Ask Me Anything

A little over one year ago, I published my first Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents. That went super well, so I decided to make it more of a regular thing! Ask Me Anything is literally that – you can ask me anything. If you’re struggling to figure out what to ask, here…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

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.

A little over one year ago, I published my first Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents. That went super well, so I decided to make it more of a regular thing!

Ask Me Anything is literally that – you can ask me anything. If you’re struggling to figure out what to ask, here are a few of the topics you may want to know more about:

  • Personal finance
  • Blogging
  • My life
  • Travel
  • RVing
  • Sailing
  • Being location independent
  • Business
  • Making extra money
  • Questions about my dogs

And so on, and so on.

Seriously, ask me anything in the comments below, and I will take the time to answer every single one. Of course, please nothing inappropriate or creepy. I’ll let you be the judge of what is creepy, I guess, haha!

All right, go for it, ask away!

 

P.S. If you’re looking to see all of the comments and questions, make sure to hit “Older Comments” or “Newer Comments” below. The comments break apart in pages once there are over 50 comments.


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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. “Ask me anything” is good for business my friend. Loving the fact that Michelle achieved “side hustle millionaire” status by “starting from the bottom like rapper Drake.” There is truth to your struggle and I respect that because you started from humble beginnings and worked your way to earning major $ gUaP $.

    [Ask me anything] is also good for business because you can use a freehand and create content at will without worrying about SEO and all that content marketing related stuff. I’m supporting you 100% all the way in your “side hustle millionaire blogging side hustle.” Keep doing what you’re doing my friend. 🙂

  2. Hi Michelle,

    I emailed you so hoping you reply to that message as I went into more detail

    But for this comment section I just wondered if you have any resources/posts about staying the course and not giving up?
    Thanks

    1. Do you mean when it comes to blogging? Or something else?

      1. Yeah, when it comes to blogging. I’ve been blogging for 6 months as a passion project and i have big big goals in the future. But i’ve been feeling discouraged of recent and know i cant give up. I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel which is sponsored posts, working with brands and really growing an audience but seems impossible currently as no one is reading.. so any advice on staying the course to eventually monetize and not giving up

        1. Do you enjoy blogging? Perhaps thinking about what you enjoy about it and creating a vision board would help.

  3. I started my blog last year. I have almost 20 posts up, 230 email subscribers, a little over 300 followers on Instagram and decent following and engagements on fb. What is the best way and when do I start trying to monetize? I seriously want this to be my full time job. I have a faith based blog.

    1. You can start to monetize whenever you want, even now! 🙂

  4. Hi Michelle,

    As I blogger I’m struggling with building an engaged audience. I’m still working on SEO but it hasn’t taken off of quite yet. There are times when I’ll have viral pins on Pinterest but nothing consistent. Before I can engage an audience, I need an actual audience. Any ideas of what I can do?

    1. Have you taken a course on Pinterest? Have you guest posted? Taken part in podcast interviews? Networked?

  5. How do you find the sponsored brands to advertise in your emails and blog posts?

    1. I teach the exact steps here 🙂

      https://makingsenseofsponsoredposts.com

      Most actually find me, but I do teach exactly how to find them in that course, as I have reached out to quite a few brands in the past.

  6. Jellekia

    Hi! How can one make money from instagram?

    1. I don’t really monetize my Instagram, but you can monetize it in many ways, such as with sponsored posts.

  7. Hi Michelle,

    I have asked this question as a comment in your FB group but was wondering if you can delve into more how you spend your income. You talk a lot about your income and the different sources but I’m interested to know more about your expenses or do you just save or invest most of your income? Perhaps a blog post (if not already) on this? I’d love to hear! Thank you!

    1. We invest a lot of it. What is not invested is usually spent on the boat and traveling. Is that what you’re wondering?

  8. Akt

    Hi there, what were some of the things you did to get more traffic to your blog? Thank you

  9. Carlos

    Hi, Michelle. How are you? My question is this: At this time it is still profitable to start writing a blog? How much do you think I can win if I am located in South America? What topics would you recommend to start writing ?. I hope there are not many questions. Thanks for your answer.

    1. Yes, it’s still a profitable time.

      2019 is a great time to start a blog.

      People were saying the same thing when I first started Making Sense of Cents – that people who started in 2011 were starting too late and that no one would ever be successful with it.

      However, that’s definitely not the case.

      The online world is still so new, and there are new ways to monetize and to grow that come up all the time.

      There is a lot of room for new bloggers, and there is plenty of room for growth well into the future. I believe that companies and advertisers are only recently starting to realize the value of online influencers, such as bloggers, which means that the blogging world will continue to grow well into the future and that opportunities for making money from a blog will continue to increase.

      More and more companies are starting to advertise with online influencers on their blogs, social media accounts, and more, and I expect this to just continue to grow well into the future. Whereas in the past, it was mainly celebrities that companies advertised with, but now, it is actually shifting to bloggers and other online influencers (such as Youtubers and Instagrammers!).

      The world is a huge place and the online world is just going to keep growing. Every blogger earns a living online in a slightly different way, and everyone has a different message and story. Plus, there are so many different ways to make money through a blog, and I expect this to keep growing.

      Of course, blogging is constantly evolving, and there are always new things to learn, which will probably always be the case for managing any business.

      So, if you are thinking about starting a blog, today is the day. Don’t let your fears hold you back any further!

