My 7 Year Blogiversary: What I’ve Learned And Love About Blogging

In August of 2011, just seven years ago, I started Making Sense of Cents. It’s crazy to think that I started my blog seven years ago, especially when I consider all of the amazing things it has done for my life. It was something I started and worked on in addition to my full-time day…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: March 19, 2022

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My 7 Year Blogiversary: What I’ve Learned And Love About Blogging #blogging #howtostartablog #earlyretirement #travelblogger #digitalnomadIn August of 2011, just seven years ago, I started Making Sense of Cents.

It’s crazy to think that I started my blog seven years ago, especially when I consider all of the amazing things it has done for my life.

It was something I started and worked on in addition to my full-time day job as a financial analyst, and around two years after I started this blog, I quit my day job to blog full-time.

Blogging changed my life for the better, and it allows me to earn thousands of dollars a month, all by doing something that I love.

But, let’s rewind a little.

You may have heard this from me before, but the funny thing is that I created my blog on a whim after reading about a personal finance website in a magazine. It started as a hobby to track my own personal finance progress, and I honestly didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!

I knew absolutely nothing about blogging and I didn’t have any goals for Making Sense of Cents.

In case you are new here, I used to work as an analyst at an investment banking and valuation firm. I chugged along working the 8-5, Monday through Friday grind and didn’t see myself having an enjoyable future there. I had a stressful job filled with lots of deadlines and responsibilities that just didn’t interest me. Yes, I know this is the norm for some people, but I just couldn’t imagine myself living like that for 40+ years.

Blogging was an outlet for my stressful day job, and my interest quickly grew, even though it was just a hobby. It gave me space to write about my personal finance situation, have a support group, to keep track of how I was doing, and more. I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money blogging.

A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser, and I earned $100 from that advertisement deal.

That one deal sparked my interest in taking my blog more seriously and learning how to make even more money blogging.

I now earn a great living from my blog, and it all started on a whim, not even knowing that blogs could make money.

Blogging completely changed my life for the better, and I urge anyone who is interested to learn how to start a blog as well.

Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more!
I have had some of the most amazing experiences ever since building my blog – I have lived and traveled across the U.S. in an RV, bought and now live on a sailboat, and take some pretty incredible vacations!

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And, all of this happened because I started some random blog seven years ago.

I made so many mistakes, and I still make mistakes today. But, I continue to learn and improve, which has shaped this blog into what it is today.

I was so afraid to quit my job when I did, especially for a blog.

So many people thought I was absolutely crazy and making the worst decision of my life. Especially since my husband quit his job at the same time!

It’s now been almost five years since I worked for someone else.

Five years since I commuted to work.

Five years since I’ve been location independent.

Five years that I’ve been my own boss.

When I sit back and really think about it, I am still in disbelief that starting some blog has led me to where I am today.

And, I am so very grateful. Extremely grateful.

Here are five things I’ve learned about blogging and myself over the years.

 

There’s always something to learn.

Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme, and anyone who tells you that it is (or acts like it is) is lying.

Blogging is not easy.

And, you won’t make $100,000 your first month blogging.

Blogging can be a lot of work, and there is always something to learn. Something is always changing in the blogging world, which means you will need to continue to learn and adapt to the technology around you. This includes learning about social media platforms, running a website, growing your platform, writing high quality content, and more.

This is something that I love about blogging – it’s never stale and there’s always a new challenge.

 

I enjoy being in control and being my own boss.

I never had dreams of being my own boss. I always thought I’d work for some corporation.

Then I started blogging and realized how much I love being my own boss.

I love being in complete control of what I do, and becoming self-employed may allow you to feel that way as well. I enjoy deciding what I will do each day, creating my own schedule, determining my business goals, handling everything behind the scenes, and more.

I actually have a rule in my life/business that says I don’t do anything unless I want to. While I still say yes to many amazing opportunities, I’m not doing anything that feels like a total drag or is against my beliefs. This has really helped improve my work-life balance, which is great because being able to choose how you earn a living amounts to making sure you love everything you do.

I honestly love each and every service I provide – writing online, promoting everything, networking, interacting with readers, and more.

Running an online business (and being your own boss) may not be for everyone, but it’s something I enjoy.

 

Bloggers make great friends.

So many bloggers see other bloggers as enemies or competition, and this is a huge mistake.

As a blogger or other influencer (such as on Instagram), you should make it your mission to network and to do it successfully and genuinely.

Networking is very important if you want to create a successful blog. Bloggers should be open to making blogging friends, attending blog conferences, sharing other blogs’ content with their readers, and more.

