Ask Me Anything

Hey, Today is a new Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents! 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…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 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.

Hey,

Today is a new Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents!

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

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.

All right, go for it, ask away!

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

Here are links to common questions I’ve received in past Ask Me Anythings:

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. Hi Michelle
    I am really struggling with my blog traffic. I am active on Pinterest and SEO is also not bad but still not getting enough traffic….
    Any suggestion?

    1. Hey Lelita,

      Thanks for your question. How long have you been active on each?

      I looked at your blog, and you have a lot of display ads on your homepage. I found it difficult to scroll through that and find things that were actually your homepage. If your blog posts are like that as well, it could be hurting your user-friendliness.

      Here are the blogging resources that I recommend – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2021/07/best-blogging-courses.html

      1. Hi Michelle
        Thanks for the reply. I have been active since 2021, 1 year

        1. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but when I click on your social media buttons on your blog, it doesn’t take me to your social media accounts.

  2. Hi Michelle! I’ve been a LOOONG time follower and always love getting your emails, too!
    I’d love to find out how I can write a post for you and your blog! I’ve been blogging since 2011 and it’s a “bucket list” item I have, to say the least. 🙂

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!

    1. Hey Jessica. I’m currently taking a short break from accepting new guest posts, as I have a few in the works. In a few months, if you could email over some guest post ideas, that would be great. I recommend looking at past guest posts to get an idea of what works. Right now, I am really only accepting personal stories with actionable tips, such as How I Paid Of X In Debt, How I Retired Early, How I Do X As A Side Hustle, etc.

      1. Jessica Burgess

        That sounds wonderful and I’ll do that! Thank you so much!

  3. Hi Michelle, I’m looking at relaunching my personal finance blog and I’m just wondering if you had to start all over today what would you do differently?

    1. Hey Chris!

      I wouldn’t change anything about what I’m doing right now, but in the past I would make sure that I was on self-hosted WordPress, that I was focusing a lot of time on growing my email list, and I would probably focus on a trending platform such as TikTok.

  4. Sue

    I could easily be location independent if I had excellent internet, what’s your internet setup?
    Thank you for your help,
    Sue

    1. There are many great internet choices, so I wouldn’t let that stop you. We usually either get a local sim card if we’re in another country, an AT&T or Verizon internet hotspot plan, and we also have Google FI for our phones. Starlink is also another popular option right now.

  5. Hi Michelle! I am having a hard time with connecting links to a blog post (ebook link) and setting it up for email subscribers to receive the link when they subscribe. I’ve tried using convert kit and can’t seem to figure it out. Any suggestions or advice? I was thinking maybe I should try using the optionmonster plugin instead.
    thanks so much!

    1. Hey Ashley! I think I understand your question. Have you tried including the link to the ebook in the first email that your subscribers receive after they subscribe to the ebook?

  6. Jason

    My wife and I both work remotely and have been thinking about moving to our sailboat fulltime. She is expecting twins in December. What was your process for determining when it’s safe to sail with a newborn and what tips do you have to keep them safe when sailing, especially as someone that lives on a sailboat fulltime? Thanks.

    1. Congrats on the twins! We already lived on our boat full-time as well, so it was an easy decision for us since we were already most comfortable on our boat. My baby, Marlowe, moved onto our boat the day she came home from the hospital.

      We didn’t set out for our first sail, though, until just a few days after she turned 2 months old. One thing we quickly learned, as well as pretty much every sailor with a young family that we’ve talked to – one parent will most likely be handling everything on the boat, and the other will be on full-time baby mode. My husband did a lot of sailing by himself this season, and I would simply help with docking and taking a very short watch. I’m exclusively breast feeding, so I have to spend a lot of time on that, so this arrangement made most sense for us. Of course, he still helps a ton with Marlowe, but when we are moving the boat, we each have roles that we were doing. I’m sure things will change a little more now that she’s a little older and more mobile, and I will get back into taking part in more boat responsibilities again.

      After this hurricane season, we will have to baby proof the boat more, which may include adding netting and baby gates.

      One of the harder things was probably planning where she would do her future appointments, as they have so many in the first year. She has been to a different pediatrician for every appointment so far, but none of the doctors have thought this was an issue thankfully.

      Where is your boat currently and where do you sail?

      Also, you can see some of the baby gear we have here, such as the life jacket that we use – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2022/08/best-baby-gear.html

      1. Jason

        Thanks for taking the time to reply and provide some really great insight.

        We have a 33′ sailboat is located in MD in the Chesapeake. We are exploring the feasibility of upgrading to something a bit larger, moving onto the boat full-time and relocating to St Pete to be closer to family, friends and the Caribbean. I’ve also been doing some online research to discover others that have made the leap to living on the water full-time with newborns. It’s a big leap of faith to take in general, and becomes much more difficult with two little ones on the way.

        Thanks again!

        1. Sounds great! We’ve sailed up to the Chesapeake and we have also spent a lot of time in St. Pete.

          Yes, two newborns would be more difficult. Wish you the best of luck!

          1. Jason

            Thanks. Do you have any advice for living aboard in St Pete? I would imagine you are limited to a mooring with a catamaran, no?

            1. There are a few marinas that can fit a catamaran. We liked the Harborage in St. Pete. We stayed there for two hurricane seasons. There is a great liveaboard community there!