  10. Hi Michelle,
    When you started your blog for the first year after launching, how much time did you spend every week on average to work on it? How many posts did you publish per week?
    Thanks for all your inspiration and help!

    1. You can read a lot about my beginning here -https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2017/04/how-to-make-money-blogging-online.html

      I didn’t start my blog to make money blogging (I had no idea that blogs could make money, so I made lots of mistakes), so my beginning will be different from mosts (including yours).

      Even with that, I still worked on it around 20-30 hours a week, and sometimes over 40.

  11. Thanks Michelle! I’ve been having blogging blunders and wondering your thoughts if I should just invest more time into nurturing email list instead. It seems nobody really sees my blogs but have about 1,000 email readers. Do you think I should invest more time in emails than blog? Maybe a couple emails direct to a few posts? But I’ve gotten to the point after spending thousands of dollars on blogging and never making a cent, I don’t think I care to make money anymore lol!

    1. Why not send your blog posts to your email subscribers?

  12. Thomas Holcomb

    Please me honest, do you really make that much money?

  13. Fernanda

    Hi, I’m interested in Making extra money. Thank you!

  14. Ashley

    Do you think someone could be as successful as you are in affiliate marketing in the beauty industry? I feel like the percentages are so low compared to personal finance and other niches.

    1. Yes, for sure. Just because the percentages may be lower doesn’t really mean much.’

      Two words: repeat customers. You don’t really have that in the finance space because people aren’t buying the same financial software twice.

    2. Personally, I also think the beauty industry would be a lot easier too!

      1. Ashley

        Thank you for giving me some encouragement! I bought your course a few weeks ago and can’t wait to start my journey!

  15. Renee A King

    Hi Michelle,

    I’ve been travel blogging for 10 years, mostly as a hobby but I want to make a living from it now after having lost my job. I’m cleaning up posts, updating everything, dealing with technical stuff like website speed, etc. I’m trying to lay the groundwork, but I need to figure out how to build traffic and use that traffic to earn money from affiliate marketing, etc. I just don’t really know where to start and could use some good advice moving forward.

    1. Are you active on social media?

  16. Hi Michelle,

    Well, I feel as though I have fallen down the rabbit hole since last year. I know you were blogging before EBA but was wondering…. How much traffic did you have before EBA and how much do you feel it gained you after following the course. I am one year out but had to figure out all of the technical ins and outs and everything from how to set up WordPress to nearing the end with SEO. Per your affiliate marketing course which is pretty amazing, I should have been monetizing a year ago. But with what I am blogging about I felt I needed to have my ducks in a row first. So at this point, I feel I can finally start moving forward on that whole part. I have limited numbers of subscribers about 50 at the moment and have done a complete redesign of the site. I did a test run on Pinterest not even knowing what I was doing and had a few thousand impressions. So I feel like I am finally ready to “rock and roll.” Product within days of being completely done. Physical classes set up and running for the year. Live streams in place. Testimonials in editing. I am actually a little in shock I am finally here. I have never worked so hard on anything in my life. What do you feel is the best course of action from here? How long do you see it taking to see results(as I am basically starting from ground zero?) Should I start affiliate advertising now and where do you think is a good place to start since I am not eligible for any of the high-end platforms yet? You said ask anything. For those of you reading Michelle is the reason my business is up and running. She is truly a patient wonderful lady. Thanks Deanna

    1. I was already a full-time blogger when I took EBA. I originally bought EBA so that I could learn more about Pinterest. I can’t remember how much my Pinterest traffic jumped, but I believe I went from very, very little, to several hundred thousand monthly Pinterest visitors due to the course.

      For affiliate marketing, I definitely recommend taking my course – http://makingsenseofaffiliatemarketing.com

  17. Hey Michelle!

    When did you first get a dog, what made you decide to get more than one dog, and do you have any plans on how you will handle their end-of-life care?

    I know the last question is a bummer subject, but my dog I’ve had for 12 years (a lab) is getting older. I’m not sure how much money I will keep on hand for various problems that may develop in the next few years. I hate to even think about it!

    1. We got our first dog when we were just 18 – her name is Sailor. She’s the big white dog we still have today.

      We got a second right after we bought our house. We also had a third but she past away due to health issues.

      Both of our dogs are senior dogs so I totally get what you’re talking about. We don’t really have plans, though – we will simply take care of them in the way that they need to be taken care of.

  18. Hi Michelle,
    I just started blogging and have purchased both of your courses. Haven’t started the courses yet as I need to get more content out there first! I am currently on wordpress.com, business plan. After researching too long, I decided I just needed to get going! With that option I did not have to worry about all the stuff, all at once.
    At the end of my year I will probably switch to self hosted. What host do you use and what email provider? Pros and cons? I haven’t searched your site thoroughly, if you have posts about them just point the way please!
    Although it would not be a choice I would make, too scared of water, I admire you guys for living on the boat (correct term?) and sailing around! Look forward to any posts about living in small quarters, and without all the amenities! Enjoy!
    And thanks for the info!

    1. I use BigScoots, but it’s really not needed for a brand new blog as it is quite expensive. You can start for much cheaper on Bluehost, for example (https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/08/how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog-on-bluehost.html).

  19. Sandy

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m real new to blogging. You wholeheartedly recommend a word press blog. However, blogs are available in websites also. Under what circumstances would you begin a website with a blog versus a blog only.

