Celebrating 10 Years Of Blogging – What I’ve Learned and Love After Earning Over $5,000,000

This seems completely crazy – it has been 10 years since I started Making Sense of Cents! 10 years ago seems like so long ago, but then it also seems like just last week at the same time. 10 years ago, I had no real dreams or goals for this blog. I was completely anonymous…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: January 24, 2024

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This seems completely crazy – it has been 10 years since I started Making Sense of Cents!

10 years ago seems like so long ago, but then it also seems like just last week at the same time.

10 years ago, I had no real dreams or goals for this blog. I was completely anonymous and I had no idea what I was doing. It was all just for fun.

Today, I have grown this blog into hundreds of thousands of monthly readers, I have formed great friendships through this blog, have earned an amazing income that allows me to retire whenever I’d like, and I love what I do.

I never would have guessed this for myself back when I first started Making Sense of Cents 10 years ago.

I have never been more grateful, especially lately.

My blog has grown into a wonderful business that has allowed me to enjoy my work, have a flexible schedule, and earn a great living.

Plus, knowing that I have a baby on the way and with how sick I was for the first few months, I have been able to take time off. And, I’ll be able to take a lot of time off when the baby comes as well.

So, really, the flexible schedule is something I will always be extremely, extremely happy about.

Anyways, in August of 2011, I started Making Sense of Cents.

That was exactly 10 years ago!

I did not know much about blogs at that time. I didn’t really understand what it was, that they made money, how to make one, or anything else.

I definitely did not consider myself to be a writer either (although, I’m sure some will still say that about me today, haha!).

In the past 10 years, so much has changed for me and it’s all because I randomly started Making Sense of Cents one day.

Blogging 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 (I quit my day job in 2013).

Stats about Making Sense of Cents:

  • My first blog post was published on August 10, 2011. You can read it here.
  • I have published 1,986 articles here on Making Sense of Cents.
  • I have 66,572 comments on my blog posts. This was higher recently but I deleted over 5,000 comments that had broken links in them.
  • I’ve personally replied to over 21,364 comments.
  • It took me 6 months to earn my first $100 from Making Sense of Cents.

How Making Sense of Cents began

First, a little background on how I started.

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 or building a blog.

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 ten 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’m going to talk about the 10 things that I love and have learned about blogging over the past decade. I feel like what I enjoy about blogging as well as what I’ve learned go hand in hand.

If you haven’t yet – please follow me on Instagram.

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

This picture was taken just the other day while rafting down a river.

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. Having a flexible schedule is a life changer.

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. Being location independent is wonderful.

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 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 personally, 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.

I shared my story above about how I started blogging – I had no idea what I was doing!

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.

10. I love actually enjoying what I do for work.

Some days, I am so surprised that I can actually make a living blogging.

It is something that I just enjoy so much and it is a huge passion of mine.

I wake up and actually enjoy working every day. Sure, there are days when I may be tired or I receive a rude message from a stranger (unfortunately, that’s just the online world for you), but, in general, every day is pretty great.

I enjoy writing new blog posts, talking with readers, researching and improving monetization methods, working with companies, being active on social media, and more.

What’s next?

My main goal right now is to get everything planned and scheduled for the next several months.

Our new family member is due in December, and maternity leave as a self-employed person means that getting ahead in work is extremely important. I have a blog post written on this subject and it will be published in the next few months.

Other than that, I am always working on improving page views, coming up with new content and ways to help readers, and more.

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 so much for being a reader of Making Sense of Cents!

There’s a ton of valuable free resources.

I know I’ll be asked this, so I am going to close out this blog post with my favorite list of blogging freebies.

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 Tips For Bloggers – I launched this free 36 page ebook earlier this year that will teach you all about affiliate marketing for bloggers.
  3. How To Increase Your Google Traffic (FREE Video Training)– This is my favorite free SEO training that will teach you how to improve your content so that you can rank through SEO.
  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.

I also recommend reading Best Blogging Courses & Resources That Helped Me Make $100,000+.

Do you have any questions for me about blogging or starting a 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. Ashlee

    Happy 10 years Michelle!!!! Seems like yesterday when you were anonymous ๐Ÿ™‚ You are glowing and going to be a great mom!

