Don’t you hate it when you have been blogging for YEARS…and then you see some viral Pinterest pin talking about how they made $25k in their first 6 months of blogging only to visit the link and see that ONCE AGAIN they are making money off other bloggers. Blogging to bloggers seems like a sure-fire way to make zillions in a short amount of time.
The blogosphere is full of one-hit-wonder blogs whose methods aren’t tried and tested. Many blogging to blogger sites are like a well-devised pyramid schemes (otherwise known as multi-level marketing or MLM). The promise is simple: Invest your money into a “starter” product and in 60 days you’ll make all your money back and more. BTW here are all the perfectly curated testimonials with smiling clients who swear by the product…oh, did we forget to mention they are also affiliates for us?
Suddenly, you are sitting at your computer for 80 hours a week and making exactly $0. You wonder “WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?”
I’ve been blogging since 2007. I’ve seen it all. I’ve watched people who started out at the SAME place I was fly past me in pageviews, ad revenue and success. I have felt discouraged and stupid wondering “Why am I not making money on my blog?” Then after 10 years, something finally clicked. I’m making money.
Not a zillion dollars or anything, but in three months I’ve gone from $50/month to $500/month…IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS…after 10 years of blogging!
I’m going to list off the things that kept me from making money so you can:
a) avoid these mistakes as a new blogger
b) stop making these mistakes as a seasoned blogger.
The Biggest Deterrents to Making Money on a Blog
Saying “Yes” to Offline Life Too Often
The biggest deterrent to making money on your blog is called REAL LIFE (aka offline life).
But if you want a successful blogger you need to ask yourself THIS question when your offline life comes knocking:
In this specific instance, is your online life or offline life more important?
This isn’t a loaded question. We live in a very online world. Sometimes the right answer is “yes” and sometimes it’s “no.” Only you can answer that question. And it varies. The truth is that sometimes our online life NEEDS to be put above our offline life.
But remember this:
- If our offline life wins out more than our online life, we cannot expect to flourish as well as others in our online life.
In the same vein,
- If our online life wins out more than our offline life, we cannot expect to flourish as well as others in our offline life.
Basic meaning…we all make sacrifices. Each yes is a no. Each no is a yes.
Saying “no” to playing Candyland with your kids is saying “yes” to potential financial gain, but “no” to connecting with your kid. Saying “no” too many times to Candyland isn’t good…but neither is saying “yes” every single time either. It’s a balancing act.
Real life is the biggest deterrent to making money on a blog because many of us are saying “yes” when we should be saying “no.”
There is a balance between both worlds we must find.
This is where my story begins…when I started making money. I had to accept that I wanted more out of my blog than I was getting. I had to let go of feeling guilty for saying “yes” to my online life and “no” to my offline life. Even though I still only blog in what I call “pockets of life”…I’ve come to terms with the balance I’ve found between my offline and online life.
Holding on to an Unprofitable Mindset
My niche is specifically Christian. For a long time, I was conflicted if it was okay to make money on a blog. I came to the conclusion that it was okay to make money on a Christian blog, but implementing that seemed shaky ground. I held back from doing hard sales. I held back from offering physical products. Essentially, I took my “sales talent” and buried it in the proverbial ground.
I have learned (and am still learning little by little) that sales doesn’t have to be “yucky”…the Proverbs 31 woman show us this:
She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.
When you KNOW that what you are offering to others is “good” you can sell it without fear or doubt.
Many bloggers who have been blogging for a while, yet are not making money, the first thing to tackle is whatever mindset is holding you back.
Without changing your belief system about sales and making money online, you cannot move toward profitability.
Maybe you don’t have a problem with sales…maybe it’s another limiting belief that you have. In any case, really dig down and check to see if there is some belief you hold deep down about blogging that is keeping you from your goals.
Doing All the Things
You may have heard of the 80-20 rule, otherwise known at the Pareto principle that states:
For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
In blogging, that means that 20% of our blogging work is producing most of the results we want. Stated another way, we are wasting our time doing non-essential blogging tasks (aka checking Facebook groups for the 1000th time a day).
I had to stop (or at least decrease) all the easy blog-related tasks that made me FEEL like I was progressing, but wasn’t producing any fruit. As a Christian, the verse “throwing my pearls before swine” comes to mind. I was wasting my efforts.
I started focusing only on the things that were increasing pageviews so I could (finally) get approved for Mediavine.
I got approved for Mediavine in June of 2018…almost 7 years after I started blogging like a professional. (I’m shaking my head in shame, ya’ll…why did it take so long?)
Before this I was only making $50-$150 a month blogging, mostly from ebook sale on Amazon, affiliates links and occasionally my Google Adsense payout or ShareaSale. Considering how many hours I was spending on my blog, I was probably netting $0.05/hour.
When you are busy “doing all the things” what you are really doing is avoiding the thing you are scared to do.
There. I said it.
As bold and as in your face about Jesus as I am, I’m scared to really let myself to what I feel like I’m supposed to be doing. Things I’ve been scared about:
- Pigeon-holeing myself as over-the-top radically Christian (aka niching down)
- Selling head coverings (physical products means inventory, drop-shipping means lack of control)
- Making more money than my husband
- Being one of “those” moms who forsakes her kids for her blog
- Be accused of “selling Jesus”
- Pissing God off
Your list probably is different, but it’s amazing how hard it is to admit that I am scared of these things…and not rationalize them with false-wisdom that keeps me stuck in those fears!
Recently, I launched my Shopify store and did my first hard-sales pitched based on Elite Blog Academy. Not only did I make money, but I learned so much about myself and my audience that I could have never known without taking that leap of faith!
Another huge fear of mine was spending money on my blog. I had a store widget on my blog, but it wasn’t making money. I don’t know why having a Shopify store seems to make people buy stuff…but despite all my efforts to make my other shop work, the Shopify platform gave me more sales in the first month than I made the entire 7 years of having my own store widget. And honestly, Shopify takes care of so many of the little details, like shipping, that it makes everything easier. I love hearing that little “cha-ching” notification on my phone while I’m in the middle of homeschooling my kids or cooking dinner!
Viewing my Blog as “The Product”
This point is probably the BIGGEST change in my money-making ability by far..and honestly I wish I could take credit for it but I can’t. My girl, Jenny, over at The Relaxed Homeschool told me something she learned at from Ruth Sukoup that goes something like this:
Your blog is not your business, your PRODUCTS are your business. Your blog is just the foundation of your business.
For so long I was looking to my blog posts as my “product” thinking that my pageviews (or sessions) determined my profitability. I was waiting to hit some magic pageview number so I could make money instead of leveraging the audience I already had. And I have a great audience who were just waiting for me to sell them an actual product.
That’s when I created my Biblical Oils Cards after a blog reader emailed me in a panic asking me where she could download the information from a blog post so she could share it with her essential oils people in a visually stunning way. My readers actually gave me the idea for my first product.
I created a Pin for it and viola…it’s selling without much effort. It’s truly passive income based on something I love: the Word of God. I spend hours creating these beautiful products that I feel proud to sell.
Sure, I’ll still happily make money off ad revenue, affiliate links and things I truly believe in promoting…but they aren’t what’s making me the most money at this point.
What About You?
How long have you been blogging?
Are you making the money you want to on your blog?
Which one of these points really hit home for you?
Do you agree or disagree with my sentiments?
How do you feel about the rise of “MLM” blogging?