    Thanks for your valuable help.
    Sandy

    1. Not sure if I understand? All blogs are websites.

  20. Fawaz Mo

    I really love this Michelle. Been a fan of your blog for 3 years now, however I just signed up. Keep the great work going.

    I’d love to know something about being a bluehost affiliate. I’d like to know why some affiliate links like yours have a special WordPress offer of $2.75/month but when I check my own link as an affiliate, it shows $3.95/month. Please what’s the reason for the difference?

    Thank you.

    1. I negotiated special pricing for my readers 🙂

      I teach tips like this here – http://makingsenseofaffiliatemarketing.com

  21. Dave Kerwood

    Do you think blogging has any sort of inherent financial advantage over other media- YouTube, Instagram, etc? And if so, how?

    1. You own your blog, but you don’t own your social media accounts. I think that’s the biggest advantage.

  22. Alyssa

    Hi Michelle,

    I am new here. I am currently working a 9-5 job, but it would be great if I could make even an extra $1000 a month. However, I am usually worn out after my job and I volunteer for most of my free time. Any advice or suggestions on ways I can make that extra 1000 dollars without burning out? I dont have many skills outside of my job. I need the extra money so I can pay off student loans faster and save more.

    1. Perhaps take a course in an area you are interested in and start a business of your own?

  23. Brand new to blogging, but you and many others inspire me! I’ve subscribed to for emails but I’m gonna be honest, I have 3 kids my life is crazy so I haven’t red everyone of them… My question is what do I need to do to get to where you are today! I don’t even have to make a huge income, I would just love to inspire this many people and have a successful blog!

    Whitney

    1. Learning as much as you can about blogging is the best thing you can do – taking courses, reading blogs, attending webinars (even the free ones!), etc.

  24. I see the bulk of your income comes from affiliate stuff…did it take you an extreme amount of hours to get going with these programs and/or spend quite a bit in advertising the affiliate items?

    1. I don’t spend much on advertising.

      Yes, it took hours to get it going – it’s not a get rich quick scheme 🙂

  25. Jules @ Budgetxbabe.com

    Hey Michelle, love these AMAs – thanks for your openness!

    My question is… do you ever get sick of traveling and want to feel more grounded (literally since you’re sailing lol) in one destination? I’ve heard of some travel bloggers getting tired of the nomad lifestyle after a while.

    And – how do you guys deal with needing space from each other?

    Jules

    1. I actually am writing a blog post on this subject soon.

      Honestly, I have not felt tired until recently. Sailing is a lot more work than RVing ever was!

      We’ve never really needed space from each other, but we do have our own activities that we do so that does help.

  26. How do you avoid Shiny Object Syndrome? as an online entrepreneur? That’s been one of my most difficult challenges!

    1. Ha, honestly, the boat has completely prevented me from having that syndrome. I feel like I have no time lately!

  27. Damian

    Two related questions:

    1. Do you think starting a blog or an email course is as feasible as it was when you started yours, given changes / saturation? Anecdotally, it seems like everyone, and many of their dogs, have started blogs focused on lifestyle businesses, financial independence, etc.

    2. What do you think the “next frontiers” are (e.g., video, in-browser messaging, social media marketing, etc.)?

    1. Hello!

      1) Yes, I definitely still think that it is possible.

      2) I think video will just become more and more popular!

  28. Leslie

    Hey Michelle,

    1. How does one improve a Google speed score?
    2. Can you recommended good landing pages? I have a product to sell and but I do not have a blog.
    3. How do you setup your sales funnel for your Master Your Money Super Bundle?
    4. Who do you use for hosting? I need a company that will protect against brute force attacks and remove malware without downtime.?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Leslie!

      1) Evaluating plugins is a good step. Other than that, I really haven’t thought much about it (although, I should).
      2) I just use Convertkit.
      3) Ultimate Bundles set that up (I’m an affiliate).
      4) Bigscoots.

  29. Hello, I am working on the making money aspect of blogging. I have a food/baking blog that is starting to gain a bit of momentum but not seeing huge growth. I have signed up with ShareASale and am with Amazon Affiliates, but seriously I can only stuff so many items into a food blog.

    What I would like to do as well is do sponsored posts, however, in reality, many places like Sway, Brand Meets Blog, Aspire, Linquia etc will only take influencers with large numbers. Seriously, I get under 5000 pageview per month. Do you know of companies that take small bloggers like me?

    After reading a lot of the above questions and everyone’s struggles it does seem like a lot of hype and investment to make small change in blogging.

    Oh, and to top everything my blog has been hacked and now leads to a Russian site. I had been using Social Warfare so this is costing me to get it fixed.

    1. I have a long list in my course – https://makingsenseofsponsoredposts.com

      But, I also recommend reaching out to companies (which I also teach in my course).

  30. JB

    I’ve been following you for a year now and admire not only your success, but also your personal philosophy to not take on too much. You’ve mentioned you only have a small team and don’t really have a desire to expand greatly. Right now I say to myself I’d be happy if I could just replace my full-time income (and maybe a little more) so that I could quit my 9-5, but I wonder if I had your success I would be tempted to want more and “expand the empire”. Have you ever struggled with those thoughts and what is your personal take on it?

