By Stephanie Spillmann 12/6/17 *This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure.
Blogging Isn’t a Get-Rich Scheme: Stories from Real Bloggers
Are You Distracted, Discouraged, or Disgusted by the Bloggers-Getting-Rich Hype?
If you’re a blogger who gets distracted, discouraged, or downright disgusted with all of the “I made $10,000 my first month blogging” headlines, then read on.
I’m one of the bloggers who’s easily distracted by those earth-shattering income reports that seem to be everywhere in the blogging world. That’s the kind of “shiny” object that has me constantly scrambling to find out how they’re doing it. Surely, if they can, I can — right?
Well — not exactly. After nearly a year of finance and wellness blogging, I’ve discovered it’s a lot of work. Like, hours and days and weeks of work with absolutely no revenue at all.
The primary purpose of my blogging venture was to help other women with their financial hangups (still is), and to make money so I can contribute to my household’s monthly expenses.
After Six Months, I Had to Readjust My Thinking and Expectations
I counted on six months to really get that ball rolling and earn at least a fraction of what those power bloggers generate in a month. Well, that’s not exactly what happened.
After taking Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course (which I can’t recommend highly enough), I learned that it takes persistence, patience, and time to see a steady income trickle in.
I’m definitely on the right path now, thanks to her incredible insight on monetizing a blog with the best strategies. If you’re serious about making money (not getting rich quick) with your blog, sign up for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. You won’t regret it for a minute.
I’m constantly learning new things about partnering with affiliates to offer great products and services to my readers, and soon will experiment with putting a few ads on my site as well.
But the realistic message to bloggers everywhere is not to get discouraged or distracted by the extremely rare bloggers who rake in the big bucks in a matter of months — mostly blogging about blogging. The rest of us write about our passions and celebrate tiny wins along the way.
I know it’s hard to keep plugging away when you make $1.32 from your Amazon links for the month. I’ve been there. Keep reading, and be inspired by the everyday bloggers who have been at it for a while and are reaping rewards, big and small.
Hard-Working Bloggers Who Tell it Like it Is
Meet our handful of extraordinary bloggers who work hard every day to bring value to their audiences and earn a decent side income or full-time money. Their journeys are all different, but they have hard work and a big dose of reality in common.
Alexis Schroeder over at FITnancials began her weight loss and finance blog as a hobby around five years ago. She had other sources of income, but decided to focus on monetizing her blog about a year ago.
“I left my job as a nanny where I was making almost 3,000 a month. It was sucking my life away. I started taking my blog seriously for about a year (20-30 hours a week) and now I make around 4-5k a month. I didn’t start seeing my consistent income I’m getting now until about 5 months ago. I make about 4-5k a month, and I make my money through ad revenue and sponsored posts.
Blogging is definitely not a get rich quick scheme. I also don’t make money by telling other people to start a blog. I have posts and an email course about starting a blog, but it hasn’t generated much income worth noting.
My advice for a new blogger would be to write about something you’re SUPER passionate about. I like personal finance and writing about healthy living, but I LOVE talking about veganism and everything about it. It takes a long time to develop a consistent income stream from blogging, but if you’re passionate and happy with what you’re producing, it’ll be a lot easier to do and stick with.”
Kelly Winder over at BellyBelly, an Australian pregnancy, birth, and parenting website, has been in the blogging arena for years. She serves a huge audience with her amazing website.
“I’ve been plugging along for 15 years, raised three kids, have up to 10 million page views per month and still have hairy months. I’m lucky to get affiliate deals at 10%, most here in Australia offer 3-5% per sale, not worth my time 😞. I make more than 4k/mth though, but my site has major running costs at that size!”
Tracie Richmond Fobes, who runs the wildly popular Penny Pinchin’ Mom blog, has a huge following, and is well known for her budgeting expertise and climbing out of $37K of debt in two years.
Even though she was featured on Good Morning America and in The New York Times, Tracie’s blog wasn’t an overnight success. Since 2009, she’s been plugging away with determination and hard work to earn the income she has today.
“I made $65 in my first 7 months of blogging. It all takes sooo much time. If you plan to blog to get rich, quit now. You are doing it for the wrong reasons.”
Melissa Stephenson at FM (Flea Market) Flipper, along with her husband, are eBay flipper extraordinaires. Their blog, which has been up and running for over two years, has been a different story.
“I think it’s funny when people are looking for ways to get rich quick. Honestly that mentality has never attracted me to anything. What attracted me to blogging was that I saw people working hard and that work was paying off.
We had a bit of unrealistic expectations when we first started because a couple that we are friends with had very quick success. They made $1,000,000 in 13 months after starting their blog. It was insane. Once they were at $250K we asked them to teach us what they knew, so they helped us get started with our blog. Little did we know that we were in for a bit of a different journey. We started by creating a course (what they did), then started making content for a blog. If you build it they will come right? Not so much.”
When things didn’t pan out like they thought, Melissa and her husband took a break from blogging to regroup. After several months’ break, they started up again and haven’t regretted it.
“We started a little backwards. We started with a course before we started with affiliates and ads. I don’t recommend starting that way because we didn’t have an audience to sell our course to when we started.
We should have built our content first while creating the course and then released it as we built up our audience. After about 12-13 months of blogging, we were selling 1-3 courses per month, so it was approximately $200-$600 per month. Then very up and down for about 12 months.
After 2 years, we have now hit $2,000 – $3,500/month for the past few months. It has been really exciting!! But it has taken us 2+ years to get here.