  7. Roy

    I want to start several side gigs. What’s the best way to get legal and pay taxes? It all seems overwhelming.

    1. Unfortunately, I can’t really give legal and tax advice as that could get me in trouble. My best tip would be to find an expert local who can you help you in this area.

  8. Cortney

    I’d love all your wisdom on serving your email list and email marketing ❤️

    1. Great question! I think your email newsletter provider plays a big part, as they can make it easier (or harder) to send out your newsletter. I like Convertkit (here’s my affiliate link – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/convertkit) and I have been using them for many years now. I use Convertkit to segment my readers (for example, not all of my readers are interested in saving money, blogging, making money, etc. and Convertkit allows me to segment them into their own interests), send freebie optins, and more.

      For newsletters, I simply just try to send an email like I’m writing to a friend. I include questions, helpful content, and send at least one email a week so that everyone remembers me 🙂

  9. Lisa

    How many blog posts did you have on your blog when you became a fulltime blogger?

    After what time/after how many blog posts did you made a steady income of 1k?

    Thank you!
    Lisa

    1. Hmmm I am not sure. I was blogging for around 2 years, though, when I started full-time blogging. I had no idea what I was doing before then, so I don’t think the exact number of blog posts really means anything, haha.

      You can actually find all of my income reports here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/extra-income

  10. lisa Ponce

    I have a word press blog but when it gets to big it is hard to not have on independent server. What is best company to make your website. I know when you keep adding posts it can be a problem. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hey Lisa – Are you self-hosted?

      I’m on BigScoots. You can simply just upgrade your hosting as you get bigger. Starting out cheaper when you’re new is usually a good idea as you can save a lot of money. For example, Bluehost is only $3 a month, whereas my BigScoots plan is $50+ a month.

  11. Hey Michelle what would you say about cookie banners and how critical are they? I’m struggling with the autoblocking portion before consent is given. Do you have a plug-in that does that automatically? Thanks

    1. This is kind of hard to talk about just in a simple comment. I recommend doing some Google research on the topic as experts would be better at explaining this than I would. Also, if you use a display advertising company such as Mediavine or Adthrive, they may have resources on this as well as it is something that they have had to deal with.

  12. Brandoney

    I’m a designer looking to branch out to become an agency. I currently have zero clients, but I am designing my agency’s website at the moment. I am thinking about a subscription design service pricing structure. What do you think of this idea and do you think it will work for me? I would like an idea or two from you (a different POV) on how I could make additional income that is related to the design industry but is more “passive” once I do the work once>?? Any tips are appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hello,

      What services would you be offering for the subscription design service pricing structure? This isn’t something I have any expertise or knowledge in so I’m not sure if I would be of any help.

      A more passive idea would be to create a premade design that you can sell, such as on Etsy. There are many on there.

  13. Shannon

    Hi Michelle,
    My husband and I are interested in buying a yacht, what was your process for buying one? Did you start by renting first? Or did you always own? Are you still in the same boat you started with? Did you buy it in your company name, since it is essentially your place of business? Thanks!

    1. Hey Shannon! Great questions.

      We did a 10 day charter in the BVIs, but that is all. We own our boat and it is the same boat that we started with.

      We did not buy it in my company name.

  14. Heather

    I’m just getting started on adding a blog to my existing website. What is or was your daily schedule that you used to be the most productive and time efficient? And how did you use Pinterest to drive traffic? Thanks 😊

    1. I don’t really have a set daily schedule now, but the main things I try to do during the day include answering emails, writing a blog post, working on partnerships, finding ways to grow my blog, sharing my blog on social media, etc. I try to always be several months ahead in content, and that is my best tip for being most productive. That way, I don’t have to ever worry about content, and I can instead focus on other work tasks.

      For Pinterest, I highly recommend taking a course on the topic as it would be hard to teach everything in a comment. The blogging resources I recommend can be found at https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2021/07/best-blogging-courses.html

      Some Pinterest tips:
      1) Always have a pin-worthy image for every blog post
      2) Create new pins for older blog posts all the time
      3) Test out different titles for your pins

  15. Hi Michelle! Very inspired by your success! My question is as follows:

    I started a beauty blog in 2013. It was getting over 3,000 visitors a month at one point but was not monetized at that point. Well – marriage and babies happened, and the blog was dormant for 7 years. In April, I restarted and renamed the blog as theblushingpoet.com. My traffic had diminished down to 300 visitors a month in April. I’m 4 months in now, and now having 600 visitors a month. Better but note here near the traffic I had before.

    1) How long do people usually see increased traffic with regular posting? 6 months in? 8 months in? And does this change if you are rebranding and restarting an old blog?

    2) I am in the 6 month trial period with Amazon affiliates. I had made 1 sale so far – 2 months in. Is it worth it to even do affiliate marketing at this point?

    Thank you! Any advice would be welcome! I enjoyed your free blogging course!

    1. Hey Mary Beth!

      1) I don’t think there’s an average number. But, I will say that many bloggers quit just 6 months in because they aren’t seeing traffic or money. So, I’m assuming the number is after 6 months 🙂

      2) Yes, for sure! You simply want/need more traffic in order to see more sales.

      What are you currently doing to grow your blog?

