Okay, guys.

This is going to be a super long post, but it’s PACKED with information, tips, and hints from personal experience to help those of you who are looking at blogging as a form of self-employment. I’ve recently had an abundance of personal messages from people I know as well as emails from some other individuals in the blogosphere who want to know more about what self-employment as a blogger looks like. Although I am by no means an expert, I’m here to share my personal story about how I got started as a self-employed blogger. And when I say I’m not an expert, I am referring to the fact that I make a part-time income that ranges from $300-1500 a month, not a full-time income that fully supports myself. (But that’s the ultimate goal! )

When I first starting blogging, I did it because I needed a creative outlet. I loved writing, sharing my opinions and helping others. I had so many interests and passions, and wanted to share my pictures, experience and expertise with others. I had wanted to start a blog for years but never mustered up the courage to take the leap. In December of 2014 (ironically- a week before I graduated college and the week of final exams…. way to procrastinate, Chels!) Inspiration Indulgence was born.

I had NO IDEA how crazy the journey I was about to embark on was.

Shortly after starting a blog, I was scrolling through Pinterest and found to my surprise that there was actually such a thing as making a career out of blogging. Like, hello, dream job!!! From that day forward, I made it a goal to make money blogging. I knew that it wouldn’t come overnight, but that I had the passion and perseverance to make it happen.

So you want to be self-employed blogger?

Today I’m going to share with you my journey on how I became self-employed. I would like to first highhandedly point out that everybody’s blogging experience is different. Some don’t earn an income until 3 years after their blog is born. Some start making money within the first 6 months. Your blogging journey is your own. Don’t ever compare your journey to others or think there is a right or wrong answer, because there is not.

Also, if you think that you an just start a blog and make money overnight, don’t count on it, sister. Monetizing a blog is a step you should take only after several months of solid blogging… or even a year after.  Before you step out into the scary world of monetiziation, you should focus on building great content, having an aesthetically pleasing design, and increasing your traffic. Once you feel solid with these platforms, then take the step to monetize your blog.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to build your site up before you try to monetize it. I made the mistake of trying to monetize three months after my blog was born. My site was new, I didn’t have much content, and I didn’t have a solid readership. I implemented ads but didn’t make any sales because I didn’t have enough high traffic. I soon realized this was a mistake and took a step back to build my blog up before deciding to monetize it.

But first of all…let’s talk about why you want to be self-employed?

Self-employment isn’t for everyone. Self-employed folks:

-Are intrinsically motivated
-Are go-getters
-Are great with time-management
-Take risks
-Are patient and trust the process
-Take their job seriously
-Are self-learners
-Are organized
-Are technology savy

Here are some reasons why I love it:

-I can make my own schedule
-I’m my own boss
-I can work virtually anywhere; my favorites include my home and my local coffee shop
-I quit jobs I was sick of doing to make side income, such as waitressing
-It’s great as a college student

That being said, self-employment is work. It’s treating your blog like a job even if you aren’t at an office. That being said, it may be tempting to sleep in until 11am every day and watch Netflix when you don’t feel like writing, but you need to treat your blog like a business. Get up, show up, and do work.

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Typical day in the life of a self-employed blogger:

You may wonder what bloggers actually do all day. Here are some daily tasks I complete:

-Answer emails
-Reach out to companies to partner
-Schedule and promote posts on social media
-Write posts
-Research for post
-Make graphic images for posts
-Apply for influencer opportunities (see below)
-Track blog finances

….and many, many more. Honestly, the work of a blogger is NEVER over!

The equation of a successful blog

I’m a firm believer that a great blog employs two key elements:

Great content + Great marketing strategy = Successful Blog

A successful blog accompanies the following two traits of a blogger: One who is skilled at writing and one who is great at marketing. A blog with great content and a successful marketing strategy can’t survive without the other. No one is going to read your blog if your content isn’t strong; likewise no one is going to read your blog if they never come across it.

Even in the beginning stage of my blog, I worked my ass off at growing my social media. I knew that it would be an important catalyst for showcasing and sharing my work. So far, I wrote posts to help you develop a Pinterest Strategy and to help you grow your Instagram. I also made a Facebook page for my blog.

