No, You Won’t Make Money Blogging
I fell for it. Back in 2017, I had some newfound time and thought, hey, I should start a blog. The algorithm strongly encouraged this thought by sending me all sort of MAKE MONEY BLOGGING! ads and group suggestions, etc.
I knew I was an amazing writer, natural talent, blah blah blah. I was intuitive enough to suss out which posts land and which don’t. I was a freaking connoisseur of Pinterest, the cash cow of all mommy/recipe/DIY bloggers on God’s green earth.
I joined a free MAKE MONEY BLOGGING! group, and I started binging all the content. I was doing something new and interesting that I could write about: I had recently taken a leave of absence from teaching. My husband and I sold our house and most of our stuff, and we embarked on what would be a year-long adventure in travel nursing.
I started blogging about it. I fumbled my way through the DIY WordPress mess, I installed Yoast SEO (and learned what SEO stands for), and I got to writing.
It was fun. Cathartic. I wrote about how unexpectedly stressful it was to find out, hours before turning over the keys to our house and heading westward, we had no actual housing lined up. Yeah…travel nurse life is a bit crazy at times. There was a tense 48 hours there when my family glimpsed the house-less life. (clearly not diminishing the actual experience of those chronically without shelter…our housing instability was scary, but not systemically so)
Living That Affiliate Life
Slowly but surely I learned about things like affiliate marketing. Wait…you’re telling me I can become an AMAZON affiliate and earn actual $$$ if people buy things from Amazon after clicking my link?
I legit lost. my. mind. when Target approved my affiliate status. #targetfangirl #noshame
Guess what actually came of all that affiliate hoopla? Like $50…after like, a year. Mmhmm.
Granted, I didn’t go all in and purchase the $500 “How to Monetize Your Blog” course. I did devote lots of time to building my Pinterest and Instagram following, to writing quality “mom/travel blog” posts, and fumbling my way through DIY graphic design with Canva. It was a lot of work for a very small bit of payoff. And honestly? When I calculate my web hosting fees and such…a wash at best.
From Budding Mom Blogger to Successful Copywriter
To top this whole journey off with a nice, juicy cherry? I lost all my mom blog files in a disastrous DIY-web-host-transfer debacle. It’s all gone. Poof.
And yet…while I mourn the pennies of Amazon and Target affiliate money coming in (literal pennies!!!), I can’t say I regret the experience.
It opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibility.
There is a weird, vibrant, successful, money-making world out there, y’all.
Online business coaches. Copywriters. Copywriting coaches. Graphic designers. Social media managers. Virtual assistants. Virtual bookkeepers. Digital marketers. Online business managers. Online course creators. Marketing coaches. The list goes on and on…seriously.
It’s like the very profitable Wild, Wild West out here.
After reminding myself that I am a damn good writer by nurturing my mom/travel blog for a couple of years, I started to look elsewhere with that talent. I found a content-mill-type site for freelance writers. They would pay a whopping $10 per 500-word article, and I could work my way up to $21 per 1000 word article if I proved myself! Now, as someone who was rejoicing at the mere pennies a random Amazon affiliate click got me, this sounded like a dream!
Then I realized…wait…I am really freaking good at this writing shit. And I’m getting nothing but amazing feedback from all these content mill ghostwriting clients…why don’t I just strike out on my own??
Investing In My Copywriting Business
I knew this was something I wanted to make work, but I wasn’t totally sure how to do it. I was a high school teacher French & English with literally no background in business or entrepreneurship. Yes, at this point, my husband and I had shaken off our wanderlust in favor of raising our toddler near family, and I was back to teaching part-time. I was not, shall we say, loving it. At all.
I found a local mom, Micala Quinn, who happened to be an online course creator and podcaster. Her mission is to help people like me transform their skills and talents into profitable freelance businesses, so moms like me can work from home.
I listened to all the podcast episodes. Read her sales page a thousand times. Joined her group, lurked, then lightly engaged.
And then, I bit the bullet. It was very much a now or never moment for me. I was approaching the spring of my part-time teaching contract…it was a rough year with far less than ideal class assignments. I had been ambivalent about returning to teach anyway…at this point, I was done. It was freelance writing or Target shopping cart jockey. I was D.O.N.E.
So I bought her course, Overwhelmed to Overbooked (affiliate link ), right before spring break in March of 2019. I put in my resignation the next month, having just landed my first client. Not even a retainer client, mind you, but a one-time project client. Scary AF.
But you know what? I kept working my ass off. I followed Micala’s steps, building my portfolio, developing my business FB and IG pages, forging ahead as if the next milestone was a GIVEN.
Today, I’m consistently meeting or exceeding my husband’s RN salary, and I do it by working about 25 hours a week. I’ve hit a variety of business milestones, from reaching my first 5k month to hiring my first team member, to being choosy about the type of clients I work with. That first time I turned down a paying client was sooo scary, but it also felt freaking amazing.
Scaling to Six Figures
Now I have a plan to reach six figures. If not this year, then maybe next! I’m pivoting from monthly retainer clients to offering premium done-in-a-day VIP services. One of the biggest motivations for this pivot? I’m ready to get some of my own time back so I can do more of what I love: from going on adventures like the crazy quarter-life-crisis move my family made back in 2017 to sitting down and actually writing my own blog content (hey )… I’m stepping into the role of CEO rather than doing the freelance #hustleallthetime thing. And I’m certainly not doing the #hustleforamazonpennies thing anymore.
Today, you won’t find ads on my website, nor will you find Amazon or Target affiliate links. I will sprinkle in some affiliate links to programs I love and find genuine value from (like Micala’s course program!), but long gone are the days of adding links for the sake of tricking Amazon into paying me teeny tiny commissions.
Can You Really Make Money Blogging?
Do I believe some people make money blogging? Sure. A lot of them probably started several years ago, in the heyday of blogging for profit. I also believe that some people are really good at playing the SEO game, which I have approximately zero percent interest in doing. Not only because it feels pretty inauthentic and manipulative to me, but also because I find all that techy SEO stuff to be boring AF.
At this point, 2+ years into this wild business journey, I’ve learned a lot about marketing, and I’ve learned that there is no legitimate “get rich quick” strategy. Blogging for profit is a looonnggg game that takes significant upfront investment, lots of consistency, and sometimes just plain luck.
Growing a copywriting business isn’t quick either, but I believe it’s a far more viable way to earn a living, especially if you’re willing to put in the work, invest in the right tools to help you grow and scale, and have patience.
Tell me your thoughts: how do you feel about the whole “make money blogging” industry? Have you tried it and found success, or was it a flop? Leave me a comment to start a conversation!