      1. Thank you so much for responding, Michelle! I am currently posting on Pinterest as well as Facebook. I am trying to use SEO as best as I can, although I confess I don’t understand it that well. Listening to the “Stupid Simple SEO” free course right now. I’m also going back to my old blog posts and trying to add cross-links. Any suggestions to further grow traffic? Especially with an aged domain that lay dormant for several years? I currently have 98 posts on my blog; 12 since April when I started posting again.

        1. Hey Mary Beth,

          Thanks for sharing this. Do you have an email list? Have you tried guest posting on related blog? Perhaps even starting a TikTok or an Instagram account? Are you publishing at least once a week?

          SEO is definitely a good next step. There’s a lot to learn with SEO, but there is so much room for growth in that area.

  16. What is the most difficult/challenging/annoying thing about driving traffic to your website, and how do you overcome this challenge??

    1. I don’t really know if anything is annoying, but it’s probably just wondering why some things get a lot of traffic and other posts that are similar do not get as much. It’s all just the luck of the draw, I guess, haha.

      Finding ways to be diversified with your traffic is important, so that you are not too reliant on one form. Also, finding new ways to bring readers to your blog is important as well, as the blogging landscape in constantly changing.

  17. Hi Michelle!
    I’d love to start making more money off of my blog, which I’ve had for roughly 12 years now. I am a photographer that specializes in families, seniors and weddings … how would you recommend I incorporate affiliate links and get paid blogs when I mostly blog session work?
    Thank you!!
    Ashley

    1. Do you publish many blog posts that are not focused on blog session work? Have you looked at how other blogs similar to yours are monetizing?

  18. Alex Stewart

    Im trying to get more traffic to my website

    1. What do you currently do for traffic?

      Have you checked out this blog post of mine of my favorite resources? https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2021/07/best-blogging-courses.html

  19. What are your main sources of traffic to your blog?

    1. Pinterest, Facebook, SEO, and my email list 🙂

  20. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for all the great information and advice you provide. Your writing is so comforting to read by a newbie. I just turned 65 and am trying to start a blog that I hope will provide us with some extra income. I thought I would try a blog with photos and stories about unusual places I have found and photographed over the years in the American West. So I followed your advice on setting up my site on Bluehost. I have got a little lost in the weeds picking a theme and making it work for me. I have ended up choosing Elegant Themes Divi and I am learning how to use the builder and the premade layouts. I want to use lots of photos and design a magazine look. Was this a mistake, should I have started with something simpler? If so, what?

    Second, do I need to start with an email host to have a domain name email and start an email marketing service to start an email subscription list to eventually monetize the blog? Or should I just be concentrating on writing a blog with no contact with readers?

    Am I kidding myself about starting a blog at 65 to eventually make a little money that I don’t know if anyone will read and if I really have the ability to do this?

    1. Hey Jon!

      Thanks for your question. I am not really that good when it comes to the design side of blogging. If you like the design of the theme, then I don’t see why not start with that one. You can always change it later if you decide that you don’t like it.

      I have a tutorial here that will show you how to get your own domain name email address – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2020/10/how-to-create-and-set-up-your-blog-email.html

      For the email newsletter, I recommend Convertkit. Here’s my affiliate link – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/convertkit. You can start it for free.

      You are not kidding yourself! You won’t know unless you try.

  21. Niah

    Hello Michelle

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    I currently work full time in a job that I dislike, low paid but stable. I want to start a new business but I have no idea what. Can you help me with ideas? I do not have any dream job or any passion presently.

    1. Great question!

      Have you checked out this article here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/extra-income

      There are over 100 different side job and business ideas that I have listed there. I recommend reading a little about each until you find one that interests you 🙂

  22. Mandy

    Hi Michelle,

    Would you suggest opening an LLC to start a blog or I should wait? If I should wait, to what point should I transfer to LLC?

    Thank you!

    1. Unfortunately, I cannot give legal advice as I am not a lawyer, accountant, or anything like that.

      I can say that I have an LLC, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best route for everyone.

      1. Belle

        At what point did you form an LLC? Year 1, 2, 3….?

        1. I believe it was during Year 1.

  23. Catherine Bauer

    How do you figure out a niche when you’re interested in so much?

    1. Great question!

      One way to try and narrow down what to write about is to think of around 5-10 blog post ideas for each niche you are interested in. This little challenge can help you realize which topic you are most interested in.

  24. Paul

    How can you keep your personal anonymity when starting a blog?

    1. I was anonymous for awhile when I first started my blog.

      Some things I recommend is buying domain privacy protection to protect your private info, writing with a pen name, and not publishing any photos with your face.

  25. Hi Michelle: I am a mad fan of what you have accomplished, as you know. My experience with affiliates is limited. I am working through your course which is helpful (not done yet) and I have a few sales here and there. When a person has an affiliate link in a social post, is it enough to put #ad in the post, reel, whatever as the disclaimer? I am bigger of content creation and standing behind products I believe in, but ever so often I see an offer I think might interest my audience and have considered putting it on social for what it is.
    Since I don’t have 10,000 followers on instagram there is already that friction, but curious what you care to share. Thanks!

    1. Hey Doria!

      I talk about this in the course in the lesson that is dedicated to the rules and legalities of affiliate marketing. Have you checked that out?

