I’ll admit it – I feel weird writing this post. Some bloggers write income reports every month (which I LOVE reading), but I’ve never really discussed my blog income on my site before. Let’s back this up a bit to give you my story…(and if you don’t care about the story behind it, that’s totally OK! Skip ahead to the next section)
January 2010– I was teaching K-2 Autistic Support. I stumbled upon the (small) world of DIY blogging through All Things Thrifty‘s website. I fell in LOVE! I suddenly realized that I could go to the thrift store, spray paint everything, and make it look great on our small budget in our little apartment.
2010-2012- I kept teaching in my Autistic Support classroom, and kept blogging because I loved it. Posts were few & far between, but man, I was having so much fun! And I was so surprised to actually “meet” some new friends through their blogs! I felt like it was my secret identity – no one but my husband, family, and blogging friends knew I had a blog. I signed up for IZEA as my first agency for sponsored post content. I remember earning $15 for one of my first sponsored posts. I even wrote a terrible sponsored post about avocados – HA!
2012-2013- I left my teaching career after a lot of soul searching. I had more time to build up my blogging work (while working as an early intervention therapist part time), and began to take on more sponsored posts, maybe for $50 or so a piece now.
2013- I finally realized I could actually make some decent money through blogging. I treated it as a true business, spent many hours building that business, and began to see some more financial gain. I got pregnant with my first child, we bought our first house, and I slowed down on blogging for a few months after my son was born. I took on a part-time social media marketing job, because it was nice to work from home and get a steady paycheck- blogging was fairly inconsistent income at this point.
2014-2015- I continued to work on my blog & my social media job while being a work at home mom to my son. I got pregnant with my daughter, bought our current (and hopefully forever!) house, and worked on renovating it from top to bottom. Life was crazier than ever!
2016- As of now, I have officially left my social media job, and am now working on my blog as I work from home with my two kids. I have hired an assistant who helps me out with “behind the scenes” things for a few hours a week. I have recently started earning more than I was when I was a full-time teacher, and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to earn an income doing something I truly love.
EDITED IN 2019: Wow – blogging is better than ever for me right now! Not only financially, but it really satisfies this creative and entrepreneurial drive that I have. I am SO glad that I have done the work to build this business while I’m raising my babies because it is SO worth it.
That story up there is to show you that this has taken time. It has taken years of work. It has taken countless late nights and bad blog posts and failed ideas to get to the place where I’m making a decent income from blogging.
Also – having sustainable and high-quality content that people will want to read for years to come is your number one key to making blogging your career. It will take time to build that content. With that being said, here’s how I earn money from blogging:
- If you’re a beginning blogger, Google AdSense is a great place to start putting ads on your site. I had that on my blog for a few years, and started out making peanuts (actually, not even enough to buy a bag of peanuts. It was sad). But over a few years, I learned tips for optimizing these ads, and I started actually making some money off of them- yay!
- Once I hit over 100,000 pageviews a month, I signed up for AdThrive. I can’t say enough about them – they’re incredible! If you’re able to get into their network, you need to do so. By signing up with them, I quadrupled my monthly ad earnings.
This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are always 100% my own. Full site disclosure here.
- Most of my sponsored posts are through agencies. They’re free to join, and they can have some great opportunities. I started first with IZEA (it was Social Spark when I started) and made $10 for my first post. I now can make a few hundred dollars for individual sponsored posts, but it’s taken me years to build up to that level.
- Here’s the agencies I’m currently a part of:
- My advice for sponsored posts: only accept opportunities for things that really help to build your brand and benefit your readers. If you start posting things that aren’t consistent with the brand you want to build (totally guilty of this in the past) then you’ll come off like a used car salesman. For example – I just turned down a paid post for razors. The paycheck was good, but I couldn’t fit that content into my blog easily, and it could be confusing to my readers.
- Another word of wisdom – work with brands you love, and then give this content 110%. Do something a little out of the box. Make it memorable. If your post sticks out, and you get good engagement on it, you could open up opportunities for future opportunities. This leads me to my next section…
Working Directly with Brands
- As my blog has grown, I have branched out and worked directly with brands. The first brand I did this with was Raymour & Flanigan. They actually contacted me almost a year after I did a program with them through TapInfluence. I have now been working with them for almost two years. I also have done partnerships with Hayneedle, Barn Light Electric, Stikwood, General Electric, World Market, and more.
- Partnering with brands directly has been really fun! I’ve loved getting to know the people behind the brands better, and I love introducing my readers to these brands through my lens.
- When possible, try to make a long-term connection with a brand. It will benefit BOTH parties in the long run. It’s a much more authentic way of sharing a brand, and you get to work closer when it’s a longer term relationship versus a one and done thing.
- One of my financial goals of 2016 is to build up my affiliate revenue. Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product to your readers, and then you earn a small percentage if they purchase that item (at no additional cost to the purchaser or seller).
- Some major affiliate programs that I’m a part of:
- Amazon Affiliates
- Reward Style LikeToKnowIt is a part of this brand
- If you’d like me to refer you to RewardStyle, send me an e-mail at christinasadventures(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll work to refer you!
- This is a pay-per-click model – it works very well with Instagram stories especially. I usually use RewardStyle links in my blog posts and use a mix of ShopYourLikes and RS in my Instagram stories.
One of the important things to learn early on is that you DON’T KNOW so many things. And then make a resolution to learn, learn, learn! There’s other people who have become experts and then written books or created courses.
I’ve taken MANY blogging courses and this one is by FAR my favorite. It’s so important to learn from other people who can take the knowledge they’ve learned over years and get that knowledge in just a few days/weeks.
I’ve also learned a lot from Facebook groups – they’re a wealth of information and can really help to build your blogging community. And they’re free! Here’s a great group you can start with.
Guys – blogging is a lot of work. It’s not nearly as glamorous as people think. It’s a lot of late nights, yoga pants, and messy DIY projects taking over your house while you stress about deadlines. But it’s also a LOT of fun.
My advice? Get into blogging because you love it. Get into blogging because you feel you have something to share with the world. Don’t get into it for the money, because it will probably take you a very long time to earn income from your blog. And even when you do, you’ll be logging a lotttt of hours, so your hourly rate will be kind of pathetic. So do it because you love it, get connected with other bloggers, and learn from people who know a lot more than you do (and there will always always be a lot of those people, no matter how successful of a blogger you are!)
If you have any other questions – please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to help!