9 Things I Love and Have Learned After 9 Years Of Blogging

I still remember the month I started my blog. I don’t really remember the exact first day, but I remember the first month and how excited I was. In August of 2011, I started Making Sense of Cents. That was exactly 9 years ago! Back then, I had no idea what I was doing, and…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: March 17, 2022

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.

I still remember the month I started my blog. I don’t really remember the exact first day, but I remember the first month and how excited I was.

In August of 2011, I started Making Sense of Cents.

That was exactly 9 years ago!

Back then, I had no idea what I was doing, and I also had no goals for my blog.

I didn’t even really know what a blog was, or that they could make money.

I also didn’t even like to write at that time!

In the past 9 years, so much has changed for me.

It’s crazy to think that I started my blog nine 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.

Some numbers on Making Sense of Cents:

  • My first blog post was published on August 10, 2011. You can read it here.
  • I have published 1,878 articles here on Making Sense of Cents. That number was higher about a month ago, but I recently deleted several hundred articles that I thought weren’t good enough.
  • I have 70,816 comments on my blog posts.
  • I’ve personally replied to 21,080 comments.
  • It took me 6 months to earn my first $100 from Making Sense of Cents.

First, a little backstory on how I began.

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 NOTHING about running a website.

At that time, I was working 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!

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And, all of this happened because I started some random blog nine 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!

Today, I want to talk about the the 9 things that I love and have learned about blogging over the years. I feel like what I enjoy about blogging as well as what I’ve learned go hand in hand.

Oh yeah, if you haven’t yet – please follow me on Instagram.

Here’s what I love and have learned about blogging.


1. I love being my own boss.

When I first started my blog and realized I could make an income from it, I quickly learned 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 where 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, 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.


2. A flexible schedule is one of my most favorite things.

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), 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.

But, this can also be something to be careful with as well, as it can be difficult to have a good work-life balance.


3. Location independence is AMAZING.

Being location independent for so many 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.

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.


4. Remember, success takes time!

Many bloggers quit just a few months in.

In fact, the statistic that I’ve always heard is that the average blogger quits just 6 months in.

I completely understand – starting a blog can be super overwhelming!

But, good things don’t come easy. If blogging was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

It took me 6 months for me to earn my first $100 from Making Sense of Cents. If I would have quit at that time, I would have missed out on so many great things!

Remember, success takes time!


5. Don’t write when you feel forced.

One thing I have definitely learned about myself over the years is that I write best when I’m not forced – i.e. when I’m on a deadline.

Instead, I always try to write content ahead of time.

I used to write content for Monday on the night before (Sunday!), and I found that to be super stressful. Even a week in advance was too stressful for me.

I like to be at least a month ahead, as then I can truly write when I feel inspired and happy to write.


6. Get ready to learn.

Pretty much everything about having a blog is a learning process.

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.


7. Stop seeing other bloggers as competition.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly something that I’ve learned, but I want everyone else to learn!

I have always had this mindset – that there is plenty of room for everyone in the blogging world. However, not everyone feels the same.

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

I mostly see this in newer bloggers, and this can really hold them back.

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.

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, 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.


8. You don’t need previous experience to be successful.

To become a blogger, you don’t need any previous experience. You don’t need to be a computer wizard, understand social media, or anything else.

These are all things that you can learn as you go.

Nearly every single blogger was brand new at some point, and they had no idea what they were doing.

I’m proof of that because I didn’t even know that blogs existed when I started Making Sense of Cents, and I definitely didn’t know that bloggers could make money. I learned how to create a blog from the bottom up and have worked my way to where I am today. It’s not always easy, but it’s been rewarding!

With blogging, you’ll have a lot to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s challenging, but in a good way.


9. You can make a living blogging.

This is probably one of the best things that I’ve learned since I first started my blog.

You can actually make a living blogging!

No, not every single person will become a successful blogger (it’s NOT a get-rich-quick scheme), but I know many successful bloggers who started in a similar way as I did – blogging as a hobby and it just grew from there.

For me, I have earned a high income with my blog, and I have enough saved to retire whenever I would like. I am still working on my blog, though, as I enjoy what I do.


What’s next?

I’ve never really been much of a planner, so I don’t want to commit to anything HUGE haha.

But, for Making Sense of Cents, I do have some plans. I am working towards improving traffic and readership, and coming up with more and more high-quality content.

I am so grateful to all of you readers, and I want to continue to help you all out by writing high-quality content.

That is really my only goal for now!

If there’s anything you’d like me to write about on Making Sense of Cents, please send me an email at michelle@makingsenseofcents.com or leave a comment below.

Thank you for being a reader!


There’s a ton of valuable free resources.

I know I’ll be asked this, so I am going to include this here.

One of the great things about starting a blog is that there are a ton of FREE blogging resources out there that can help you get started.

In fact, I didn’t spend any money in the beginning in order to learn how to blog – instead, I signed up for a ton of free webinars, free email courses, and more.

