Make Money Blogging: If I Can Do It, So Can You

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The other day I sent out an e-mail to my regular subscribers (if you aren’t one, I’d  love you tojoin us). I wanted to share some personal information about myself and my experiences as  a life coach and one who makes money blogging.

Several people wrote back asking me how to start a successful online business and whether it is really possible to make money blogging. The short answer is yes.  For me it is creative and tremendously fulfilling, but it does take time and effort.

I’ll start by telling you that a couple of years ago, I didn’t even know what a blog was, nor did I have any technical computer knowledge. I am a right-brained intuitive type who used to run screaming from any kind of technology, especially related to the inner workings of a computer. I’ve learned a lot in the last year, and I am no longer afraid of technology.

So if I can do it, you can do it!

Here are a few things you should know about blogging right off the bat if you are considering creating a blog, and you want to make some income from it:

  • There is a right way to create and develop a blog in order to generate income from it. You can’t just slap something up without a lot of knowledge and planning. If you do, you will waste a lot of time.
  • You always need to serve your reader first in most of the decisions you make about your blog. If you want to make money online, you need a following. You build a following by consistently giving them something valuable that meets a need or addresses a concern.
  • A blog is a platform for making money. A blog helps you establish credibility in your particular niche and build a loyal following of readers. You make money from a variety of income streams that you can promote on your blog and to your readers.
  • You will need to give away a lot of information for free before you ever ask your followers to pay for it. This establishes trust and loyalty.
  • It will cost you some money to start a blog, but not a lot. You will pay for hosting services and a domain name, and maybe some other fees like design help, photos, and e-mail marketing software (to capture e-mail addresses). The yearly cost could be from $50-$800 (the higher end if you need design help).
  • It takes time to create and grow a blog. It might be six months to year before you start seeing any real income.

I started my blog one year ago. I didn’t start making any money until four months later, and then only a few hundred dollars.

In the last 6 months, I’ve made:

$5500 from my Discover Your Passion course

$3400 from selling other people’s product

$4000 from consulting work generated as a blogger

$2000 from coaching clients who found me on my blog

That’s around $15,000 or the equivalent of $30,000 a year. Not a huge salary — but not bad for a start-up business. I have since started another blog with my partners, The Daily Brainstorm, and I’m in the process of creating two other blogs, Superpreneurs and Best Keyword Tools, with one of my partners. These blogs also will be additional sources of income in the future.

The goal with blogging is to eventually have multiple streams of income that you develop as offshoots from your blog. These could be consulting, freelancing, coaching, selling products you create, selling other people’s products (affiliate marketing), advertising, and donations.

Eventually some of these streams of income become passive, meaning you create them, set them up, and they continue to make money for you without any additional time or work from you.

There are many bloggers out there making a sustainable five figure salary, and many who are making well into the six figures. But there are more who aren’t making anything, because they haven’t put in the time or taken advantage of the myriad of resources out there for successful blogging.
 
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If you think you want to create a blog and make money blogging, here are some considerations that you must evaluate about yourself.

  • You must be self-disciplined and willing to work on your own at the computer for long stretches.
  • You must be somewhat tech savvy or, like me, willing to learn and/or ask for help.
  • You must write fairly well with decent spelling and grammatical skills. You don’t have to be an amazing writer, but you do need to be able to communicate ideas cohesively.
  • You must be able to put a few hours a day, every day initially, into creating and growing your blog. If you have another job, you’ll need to fit this in before or after work.
  • You must be willing to reach out to other people, join blogging communities, and seek out experts for advice and ideas. The blogging world thrives on connections.
  • You must see the inherent benefit of blogging as a service to others. This is a way to share what you are passionate about in order to help people. It’s fine to make money from it, but service and passion need to motivate you in order to put your readers first.
  • You need to accept the inevitability of some mistakes. With any new venture, you are going to make good and bad decisions. That’s how you learn.
  • You need to be willing to learn from people who are much younger than you are. You may have wisdom, experience, and skills in a lot of areas, but many great bloggers are twenty-somethings. They are the trend-makers, so keep your eye on them.
  • You need to have patience. Look at the first 4-6 months as blog building time before you start working on generating income. You have to build a following first.

The other great thing about blogging is that it’s just plain fun. It is creative and stimulating, and it requires you to learn so much from all of the research you must do for your articles and for growing your blog. You are giving back to people and helping them, which is so rewarding.

I have met some amazing people from countries all over the world.  I can travel just about anywhere now and be able to connect with a blogging friend. I’m going to San Francisco in April, and I’m meeting up with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. If I’m ever in New Zealand, I have an invitation to stay with Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen; or in Canada, I can stay with my friend Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering. You get the picture. It has opened so many doors for me. If I didn’t need to earn a living, I wouldn’t mind doing it for free.

