Today's Money-Making SAHM is ME! Yep that's right. I, Anita, am the author and owner of LiveLikeYouAreRich.com. I began thinking and researching blogging in July & August 2013. I decided to start a blog in September. I got it up, running, and launched by November 4th, 2013. My blog has grown very fast and now has consistent traffic. I am very appreciative of my readers!
Here is my interview with myself...perhaps a little weird I know, but for consistency purposes, I'm just keeping the same questions and format as all of the other Money-Making SAHM interviews.
Q. What inspired you to begin working?
A. I had many random thoughts come into my mind to start a blog. The same thoughts kept coming back to me over the course of a few months. I began researching what a blog was (yes, I didn't know), and found that it was something I really wanted to do. I am a religious person, and I felt like I was inspired.
Q. How did you go about starting your business or arranging a work at home position?
A. I began by doing hours and hours of research. I bought a few eBook’s on how to blog; I read blogs and lots of tutorials on blogging, etc. More information on this below...
Q. What are some tips you would like to share with others who are interested in doing something similar?
A. Do research. Start off doing things right, because it is hard to go back and change afterward. For example:
- Think long and hard about your title. Choose something that you can get a .com URL for. You can get them through BlueHost or through HostMonster.
- Use Wordpress.com plus a theme. Themeforest is a great place to find themes you like.
- Start off as self-hosted. It is much easier to start off self hosted using wordpress than switching from blogger or wordpress.org. Please believe me when I say this. I've seen too many blogging friends make the switch later when they have good traffic and tons of posts to move from one host/site to the other. If you get good traffic and want to make money, you will eventually have to make the switch--a painful and somewhat pricey process. My friends would have saved a lot starting on Wordpress and their own host. A few companies I recommend for hosting are: Bluehost is a good option for beginners to intermediate bloggers, Host Monster is great for beginning to intermediate bloggers. I used Host Monster when I began and switched to Digital Ocean when my traffic exceeded 200k UV a month. DigitalOcean is for larger high-traffic blogs and is an unmanaged server. So anyone who uses DigitalOcean needs to have a lot of programming experience or a programmer who can put them on this private VPS host. Amazon hosting is something that I've heard is very complex to set up but is great for people who experience a lot of viral and variable traffic.
- After you are set up, focus on content. Content is King in blogging. Put your focus there.
- Collect emails from the get go. Email lists are yours, you own them. Social media followers are only partially yours. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc. can take them or change algorithms so your followers don't see your stuff. I'd recommend using MailChimp until you have to start paying and then switching to InfusionSoft. I've been using InfusionSoft for years and it really is the most amazing CRM on the market!
- Create high quality images. If you don't have something high quality on hand, use stock photos. I get mine from adobe.
- Learn all you can about marketing and social media. Don't be afraid to self promote. You have to market and post on social media a lot in order to grow your blog! Just be genuine and don't take self promotion so far that people think you are narcissistic.
- Be consistent. Post 3-4 times a week. Twice is the minimum I'd recommend.
- Learn to write well. Use bullet points, numbers, lists, etc. Make the content easy to digest for the reader.
- Continue to learn. Things are always changing in the tech world. Try to stay ahead of the curve by taking some time each week to learn a little about blogging, Wordpress plugins, affiliates, etc. This book, How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, by Ruth Sokup from LivingWellSpendingLess.com is awesome. A great website on blogging info that is up-to-date is TheBlogHelp.com.
- Share information with a few great friends. Join blogging groups on FB and support one another.
More detailed tips on making money below.
Q. How many hours do you work a week or how much of your time does this position require? Is it flexible? Is it consistent?
A. I worked about 50-60 hours a week when I first began blogging! Yes, I know that seems like an awful lot! I worked for hours in the morning before my son woke up, during nap times (he was napping twice then), and I worked at night for hours. It was pretty crazy. For the first 5 months I poured my heart and soul into my articles to build up good readership and content. I quickly found I was passionate about blogging!
After 5 months, I started spending less time on it, about 35-40 hours a week.
