From Personal Blog to Full-Time Income
By Stephanie Spillmann 11/14/17 * This post contains affiliate links. See our disclaimer.
Danger, Will Robinson. A haphazard blog could explode your income.
Who’s Will Robinson, and what’s a haphazard blog?
You have to be over 40 for the first question — it was the best Saturday morning show ever. Haphazard was exactly what my first “official” blog was. I had no idea what I was doing. The point is, you don’t have to be an expert to earn money blogging.
There are some power bloggers — quite a few, actually — who have the blogging-for-money thing down to a science. That’s not me, but I suppose it could be…one day. Even they started somewhere.
Whether you’ve considered starting a personal blog or a business blog to earn money from home, it’s exhilarating to name and claim your little corner of cyberspace. Consider it your very own tiny house in the wide, wide world — except your planet is “Web” and there aren’t any trees.
I started blogging for stress relief two and a half years ago when my 21-year-old daughter died. If I hadn’t found somewhere to pour out my grief, I would have lost my sense of humor and mad-scientist mind. That personal, intensely private blog eventually led me to this corner of cyberspace I own and love.
Writing Can Cleanse the Soul
For several months, I wrote whatever was on my mind in my private WordPress blog. It’s free to start, and you can release any ponderings, fears, and general craziness you desire. I didn’t have money to spend, so I was relieved to find a spot that didn’t cost a thing or require fancy skills.
Eventually, I decided to share my thoughts with family and a handful of friends. I chose carefully, and gravitated toward others who understood loss. There’s nothing more vulnerable than having people experience your grief in words.
A friend liked a particular post, and I’ll never forget her comment: “Stephanie, I didn’t know you were a writer!” I would never have called myself a writer at the time, but my heart warmed to the thought that another person was moved by my words.
You Don’t Have to Make a Dime to Be a “Writer”
In my mind, the term writer is for professionals who sell books, memoirs, and fancy articles for the New York Times. I was baffled at this term until I realized that a good friend, who lost her daughter a few months after mine, had been chronicling her grief as well. I followed her blog closely, and I had no doubts that she was a “writer.”
For me, it took another person to actually validate the fact that I could write…and write well. Why are we so hard on ourselves? It’s weird.
The thing is, almost everyone can write. Whether someone else reads it or not is beside the point. The joy is in the writing — it chronicles your feelings, experiences, and growth. It’s one of the single most therapeutic habits you can form.
What Started Out as Therapy for Me, Led to Full-Time Writing for Pay
I ended up taking Holly Johnson’s amazing writing course. She earns over $200,000 a year as a freelance writer. Earn More Writing propelled me to put myself out there and see what I was capable of professionally. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I’m now writing and blogging for pay.
There are successful bloggers and writers in almost any field and niche you can think of. If there’s something you love, are an expert in, or just plain passionate about, chances are, there are people out there who want to know what you have to share.
Writing and blogging can also be a great marketing tool for already established businesses. It seems like every major corporation and local business has an online presence now. It’s great for reaching the masses.
The best thing about “planet Web” is that everyone vacations here. For introverts, it’s the best place on earth…everyone’s here, but you can’t see them! Finding your audience doesn’t require you to talk — how great is that?
I’ll share with you the programs I started with for my sanity blog as well as what I’ve progressed to in order to make some income from my business blog.
WordPress is the most popular online website/blog building platform. It has two different versions.
WordPress.com is a FREE platform. It hosts your blog or site for you, and is very basic. There are no fancy themes to choose from, and your blog/site name (called a “domain”) will read @ WordPress.com. If you’re simply wanting a place to jot down your thoughts (like I did) and relieve some stress, this is a perfect place to start.
WordPress.org is the platform that the majority of blogs and businesses use. It requires you to first purchase a “hosting” service; a company that provides storage space and access to your website via the internet. WordPress.org enables users to customize the name of their site (as long as that name or “domain” has not been purchased by someone else).
Bluehost web hosting service is the one I started with.
If you choose to purchase through my affiliate link, you’ll get a discount off their regular price.
- It has great pricing if you purchase a 2-3 year plan (comes with 30-day money back guarantee)
- You get a FREE domain (the name you choose for your website)
- For as little as $3.95 per month, you can start your own blog/site including your domain cost
- They offer a 1-click immediate WordPress setup option (in 15 minutes or less, you can begin building your site)
- They offer 24/7 help
If you go with WordPress.org, you’ll love perusing the various “themes” you can use to express your unique personality. There are hundreds to choose from — some more user-friendly than others. There are FREE themes, low-cost themes, and bundles you can purchase if you plan to offer web design services.
Customizr Pro enables web designers to purchase their design package for an unlimited amount of sites for a one-time purchase price (now through Nov. 20th, it’s $99.90)
- Perfect if you want to build your own web design business as a freelancer
- Known for its amazing customizing features
- One of the most popular WordPress themes ever
The Hueman Theme (by Press Customizr) is the design I use for this blog.
- It’s beautiful and elegant
- The one-time price was phenomenal for all the bells and whistles you get to customize with
- Most importantly–it’s easy to use and build with (I am very non-tech)
Weebly – Websites, eCommerce & Marketing is a beginner’s dream if you have no prior website experience and don’t want to start with WordPress. My first business site was on Weebly, and it was a joy to build.
- Very user-friendly approach for simple websites that look professional and are easy to manage
- Known as a “drag and drop” builder, and it’s just what the term implies…easy
- Hosting is included in the price, so you have less steps to start your site
- The starter package is only $8/month and includes your domain name (when you pay for one year upfront)
Freshbooks is a cloud-based accounting and invoicing service for online businesses who sell products and services. This is one of my all-time favorite companies to work with. I use them for invoicing proofreading and writing clients.
- Create amazing invoices with your own logo in seconds
- Tracks expenses for you as well as work time
- Create an end-of-year report of earnings and expenses to print and put into your tax folder
Aweber is an email marketing service that’s very popular with bloggers and online businesses to keep in touch with their clients and audiences. I use them for my newsletters, and have been really happy with the services and pricing.
- 30 day FREE trial
- Easy-to-use forms and templates for emails, newsletters, and more
- Only $19/month for an email list of up to 500
- Email experts available 7 days a week to help you design and grow
Pinteresting Strategies Pinterest Course (ebook) is the marketing course I started with when wanting to know more about how to grow my business with Pinterest. Carly over at the wildly popular blog Mommy on Purpose is definitely a Pinterest expert. Highly recommended!
There you have it…starting a blog or online business doesn’t have to be hard or expensive! Whether for stress relief, enjoyment, or to make money at home, blogging is a great way to express yourself.
If you have any questions at all about any of the resources mentioned, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
** If you choose to purchase any of the above resources, those are my affiliate links. I will earn a commission, at no extra cost to you, which keeps this site up and running. Thank you! 😉
You can read my personal story of hope right here: The Power of Coffee and Routine Saved My Life