How I Grew My Blog from $0 to $17,000 per Month in a Year as a Stay at Home Mom

Michelle’s quick note: Hello! I have a great article by Suzi Whitford. She is a blogger who has grown from $0 to $17,000 per month!  Today, she’s going to show you exactly how she accomplished this in just one year. I used to dress up nicely, put on makeup and go to a quiet office…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: April 29, 2024

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Michelle’s quick note: Hello! I have a great article by Suzi Whitford. She is a blogger who has grown from $0 to $17,000 per month!  Today, she’s going to show you exactly how she accomplished this in just one year.

This blogger grew her website from $0 to $17,000 per month, in just one year. Here's exactly how she accomplished this.I used to dress up nicely, put on makeup and go to a quiet office filled with adults to work. It was nice, for a while. My college sweetheart and I got married right out of college and started working as Industrial Engineers for large corporations. But I always knew I wanted to stay at home when I started having kids.

After a few years in the corporate life, I became pregnant and after the birth of our first daughter, I started my life as a stay at home mom. I loved it. The first year was wonderful. And then we became pregnant again when my first born was 11 months old. Our family was growing quickly and our financial were needs too.

Deep down inside I missed the adult interaction I had in my corporate life and I desperately wanted to help contribute to the family finances again. Motherhood was wonderful, but I knew that with two little ones we’d have to tighten our belts more; unless I found something that I could do from home. Additionally, my confidence was dwindling as I spent all day changing diapers, cleaning the home and growing another baby. I desperately needed an outlet.

I started on a journey which I had no idea would lead to making over $17,000 per month!

Related content: The Best Blogging Courses & Resources That Helped Me Make $5,000,000

My Various Attempts at Making Money From Home

I researched and tried out many different methods of making money from home. Such as Fulfilled by Amazon, direct sales, selling hand-made crafts and photography. All of the methods were too time consuming and inflexible for me. I knew that soon I’d have to juggle a baby and a toddler, and I needed something that I could do from home at night or during nap times.

Fulfilled by Amazon required too much inventory in the house, direct sales required that I host parties which I’m terrible at, and crafts and photography were skills I was mediocre at. Managed correctly, these side hustles could be extremely profitable; they just didn’t fit in with my strict needs.

Additionally, it had to be something that didn’t require thousands of dollars of an initial investment, as some direct sales business require. I browsed the internet and stumbled upon posts on Pinterest about making money with a blog.

It immediately caught my eye!

I’m super technical, I can create websites in a flash (I used to code back in college) and I love tinkering around on my computer. Blogging would be perfect for me. Also, it’s extremely flexible, a big bonus for a stay at home mom with an unpredictable schedule.

Related content: The Ultimate Guide To Making Money Blogging – How I Earn Over $50,000 A Month Online

How I Found My Blogging Niche

I started in 2015 growing a family lifestyle blog. It was very personal and mostly a recap of my life with my little one. I was able to make a few hundred dollars with it through affiliate marketing, but nothing consistent. I knew that if I wanted my blog to be a business it had to help other people. It couldn’t just be a diary of my own struggles, it had to be a source of inspiration, guidance and help for others.

I went back to the drawing board and knew that I could tap into my Industrial Engineering background again! I used to write standard operating procedures for the operators on the manufacturing floor – why can’t I do that for the online world too?

I’m not a fantastic writer, but I do know how to write instruction manuals. I’m pretty dry and not very humorous. I tried guest posting on ScaryMommy but got turned down, whoops.

So I started my current blog to help other moms in my situation. I want them to find their voice again, to know that they can still contribute to the outside world while staying at home with their bundles of joy covered in Cheerios.

Two weeks before the birth of my second daughter I launched my current blog. For six months I worked late into the night and woke up early to continue to work. I knew that if others made their blogs successful, I could do it too.

Related: How To Start a WordPress Blog- Full Tutorial

What I Focused On to Grow My Blog Before Monetizing

For six months I barely made any money. I focused on growing my email list, writing amazing content, and truly listening to my readers. I wanted to understand exactly what they were struggling with so that I could create a product to help them.