    1. I like my small team and I don’t think that will ever change! 🙂

  31. Jessica Healy

    Hi Michelle,

    I love your blog, and your life has inspired me. Thank you!

    I just started a blog. I’m going to use your Bluehost link to make it official in just a couple of weeks. Then I’ll begin putting your affiliate marketing, SEO and all the other wonderful advice you’ve posted into effect. So far I’ve had a lot of fun creating the blog, and I hope to start making money from it.

    Love and kindness,

    Jessica

    1. Hey Jessica!

      Some suggestions:

      1) Your posts are all uncategorized – you should have categories.

      2) I recommend having a contact page.

      3) You definitely want social media accounts.

      1. Jessica Healy

        Thank you for your time and advice!

  32. Amy

    Hi Michelle,

    I am creating my blog and am ready to sign up for amazon affiliates. Should I use my blog email since I already have a personal account?

    Thank you,
    Amy

    1. Using your blog email is good.

  33. Cindy

    Good afternoon, Michelle,

    First a comment: I would love to start a blog. However, my finances at this point are fairly pitiful—period! I had been a work-at-home employee and independent contractor for 20-some years but my field of work (medical transcription, quality assurance, and medical editing from my home) has fizzled out. The huge corporations have the monopoly on transcription now and the pay is horrible! So…

    My question: If I do not have a business or something I am trying to sell, then who would read a blog of just someone blogging about so-called ‘stuff’ they happen to be interested in or may know something about, but not credentialed? I am not a doctor, a lawyer, a financial advisor, or someone selling products. I hold no credentials except that I received a diploma in medical transcription and medical billing certificate, the latter of which I had not pursed—not that I had no interest—but that I was working very hard at my main job.

    I love dogs and the love of my life, little Jakie, just passed away last Wednesday, unexpectedly—7-1/2 years old—was not his time and it was not right!! I know medical—have been in it for over 20 years. I am a huge viewer of the news media, maybe a little addicted, having developed at disgust for politicians—the crooked ones! So…

    Is there something here to blog about and who cares?

    1. I talk about this here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2018/04/making-money-from-a-blog.html 🙂

      Another question, somewhat related to the above question, is if a person should be an “expert” in their niche before they start a blog. I receive this question all the time and, due to that, I definitely think it’s something that needs to be discussed.

      I don’t think you need to be an expert or have a degree, in most cases, when it comes to blogging.

      I know many personal finance writers with blogs that track the financial mess they got themselves into. They don’t have financial degrees, but they are doing very well for themselves and help many people with their experiences. Many times, readers just want to hear from you, follow a real person’s journey, read about how a real person made it through a problem, and so on. This is a great example of why degrees are not always needed.

      However, if you are wanting to give advice about legal or tax matters where you could get someone in a lot of trouble if you tell them the wrong information, then, yes, you should be an expert.

  34. Carmen

    Hi Michelle,
    I have a blog and it’s not really doing anything because I am scared that my age is a factor. Everyone is so young and …I am not. Is age a factor? I have so many ideas and just scared because I was born before the 1980’s I will never have an audience.

    1. Age is not a factor.

      Don’t let that hold you back.

  35. Hi, I just wanted to congratulate you and wish you continued success. You came all the way from the bottom and have built an amazing business. Keep it up.

  36. I want to know what I have to do to get more sailing pictures/stories/videos on this site… 😉

    1. I know! I just realized that I haven’t posted about boat life in almost one year on MSOC!

  37. Terri Kelly

    Hi Michelle. I love your “ask me anything”. Thank you. I have asked you questions before and I really appreciate your answers. I am finally starting a blog. I am enrolled in EBA and am just beginning. My question is this. Do you recommend, if we can afford it, that we get someone to help us on the tech end from the beginning or just struggle through? I tried to create a blog two years ago and got so frustrated after way too many days, weeks and months that I gave up. It was the tech stuff that really stumbled me. If you do recommend that we find someone to help with the theme and getting it all up and running, do you have someone that you work with that you can recommend? Again, thank you!

  38. Kathy

    I’m a recent widow (11 months). I’ve pretty much got my financial ducks in a row, but do you have any advice for me? Pitfalls to look out for? Tips to make the life insurance money last longer? Love your blog!

    1. So sorry for your loss.

      This is tough without knowing your whole life story 🙂 It depends on so many things, such as if you have a family, if you’re working, your age, your financial goals, and so on.

      My top tip would be to find ways to make passive income with the life insurance money so that you can live the life that you want to live.

  39. Hi Michelle! I’ve heard Pinterest and SEO are the best sources for traffic. Do you find that’s true for your website? If so, what’s your 3rd biggest traffic source? If not, what are your top 3 sources for traffic? Thanks!

    1. They are both good for me 🙂

      I also like email and referral traffic.

  40. Becca

    Hi Michelle! Thanks for opening up for a question!
    I have a lifestyle/creativity blog. One side of it is the lifestyle part which discusses your typical lifestyle topics such as beauty, finance, recipes, organization etc. The other side is about creativity. How to get inspired, how to stay creative, different creative outlets etc.
    Am I not being specific enough in my blog niche because I have two different sides to my blog? Is this a detriment or will this be successful for me? I have heard two different sides to this. One is that it is better to niche down and be specific. The other is that a broader niche is better in the beginning when you are just figuring it out.
    Any help would be appreciated:)

    1. I think the key here is to make sure that it connects. I talk about LOTS of topics here on MSOC, but I always try to make it connect.

