Quite Possibly the Most Common Misconception About Blogging for Income

This post will not win any awards for profundity and it runs the risk of being deflating (I don’t mean it to, so read to the end). Still, I think it’s worth saying because it is such a common misconception among new bloggers. We gotta be real here.

spectacular achievement

Here’s the thing. If you want to start a blog with the intent to make significant income (more than coffee money), you must be in it for the long haul. Not weeks or months, but I’d say at least a year, or more likely years.

Sure, there are exceptions to any rule and some niches lend themselves to making money quicker than others (deal blogs, but if you are going to dive into that niche, prepare yourself for HUGE amounts of work and HUGE competition—you’ve gotta love it).

For most of us, blogging is a long term commitment. Most of the people I know who are making a great part-time income have been at it for at least a year. Anyone who is making a full-time income as a blogger has been at it for years.

I’m not sure why so many people think blogging has quick monetary returns. For most of us, it absolutely does not.

If you need cash fast because you lost your job and have no savings, or are trying to fund an adoption within a few months (I’ve gotten emails saying both), starting a blog today will likely leave you frustrated and disappointed. Really, if you need a good chunk of cash within the next few months, I would highly recommend you explore other income generating avenues first. Blog on the side, yes, but get your income flowing quickly with something else.

I do not mean to be the bearer of bad news. Nor have I ever intended to give the impression that blogging is an excellent opportunity to make cash quickly. Can you make money blogging? Absolutely. Lots and lots of people are doing so. (My main income streams are listed on my Tools page.) But most of us have been working at it steadily for a very long time.

Seasoned Bloggers, Similar Stories

I’ve had conversations with others who’ve been blogging a long time. We’ve all gotten emails from people who felt discouraged that their blogs were not making money “like other blogs.”

First of all, be careful when you make assumptions about how much other bloggers make. That’s my first piece of advice. Unless you know for sure, don’t assume anything. And don’t get me started about the comparing thing (like I did here and here)!

But those issues aside, when I get emails from bloggers who are discouraged, 7 times out of 10, when asked how old their blog is, they tell me it’s a few months old. My friends!! If you’re making anything after a few months, I’d say that’s great!

My Advice

Start a blog. Yes! Absolutely. The world is changing. Anyone who wants to write a book, have a resume, start a business, etc., should have a home base online. It’s just the way things are going in the world today. The wonderful thing about a blog is that it’s relatively easy to set up and low cost.

But, while you do, keep your day job (or find a new one) while you build your blog on the side. Blog your passion. Carve out regular time each day to focus on a few simple tasks (mostly writing great content!!) and look for general, upward trends over long periods of time. It’s possible you might have huge success right away which would be great (and tell the rest of us so we can copy you), but if not, know that you are completely normal and most of us have walked the very same path.

Blogging is work! Fun work, but work nonetheless.

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Comments

  1. says

    This is an amazing blog! I’ve just started a blog after my last host unexpectedly removed my last site and so it’s back to the old drawing board.

    I’m definitely in this for the long run and it’s nice to now have at least an IDEA what to expect as far as income.

  2. says

    Amy,
    I know this is an older article but it is sooo worth the read! It put things in perspective for me and I realised that I am on track and doing pretty well in the long run. At least that is my take on it. I enjoy blogging and since I have been out of work for ages (feels like it but really under a year) I am using this time to find new ways to entertain myself by getting creative and blogging about it. Believe it or not, I was thrilled to see my ad sense account today say my lifetime earning was over $2, and it was thrilling because I have only been blogging seriously since Feb 2013! So $2 was a bigdeal to me, and I am working on getting setup for other ways to generate income via my blog too.

    Thanks for writing this up and for the info. Even if I read it wrong, I feel good about where I am at blog wise right now, and that’s always a good thing!

    Bev at Give me a paintbrush

  3. says

    Solid advice – and disheartening – but I have already had several reality checks. Thank you for another.

    It’s kind of arrogant of us newcomers, I suppose, to think that we are going to take the world by storm in a couple of week’s time. Thankfully, I’m in it for the long run, but I am also to the point where I’m thinking I won’t ever really make money. I have to do this because I enjoy the work.

