I’m back with the final chapter of this How To Start A Blog series, where I’m talking all about how I make a full-time income from what I do! Be sure to also check out part 1 of this series, where I talk all about how to make the plunge, and part 2 where I talk about the technical side of blogging!
In the previous posts I talked about how I didn’t get into blogging thinking that it would become a legit, full-time business, and yet here I am now, LOVING my career and making more than I ever did in any of my other jobs! PLUS, I get to work from home, and I’m able to create my own schedule!
While it hasn’t been easy, and I definitely work A LOT, I really am living my dream come true. If blogging is a part of your dream, then I truly hope you’ve found this series of posts helpful to get going towards your goals!
Running a blog, especially a blog that brings in a good amount of traffic, definitely costs money. Unfortunately bills and mortgages can’t be paid in hopes and dreams. I know, crazy! 😉 So here’s where I’m breaking down the entire process of how I make a full-time income from my business.
When I first started my blog, I also owned a small jewelry business, which I ran through Etsy. This was originally how I started bringing in my income once I was able to work again after being sick for so long. While it was a lot of fun, it didn’t fill my soul like the work that I do now does. Helping others thrive is truly what makes me feel the most alive, and I’m able to do that because I took a leap of faith and created this website.
When I first started on this blogging journey I had NO idea how anyone made money from doing this. I had no clue what affiliates were, or sponsored posts, or that I could eventually create products of my own to help my audience. I really had no idea that blogging could even bring in money, and now it’s how I make a full-time income!
Then one day, everything changed…
In January 2016, my dear friend Michelle from The Whole Smiths and I met for lunch, and on that day we both decided that we were going to turn our hobby of a blog into full-time, legit businesses. Making that decision and moving forward changed EVERYTHING.
I completely shifted my mindset and started looking at everything that I was doing as a business. With everything that came up I started asking myself if it would contribute to the growth of my business or not. If it didn’t, it was EASY to say no.
I’m breaking this post up into two sections, because before we get into how I make a full-time income, we’ve gotta talk about a few REALLY important aspects to how I run my entire business. So first up…
How I Make A Full-time Income – My Values:
Give Before You Ask
What most people don’t want to hear, but what’s really important to know when you’re starting your own blog is this –
You’ve gotta give before you can ask.
I spent a full two years giving completely free, high-value content to my audience before I ever asked them to buy anything from me. While 2 years may not be the time that it takes for you to grow an audience that fully trusts you and will purchase what you have to sell, for me, it paid off huge, as when I launched my first eBook (the first product that I ever sold to my audience), it sold incredibly well!
It takes TIME to build an audience that trusts you and is actually willing to buy something that you’re selling. Think of how many things that companies are trying to sell you on a daily basis. My email inbox is full of offers from basically every company that I’ve ever shopped at – and as always, I go back to the ones that I trust the most. The same goes for the audience that you build!
You can’t expect anyone to buy something from you before they truly trust that you have their best interests at heart.
Stick To Your Values
Just like you, I have bills to pay and food to put on the table. I do this in a way that ALWAYS stays true to my values, and because of that, I’m incredibly proud of the business that I’ve created.
Know your values and stick to them – trust that it’s so worth it in the long run, and will more than pay off. Selling out is EASY, but I don’t believe that you’ll gain anything real from it.
Every business decision (and really every life decision) that I make comes with a much deeper purpose behind it. I ALWAYS follow my heart with the decisions that I make, and trust my gut instinct. I’ve become very accustomed to saying no, without needing to explain myself. This has made the biggest difference in running a business that has true passion and values behind it.
Know Your Worth
When you begin to shift your mindset about turning your blog into an actual business, it makes decisions easier and easier to make. You’ll find that as your blog grows you’ll have more and more people reaching out to you because they want something from you. Sometimes they’ll offer something in exchange (free product, money…) and sometimes they won’t. As I’ve learned some people will take as much as they can for free – it’s really up to you to set your own boundaries and realize that it’s okay to say no. In my own experience, trusting my gut and saying no has always opened the door for better opportunities to come my way.
This is why it’s SO important to know your worth and to stick to it. I have what’s called a media kit (a PDF that I can email to any company), which includes all of my stats – my website views, my average audience, my social media numbers, as well as services that I offer and the price that goes along with each service.
I now deeply understand my worth and I know that I’ve worked HARD to get to where I am today, so I don’t settle for less than what I originally offer. Sometimes companies don’t want to pay my rates, and that’s okay, those aren’t the companies for me.
One of the perks of my job is that I’m constantly sent free products to try. I often turn down products from companies that don’t fit within my values, and wouldn’t be something that I would even consider sharing with my audience anyway. I know my worth as well as my values extremely well, and both are what guide every single decision that I make.
Alright, with that, let’s get to how I make a full-time income from what I do! As you’ll see, making a full-time income comes from several different sources!