  • I created countless freebies to grow my email list, many failed, but a few worked and grew my list to over 2,000 email subscribers.
  • I guest posted on various sites to grow my blog traffic. I invested in Tailwind and grew my Pinterest following. I read everything I could about SEO, social media and website design.
  • I wrote pillar post after pillar post and networked until late at night on social media. I knew that growing a blog from scratch is hard work, but I also knew that I could make this work.

We had three options. My husband would continue to support us with his 12 hour work days until one day he retires at 65 years old, I could go back to work or I could make this blog a success. I chose the latter.

My First Month of Making over $1,000 with my Blog

After months of focusing on growing my email list, writing content and listening intently to my readers, I knew exactly that I needed to create. So I took the month of May off from blogging to retreat and write my ebook.

I didn’t do a great job launching it and made a few big mistakes, but regardless, in my first month of launching my ebook I made over $1,000 between the ebook and affiliate sales! That’s huge! I knew that if I could make $1,000, I could scale up and make $10,000.

I was completely elated and blessed that all of my hard work was starting to pay off. I was still working for pennies per hour, but that didn’t matter. I loved blogging and helping others, and my first product launched as a success.

Focusing On The 20% That Brings 80% of the Results

Over the next few months I continued to grow my email list and traffic. I also guest posted and directed readers back to my ebook’s sale page. Over the following months my income grew from $1,000 to over $4,000.

I invested in blogging courses such as Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, which doubled my affiliate income within a month!

I knew people loved the Blog by Number ebook but they craved more. They wanted step by step videos and 1:1 hand holding. So in August I created the Blog by Number course on Teachable. Not only does it go through the ebook step by step, but it adds in extra tips, guidance and tutorials that took me months to learn.

Find out what works for you and continue to do that. You need to experiment and try out new methods to find the 20% of your actions that bring in 80% of your results.

If Google+ is not doing anything for you, but you’re killing it with SEO, then focus your efforts on improving your search rankings.

If your readers are mostly on Pinterest, don’t waste your time on Twitter or Reddit.

Take the first few months of your blogging journey to find out what works for your blog and niche. It will be hard work in the beginning, but once you discover your 20%, you can grow like a weed!

How to Decide on a Product to Create

This is my advice if you want to create an online product.

  1. First, create a blog post or freebie and see how it does. Create a few, because some freebies will fall flat, and that’s okay. The struggle is part of the growing process.
  2. Once you have a freebie that takes off and grows your email list, then create a quick ebook or printable. Start selling a smaller product.
  3. If that small product takes off and does well, you know you have a market!
  4. Then go on to create your course, master class or membership site to skyrocket your income.

From my Lean Kaizen background I first always ‘trystorm’ smaller actions before diving in and spending months creating a 20 lecture course that may not sell.

Start small, keep testing, and grow fast.

Making Over $9,000 in One Month

I networked and connected with other great bloggers in small mastermind Facebook groups. This is where I met Carolina from MamaInstincts. She makes over $1,000 from Amazon’s affiliate program and she did this while her blog was getting under 10,000 page views per month! Wow! Since I had the audience and she had the experience, we worked together to write an ebook sharing all of her strategies.

This was an amazing experience to work with another mom blogger who I’ve never met in person before on a new product. The connections you can make as a blogger are phenomenal. To date the ebook has grossed over $5,500.

Along with the launch of the Amazon ebook and a Black Friday special I ran on the Blog by Number ebook and course, I made over $9,000. It was a phenomenal month.

Tips for Running a Successful Sale

I learned that running short specials can bring a good bump in income. Here are my best tips for running sales or promotions on your products.

  • Make sure there is an end to the sale, people tend to procrastinate for as long as possible.
  • Additionally, prepare your readers and your email list for the sale, don’t just surprise them one day. I constantly struggle with this as I’m always strapped for time and it sometimes feel that I don’t prepare my readers well enough for an upcoming special.
  • Lastly, make sure you communicate the value of your product to increase conversions.

