

personally I have shifted focus to my authority site, but am seeing a lot of stability in my portfolio of niche sites. this is still for the most part my online income bread and butter. there are a few sites especially that are doing very well in the lead generation/referral avenue.

on MJ’s book, my sentiments are the same. did not like the delivery at all. the message, while good, is totally lopsided one way. there are plenty of very good things to be said for a solid corporate career as well. he rode a waive through, and what he preaches is not for everyone. many simply don’t have the skill set, nor can they acquire it, to “make it happen”.

congratulations on 2 years of freedom! loved reading the post.

Spencer Haws

I agree Sunil about the book. I also agree that what he teaches is not for everyone…and staying in the corporate world is a better option for many people as well.


Tony’s book is great, I have the audio version and I’ve listened to it twice now!


I think MJ’s book is mostly for those who haven’t already ventured into entrepreneurship.

When I read it, I was at the very beginning of my freelancing career, so I was in a completely different place from where I (or you) am now.

Having said that, MJ’s book is the most influential book I have ever read. I think the repetitiveness is necessary for those who are working in the 9-5 world, because if you don’t hammer it home in the minds of those people, they will unlikely retain the information and thus take no action.

To each his own though 🙂

Spencer Haws

I agree Benji. While I had some issues with it, I still do recommend it.

Tung Tran

I checked today and saw your site was at #7 :).

Congrats Spencer! Your solid keyword research rocks!

I’ve finished the process of planning out the site and started adding content. Had some new idea with internal linking, I will add content to “Category page” instead of normal page :D… It will remove duplicate content issue on category and make it easy to rank because every post has a link to a category under the content.


Hey Spencer! I am really enjoying your blog, I only found out about it about 3 weeks ago, but it has totally re-kindled my desire to build niches sites. So much so, that i decided to do a niche site duel with my Virtual assistant. I kind of thought that would be a unique angle.

Anyhow keep up the great work.

Spencer Haws

Awesome…thanks Moe!

Chris at

Spice it up spencer and write your own book haha. I’m looking forward to your next post on how you push your niche site higher in the rankings. Super excited! Like a 7 year old in a candy store excited. I have lots of sites sitting in that 7-15 rankings game.. Needing some help =D


Those books you mentioned above have great and alluring titles which make me want to read them, but hey, not everyone has the time to read books. Some people are much too occupied improving their business, so it’s definitely more suitable for people who have hit satisfactory heights with their passive income goals. I mean, it’s only when you are making decent passive income that you will be predisposed to devour books, right?

I’m eager to see your site reach the #1 spot from the #7 it’s currently positioned. Keep us updated 🙂

Spencer Haws

Charley, I actually disagree. People can always make time to read…and should. I actually had more time and read more books before I started my business than I do now. If people prioritize they can find time to read/learn.


I can see your website at #2 when i searched in Google (i am in India).

and when i searched in Google encrypted mode i can see your website at #5 !

I have been following you from the day 1 of your niche website project. it is a great achievement for your niche site, its only 1 month or so and your website is on page 1 of Google !!! great work.

eagerly waiting for your post in which you will disclose the link building strategic you took and the website lists 🙂

also can you please share how many visitors are you getting to this website and their source i.e. direct , referrer etc ?

best of luck.

Spencer Haws

Thank you Jameel!


Im in the USA and your site is now #1 man!

Holy smokes…

Spencer Haws

I think you are looking at the wrong site or you must be logged into google :). The site has topped at about #6 in Google so far.


Funny you thought the book was ok. Maybe because I followed MJ’s site from the very beginning and got to see him build up his fan base all the way to launching his book. His book got me to do new things similar to how Robert Kiyosaki’s RDPD got people to invest in real estate. Did you gain any lessons learned or inspiration from MJ’s book?

Spencer Haws

Tom, I’m not saying its a bad book. Just that I had already come to the same conclusion about business that MJ teaches before I read his book. I did really like how he drove home the point that SELLING a business is where the big bucks really come in quick. This got me to really think about my own future. So, that definitely inspired me.


The site is #6 right now. Nice job!

About skimlinks, have you tried out viglink to compare it? These 2 seem to be my alternatives after getting axed by amazon.


