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Having success and freedom from the regular 9-5 is pretty weird (in a strangely awesome way). For a long time, gaining our own success sounded like a pipe dream. Especially after listening to dozens of podcast episodes and reading cliche “How to Work Online” posts. But once we finally found that way to having success, everything changed.
We had a way to gain freedom, and it’s made so many doors open for us. And we know that when you find your way to financial and dream freedom (dream freedom’s a term right?), your life will completely change. You’ll have a way to work from home and be with the family, stop commuting, travel full-time, and change other people’s lives. Isn’t that crazy awesome?
Guys, you deserve freedom; it’s empowering. And guess what? You can find a way to do it and we’ll show you exactly how.
How We Got Freedom in 3 Months After Launching
Earlier last year, my husband Silas and I were broke newlyweds (very broke). We had heard about creating a side hustle (a job apart from your 9 to 5) from many online entrepreneurs. There were TONS of ideas, but nothing really seemed to quite fit (especially since I wasn’t tech savvy at all).
That is until we listened to the The Side Hustle Show (a podcast) which interviewed Rosemarie Groner from The Busy Budgeter.. on blogging.
Now we had never wanted to blog. Everyone kept on saying that it would take years to gain any kind of real income. But Rosemarie had gone from just blogging about her passion for fun to blogging full time and making $5k a month. And she had done this in just a year.. but we wanted this sooner.
My husband had been working plenty of energy draining and soul sucking jobs (no joke), for a number of years and I was tired of seeing him coming home exhausted emotionally and physically. We both wanted change, and this podcast (which you can listen to here), literally changed our lives. It was packed with so much information on how to get started that without it, we’d probably be in the same place we’d always been: stuck.
And 3 months after launching the blog.. we were making more than my husband’s corporate job. Just from using Rosemarie’s advice and some newfound ideas that we discovered ourselves.
So down below, we’ll give you the sources you need to start a blog yourself and tell you what we did in June to make our numbers rise.
A Quick Note Before We Start
Making money blogging sounds like something only outgoing people and social media experts do. But to be honest, we’ve known so many bloggers who started theirs in the middle of a divorce so they could stay home with their kids, and we’ve known some who started a blog just so they could travel full-time. So starting a blog to create income doesn’t have to be a famous person’s thing, it can be your thing. It can be your project. And to be honest… it definitely beats the 9 to 5 job (maybe that’s an understatement).
SERIOUSLY, our lives have changed since the blog took off. We are now traveling full-time, currently in Ubud, Bali (crazy beautiful place) and spending everyday together. The adventures we’ve been on have been great and we’re so glad we pushed ourselves to work harder and smarter with this blog.
January Monthly Pageviews
Pageviews were up last month, so as you can image, we were pretty happy! But it was also an interesting month for views. Things started strong with high pageviews up until around the last week and a half of January. Reason for this? I was feeling pretty sick and wasn’t able to put as much content out there as I needed to. Which means Silas was left with all of the blog duties, and that was pretty overwhelming for him.
However, we were still able to beat out December, so we were pretty satisfied.
January Pageviews: 1,693,410
Amazon Affiliates: $346.70
Client Work: $75
January Income Review
Last month’s income went down from the $19,194.85 I made in December. Reason for it? Well in the beginning of the year (the 1st of January), RPM (Revenue Per Mille, a.k.a. How much you make for every 1,000 views you get on your blog) for ads goes down. In fact, it halves because advertiser’s budgets have been depleted from how much they spent to get their ads out there during the holiday season. So instead of getting around $10-$12 RPM, I was getting $5-$7, hence the drop.
HOWEVER! Affiliate income went up, so we’re pretty darn happy about that!
And with that said, we’re going to share with you how you can do this too (no fluff I swear!).
Previous Income Reports
Quick Last Note Before You Start!
Many of these beginning tips are for people just starting out or finding out about blogging, so if you want new tips, skip this part.
However! You might just want to read through it fast because we do list some ideas and tips that you might not have heard before.
ONE Last Quick Note Before You Start! (Sorry)
If you’re not new here, and you’ve already seen many of our tips on how to get started and how to drive huge traffic, feel free to head towards the bottom to see the new things were doing!
Or.. just skim over it as a review, whatever works for you!
Step 1: Do the Work Before
I can’t tell you how MUCH this helped us. What I mean when I say “Do the work before,” isn’t the obvious “find a niche,” “create a catchy blog name,” or, “figure out your audience.” Yes those are all important, but you can read that from so many other bloggers out there. What I mean is, once you’ve done all that, start creating content for your blog before it launches. Say.. 25-50 blog posts, so that when it does launch, people have more than just a couple of articles to read on your site.
There’s also another reason for this, but we’ll get into that in step 4.
