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 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!
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.
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.
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, Blog by Number.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If that small product takes off and does well, you know you have a market!
- 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:
- 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. Download the free 12 Month Blog Plan to grow your blog from $0 to $17,000 per month.
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