  26. Hi Michelle! I fear I am asking similar questions to others and I apologize. If I could hire a coach, I would! I have a blog that I have been intent on turning into a success but I have not done so yet. I realized I am missing a lot of techy stuff: for instance, I can’t figure out why I don’t get views and then I realize that I didn’t properly verify my site with Google Console so most of my posts were not being indexed. These things discourage me big time because I don’t know what I don’t know. I truly want to be able to help others, whether through encouragement or information, while also being able to benefit my family financially. I’ve bought many courses and invested a lot of time and energy and basically feel like a failure as I can’t quite figure out HOW. I suppose I’m looking for personalized encouragement and advice (without the budget to pay for a coach). Any suggestions?

    Thank you for answering. This is awfully kind of you! You’re quite inspirational with your success!

    1. I think there will always be things that you’ll realize that you’ve overlooked. I have felt the same way in the past!

      There’s a lot to learn about blogging, and things are continually changing. One way to stay up to date is to find blogging groups on Facebook. I’m not really active on Facebook too much anymore so I don’t know what the popular groups currently are, but that helped me stay up to date a lot in the past! If there are Facebook groups for any of the courses that you have taken, that’s a good place to start.

      How long have you been blogging for?

      1. I have honestly HAD a blog for a few years but I haven’t made much traction. I lock consistency and I know that’s my first problem.

  27. Scott

    Have other bloggers who are not social network savvy or even like dealing with social network have a solution that you recommend as an option to share blog content?

    I know that you have an editor now to help proofread your content. Are there similar ideas for sharing blog posts?

    Thanks!

    1. Yes, there are other ways such as SEO, guest posting, ads, and growing your email list.

      Yes, there are social media managers who can help share your blog posts.

  28. Shirley

    Hi Michelle,

    I wanted to know what is the best way ( step by step) to become a good blogger! I am scared to write my own content or I will ran out of content. How can I get started and be on the stream of always getting traffic.

    Thanks,

    1. Hey Shirley!

      I have a step by step blog post on this topic- https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/06/how-to-start-a-successful-blog.html

      Please let me know if you have other questions.

  29. Milica

    Hi Michelle!

    Is it necessary to start growing an email list from the very beginning because it’s costly in the long run or can I still make money just with the help of Pinterest and other things and not use the email list at all?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    1. Hey Milica,

      I recommend doing so, yes. I believe you can start for free on Convertkit. Here’s my affiliate link – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/convertkit

  30. Hi Michelle. I hope you are doing well. I have been working on my website for over a year now. I don’t know why. I guess I’m afraid of failing again (I have had 2 previous blogs). I know I need to launch my blog but after I do that, what would you do, or what would you focus on first? I have about 5 posts that have been written so far that will be on the blog when I launch. I have no idea how to work with Instagram and my Pinterest account for this blog is new. I didn’t know if I could just take my old Pinterest account and change the name of it. So with all that said, if you were me, what would be your top priorities? I appreciate you answering my question. Take care.

    1. Hey Julie!

      I would focus on things such as:
      1) Consistently publishing new content (at least one blog post a week)
      2) Finding ways to grow your blog, such as Pinterest, SEO, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
      3) Starting an email list
      4) Maybe finding a few websites to guest post on.

      Also, if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend taking a blogging course – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2021/07/best-blogging-courses.html

  31. Hi Michelle,

    Do you mentor bloggers? I’m restarting my blog and I would really like your input and your guidance if possible. So appreciate your blog and the motivation that it gives me. Thank you.

    1. Unfortunately, I do not. I have in the past but it is not a service I currently offer.

  32. JJ

    Love your work, thank you! Do you have any recommendations for websites/programs that are good to use to design fun tee shirts and sell them, but have them made and fulfilled/dropshipped by someone else? Two examples that I am looking into are Bondfire & Through 6. Do you have any affiliates? Thank you for your time! 🙂 xo

    1. Unfortunately, I do not know of any. IT’s not something I have done in the past. So sorry!

  33. Robert

    Hey, Michelle!

    I love your content and words of wisdom. The biggest problem I’m having is that I know the goals for my life, but I don’t know how or where to start. I’m working on overcoming analysis paralysis, but I don’t know what should be doing first to get to where I want to be.

    My goal right now is that I want to be a Life Coach and writer. I want to help people succeed in life and for them to know someone is here to help them. I don’t my niche, just that I want to be a Life Coach. I’ve also had a love for writing most of my life and want to run a successful blog, start a successful freelance writing business, and publish a few novels, but I don’t know what to write about. Living wise, I want to live in an RV and be able to travel. Right now, though, I’m struggling to make money, and it seems like my entire life is on hold until I make some good money.

    What are some of the first steps you would recommend for me to get from zero to one hundred? I’m not someone looking for a “get rich quick” scheme, but I’m looking to make progress.

    Thank you!!

    1. Hey Robert!

      Thanks for your question. I’m not sure if I fully understand your question. Are you looking to start a blog? Or, what is the goal that you are wanting steps for?

      1. Robert

        I reread my comment and completely face-palmed at all of my typos and lack of clarity. Sorry about that!

        My goal is to live my life helping others succeed in their own lives.

        My problem is that I don’t have the money or confidence to do it. I also don’t know exactly who I want to help or what I want to help them with.

        My question is what are some ways to boost my confidence and income so that I can achieve my dreams, and what are some steps I can take to find out who I am supposed to help and what I will help them with?

