Let’s start at the beginning. One day I decided that I wanted to start a blog, so I just did it. (You can read a little more about that HERE.) I did little research on it and I had no idea that people were making money from blogging. I always thought that the only people who could make money from a blog were famous people like Lauren Conrad or one of the Kardashians. It never struck me that the other blogs I liked following were just regular people and they were earning money from their blogs. It wasn’t until PinkBlush reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to do a blog post and giveaway with them. In exchange, they said I could pick out anything on their website that I wanted. I couldn’t believe it! At the time I probably had under 500 followers on Instagram and I couldn’t believe that a brand like that wanted to work with me and give me free clothes. It was something that I had never even thought of. After that, I really started to look into monetizing my blog and see if I could make some money from my little hobby.
After looking into it more, I learned that my first step to monetizing my blog was to add affiliate links into my blog posts. I was already linking my clothes in my posts, I didn’t realize that I could have been earning money from the links that I posted. I signed up for a couple different affiliate programs. At first, I wasn’t making any money. I signed up for ShopStyle Collective early on, which is a pay-per-click affiliate program, which means you get paid a few cents every time someone clicks on your links in your blog posts. It took me well over a year to make a $100 paycheck from that. I wanted to find something that was a little more profitable, so I applied to RewardStyle. RewardStyle is very similar to ShopStyle Collective, but instead of getting paid per click, you get paid commission based on sales. Both affiliate programs have almost any retailer you can think of apart of their program, so it makes it easy to link almost anything in your blog posts. I had always heard that RewardStyle was a little more selective with who they accepted into their program, so I was always afraid to apply. Once I felt like I was at a point where I was putting out decent enough content, I applied and was accepted right away. It took a while, but I found that RewardStyle was more profitable for me. I am a smaller blogger, so it’s hard to get a lot of clicks on my posts. RewardStyle is also apart of the LiketoKnow.it app, so that has made it easier to monetize my Instagram and other social media pages. I’m still apart of other affiliate sales programs, but I find it easier for me to narrow it down to use one or two programs, rather than a bunch.
Besides affiliate programs, I have also worked with a lot of brands over the last few years. I’ve done both paid sponsored posts and product exchange sponsored posts. I really enjoy doing sponsored posts and working with brands because it’s a fun way for me to try out new products and I get to share them with my audience. I try to be picky with the brands that I work with. I get emails from all types of brands. I’ve been offered everything from clothes, makeup, and skincare products to baby products and even sex toys. (I obviously said no to the sex toy posts. Hahaha.) When I decided to work with a brand I always ask myself a few questions. “Is this a product I would buy on my own?” “Would my followers be interested in hearing about this product?” “Does it fit my values and align with my goals as a blogger?” If I answer yet, then it is usually a match. If no, I politely pass on the opportunity.
Because my blog is still just a hobby to me, I don’t mind doing product exchange posts, however, as I grow my audience and put more time and energy into my blog posts, I have been charging a fee for my posts. It just depends on the product and what the brand is asking of me. If someone wants to pay me in a six-pack of sparkling water in exchange for a full blog review, then I’m probably going to turn that down. If the item they are offering me is more than what I charge for a blog post, I often will say yes and not even bring up money. Either way, I’m learning more and more about how to work with brands and negotiate.
The Benefits of Monetizing my Blog
I’m happy being a stay-at-home-mom, but I do miss working. I like to stay busy and always be working towards a goal. Making money through blogging keeps me busy and makes me feel like I am always working towards improving myself and reaching a goal. I’ve learned so much over the last 4 years. Because my educational background is in child development, learning about marketing and public relations is completely new to me. I feel like I’m getting a second education in blogging. The world of blogging is still such a new industry, so there are just so many possibilities out there.
My goals as a blogger are not always focused on money. I will say this over and over again, I blog for fun, but as long as I have this blog, I will always be trying to make improvements and learn more. One day, I’d like to say that I consider my blog a small form of income, but as of right now I’m happy with the direction things are going. Like I said in the beginning, this is not a “how to make money” blog post. My goal is not to teach you how to make money from blogging. My goal of writing this post is to show you that making money from a hobby blog is a possibility. If you have any questions for me feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to talk about blogging and I’m always happy to share resources. Look for more blogging posts in the future.
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