Step 2: Sign up for Hosting
Do not, and I repeat DO NOT go with a free blogging profile. Yes you can get traffic, but making money is basically impossible (and sadly, the fair majority of people won’t take you seriously). So sign up for a hosting site like Bluehost which is $2.95/month (hosting is like renting a space on the internet to put your site out there). It’s super simple to get and they have awesome support to walk you through.
Final Note: Oh! I should also let you know that we have a post that shows you exactly how to create and set up your blog with Bluehost. Seriously, there’s so many benefits for going with them!
Step 3: Picking a Theme
Now whether you’ve heard about WordPress (a blogging platform used by many) or not, Bluehost let’s you install WordPress. Once you’ve done that, you can choose one of their themes, but just make sure to choose one that’s very visually appealing. It probably goes without saying, but the better looking your blog is, the more viewers are going to see it and come back because you look legitimate.
Step 4: Sign up for Adsense and Amazon Affiliates
In our post on how we made $500 in our second month of blogging, we give a rundown on what both of those two things are. They’re both free and once you understand them, I suggest signing up for them as quickly as possible. Especially Adsense since it’s probably going to be your top money earner.
Now in step 1, we told you that there was another reason for creating content beforehand, and this is why. Adsense is Google’s ad service. They’ll display ads on your site for people to see. And when those ads are on your blog, you’ll start to gain income from them. However, Adsense can be picky about who they accept, so you’ll want to have some good content on your site before you sign up. That way they can see that you’re legitimate, not just some person who started up a blog, threw a few posts up there, and then never did anything with it again. They want real traffic seeing their ads, otherwise it’s useless.
So make sure you have enough content up so Adsense doesn’t turn down your blog.
Step 5: Make a Pinterest Account
This is literally the key to everything; making money, getting lots of traffic, everything.
We’re sorry, were not trying to direct you to different places to annoy you, but if we went into everything we did to get huge traffic numbers and money on just one page, it’d be way too long and you’d get tired of reading our post. So we’ll direct you to the post on How I Made Pinterest my Full-Time Job.
It goes into why you need a Pinterest account, how to get a large audience, how to create a pinnable pin (seriously easy), and how to get people to click through to your content. So read up and take notes, this is exactly how we get the majority of my traffic and income.
Next: What We do to Get Huge Views
Now this is where we’re going to show you how we get huge views to our site each month. It’s so important that you follow these tips because it’s what’s going to get you to the next level of blog income.
Pain Points and WIIFM
Pain points are the problems that people want fixed now, and you have to know how to hit them.They don’t want to know about you and your dog’s relationship, they want to know how they can lose 5 pounds in a week for their sister’s wedding. They want to know how they can cut out $2,000 from their monthly budget because they’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Another way to put this is WIIFM which means, “What’s In It For Me.” You have to act like everyone has this written on their foreheads. People want to know how this blog post is going to make a big or small change in their life. So every time you write a post, make sure you have WIIFM in mind.
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make when they first start out blogging (and of course we made this mistake at first too), is assuming that people want to know about their personal life. We also see them give vague titles to their blog that doesn’t tell the reader in any way how this will benefit them. Or they write on a subject that only a small amount of people will care about. If you want to have blogging success, you can’t do this.
It’s ok to write more personal posts about your life, but don’t market it on social media; it’ll just waste your time. Or just save them for when you’re more established and have a great following.
a/b/c/ and d Test
One of the best tricks that we’ve learned when it comes to promoting your posts on Pinterest is to make multiple pins for every post. It sounds like a lot of work, but it honestly doesn’t have to take very long. Make a list of 4-5 titles that grab the reader’s attention and create a sense of urgency and/or curiosity. Then, once you create your pin image, you can simply put the different titles onto the picture and save each one. You can do this whether you’re just using one image or more.
You have NO IDEA how many times we thought one of the pins in the group of 4-5 images wouldn’t do well and it ends up doing the best.
Last Note on Multiple Image Testings: We’ve found that if one pin in the group of images that’s linked to the same url goes viral, the rest will do extremely well too. Just so ya know!
Add Value Where Others Don’t
Now one of the biggest questions we get from people who want to start a blog is, “What if I have nothing to write about.” Many people have the same interests such as DIY, recipes, finances, and/or family, and they all let me know that they’re afraid that no one will read their content because there are so many other people out there that blog about the same niche.
And each time, we answer them with the same thing; add value where those other bloggers don’t. If this is a fear of yours, then one of the best things you can do is to find the top bloggers who are writing the same subjects you want to blog about and see what they’re putting out there. Then, once you find a project or an idea you could replicate, add value where they don’t. Go into more depth on the subject and prove to new readers why you should be their go-to for DIY or financial issues.
If you’re just starting out as new blogger, this can prove extremely helpful.
