I’ve been blogging since 2010, but I didn’t realize that you could earn money just from blogging. Sounds crazy right?
So many of us that started 8 to 10 years didn’t realize the possibility of earning a full income from our blog. Many just did this as a hobby and some maybe even a side gig.
For me, it was something completely different. I actually blogged for my business. It was a marketing vehicle to drive customers to my flooring store. (and it worked VERY well). I had no idea I could earn money just from blogging. The concept of monetizing my blog didn’t even occur to me…until many years later.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. That means I may earn a commission if you buy the items i recommend. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Fast forward to December 2016 when my life took an unexpected turn. I can’t go into details (as I signed a confidentiality agreement), but I basically found myself in jobless and in a huge amount of debt ($68,000). I’m single and live in a very high cost of living area.
So, let’s just say it was the opposite of fun.
And, yes, it was very stressful, and i was on the brink of losing my home and filing for bankruptcy. But, I was determined to turn my life around.
I’m a fighter, and I’ve always relied on my smarts to get me through things. I figured i just needed to get my head on straight, figure out how to stop crying and come up with a game plan.
So I had this successful blog…that generated business…but with a non-compete agreement, it did me little good the way it was. I had to turn it into a money making machine…and fast.
But, anyone who blogs knows that this is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It takes time. And patience. And time. And, lots of time. BUT I needed money NOW…or yesterday.
So what is one to do?
Let me tell you what i did…and then I’ll tell you some additional ways that may work for you. Why? Because there is more than one way to make money from your blog…and there is more than one way to support yourself while you’re building your blog.
So thankfully, even though I was on the brink of disaster, at least I knew it would take a long to make meaningful money from my blog. Knowing this is half the battle, because if you know what you’re in for, you can PLAN AHEAD.
I had a head start because I had an established blog. I had over 100,000 pageviews at the time. And, I knew how to do SEO (huge benefit). BTW, here’s a link to one of my SEO ebooks if you want to learn all my secrets. (It’s put together for beginners and intermediates and the feedback has been amazing).
Okay, back to my story. So I had traffic and SEO on my side. That was good. But, I had no idea how to monetize nor were my articles really set up to be monetized. I had to learn of this. And, it took me a while!
My first month, when I turned on the ads, I made $1,100. For many of you that may sound like a lot. But, for me it wasn’t, especially considering I had a lot of traffic and a LOT of bills to pay.
My second month, I earned $1,500 and I thought well maybe I’m on my way. But, nope! I plateaued for many months. This monetization thing is much harder and slower than I thought it would be.
Then many months later, I leveled up to $2,000. Yay, I’m on my way! Oops, wrong again. I plateaued again. What the heck?
It took me until month 11 – November 2017 before I really started to get it. That month, I earned $3,300 from my blog. And, from there it just started to grow. I now make 5 figures a month, but it did take me a while to get there and it has been a roller coaster with some months higher and some lower. It’s hard at first, but you get better and higher and more steadier the more you grow and the more you diversify.
So how did i make it through so I could pay my mortgage and all my loans and pay off this debt? (by the way, I still have some debt, but it’s more like $8,000 now)….EDIT: As of beginning of Apil 2019, I paid off that immediate debt.)
Well I took on 2 part time jobs.
- I did painting estimates for a painter I knew. I’m good with color and know a lot about home decor, so it worked well. Later, I added painting to my blog.
- I did some freelancing. Specifically, I blogged and did SEO for some local businesses. I usually had 2 to 3 clients at a time. Some were long term and some were one off or two off projects.
By doing this, I was able to keep my head above water while I built up my blog. By the time I got to month 16 or 17, my blog was making some good money (not enough to support me). It was enough that I could start to taper off my time in my part time jobs.
I did it gradually. And, I’m glad I did because you know sometimes this blogging thing continues to be a roller coaster. So when my blog took a down turn (in months 21 and 22), I was able to dial up the freelancing again. At that point, I did some of my freelancing by training bloggers on SEO (I used to do 2 hour coaching sessions and have helped 70+ bloggers at this point.
Then, as more time went on, my blog started to make much more money and the money has been steadier, so I’ve cut back on my freelancing. (I still do some SEO consultations…not because I need the money, but because I enjoy them…and the extra money helps me chip away at that remaining debt faster and that feels good).
So now how can you earn extra money while you’re building your blog?
Here are several ways
- Do freelancing. For many this is one of the easiest ways to earn some extra money, and learn how to blog better…because you’re 1) practicing and 2) often learning from more experienced bloggers (and that will make your blogging journey easier.
There are many ways to freelance based on your skills/interests/strengths. You could blog for others or manage their social media accounts or design their pins, or just do various odd tasks. You could do freelance design (e.g. create printables, design logos or websites).
You can reach out to local businesses and network (as I did), network in blogging facebook groups. Or, you may want to check out this freelancing course from Holly. She REALLY knows her stuff. She was earning well over $100,000/year just freelancing (while also working on her blog). then, that became $250,000/year, and now she earns much much more.
In her course, Holly explains how to do freelance writing, how to find jobs and how much to charge. Having this road map will make your job so much easier. I remember being so stressed out at the beginning because I was so desperate for work. I wish I knew about this resource when I started.