    • Amy says

      I’m not sure it’s arrogance as much as it is just not understanding how it all works. :) The internet is so fast and on-demand that I guess it’s somewhat reasonable to think my own information should get spread just as quickly as others. But as with so many things, slow and steady really does work best!

  4. says

    I have been slowly working through your archives now for months. I started my blog in January 2012 with the help of your How to start a blog series. I love this article and the other that you have like it “where you did a shout out to other bloggers to be open with others about their incomes”. I have a said it before, but I keep needing to remind myself. I have come up with the mindset that I am in “Blogging University” and since I am doing it with 3 kids in tow I am going for the Fall, Winter and Summer semesters part time for 4 years to get my degree. I am doing it debt free, started my first term with Christmas money. Your website is my basics in blogging 101 course. And it is making a difference. I am up to 3700 unique visitors a month now! Thanks for all your tips! and for getting others to open up and encourage us newbie’s to keep with it!

    • Amy says

      Sounds like you are off to a great start and you have a great attitude, Victoria. I love your school analogy and I’ve often compared to my online adventure in the same way. I, too, have done this debt free and while it’s a bit slow at first, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I have a friend about my age who recently started a “real” business with lots of equipment and employees. She’s make considerably more than I am on an annual basis, but she basically confessed to me that she hardly sleeps at night because the weight of the debt is so overwhelming. She also lamented the fact that her company is not something she’s passionate about and many mornings she would just like to stay in bed. The problem, of course, is that she doesn’t feel like she can stop. After our candid conversation, I decided that for me (I know everyone’s story is different), I would much prefer the slower growth and be able to work how I want and when I want…and sleep at night. :)

  5. says

    Do you know the statistics? I once read that many bloggers don’t make more than $100 a year, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I can say after a little over two months of blogging that I’ve been able to make $200 so far this month.

    • Amy says

      I’m not sure there are any hard and fast “this is how much bloggers make” because it varies so widely. Every once in a while you see a list come out that lists how much bloggers make but usually those lists highlight those that make quite a bit of money. Not sure if anyone has ever done an “average income” study. If I find one I’ll pass it on!

      • says

        Ok thanks! I was curious and I couldn’t find any info. I’m pretty happy to make what I am now, even though it’s not much! I put a lot of work in my blog mostly because I’m on unemployment LOL and have nothing to do.

  6. says

    I’m loving your site as a resource as I attempt to start my own blog. I think I have the niche part down with a definite target audience, but I’m finding it hard to get traffic. Any possible money has to come from high traffic on your site otherwise all tips you mention just sit there! So thats my biggest struggle now, just attempting to get my blog OUT THERE!! I will be cruising your site for more tips and tools and crossing my fingers in 5 years I’ve got coffe money + ;) Thank you Amy!

  7. says

    Thanks for another great post. It was good to read through all the comments, too. I love sharing what I’m passionate about on my blog, but sometimes it’s so demanding it almost feels like I have a third kid. If I don’t post enough, traffic drops like a rock. :(P I’m hoping that switching to WordPress will improve my SEO, but I feel like I’ve got so much to learn that it’s overwhelming at times.

    Thanks again for keeping it real.

  8. says

    Great post!! As for me, my blog has been a great source of “free” (except for yearly blog upkeep costs) advertising for my other money-making ventures. SO, in that sense it does make me money, but not as a blogger, per se. On the other hand, the free advertising it is generating for my Etsy shop and my digi shop would not exist if someone didn’t find my blog posts interesting in the first place, right? My message: diversify and follow your passions! OH, and blog the adventure of life!

  9. Stephanie @ Kick-Ass Wife says

    I just started my blog 2 months ago, and in my head it is a two year plan before I expect any significant returns. I will be leaving the Navy in two years to hopefully start a family and want the blog to be making some money by then.

    If I have any success before then that would be great but I am not expecting it.
    Slow and steady wins the race!

  10. says

    Another outstanding post on a subject that is important to anyone thinking about earning any money, little alone, making a living from writing a blog. There is a wealth of information in the article and in the responses that should help to provide some much needed clarity and guidance for not only the “newbie”, but also the more seasoned professional blogger. Thanks for trying to help so many to understand that there can and should be so much more to blogging than making money and that it can and should be a passion in order for it to be fulfilling no matter what your motivation may be.