However, I believe that many bloggers skip this area, which holds many of them back.

Networking can help you enjoy blogging more, learn new things about blogging, learn how to make money blogging, make great connections, and more. If you want to make money blogging like I have done, then you will want to network with others! After all, networking is the reason why I learned how to make money blogging in the first place!

The key is to be genuine and to give more than you take, which are the two main things I always tell people when it comes to networking. I receive so many emails every day from people who clearly aren’t genuine, and it’s very easy to see.

I’ve made great friends who are bloggers and influencers, and it’s truly a great community to be in.

 

Having a flexible schedule is amazing.

One of the best things about working for yourself and being a blogger is that you can have a flexible schedule.

I can work as far ahead as I want to, I can create my own work schedule, and more.

I love being able to work for a few hours in the morning, do something fun during the day (such as a hike or a lunch with friends), and then work later at night when I have nothing planned. I can also schedule appointments during the day and it’s really no big deal.

I can work at night, in the morning, on the weekends – I can work whenever.

 

Location independence allows me to work from wherever.

Being location independent over the past five years has been great.

I love being able to work from wherever I am, and it’s allowed me some of the best experiences I’ve had, like living in an RV and now on a sailboat. All I need is an internet connection and my laptop. Can’t beat that!

The only problem with being location independent is that it can be hard to separate work from the rest of your life. You may find yourself working all the time, no matter where you are, and while that may seem great, being able to take a true vacation can be a hard task.

However, I’m not going to complain because the work-life balance I’m rocking right now is great.

What major change have you made in your life?

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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. Janet

    Congrats on your 7 years! I’m rounding up on 6 months right now. Can’t wait to be where you are one day! And I agree with so many points, especially being able to work on my own schedule, be my own boss, and making friends with other bloggers!

  2. Happy anniversary! So much good advice in this post – I love the friend part of course! 🙂 The KEY in there for any new blogger is the part about GIVE MORE THAN YOU TAKE. If everyone just did that, they’d get all the mentors, friends, and relationships they want.

    1. Exactly! I wish more bloggers realized this.

      1. Yes! It’s worked WONDERS for me and I use it to fuel my future success. Congrats on your 7-year blogiversary, Michelle!

  3. I really admire you for your persistence and staying the course and doing the transformation business work starting from humble beginnings seven years ago when you were unsure if a Blog could earn you a 100% living from the internet. Michelle is iron clad proof anyone can achieve the same results if they put their mind to Doing Great Things by believing in themselves and doing the transformation work. it’s a beautiful thing to know that content is King on the internet and with a consistent mindset in content marketing, anyone can follow Michelle success in being a [side hustle millionaire]. Thank you for being a true example of employee to entrepreneur to “side hustle millionaire.” Keep up the good work Michelle 🙂

  4. Congrats on 7 amazing years!

  5. Kevin

    Your story is what got me to start my second blog after I got burned out on my first. I listened to an interview with you on a podcast and it was the kick I needed to start another blogging project.
    Thanks for being an inspiration and congrats on your blogging anniversary.

  6. I discovered your blog yesterday and can’t stop reading.

    Wow! Congrats!

    Hard work does pay off, makes think I’ve been a little too lazy lately!!

  7. Congratulations on your 7 year anniversary! Your achievement in such a short time is truly amazing! I listened to your story on ChooseFI podcast – it was what spurred me to start a blog even though I am far from being technologically savvy. You may be sick of hearing this – but you ARE an inspiration. Thanks heaps 🙂

  8. Freedom 40 Plan

    Congrats on the 7 year blogiversary! That’s quite an achievement and your story is an inspiring one.

    I just quit my 9 to 5 corporate job at the age of 40 to pursue an early retirement. So far, things have been great, but we’ll see where all of this may lead.

  9. Mitch Glass

    Hey Michelle,

    As a brand new blogger, this article was super inspiring.

    As I read through your lessons, several questions popped into my head.

    The most pressing ones were:

    1) I’m trying to build a network of friends with other bloggers, but it seems like most people I reach out to are pretty closed off. I feel like when an established blogger sees a newbie reaching out, they figure there is no way they will benefit from the relationship, so interacting/becoming friends would be a waste of their time. Or others just don’t want anything to do with their “competition”. What advice do you have for building relationships and finding fellow bloggers that don’t see each other as competition?

    2) On a similar note – what are the best ways a new blogger can provide value to a successful blogger. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading, commenting, and sharing other people’s content. But perhaps they don’t see this as very valuable since my audience is so small. Are there better ways that I could be providing value that would make them want to return the favor?