2. Do proofreading. I didn’t even know this was an option. But, you can do proofreading from your own home. Yes, it is just a flexible job. So if you have kids at home and/or a part-time job and you’re trying to grow a blog, this is something you can do in your spare time (which may vary day to day or week to week.
Caitlyn Pyle has an amazing proofreading course. She earned over $40,000/year proofreading for others…part-time. She now teaches others how to do it.
Caitlyn has a FREE workshop to get started.
3. Do sponsored posts. If you have a blog, you have an asset. You can apply to some of the networks to do sponsored posts. Sponsored posts are articles you write for companies (they choose the topic) and you place it on your site. You would usually share this article on your social media networks as well.
The sponsors then pay you for your work. Sometimes they have preset rates, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes there are offers just to share tweets or other items on your social media networks. In general, the more traffic you get and the higher your reach (and engagement) on social media, the more you get paid.
There are some bloggers that make a full time income just from sponsored posts. And, there are others that do sponsored posts to earn some supplemental income until their blog can support them.
Oh, and Tracie Fobes just introduced a new course called Sponsored Success where she teaches you how to do find and do sponsored posts, and how much to charge for them. She has a customized calculator where you can enter how many pageviews and followers you have so make sure you don’t undercharge (a problem for most newer bloggers), templates to create a media kit and many other super useful tidbits.
Unlike most of the courses on this topic which cost $500-$600 (which quite frankly is not something most new bloggers can afford), Tracie prices her courses so they are affordable for newer bloggers. And, she delivers more value than those overpriced courses. You can check out her course here.
4. Take a part-time job (or even full time). The truth is that you can really take any type of part-time job. It does not need to blog related nor something you can do at home. Take your pick. The world is your oyster.
Remember that this part-time job is a means to an end. It doesn’t need to be your calling. It just needs to earn you enough money for a while…while you work on getting your blog off he ground.
5. Teaching/Coaching – If you have a skill you can teach others, this is a great way to help people and earn some extra money. This could be ANYTHING. It could be teaching social media, blogging, time management, organizing, creating pins, teaching photoshop…or it can be unrelated to online thing…things like teaching guitar, a foreign language, tutoring math, whatever. Whatever you are good at teaching and have a passion in.
6. Surveys – If you’re just looking for a little extra money (e.g. raise some money to start your website or cover your hosting costs or save up for an ebook or course), consider doing some online surveys. These are not get rich quick schemes, but you can earn a little extra during your down times. Here are 2 of my favorites (as they pay better).
So these are some great ideas to help supplement your income while you are building up your blog. You don’t need to do all of them. Just choose one that’s the best fit for you. And, if you want to add a second one to earn a bit more, be my guest…sometimes at the beginning you just need to do what it takes to get by, and then over time, things get easier as you get more clients and word of mouth gets around. But, hopefully, this will give you a head start. I’ve been there, so I get it…just 2 years ago. I want you to succeed, just like I have. I’m still on my journey, but I’ve made it through the hard part. Now, it’s all about consistency for me.
Blogging resources to jump start your blog traffic and income
- Amazon – I love affiliate marketing on Amazon. For the last 5 months, I’ve been earning over $7,000/month just from Amazon. Here are 2 super helpful Amazon ebooks that allowed me to leap frog my previous results.
- Cracking the Code on Amazon – This is for beginners and really covers the types of articles you should be writing to drive Amazon commissions It’s for beginners.
- Niche Post Conversion Strategies – Seriously, I think this is the best ebook/course I’ve ever taken. I can not recommend this enough. You will not find these tips anywhere else. It skyrocketed my sales on Amazon.
- PINTERESTING STRATEGIES: – Pinterest is one of the easiest and most effective ways to drive massive traffic to your blog, especially if you are just starting out. I generally get 140,000 to 180,000 pageviews a month from Pinterest. If you want a jump start on how to use this amazing platform, check out Carly’s course. It is simply awesome. She is so down to earth and straightforward, and you’ll see that in her writing. I LOVE this course (it was formerly an ebook, but now it’s new and improved.
- SEO – As you know, I’m hugely into SEO and it has been the key to my success. I generally get 200,000-225,000 SEO pageviews per month, and this traffic converts much better than Pinterest and other social media channels (especially when it comes to affiliate marketing, products and email sign ups. I estimate that every pageview from organic traffic is worth at least 3x as every pageview from Pinterest! Yes, 3 times as much! And, it’s much steadier, more sustainable and more passive. Check out my 2 SEO books.
- Affiliate marketing – I love affiliate marketing and have been earning over $7,000/month just from affiliate marketing. I highly recommend Carly’s affiliate marketing course. It’s amazing and half the price of some of the bigger bloggers’ programs…and I think it’s much better, too.
- Email marketing – Learn from the master, Jennifer Maker. She has over 100,000 subscribers in around 2 years. She’s an incredible teacher. Her ListLove course is amazing. That link has my exclusive $25 off coupon. You can start with her FREE email course here.
- Getting started/setting up your blog – If you’re a very beginner and need help in just setting up your site and getting everything set up, check out Tracie Richmond Fobes’ FREE intro course. She goes over all that critical stuff at the beginning that no one seems to cover, but everyone needs to know such as site structure, how to set up google analytics correctly and google search console, which plugins to use (and which to avoid). She is a wealth of information. (and she has may other courses that are soooo good).