It is still sitting at #1 for me.

On another computer the site is at #6.

I guess it really is true that the search results appear differently for different users on different PC’s.

Spencer Haws

I have not tried viglink before.


Thanks for the update Spencer. I’ll be really interested to hear what you think of Cialdini’s book. It’s been a real eye-opener for me!

I’m faithfully following along with your niche site updates and have started a new project of my own along the same lines on my blog 🙂

Spencer Haws

I’m really enjoying Cialdini’s book so far. Lots of great ideas already in just the first few chapters…




Great to hear you’re on page 1 so fast. I have a question about outsourcing some of the writing with textbroker. Do you still check for originality or does textbroker do that automatically for you?

Also would you know if people who are residing outside the US can use textbroker to purchase articles?

Sorry this is a bit off topic.

Spencer Haws

Textbroker automatically checks for copied content via copyscape. If it doesn’t meet a certain threshold, the author cannot submit it. I’m not sure if users outside the us can purchase articles, but I would assume yes.

Tung Tran

You’re on #1 now… awesome Spencer

Spencer Haws

No, not yet :).


I can’t believe how fast this is happening to your website. Mine is not even ranking in the first thousand spots. Maybe it has something to do with the content, it is true that I have only 6 posts published.

Oh well, will have to wait some more.


Great book recommendations, I just picked up all the ones you recommended though your links.


I’ve gone through the different posts about the niche site a couple of times now and still amazed at the little gems you’ve placed for each of the 9 posts (so far).

I know this is based on experienced, and the answer can really vary depending on where you end up in the Google rankings, but for someone starting out, can you explain how to estimate how much exact monthly searches to go for (like what is enough, and what ends up not really worth your time)?

I remember you mentioning that you took 4,500 searches/mo. because you’re targeting $500/mo. after 6 months or so. Whereas other times about 2,500 searches, which goes to about $50-100/month. A rough estimate of sorts would really be appreciated.

Thanks again.


Do you think having all the people that follow your blog visit your niche project site will skew the results? It will certainly help you reach your goal, as it helped Pat Flynn.

Either way, the goal is making money so how you get to #1 isnt important, but might be difficult to replicate.


I thought this… surely all the people visiting your website from here or searching on google then visiting it is helping with the serps

I am sure people are looking around the site also so its bringing the bounce rate down.

Everyone do not have that kind of support as there building there niche sites in secret…

Maybe i am wrong but i personally see this as a clear advantage over everyone elses niche projects ?

Spencer Haws

Its possible Adam. I really don’t know how having visitors affects my sites ranking. It could affect bounce rates and time on site, but generally Google still has other core factors (keyword relevancy, quality of content, links, etc) that it uses to rank sites. Its a case study that can hopefully can help others achieve similar results.


Best of luck to your new site. For business books, I would strongly recommend ” The wealth of nations”, “The Greatest Salesman in the World”, ” The One Minute Manager” and “Reengineering the Corporation”.

Spencer Haws

Thanks for the suggestions Michael! I actually read “The Greatest salesman in the world” and REALLY liked it! I’ve cracked The wealth of Nations, but never been able to make it through 🙂

Yeok Heng

I would recommend you to go for Amazon Kindle ebook for your next niche pursuits. I published my first ebook and the sales continue every month with minimum work. Looking to publish my second and third book by end of this month.

Spencer Haws

I’ve always been interested in this, but have yet to try it.

Casey Dennison

Your niche site is sitting at #4 for “best survival knife” – Pretty solid keyword research.

Spencer Haws

Wow, looks the same on my end…that’s the highest I’ve seen it! Looking great…and yes it’s all about the keyword research; because I’ve actually done very very little link building.

Aleshia Green

Hi Spencer,

I like the fact that you are reading books to keep up your business momentum and state of mind. I have not read the books you mentioned nor heard of them, but I recently came across the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I actually found this book on for free using a 30 trial. This book is becoming a little popular, at least among some people on Facebook. It is all about changing the mindset and understanding how others think.

I have only just begun the audio..but so far it is really good.

I recommend it for anyone whether you get the book or audio.

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