When I started blogging, it seemed like nothing more than a creative outlet. I had no idea that it would one day allow me to quit my day job and spend my days frolicking in the garden and holding my children.
When my husband and I met, we both had soul-sucking jobs that left us exhausted and dreading the next day’s alarm. We dreamed of moving to land and finding a way to make money from our homestead. We could quit our day jobs and start living the life we’d always wanted.
I started my blog as a way to condense my thoughts. There were things I wanted to learn, and there’s no better way to learn something than teaching others. It turns out, lots of people wanted to learn the very same things that I did.
Readers came but didn’t realize that blogging could be a source of income until I read the book Make Money Blogging at Any Level by my blogger friend, Victoria at A Modern Homestead. She outlines in detail how to earn a substantial income, even from a very small blog. She was able to retire her husband and supports her family with exclusively with her blog.
Wait, I could turn this blogging thing into a real income? That was a life changer.
I studied Victoria’s book, and talked to my husband. He didn’t have high hopes, but I was already blogging for fun, so anything I earned would be basically free money.
I started fresh with a brand new blog on June 1st, 2017, and following the advice from Make Money Blogging at Any Level I made $100 my first month. By 6 months in, I began earning at least $1000 each month. And now, 9 months in, I’m quitting my day job!
I won’t lie to you. That’s not typical. Most bloggers spend at least 2-3 years building a following before they can commit to blogging full time, and plenty don’t ever get there. The sooner you start, the sooner you can bring home your first dollar.
She also has a comprehensive course called “Launch Your Blog“ which takes you through everything you need to know to start blogging. From registering a site to themes, plugins, WordPress publishing, and even social media.
The course is a bit of an investment, but I wish I’d taken it back when I started. I spent months learning everything the hard way instead…
As a beginning blogger, most of your traffic will come from Pinterest. If you take time to make a beautiful Pinterest image, it’ll pay back in the long term. Eventually, once you get established, organic Google search traffic will pick up and you’ll be able to make steady income even while on vacation.
But for now, you need to focus on rocking Pinterest while building your SEO for the long term.
If you’re befuddled by Pinterest, try Powerful Pinning. Sarah teaches you how to use Pinterest to create compelling pins that get you traffic. I’ve watched as she’s helped quite a few bloggers up their pinterest game and drive enough traffic to begin earning serious income.
Making Money with Affiliates
I suck at selling stuff. I actually write about frugal living and explicitly tell people how NOT to buy stuff. Many bloggers are salespeople, and I assumed that was the only way to make money. Nope.
Still, I make a substantial portion of my income from affiliate links, mostly Amazon. Here’s how it works.
I talk about how something I use in my everyday life is awesome and honestly explain how it saves me time and money. We live a pretty basic life out here on our homestead in rural Vermont. I’m not talking Versace bags or anything fancy. I’m talking about real, everyday things that people are going to buy anyway AND actually use.
Got something in your Amazon cart right now? Well if you click on this link to because you’re curious how I solved my basement mold problem (ewwww…) and you happen to buy the items in your cart within the next 24 hours, I get a tiny percentage. Even if you don’t buy the item I linked to.
You were going to buy that stuff anyway, and now you accidentally helped pay my mortgage and never noticed a difference.
Making Money with Ads
Since I hate selling stuff directly, ads make up a good portion of my income. That allows me to focus on creating awesome content and getting people to read my blog. The ads are in the background, and everyone’s used to seeing ads on the internet.
You can’t click on Saveur or the DIY network without seeing ads, and one more site with ads doesn’t even register. I do try to be conscientious, and I keep the ads to a minimum. I’m hoping to build followers for the long term, and a sure-fire way to turn them away is to spam them with an ad dominated site.
Once you hit 25,000 sessions per month you can apply to mediavine, and I’ll be honest, the day I was accepted to their ad network my life changed forever. I felt like I’d pulled the golden ticket.
Making Money with Sponsored Posts
I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to do a sponsored post. The whole concept stresses me out. I know plenty of bloggers that make most of their income writing sponsored posts, but that’s not me.
I write about growing your own food and making your own everything. It’s hard for me to honestly promote most things, and many of the things that I do love sell themselves. Someday perhaps there’ll be a good match, but not yet.
If you do want to try your hand at making money with sponsored posts, practice taking pictures of things you already make and use. I wrote a post on making oatmeal raisin cookies with einkorn flour, and often all it takes is a little extra effort to feature a brand you’re already using in a photo.
Making Money Selling Products
If you’re crafty, you can make money selling your own products and use your blog to bring potential customers right to your proverbial doorstep.
I write about making your own wildcrafted herbal remedies, like this reishi mushroom tincture or this linden flower mead. My readers are already interested in herbal remedies, I know that because they’re at my blog. It’s a logical next step to begin taking the wild foraged medicines I’m already collecting for fun, and turn them into a profitable side hustle through my blog. Keep an eye out…that’s coming soon.
You can also do pretty well writing and selling your own e-book. Here are some great examples of successful e-books and e-courses:
Balancing Blogging with Family Life
I was lucky enough to have a very supportive husband, but it’s still a challenge to balance time spent blogging with family life. We have two young children, and it can be hard to balance it all. Blogging means being your own boss, but that has a downside too. You don’t have a good separation between work and home life.
As I sit here writing this, dinner is cooking in our instant pot, my 1-year-old is to bed and my 3-year-old is thankfully entertaining herself singing nursery rimes and rocking her dolly. It’s a matter of stolen moments and making things work in the in-between times.
It’s not easy.
If you’re wondering how to do it all, and find time for both yourself and your family, I’d suggest reading The Family Bogger: How to Run a Successful Blog without Sacrificing Family Time.
What do you think? Are you ready to take the leap?