Ideas for times you can run sales include:

  • Holidays
  • Milestones for you or your blog
  • Back to School
  • Summer Vacation
  • Monthly Sales
  • Or bundles with other products

How I Reached $17,000 in One Month with my Blog

December’s income was in line with November’s right around $9,000. I was elated and had no idea I could grow even more.

But at the end of December I created an optin freebie that did really well. The 12 Month Blog Plan, which can be downloaded on the bottom of this page, grew my email list by a few thousand. This placed more readers on my email list and allowed me to bring in more conversions to the Blog by Number course and ebook.

Additionally, I ran a very successful promotion on January 18th, celebrating my blog’s one year anniversary. I prepared my list well and built up excitement. Also, at this time my readers were well informed of the value of the Blog by Number course, so that helped bring in more conversions.

I ended January with an income of over $17,000. I never even dreamt that my little blog would be making this type of money within a year! And my monthly income is still growing.

Celebrate the Small Victories

It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you put in the hard work, continuously research and experiment and never give up. Even while raising two little children I was able to grow my blog into a successful business.

I struggled to find time and energy to work on my blog every day. I almost gave up multiple times. But I continued to celebrate the small victories. I am thankful for every sale that comes in, for every student that enrolls in my course. Secretly I say a little prayer for every new student that they achieve success too!

Blogging has allowed us to become debt free and provide a better future for our little ones. I’m pregnant with our third baby, a little boy, and can’t wait to embrace the new challenges of being a blogging mom with three under 3.5 years old.

If I can do it, you can too!

Author bio: Suzi Whitford is a former Industrial Engineer turned stay at home mom. She helps moms start successful blogs by sharing her time management tips and blogging advice. 

Are you interested in starting a blog?

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Want to see how I built a $5,000,000 blog?

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle

    First off, congratulations!! That’s incredible!!
    Second, I feel you. I am a SAH-homeschooling mom, and I know that is where I’m supposed to be. But my desire to work, to help financially support our family, and to keep my husband from having to work til he’s 65 has never gone away. I’ve started 3 other businesses, all of which weren’t flexible enough for a mom of 3 little ones. I was basically ready to throw in the towel. But with my husband’s encouragement, I have a blog. I love to write, and dream of writing a book. This is the first step, where I get to help other people, while I’m getting to my other writing dreams. Seeing your success is really encouraging and helps me remember that I can be successful with blogging. Which, as you know, is easy to forget in the beginning when you just want an awesome email list. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing your story, and again, congratulations!!

    1. Ember,

      We’re in the same boat! Three little kids and husbands that work to support us. (Well, I’m due with #3 in a few days!) I’m so happy I can give you a bit of inspiration – it’s so possible! So many of my friends and students have built their successful blogs too and are contributing $1,000+ to the monthly income!

      It will take hard work. You’ll want to give up. But don’t! There is just so much potential online that you need to push through and make it successful! πŸ™‚

      Let me know if you ever need anything!


    2. Daundra Becker

      Your comment really stuck out to me, Ember because I can so relate! I have three little ladies (5,3,& 2.) I wanted to retire my hubby from his job and work from home together in the worst way. I started my blog in Feb 2016. Like you, I always dreamed of being a “real writer” and I used blogging to start freelancing (along with a selling on Amazon side-hustle.) I replaced my hubby’s income and then some in a hurry, and retired my hubby in 6 months after I started my blog. We took a break in Nov-Jan when I lost my Granny but I got back to work and replaced his income and more by February. I made more writing than we’ve ever made, but the thing is I was so miserable! I worked for my clients from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. I took maybe 3 or 4 Saturdays off in 6 months. I didn’t get any time to enjoy with my girls and hubby. I poured every single drop of my time and energy into building my clients’ brands my own blog fell through the cracks. I should’ve realized then that I couldn’t keep running in a constant state of burnout for lower rates than I really wanted for work I didn’t really want to do (ghostwriting.) But one day I just so happened to be reading a post on Neil Patel’s blog and saw my words, my ideas, and my screenshot in his post! He reworded it just enough to not technically be plagiarism and did link back to the original posts I wrote, but the kicker… (remember that ghostwriting thing I talked about???) my name was nowhere on the content. It was a wake-up call. Nothing against Neil or my clients (I have nothing but respect for them) but I knew things had to change. So I recently burned my freelance biz to the ground to invest my time and energy back into my blog and my brand. I’m starting from square one all over again, my hubby’s at work and I’m flying solo with the 3 little ladies. But I am on a mission to grow and nurture my email list, keep creating content, and build relationships. πŸ™‚ You got this! Don’t forget to nurture and take care of yourself through the process.