        I hope that makes more sense. 😅

        1. Thanks for the clarification. This is kind of hard to really help through a simple comment. I feel like a life coach would benefit you? Most life coaches that I know have a life coach themself. Do you have one?

          I don’t really know what the first step is to become a life coach, as I am not one. Perhaps you can see if there are any helpful life coach blogs out there that have free content that you can read? I’m sure that exists on the web.

          I wish I could help more, but this isn’t really my expertise. So sorry!

  34. LaDonna Oney

    Love your work, wished I had learned all this 20 years ago. I’m retired and not really looking to make extra money at this point. However I share your blog with lots of others and younger than myself including my own children.

    A Couple of months ago, you mentioned that if you didn’t want to invest in stocks or monitor wealth consider a fund. I’ve looked around on the internet and unless it is right in front of me I couldn’t find a fund? I’m connected with Vanguard and Stansberry Research. However, I would love to put this on auto pilot. Need additional help to do this?

    1. Hey LaDonna!

      Thanks so much for your question and for being a reader.

      I can’t tell you exactly what you invest in, but Vanguard funds are pretty popular. I like VTSAX, but there are many others as well. Here’s a link to learn more about this one – https://investor.vanguard.com/investment-products/mutual-funds/profile/vtsax#performance-fees

      Also, you can learn more about index funds here – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/indexfund.asp

  35. Thomas Darland

    Hi Michelle.

    I’ve seen a few of your posts about the different courses you recommend. I didn’t notice any about email. Are there any email courses that you recommend? Thanks, Tom.

    1. I have actually not taken a course on having an email list. I will have to do some research and see what I can find.

      Convertkit does quite often host workshops on running an email list. You can find my affiliate link here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/convertkit

      1. Thomas Darland

        Ok. Thank you!

  36. Anne

    Hi,

    I would love to blog and share content with like minded individuals. I have imposter syndrome and feel like what I have to share is not from a professional of decades of experience. I am not a good writer either. Any suggestion on how to get over imposter syndrome? Did you come across that when you started writing content and starting your blog?

    Thank you,
    Anne

    1. Hey Anne!

      I think this is somewhat normal, especially for someone who wants to write publicly and put themselves out there. You may want to think deeply about why you feel this way, and think of what you can do to get over it. For example, is it a fear of failure? The unknown?

      Grammarly is a good tool to start with if you want to improve your writing.

    2. Hi Anne,

      I hope you don’t mind me chiming in, but I would hate for this to be a passion of yours to have a blog and it goes unfulfilled due to fear. Particularly, if you don’t think you’re a good writer, perhaps use your phone recorder and talk about your topic just as you would to a friend and then transcribe and edit. #mytwocents

  37. Hello, love your blog of course! I have a question of sorts, I have a website called Scenicharbor.com and really don’t know what direction I should take it. I love nautical stuff with the ocean etc, but someone told me a coastal/nautical theme decoration type of niche might work too. I would really like to get your opinion on it. I figure who better to ask than you! I want to somehow make money with it but just need a push in the right direction. Thanks and love the blog

    1. Hey Gregg! What was your original plan for your website?

  38. Dilsa

    I would love to know what blog
    Course work for yu.

  39. Hi, Michelle!

    Love the content—I really do learn things from your blog. So first, thank you. 🙂

    My question is … As someone who is location independent, what do you do for an address on legal documents? Things like passports, bank accounts, etc. Of course, I’m not expecting you to share a real address, but what I mean is … how do you approach this issue when you are living on a boat without a fixed address?

    Thank you in advance!

    Cheers,
    Meredith

    1. We belong to a company called St Brendans Isle. All of our mail gets sent there, and then they forward our mail to wherever we are. For example, if I know where I’ll be, I’ll request my mail from them. St. Brendan’s Isle puts all of my mail in one tidy package and ships it to where I’m at.

      We also use this address for our driver’s license, passports, bank accounts, and everything else.

      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. This is great—I have been searching for this tip on so many different location-independent blogs and never found a detailed answer like this.

        Thank you for helping!
        Best wishes,
        Meredith

  40. Tim

    Hi Michelle,

    I am a pretty new follower. I am trying to find a true side hustle that I can do on top of my 9-5 (for now) and that can scale so it is automated and can work without requiring 1:1 time input by my. I have read affiliate marketing and related digital related is worth looking into but am skeptical of the claims of those I have seen on tiktok (amongst others). Would love your thoughts on this and where to go to get a realistic and reliable way to start this? I saw you have a course (haven’t done it yet).

    Thanks – Tim

    1. Hey Tim!

      Here are two blog posts of mine that you may want to start with:
      1) https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2022/02/stay-at-home-jobs.html
      2) https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/08/passive-income-ideas.html

      There are many, many different things that you can do. It depends on what your skills are, what you’re interested in learning about, your available time, etc.

  41. Tajuana

    Hi Michelle,
    I know you’ve successfully launched the course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I was wondering if when you launched your course you had an LLC and if your course was copyrighted? I’m planning to launch a course, and I’m just wondering if these are things that people normally have in place before launching. I know you won’t be able to give me legal advice, but it will be helpful to know what you and/or others have done. Thanks for any information you can provide to me. 🙂

    1. Hey Tajuana!

      Great questions. I have an LLC and I had one when I launched my course.

