I recently wrote a post about how to make money blogging and you can also find many Income Reports online by bloggers that are making 10k a month or more, and are happy to share how they do it. But when you are new to blogging or just thinking about starting a blog, this can seem completely out of reach and rather than inspiring, it can start to feel overwhelming.
So over the next few months I will be interviewing new bloggers that are just starting to make money with their blog. They don’t have tons of advertising funds, or big teams of assistants that help them with their blog. They are going it alone and starting from scratch.
I hope that this series of interviews will inspire you to start your own blog and I’ll be asking the featured blogger to share how they are making money and some tips of what is working for them with their blog.
The first interview is with a lovely blogger called Lexie. She blogs over at A Budgeting Blonde.
Mel: Hi Lexie, thank you so much for joining us here at Melsmoneymindset! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. What was the reason you decided to start a blog?
Lexie: Long story short, I got myself in a real bind with debt a few years ago. I graduated from a four year private college with only $7,500 in student loans thanks to scholarships, working all four years, and a bunch of side hustles.
But when I got my first “real” job and actually started making substantial income, I started spending recklessly and living way beyond my means. I was getting approved for credit cards left and right because of my income and then racking up huge balances on them. I knew I should be saving money and investing for my future, but spent my money so quickly there was nothing left over. In three short months I found myself in $3,500 of consumer debt, and I had not made any payment on my student loan because I was still in my grace period (but was accruing interest, of course).
Thankfully, I stumbled upon a few personal finance blogs. Some were informative, some were practical, and some were motivational-people who were once in my situation, now free from debt. I realized how ridiculous my spending was, and how compound interest should be working for me, not against me. I also learned how to make a budget I could actually stick to.
It was a really rough year after I made these realizations and decided to change my lifestyle completely. But I slowly crept out of debt and got addicted to watching my net worth slowly increase. I found so much encouragement from bloggers during this time, and that was when the idea for the blog hit me.
I wanted to join the community that helped me out, and share my story with the hope of being able to help others in the same situation.
Mel: How do you earn money with your blog and how much money did you make last month?
Lexie: I’m still in my first month blogging! I wasn’t expecting to make anything this month, but I’ve already made $182. This is probably a fluke since $150 is from a new client that reached out for me to help with her social media presence.
Mel: WOW! That is so inspiring. To put this into perspective, how many hours a week do you usually work on your blog? And how long did it take from putting up your first blog post to making any income from it?
Lexie: I spend anywhere from 7-12 hours a week on the blog, at least an hour a day. It took me three weeks to see any affiliate income!
Mel: So, how did you earn the money on your blog? Could you break it down for us?
Lexie: Like I said before, I do social media consulting on the side, and a woman reached out to me to manage her Facebook ads after seeing my article on side hustles. The other $32 came from the Ebates referral program ($25) and Amazon Affiliates ($7).
Mel: When I started this blog, I didn’t realise that I would spend about 80% of my time marketing and trying to attract traffic, how do you get people to visit your site?
Lexie: Right now most of my views come from Pinterest or surprisingly, Twitter. Echoing what you said, about 80% of my time is promoting content. I always try to make sure I have visually appealing graphics for Pinterest, those are the ones that tend to go viral. When it comes to Twitter, I just interact with tons of people (commenting, retweeting, sharing) and that drives a TON of traffic!
Mel: Yes, I completely agree about PInterest, I love it for driving traffic, but I haven’t utilised Twitter really, I must try that! What are your future plans for the blog and growing your income? Do you have any plans to branch out at all?
Lexie: Right now I’m just working on writing quality content and establishing a name for my blog. I have some affiliate posts but they’re all products/services I used before blogging. I’m hoping in two or three months to join an ad network, but I’m dreading it because I know how picky I’ll be. Nothing makes me more angry than when I see a post on Pinterest, Twitter, etc., click through to the blog and am inundated with ads EVERYWHERE. I love budgets and creating monthly budgets, so eventually I’ll probably offer a e-course or even e-book that helps people create their own budget that’s sustainable.
Mel: That sounds very promising. Do you set blogging goals? If so, can you share how you do that and what they are?
Lexie: When I first started out I did a lot of research on what to expect in my first month blogging. It’s really easy to get caught up in the click-bait posts that are like “How I got 10k viewers in my first month blogging”, but ultimately the vast majority of bloggers will not see that kind of traffic starting out. I waited two weeks after launching and set the following goals for myself (for my first month)
1. 1,500 total page views
2. 200 Pinterest followers
3. 3k Monthly engaged on Pinterest
4. 200 Twitter followers
Additionally, I set some long-term goals. I’d like to be making $500 per month blogging by month five. By month three I would like to have 3,000 monthly page views. Ultimately, it’s about setting realistic goals that are specific and attainable!
Mel: Yes definitely. If they seem too far out of reach, you won’t bother trying as they seem impossible. Did you take any specific courses that you can recommend or was there a specific blogger that helped or inspired you to start your own blogging journey?
Lexie: I’ve learned so much from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s blog, Making Sense of Cents. She’s truly a personal finance super-hero. I’m really hoping to take her course, “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing” one day. But I’m waiting for my blogging income to cover the cost!
Mel: I’ve heard lots about that course and know people who have taken it, but like you say, it’s sensible to wait until you can cover the costs.
So to wrap it up today Lexie, if you could give one piece of advice to somebody thinking of starting a blog, what would it be?
Lexie: Go for it! If there’s something you’re passionate enough to write about, chances are there are other people who are passionate about the same thing. You don’t need to have a ton of money to start a blog either.
I know it seems like everybody online, (even in the blogger community) is trying to sell you something. While a lot of these tools, apps, & courses are really helpful, you can do a lot of it on your own, with some hard work and research.
Mel: Great advice! I’m all for bootstrapping, especially in the early days when money is tight. Thanks again for sharing your blogging journey with us, I think it will definitely inspire people to start their own blog.
Leave a comment below if Lexie’s blogging story has inspired you to start a blog, or if you already have a blog and you’re just starting to make money with it, if you would like to be a Featured Blogger in a future interview with me, get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.