  2. Paige @ Fixing My Finances

    I really enjoy hearing about different paths people have taken to grow a successful blog. I couldn’t imagine growing a blog that big while taking care of an infant and a toddler! I have heard the suggest to focus on growing your audience before monetizing many times, and I can definitely see how it really made all the difference in Suzi’s success.

    I am still a very new blogger but the idea of making a product really terrifies me, maybe one day.

    1. Paige,

      Thank you for the sweet comment!

      To get over the fear of creating a product, start off with a free product. A free ebook or 5 video course. When people sign up for it and send you good feedback, trust me, your confidence will go sky high and you’ll be ready to launch a product!

      My hubby has a course on Udemy that he created and it brings in a few hundred every month. (It was free initially, but then when tons of people signed up and he got good feedback, he started charging for it) It was his way to ‘test out’ his idea and gain some confidence in the process.

      Hope that helps!


  3. The beauty of blogging and staying consistent in content marketing efforts is producing 2 press releases daily for 2 years produces fruitful SEO results. One plus one equals two, right? Two is all you need to succeed. Two of what, most people wonder. Well, when I talk about 2 for 2, it refers to doing something online that will put you over the top in 2. If you would really like to know what 2 for 2 is, it’s 2 published evergeeen content pages of any sort for two years consistently. This is something many people don’t know about that can build a business to amassing scores of traffic 24 hours a day to a blog or website.

    Two articles-blogs-webpages written daily for two years will get anyone out of a day job situation they do not like being in. Nevermind automated social bookmarking. Nevermind automated content, or site scraping other people’s stuff. Nevermind republishing content from article sites and using it as yours to gain an advantage in the search engines, backlinks and viral traffic from social networks. What I’m talking about 2 uniquely written articles daily and either published to a blog or website, or submitted to a paid or free directory for inclusion and possibly shared on 3rd party external sites for online cross referencing. Writing and publishing quality evergreen content for two years consistently will bring you enough business online to get you out of a day job you do not like working “as previously mentioned.” Believe it or not it’s true. By two years time, you’ll have enough content indexed in the search engines and backlinks to get all the free search engine and social networking traffic needed to have your business successful without paying a dime for online advertising.

    If you did nothing else like driving traffic with online video, joining forums, commenting on other people’s blogs, or build up your traffic from having a Facebook fan page, write 2 fresh online articles, or internet press releases and submit them to multiple directories. With patience and consistency, this will help you drive organic web traffic within 3-9 months of persistent article writing and publishing. The catch is, you have to stick with it. This will surely not work for you overnight.

    If you have determination to be your own boss, see yourself as a potential internet millionaire in the future, and have had enough adversity and additional setbacks in your life, you can write articles about all the obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life and publish it. Not only do you not know who’ll read it, but, you will never know who may republish your article on their website or blog, and bring you more free traffic from their search engine and social networking sites visitors virally. It pays to write online. There’s much profit potential for everyone to be success online as their own boss. Running an internet business by writing and publishing articles from scratch is possible. Even if you don’t like writing, if you just get yourself in the habit of writing 2 day, you’re good to go.

    Two articles written about anything of choice will start to drive traffic slowly to your domain name and website helping earn up new customers who may buy online from you time and time again. It does not take many years to have a successful internet business established. All you need to do is act on faith, write daily, and keep your website or blog content fresh. This way, people will keep coming back to see what new information you have on your site daily.