      Here’s some information about copyright – https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-protect-blog-content-from-copyright-infringement/. Copyright protection is automatic the moment you publish something. I have not officially submitted copyright registration, though.

      1. Tajuana

        Thanks so much, Michelle! This is very helpful!

  42. My blog will surround my business, Bobby’s Bridge. I’m still working on getting it converted to BlueHost. The audience will be families with special needs children. Should my affiliate marketing be centered solely on that audience or can I expand?

    1. Do you plan on expanding your audience? If so, then your affiliate marketing can be expanded as well.

  43. Hi Michelle:
    I am an excited newbie, about to finish your course!
    I am wondering if you have a protocol you follow when it comes to creating and posting your blogs?

    I was thinking about the following:
    Write content
    Add links and ads
    Optimize for SEO for key words and images in each blog post
    Post

    I welcome your suggestions.

    I also wanted to ask you how we are supposed to know how to negotiate rates of compensation with affiliates-is there a “standard rate” and is it based on experience, content, number of clicks/conversions, etc or does that depend on the vendor with whom you are negotiating?

    What if the vendor does not have an affiliate program-is there a suggested dialogue to introduce this proposition to them? (I am thinking about local small bookstores.)

    Thank you for taking the time to answer.

    1. Hey Hannah!

      Here’s kind of my step by step process:
      1) Write content
      2) Add related links to past blog posts, as well as affiliate links if anything fits.
      3) Format and make it easier to read for readers
      4) Add images, make pins

      For affiliate marketing, there is typically a standard rate. Sometimes you can renegotiate later if you are seeing a lot of conversions as well as high quality conversions/leads (each affiliate program will have their own definition of what high quality means).

      If the vendor does not have an affiliate program, then you may be able to negotiate a coupon code with them. So, it may be something like “MAKINGSENSEOFCENTS” so that they know when a reader has come through you. However, you are relying on the vendor to be honest with the amount of conversions that you have sent. Typically, I like to stick to companies that already have affiliate programs.

      1. Thanks Michelle. This is helpful. Can you clarify what you mean by format and make it easier for readers to read?

        1. Formatting basically just means that things that I do to make it look like a blog post on Making Sense of Cents. So, it may mean:

          1) Bolding certain words to make them stand out.
          2) Separating the blog post into sections to make it easier to read.
          3) Making paragraphs shorter so that they are easier to read.
          4) Adding links to related content

          And so on. Please let me know if that doesn’t make sense.

  44. Sarah

    Hey Michelle!

    I love your blog and have been following you for some time now. I’m going to start my blog in the next few weeks and it’s going to be about relationships & dating. I’ve had a lot of experience dating in the last few years and really think I could give single women some great advice. All I have to decide on is a name for my blog which is the hardest part! I took your “how to start a blog” course & plan on taking your affiliate marketing course very soon. What would be your most useful advice to a brand new blogger? And what are some things you would have done in the very beginning of starting? TIA❤️

    1. Hey Sarah!

      Deciding on a name is definitely a hard part when it comes to starting. I recommend choosing something short, memorable, and easy to type. Also, if you can, a “.com” is usually the best option. You may want to play around with an online thesaurus to see some possible name ideas as well.

      As a brand new blogger, my top tip is to not hold yourself back. Start a blog, launch with just 1 or 2 blog posts, and put yourself out there. It can be so easy to let fear and the unknown hold you back, as many new bloggers do. But, just get started and take the leap!

      In the beginning, I highly recommend making sure that you claim all of the social media accounts that you can with your blog name (such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok), as well as starting your own email list. Also, make sure that you publish blog posts consistently, at least once a week.

      Have fun blogging!

  45. Hi Michelle,

    I will also have a Shopify store selling my tees and hoodies on the website that I’ve yet to build. I just noticed that there is a feature on the store that allows adding blog posts. Please help me to understand the benefits of having a separate blog. Additionally, if I do have a separate blog through the path you’ve taken, can I sell my items through it, or is it best to have a separate store?

    1. Hello!

      Shopify blogs and even Shopify aren’t an area that I really know much about. You’re actually the second person to ask me this lately, though, so I should probably do some research, haha.

      I found several articles on the topic by Google searching “shopify blog vs wordpress blog” which you may want to read as well.

      If your blog won’t be directly related to your Shopify store, then I think having a separate blog would be beneficial, as to not confuse your readers and customers.

  46. Ann

    Hi, Michelle.
    I don’t know if you have answers for this question, but I starting a proofreading business. Do you have any tips, tricks or advice to give me?

  47. Hi Michelle,

    I have been blogging for almost 2 years and I am growing slowly. I am blogging once a week but my traffic is really low like 20+ views a month. Any tips for me?

    1. What are you currently doing to grow your blog?

      1. I am on Pinterest and using Tailwind which has been a gamechanger. I am on all social media channels, I do guest hosting and have been on a few podcasts.

        I also have a newsletter with a mailing list that is growing.

        1. Have you tried pinning manually instead of using Tailwind? That may be something new to try.

          Are you also doing any SEO for your blog?

          1. Yes I used to do manual pinning but can try it again. I also use SEO, I use Keysearch and also do keyword research before I write a blog post.

