And so that’s it, time to breath a sigh of relief because the 2016/17 tax year is nearly at an end. Tax returns are way, way, way in the future and now all you need to do is worry about spending whatever you’ve earned – right?
But what have you earned? And you’ve earned it blogging?? People look at me like I have two heads when I tell them that I do, in fact, make money from my blog. Not products, not experiences, actual cash.
Then they scratch their heads because, you know, making an income from blogging?! What??
Making an income from blogging
So blogging income – what is it, where is it and is it really honestly truly a thing?!
I certainly didn’t believe so when I first pulled the laptop on my heavily pregnant lap, opened up a blogspot account and began to spew rubbish.
I still didn’t believe it a few months down the line, I mean I saw product reviews and competitions, but cold, hard cash? Nah. I even started to receive products to review – and despite not being the biggest blogger out there review I did. Who wouldn’t want cake right? But I still didn’t see the whole “cold, hard, cash” side. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Then I started heading to the dark side, delving a little deeper and understanding what brands were getting when I feature them. It’s more than just writing as I was saying to a friend who asked me if I classed myself as a blogger or a writer. I am most definitely a blogger, my grammar leaves too much to be desired to be a writer PLUS I do so much more than just write. I write. I photograph. I promote. I advertise. More than that I have (I hope….) engaged followers who read my blog.
An audience that brands want to see their product. If this audience was on any other platform, and by that I mean “traditional” platform, on TV, in a magazine, a newspaper you wouldn’t expect to not pay.
And as times catch up with brands they are, slowly slowly slowly, starting to realise that they need to pay bloggers. And bloggers are beginning to realise they should be paid.
SHOW ME THE MONEY!! Right?
Making money as a blogger
So how can you make money as a blogger? And more interestingly for those of you who are interested – how do I make money as a blogger?
I have to start by saying that I am not in the big leagues. There are bloggers out there in the UK and US (and Australia but I really don’t read enough Australian blogs – recommendations anyone?!) who make thousands per month and they blog about it.
The likes of Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks who posts how to earn money from blogging guides – and shows how she earned over £1000 a month. Similarly Leanne from A Slice of my Life Wales publishes monthly income and stat reports (and here is February 2017) as does Jenny from Monkey and Mouse (and her January 2017 report). Then there is the whole go BIG or go home, and Lena over at What Mommy Does has gone big with her income report series; how I earn over $10,000 a month blogging….
Whilst I’m not in that level I do earn money from my blog.
My blogging income streams
My income streams aren’t as varied as they could be, and there are definitely other areas I can look to improve on.
By far my most lucrative way of earning from my blog. The advertising within certain posts or writing posts for brands. It’s something which I enjoy doing as I only accept brands which I feel are a good fit for my blog and where I can write authentically about their product.
This month my favourite sponsored content has been about Momzie, a new app for mums to connect with mums. It’s pretty much tinder for mums which I think is very cool. Being an expat I have friends come, friends go and move on myself. It’s lonely being a mum, whilst the hand of friendship is out there it is overwhelming to go and find it which is why I passionately believe in Momzie, and why I wrote a post on being a lonely mum for them.
How to find sponsored content work
Yes, as you get bigger brands come out of the woodwork and find you. BUT there is nothing to stop you finding them.
Google them. Find an email. Pitch an idea.
Looking for more paid work? Search out SEO companies, see if you want to work with them, then pitch to them. Send them your media kit and rates and see what they come back with.
Sponsored Social Media
Brands want their products to be seen. But they don’t always want them to be seen in the traditional advertorial sense, they want real people to be seen using the products. Enter sponsored social media posts. People will pay to have their products featured across social media channels, either in the form of cash or product.
When you have to wake your sleeping baby, who by the way never sleeps, to go and do the school run you know you are in for one of those afternoons. Leaving it as late as possible I needed to leave the house at 12:30 and got him up at 12:28…. . Today on the blog I’m talking about time being precious and how it all speeds by in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t seem 2 minutes ago I was clock watching the 4 year olds naps. There is also a chance to enter to win $75 e-voucher for @woodwatches_com with a $20 e-voucher for everyone who enters. Well it’s getting close to the holidays right?
These need to be labelled up as #ad #spon so people are aware, but it helps brands showcase products in a way that a glossy mag won’t. I won’t be sitting on a beach, sipping cocktails in a breezy white kaftan, wearing a JORD watch, but I AM sat waiting for my little one to wake up to run on the school run.
But it’s not just Instagram, Facebook is also sought after…
How to find sponsored social media work
I really need to get better at this. I often don’t totally understand and my Amazon affliate account is sat lacklustre and bare. Serious cobwebs.