Know the Opportunity Cost
So when Silas was working a soul sucking corporate job and we kept on having bills pop up and the car breaking down, it was pretty tempting for me to go out and get a part-time minimum wage job (Remember? I don’t have a college degree) to ease the tension and money stresses. But we chose not to.
Opportunity cost in our case was me losing out on easy money for an opportunity that wasn’t bringing in anything. It was just a promise at that time, but we still went after it because we knew we’d have bigger benefits later on instead of having me work at the dollar store down the street which was the ultimate definition of a “dead end job.”
We believe opportunity cost is one of the the biggest things you need to remind yourself of when blogging.
Elite Blog Academy
One of the things that The Busy Budgeter referenced in the podcast was the Elite Blog Academy. It was an online class that she took to get her numbers and income raised. After learning about this, Silas and I bought it and haven’t regretted it. The Elite Blog Academy really helped us learn more about how to create great content as well as make profit from our blog. We’d highly recommend it for beginner bloggers who want to start making money from their site.
However, it only opens up once a year (around February), so check out their page and sign up for their wait list. Once they open, they’ll send you an email and you’ll be able to apply.
Last But Definitely Not Least
Now if you don’t believe in God, then feel free to completely overlook this bit, but we seriously couldn’t have done this without Him. He really guided us to our success by leading us to the right people to listen to and read from. He showed us ways to ramp up our viewership and income and if it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t be able to travel full-time. Now if you do believe in God, I definitely recommend that you make him a part of the process. He’ll show you what to do if you include Him in your path to success.
Now for Blog Updates!
For those of you who are revisiting our site, and already know many of our tips and techniques, here is where we’ll discuss any updates on what we’re doing and using for our blog.
And even if you’re not new to our site, you can definitely take notes on what you can try later (or even right now!).
Like I said, RPM for this month basically got halved. And if you’re looking into getting an ad server setup on your blog, then I’d definitely take note of this. The last quarter of the year (around November and December), will give you the highest RPM, so knowing that it’ll go down on the 1st of January is a great way to make sure you don’t get a heart attack (for real).
Ok, so when you’re a Bluehost affiliate and you get a certain number of sales in a month, you get an increase in payment for each new sale you may make. So the magic number for hitting $90 in affiliate payment per sale was 40 net signups.. and we made 44 net signups for January. So not only did we finally get up to that $90 payment per sale, we also blew past the 40 sign ups mark.
Alright alright, we didn’t technically blow past it, but after finally reaching that number, it felt like we did pretty darn good!
PS – We blame this on Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It’s always great to keep on learning, even when you feel like you have a lot figured out. Because when you put money into your blog/business (in this case, taking online courses), you’ll get even more than what you paid for it back.
Silas and I are finally going to have the blog updated so that it can run faster (yes!). Also, we’ll be adding a lot of cool features too! We’re pretty excited, and after putting it off for so long, we’re ready to get it done!
A good friend of ours who is also a blogger/online business owner, suggested a site developer and he’s already been amazing so far. It just pays to network and get to know others; you have no idea how a certain connection might benefit you!
Popular Posts on Chasing Foxes last month:
Question of the Month!
We’ve decided that for every monthly income report we do, we’ll be featuring a blogging question from you guys. And last month we gave you all three most frequently asked questions, and you chose, How do I find the best group boards on Pinterest to join?
Well here’s our answer!
Many bloggers will tell you to go on Pingroupie.com (a site that allows you to see all of the group board out there on Pinterest) to find a group board for your niche. However, we wouldn’t suggest doing this as it’s hard to tell which group boards are doing well at that moment.
Pingroupie doesn’t update a group board’s performance every month, which means that a board that looks like it might have a high repin rate, might not have one anymore since it was updated around 6 months ago.
Here’s What I Do..
Instead of going on Pingroupie, round up all of your favorite big bloggers on Pinterest (or anyone in your niche that’s doing really well on Pinterest). Take a look at all the group boards they’re on; chances are, if these top bloggers are a contributor of them, the group boards are doing well.
We would ask to join only boards with 25k+ followers. We’ve found that anything less than that doesn’t do as good.
Next Month’s Questions!
Let us know which one you want answered for next month’s income report!
1. How do I manage the time I work on the blog when most of it’s already taken up by a full-time job and/or kids?
2. What’s the best way to get accepted onto a group board?
3. What if the niche I want to do is already done by so many other bloggers? How will I get people to see my blog and even take an interest in it?
Now if You’re Still Worried About Working Online
Lastly, just remember that in a year from now, you’ll wish you started today. This is something Silas always reminded me of. So where do you want to be in a year from now? Would you rather be surfing Facebook or watching Netflix after a hard day of work at a dead end job, or would you rather be bringing in a new income stream and working from home?
You may think that you deserve to relax after working so hard at your job, but what you really deserve is to work hard now so that you can have time and financial freedom later.