I remember very clearly the day I knew God wanted me to start a blog. And I’ll be honest. I thought He was nuts.
The storm had been raging in my home for over a year and it seemed that despite any attempts or desires on my part, my husband was going to file for a divorce. This blog thing was the answer to a prayer I had been praying for nearly a year: “Lord, what am I going to do now?”
Although I had a master’s degree in teaching, I hadn’t worked in 10 years. I had 4 children under 6, one of whom was just a few months old. I couldn’t even dream of going back to teaching. It wouldn’t even have paid for the childcare. Not to mention, my 2 school-aged children had only been homeschooled and there was already enough transition in their home. I didn’t want to add to the fire.
So, I had to choose to believe that God would indeed provide for us through this thing called a blog.
The funny thing was, I knew almost nothing about blogs. I had followed a few blogs on homeschooling and family life. I even had my own little Blogspot blog where I shared pictures with my granny and the rest of my out-of-town family. But the CREATING a blog thing was foreign. I mean, I felt like I was doing well most days to check email and figure out Facebook.
I had serious doubts that you could even make money with a blog. Sure, I had heard it was so, but I guess I couldn’t fathom it.
You might be there, too. Blogging and/or any type of internet business is still a new enough concept that most people can’t quite grasp what it is. In fact, when I tell people I’m a blogger, it’s not uncommon to hear, “But what’s your real job?”
Well, this is my real job now. It took me long enough to accept God’s idea (yeah, I know you fight with HIM, too) and I’m so glad I did.
Can I Make Money Blogging?
The simple answer is yes, you can make money blogging. Yes, you can make a lot of money blogging. And, yes, you can even make a full-time income that supports your family. In fact, there are thousands of people who do it. But there are 2 things you need to know before you run out and start your own blog.
First, making money blogging is very hard work. Don’t imagine popping on the internet a few hours a week and reaping the benefits of a fat bank account. In fact, you probably won’t make anything if you only give it a few hours a week. Blogging is a business. And with any business, it’s going to take a lot of work to start it. Eventually, you might find it running more smoothly. But in the beginning, don’t be surprised if you are like one of the many bloggers who work 40+ hours a week. (I’ve actually clocked 60+ on many occasions.) Think entrepreneur here.
The good news is, if you are a single mom like me, you can work those hours whenever it is best for you. I still homeschool my kids and have many other responsibilities. When my kids are gone, I work like a dog. There are some Saturdays that I don’t even shower. I literally work from 6am until 11pm. I prefer to work hard on these days so I can spend quality time with my kids when they are here. Most of the time I work early mornings and late nights, with some afternoon time thrown in there. You can see my specific schedule here. But again, the point is that I get to choose WHEN I work.
Second, making money blogging is going to cost you. This is the biggest mistake I see people make. They want to start a blog, but they have no money to put into it. I know this is a big mistake because I am guilty of it. I promise you this, if you want to make money, you will need to invest money. It’s a very simple and well-known business practice. Have you ever met a restaurant owner who packed out his restaurant before he opened the doors? Of course not. He had to invest in the building, hiring, and planning before he could reap the benefits of that business.
You can’t wait until you’ve made money to go ahead and invest in your business. It’s tempting in blogging because it’s not quite the same as a restaurant. But I promise, if you do try, you’ll figure out that you’ve been doing it all wrong!
Once I started investing in high quality training, email providers, and things like that, I actually started making money. I really wish I had known that up front! I could have been making money right from the start.
P.S. I’m not saying that you need $20,000 to start a blog. It’s certainly a whole lot cheaper than a brick and mortar business, but you will need to invest in hosting, a domain name, some excellent training, and possibly even some coaching. Plus, you will want to consider blogging conferences, as well as other expenses rather quickly.
How exactly do bloggers make money?
There are 4 main ways that bloggers make money: banner ads, affiliate sales, sponsored content, and product sales.
I know plenty of bloggers who entirely feed their family through those little banner ads you see on their sites. So the next time you feel a little annoyed by an ad, try to remember that just by looking at that ad, you are helping someone feed their family.
Next on the list is affiliate sales. This is money a blogger makes when she shares someone else’s product with her readers. Think of it like the old SEARS appliance salesman. If you buy a product that a blogger recommends, she will get a small commission from the creator of the product. This is usually how a newer blogger gets started making money. Almost every company has an affiliate program, from Amazon to Gymboree.
Now you might be wondering if you can really trust a blogger who recommends things, and I think that is a valid point. Just like the guy at SEARS, sometimes you can trust him and sometimes you can’t. I find that if I am reading a blog which has already gained my trust, I don’t feel worried that their recommendation might not be what I’m looking for. In fact, I often will go and see what that blogger recommends for some product I need, because I KNOW they can be trusted.
Sponsored content is a little harder to explain. This might be a post that a company has funded or from an email campaign. You will see a little note at the bottom of the post when the content is sponsored. It DOESN’T mean that someone has paid the blogger to write nice things. (We get to share our honest opinions, thankfully!) It simply means that the blogger was paid to advertise for that company. Most bloggers choose the companies they will work with very carefully. I know I certainly do. I want to make sure it is consistent with my message and that my readers will benefit.
Finally, bloggers make money through product sales. You probably know exactly what I mean by products. It’s those cute little things we create to sell to you! Like my Bible study on obedience or those life-saving Breakfast Station packs that are making everyone’s morning so much easier.
Should You Start a Blog?
So now that you understand a little bit about this blogging thing, I can hear the questions in your head. Should I start a blog? Would a blog be a great way for me to support (or help support) my family?
Blogging is indeed a fantastic way to make money, but this answer isn’t quite so simple. I’ll tell you this, not everyone who starts a blog is successful. In fact, there is something crazy like a 76% fail rate. I think this happens for 3 main reasons:
1. It wasn’t God’s plan to begin with.
2. The blogger tried to mimic others instead of being their own best awesome.
3. The blogger didn’t invest time and money to get started.
So, my advice to you would first be to take this matter to God. If God is leading you to start a blog, then take that leap of faith and obey. If you aren’t so sure yet, wait on Him to guide you! Next, spend some money investing in the resources you need to get started the RIGHT way! (I’ll share my favorites with you tomorrow.) Then, start making a massive list of all those things you LOVE to talk about. What makes you who you are? What are you passionate about?
For the sake of interest, tomorrow I will share a few of my favorite blogging tools, as well as how to get started. Before I do, I’d like to say a few words to the person who is interested in this line of work, but simply can not invest much time or money. There are options for you. I would suggest that rather than starting your own blog, you consider working as a virtual assistant, doing graphic design, running social media, or even writing posts for bloggers. You’ll need to work hard to get your name out there, but then you can work as it suits you.
Blessings on your journey my friend. I hope to see you tomorrow!
Ready for more? Read How I Make Money Blogging Plus my Favorite Blogging Tools