So if you think you want to start a blog, I’m going to leave you with three specific actions you can take right now to get the ball rolling toward creating a successful, income-generating blog.

1.  Pinpoint some niche ideas. Write down everything you are passionate about or interested in — particularly areas where you have some experience and skills. Narrow that list down to your top five.

2.  Determine future income potential for each niche. Look at these five areas. Are there ways of creating informational products (ebooks, courses, guides, workbooks, etc) around this topic? Are there other products related to this topic that could be reviewed and sold on your blog? Do you offer consulting services around this topic or could you?

3.  Is there a large enough audience for this niche? Do some research to see if there are plenty of people interested in this topic. You want enough people to allow you to grow, but not such a broad topic that you are lost in the masses. A great free tool for beginning your research is Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Enter the words or phrase and look at the number of monthly searches and the competition. The best tool for keyword research is Market Samurai. They are offering a 7-day Free Trial which is more than enough time to test your niche words. You can do in minutes what would take days with Google Adwords tool.

If you want to learn all of the details of getting your blog off to a successful start my business partner and I can help you design and set up a blog with one-on-one blog coaching.

If you enjoyed this article, I would really appreciate it if you would tweet it and “like” it on Facebook.

Comments

  1. Awesome, awesome post Barrie! I am a few months behind you and I can say that you are right on target with these points. It is not easy, but it is very doable! You must be working in your passion, as you said, or it will become a burden to you because you aren’t loving what you are doing.
    I also have benefitted from Leo and Mary and Darren, awesome, smart people who love to help others. AndI have also made some great friends as well!
    I am happy and scared to be launching my very first product on March 14. I hope that, just like you Barrie, it will be the first of many things to come!
    Bernice

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Bernice,
      Congratulations on the success of your blog! The A-List Club sure produces a lot of great bloggers. Let me know about your product launch.

  2. Although I’ve had my blog for about a year, there’s some good tips for me, as well as for people thinking of starting a blog.

    What I like most about it is that I’ve attracted clients who were actively searching for what I was offering, so that we are a good ‘match’.

    And definitely – you have to truly enjoy or get some kind of emotional fulfillment from it.

    Many thanks for the great summary

    David

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi David,
      Yes, if you pick your niche carefully, you will attract people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer. That’s the beauty of the internet! Congratulations on your blog success.

      • Hi, thanks Barrie. I’ve just just re-visited this post, and am also impressed with all the comments.

        I too have joined the A-List Club but haven’t really been active. I’ll make it a priority to get more into it!

        David

  3. This is great advice…especially the part about IT TAKES TIME!

    You are right- blogging is fun & addicting!

    I love the people I’ve met through my blog and Blogging Buddies group

    I do blog coaching and actually have FREE ebook and class, Blogging for Newbies. Coaching has been the best thing I’ve ever done- I love when people tell me my advice has brought them new followers or more comments.

    And there are some “great reads” out there!

    Have a G-R-E-A-T week!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Carolee,
      It looks like you’ve created a great network of people to share your blogging adventure. That’s wonderful. I’m sure you are a great resource for other bloggers. Thank you for sharing your information.

  4. Lots of really good info here. It’s important to realize it takes time and work – so you need to find something you’re passionate about because that passion has to sustain you through months of work.

    Congratulations on all of the exciting projects and opportunities you have in the works!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Katie,
      It does take time and work, but it is such fun work! Passion is the key. I don’t think I could sustain this kind of effort without it. Love the title of your latest post. I want to be unconditionally friendly!

  5. Mary Jaksch | A-List Blogger Club says:

    Hi Barrie, when you first joined the A-List Blogger Club, I immediately noticed you. I thought, ‘Wow, she is going to be successful!’ I could see that you’re willing to learn, and that you take action.

    I couldn’t be more happy to see you bloom!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Mary,
      Thank you for your kind comments, but YOU are a great teacher and mentor. It was a blessing I stumbled upon the A List Bootcamp and had the guts to e-mail you! Thanks for being such a support and great friend. :)

  6. Hi Barrie
    Very interesting read. I started a blog after I lost my job of 12 years. I came also from not knowing much about websites to producing one. I started writing for Ezine also which has helped to produce a little traffic. But the secret is to really believe in what you are doing and when it feels right good things will come. I am so much happier since my job disappeared, the money loss hurt but the mentally toxic environment was taking a toll on my health. I know for sure I am on the right track. With all that has happened in the past seven months, at my lowest point I finally found honest happiness, which has absolutely nothing to do with how much I have. There was always times of “happy” but never just plain happy for being. Very great eye-opener to say the least. Good luck in your endeavors.
    Mary

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Mary,
      Congratulations to you on taking a job loss and turning it around into a beautiful new life. Bravo! Why does it take us so long to figure out what real happiness is? I am at the same place and so grateful for my state of Generalized Happiness! What’s the point of fretting — everything is perfect right now. Thank you for commenting Mary.