Currently, I work about 25-60ish hours a week sometimes more, sometimes less. I work Monday-Saturday.
My hours are very flexible. If I need to, I can skip a day. I can also work whenever I have a computer, cell phone, or laptop.
Q. When/how do you find the time to work?
A. I work in the mornings before my (now boy and girl) get up: answering comments, emails, checking stats, etc.
When they are awake, I write down ideas as they come to me (which only takes a minute when an idea strikes).
When they go down for their naps, I write my posts. I do work on Saturdays. Sometimes I work while my kids are occupied as well.
Although I consider this a full-time job, I try to keep a good balance.
I set times when I do not work on my blog at all: all day Sundays, and for a few hours of play time and education time with my kids are all times when I DO NOT work on my blog.
Q. Are there certain tips/advice you'd want to share with others who want to start working like you?
A. Blogging (with the intent of making money) requires a lot of work on the front end. Building up a good base of content takes a LOT OF TIME!
You also will need to learn multiple things: marketing, editing, grammar, Photoshop or Pic Monkey or Canva, social media, photography, how to work with brands, programming, ad network lingo, etc.
It seems like there is always something I’m learning or changing. At first I felt I was drinking from a fire hose, but after about 5 months, I started to get a hang of it. Additional knowledge is much easier to acquire now that I have a good handle on things. The up-front learning curve is super steep.
Don’t expect immediate results! Many bloggers take 12 months to a few years to start making good money or building up a good readership and great content. Be patient.
You have to love to write. You write and write and write and write and… you get the point. Almost every day you have to write something if you want to post consistently (which is necessary at first if you want to be a professional blogger).
Think VERY long and hard before choosing a niche. My blog is a lifestyle niche so that I can blog about multiple different topics. Although the overall theme is how to live a great life on any income, I have the freedom to write about multiple topics that interest me. Don’t box yourself into a blog topic that you will get tired writing about.
I highly recommend blogging if you are passionate about sharing information with others, love writing, enjoy being creative, are patient, can handle negative comments/feedback, and only if you are okay sharing a lot of your personal life with the online world.
Q. Was training/schooling required for the position? How/when did you complete it?
A. Yes and no. In order to blog efficiently there are a few skills you need (or need to learn or hire out). Typing, marketing, Photoshop, correct grammar, editing, photography, and some programming skills as well.
Most of these skills can be hired out if you don’t want to learn them right away. I hired a programmer to help me set my website up. I hired an editor (who is off and on) and helps me to correct the typos I make in most of my articles. And the rest I've learned and am still working on perfecting.
I watched a lot of YouTube tutorials on Photoshop, did lots of research about how to write, how to market, how to use social media, etc. I have also attended a few blogging conferences where I have learned a lot.
If you choose to do it all yourself, you will need to learn many of these skills to get your blog launched and going. That said, you don’t have to perfect them all at once.
Q. What is the income percentage you bring in? or Does the income help a little, medium, or is the main source of your family's income?
A. The first few months I was in the negative (as most businesses are). You can get started for very little, but because I hired a few things out (web design, programming, editing), my startup costs were about $500-$1500 per mo. (not including my time). There are also monthly costs involved in blogging (hosting, software, internet, others). Month 4 I broke even. Now (month 8) I am making a profit. Update (Month 26): I'm still making a profit and am still working 25-60 hours a week. I've never not made profit since month 8th.
As your blog grows and you use opportunities (ad networks, affiliate links, sponsors, partnerships, etc.) to make money, your income will grow. But along with that income your expenses will also grow. Since my blog is bigger, my monthly expenses are over $1,500 a month.
I could support my entire family, mortgage, bills etc. with my blog (as long as we are budgeting well). I have heard from many bloggers that it takes 2-3 years to start making a profit like that. My blog grew very fast. So it is different for everyone. You may grow faster than LiveLikeYouAreRich.com, or it may take a year or two to get to the point where you are making a great income.
A lot of bigger bloggers make over 6 figures a year. If you are patient, dedicated, produce good content, and are hardworking you can make blogging profitable.