  1. First, if you don’t have a blog, then I recommend starting off with my free blogging course How To Start A Blog FREE Course.
  2. Affiliate Marketing Cheat Sheet – With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.
  3. The SEO Starter Pack (FREE Video Training)– Improve your SEO knowledge in just 60 minutes with this FREE 6-day video training.
  4. The Free Blogging Planner – The Blogging Planner is a free workbook that I created just for you! In this free workbook, you’ll receive printables for starting your blog, creating a blog post, a daily/weekly blog planner, goals, and more.

Do you have any questions for me? Are you interested in starting your own business?

How To Start A Blog Free Email Course

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

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

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

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

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  1. Hi Michelle,

    I have been blogging for three years on my second blog. I’m not earning any money from that. Still, I publish quality content on that regularly. I even didn’t try that much to make money from that. One reason is, the traffic hasn’t been increased that level yet. But I know the blog will be successful in the coming days.

    Another reason is, I have one more blog that I started in 2011. That blog is earning money for me.
    So, as you said, it takes time to make a blog successful.
    Thanks for sharing these lessons you’ve learned through your blogging journey.


    1. Shaheen

      Hi Michelle, I started blogging 6 years back but never ever took it seriously, maybe because I was working full time. Now due to the pandemic, I have started writing again and loving every bit of it, so much so that I want to learn more about blogging and the essentials. Your blog is a very helpful resource. Thanks.

      1. Thank you! Have fun blogging!

  2. Michelle, you have inspired me to start my own blog and for that I will always be truly grateful! Thanks for sharing this with us ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Karina

    Hey Michelle,

    Congratulations on your blogversary! Do you still feel like others can make a great living from blogging even with the world going toward video? I’ve seen this debate time and time again. The winner, however, usually tends to be video. Do you think people are reading anymore? Do you think it’s easier to diversity your business portfolio from writing than video? I’d love to know your thoughts!

    1. Thank you Karina!

      Yes, I still think there’s plenty of room. That doesn’t mean that it is easy – blogging has never been easy.

      I actually don’t really like video so I will always be all about blog posts.

    2. B Thornton

      Congrats. Your story is inspiring!

  4. A B


    Congrats! I have always enjoyed reading your blog since 3 years ago.

    Since this is your blog anniversary, I just wanted to say your key strength is your ability to communicate your thoughts clearly. Probably obvious, but not many bloggers have that.

    Best wishes for many awesome years to come!

  5. Congrats on your blogiversary. 9 years is a long time. I remember when I first started reading your blog. You’re one of the reasons why I started blogging.

  6. Shetu

    Congratulations, Michelle! And thanks for writing this blog post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are actually the first ever blogger I came across. I learned so much from your blog and it inspired me to start my own blog.

    Thanks for everything you do,
    Shetu ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Wow! I can’t believe you have been at this for nine years! That is truly impressive, and shows the hard work and dedication you have put into building such an awesome site!

  8. Brittany

    These are great lessons and things to love about blogging :).

  9. Moses Karema

    The sky is not the limit but ”you”. All the best my dear!

  10. Oh yes, oh yes! Can only agree to all these points! Especially the patience is crucial. Trying out different strategies, then find the own path and strategy that is working for you, your readers and the $. Unfortunately some bloggers can be quite competitive, but the majority I know are helpful. Many facebook groups are fantastic resources as well – besides your course =)

    1. I definitely agree Matt! Thank you.

  11. Congrats on 9 years of blogging! You are the one who inspired me to take up blogging, and I am so grateful for that. I can’t believe I make a full-time income now and can work from anywhere on my sailboat and in my van. Remarkable! I wish you even more success in the future!

    1. Thank you Kristin! Glad to hear that I inspired you – that makes me so happy ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope you are doing well.

  12. Good read, thank you.

    You mentioned the importance of reaching out to other bloggers; what was your strategy? Cold emails? Comments? Perhaps it’s a mental hurdle, and I’m new to this, but I’m not sure how to approach it.

    1. Commenting, genuinely linking to them, sharing their content, interacting on social media ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Hi Michelle,

    I consider your blog the pinnacle of community-driven personal finance blogs. I have learned a lot from you and hope to learn more in the future!

  14. Caitlin Chen

    Hi Michelle,

    Congratulations on your blogging anniversary!

    It was after reading your blog that I decided to start my personal finance blog.It’s amazing how you went from blogging as a hobby to making it a full time income. I want to Thank You for your course on affiliate marketing as I’ve learned how to apply for and add in affiliate links to my posts.

    Over time, I plan to learn more from you so I can one day make it a full time gig and maybe I can retire from my day job.

    Thank You for your inspiration!

    Caitlin : )

    1. It was definitely an interesting way to start! I laugh when I think about when I first started – I had no idea what I was doing, haha.

  15. Rajan Arora

    One thing I learn from you is never quitting. We see all your $$$$$/month posts but the level of hard work you’ve put into is really beyond expectations. Your blog has always been an inspiration to me and even I give your example to my friends regarding the potentials of blogging!

    Keep writing!

  16. Arpit Sheoran

    I hang your photo on my wall for inspiration. I already started my blog with the help of your knowledge.

  17. Blogging is truly a labor of love and can pan out to bve a million dollar work from home business. It does take time for things to materialize. This tests the ambitious entrepreneur with full-strength zeal to see if they can show the world who has the true business mucle for the hustle and can endure the journey of doing the transformation business work, out of inspiration or desperation.

