Less than one year ago I had absolutely no idea you could make money blogging (well, I tried to once in years past, but WordPress dot com deleted my account. And I thought it was just a huge hoax).
And then I started a lifestyle blog. With an intent of reaching an audience outside of my mom, and my best friends.
I started making money… from my blog.
There were plenty of times I needed someone to pinch me.
Who would have known you could make serious money online? Not this chick, who jumped circles when she made $60 from an Amazon Mturk phase in college.
Enter Reroute Lifestyle: a website to document my journey making money online so I can help and inspire others do the same.
In 2017, I rerouted my lifestyle from the daily 9-5 grind (actually, I work in hospitality, so it’s more like 3-11 grind) to a lifestyle that empowers myself to work from anywhere in the world on my own schedule.
If you want to learn more about my goals and the behind the scenes look at Reroute Lifestyle, click here.
Either way, let’s get into the juicy and exciting details of the events that led up to my very first $1,000 profit made from my lifestyle blog…after expenses!#GOALS: How This Lifestyle Blogger Made Her First $1,000 Blogging Click To Tweet
This post contains affiliate links to keep our blog up and running!
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
A Little Background
My lifestyle blog gained some of its traction because of monthly income reports I posted on my blog.
When I first started blogging, I chose partners (listed below) to work with on my blog.
Read More: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
Then, at the end of every month, I basically checked all the websites I worked with (like ShareASale, MediaNet advertisements, and Maven) and took note of how much money I earned that month. Then, I wrote about it. I reported income as it was earned and not paid because it helped me see which posts and advertising methods were most effective.
After a while, I started feeling really weird about the number.
If you’re unfamiliar with making money online working with other companies, let me break it down: you work on their terms. Every company has a different way of processing your income. They have different “minimum payouts,” that is to say the minimum amount you have to earn before they pay you.
And they also have different processing times, so money that you EARN in March may not get paid out until June.
So even though I report earning a few dollars from MediaNet advertisements each month, I won’t actually get paid until I reach their minimum payout of $100.
This post will break down the first $1,000 profit paid to me from blogging (yes, my profit after expenses), how long it took me to get there, what I think worked and what I decided needed to be changed. If you’re curious, yes I have made much more than the income reported so far – stay tuned to see exactly how much I’ve been paid from blogging after six months.
Do you REALLY make money blogging?
I really believe, from the bottom of my heart, everyone can make money blogging with the right strategy mixed with hard work. I use a few different types of programs – blogging affiliates, twenties lifestyle affiliates, and my own blog services – to make money blogging.
Still, I’ve read a lot of comments around the blogosphere regarding bloggers making up their blogging income numbers.
So, while I feel weird providing screenshots of Paypal payments, here are a few screenshots to show proof of blogging income:
If you still feel skeptical of the potential after reading this post, please feel free to drop a comment below because it’s totally and 100% possible.
Actual Costs to Starting a Profitable Blog
I did have to invest a little in order to make my first $1,000 blogging. Because I’m reporting payments received through June 30, 2017 (the day I hit the $1,000 PROFIT mark – approximately five months after I started blogging), I’ll report expenses incurred through that time period as well.
Domain & Hosting through Siteground: $121.75
- Click here to get 60% off your first website hosting plan with Siteground. I can only sing my accolades about this company because I go to them every two weeks with a question, and they’re always so quick to answer my questions.
WordPress theme from Cityhousedesign: $29.00
- I prepaid for an annual Tailwind subscription and have since learned how monumental this platform can be for Pinterest growth. Never looking back.
- Thanks to Ana’s generous 35% commission, I’ve since been paid $17.85 after investing in this super informative and helpful ebook. Because the payment was received after I hit the $1,000 mark, it’s not included in this report. Ana has updated the ebook since I purchased it, and the book is now $25 – worth every penny!
G+ Suite for Business: $20.00
Paypal Fees: $14.34
Total Expenses: $292.50
And then what?
So I started my blog… and then what, right?
- I learned affiliate marketing and monetized my posts with affiliate links.
- Then, I used Pinterest to drive passive traffic to my blog. Click here to learn more about Pinterest.
- I promoted my posts in Facebook groups, on Twitter.
- I adjusted my affiliate promotions based on what my audience liked and responded to.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money blogging, especially when you’re just starting out. I didn’t have to spend the massive amount of time it takes to develop a product.
Instead, I spent my time sharing the value of products I thought my audience would like.
The First $1,000 Profit (…well, first $1,296.15)
I wanted to talk about how I turned my first $1,000.00 profit from blogging. So, this “income report” accounts for the first $1,296.15 I made blogging since I invested $292.50 to get the ball rolling.
I officially hit the $1,000.00 profit mark on June 30th – about five months after I started blogging.
And looking at my income paid in July… it’s only going uphill from there.
- My first paid commission was from LendEDU. I’m very passionate about paying off my student loans as quickly as possible in order to become debt-free. LendEDU helps college graduates accomplish that by offering a totally free application which offers potential loan refinancing rates from trusted lenders. Even better, checking to see if you can lower your student loan interest rates only takes a couple minutes with LendEDU. Its simplicity and relevance to my lifestyle blog’s audience is why I believe I’ve been so successful with this platform.
- I need to thank Siteground for not just always being there for me, but definitely providing a huge majority of my blogging income. They are my hosting site. Because I’m totally not tech-savvy, I go to Siteground customer service more than once a month. They are always able to answer my questions and strive to solve my problems. Plus, their customer service is 24/7, so I never have to wait around for any help.