How To Start A Blog: Part 3 – How I Make A Full-time Income:
Affiliates + Brand Ambassadors:
Knowing and sticking to my values has been KEY when it comes to deciding what companies I’m going to work with. I’m constantly approached by companies who want me to sign up as an affiliate with them, but there’s VERY FEW companies that I actually choose to work with. The companies below are the only ones that I currently work with, because I LOVE their mission, and I LOVE and use their products. They’re companies that I would purchase their products even if they didn’t send them to me (or if I didn’t get a discount). All of these contribute monthly to how I make a full-time income.
These are the companies that I CHOOSE to work with, cause I absolutely LOOOOOVE them:
Beautycounter: This is my NUMBER ONE source of income. I don’t think most people have any idea how huge the opportunity is with Beautycounter, cause I know I sure didn’t! Signing up to be a consultant with Beautycounter has been a complete game changer for my business, and has truly been one of the best decisions that I’ve made. I was SO hesitant to join the company, but after reading more about what an incredible mission that they’re on to change the entire industry, and also trying and falling in love with the products, it was an easy choice to join. If you’re into safer skincare and makeup, or have tried and love Beautycounter products yourself and want more info on becoming Beautycounter consultant, simply email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Primally Pure: The creator of Primally Pure, Bethany, has been a personal friend of mine for years, and I remember visiting her farm in Murrieta, California when she was just starting out and was creating these products in her own home. Since then, Primally Pure has exploded in popularity, and when they reached out to see if I wanted to become an ambassador for them to help promote their products, it was an easy YES! I was using and loving the products anyway!
Puori: I’ve been using Puori’s supplements for the past 2+ years and LOVE them. The people behind the company are AMAZING (as with all of these companies that I’ve listed), so deciding to become an ambassador for them was also an easy yes!
ButcherBox: ButcherBox is a company that I recently discovered and instantly fell in love with. They deliver high quality, grass-fed beef, organic chicken and heritage breed pork right to your doorstep! They really make eating healthy SO much easier and so convenient, and after they sent me my first box, I was HOOKED!
SmoothieBox: This is the newest company that I signed up to work with, and Ioooove them. This sister-company of ButcherBox delivers organic smoothies right to your doorstep, made with 100% grass-fed collagen peptides!
Creating My Own Products:
eBook: The first-ever product that I created was my eBook, Get Sauced. I had no idea how to create and eBook, and made the entire project in Microsoft Word, but I learned as I went along and it worked out perfectly!
Having an eBook (mine is available on my website as well as on Amazon) creates a reliable source of passive income that requires zero effort on my part.
Membership Website: Last year I created my membership website, Invincible Inspiration, as a way to give my dedicated readers even more value, for a very low monthly (or annual) fee. Having your own product/course/etc to sell to your audience can be hugely beneficial to building your business!
I collaborate with VERY FEW companies to work on sponsored posts – meaning that the company pays me in exchange for me sharing a blog and/or social media post, which uses their product/or explains the service that they offer. Companies reach out to me on a daily basis to ask if I’d like to work on a sponsored post with them, but there are veryyyyy few that fit within my values, and the ones that do are the ones that I say yes to. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing sponsored posts for companies that you love, and in fact, they can be an amazing way to bring in money!
Amazon Associates is a way to add your affiliate links for anything sold on Amazon right into your blog post, so that if someone clicks on your link and purchases anything (not just what you link to) you’ll receive a commission, without any extra cost to them!
This is a way that you can start bringing in even just a small amount of cash right away, without having to “sell” anything to your audience. I started adding in Amazon Affiliate links to my blog posts 2+ years after starting my blog…and of course I’d wished that I’d started WAY sooner, but that’s simply how the blogging process goes, and why I hope to make it easier for you!
Even if you think that nobody is looking at your posts now, you never know if that post will take off down the line, and then you’ll be GLAD that you added links back then!
I would sign up for Amazon Associates as soon as you start your blog (if it’s available in your state), that way you’re set and ready to go. I started making a small amount of income from my Amazon links once I started adding them, and this has increased drastically over time and has now become a steady source of monthly income that hardly takes any work at all!
Using ads on my website is another way that I contribute to my monthly income. If you have ads on your website then the more traffic you get = the more income you’ll receive. There’s a ton of different companies that you can use to have ads placed on your website. I first started with Google Adsense, as they have no requirements for how many visitors that you have to your website (and also I really had no clue how ads even worked at the time and this happened to be the first company that I came across), but I also hardly made much income with them, even as my website traffic grew.
A couple years ago I switched to using Mediavine, who I’ve had nothing but great experiences with, and since switching, I’ve more than 10x my ad revenue every single month, which only continues to grow. Ads alone have become another big source of monthly income for me.
I hope this series for How To Start A Blog helped you take the next step towards starting your own blog! If you’ve got any questions, just leave them in the comments below!