I Made $920.26 Internet Profit in 2023

Making Internet money is kinda cool. As I wrap up 2023, I decided to jot down the various Internet revenue streams that I have made throughout the year. However, little did I anticipate the nuances involved.

Ironically, I usually pride myself on being a well-organized person. But honestly, I never anticipated that these inconsequential ventures would bring in any money. So, here I am, realizing I never bother to consolidate everything into a single place. Oops.

So, I ended up finding myself jumping from one platform to another, navigating through a maze of dashboards. It felt like a digital treasure hunt just to nail down the right numbers.

Anyway, let’s see…

TL;DR

In the year 2023, I made a total profit of $920.26 (USD):

  • Income: $1027.66
  • Expenses: -$107.40

Revenue

Total: $1,027.66

Medium Partner Program

Income: $229.70

All of my latest articles find their first home on jerrynsh.com. At the same time, they are automatically cross-posted to Medium.com using Zapier:

Zapier cross-posting automation
Zapier cross-posting automation

So, here's the revenue breakdown by month in 2024 (cutoff on 28 December 2023):

Month Revenue ($) After Tax ($)
Jan 27.20 19.04
Feb 23.92 16.74
Mar 13.58 9.51
Apr 13.62 9.53
May 15.64 10.95
Jun 14.98 10.49
Jul 22.85 15.99
Aug 9.37 6.56
Sep 21.36 14.95
Oct 22.83 15.98
Nov 15.32 10.72
Dec 127.49 89.24
Total 328.16 229.70

As you can see, most months didn't bring in much, except for the final month when a post about my adventures in automating stuff gained some traction on Medium.

Oh, It's worth noting that I am paying a whopping 30% withholding tax! Ouch.

Screenshot from my Medium Partner Program dashboard
Screenshot from my Medium Partner Program dashboard

As I was documenting everything, I started to wonder how this compare to last year. Turns out, I’m down by 64.5%. Yeah, a substantial drop from last year. Oh well.

My Stripe dashboard (excluding December's earnings)
My Stripe dashboard (excluding December's earnings)

Overall, I think Medium is not a bad distribution channel for people who already write.

Google AdSense

Income: $117.73 (~$155.94 SGD)

If you've read some of the posts on jerrynsh.com, you may have come across some ads (unless you're using an ad-blocker, of course).

Just a glimpse of my AdSense dashboard
Just a glimpse of my AdSense dashboard

Obviously, the earnings numbers don't mean a thing on their own.

Looking at the views, I'm hitting the 11k mark every month recently. It's kind of wild to think people would want to hang out here on my little corner of the Internet.

Views (2023 vs 2022)
Views (2023 vs 2022)

Beyond that, you guys are spending an average of 1 minute and 45 seconds reading stuff here on this blog.

Engagement Time (2023 vs 2022)
Engagement Time (2023 vs 2022)

About 70% of this traffic comes from organic search, which I think is great.

Traffic Source (2023 vs 2022)
Traffic Source (2023 vs 2022)

Now, full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of most ads, but they pull their weight by helping cover my costs for my tiny projects.

Having said that, I'm eyeing a switch to EthicalAds or Carbon Ads next year. The plan is to bring in more relevant and less intrusive ads.

Affiliate/Referrals Rewards

Income: $635.00

This year, somehow, by some dumb luck, I've managed to pull in some decent cash through affiliate/referral links that were scattered in my blog posts a year or two ago:

  1. Nium — $100.00
  2. ScraperAPI — $535.00

I reached out to Nium around 2-3 years ago, but I haven't been writing much about them since the partnership started. Most of them came from a single blog post that I wrote back in Jan 2020.

Nonetheless, I genuinely like their service for money transfers compared to the traditional banking hassle and fees for foreign transactions. Although, I'm not sure how long this revenue stream will keep flowing.

On the other hand, the money brought in by ScraperAPI is quite decent this year. Though, most of my earnings from them come from one loyal user (talk about putting all your eggs in one basket).

I'll be honest, the sustainability of this income source seems a bit iffy. We'll see how it goes.

Tournacat

Income: $40.23

Let me introduce you to Tournacat, my little brainchild from this year. It's a simple Google Calendar workspace add-on that syncs upcoming Esports matches/tournaments right to your Google Calendar.

How Tournacat Pro created Esports calendars and events look like.
How Tournacat Pro created Esports calendars and events look like.

Seriously, if you're into Esports, you should totally give it a try — you won't be disappointed!

Tournacat is free to use from the get-go. But, if users feel a bit fancy and opt for the Pro plan for just $2.50/month (which comes with a purchasing power parity discount too!), they can unlock some pretty neat features.

Oh, sorry for the sales pitch — here’s the breakdown of how much it made:

Lemon Squeezy payout page
Lemon Squeezy payout page

For now, I'm letting it grow organically. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, as long as the cost of growth is covered, I'm okay with giving away free stuff.

Donations

Income: $5.00

After years of setting up Ko-fi, I finally got my first donation. I actually did end up buying myself a cup of coffee that day.

Donation email from Ko-fi
Donation email from Ko-fi

Cost/Expenses

Total: -$107.40

Domains

Cost: -$29.64

So far, I've only got 3 domains in my collection: jerrynsh.com, tournacat.com, and burplist.com. Each of them set me back $9.88, summing up to $29.64 for the year.

I've hitched my domain registration and DNS wagon to Cloudflare. Their all-in-one service suits me well, making management a bit easier.

Hosting

Cost: -$77.76

After making the shift from Heroku, my projects now call three different Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) homes. The good news? Most of them still don't cost me anything yet. The hassle is well worth it I suppose.

However, there's one exception — a Digital Ocean droplet that's currently setting me back $6.48/month. Do the math for a year, and we're looking at $77.76 (taxes included).

Looking down the road, I do expect to start paying for Cloudflare Workers because of Tournacat. I really like them, but yeah, we'll see how that unfolds.

What are you doing with these profits?

The responsible thing would be to invest in the stock market or something. But nahhhhhh...

Well, buying coffee seems like a solid plan, right? Isn't that the point of Ko-fi? Jokes aside. Honestly, no concrete plans. Maybe snag a few more domains for some ideas at the back of my head.

On a side note, I did manage to snatch a couple of games that run well on the Steam Deck. I'm really excited to play them!

Looking into 2024

So, the big question: Do I expect profit/revenue to shoot up? Probably not.

Why? Well, most (if not all) of the revenue sources are inconsistent — take those affiliate links, for example. Without those, the profit numbers would have been down from last year.

Another chunk of the revenue is tied to this blog post (plus cross-posting on Medium). Growing blog traffic is a challenge for me because I don't bother much with SEO or self-promotion on social sites like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Closing Thoughts

This blog was largely inspired by a read at “Xe's blog made $2564.42 in profit last year”.

If my younger self were to ask myself about starting a blog solely for the extra cash, I'd say think twice. As you can see, it's not the most profitable idea for the most part. The return on investment (time and effort) is very tough to justify, financially.

I think what kept me going was the fun I got out of writing stuff and the opportunity to talk to random people on the Internet.

Learnings

I'm no hero, but this year taught me that I'm genuinely happy when people use or read the stuff I made — whether it's a blog, software, or projects. Even if no money is rolling in. So please keep sending your random DMs/requests my way.

Earlier in my career, I always thought everything I invested time and effort in must somehow turn into some form of financial gain; otherwise, I was just wasting my time. I'm glad and grateful that I don't hold on to that anymore.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

Hosted on Digital Ocean.