  41. Kathy

    I’d also like to know if you recommend getting professional help while monetizing my blog. I’m Tech-challenged, and started my blog a couple of weeks ago but haven’t gotten far! Thanks!

    1. I’d recommend simply finding a course or two for learning how to do that.

  42. Debra

    Hi Michelle, I’m in the process of starting a blog, but like a lot of others, have become overwhelmed by all the steps it takes. My question is what would you say is are the elements of a blog you need to have ready to launch it? I feel like I will procrastinate the year away by trying to cover all the details that maybe aren’t that important at first.

    1. Hello!

      I have a long blog post in the works on this subject, but in short:

      1) A good design
      2) High quality content
      3) Social media/marketing skills

  43. Jenny

    Hi, Michelle. Thanks for taking questions again!
    How do you optimize your site for speed? Do you do this yourself? I used the “Think with Google (Test My Site)” page to evaluate my site’s mobile speed on a 4G network. The results showed I was over 7 seconds.
    If you use someone else to optimize your site, how did you find them? As of now, I do everything on my own, and I’m not sure where to find outside help.
    Thank you!

    1. I know nothing about site speed. It’s on my long list of things to do 🙂

  44. Linda Todd

    I am like one person above, I sent you an email. Too much to put here. Thank you for caring about other people. When a person takes the time to help others, they will profit themselves.

  45. Carolyn

    Michelle, where does one start when one is so buried in line of credit and credit card debt that the worry I carry around with me makes it next to impossible to enjoy life? I’d really appreciate your thoughts.
    Thanks!

    1. This is tough, as it depends on many factors. A good first set of steps would be to evaluate your budget, figure out why you went into debt, think about your financial goals, and find ways to make more money.

  46. Hi Michelle!! I get so confused about follow and no follow links, can you please explain when we should and shouldn’t use each of them. Thanks so much x

    1. If the link is paid, sponsored, or you were given a product for the mention, then it should be nofollowed.

      Does that make sense?

  47. Michelle Garricks

    I have so many ideas, where do I start? Can this be real, for me? Are you even real?! haha!

    Michelle

    P.s Great name btw!

    1. Yes, I’m real 🙂

      Do you mean start a blog?

  48. Tiffany

    Hello! Michelle. How are you? Is blogging worth the time & investment? Blogging seem to be very overwhelming. Instagram is taking over and people seem to want to view photos/videos rather than a bunch of content. Marketer ‘Icon’ Frank Kern said email marketing is dead. What’s your honest opinion?

    1. Yes, blogging is worth it. I don’t know who Frank is and I definitely think he is wrong, haha.

  49. Sherry

    Hi! I want to get into affiliate marketing on my blog. Do you know if I would have to report sales tax on earnings from being an Amazon affiliate even if I’m not actually the one selling or shipping the items? Or are there sales tax requirements for affiliate sales? Thanks so much for taking the time to answer!

    1. Being an affiliate is different from selling items.

      1. Sherry

        Yes, I realize that. There have been a lot of changes lately so I was looking for clarification. Do you cover any information in your course about sales tax requirements?

        1. What I’m saying is that as an affiliate, you don’t cover sales tax. The person/company who is selling the item is the one who takes care of that. As an affiliate, you aren’t actually/physically selling anything.

          Does that make more sense?

  50. Kelly

    Hi Michelle,

    I’ve been thinking of starting a blog but I have doubts it would become successful because I feel like there’s already so many blogs out there. Do you think the market is already full?

    Also, how do you manage your taxes?

    Thanks!!

    1. 1) I don’t think the market is full. I am going to copy and paste my answer from above.

      2019 is a great time to start a blog.

      People were saying the same thing when I first started Making Sense of Cents – that people who started in 2011 were starting too late and that no one would ever be successful with it.

      However, that’s definitely not the case.

      The online world is still so new, and there are new ways to monetize and to grow that come up all the time.

      There is a lot of room for new bloggers, and there is plenty of room for growth well into the future. I believe that companies and advertisers are only recently starting to realize the value of online influencers, such as bloggers, which means that the blogging world will continue to grow well into the future and that opportunities for making money from a blog will continue to increase.

      More and more companies are starting to advertise with online influencers on their blogs, social media accounts, and more, and I expect this to just continue to grow well into the future. Whereas in the past, it was mainly celebrities that companies advertised with, but now, it is actually shifting to bloggers and other online influencers (such as Youtubers and Instagrammers!).

      The world is a huge place and the online world is just going to keep growing. Every blogger earns a living online in a slightly different way, and everyone has a different message and story. Plus, there are so many different ways to make money through a blog, and I expect this to keep growing.

      Of course, blogging is constantly evolving, and there are always new things to learn, which will probably always be the case for managing any business.

      So, if you are thinking about starting a blog, today is the day. Don’t let your fears hold you back any further!

      2) I use an Excel sheet and also have a CPA.

  51. Jackie

    Hi Michelle,

    I have so many questions & they’re based on the fact that I’m at a pivotal time in my life. I’m now 70 yrs & living on fixed income with some health issues. I feel so desperate to figure things out cause life is not going to wait for me. I just now started to type some of the horrendous details of my life, but after second thought, decided to delete. In summary, I had to start over 20 yrs ago & was able to purchase a town-home, but lost $40k following the mortgage crash because I had to sell & then relocate again. Now I’m starting over with a 30 yr mortgage & I also have large parent plus loan from years ago that I regret. I don’t think I’ll live to 100 to pay off the mortgage, but maybe it doesn’t matter. I purchased the financial bundle for $37 & hope to learn some gems that will help me form a plan to pay down debt.