    Thanks again for the inspiration, I’ll be sure to share it on Twitter!

    1. Hey Mitch!

      Thank you for your comment.

      I think this may be due partly to the amount of emails more established bloggers get. I respond to 100% of the emails I receive, and I can say that it can be very overwhelming to respond to a few hundred emails a day.

      And, about 75% of the emails are quite demanding with no thank you ever been given by the emailer even (so, I take the time out of my day to help, but it’s a thankless job some of the time). I’m definitely not complaining, but going out of your way to “give more than you take” really goes a long way and bloggers definitely notice it.

      I talk about networking in the Featured Question here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2018/08/how-i-made-in-july-2018-blogging.html.

      1. Mitchell Glass

        Hey Michelle,

        Thank you for the thoughtful response and great reference!

        I never thought about how many emails you must have to go through each day. I can’t believe people have the nerve to demand things from you when they don’t even know you! Rude!

        Anyway, I’d just like to say a big THANK YOU to cover all of the thankless emails you’ve gotten.

        That being said, what’s would be the best way I can provide value to you specifically? I’m still unsure of how I can “give more than I take”. What do I have to offer besides shares and thoughtful comments?

        Thanks again! You’re an inspiration to us all!

  10. Edgar Vera

    Congrats and thanks for inspiring many people, including me.

  11. You taught me everything I know about affiliate marketing and since taking your course it’s changed what I have thought possible for blogging! You’re such a great example of what a great blogger is, congrats on 7 years – you’re changing other bloggers lives just as you have your own!

    <3

  12. It’s amazing how far you can go when you just take a chance. On a lark, you changed your life for the better, and your readers’ lives. I appreciate all your wonderful content and your support. I hope to meet you in the future.

    Congratulations on seven years. Well done!

    1. Thank you! I’m so happy I started this blog 7 years ago 🙂

  13. Financial Gladiator

    Congrats on the anniversary, Michelle. You are an inspiration to many. Looking forward to following you and learning from you. Thanks for being so open and sharing your experience in this domain.

    All the best to another 7 years!

  14. Franca

    Congrats Michelle. Look at this amazing body of work you have created. Tremendous. Wow.
    I finally bought your course. So happy.
    Thanks

  15. Hi Michelle! I’m a student of your course “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing”. I’ve benefited so much from the teachings inside! My website’s pageviews went up thanks to the Pinterest tips and so did my affiliate income! Congrats on your 7 years bloggaversary! I started my blog 6 years ago but I didn’t know how to monetize it for a real long time. Thankful that I came across your inspirational blog and course. Thanks for all that you do!

  16. BIG congrats on your 7th year blogiversary! You’re a great example of what a great blogger is. Your story and your blogging journey are truly inspiring! You have changed many pleople’s lives, including me.

  17. Timea

    Congrats, this is my 1 year anniversary of blogging but I have start over again because of my mistakes and learn even more to do it better. Maybe I will make income too from my blog someday which I hope so.

  18. Congratulations, Michelle! You are truly inspiring to the rest of us trying to succeed in the blogging world.

  19. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Wow, 7 years already? Congrats, Michelle! What a feat!

    I’m excited because I have t-minus 44 days until I’m my own boss. 🙂 I’m already excited that I have this opportunity, and it never would have been possible if I hadn’t gotten out of debt!

  20. chris verhoeven

    Hi Michelle,

    congrats on your anniversary, I know it’s somewhat of a cliché by now, but you’re a true inspiration.

    Keep up the awesome work

  21. Heather

    Congrats on 7 years! Yours was the first blog I subscribed to (& your link where I started my blog from 9 months ago); your posts have been very helpful! Here’s to continued success!

  22. Love this post so much! Congrats on seven years! 😍

  23. Congrats on reaching 7 years! Your blog is one of the reasons that I started mine. I wish you continued success.

  24. Congratulations on your 7-year blogging anniversary, Michelle. You are such an inspiration and role model for the rest of us. I recently started focusing on my blog with an eye to transitioning to full-time blogging.

  25. Taylor O’Halloran

    I just hit my one year anniversary and I was inspired by a mixture of you, alexis, and rosemarie groner. It’s insane that I’m already making over 1K per month! Thanks for being inspiring and congrats on your 7 year anniversary

  26. maegen

    Congratulations on 7 years! I am about to hit one year. I have really been wanting to connect to other health and fitness bloggers and have reached out to some but no one seems intrested in connecting. I was wondering how you found a group of ladies.

    1. Thanks Maegen! Congrats on one year to you 🙂

      Have you tried attending conferences?

