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It’s been a while since we’ve done our “monthly” business updates. I’m honestly surprised we made it so many months in a row sharing these updates before we dropped off!
You can blame the fact that we had an amazing RV trip across England and Wales (watch it on Youtube!) and we’ve been living in Portugal these past few months.
Are those reasons to not blog? I hope so. Okay if you’re new around here, here’s the speel:
In December we bought a new business! We’ve started something like five businesses over the years and this was our first time to ever buy a business. We were excited, ambitious, and a little out of our depth as we set goals for growing this new business. (Spoiler alert: if this is the first acquisition update you’ve read, it’s been going better than expected!)
Our goal on the blog is to share the ups and downs of our experience buying our first business (so you can learn from our mistakes!).
As a whole, the blog is focused on helping you make your RV feel like home and the renovated RV marketplace helps people sell their beautifully restored RVs. (Featured image credit goes to @BBandtheRV for one of the more unique toy hauler renovations I’ve seen lately!)
Okay, let’s get into it!
What Went Well in Q3
Lets recap July, August, and September shall we? (Yes, that’s how late this is. But I kept notes from July planning to write this month ago, so we are going with a mega recap today!)
We hit a major goal.
Our goal for RV Inspiration for 2023 was simple, straightforward, and completely unattainable. We want to triple our ad revenue. Ad revenue averaged $129 in 2022 (before we owned the site) and in our first month of owning the business, it averaged only $64. We (foolishly?) decided that our goal was to triple the 2022 revenue and hit $400/day.
This was inherently a silly goal since RVing is seasonal and we knew that by September our numbers would start going down steadily.
But, somehow, for one GLORIOUS DAY, we HIT THAT GOAL:
Literally for one day only.
We were in Wales at the time and didn’t even notice the spike until a few days later, so we had no clue how or why this day was so particularly amazing.
Then I got on my phone to Google something and saw this:
We were right at the top on Google Discover! I click on Google Discover articles all the time, so I have no doubt this feature is why our traffic went crazy bonkers on this day. (How did this article get chosen by Google to be on Google Discover, not sure completely. It’s only happened a couple of times, and I would love for it to happen more!)
Did the $450+ days continue? Nope. Not even close. We had a few $300+ days though.
But I’m the boss so I say that we nailed this goal, even if it was only once.
Our actual daily average for ads ended up like this for the quarter (more numbers below):
- July $211
- August $232
- September $228
Not triple and not even double that original $129 average, but still a major increase.
(Also why did we not make it our goal to triple our daily average of $64? If that was the goal, we slayed it!!)
Getting Ahead on Content
The first week of August, we moved out of our house so we could move to Europe for the rest of the year (where I’m currently typing). I knew I would be off of my computer for a month, so I sat down and cranked out a ton of content! This was a major win in that it meant we didn’t have to worry about the business while we were traveling across the UK.
Subtle hint that you should be watching our UK series:
Funnel Me In
When we bought the business, it came with a BUNCH of funnels. I mentioned in a previous update that many of these emails from the old owner were pretty personal and needed to be updated.
I had the main funnel updated soon after buying the business, but in Q3 I finally got them all updated. (There were over a dozen so this took some time!) We also had a process set up for members of our Facebook group to be added to our funnels, so we were growing our email list steadily.
This is a super not-sexy thing that went well. But automations make a business run smoothly, right?
What Didn’t Go Well in Q3
Here’s how I dropped the ball.
And Now I’m Behind Again 😪
After scheduling content out for six weeks, we made it to Portugal thinking that once the kids were in school, we would be back behind our computers working. Not the case. We were adjusting to living in a new country, meeting new friends, and it was harder than I thought it would be to get back into the swing of the business after taking a month off.
This is the third month I’ve taken off while we’ve had this business—and by taking off I mean not opening my laptop cause I’ve been in Japan, New Zealand, England, and Portugal.
Taking off in August was very different than taking off in the spring. I think because even though the content was scheduled and I had an editor managing things, we had started to double our content in July. My brain wasn’t ready to come back to double the workload. I had lofty expectations that I could jump right back into the swing of things, but instead, I came back seriously overwhelmed and struggling to get a grasp on the business. This was also because of some other things that went poorly this quarter…
Building a Writing Team
I have been dragging my feet on building a team. This is something I still hadn’t tackled in Q3, even though in Q3 we went from publishing one blog a week and one newsletter a week to TWO. We doubled our content (this should be listed as a win!) but this meant I was doing 100% of the writing and writing 8 articles a month.