    FrugalFather

  11. says

    Oh girl – I am so thankful now that I have your site to send all my readers to who ask, “How can I start a blog and make money?” I wish I would have had this site when I started. It would have saved me a year of learning it on my own, but honestly, that’s kind of one of the reasons I do think my blog has shown a steady growth of loyal readers.

    I didn’t know you could make money on a blog for almost a year after I started. It was just someone sharing her life in a little corner of the internet with no clue how things worked in the big blogging world. And that was a lot easier.

    Have a professional blog puts a whole new twist to it, but I am so thankful that there’s an avenue for work at home moms to make an income and yes, a potentially good one, even if you are not a deal blogger. To do that it’s about relationships and authenticity and carving out a place where brands and readers feel that they know and trust you.

    Thanks Amy , for all you do. :) We love ya, girl.

    • Amy says

      Thanks, Jen. And the love goes both ways, you know. :) Your energy and life are contagious. Plus, you’re just plain fun. (If y’all don’t know Jen, you should check out her blog. She is frugal in a very down-to-earth way and talks about all sorts of practical life stuff. She is one of the bloggers I credit as being so helpful to me as I started down this road!)

  12. says

    Thanks for this. GREAT to be reminded. I LOVE to write, and would LOVE to make money at it to help our family, but that’s not why I started. Sometimes, it’s hard not to let those dollar signs start slipping into my brain and making me want some. But I started b/c I realized there was a place where I could write and keep my thoughts together in an organized place, along with my pictures…a book for my kids and friends and family. The other day, my husband told me that he loves getting on my blog to see what I’ve written. I didn’t realize he liked my blog that much. So, as long as he’s reading, I’ll blog. :) And when there is money for us, well, I can’t say I won’t smile about that. :)

    • Amy says

      I love the part about your husband. Sounds like you’ve got a good thing goin’ there! I do think we talk a lot about money, but as you say, there’s so much more to be gained from blogging than just the cash. Thanks for your input!

  13. says

    Hi Amy, Thanks for an interesting post which has generated so many other interesting comments. I also think that making money via blogging is very difficult and unless you are a) truly passionate and b) have a good business strategy then it’s always going to be hit and miss.

    I’ve been a freelance writer for about 30 years with varying degrees of success at different times and in different countries – we’ve lived in 11. The freelance arena changes constantly and it’s something you have to stay on top of. Which I guess prepared me a little for the blogging side of things.

    Back in 2002, when blogging started to become popular I swore blind that unless it was for Charity, I would NEVER write for free (it was just too much hard work staying abreast of the commitment required to actually write and be paid!). But times change.

    We moved to Australia from Cape Town when the GFC had just struck and publications were cutting back on freelancers. I got rejection after rejection. I started Zigazag in March 2010 as a platform to keep my writing muscles supple, as a way of making sense of the new world, sights and sounds I found around me, as a way of helping others who were either new to this beautiful area or who were thinking of holidaying here, and as a way to hopefully get noticed and launch myself into the Australian writing market, -

    My strategy was sketchy (and in retrospect looks much clearer!) but it worked and unwittingly, Zigazag became my cheerleader. I had some articles and features accepted and was asked to give some writing workshops – not enough to pay the rent, but enough to satisfy my urge to write and be reimbursed for what I do. Then, via a publication I write for, the work I’d put in on Zigazag earnt me a writing gig for Fodor’s Travel guide, which put me in the spotlight with restaurants and hotels … and one thing leads to another.

    I’d love it if I could monetise Zigazag one day, but for the time being she is like a friend that I love sitting down with and anything I do with her doesn’t feel like work. She introduces me to some cool folks. She’s beginning to help and amuse people, and I like her for that. I’m beginning to like her spirit and her ‘let’s see if this works’ attitude, and I enjoy the fact that she makes me keep up with new age technology and social media.

    One day, who knows, she may surprise me and become a significant money earner. But if she doesn’t there’s no way I’ll give up on her.