Blog Services: $229.00
- It’s so important to diversify your blogging income. Like, okay I’m totally grateful to have received so much from my affiliates. But I can’t rely on that income to be consistent, forever. First of all, my sales definitely change on a month-to-month basis. Second of all, affiliate networks have the power to change the terms of an affiliate agreement. So at any time, they can either change payment terms or cancel the partnership completely. So I started offering blog services for other bloggers – mostly blog audits, but also some WordPress help. I’d love to increase this income in the future.
- I love Maven because I can browse the Internet and just add products to boards. And then get money from it when someone finds a product they like from my board, clicks the link, and makes a purchase. Yes, Maven is every window shopper’s dream website. If I’m feeling frisky I can click on a product from my own board and treat myself. Oh, and these boards are totally shareable on social media, your blog, and your mailing list, so your followers can get access to the products you love. (Click here to learn all about Maven.)
- I received my first ShareASale payment in May. From here on out, I anticipate receiving one payment from ShareASale every two months. They’re great because they connect you with brands like Etsy, Missguided and Tailwind.
- Linqia connects bloggers to different sponsored campaigns for brands. You need either 2,500 monthly page views, or social media followers, to start working with Linqia campaigns. After you apply, brands message you if they want to work with you. I started receiving payments from Linqia in June. They are so prompt with their Paypal payments, which as a blogger, I totally love.
Total Income Paid by June 30th: $1,296.15
Total Income after Expenses: $1,003.65
1. Making a profit from blogging takes a LOT of time.
Okay. My total income after expenses was $1,003.65. Over five months, that’s pretty much only $200/month. And believe you me, I spent a lot of time on my blog. Like at least three or four hours most days. And I barely took a full day off.
That’s not to say blogging wasn’t a totally fulfilling experience. Because it 100% was. I created content that helped others and immersed myself in the super supportive blogging community. Every second spent blogging has been totally and 100% worth it, because even though it’s a lot of work… it doesn’t really feel like work.Blogging is a lot of work, but... it never really feels like work. Click To Tweet
Like, yeah, bloggers are known for planning and to-do lists and just a neverending list of busy-ness… but as long as you’re writing about something you enjoy, you’ll end the day feeling happy about yourself and the content you create.
2. Diversify your income.
A huge majority of my income is obviously from affiliate marketing.
But, what if one of my affiliates changed their terms and reduced my commission share by a significant amount? I would need to rely on other sources of income in order to keep earning. So definitely make sure you diversify your income, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I consider myself very, very fortunate to have earned income through other means including extra blog services.
3. If something’s not working, something’s gotta change.If something's not working on your blog, something's gotta change. Click To Tweet
Start looking at areas you think your blog underperforms in.
And then brainstorm ways to improve them. For example, I started offering an exclusive resource library as an email opt-in. That generated 2 new email subscribers per day on average. After offering a free, 10-day email course designed to help bloggers profit from their blog, I started getting 5 email subscribers per day on average (while not a huge amount, it was a significant difference).
Now, It’s Your Turn to Make Money Blogging
I wrote this not to brag (because, trust, if you think about the hourly wage from this profit… it’s not much…). But, I wrote this to show you it’s truly possible to make money blogging.
- July Blogging Income Report: How I Made $698.23 Blogging
- August 2017 Income Report: How We Made $873.78 from Blogging
- Blogging Income Report: How This Blogger Made $2,274.38 in Six Months
Although it’s something that takes hard work, dedication, and time, this income report shows you it’s freakin’ possible!!! You can freakin’ do it!
So whether you want to start a side hustle to help pay loans, save up money to travel, or just pay those day-to-day bills, maybe blogging is your calling. You work on your own schedule, which is 1,000,000% better than having to juggle your day job schedule with a part time job.
Here are a few steps you can take to start turning a profit on your blog:
- Invest in your own self-hosted WordPress blog. The decision to invest in a self-hosted WordPress blog will be monumental. You own your content; your website will be fully customizable via plugins; and, you can choose from a theme that screams your brand. If you need help getting started, follow this step-by-step guide. Otherwise, click here to sign up with Bluehost and get started on your very own self-hosted WordPress blog at only $2.95/month!
- Choose a simple design for your blog – don’t go overboard. A design makes or breaks a blog. It contributes to a reader’s first impression of you and it contributes to the decision of whether or not they want to consume more of your content. Choose a design that fits your brand and builds a pleasant user experience. Simple designs go a lot further than trying anything too fancy or difficult to navigate.
- Focus on a Pinterest strategy to boost traffic to your blog. Pinterest is king when it comes to drawing traffic to your blog. It’s changed the blogging game and made it so much easier for you to get your article out in front of tons of new eyes. If you totally have a professional design and have written incredible content, and you’re still struggling to even draw traffic in to your blog, you need to up your Pinterest game. Don’t know where to start? Check out this guide on Pinterest Tips for Beginners.
- Attract readers by offering an irresistible and relevant email opt-in. So you finally get people to your website, and they love the content you’re putting out. But maybe they’re not ready to connect with you via Facebook or Instagram. So, they can either close out of your site and move on with their lives. Or, you can offer them an email freebie they can’t resist… and now you’ll be connected with them via email! Click here to learn more about setting up your mailing list.
Stop saying you can’t, and start thinking about how you can.
Are you ready to invest in your own domain and hosting? Bluehost offers my readers plans that start at $2.95 per month… with a free domain! Check to see if your domain is available.
How do you make money blogging? Or, do you struggle with it? Why do you think you’re not turning a profit?