    So my questions are:

    * Do you know which of the ecourses, ebooks or other financial info provided in the $37 bundle that I should read having to do with paying down loans (mortgage & student loan), etc. I will start to read the cheat sheets in hopes to identify where I’d like to start, but would like your recommendations too.

    * I have thought about a blog, but I’m not personally sure if I have what it takes. Are there successful bloggers in their 70s & 80s out there? I would love to hear if you have some recommendations on specific blogs having to do with grandparents helping grandchildren with autism/special needs, blogs about seniors deciding to travel the country (van-camping/class b) on a strict budget in search of like-minded others in similar age group that have figured out debt free solutions & living their best life, or blogs about creative nomads or homebodies that later in life decide to make beautiful things for sale to supplement their income. I personally sew, but have dreamed of learning pattern design. These would be a few of the areas of what I’m interested in & have thought to blog about myself, but I’d like to know if you are aware of any current successful blogs on these topics.

    I have lots more questions, but I’ll send these off for you to ponder. I basically want to learn how to pay down debt as quickly as possible & have the freedom to do whatever my heart desires in whatever time I have left on this earth.

    Thank you!

    1. Some that you may find helpful include:
      1) Debt Free Guide: Practical Tips and Lessons To Reach Debt Freedom;
      2) Debt Free in 18 Months;
      3) Pay Your Student Loans Fast: A Proven Plan for Eliminating $42,000 of Student Debt in Less Than 3 Years; and
      4) Student Loan Knockout

      There are so many successful blogs on so many subjects, and it would be impossible for me to know them all. I do think a simple Google search would be helpful for you, and I’m sure you’ll find many great results.

    2. Jackie,

      It’s possible at 70 for you to be a “side hustle millionaire” with affiliate marketing and blogging alone. I encourage you to read many of Michelle’s past blogs so you have a better understanding how to get $ gUaP $ online from marketing affiliate programs on your site. I read and listen to Michelle and she’s absolutely amazing when it comes to learning about the “side hustle millionaire” dot com life with affiliate marketing and blogging as the ultimate “side hustle.”

  52. Brooke

    Hello,
    I want to start my blog. I’ve had it going for a bit but only have a few posts and keep getting stuck on the photos. I don’t feel like I have a good cohesive theme even though I try hard on it. Is there any resources you can give for taking photos for blogging and creating content? What camera and editing software do you use? The process?

    Thanks!

    1. I would not say photography is a strong skill of mine. I use Lightroom and Picmonkey for photos, though.

  53. Mel Dimoush

    Hi Michelle, I ordered your free email course to get started blogging including the techy stuff earlier this evening, but don’t see it in my email. How long does it take? I’m ready to jump, but really enjoy your style of teaching and need the helping hand. Please let me know when to look for it. Thanks so much!

    1. Hello,

      It says you signed up a few weeks ago and read those emails already, so it won’t send them again due to spam settings.

  54. Hey Michelle,

    My question is about affiliate products. I read about how a lot of blogger’s sales come from emailing their list.

    I’m just curious what percentage roughly of your affiliate commissions comes from an email you sent out versus other reach ( FB, SEO, Pinterest, etc) Say for example Bluehost affiliate sales.

    Thanks!

    1. I honestly don’t keep track of it super closely, as I have never been a very analytical blogger. I send most traffic to my email list, though, so everything is pretty intertwined.

  55. Caitlin Chen

    Hi Michelle,

    I really like the look and design of your website. Do you have a web developer who manages your website or do you manage your own? If you do have a web developer, would you mind sharing who it is?

    Since I don’t really know how to manage WordPress, I always need a web developer.

    Thank You!

    1. Caitlin Chen

      Thank You so much Michelle!

  56. Charles

    HI Michele,

    I am about to start a blog on faith and money, how they are not mutually exclusive and how infact one can serve God faithfully and still pursue wealth at the same time without feeling guilty. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil not money itself. So my question is do you think I can make money writing on a topic like that? Also I am an introvert by nature so I tend to be quite private, can I make money writing a blog?

    1. 1) Yes I think it is possible.

      2) I think most bloggers are introverts 🙂

    2. Charles, I can tell you that is a topic I struggle with big time. It’s a major mental block for me and I think it is for many people. I think you’re on to something here. I’d definitely read it!

      By the way, I have a well read blog and am quite the introvert ;-).

  57. Heidi

    Hello Michelle,

    I’ve started a blog. How would you proceed to becoming a leader in my niche ? My blog does require a lot of research which I like, but might be a time constraint. Advice to grow a blogging tribe in the least amount of time? Thanks a lot.

    1. Social media and growing an email list are the two top things that I recommend doing!

      1. I’ve been trying to grow my mailing list for a while, but it remains mostly stagnant. I have a very hard to getting much reach through social media (Instagram and Facebook). Any direction for resources or tips?