For all of your beginners out there who are reading this and having a panic attack, don’t freak out. It took me a year to grow a successful platform. It doesn’t come over night. Like I mentioned above, you need to be a self-learner. Always be learning and researching how you can grow your blog. During the beginning stages, I can’t even tell you how many hours I poured over Pinterest researching ways to grow my blog.

So you’re ready to start monetizing?

Once you’ve decided that self-employment is right for you, and you’re ready to commit to this long, crazy journey…it’s time to get to work, sister. After you’ve been blogging steady for several months and have increased your pageviews, it’s time to start monetizing.

Here are some simple ways to monetize:

Advertising

By either offering advertising space on your blog or placing ads on your site, you can make an income. Here are some ways you can advertise:

Sidebar ads: Offer adspace on your blog sidebar. I go through the service Passionfruit and sell ad space on my blog sidebar. Passionfruit also lets you render your own services, such as sell adspace, render social media services, sponsored posts for businesses, and more. Create an advertising page on your blog for your readers. See an example of what an effective Advertise page looks like here.

Google Adsense: Believe it or not, you can make money by sititng back and not doing a darn thing. AdSense is a program that allows bloggers and website owners to make money by displaying Google ads. Google Adsense works with EPC (earnings per click) and CPC (cost per click). Google will select ads that your viewers The commission you receive per click depends on how much advertisers are paying Google for the particular ad. I suggest working on increasing your pageviews before installing Google Ads, or you won’t see steady income.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks involve a relationship between a seller and a blogger. Your affiliate network will supply you with the tools you need to promote their products, and you advertise for the network on your blog. What does this look like for you? You will place ads and banners on your site that all have tracking codes so if they are clicked on and purchases are made later on you will get the commission. You will make a portion of the income through the network.

Here are some of my favorites:

Amazon Affiliates
Share A Sale
Target
Bluehost

Again, like with GoogleAdsense, don’t except the income to come pouring in unless you get a steady amount of traffic.

Influencer Networks

Influencer agencies are the #1 way I make income off my blog. They collab businesses to bloggers through a central network. Businesses post opportunities for bloggers to either promote their product on social media or throughout their blogger. Bloggers apply for opportunities and are compensated if chose. Here are the networks I’ve had the most success in:

Clever Girls Collective
Izea
Blog Her
Social Fabric
Blog Meets Brand
Her Campus
Pollinate Media

Depending on your social reach, traffic, and company, an average blogger makes $150-300 for a sponsored post.  Since I worked so hard to grow my social media channels, my favorite way to make money as a blogger is actually through my social media. Imagine my surprise when I started landing opportunities and getting paid $100 for just one Instagram post!

The only downside to working with Influencer networks is that the payout date is 30-60 days after you post your content. Usually, the work I do right now determines my income two months from now.

The bottom line 

In case you haven’t realized the theme throughout this post, self-employment is do-able, but prepare to work your ass off. You need to be self-motivated and have a genuine interest in blogging and interacting with your readers. I promise you that if you start a blog for the sole purpose of making money, you WILL fail.

There is SO much information about monetizing your blog, and I compiled it under 2,000 words. Please know that there is SO much information out there to guide you. I encourage you to check out my Blogging board on Pinterest, where I have over 500 pins to help you grow a successful blog.

In addition, if you would like more information about being self-employed as a blogger, I highly recommend reading How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup. I read this during the early stages of my blogging career and it was a TOTAL gamechanger for me and my blog. Ruth has one of the most successful blogs in the blogosphere and discusses monetization in WAY in more depth, with proven strategies that WORK! I highly recommend the book for beginners or even for those who are past the beginning stages of monetizing your blog. If you would like to check this book out, see it on my sidebar to your right!

Whew! I know that was a lot of information, but hopefully you found it useful. To all of you who dream about some day making an income off your blog, YOU CAN DO THIS!! I want to inspire you to live your dreams. Being a self-employed blogger is a lot of hard work, but it will all pay off in you enjoy the journey.

“Love your work, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Check out these others posts in my Blogging series!
A Blogger’s Guide to Doubling Your Instagram Followers
How to Build a Pinterest Strategy for Your Blog

Want more blogging tips? Be sure to like me on Facebook!