This is probably one of THE MOST exciting blog posts I will ever write. It’s not about awesome products (which I love) or subscription boxes (which I double love) or cookies (OMG, I so dearly love all kinds of cookies). It’s about something that I have become so insanely passionate about and am also knee deeps in the trenches of: Learning how to make money blogging. There, I said it.
And, here’s the thing. I don’t want to drive this dark and twisty road solo. So, I’ve decided to start a blog series so we can help each other out. I’ll share the tips and tricks and provide you an insane amount of resources to get your blog up and running, and you’ll pretend I’m your hero and send me gifts on all holidays.
JUST KIDDING. Seriously, I am. The truth is, I want to spread the happiness and pay it forward. Lord knows I’m getting TONS of help from other bloggers who have been there and done that and let me tell you, it’s absolutely priceless.
I feel like its important to share my story before we get the ball rolling. But, if you don’t have time to dive into it now, feel free to jump to the bottom of this post to learn how my blogging series is going to work. Otherwise, grab a cup of something warm and read on!
HERE’S HOW I FIGURED IT OUT
I’ll admit, that when I started blogging 5 or so years ago, I had no idea that I could actually make money typing a bunch of words and sharing them on the internet. One day I told my hubby I wanted to start a blog and then I started a blog and that was all I thought it would be. I was head over heels in love with subscription boxes, which had just started making an appearance in the world, so I started subscribing to them and then I started blogging about them.
This little piece of internet real estate was going to be nothing more than that (sprinkled with my awesomness, obviously). My friends and fam would follow it and think I was fabulous and literally, that would be the end of it. Well, maybe I secretly wished and hoped someone famous would see it and want me to write a book or star in a movie and then I’d be super famous too. But that never happened.
Something did happen though. I got writers block and literally ran out of things to blog about. So, I starting stalking other blogs to see what they could possibly be talking about day, after day. And in doing that, I quickly realized that all of the other bloggers in the land were on to something. They had figured out a way to make money blogging.
I gasped. And, then I probably ate a donut (or seven, if I’m keepin’ it real). And then I stalked some more. I started digging deep into what other people were doing and found that there were a million and one ways to get a big fat paycheck as a blogger- and, I could too. I just needed to figure out which road I wanted to take.
So, I focused on subscription boxes. They had become “the thing” – showing up in magazines and on talk shows. Celebrities were endorsing them and developing them and oh sweet subscription box heaven how could I get in on this?
My mind was spiraling in the most incredible way. So I researched. And, then I researched some more. And, soon I found out how to apply to affiliate networks and brand referral programs and decided to just go for it. I developed a media kit, started marketing myself to brands and (gasp) requesting boxes to review for free. And guess what? A boat load of them turned me down because I had zero following. But some of them really liked my idea and the style of my blog and even my silly tone of my writing. And those guys? They started sending me free boxes to review.
I ran giveaways to grow my followings, I created one of the first subscription box directories (yes, it’s true. There were only probably less than 5 or so at that point, including my own). I called it the “Insanely Huge Subscription Box Directory” and things just went from there. Brands started reaching out to ME to review their boxes, host giveaways and join their referral networks and it was awesome.
AND HERE’S HOW I FAILED
Guys, I failed big-time. And now, I’m going to tell you something. Seven Words that truly resonated when another blogger mentioned them in a live chat. And, if you get anything out of this post, please (please) let it be these 7 words:
I didn’t treat it like a business. That’s right. I didn’t treat it like a business. And, that my friends was my biggest failure.
I’m marketing minded and I have an entrepreneurial spirit, but I had a full time job outside of blogging and this blogging thing was supposed to be “just for fun”. I didn’t have a clue what SEO was. I had minimal knowledge about social media and strategy and beyond that I was getting really, really burnt out. Blogging had become incredibly time consuming and for the couple hundred bucks a month I was bringing in, it was becoming hard to justify. God, I wish I knew then what I know now.
I struggled with taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps back on the daily, and it was all because I didn’t treat it like a business. Eventually, I got preggers and had a baby and then a toddler and then (this is the worst part), I used all of those excuses to let my dream go. To be fair to myself, raising a child is incredibly challenging! Awesome, but so very time consuming and challenging. So, for me it wasn’t in the cards to continue at that point. I had a really good base created for a really amazing blogging business, but I let it go. Such is life and here I am. Back.
WHAT I’M DOING DIFFERENT THIS TIME
I lived, I learned and now I’m back with a vengeance. Don’t you think theme music is appropriate for this part?
I’m treating it like a business this time. I’m taking something I’m incredibly passionate about…something that fuels me and drives me to go beyond my comfort zone…and I’m making a conscious effort to create a blog that is profitable (and well, soul feeding too).
I’ve spent months researching how to make money blogging. Everything from starting a blog from scratch, to branding, to developing my blog business plan, my blogging strategy, my social strategy, tracking my income, driving traffic, earning my income and more.
And, guess what? I’m going to be learning a hell of a lot more as I go. There will be bumps. There will be triumphs. No business is without the two. But, I promise you that I will not give up and I promise myself that I will succeed at this…big time.
WANNA MAKE MONEY BLOGGING TOO?
I hope you do! I have found some incredible, talented blog-mentors as I’ve embarked upon this journey…and through them and a whole lot of other lady bosses who I canoodle with in various Facebook Groups (Creative Superheros by Allison Marshall is my jam), I realized one more thing – I want to share. I want to support. I want to help other amazing, talented women and mamas navigate their dreams and cultivate a career out of blogging.
I’ll be posting a new “Blogging 101” post every other week, each focusing on a new topic – from creating your blog to monetizing it. Tips on business strategy, design, development, finding hosting providers, setting up your analytics, productivity tips and awesome online tools and apps, social media tips, editorial planning, lists and lists of affiliate networks and affiliates. I’m going to blast you with information and links to the sources. The knowledge won’t stop coming until I stop blogging.
So, let’s do this. Let’s turn this passion into profit and make some serious waves in this world.
You with me? I hope so.