When I tell people that I blog, the most common response (other than slow blinking) is, “okay… how do you make money doing that?”
It’s a fair question because, let’s be honest, the answer isn’t all that obvious to anyone not already in the nitty-gritty of it.
I was first attracted to the blog world because I liked the idea of being able to help people with what I’d learned for absolutely free while still making money at it.
While earning a living from display ads back then was a bit more common, that idea of getting paid to hand out information for free was a bit of a rainbows and unicorns delusion, and while I do earn a fair amount from the ads you see in the sidebar of my blog (assuming you’re on a desktop computer where you can see the sidebar!), it’s nowhere near a full-time income, unfortunately.
Here’s the real way I make a full-time income from home:
Creating My Own Products
I have two courses, and several ebooks for sale that help people learn how to save far more money in a month than they spend on the course. One of my eBooks is for sale on Amazon Kindle, which creates some passive income, while the rest of my products get sales only when I promote them.
Whenever there’s a product I think my readers will like, I link to it using an affiliate link if possible. An affiliate link simply means that the owner of that product – whether it’s amazon or Target, or anything else, can tell who sent the buyer to their website, and if they buy, I get a small commission from the sale. With Amazon, the commission is fairly small – usually about 8%, but with some products, the commission can be as much as 50% or even higher in exceptional cases. It’s pretty nice because I get to make finding an ingredient for a recipe or a resource for, say, photography easy to access, and also earn a bit of money doing it.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with sponsored posts because readers sometimes see them as “selling out,” but since I do a lot of recipes, it’s awesome when a company wants to sponsor one of the ingredients I’m using! For instance, I would have made this Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites regardless of whether an ingredient was sponsored, but I was able to get paid to add a few lines for Pulse’s USA’s agenda to get people to eat more beans.
I know I just said banner advertising wasn’t a great way to make a living, but it does still pay and makes up a significant chunk of change every month. Thanks to an ad management company called AdThrive, I don’t have to put any work into banner advertising, which makes it completely passive. The main reason it’s not a viable way to make a living is that it’s highly dependent on traffic numbers. In other words, the more people who visit your website, the more money you make, and having seen traffic numbers ebb and flow, it’s just not a dependable way to make a living.
A few weeks ago, Gabe and I made the decision for me to open my Etsy shop back up. This is really exciting for me (and just a tad scary!), and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll start getting products listed next week. (eek! I’m so excited!) I’m hoping that this will become a significant part of how we make an income, as I love making soap and homemade beauty products. I love how they help people who are too busy to make their own, and I’ve been longing to add physical products to my business. Hopefully, I’ll be writing more about that as we get into it.
Do you want to work from home?
So many moms tell me that their money is tight, and they wish they could do something about it. I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN!
Look, I was a naive, under-educated, homeschool-gone-wrong girl when I first started making money from home, and the slowest of the slow learners. I knew nothing about websites or HTML, CSS, or any of those scary acronyms. I still can only do the slightest code modifications by following step-by-step instructions.
And yet, here I am, making a living. This is literally what brought us out of the poverty hole we’d fallen into five years ago.
What I’m saying is, if I can do it, I know you can do it because you’re smart, whether you know it or not, and you have something to offer the world whether you think you do or not.
You just need to add persistence and work ethic to the mix, and you can make a living from home in the in-between times when your kids are in bed or sitting on the floor at your feet playing with their new lego set (my life this afternoon).
What interests you? In the book “Money Making Mom,” author Crystal Paine details how to find where your skills, passion, and profit intersect to find your perfect home business. Because it isn’t always obvious to us what we’re good at, sometimes it’s a good idea to ask friends and family members for their take on us in order to get the creative juices flowing and go from there.
But if you’re wondering how in the world your skills could translate into a home business, here are some ideas.
First, check out these articles for more information:
I’m putting this at the top of my list because it’s my favorite. You can write on your favorite topic, do you favorite thing (i.e. create recipes), and get paid for it.
The catalyst for turning my blog into a full-time income for me was Elite Blog Academy. I was fortunate to get in on the first class for what today is considered a negligible price for such a comprehensive course (though at the time, we didn’t have any money, so it felt like I was taking a huge gamble!). Today, Elite Blog Academy enrollment only opens once or twice a year and is several hundred dollars – well worth saving for the training you get! – but fortunately, they have several freebies, such as 10 Products That Actually Sell, which you can get in the meantime.
Like blogging, being a virtual assistant is super flexible – there is literally no limit to the ways you could virtually assist someone or a business, from email management, document editing, posting on social media, design work, ghostwriting, creating recipes or crafts for a blog – whatever interests you, and whatever you’re good at!
I personally have virtual assistants for SEO, social media help, and design. We bloggers tend to start off as jacks of all trades, but as you get busier, you can’t do it all, so you start hiring people with skills that complement yours. SEO and design are particular weaknesses for me, so it just makes sense to hire people there first.
If you’re not sure what virtual assistant services you could offer, grab this free list of 150+ virtual assistant services that you could offer today from my friend Gina.
Buy And Sell Merchandise
Do you like to shop? I am continually fascinated by the idea of buying things on sale and flipping them on Amazon for a higher price. Yes, it’s a real thing! Go here to learn about how Cliff and Jessica did just that to make a six-figure living for their family!
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I was wondering how you got yourself started? I have been working on a blog for a long time and I have the material and knowledge to write and desire to help others but I am having a hard time with the technical side of things. Every time I do something with my blog something goes wrong.
Were you able to set up your own or did you have someone do it for you? I see all these blogs and the stuff you have on them and I think how is everyone else figuring this out but me!
Let me know your thoughts and any advice.
Hi Tara! To be honest, I joined a couple blogging Facebook groups (like this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LearntoBlogHangouts/) and asked questions constantly. It’s a constant learning process.
I also had some friends who were able to help out directly.
Are you part of a program that brings sponsored posts possibles to you, or do you directly contact the company you wish to write a sponsored post for?
I do both. You can partner with brand agencies like Izea, and Tap Influence, and they do a lot of the brand negotiations, and legal contracts for you, but the downside is you won’t get paid as much, and you may not get the terms you want.