I have to say, to the person that thinks blogging is get-rich-quick, just stop. It’s not. But to someone who is willing to put the work in for the long haul – do it! It’s worth it! I am so excited to see where our blog will take us in the next year, and next 5 years!”
Monique Solomon runs the Irie Diva Lifestyle blog in Jamaica, where she writes about parenting, fashion and lifestyle.
“I have been blogging for 7+ years at www.iriediva.com and started like many other bloggers sharing very personal stories about my everyday life. I was a new mommy so I shared all the wins and struggles that came along with that. As my blog progressed, I started covering fashion and events here in Jamaica and wrote a lot about places to visit, where to eat etc.
I always knew blogging could make me money but I’ve never taken the time to research how. It was when another local blogger posted that she recently quit her job (as an attorney!) to blog full time (as a food blogger), I knew I was playing around. I wanted that. I went to her blog and realized I was doing this all wrong. She was fully focused on an international market while I was writing for Jamaicans, a very tiny market when it comes to the World Wide Web.
The blog was always a side hustle but I have pushed it to main hustle now, working on it an average of 15 hours per day. This has been so since September, when I left my full-time job. I have since been able to make some money from my blog via sponsored posts (around $400 a month), however my affiliate marketing has not taken off as yet.
I have side hustles in the digital marketing space that pays my bills for now until my blog income picks up, but I am determined to make it work!
So no, blogging is definitely not a get rich quick scheme. I’ve put many hours into it and have invested in courses along the way to level up and learn my craft so that I too can one day be financially free from something I love to do so much.”
Tracy Gillett, from Raised Good, blogs about natural parenting, and is working on monetizing her site.
“I’ve been blogging seriously for two years and have great traffic (250K pageviews a month) but I haven’t figured out monetizing, so lucky to make $600/month but I want/need to change this ASAP big time!
I wrote an eBook, The Lost Art of Natural Parenting, earlier this year, launched it in May, so I make some income from that each month. That’s the only product I have so far.
Other than that, it is affiliates (Amazon) and then individual affiliates that I am trying to increase, as I love supporting brands that I use personally and making connections with others doing the same as me. I don’t have any advertising on my site, and have been trying to avoid it, but am considering it at the moment.”
Kilah Kathleen, at Kilahkathleen.com, blogs about fitness, money, and mindset.
“Launched in January 2017. I made $100 in the first six months blogging from 2 sponsored posts. On my second 6 months now– made $3.50 from 1 affiliate sale, $0.75 from display ads by Google, and just made $1200 from my first high paying client.
The blog has opened up new opportunities that have indirectly earned me $2500 in 2 months. (Because of the blog, I was given opportunities of other jobs that I may not have had otherwise.)
I look at the blog as a long term investment–something that will always be mine, like a resume and a creative outlet, and will help me tell my story for future brand connections, business, or job opportunities, and be a platform for my products and services.
I know there are more ways to make money with my blog (ads, affiliates, etc.), but the first year I have spent a lot of time making decisions on branding, design, and getting parts to work together. Now that I have it the way I want it (11 months later), I can focus on content and getting myself out there.”
Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl, started her blog to support her brick and mortar flooring business. She has a massive following, and is working on further monetizing the blog itself.
“I started it in 2011 for my business. I began to start trying to monetize 2 years ago while running a more than full-time business (probably spending 80+hrs/week on my business). Because my site got a lot of traffic, I was able to “monetize” quickly, but it was tiny…$100 for first month. Mainly using Amazon.
I was making $300-$400 per month after maybe 8 months. At the 1 year mark, I got serious about stuff (and also had to make a serious and unexpected change in business). So, I added ads and then went to $1,100 per month, and then started building more/growing more, so then 12 months later reached over $3,200 (as I learned how to do affiliate marketing better and had more time).
My big challenge has been monetizing, as I did NOT set up my blog to monetize. Rather, it was set up to drive local business. I also have a category that is challenging to monetize (flooring), as the flooring itself is generally sold locally and not online. So, I had to be more creative to blog about flooring “accessories” (e.g flooring cleaners, area rugs, etc.) that could be bought on Amazon.
While I reached $200 [per month] relatively quickly, it has been a slow, gradual process where I may grow $100-$300/month, then plateau, then grow. It just takes time to get better at writing articles that convert well and also rank well.
Sometimes I feel that I have spent too much time learning and reading, and not enough time on doing. The key is to focus on your must-do tasks (and prioritize well) and then read/learn after…if/when you have extra time and not vice versa.”
Be Encouraged, and Most of All — Don’t Give Up
Let these real stories of hard work, patience, and months of consistent writing and marketing be your guide and encouragement. Keep going if you love blogging, and know deep inside that you have something valuable to share.
Don’t give up. The rewards are around the corner, but every blogger and blogging income is unique and hard-won. Many times, the greatest rewards aren’t the monetary ones at all.
The blogging community is a special one — full of encouragers, extremely intelligent people, and so much good information. Join an online or in-person blogging group, and get ready to learn and grow beyond what you’d imagine.
The common thread I have with the fabulous bloggers I mentioned is the supportive Facebook group hosted by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who’s the creator of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. This great community is one of the best FREE perks of the course — besides the fact that Michelle is very interactive in our group. Come and join us!
Happy blogging to all, and stay the course. It’s worth it when you work it.
For more encouragement read: 10 Best Mindsets for New Blog and Business Success
For a more personal look at my blog and how to start your own, read: From Personal Blog to Full-Time Income
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