    So for others wanting to earn a living via blogging, I’d also say: Be passionate about what you do, love the topic you’re writing about, research lots on the internet but not to the point of analysis paralysis, and over time develop an online strategy with offline offshoots for making money via blogging.

    • Amy says

      What a great story, Jo! I love it! And I agree, don’t allow your research to lead you to the point of “analysis paralysis.” I’ve been there! It’s gotta be fun so a good blog topic is one you know you’d write about anyway.

  14. says

    Great post. We have been blogging now for 18 months and have only started to implement monetization strategies. You have to have an audience who like and trust you before you can start making money from what you do. Every blogger should be focused on spending a good year of building your community and creating great content first.

    This is definitely not a get rich quick thing. There is so much work involved that you should only be doing it if you truly love it. It is only by truly loving it that you will stick with it through the challenges.

    It is really exciting what can be done once you do get to the money making stage. We are working on some amazing projects right now and I can’t wait until we get the final okay. It will be awesome to see all our hard work pay off with a full time income and the travel we so love doing!

    Thanks for speaking the truth about this topic

  15. says

    Hi Amy,
    Your blog has been such a help to me! Although I have been blogging for several years, I only started A Mother’s Heritage about 10 months ago…I am happy to say it is growing, but it can be discouraging at times. I have a good affiliate list but find people not jumping at purchasing through my posts. I have had other experienced bloggers tell me that over time people will build more trust in my blog and be more ready to buy when I recommend something.

    I was wondering how important do you think a professional blog makeover is to the growth of a blog? I have been told that my blog is beautiful, but I have not had it professionally designed. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Amy says

      I would say that it’s definitely not necessary if you have a certain amount of design know-how yourself. I would consider it if you (a) don’t want to spend the time and energy to learn a bit about designing yourself or (b) your current design is one that you really dislike. A lot of bloggers design their own blog! Another low-cost option is to simply have a header designed and plug it into a free theme.

  16. says

    Agree! But on the bright side, if you are writing what you’re passionate about it doesn’t seem much like work. Before I monetized my blog I did it purely for fun. After I monetized, it takes more time and effort but keeping a running list of ideas for the blog and a routine of when to post, helps keep my attitude positive.

  17. says

    I really appreciate this post. I have been blogging since June and feel so discouraged that, although many people comment on the quality and content, I am not making money (which we desperately need). I have two young children and have been feeling the guilt factor as well… because, if I’m not making an income, why am I allowing myself to feel so distracted and so driven to post?!
    I know I need to do more research, change my theme, learn more about google analytics, etc. but honestly I’m lucky if I find the time to post! For now, I’m trying to take the pressure off myself in this respect and look to other money-making ventures to get me by until my children are older and I can devote more time/energy to profit.

  18. says

    When my web designer set me up with a blog in April 2008, I had no idea what it was for or how to use it. However, I love to write, show my work, and am always looking for ways to promote my business.

    I’ve grown into blogging and now post 5 days a week, read and comment on other blogs, and am always looking for blogs that I like as well as I like my own! (yikes, watch out for a lightning strike!)

    “Monetizing” my blog? Not a chance! It is to provide the inside story of my art work, to support my business, to enhance my art, to allow me to connect with all the fine folks who like my work.

  19. says

    I agree and I applaud you posting the reality of blogging for income. I feel like the message we “get” at times is blogging = money and “easy” money at that. Having been a blogger since 2008 and needing to make money from it I can say that it has been a long hard row to hoe and I’m still only making a part-time income that is not very regular, but our family has been hugely blessed with free products and family-travel opportunities. I’d say the $$ in products/travel outweighs the income part – which is really what we need more of. But on the flip side, we have useful things and have gone places I know we would not have or could have gone had they not been offered free via blogging. This past summer I started an ebook about going from nothing to where I am in blogging and the blessing its been. If I ever finish it ;) I’m hoping it will sell well enough to help us pay off debt and give me a budget to do some things w/ my blog that requires paying someone. My husband just picked up a 2nd job because we need the money so there is no “getting rich” about anything we do! lol

  20. says

    Amy – pure gold – just pure gold. I read you – I don’t think I’ve commented – sorry for lurking. I really heart what you write. A question or two?