    1. Such great advice! Do anything long enough and consistently enough, and it will pay off!

  4. Thank you Ms. Frugal Asian Finance! πŸ™‚ I’m happy you’ve seen my book before!

    I have a Tailwind Looping Strategy that I use on Pinterest that has worked for many many bloggers to bring them in traffic! Here is the method I still use now:


  5. Caroline,

    It takes the most time in the beginning – because you have to learn so much! After a few months you’ll be much faster and you’ll spend much less time on the things that take hours right now!

    Hang in there – it get’s much easier in time!


  6. Congrats on your success. I started a blog a few months ago and so far have written many posts. I think I need to work on email and an freebie when signing up.

    I loved your approach to this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Pamela! If I was starting over I would focus on creating content and building my email list for a few months before focusing on anything else! You’re on the right path!

  7. Congrats Suzi. Amazing work and thanks for the inspiration. I think your Income Journey ebook was one of the first things I bought when I decided to get serious about blogging (even though I’m not in the mom blogger category). I have a few sites I’ve run for years that make a few dollars. Now I’m trying to get focused. It’s taking a few attempts πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your story!!

    1. Cara, thank you SO much! You warm my heart!! I loved writing the Income Journey ebook – it was one of my favorite products to create!

      Success doesn’t come over night. I’ve had so so many blog posts, freebies and ideas just fall flat! It’s not giving up that finally ends in success πŸ™‚


  8. Meredith

    Wow Suzi this is so encouraging to read, and a huge CONGRATS to you for your well deserved pay off! I took some valuable tips, such as preparing your audience for sales, from this and am looking forward to implementing them to my blog strategy. Thanks so much for sharing your story! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Meredith! So happy you liked the post! I hope the tips bring you HUGE success!

  9. Congratulations! It looks like all the hard work you’ve put in is definitely paying off. It’s good to see that you can make money by selling your own product. I’ve tinkered with that idea for years, just haven’t found the right product for my audience.

    1. Edwin,

      It’s amazing what you can do online today! I’ve had many of my students create products and reach thousands online! If you can help others online to find a shortcut from point A to point B, you can build a business.

      You can always start with a short ebook and test out the waters that way. And if that does well, move to a course or coaching.


  10. Linda

    Your hard work and resulting success is so inspiring! “No free lunch,” that’s for sure, but your story proves out the reward for consistent hard work, and also a generous spirit! Wishing you great continued success! Way to hustle.

    1. Thank you so much Linda! Like you said, it does take a lot of hard work – but stick with anything long enough, and you’ll see results! xx

  11. Inspirational story … the internet can provide much to those willing to put in the work … congrats!

    1. That’s the truth Jeremy! πŸ™‚

  12. Congrats on your success! Tons of great takeaways from this post.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much Andreaus! So happy you enjoyed the post!

  13. Lena, hehe, thank you for the great advice! I know I’m going to look a little nuts with three babies *almost* all under 3 years old!

    And thank you for the support! I’m so happy you like my books and courses! πŸ™‚ Good luck to you too momma!!

  14. Michelle

    Congrats Suzi! That’s a huge accomplishment that you were able to scale your income so quickly and identify such a strong need in your audience so quickly. I loved reading this and hearing about your success. I am working on my first product right now and very excited to see if it’s truly what my peeps want, and to see how it does. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the daily dose of inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much Michelle for the sweet comment! And good luck with your first product, I’m sure it’ll go super well!

  15. Diana

    This is such a great article for inspiration. I am just starting my blog as well, and I am following Suzi and Michelle. They inspired me to continue and pursue my dreams for my blog.

    Thanks you both.

    1. Aww thank you Diana!! <3 <3 Congratulations!

  16. This is so inspiring! I can really relate to your story as someone who has tried LOTS of ways to make money from home, but hasn’t been particularly successful with any of them. Actually, I’ve been successful with a professional photography business, but it’s not really “from home” and to be honest, I just don’t love it. πŸ™ I’ve been blogging for years but haven’t taken it seriously until now. I make a little bit of money from it, but nothing substantial. My “big” goal is 5k a month, which would replace my photography income completely. 17k sounds amazing! I’m “full time” blogging as of this month, and working really hard! Even though I have kids at home (and homeschooling 2 of them) I am determined! I am definitely going to follow some of these tips! I have been thinking of product ideas, and I guess I really need to focus on that!