  48. Lissette

    Hi Michelle,

    I would love to restart the blog I’ve had but now I’m in a different industry and feel I would help more people in paying off their debt. While this is something I’ve learned to do now, it makes more sense to me to be able to help people, like you have, learn how to pay off their debt in less than half the time, while building cash. Without spilling everything in 5 sentences, how do you break it down to make the information more believable? These are legit resources and programs, tax free but how do you male the information available without giving away too much?

    1. Hey Lissette,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’m not sure if I understand. Why can’t you give away too much info? Are consumers not signing up for something through you? What do you get in return?

  49. Hi Michelle! I was so inspired by your success and how you made $1 million in just a year with your blog, that I sent it to my wife to read and learn from you!

    My wife is a personal finance blogger like you, with sizeable traffic in Singapore, but does not make anything close to that so we are looking at how we can grow and monetise more effectively. She built a solid brand reputation for her in-depth research and tips on localised, personal finance, which helps in our country where the costs of living are realllly high.

    Questions:

    1. How can we monetise beyond our home country, without diluting the original brand / losing our base of local followers?

    2. Her sponsors pay for content on her media channels, but here in Singapore the clients are very pragmatic and pay based on follower count, so she’s often underpaid as they compare to lifestyle / beauty / travel influencers, who have 10X more followers than her. Problem is, her clients always get more conversions with my wife than with these popular influencers, but she’s paid lesser because here in Singapore almost everything is pegged to superficial metrics of follower count. She has tried to get case studies and testimonials from past client successes to prove this, but still has not been successful in negotiating for higher rates as everything keeps coming back to follower count. It is frustrating!

    3. She has tried affiliate marketing before, but many of the local affiliate marketing programs in our country do not pay well (unlike the US ones like Bluehost, etc). How can we grow this, or should we just turn our attention to something else?

    Looking forward to your response Michelle! Love that you’re doing this.

    1. Hey Nic,

      1) To monetize beyond your home country, you’d have to get readers that are outside of it. That may mean writing content that targets people in other countries, specially or overall. I’m not an expert in this area but you may want to look for other blogs that are similar to what you are looking to do, in order to get a better idea of what works and what does not.

      2) Is there any way to get paid per sign up, sale, or lead, instead of by follower count?

      3) When you say they don’t pay well, is that because the amount is low, or is it because it is hard to get conversions? I promote many, many low amount products. It’s more about your conversion rate and the amount of conversions you can get instead.

  50. Bogdan

    Hello!
    I’m from Ukraine. Now here is war. I’m lost my job and looking for some methods of online money earning. Could you please recommend how to start from “0”. I’ll be appreciate for any advice.

    1. Hello,

      So sorry to hear this. I have a lot of content on how to make money online. I recommend starting here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/extra-income

      Here’s another helpful article to read – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2022/02/stay-at-home-jobs.html

  51. Stephanie

    Hello Michelle,

    my question is, how long it took you to make 10k net a month with your blog when you firstly started it?

    And how long it took to reach the 100k on site views on your blog?

    Thank you very much in advance for your reply.

    1. Hello,

      I have all of my income reports here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/extra-income

      It took me around 2 years to see $10,000 a month from my blog. I haven’t really done a good job tracking page views, but I think that took around 2 years.

  52. TJay

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m 25 and want to have kids some day. I feel I have a greater amount invested than the average 25 year old but I also think it could be way better. My question is how much should I have in my pocket when I decide to have kids.

    I live in California.

    1. This is a tough question, as there are so many factors that go into it. Preparing for a baby is great and all, but there’s no one easy number to give you.

      I recommend doing a Google search for questions such as “how much should I have before I have kids”

      Also, I have listed most of the baby gear we bought here in this blog post – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2022/08/best-baby-gear.html. But, babies don’t really need all of that. They just need food, clothes, a place to sleep, and love 🙂

  53. Peter Tajedo

    My question is… Can I use AI tools to write my blog articles or will it have a negative impact on my blog in the future?

    1. I have tried AI tools and I didn’t really enjoy them, but I know others who like it. I think you’ll just want to make sure that you make it readable still (many times, AI tools spit out things that don’t actually make sense). I think once you realize that then you can use AI tools to your advantage. You don’t want to just take what they give to you and call that a complete blog post.

  54. Allen Thiessen

    Have you ever been to the Bahamas? If you have time, you should sail over there and meet Lauren Landers. I watch her You tube Channel. She is very personable, and makes her living off of Yacht Charters, You Tubing and Affiliate Marketing. She lives on her boat as you do, so here is her You Tube Channel —> https://www.youtube.com/user/laurenalanders

    1. I have spent some time every year for the past 5 years in the Bahamas 🙂

      I recommend checking out my Instagram here – https://www.instagram.com/michelleschro

  55. lisa

    I am looking to start a new blog. Do you use wordpress or something else to create yours. I see your site is very simple is that a trend? Should you add a logo or just make it very simple?

    1. I use WordPress for mine. You can find my tutorial here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/08/how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog-on-bluehost.html

      I see nothing wrong with keeping it simple 🙂

  56. Love these Ask Me Anything posts Michelle! One day maybe you’ll do a video format where questions are fed to you real time, I think your audience would love that!

    What your stance on advocating for your values through posts to your audience? I know now you write whatever you like, so for someone growing their blog, do you think they should focus on keywords or what they think their audience should be reading based on the theme?

    For example, I’m big on sustainability, public infrastructure, and philanthropy.