    I have two blogs – 11 months old – combined “unique” visits of about 5,000 per month and climbing. I haven’t monetized yet – is it getting to a size where I could begin to monetize – for at least fancy coffee money.

    I get the feeling two blogs of 5,000 visitors is not as good as one blog with 5,000 visitors – am I right?

    And if it were you – would you post on your blog and let people know that you’re going to begin to try to make a buck – kinda because you have to – but things won’t change one bit – and “I HEART YOU GUYS” – like that kinda?

    Thank you – I’d really heart answers. And please go to Blissdom !!!!!! I would have gone to Relevant to meet you – but there was that “no boys allowed” sign on the door. A friend brought a flat Craig though ツ God bless and keep you Amy.

  21. says

    Hi Amy! I absolutely loved meeting you and hearing from you during the Relevant breakout. I don’t make money on my blog and don’t plan to but love reading your blog and soaking up all your blogging wisdom. I still need to watch that YouTube on flat iron curling :)

  22. says

    Sometimes, I’ll get an email from a new blogger or someone thinking about it – and the first question usually has to do with money. How do I make money – what are the best affiliates?

    This kind of makes me sad and I’m afraid some of these folks may be in for a rather big shock. It also makes me said that blogging for some is a way to make money and little to nothing more. Interestingly enough the only way to make money blogging is by bringing in traffic and offering value. And by value, I mean value to the readers, not just your pocketbook.

    As far as deal blogging goes – is there money? Yes. But it’s also an incredibly, incredibly saturated niche and I believe one would have to work exceptionally hard at this point to get footing. At this point my biggest advice to someone considering starting a deal blog just to make money? See if you can’t contribute somewhere! Many of the larger deal sites do have contributors and the $$ you earn there may be quicker and more rewarding than starting from scratch!

    • says

      I agree with you. I honestly think with deal blogging it’s become way over saturated and now if bloggers are starting out, for me I’d say stay away from deal blogging or come up with something that hasn’t been done before. I have seen some recently that are solely organic deals, which is a good way to get into the niche. There are so many creative ideas to chose from.

    • Amy says

      That’s a great point about deal blogging being saturated. It is. Doesn’t mean it’s not possible to break in, but it’s getting harder and harder to do so. I tell those who want to deal blog to go local—much better opportunity there, I think.

      • says

        I was so glad Amy that that you included that deal blogging does makes money, but also that it’s a LOT of work. Sometimes I feel like as a deal blogger other bloggers might think I’m in it to for a “quick” buck, but I’ve been at it for almost two years now (eek!) and while there is income to be had (after two years. . . ) I had NO idea how much work it was. (If I had, I don’t know that I would have ever started!) I do feel like there are so many zillions of deal bloggers out there, but there are still some things that I don’t see on other sites that I hope people stick around for on my site (tough to imagine though when there are so many good ones available!)

        Thanks so much for another great post!

        • Amy says

          Yes, I’m amazed at how hard you deal bloggers work! The time-sensitivity of your posts really keeps you on your toes. :) That’s why I say you gotta love it.

  23. says

    Unlike others, I quit my job first and then started a blog! But I was having a personal blog before that for about 1.5 years, so I was not exactly a newbie. I work on a difficult technical niche where it takes quite some time for me to understand the protocols and technologies which I write about in my blog. Many a times, there is no material for the topics that I write about. So, I need to even research installation manuals! One post (of 800 – 1200 words) used to take 2 days. After two years, I have a decent traffic but I have put the monetization on hold.

    Contrary to what other bloggers feel, I think that monetizing a blog within the first 2-3 years, actually hurts the traffic/ reputation/ user-engagement. Advertising pays so less that we can put it up after we get high amounts of traffic. Any other monetization activity requires the involvement of users, and I don’t want to do that (at least now).

    I feel that people getting into blogging need to be ready to make a substantial amount of investment (living costs for 2-3 years) and work on freelancing projects (writing, in my case) to support themselves during that time. There is no point of trying to make money during the initial stages of a blog. And yes, be ready to face the society which always judges you on a ‘permanent job’ and ‘paycheck value’. In my case, I have enjoyed replying to people but not everyone might be ready for the social stigma!