  7. Wow, what an awesome post! I wish I had read this a year ago when I had 1st started blogging. Thanks!!!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I’m so glad it was useful for you Andi. Thanks for commenting and congrats on your upcoming wedding! :)

  8. Congratulations, Barrie! You’ve really achieved a lot with your blog in just one year, and your story is inspiring for those of us following in your footsteps. I started my new blog just over a month ago, but I’m enjoying the journey so far. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Amy,
      Congrats on starting your blog! Isn’t it fun? Please let us know how you are progressing.

  9. Hi Barrie
    Thanks for this great post, very informative. Like Andi I wish I had read this post earlier in my blogging journey!
    I have been blogging for a year now and am finally ready to add some affliate marketing to my blog. I don’t think people realise how much work it takes to run a blog, I have to admit I certainly didn’t until I got started. I do love blogging though so that is a bonus.
    I am a member of AList blogging group. I definitely need to spend more time learning and sharing with the group.
    While I am here I wanted to compliment you on your blog design. I really love it. The colours are great, it is a easy to read and of course the content is excellent. Just a wonderful blog design.
    Cheers
    Thea

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Thea,
      My mentor, Mary Jaksch, told me that we all go at our own pace with blogging — and whatever that pace is, it’s fine. Another great resource is Pat Flynn’s http://www.smartpassiveincome.com. You might check out his blog for info on affiliate marketing as well. Thank you for your kind comments. Please come back and update us on your progress.

  10. Thank you very much Barrie for sharing your insights on blogging. God Bless you with all the happiness. You are making a good contribution to the world.

    Lalit Shah

  11. M. A. Tohami says:

    Hi Barrie,

    Great story. It is always inspiring to read stories from fellow bloggers.

    I follow Darren Rowse and Yaro Starak. They are the main source I’m learning blogging from. They are great.

    Do you’ve any experience with Yaro?

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I don’t know Yaro, but just this morning, I kept seeing him on Twitter. So now I must check him out. Thank you for sharing his name!

  12. Maribelle Cruz says:

    Thanks for this very informative article about blogging. I have been wanting to have my own blog. I am still in the process of organizing it and gathering materials. I will get in touch once I have already posted my blog.

    Thanks again.

  13. Hi Barry,

    I’m so glad A-List highlighted this article in a tweet. It’s great. What a succinct summary of all the important concepts involved. I especially appreciate seeing the $ numbers. So helpful! I had no idea…

    As a member of A-List Blogger Club I second your high opinion of them. I also will comment for your readers that when you give pointers to other members there (like me ;o)), you consistently recommend we put serving our readers first. I can see that you walk your talk, and then talk your walk for us! You’ve been very generous sharing what you’ve learned.

    Thanks for everything. Great article!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Patti,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments. I am happy to share the info. Bloggers are one big community, and we need to support each other!

  14. Lori Gosselin says:

    Barrie,
    Thanks for sharing all of this! I am new to blogging (started this past November) and I get what you mean when you say, “I wouldn’t mind doing it for free.” Like you, as little as a year ago, blogging was something foreign to me, but now I can’t believe how much fun I’m having – even with the huge learning curve!
    It’s nice when I meet supportive, encouraging people such as you!
    (Oh, yeah, and I’m studying up on grammar – may as well master the tools of the trade!)
    Thanks!
    Lori

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Lori,
      Nice to see you! I was in your same place, so keep plugging and following Leo and Mary’s advice. You will get there. I will share a tip that Mary recently shared on Write To Done. Be sure you put the name of your blog next to your name when you write a comment on someone’s blog. Look at Patti Foy’s name right above your comment. It’s a way of branding your blog in everything you do.

  15. Hi Barrie,

    I want to thank you for this post and also as a fellow A-List blogger say hello. I’m immensely thankful you put out some candid info and figures here, even if it is slightly chagrining for me (coming up on anniv of my second year blogging, and I’m afraid my gains so far monetarily are $10).

    You have given me a very helpful context and some great practical advice and also a beautiful example of balance. Blogging is fun and it has rewards across a broad spectrum. I too have a product in the works, a course on the true potential and promise of aging…due for April hopefully. Happy to share this blogging adventure with you Barrie.