I’m not a natural team builder or manager, so thinking of running a business that employs a bunch of people, even just contract writers, is overwhelming for me.
This is something I should’ve done earlier in the business, but nine months in it still hadn’t happened. (Write it down on my to-do list for Q4, will ya?)
Hello Tech Issues
August and September were the months of tech issues. Daily I was hearing from our VA about new issues on the site. We got a few customer complaints. I swear the theme was glitching like crazy. Links were breaking, listings disappearing, spam messages coming in, the list goes on and on.
It felt like the Renovated RV marketplace was out to get me.
I’ll share the numbers in a second, but emotionally, this business had me at the end of my rope and ready to let it go.
I think this is where it’s important to note that business success isn’t all about the money. At least not for me. For investors, sure. For finance people, sure. But I would like to enjoy what I do every day. And I ended our June recap saying just that. I love running RV Inspiration. It’s so much fun and very much in line with the things I want to do with my life.
I took over the marketplace over the summer (Heath was working on YouTube and our VA had a baby). With all the issues and it being put in my lap right before we moved to Europe, I’ve been overwhelmed. A lot. And often. So even though you’ll see in the numbers that it’s doing great as a business, I’ve toyed with the idea of selling it off or shutting it down.
(Bring on your business advice and encouragement in the comments. I’m very much at a loss for what to do next!)
Okay back to something straightforward.
Gimme the Numbers
July Revenue Breakdown
Amazon Affiliates: $1,800.51
Other affiliates: $571.93
Total: $11,328.52 (a little more than June)
August Revenue Breakdown
Amazon Affiliates: $1,261.29
Other affiliates: $381
Total: $11603.10 (new best month ever!!)
September Revenue Breakdown
Listings: $2,222.30 (best month ever for listings!)
Amazon Affiliates: $1,116.88
Other affiliates: $1,269.35
Total: $12,343.13 (new, new best month ever!!!)
Revenue Deep Dive
We’ve grown every month since we bought the business 😮 🥳
Best Month Ever for Listings
With RV season winding down at the end of summer, people started listing their RVs. We were getting new listings almost every single day! This was exciting, stressful, probably one of the reasons why the site was having so many errors, and amazing.
We’ve consistently had over 70 RVs listed on the site for the last few months and currently have over 80 listed. (We had I think 13 when we bought the business, so this is pretty wild growth, if you ask me!)
Check Out Those Affiliates
Affiliate revenue fluctuates crazy month-to-month, but it’s been steadily ticking upward all year. To cross over $1,000 in affiliate revenue + to earn over $1,000 specifically from Amazon is way more than I expected. Also, YAY!
I’ll share more about affiliate revenue and why I think it’s been doing so well in our October recap 😉
Back to that “Triple the Revenue” Goal
When we said our goal was to triple ad revenue, we calculated that $400/day for a month = $12,000 in revenue. In my head, this was always the actual revenue goal number.
And in September, we hit it!
This was especially thrilling since I assumed traffic would take a major hit when school started/RV season ended.
Instead of hitting that number with ads alone, we’ve gotten better at diversifying and growing other income streams too. That’s been essential since you never know when Google will change the algorithm on you…
I know it’s time for things to slow down for the season (historically November-February is much lower than other months). But it feels like we’re ending the season on a high note.
I’m the sole driver of this business.
That is intimidating, scary, and a little empowering. Heath has always been the entrepreneur in our family and I’ve been more of a worker bee. Give me a task, and I’ll get it done. This has been my first time guiding the ship, which, as I’ve shared in this post, has gotten the best of me at times. Heath and I started this journey together, but now that he’s exploring other business ideas, I’ve shouldered more of this business (than I can perhaps handle).
But when I look back at just how much the business has grown, it’s kind of jaw-dropping to know that I did that. I have 3x’ed (tripled?) this business in less than a year. I’m starting to be a little more out of my depth, but that’s where you really grow, right?
Looking back on Q3 and looking forward to the end of the year, I’m focusing on taking the reins now that the business is fully mine and not a shared responsibility. I’ll be building a team and reinvesting back into the business so it will continue to grow. This quarter is when I’ve most started to feel like I’ve exhausted my knowledge and my skill set. I’m pushing against the edge of what I know how to do, and it’s time to find a seasoned blogger and mentor who can teach me how to take this business to the next level.