  24. says

    Here is my .02 cents…I have been blogging for about 1 1/2 years. I did it before then for various websites but never with the intent to make money. I work on my site and various other avenues that stem from it way more than I have worked on anything else as well as much harder. After 1 1/2 years, I am in between making a good part time income nearly full time income at this point. I quit my day job just in the last 3 months. It was the best move I have ever made; however, it takes A LOT of work to generate income and it takes other income streams than just posting and writing each day. I think that is what I have found to be the most underestimated part of blogging for income. Most of those I have talked to, friends mainly that want to work from home like I am doing now…think that they can just write a post for 30 minutes and make a decent income. They think that it’s easy to work from home with kids, but it isn’t. I have days where I feel like my son is being entertained by Sesame Street more than me and for me that’s hard to handle. So, to avoid this I work at all times he’s asleep or at preschool which can mean nonstop working, late nights and early mornings. It has it’s pro’s and con’s like any other job. My old job, I could leave and be done with work and have a steady paycheck. With blogging some months are better than others and I really cannot just turn it off, I’m always seeing emails come in and have random campaigns and task that have to be done at various times. However, I LOVE what I do, I am passionate about it and want to do it. It’s not a burden to ‘go to work’ because I love it. So, in saying all that, I completely agree with you it does not happen overnight and I too was under that impression initially as well. It takes constant work and also knowing your niche and companies that work with people in your niche to get jobs that stem from your blog is vital too…depending on what niche you are in.

    • says

      I sincerely appreciate your heartfelt comment. I, too, struggle with posting vs. quality time w/my kids. I am happy to hear it’s not that I’m doing something WRONG, but it’s just a part of the “job.” Although I recently decided to give up trying to blog for income, I can’t seem to turn my brain “off” so I will likely keep posting and (when I get a couple extra minutes) do the research and the “cleaning” that’s necessary to bring my blog to a place where it makes a little extra cash for our whole food grocery budget. :)

  25. says

    I think this is a great post! I have never taken my blog seriously until recently. Well, “serious” is a bit of an overstatement:) Blogging is hardwork. I would love to generate some money from my blog but I personally would be very excited about $20 a month! lol I started affiliate things last week and made $7 so far…2 starbuck coffees!! :) Right now I am focusing on taking my blog more seriously because I feel I’m honoring God more. Not because I blog but because I am focusing on communicating instead of wasting time online. If it grows to make money…great. If not, I am totally fine with it. I think your honesty will resonate with people.

  26. says

    Tawra is the one who told me it would be hard! :)

    I’m a deal blogger. My site just passed its two-year anniversary, and I’ve blogged almost every weekday (and many weekends, if we’re being honest here). There are a zillion deals to post every day, so we’re not talking about one post a day either. It makes me a tiny little part time income, but I work at it like a full-time job.

    There’s no way I could support myself or my family by doing this particular blog. It *does* offer me some flexibility, but like any kind of self-employment, if you take time off for a kid’s school activity or even a “networking lunch,” you lose money and/or have to make up the work you didn’t do. (In deal blogging, sometimes the deals are only available for a very short period of time; if you don’t get them written immediately, you’re too late.)

    Maybe there’s something I can do to make it more successful, but I can tell you that I’m no slouch. I’ve worked very hard, I’ve passed on what I’ve learned to others and do things simply to support the community or a cause, I’ve built up a good-sized social network, I’ve invested some (not a lot of) money and a TON of time learning technical things, I respond immediately to comments, I stay alert to what is happening in my niche (local), I read everything that I can get my hands on (like Blogging with Amy) to learn more.

    Tawra was really, really right. :)

    • says

      Carolyn, I’m glad to hear you forged on inspite of what I said! :-) I don’t want to sound like I’m being just totally negative but like Amy’s post says it’s not an over night thing and it is A LOT of work!

      Part of my problem is I’m chronically ill too so I can’t stay up all hours of the night or get up at 5 am to work either. I have about 2 hours at naptime and then some days I’m just too worn hour then to do any work. That’s why Mike and mom have taken over and done a lot of the work now but it’s still an uphill battle.
      Good luck and keep forging on!!!