        1. Have you taken any courses on the subject?

        2. Dee

          Im no expert and I am in the process of starting a blog. But I went to your site because I was curious as to why you’re not reaching success although you’re promoting on social media. Your website, it’s somewhat confusing. What exactly are you trying to promote? The navigation itself is a bit unpleasant. Also all those random pictures on the homepage without any direction can be off putting. You say you’re trying to build your email list yet I don’t see any subscription sign ups.
          So in my opinion as “traffic”, I think you need to fix the design and structure of your website to get people to convert.

  58. I read your blog often. You are really doing a great job.
    I hope this isn’t inappropriate or weird, but I have a favor to ask of you and a question.
    Would you link your page “you may be wasting thousands of dollars on these 7 things”
    https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2015/08/you-may-be-wasting-money-on-these-7-things.html
    to my page “Bottled water is expensive: How to be frugal”.
    http://startsavingmoneytoday.com/bottled-water-is-expensive-how-to-be-frugal/
    I think it would be a good fit for your paragraph “Bottled water”.
    If you would prefer to link to one of my other pages from a different page of yours please feel free to do so.
    My question is; what is your linking strategy.

    Thank you

    Douglas

  59. Hello Michelle,

    I’m about to launch my dog blog hopefully soon..
    Homesweetpups.com and since you have dogs I would like to know what kind of ebook would you find helpful? if you would be looking for help with your dogs. Also ideas for freebies you would be interested in..

    Thanks Kris

    1. Maybe something about senior dogs? Training?

  60. Christina McMillan

    Hi Michelle –

    I am very familiar with budgeting, travel hacking, and saving money. However, I am not as familiar with investing. I currently contribute to 401K with a company match as well as a small amount to a Roth IRA every month. I would like to be more educated on investing where I could do some of it myself such as finding, buying, and selling stocks. Where to start??

  61. Avo

    Hi Michelle ,

    How necesssary is filing a business license when first starting out ? Did u have to file one right away or can we wait till we start seeing income ?

    Thanks

    1. I cannot give legal/tax advice as it could set me up for lawsuits.

  62. Hi Michelle.

    Thanks for doing this, I love that you are so accessible to your readers.

    I get so motivated every time I pull up your site, especially seeing your humble beginnings on your financial reports and it still blows my mind how blogging can be such a lucrative career.

    What motivates you and keeps you motivated? The money, duh, ha! But besides that.

    What were your biggest hurdles starting out and how did you overcome your fears? If you had any…

    You and your sister inspire me so much. Thanks for everything you do to help your blogging family 🙂

    1. Thank you!

      My life and the business that I love keeps me motivated 🙂

  63. C

    Hey Michelle!

    I know we’ve communicated back and forth a few times and I just wanted to say thanks for always being so helpful. I’ve taken your course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love following you and I’m really working on growing and trying to take off my own blog. I’ve grow my Pinterest followers to around 800 in two months. Your course and the tips included in your course from Create & Go have really helped a lot, so I wanted to say thank you again.

    Is it possible for me to remain anonymous on my blog and still be taken seriously / professionally? I’m not really comfortable putting myself out there completely. Right now, I just go by my first initial. I’ve seen some other bloggers who’ve had some success do the same. I’m still willing to talk about my financial situation, I just would prefer to keep some privacy. What are your thoughts? Do I need to have a picture of myself with my full name? Or can I keep myself private?

    Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Yep, I was anonymous for a few years and I know others who are as well.

  64. Joe

    Hello! I just found your blog and I’m dumbfounded at your success.

    Now I know you have a lot of these to go through, but if you have the time, could you give me some advice?

    I’m a 27-year-old college student who currently has $31,000 of student loan debt and counting. I have 2 years to go until I get a bachelors degree in Computer Science. My debt is really freaking me out, and I was wondering what you’d suggest as some good passive income or where I should start to do my own blog (if that’s even possible, I mean, I have no skills yet haha). Also, any advice on how to get my debt down while going to school would be great. My college is located in a very small town with next to zero jobs! My main goal is to make a living on passive income so I can pursue my passions as you have done. 🙂

    Thanks!

    1. Finding ways to make extra money sounds like would be key for you. Whether that is passive income, a business, or a side job – you have tons of options. I recommend seeing which one you are most interested in.

      1. Joseph Maas

        I think I’d be most interested in passive income since Computer Science and engineering takes up a lot of my time. Do you have any suggestions?

  65. May Parker

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for doing this. I am in a real quandary here in that I can not figure out what I want to do for a part time work from home job. I don’t think I can do phone jobs since I have a Southern accent and also I tried doing one last year. I was not successful at all. Next I tried an editing job which didn’t work either. Here are some more I tried web search evaluator,
    surveys, VIPkid, and ask wonder.

    I am an artist, web site www. mayparker.c om, but want something different as a break from art and to make a little money too.

    My background is that I was a computer programmer for over 40 years and then I retired. I miss not working as being an artist is pretty solitary occupation. I can type and use WORD and EXCEL as well have general office skills. I have also done volunteer work. I am not very much of a ‘people person’ in other words somewhat of an introvert. Additionally, I have a B.S. degree in Business Administration. Many years ago I started and ran my own business and I don’t care to do that again.

    I would appreciate some suggestions on what kind of work I should pursue.

    Thank you, May

    1. I recommend starting here -https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/extra-income

      Only you can figure out which is the best job for you 🙂

      1. May

        Thank you

  66. Dorcas Wood

    Hey Michelle,

    I have a blog I am working to launch to provide content that is house related since we just recently flipped our first house, staged it and I have a love for farmhouse interior design. Do you think all of these home related topics would appeal to the same audience? Thanks so much for doing this!