    1. Haha maybe! 🙂

      I’m a big fan of writing what you want to write about. If you can fit in some keywords, that’s great as well. Of course, SEO is a great way to grow a blog, so writing for both SEO as well as what you want to write about may be a good mix. That’s what I do.

  57. Kim

    Hi Michelle – Do you outsource any tasks (ie. design, content, SEO, etc…)? Or is everything done in house, or rather on your boat (which is so awesome!)?

    1. I have a virtual assistant and an editor. I also outsource other tasks such as the technical side.

  58. Cindy Lehman

    Good morning, Michelle!

    Question 1: Is there a reason why you choose GoDaddy over others for purchasing a domain name? What about NameSilo or NameCheap–would these be comparable? I realize you are an affiliate for GoDaddy but just curious if you think the above-mentioned names are comparable, or does it even matter?

    I’m one who is having a hard time deciding on a name for my blog, and it is holding me back. I do have a long list started by brainstorming, however. I want to cover a few topics or possibly several.

    Question 2: For new bloggers, do you recommend starting off with an older version of WordPress or diving right into the newest release?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Cindy!

      1) I don’t believe I’m an affiliate for Godaddy but I could be wrong. They’re all pretty similar, so I don’t think it really matters.

      2) I’ve honestly never been asked this before. I haven’t researched what the newest release is. Have you heard bad things about it?

  59. Cindy Lehman

    I believe the new release is 6.1. I’ve heard that it has less bugs in it and is more secure, but I’ve also heard that if you’re a beginner, there may be a bit more of a learning curve. So, I’m humming and hawing around with that. I am in the process of getting that WordPress skill, though, but with WordPress 5.9, so we’ll see. I do enjoy it!

    Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it.

  60. Ethan Starr

    Hi Michelle,
    I’m wondering how you decide what to write about, within your topic area? Do you just choose topics that you think readers will find of interest, or do you take into account reader feedback?

    Also, do you ever promote books through your blog? I would think that would be a good way to earn some affiliate income.

    Thank you,
    Ethan

    1. Hey Ethan!

      Great question. I answer this here – “How do you think of ideas for new blog posts?” in https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/04/how-to-earn-money-blogging.html

      Here’s a copy and paste of that:

      “I have published around 2,000 articles on Making Sense of Cents. And, I’m not running out of ideas any time soon.

      I currently have a few hundred blog posts ideas that are just waiting to be written and published. Plus, nearly every single day, I add at least one more to the list.

      This makes me laugh, because if you would have told me just seven years ago that I would really, really enjoy writing and that I would write millions of words for a living in the near future, I would have called you a liar!

      I just didn’t enjoy writing when I was in school at all.

      But, it’s pretty much one of my most favorite activities today.

      Two questions that I receive quite often from readers include: 1) How do you come up with ideas for new blog posts and 2) How are you constantly coming up with new blog posts after several years of blogging?

      One of the most difficult parts of blogging is creating new content, and sometimes you may feel that you have hit a brick wall and can’t find any inspiration.

      For me, though, I have a system that has worked quite well, and due to that, I don’t think I will EVER run out of ideas for content.

      So, how do I still have things to write about after several years of blogging?

      I find topics to write about through:

      – Life experiences. Here on Making Sense of Cents, I generally only like to write about topics that I have experience with. I think this is what helps set me apart from others. I also receive the best motivation and inspiration from taking financial topics that I personally come across in day-to-day life and turning them into fun and engaging content.
      – Reader questions. I receive a ton of emails and comments each day from readers, and most of them are questions, like the topic of today’s post – is it possible to earn money blogging? If I feel like I have something valuable to share, then I like to turn questions into blog posts. This way, I can share my knowledge and expertise on a subject, and I also help a reader by diving further into a subject than what I could say in a simple email. Plus, if one person has a question, I know that many other people probably do as well! Turning questions into posts is also great because the next time I receive the question, I can easily send the link over to the reader.
      – Research that I’ve done and articles that I’ve read. I read a lot of articles every day simply for fun, and sometimes I come across something that I feel should be expanded upon, a topic that I think the average person doesn’t understand, things that boggle my mind, and so on. For example, if I see a crazy statistic that I find interesting, I may turn it into an article.
      – Brainstorming. Occasionally, I will simply sit down and have a little brainstorming session. While I do have a long list of possible content ideas, I like to keep my list fresh and update it often. Some of the things I do in my brainstorming sessions is that I may read older content of mine and see how I could possibly expand further on a subject to make it better, think of new blog posts that I could write about on a subject that is popular on my site (I may look at Google Analytics or Pinterest Analytics to determine this), and more.
      – Survey readers. Sometimes I ask my readers what they want to read more about. This always leads to a ton of ideas for blog posts and can be a very quick and easy way to add to your content list.
      As you can see, there are many ways to come up with new blogging content.”

  61. Erin

    Hi Michelle!

    To keep my story short, I would love to quit my massage career that I’ve had for almost 13 years and work for myself and be a stay at home mama! I’m thinking of starting a furniture flipping biz and I’m taking some mini courses on that but what passive income ideas do you recommend? I’d like to diversify my income and maybe one day retire my husband. I’ve thought about downloadables on Etsy as a possibility but what do you think or do you have something better to put my time towards?

    Thanks such much!