  27. says

    You’re so right on (as usual) Amy – Blogging is work – fun work, but work, nevertheless.
    I’ve been blogging for 4 1/2 years, and it’s been 6 months since I started reading your site which lead me to take my blog seriously and endeavor to make some money. Now, thanks to my ebook, I’m actually making enough money that I could afford web hosting AND buy my husband a fancy coffee – hooray!. A webinar or local classes are my next direction, if the Lord leads. Great suggestions – thanks for always sticking around for the comments and conversing with us!

  28. says

    Oh yeah!!! It was 8 years before we made any profit at all but at the time our focus was selling print books. We are self published authors and it’s HARD to sell books. We have been doing this 12 years now so it’s been a long road because we started before there were “easier” ways to make money by having a blog instead of a website.

    After we added e-books we did start making money but really, we have 3 people working on it now and we make money enough that we live off of it but only 2 of us.

    If you think you will be able to “be your own boss” and “work around the kids” or “whenever you want” you will be sadly mistaken.

    For us it’s things like the site crashing during one of our 3 major sales while we are on vacation and have to spend and entire day of our vacation trying to get it back up. (note these sales make up 1/2 of our yearly income so the site being down is a major problem.)

    It’s things like trying to get an e-book done or sale ready in time for the deadline which you can be up until midnight for several nights trying to get it done.

    It’s almost NEVER getting a break from approving comments, dealing with lost orders, and stopping fights on your site.

    So yes, you can work for yourself and when you have to take your kid to the ER you can take off but you then have to make up that time later, usually the middle of the night.

    It’s a lot of work and honestly I tell people don’t do it but I am a very tired worn out mom and honestly burned out but we are making about $20 an hour doing it and I’ve spent so long working on it that I hate to give up yet before we make “good” money. :-)

  29. Lori @ Just Pure Lovely says

    Yup! I hardly ever speak of my blogging with real life people, because they almost always then want to know how it’s a great part-time job for me. They want to know how they could have whatever they’re assuming I make each month. But, the thing is, I started my high trafficked, monetized blog (FreelyEducate.com) in 2006, as a mailing list to help people. In late 2008, I moved it to a blog format; in early 2010, I began monetizing it (ads and sponsored posts). Now it’s like having a very high paying part-time job, or a low-paying full time job that I work only 10-15 hours a week to do. I’m so blessed by it. But. I paid my dues. I worked hard for a long time, I built traffic, and I monetize carefully. In my world outside of blog conferences, I haven’t yet met anyone who wants to take as long as it takes to be successful.

  30. says

    Yes! And being consistent is the key to eventually making money. You can’t just go nuts for a week and then drop the ball for a month, expecting everything to be the same. You have to carve out the time and the dedication, any way you can.

  31. Kay says

    Two years ago I was in a completely toxic job with an equally toxic boss. Two months after starting my blog, I walked off the job because it was either that or lose my mind.

    While I don’t regret walking off the job and having to scrape by freelancing for the last two years, I had the thought that my blog would totally start to take off and I’d be ok, which was totally wrong. It’s only recently that money has started coming in, and even so, it’s not nearly enough to make a decent living.

    Still, I love what I do on my blog and see a bright future. I think a lot of people see the BIG name bloggers – like Dooce and Ree Drummond – and get swept away. Even with the big names, it took years for them to make names for themselves.

  32. says

    I agree whole-heartedly. :) And I think some niches lend themselves to making money more easily, while others definitely do not. (I fall in the latter category in case you’re wondering!).

    Add in living in a state that has very few affiliate options (NC) and the money-making opportunities are even less for us non-deal bloggers.

    Honestly, almost all of the money I generate is only indirectly related to my blog.

    I think your assessment of years (plural) couldn’t be more accurate.

    -Lauren

    • says

      Fantastic post!! I know when I went into this I had the realization that blogging was NOT instant money. I have, however, found other “income” in the form of value added to myself. I love blogging, but I have also found that I LOVE putting together websites, learning how to “do that”, and seeing the back-end of the blogging world. I enjoy getting comments and seeing my blog “grow”. For me, the money is the side result of all this other great stuff going on. I have watched a lot of blogs, with great potential, die because the blogger did not see instant income. Blogging for income is just like starting a “business”. You have to put in a tremendous amount of work and dedication to see things pan out, and sometimes they just never do. But.. in the end you just have to pick yourself up and keep going when that failure happens. Some of the biggest blogs on the street where NOT the persons first attempt.