      1. Happy 10 years of my blogging my dear. I am just starting up my blog but already facing lots of failures. I really need to someone to encourage me.

        1. You can do it! What failures are you facing?

          1. 1: I got deindexed by Bing
            2: The more contents i write, the less traffic i get.
            3: Google AdSense is paying peanuts

            1. Do you know why you were deindexed?

              Google Adsense usually doesn’t pay much, so that is expected.

              1. Bing couldn’t disclose the reasons for deindexing my website.
                All they could say is that my website is in their spam list. Many webmasters are facing the same problem today.
                I really need a better way to monetize my website.

                1. Are you on a VPN? It sounds like you are on a shared server; if someone else is spamming you get blamed. Contact your host company and get on a VPN.

  2. Congratulations Michelle!

    You are the reason why i started my blog this year because your journey inspires me a lot as independent women

    Wish you the best

    1. Thank you! Have fun blogging.

  3. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! Your blog was such an inspiration for me when starting my own blog, and now it’s grown into my full-time business. Still far away from your numbers, but slowly catching up ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for all you do, here’s to the next 10 years!

  4. Congratulations Michelle! I’ve enjoyed reading many of your posts and look forward to reading many more in the future.

  5. Zach L.

    Wow! I can’t believe it has been 10 years! That’s amazing!

    Nice job pushing through and making something great!

  6. Happy 10 Years Michelle. I just opened your email today and found this. I have been following you for a while now and truly love what you’re doing.

    It’s beautiful knowing that things can truly change if we don’t give up. I am actually surprised to learn that it took you 6 months to earn your first $100 on your blog. This is so inspirational for me as a newbie blogger. I’m now encouraged to stick around for the Long haul.

  7. 1) You are positively GLOWING!! Motherhood suits you well! 2) I wouldn’t be trying to start a business by blogging if it wasn’t for you. 3) Keep doing what you love and only what you want – it took me 55 years to figure that out after I almost died from Covid. 4) Take LOTS of pictures of your baby – they grow up so fast and change so much!

    I wish you nothing but joy & happiness in your future endeavors!

    1. Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ I really appreciate it.

  8. Congratulations Michelle. It’s been a good time reading all your blog post.

  9. I am so happy for all you have achieved! You are an inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Michelle

    Congratulations on 10 years, Michelle!
    You and your blog were a key motivator for me starting my blog(s) and I’m now earning enough for my husband and I to quit our jobs.
    Thank you for lighting the way for me, and so many others.
    Michelle xx

  11. Hi Michelle! This is an awesome and inspiring read. Congratulations on all your successes!

    I’ve just started blogging a month and a half ago. What would you say is the most important thing (other than consistency, since I’m currently on a good habit of doing 1-2 posts a day) that you did to help your blog grow?

    Congratulations again and looking forward to more updates in the future!

    1. Thanks so much!

      I think there are so many things, but one would probably be high quality content and making your voice stand out from others. There are a lot of blogs out there (but still plenty of room!), if you can do these two things.

  12. Congratulations! I loved following your story and it’s very inspirational. Here’s to an additional 10 more years.

  13. You’ve always been a true blogging inspiration, Michelle. Keep doing what you’re doing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Happy 10 years Michelle! If you look back from where you started, you probably never thought you could have a lucrative business out of blogging and helping so many others out. Keep inspiring others and keep up the great work.

  15. Kristin Brause

    Amazing lovely!! Youโ€™re such an inspiration for me and I am sure many others. One question Iโ€™d like to ask you is how you promote each of your posts? Do you have a marketing plan to get the word out of each and every one of your posts or do you reply on SEO for traffic? Thanks, Kris

  16. Happy 10 year anniversary! What an achievement. Iโ€™ve loved reading your blog over the years!

  17. Congrats on 10 years! So lovely to hear that you still love it, and thank you for always being super generous with all the advice and ideas you share with us. Hereโ€™s to many more years! x

  18. Are you on a VPN? It sounds like you are on a shared server; if someone else is spamming you get blamed. Contact your host company and get on a VPN.