Someone who does get the affiliate link right, and does it well over on Facebook, is Mum of Boys & Mabel.
Whilst I haven’t quite managed to get my head around them yet, I am starting to make headway.
I’ve become an affiliate for the Moolah Marketing Course, a Facebook Growth course which I took back in January and has seen my Facebook page grow steadily since (and here are 8 simple steps you can follow too) and I have signed up for CJ.com what I need to do is study more on the basics of affiliate marketing for bloggers.
How to find affiliate networks
As I mentioned I am a member of CJ.com, but there are thousands of affiliate schemes out there. All you need to do is apply to become a member and then you get a link that you can pop into your post, if people click this link and buy you then receive a percentage of this.
Amazon have an affiliate scheme, Etsy have an affiliate scheme. Think of where you shop and then search to see if THEY have an affiliate scheme.
Freelance social media management
My biggest source of earning is my freelance social media management. Thanks to the lessons learned from taking the Moolah Facebook course I have been able to secure VA work managing Facebook for a variety of clients (and if you’d like me to look at yours just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org) something which I wouldn’t have been able to do without growing my own Facebook page and understanding the social media marketing side. Again, whilst I’m not in the big leagues with tens of thousands of Facebook followers my Facebook page is highly engaged with the content being shown to the RIGHT people. Something which people would like to emulate, and so I do it for them on their pages.
Freelance blog writing
Same hand – freelance blog post writing for clients who want my words on their site. Not strictly blogging income but income I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for blogging.
How to find freelance work
My work has come from word of mouth so far. On top of that there is a list of accredited VA’s who have taken the Moolah Marketing course which I have made/am on.
My first quarters blog income invoiced
From the above blogging income streams I have earned in the first quarter of this year:
With days left in March and some invoices yet to be paid.
That is something I didn’t expect to see back when I started.
Managing my blogging income
This year I am taking my blog more seriously. I am out pitching for paid work. I am taking on more VA social media clients. I am growing my social media feeds to a point where people are looking to pay to feature on them. I will crack the whole affiliate link piece, when I finally get chance to sit with Cat from Pushing the Moon who will then explain her whole article to me over tea and cake. I might even get round to installing Google Ads on my blog. Or I might not.
Either way, I want those numbers to keep coming, to keep creeping up.
In taking my blog seriously, I need to take it to the next level. I need to look at it like a business rather than a hobby. I need to do more than have a spreadsheet I update and receipts stuffed in a box. I need more than a book that holds my invoice list in the back of it (though I do love that because I am a visual pen and paper kinda gal!). I don’t want to be there frantically in January typing in my tax return from a mix of scribbles in a book, spreadsheets on the screen and receipts under my bed. I don’t want to be holding my breath to see if I’m going to then be struck with a massive bill to pay THAT DAY. This coming tax year it’s going to be different. This coming tax year I am going to be organised. This coming tax year I am going to please my credit analyst banker of a husband who nags about the importance of proper records. Of real accounting. As my blogging income streams increase I need to be smarter, more savvy and most definitely more organized. That is why I am signing up to Xero from a friends recommendation plus they are offering a 30 day free trial right now (and I do love a bargain) if you’re not sure that it’s for you – but my money says if you’re taking your blog to the next level then it will be.
Although I may have a background in banking, accounting never was my forte. My speciality was in fact cash management, the flow of transactions and HOW they came to be in an account rather than the P&L sheet, and all that’s in-between.
That said, I do have a basic working knowledge and I wanted something to build on.
Enter Xero. The cloud based platform that I can access from anywhere – and any computer – in the world which is essential as a nomadic expat who doesn’t always have her own laptop with her. An innovative, yet simple to use, platform that gives me my financial position in REAL TIME. Not last week, not last month, but right now, today so I know exactly where I stand at all times during the month. Where my income is flowing in, and where it is flowing out. Which is especially important as a blogger because often payments are automated and you just think nothing of it. A Facebook ad here, an Inlinkz subscription there, Social Oomph going out. Trickles out but they add up and are easy to dismiss or forget about. Not so with Xero as they are there in BLACK AND WHITE on the screen. Allowing me to decide whether the payments are worth it stacking up on the screen. Reminding me that a click of a button is in fact the throwing of cash at something.
Xero helps bring me back from concentrating solely on the creative and remembering that this is in fact a business, yet at the same time it allows you more time to concentrate on the creative side as it takes the pain out of the mundane. Working magic you might say.
Not only that, but if you get really stuck, and let’s face it we all have been there, then there is unlimited email support. Yes, unlimited.
I’m excited to see my blog head to the next level, and I’m excited to have Xero help me manage it.
Do you earn money blogging?
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this post contains affiliate links