  33. says

    Even though I started my blog about 18 months ago, I only got serious about updating it regularly about 5 months ago. Initially, I incorporated Google Adsense and made about $12 in one year. Unfortunately, pay-outs start at $100. So, I’m no longer concerned about Adsense and have no ads on my blog…and sense I’m still a rookie at this, I’ll ask a silly question. Are the ads how people make money with blogs?

    • Amy says

      There are no silly questions on this blog, Bryan! :)

      Ads is one way but not the only way. Affiliate marketing is a big one. Some people work with brands and get paid as spokespeople (or brand ambassadors) for that. Others create things like ebooks or charge for consulting (these are like offshoots of the blog, the blog being your main online presence). You might also think about doing online workshops (webinars) or offline workshops (in your community), again, as offshoots of your blog. I also compiled a list of 8 more ways to make money online, some using a blog and some not. So many possibilities! Great question.

  34. says

    I would say I agree. With just about all of it. I’ve been blogging a bit over a year now, and I’d say the first 6 months or so it was for pennies. In fact, I probably blogged in the negative (even though my blog has always been self sustaining!) when I factor in how many hours I put into it!

    A lot of it is simply the learning curve, but if we’re really being super honest, it’s about building a community that trusts and values you. Not everyone is capable of doing that. You won’t know unless you try though.

  35. says

    Agree, agree, agree. No one should do this solely for the money, or you’ll be disappointed. Like any field you work in, it is the time you spend, the connections you make, and mostly, the talent you possess that will attract an audience and therefore, attrack advertisers. Blog for your passion, or don’t do it at all. Your audience will know.

  36. says

    Great post and good info. Amy! I’m so sporadic in my blogging. I know that isn’t good – especially if I want to make even “coffee money” blogging. :-)

  37. says

    awesome amy! love it….
    I have just started to see some income from my blog the past month or two. I have been at it since January! your blog has kept me going!

    Here is the thing though…and I think I know what you will say, but just want to confirm
    ok, so you say you must be in it for the long haul and you won’t make money right away! and its a lot of work (actually a TON of work, i am finding)(and it’s slightly addicting!)
    anyway, i get that you won’t make a lot right away. i get that

    but, if you are in it for the long haul, doesn’t blogging have the potential to make you more and more money…like if you are constantly moving upward….eventually (though it may be years) you have the potential to make really good money? like haven’t some people been able to quit their jobs and blog as their job?

    i guess i ask this, for a couple of personal reasons, one being that we plan on sending both our children to private christian school. i am hoping that by the time my little guy gets to school the blog will pay their tuitions…so see I am fine with waiting…but I guess i just want to confirm that if you are constantly growing your blog and readership than you will make a little more and a little more and a little more until you are making a lot….(granted I get it, that can be 5 years from now…but it has that potential right?)
    would love to hear your thoughts!
    thanks so much. i am constantly directing people to your blog!

    • Amy says

      I would say the short answer to your question is yes. The beauty of blogging (and self-employment in general because that’s what you are as a blogger—self-employed) is that your income has great potential.

      Unlike working for someone else who controls your income (if/when you get raises etc), blogging allows you to explore and increase income streams as you like. Of course there are no guarantees, but I think most bloggers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to increase their income, broaden their scope or take advantage of new opportunities.

  38. says

    I totally agree.

    I’ve been blogging at my own domain for just about a year and only in the last 4-5 months have I been generating income. Not a lot, mind you, but a little more than fancy coffee money.

    There are so many factors to take into consideration and I think the biggest thing we need to be aware of is engaging with our community. You can’t be out just to make money–it’s gotta be more than that. Or again, you’ll just become frustrated.

    If you don’t take the time to connect and build relationships with those in your network or “tribe”, it will be very difficult to convince anyone of resources you want to share with them that will benefit them without it sounding like a sales pitch and nothing more.

    Be genuine in what you have to share with your community — not merely to make money, but because it’s an awesome resource. :)
    That’s my two cents. ;)

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