Q. How would someone who wants to do something similar get started?
A. Well I mentioned these above, but I'll post them here again plus more details on how to make money.
- Get WordPress and a theme you like.
- Get a .com URL for your blog.
- Focus on content.
- Start off as self hosted. Start with Wordpress rather than switching from blogger or wordpress.org. Please believe me when I say this. Here are a few companies I recommend for hosting: Bluehost is good for beginners to intermediate bloggers; Host Monster is great for intermediate bloggers; DigitalOcean is for larger high traffic blogs and is an unmanaged server. So anyone who uses DigitalOcean needs to have a lot of programming experience or a programmer who can put them on this private VPS host. Amazon hosting for viral traffic (when you get there).
- Create High quality images. I often use stock photos. I get mine from dollarphotoclub.com. Other sites are: Bigstockphoto, 123RF, Pixaby, and more.
- Start consistently writing posts and sharing them to your social media accounts.
- Once you have some traffic begin applying for ad companies and put ads on your site.
- Google adsense
- Amazon ads
- Barons Media
- PadSquad and many others
- Sign up for affiliate programs. I'm affiliated with many of the following:
- Beware of Commission Junction. I very much dislike this company and feel they are not honest in their reporting.
- Affiliate Window
- Many companies have affiliate programs so contact them if you are interested in promoting their products.
- Begin applying for sponsored networks (they will match you with brands who will pay you to write sponsored posts).
- OnetoOne Network
- The BluePrint Social
- SITS girls
- Collective Bias
- Mom It Foward
- Influence Central
- Social Fabric
- Contact companies you love and ask them if they'll pay for sponsored posts.
- Start collecting emails/subscribers immediately. Subscribers are your own list your own social media followers that no company like Facebook or Instagram can take from you. It's important to follow the rules of email subscription and opt outs. I recommend starting with a free service like mail chimp and once you have to pay, switch to a service like Infusionsoft. Also, if you move to InfusionSoft, be sure to take a training because the options they have are vast and very helpful!
- Be consistent. Post 3-4 times a week until you have a good base of content (over 300 posts) then you can slow to 1-3 times a week.
- Create products. Sell a course, ebook, or product. I would recommend using InfusionSoft for this. You can get affiliates, sell items, and collect helpful sales data using InfusionSoft. I co-wrote a book with my sister, "Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom" and I also have products I sell found here.
- Learn to write well. Use bullet points, numbers, etc. Make the content easy to digest for the reader,
- Continue to learn. Things are always changing in the tech world. Try to stay ahead of the curve by taking some time each week to learn a little about blogging, wordpress plugins, affiliates, etc. This book, How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, by Ruth Sokup from LivingWellSpendingLess.com is awesome. A great website on blogging info is TheBlogHelp.com.
- Share information with a few great friends. Join blogging groups on FB and support one another.
- Hire out help. When you get to the point where you can afford it, I highly recommend hiring someone to help you do things that you aren't the best at. For example, ever since learning German, I am a horrible English speller. I have hired an editor to correct my grammar and spelling mistakes. I have hired some other contractors to help with scheduling social media posts, etc.
- Attend blogging conferences for more information and to learn more.
Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. The more streams of income you have, the more monetarily secure your blog. For example, I have over 50 ways I’m making money (some a few dollars, others substantial amounts) on my blog each month or year… and I’m always looking for more.
Besides getting multiple streams of income, I highly recommend periodically looking over your income data—in great detail. Base many decisions on what is working for you monetarily and what isn’t. Just be sure to not shift your main focus from high quality content to money making. Without content there will not be income.
Go for it.
Do you have any specific questions? If so, I'd love to answer them so please comment below. And good luck in deciding!
Anita Fowler is the author and owner of LiveLikeYouAreRich.com and the book, Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom. She is a single mother of two. Her family strives to live a Christian lifestyle, and they love to travel and meet new people.
Other Posts in the Money-Making Stay-at-Home-Mom Series:
Series 33: Tutoring—coming soon
more coming…pin or bookmark for more.