Just before 8 am yesterday, a white 14×30 cabin was delivered to my home. After 3 years of working from the kitchen table, I was able to buy a building. Now Fun Home Things has a home of its own. Not gonna lie, it’s a little surreal. Even though my office (I just said office, holy cow) is on our property, having a physical separation between work and home is going to be huge. When I’m working, I’m not staring at everything that is undone in my home. When I’m done working, I shut the door and go home. I get my home back. My husband gets the garage back. I have a dedicated space to work. It’s a great thing.
I shared this news on my personal Facebook page yesterday and within minutes, I was inundated with all kinds of questions about blogging, what I do, how it works, etc… (In Part 2, I talk about how I make money). Even though I would love to, I just can’t answer them all individually. It would just be easier to write a post about it and answer the most common questions I get. If you are a blogger, feel FREE to add your answers and advice in the comments.
Wait…so can you really make money blogging?
Absolutely. You can make a LOT of money blogging if you treat it like a business. If. You. Treat. It. Like. A. Business. If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick business, blogging is not a good fit for you. There is a lot of work and barely any money in the beginning. Just like starting a brick and mortar business, it requires a major personal investment. (If you haven’t read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy yet, you should.) Success in blogging is like success in anything–it’s hard friggin work. With that said, here are the 6 main principles that have helped me to grow my blog:
1. You have to post quality content, consistently, over time. Blood, sweat, and tears baby! There’s no way around it.
2. Going viral is not a business model. When a post goes viral, it is really, really cool. But that shouldn’t be your only goal. First of all, you greatly increase your chances of having a post go viral if you are doing #1. Secondly, one viral post is not going to sustain your blog. After that one post has made its rounds, it will be pushed aside by all of the other millions of posts going viral.
3. Be a good friend. Comment, respond to comments, answer emails, engage with your readers and other bloggers. No blogger is an island. You have to connect.
4. Be yourself. Write in your own voice or you’ll just end up looking like a bad version of someone else. For example, my background is in journalism and PR. My mom was an English teacher. So for as much as I love and envy bloggers who can write in a conversational style, I can’t. It’s not me. It’s painful and insanely awkward when I try.
5. Never stop learning and growing. Learn your craft. Learn the business. Learn social media. Learn new techniques. Go to conferences. Ask questions. Strive to be the best version of who you are.
6. Cherish your readers. Anyone who takes time out of their day to read what I write is a cherished friend in my book. There are people reading this now who have been with me since the beginning (thank you!!) Never forget where you came from and who has helped you get to where you are.
How much money can you make?
It depends on what you’re blogging about, how well you blog, how often you blog, how much you engage with your readers…it really depends. The first year, I made nothing. Then it was a couple hundred dollars a month. Just this year, it has become a full-time income. Some bloggers make $100 a month. Then there are bloggers like Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum that make $25,000 or more a month.
How do you make money?
Multiple ways–ad revenue, affiliates, sponsorships, guest blogging, consulting, and pretty soon, an e-book. Most bloggers who are making a living from their blog have multiple streams of income.
Some people just won’t get it.
It’s true. The idea that you can make a living decorating your home, making crafts, making recipes and writing about them on the Internet still blows people’s minds. Here are some of my favorite reactions:
Is it like Pinterest?
But I never see you working.
It’s not a real job.
Oh, like my daughter. She shares pictures of my grandbabies on her blog. You two should talk, she might have some tips for you.
That’s cute. So when are you going back to work?
I’ve heard it all. If you are starting a blog, you will hear it all. Don’t take it personally. It’s just part of it.
How do you start?
Just start. The hardest part for most people is taking that first step. Get out of your own way. Start anywhere. As you post, you will get a better sense of who you are, what you’re good at and where you want to go. The coolest thing about blogging is that you don’t have to know everything before you begin. The only 2 things I would recommend for someone beginning are 1.) Buy your domain name from the start. It’s the best $10 you’ll ever spend. 2.) Find a bloggy friend in your niche. There’s a lot of good advice there but the best advice I get always comes directly from bloggers. The blogging community is very supportive, there’s always someone eager and happy to help you.
On Blogger vs. WordPress–I started on Blogger then moved to WordPress just this year. I loved Blogger. Some people say you should only start on WordPress. Some people are still on Blogger and doing extremely well. I recommend getting a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org because you have more control over the layout and formatting and you own your content. (Google owns your content if you are on Blogger).
What does your day look like?
Everyday is a little different depending on what I am doing but typically, I wake up at 5 am, go for a short run, take a shower, check and respond to emails, respond to comments, and comment on other blogs. Then I take a break to get my daughter ready for school and feed the babies breakfast. While the babies are playing in the morning, I usually get about 30 minutes in to take pictures, work on a post or update social media. Then I stop until after lunch. That’s nap time–the most magical time of day for mom bloggers.
Nap time is when I do the bulk of my work–creating, taking pictures, painting, decorating, cooking, connecting with brands, taking conference calls, etc… When the kids get up, it’s time to stop and be mom again. I may check emails once or twice and update social media but I usually don’t go back to it until after the kids go to bed. At night is when I write, edit pictures and plan content. On average, I spend about 6-8 hours a day on my blog.
One more thing…
I have an incredibly supportive husband. What does that have to do with blogging? Everything. From day one, he got it. Where it sounded crazy to everyone else, it made perfect sense to him. Starting a business impacts the whole family and requires sacrifice. He understood that and never lost sight of the big picture. When I wanted to quit, he helped me refocus and get back to it. Ryan is amazing.
I hope that gave you some answers! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any more questions. To read Part 2 where I answer the Money Question, click here.