    Dorcas Wood

    1. I don’t see why not? 🙂

  67. Cathy Kitchens

    Hi Michelle!

    My husband and I would like to sell our home because we still owe ten more years on it, but we would like to retire before that time is up. We could sell the home and then just get a small condo and pay it off. We could then sock a significant amount away each month to save for retirement in seven years. My question to you is, what is the best way to invest that money to avoid the most taxes? I know if I invest in American Funds, I will have to pay taxes each year on what it makes. What are your investment suggestions in this case? We would probably be able to save around $3,000 each month or maybe even more on good months.

    Thanks!

    Cathy

    1. This is something that I am not an expert in, as I’ve never done this. I think a CPA who specializes in this would be your best bet.

  68. Hey Michelle,
    In a lot of your income and goal reports, you mention how you’d like to get ahead with posts. I’m trying to work out a system for myself that would work, and can’t fathom having posts waiting to be published… How did you figure out a system for yourself? And would you mind sharing a little of what that looks like. For example, are you outlining posts in batches and then filling them in. How do you work up to have a month of posts ready to go???

    1. I’m not much of an analytical or system-based blogger. I write blog posts, hand them over to my editor, and then when she’s done, I simply schedule them 🙂

  69. Zoe

    Hi Michelle,
    I have a curated craft blog that is in the final stages of being launched..meaning I’m getting content together. I have a business Pinterest account with the same blog name which has not yet been completely optimized. There are 9 different craft boards with 3000 pins and 38k monthly views and 85 followers. Here’s my question…the blog name is thesimplelifestyle.com. When I first started out a year ago my topic was different and when I switched to crafts I just left it. Do I keep the name since I already have an established Pinterest account or do I change everything to something more appropriate such as The Crafters Digest before I launch the blog?I don’t want to go any further without some expert advice! Thanks in advance.

  70. Haylie Ellison

    Hey Michelle!

    I hope It’s okay to ask this. But, I am REALLY struggling to get people to click on my affiliate links. I feel as though I am not overly salesy or spammy and that I seem pretty relatable so I don’t understand what’s going on. Do you mind looking at one of my articles and giving me pointers? I provided several below but I don’t expect you to read (or skim over) more than one hah I just wanted to give you options.

    It would mean a lot to me!

    Also, I’ve taken your course several times and it’s been really helpful so far!!! But I feel like I’m missing something because I am not really making any sales yet. I’ll have to go over it again.

    Anywho, thank you for being so generous with your advice and time. I really appreciate you doing this 🙂

    1. Hello!

      Some things:

      1) Your display ads could be impacting your affiliate earnings, because it’s fighting for space for your reader. On affiliate posts, I usually simply turn off display ads.

      2) What are your top posts? Are your readers interested in blogging?

      3) Are you getting a lot of traffic to these posts?

      1. Haylie Ellison

        Thank you Michelle! You really put things into perspective for me and your advice was very helpful 🙂 You rock!

  71. Hi Michelle! I’m wondering if you promote your blog posts on instagram? Or is it better to post them on pinterest?

    1. I don’t really talk about my blog much on my Instagram. I mainly just use it for travel inspiration 🙂

  72. Gina

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for everything you do! I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind laying out the expenses that come with running a well-established blog like yours? We enjoy reading your past income reports and kind of just want to get an idea of what other behind the scene expenses we might not be thinking of (you totally do not have to include a monetary cost of the expense, just what the expense is).

    P.S. We recently started a blog of our own and just finished your affiliate marketing course. It was AMAZING! So helpful. Thank you again 🙂

    P.P.S. Your Instagram stories of you and your dog walking around the beach in the Bahamas is unreal.

    Best,
    Gina

      1. Gina

        Thank you!!!

  73. You mentioned that you have an editor? How do you go about finding one or how does it work? I don’t need one right now, but I’m just asking for my future self 🙂

    Also, how many hours a week do you spend working on your blog now? I think I spend a good 40+ hours on top of a full-time job and I feel like I am not getting anything done. Just so much to do. Any suggestions?

    1. My editor is my sister-in-law, so it was easy for me to find. There are tons of editors out there too, so you shouldn’t have any issue.

      I spend anywhere from 0 to 100 hours a week on my blog. It all just depends 🙂

  74. tiago bonetto

    hi Michelle,

    My name is Tiago and around 1 year ago I decided to work full time online: blogging, youtube, instagram, etc… I tried blogging, affiliate marketing, selling my own courses, nothing worked… I couldn’t sell 1 penny so far.

    I talk about how to become a high-level international business executive, which was my job until I decided to work online, my website is compradoresdeelite.com if you want to take a look.

    I would like to have your idea about what I could do to start making some revenue.

    Thanks for your time

    Best wishes

    Tiago Bonetto

  75. Jeremy

    Hey Michelle

    As a new blogger what should be my main traffic source. I’m Trying to wrap my head around social media ads or Pinterest and not sure. My niche is street wear and music. When I use social media ads it only drives traffic for the duration of the ad whereas I’m lookin for consistent daily traffic

    1. It just depends on what you want to do. It could be email, guest posting, a podcast, social media, a Youtube channel, paid ads, etc.