    But

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Christopher,
      It is so nice to see you here. It does take hard work to get enough followers to earn an income and to create products. Don’t give up! I know you have something valuable to share in your lovely blog.

  16. Susan Liddy says:

    My blog is a CRITICAL part of my business marketing.

    Combined with Social Media, it is what enables me to reach beyond my local region and into a global market place. In the last 6 months alone I have served clients in Spain, Africa, Netherlands, Canada and the US.

    It’s SO fun to be able to work with women around the globe!

    Susan

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Susan,
      That’s fantastic. Congratulations! Please read my comment to Lori above about branding your name when you make comments. I’d love to know what your business is. Will you share that? Thank you so much for commenting Susan. :)

  17. Dr. Cris says:

    Great Suggestions Barrie,

    I just reserved a spot for the next A-List Blogging Boot Camp. I’ve heard so many great things about the camp and the club. One of the most challenging aspects of blogging is bring in new readers to your blog regardless of your great content. I’m so looking forward to changing that. Thanks for your guidance!

    Dr. Cris, the Dream Job Doctor

    http://thedreamjobdoctor.com
    http://thedreamjobdoctor.blogspot.com

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Cris,
      Nice to see you here! :)
      You will really enjoy the A-List Bootcamp. By the way, I love the name The Dream Job Doctor. You might consider that for your blog title.

  18. This is a very inspiring post, Barrie. Thank you for sharing your journey. One of the things that I think bears stressing is the need to stay with it, as you’ve done, AND the need to stay focused.

    In 2006, I started a couple sites, and by the middle of 2007, I was making about a thousand dollars a month from them. Not anything to dance a jig over, but it was a start. Unfortunately, I kept trying to do too many things online at once, and I burned out and stopped. Completely. I was lucky to get passive income from an e-book over the next three years, about $400 to $600 a month, which was nothing to sneeze at, but imagine what I could have done if I’d followed a path like yours. :)

    In September, I started over, and I’m taking an approach far more like yours this time. I’m not there yet, but this time, I’m enjoying the journey, so I know I’ll create the income I want.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Ande,
      Boy, you did take on a lot at one time. Blogger burnout can definitely take over when you are stretched thin. I agree that when you are first starting, it’s best to focus on your one blog and get it going. Then start building your empire! So glad you are back in the game.

  19. Barrie, You are like a well connected, snowball. You keep growing the more you connect! It’s great to watch your growth. How exciting to see all your hard work pay off.

  20. Wow Wow Wow. I’m inspired!! I am a subscriber but with some unexpected events this past weekend I haven’t read the earlier post you mention… but I’m kinda glad I saw THIS ONE first! I’ve written my items, I’ve already signed up for a Blog Help course (sort of), and the hardest part is staying focused on doing/completing/deciding on one idea at a time and making it coherent and not so full of the words ;-).

    Thanks for some excellent easy-to-remember points and remembering the purpose is serving the readers… I started a weight loss blog more to share with IRL family and friends the journey I’m on, but since I have over 150lbs to lose (!) I have had thoughts of perhaps some kind of future revenue producing venture as a result of this particular adventure.

    Again, thank you. I’m a huge fan of Leo Babuta, and his 6changes.com has changed my life, probably forever.

    Warmly,
    Carrie in the Desert

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Carrie,
      I’m so glad you found the post helpful. Congratulations to you on starting a blog and on your weight loss journey. You really need to see my friend Stephanie’s blog about her same journey — http://www.tradingpounds.com. Leo is a great person. He has touched so many people

  21. Much appreciation for your inspiring article, Barrie!

    What you say resonsates well with me, and I know it is already lending support to my blog development and expansion.
    Ahnalira

  22. Rick Barlow says:

    Barrie,

    This was very helpful. It’s especially good to see some real numbers and related time frames. I hope to launch my first blog within the next 60 days, and I will take your advice to heart.

    R.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I’m so glad it helped Rick. Best of luck with your new blog. Please let us know when it’s up and running.

  23. Congratulations and you got it right just like am doing right now..i keep on blogging so the money will come on me..it was success to you so two thumbs for you:)

  24. You have so many good points there.. nice blog! this will work for many of us too.

    Rob
    Enlightened Wealth Institute

  25. I really needed to hear this. I just started blogging and don’t have a single follower yet:(

    I love writing, and writing about writing, and I’m not going to stop until I have an audience.

    This article inspired me. I need to have faith and be patient and keep grinding.

    Thank you!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      You are so welcome John. Some great resources are the blogs Think Traffic, Smart Passive Income, Problogger, and Copyblogger. Keep at it — you will get that audience!

  26. nice one!! :)

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