  17. Very inspiring! I know it can be done… and it will take awhile…. and my biggest problem is overthinking blog posts. How can I write 1000 word posts? What should I even start with? Will people even care? Most of my posts are going to be very personal, because I keep my “day job” separate from my personal blog. When I first started my blog at the beginning of the year, I have mentally changed since then, and so once again I’ll be changing my focus ever-so-slightly.
    And congrats of course on all of your success!

  18. Daundra Becker

    Your story is so inspirational! Thanks for sharing!

    I started selling on Amazon too along with freelancing in Feb 2016, and with three kids and my hubby working crazy hours we retired in him in 6 months!

    Took a break after I lost my Granny. In a short time after that, my freelance business was booming, I retired my hubby again, but I was so miserable.

    I spent allll of my time and energy growing my clients’ brands, my own fell through the cracks. When I saw my content and screenshot on Neil Patel’s blog it was a huge wake-up call.

    So I tore down my freelance business, my hubby went back to work, and now my mission is to grow and nurture my email list, create content, and build relationships.

    I’m building out a coaching program to help other bloggers, writers, and biz owners unleash their Inner Storyteller to make writing fun and exciting while using their true Voice. And it feels good to be able to write blog posts that I love to write for my own brand!

    Thanks again for sharing your story and congrats on your little one!

  19. Thank you for the post, Suzi! I am saving itfor inspiration! I love your blog and had big doubts about mine until o purchased your blog by number course. I am almost done with it and it gave me the knowledge I needed and belief that I can do this. Thank you!

  20. Hey Suzi,

    Congrat, i m a new blogger since 6 months and really feel this story because i ve got to kids two. I would like to get three but i m always between 1 year of work and 1 year of business. But it never enough to support my family. But this time after six months i having good money and it keeps growing. Even without this little success i will continue because i just love blogging and working from home or anywhere i want to “work” and give advice to my audience, to my readers.
    Thank again for this post

  21. Hello Suzi,

    Thank you Suzi for your story. I can definitely relate to it. My passion is Passive Income. My motto is to Learn, Earn, and Share all about it. On my blog I am sharing my journey to create boost in my income by creating:
    1) passive income online – which is blogging and affiliate marketing (i will definitely check out the web site your recommending) and
    2) passive income offline – which is real estate investing for cash flow.

    My goal is to have great amount of passive income so I can do more of the things that I enjoy doing daily.

    I did join your email list and looking forward to learn from you a TON!


  22. Oliver @

    Good things to those who wait, hustle, and persevere. Kudos to you for earning well online!

  23. You are so inspiring. Congrats on your success and growing your blog so quickly. I’ve dreamed for years of having my blog become successful and being able to replace my income and do it full time. Long term goals? Make enough to replace my husband’s income too. I know the direction I want to take my blog, but am struggling lately with actually doing it. I’ve been working on it on and off since 2015, but started taking it more seriously within the last 6 months. I struggle with traffic, though, and my husband doesn’t want me to invest in courses that will help so much in the long run. It is times like these that I get discouraged of it ever being anything more than a hobby. This gives me an extra push to just do it, invest, learn, and make it happen. After all, all good things require work.

  24. I am always looking for ways to monetize my blog too. You gave me some good tips. I have to look more into Affiliate marketing.

  25. Daliatys

    Thank you so much, this is so inspiring. I am an engineer as well and I decided to stay home after my son was born. It hasn’t been easy, financially. I have tried a lot stuff that have allowed me to keep afloat, just that!! πŸ™‚
    I found blogging and I started my blog last month. I share my experiences investing and in businesses I have started before.
    I am focused on creating content and finding my audience. I have a lot of expectations and I am prying for the blog to work.
    Thank you so much!