    2. Hi Maegen,

      I am a brand new health and fitness blogger. I’m specifically focusing on health and fitness for mothers. I just launched a couple of weeks ago so I’m just starting out but would be interested in connecting and networking with you. Just let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you my email address.

  27. Kris

    Congrats on your 7 years for the blog Michelle. When I started mines over a year ago you were one of the blogs I looked at in how to create one. I took your ‘How to Start a Blog’ email course and learned a lot from it. I took much of your advice and applied it my blog.
    You are a great inspiration to everyone in the blogging universe on how you were able to help fellow bloggers on creating, marketing and maintaining one. Cheers to that!!

  28. Clint Woodruff

    Congrats! Very exciting and encouraging! Here’s to seven more!

  29. Greg

    I really appreciate you. You and 7 years of blogging is a blessing. I am just getting ready to start my blog. My wife passed away 5 months and my daughter passed away 5 years ago. Before my wife passed away we always talked about starting a blog of our own. I consider you my mentor and idol.

    1. So sorry for your loss.

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂

  30. Shirley Symon

    Congrats on 7 years. I was wondering do you or have you used your blog to obtain media passes for various events?

    1. I’ve never really tried to attend an event, haha. Since we travel full-time, we never know where we will be, so trying to plan for an event would be difficult.

  31. Congrats On 7 years of Blogging . Wish you many more future blogging anniversaries & success

  32. Catarina Rebelo

    Congratulations!

    I love your posts because they reflect the kind of person I wish to be one day as well as the freedom I wish I have.

    Thank you for being there.

  33. THE MONEY VALUE

    Congrats on your 7 years for the blog Michelle. I looked year back when i started my blog Themoneyvalue. I read your how to start guide & followed all steps. I am on great path now…)

  34. When is the right time to network? When your blog is more seasoned or when you have zero following?

    1. You can start from the very beginning 🙂

  35. As usual great article! Still in my first month but having a great time. I’m hitting the 10th post mark tonight! Whoot!

  36. Bernz JP

    Congrats on your 7 year blogversary Michelle. You’re such an inspiration to us bloggers. Just like you I started blogging in 2011 but quit after four months for lack of interest and I’d say disappointments. I started blogging again in 2016 and this time it’s going to be different. Thanks again for your success story.

  37. Congrats on 7 years!! Very, very inspiring! I hope to achieve just a tiny fraction of your success one day!!

  38. Brittany

    7 years, wow! I started recently and just writing down my thoughts is hugely beneficial in progressing from idea to implementable plan. It actually helps me to reduce stress and feel more comfortable taking risks too. So far, journaling regularly seems to be the best defense against information overload. So many benefits that I couldn’t fully appreciate until diving in.
    I really enjoy your writing, keep it up!

  39. Alice

    Hi Michelle!
    Your post is really great and helpful. I’ve been reading about blogging for some time and now I want to create one too. But the thing is I’m a bit afraid to do so. Any tips for those who want to start but are kinda afraid of failure?
    Thank you in advance!

  40. Congratulations on your 7 years! I love reading your articles and I have purchased your Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I’m looking forward to learning more. Thank you for providing such valuable information.

  41. That is an incredible achievement doing it for 7 years and still producing great quality content.

    I never realized how hard blogging was until I started my own blog 4 months ago. It definitely is a passion project otherwise I would never put up with the amount of hours I have put with the monetary rewards being far less than minimum wage.

    Especially since I am a physician one might say well you could earn far more per hour doing your day job. But blogging is different and for all the reasons you mention. I love the social interaction aspect and have made some amazing virtual friends hat share similar philosophies to me.

    The fact that I am now challenged to find new content to write about stimulates my mind which was something I started to miss after years of medical practice. It is definitely a creative outlet.

    There is no way I could ever hope to earn the amount you get from blogging, but it would be a nice bonus if my blog does start generating a little revenue to be a real side hustle for me.

  42. Mithun Baiju

    7 years completed. Nice. You truly are an inspiration to many of us. Many people start a blog hoping that it will make them rich in a few months but after hustling for 3-4 months, they quit and start blaming the whole blogging industry.

    I am so happy for you. You not only made it big but also help a lot of newbies to become successful like yourself.

    Keep on churning quality content.

    Thanks 🙂

  43. Happy 7 years Michelle!

  44. Chuks

    I’m so confident too about it too. Congrats dear. I’m just 10months old as a blogger. And I already see the possibilities.

  45. Congrats Michelle! It’s so easy (okay not easy but doable) to start a blog but sticking with it for that long is another story. Not easy at all!! You definitely have persistence and I’m happy it has worked out so well for you!