  18. Amanda Ulmer

    You are so inspiring! I am so ready to start on this journey! I will be driving into your resources…thank you for helping others! ๐Ÿค—

  19. Lenka

    good article Michelle. i love the topic and your dedication. however, do you think you would have the same success if you started bloggin now, even if you were 22? i mean, isnt the blog environment oversaturated already?

    thanks a lot!

    1. I talk about the state of the blogging world here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/04/how-to-earn-money-blogging.html

      I do not think it’s oversaturated. It’s all about being different and having your own angle – just like it always has been.

  20. Moe

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for this inspiring post.

    I’ve started a few blogs in the last year but never stayed constant enough.

    I now have a blog in a niche I’m actually passionate about and hope to take it seriously now.

    Congrats on your success,


  21. Ngozi

    You are right Michelle. Writing when I feel forced leads to me either writing a mediocre blog post, or I resent my laptop and feel like throwing it at the back of my wardrobe!๐Ÿ˜‚ Consistency is very important. If only I had remained consistent when I started my first blog about 12 years ago! I found my way back to blogging again. I thoroughly enjoy it and hope to achieve success doing it. Congratulations on your success!

  22. Sarah

    Hi Michelle,

    Your writing always encourage and inspire me. I started working on blog for my business 2 years ago and I lost focus along the way. By the middle of august, I came across this blog and I got the needed motivation to keep moving.

    Thanks a lot!

  23. Hi Michelle,
    This post is very encouraging. I started working on my blog the very end of 2015, but just recently started about 3 months ago๐Ÿ˜… treating it as a business. I write about miscarriage and pregnancy loss, itโ€™s so small niched that itโ€™s difficult to network with other bloggers. Thank you for sharing your insight and encouragement๐Ÿ’›

  24. Thanks for this post. You raised some great points. I’m 4 years into blogging and there have been highs and lows. The low being when overnight for no reason website traffic plummeted by 76%. Ouch!! Paying for an SEO expert and tech to try and troubleshoot, neither of them could find a cause. ๐Ÿ™
    Trying to keep motivated and powering on creating good content.

  25. Sam

    I just came to this post.

    So, how much money do people make realistically?

  26. Luiz Andrรฉ

    Thanks Michelle! I have followed your job here since 2016, it inspired me to take action and perceive my goals to be a full time blogger. It isn’t my reality yet, but I just keep work. Hugs from Brazil!

  27. Hello Michelle,

    Congratulations and Thank you for writing this blog post. It is very inspiring.

    I started my blogging journey in 2018 but stopped putting out content because I started working a 9-5 job that just took all my time. And just like you, I made my first $100 6 months after putting out my first article on my blog but mine was through affiliate marketing.

    Since then I still wish I had taken blogging more seriously. Who knows how far I would have gone now?

    I have been following your blog for a while now and your journey has been very inspiring.

    I learned alot from this post. Thank you so much for everything you do. It is greatly appreciated.

  28. Emma

    I’ts niched that itโ€™s difficult to network with other bloggers. I made my first $100 7 months after putting out my first article on my blog but mine was through affiliate marketing. it inspired me to take action and perceive my goals to be a full-time blogger.

  29. I’ve stumbled across your blog many times over the years, either through recommendations or a plain old Google search. It’s always nice to find a familiar face. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’ve been a help on our path to reaching financial independence! The personal finance tips and tricks have always been appreciated.

    I think tip #7 is probably the most important mindset to carry if you’re a writer. A rising tide lifts all boats as they say.

    All that is to say…hey, congrats on 9 years! That’s pretty awesome.

  30. Simian

    I love reading your blogging tips. I have two blogs, one that makes money and one that’s new, so isn’t making anything yet (haven’t tried to monetize it at all). I love reading that it actually takes time to get a blog to the place where it makes money. We hear so often that it’s an ‘overnight success’ type of deal, that it’s easy to get discouraged. Thanks for this post! It’s like a little ‘nudge’ to keep going ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Hi Michelle, Thank you for sharing your story. Your journey is very inspiring. You are actually one of the first successful bloggers that inspired me to start my own blog, which I did about 4 months ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you also for the helpful blogging tips!

    Congratulations on your success!


  32. Katelyn

    Hi Michelle! You have such an inspiring story. I just started my blog a little over a month ago, but had been thinking of doing it for a while. I love reading “about” posts from seasoned bloggers and using them as motivation to keep going. Hope to be where you are one day!

  33. Hello! I love hearing the veterans story! Michelle, congrats on your success. Iโ€™m a newbie and this was so refreshing! Hope I could reach even half of your success one day! Haha



  34. Wow! I know I’m late to the party but congrats on your blog anniversary. It took almost 3 years to make money on my blog. I did a lot of things wrong. I’m still working on it (having a travel blog in a pandemic-not easy!) but it’s going well now. Thanks so much for all of your advice! I’ve been following you for about 5 years. I think it’s time for me to re-take your Affiliate Marketing course too! I need to brush up. ๐Ÿ™‚