  46. Kathryn

    You are an inspiration, Michelle! I have been a lurker for a month now and I’ve been visiting your blog everyday. Reading your story and the information that you’ve been sharing have tremendously helped me to finally launch a blog. I’m so sick of my 9-5 job and now I’m actually doing something to get out of it.

  47. Vivianne

    Happy anniversary!!! You were my motivator and inspiration to start my own blog, Ms. Tech Savvy. So I feel compelled to congratulate you and wish you continued success. From one blogger to the next, Congratulations.

  48. Wow, big congratulations on 7 years! What a fantastic achievement. I’m coming up to my first year blogging anniversary, and one of my favourite parts of the journey has been making friends with other bloggers. It can be daunting at first, but it’s also so rewarding when you can help each other and spur each other on.

  49. This is pure gold, Michelle.

    Happy Blogversary and congratulations!

    You inspire me big time. My business blog will be 2 years on 21st September, 2018.

    Since I came across your blog in 2016, it made me realize that I could make money from this blogging thingy so I held on to it.

    I had options to work for people but I said no because it won’t give me the chance to focus on the blog so that it will generate income faster.

    Look at me, blogging has changed my life.

    Thanks for creating this platform.

    Emenike

  50. This is so inspiring, Michelle. Happy 7 years of blogging! Cheers to many, many more!

    Thanks for being such a motivation, and for so readily sharing what you have learnt over the years!

  51. This is so inspirational!

    I started my blog back in February but left it alone for a few months not posting any content (I have a real problem with procrastination…)

    Reading this has given me so much motivation to keep on pushing with blogging!

  52. Pearl

    Happy 7th blogverssary Michelle. You are #goals. Thank you for being honest about blogging being hard. I started my blog back in May this year, it’s such an amazing, exciting, frustrating and tiring journey all at once.

  53. Happy Blogversary.! You have given me hope I am 1 year next week and yes it is hard. Thanks for the honesty.
    Great post.

  54. Huge congratulations on your blogiversary! You’ve been such an inspiration. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you 🙂

  55. Jaime

    I agree with you…other bloggers aren’t your enemies. For some reason many bloggers seem to get hung up on that that there are other bloggers out there besides them. In other industries people don’t care as much if their field is saturated i.e. Nursing, software development, the law, engineering, accounting, graphic design, web design, illustration, etc.

    But for some reason bloggers feel threatened by the fact that a lot of talented people are blogging but any industry that has been around for roughly 20 years will attract talent. I wish bloggers could be more supportive of each other. 😀

  56. Congrats on 7 years Michelle. I hit my 10 years blogging in August however I didn’t have near the success as you.

    One question I have for you is how much content do you write in a given month especially for someone who’s starting out.

  57. Happy Blogiversary!

  58. Happy 7th Anniversary, Michelle. I’ve been blogging for 4 years and am starting to treat it a little more seriously this year, spending 80% of my time on non-writing tasks such as boosting email opt-ins, marketing, and sales.

    Blogging is indeed a very time-consuming career and I find myself working close to 90 hours a week on the blog. In fact, I was on the verge of a mini burnout early this week and had to force myself to disconnect for a few hours. I will refer back to your blog often to get the motivation I need. Looking forward to reading more of your inspirational and well-written posts! 🙂

  59. Financial Orchid

    Congrats! Really happy to see after 7 years that it’s still the suitable life choice for you! Of course there’s also the impressive results but the community culture definitely can’t be discounted either!

  60. Hi Michelle,

    Wish you a happy Anniversary!

    I started my blog https://balanceoflife.xyz/ about 3 months ago. I appreciate your selfless sharing and guideline which inspired me a lot. It shows me the possibility. Right now, I still have a lot to learn. Thanks again!

  61. Michelle! Congratulations on your 7 year anniversary! You’re an inspiration to myself and others. I’m very thankful for all your hard work. Love seeing your success! It’s much deserved!

  62. Talk about dream job!! It must feel so amazing to have come so far! Congrats on your 5 years of full time blogging!

  63. amy Wisdom

    Hello there,
    I am only about 2 months into my blog and I do feel like I have learned A LOT, but still have so much more to learn. I love reading realistic posts like yours. Some people make it seem way too easy. It’s not easy. I feel like I work a part time-full time job and don’t get paid. But, like I said, I do not know much about computers, nothing about social media/graphic design/photography, but people come to my blog and that makes me happy! Even though it’s no more than 3 people a day!
    You give me inspiration and the drive to carry on.
    Happy Anniversary & congrats on such a successful blog.
    Regards
    Amy