3 Steps I took to Start Monetizing My Blog

If you’re a blogger, chances are you would like to get paid. Even if you don’t want to make a full-time income from it, if you’ve blogged for more than a day you know it’s a lot of work and getting some type of compensation would be really nice.

Am I right? 

Although I knew you could profit from blogging, it wasn’t necessarily my goal when I started this blog. My goal was to be a writer. But in order to be a writer, I needed people to read what I wrote and in order for that to happen I had to actually promote my blog. Which is work. A few months into blogging, I decided that I wanted to monetize. Not just to be compensated for my time, but because I love blogging and I want to continue to stay home with my son.

It seemed like a win-win to me.

Although I knew how people monetize, I wasn’t really sure what that meant for me. As I started to research, I found that many bloggers have invested a lot of money into their blogs. One day I read about a stay at home mom that makes a 6 figure income from blogging. This really inspired me, so I bought her book which only cost me a few bucks. I was so excited!

I was almost immediately deflated when I read that she was “broke” and invested her last $6,000 into her blog.

$6,000??!?!  I barely had $6!! 

3 Steps I Took to Start Monetizing my Blog

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more information.) 

The more I researched, the more I found that this is very common. And why wouldn’t it be? Blogging is a business and financially investing into your business is important. But, the good news is you don’t have to invest thousands or even hundreds of dollars into your blog. (If you have it, by all means… do it! I guarantee you, I would.)

A $6,000 investment may help you monetize more quickly but it absolutely is possible to make money without breaking the bank… or robbing one!

Here are 3 (FREE) steps I took to start monetizing my blog: 

1) Got rid of all the buts in my life. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard bloggers talk about how they “wish” they could make money… but. But I don’t have enough traffic. But I don’t have enough time. But I don’t have enough money. Can I let you in on a little secret? I don’t have any of those things but and I have money in the bank right now that I’ve made through blogging (and more on the way this week). No, it’s not thousands of dollars but it’s a lot more than nothing which is what I was making up until a couple of months ago. It wasn’t until I decided to stop with the buts that I started to make money. I decided that I wasn’t going to wait for more page views, more time, more money, etc. Because the truth is, the only thing I really needed more of was hustle

2) Started applying for sponsored posts. 

Since I had no more buts there was nothing to lose and I got to work signing up with sites like iConnect , Linqia, Social Fabric and Socialix that connect bloggers with brands. Some sites (for example, Linqia) require a minimum number of followers or page views. Instead of using that as an excuse, use it as a goal.  In the mean time, go for the sites don’t have minimums and start applying. 

3) Changed my affiliate strategy (which was no strategy). 

Like many bloggers, for me being an affiliate meant putting up a banner on my sidebar or linking to Amazon when I talked about products I love. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this but you need more of a strategy than that. This is still a work in progress for me but I started by reaching out to my Shareasale  affiliate companies, first to ask for product to review and second to ask for help and guidance. How would they like me to represent them? What has worked well for other affiliates? 

Next, I set a plan to represent them beyond a single post, a banner or the occasional links in posts and I started keeping track of each communication, post and mention. My goal is to have an ongoing relationship with my affiliates which means I need to actively engage with them and promote them.

I still have a ways to go but by taking these three steps, I went from wanting, wishing and waiting to actually making money from my blog.

What buts have gotten in your way? And, more importantly, how can you get rid of them? 

3 Places to Sell Your Baby or Kid Stuff (And Tips on How to Do it Well)

I’m not sure if it’s out of fear of being a hoarder (because I’m pretty sure I could be) or out of necessity but I have sold my son’s baby stuff faster than you can say “Craigslist”. I’ve kept a few favorites in a (very) small bag but other than that… it’s out with the old and in with the new! It’s actually been a great way for me to make some extra cash and keep our storage down to a minimum.

Places to Sell Your Baby or Kid Stuff. Tips on How to Sell Your Stuff Online.

If you are interested in making a little profit on your kids’ stuff there are many options out there. I’ve narrowed my “go to” places down to 3 favorites. Occasionally I’ll go elsewhere but for the most part my stuff sells on one of these three places.

Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade Groups – If you are not in one of these, you need to be. Just do a search on Facebook for your city (or surrounding areas) and “buy sell, trade” or “garage/yard sale”. When I lived in Hawaii, I sold a ton of stuff on the buy, sell, trade group. I have to say, I haven’t had quite as much success here but I still post things on there and have made some sales. Something I have found extremely helpful is in my post I write a meet up location. People are skeptical of going to a stranger’s house. Also, I always write “if you pm me, please let me know in the comments”. Otherwise, messages may go to the filtered box and you could miss out on a sale.

eBay – I love selling stuff on eBay. I especially love the “cha-ching” sound on the app every time I make a sale! I sell a lot of clothes there and other light weight items that can be stuffed into a small flat rate envelope or box. When you are pricing on eBay it’s important to keep three things in mind: 1) shipping costs, 2) the PayPal fee and 3) the eBay fee. (You do not have to pay fees unless your item is sold.) Before I figure out my sale price, though, I type in the item I am selling and I see what others are selling that item (or similar items) for. Then I choose a price that undercuts the other seller(s), even if it’s just by a few cents. I then take this price and I figure out what my profit will be after shipping and fees (I estimate 15% of the selling price for fees). If the profit is worth it to me, I go for it. I always include shipping in my asking price and offer “free” shipping. Another tip for selling on eBay is use as many keywords that will fit into the title box. For example, if I am selling a summer clothes lot I would say something like, “Baby Infant Boy Onesies Shirts Shorts Summer Clothes Lot 3-6 Months”. If I have space, I include brand names as well. I also always include as many pictures as possible. If I’m selling a lot, I take a picture of the whole lot then include individual pictures or pictures grouped by type (i.e. onesies, shorts, etc.)
OfferUp App – This is by far the quickest and easiest of the three, as far as getting a post up. All you do is download the app, use Facebook to start your account and you can be selling in just a couple of minutes. (There is also a web version but I have only used the app.) One of the things I love about this app is that you can see who you are selling to. A couple of months ago I was selling my son’s infant car seat and stroller frame/caddy. The car seat was in excellent condition and the caddy had some wear but still in really good condition. I had several people offer me significantly less than I was asking. Now, I already had a new car seat and stroller so it’s not like I was in dire need of the money. If I wanted, I could have accepted the lower prices. Since I can see the buyers accounts, I went and checked them out. All but one had loads of baby stuff they were selling – including strollers. I knew these buyers were trying to get my stuff for dirt cheap and then they were going to sell it for more. I said “no”. Not that it really matters but if I’m going to drop my price I’d rather do it for a mom who needs the item and can’t afford it. So, this is a feature I really like. Also, when checking out buyers you can see their rating from other sellers. This is pretty cool and helpful.

When using any service to sell stuff, always be clear on your expectations and when meeting up with strangers always use wisdom… and mace, if you need to!

Do you sell your kids’ stuff? If so, where?

 

How to Balance the Blog Life and Mom Life

How to Balance the Blog Life and Mom Life
I have blogged off and on for several years but never anything too serious, or serious at all. When I was 38 weeks pregnant, I decided to pick up blogging again and this time I meant business!

Even though I had blogged before, the only thing I really did was write and occasionally share on social media. So, really, over the past 8 months I’ve been learning the blog thing and the mom thing simultaneously.

Neither is an easy task.

If you want to blog consistently, monetize and/or increase traffic then it takes a lot of time, attention and care. And being a mom… well that takes everything you’ve got!

So, how do you balance blog life and mom life? (And any blogger will tell you it is a life.)

I won’t pretend even for a second that I have this figured out but I have learned a few things that help me in this balancing act.

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How to Balance the Blog Life and Mom Life:

  1. Do what works. If you want someone to tell you to wake up at the crack of dawn, make breakfast, have coffee, shower, put makeup on, read your Bible and write all before your little one(s) wake up… I am not your girl. I don’t do any of those things. I mean, I do them (except the crack of dawn one) just not at the wee hours of the morning. Though, my routine may be more relaxed than a lot of other moms, or it may start later, I still have one. If you want to accomplish anything of significance, having a schedule is a must but the most important part of a schedule isn’t how great it looks like on paper, it’s that it works. Waking up early doesn’t work for me. As of right now, my son and I co-sleep (I know… gasp!). While he will go down alone in the bed and sleep perfectly fine for hours, once I decide to go to bed there is no escaping. If I wake up before him and try to get stuff done, he wakes immediately. Then he’s cranky and it’s  a whole ordeal and nothing gets done anyhow.  I’ve read so many blog posts telling me to wake up early and do x,y, and z but, realistically, it doesn’t work. I don’t know anything about your household, so I would never tell you what time to wake up and go to bed or anything else for that matter. Only you can know what works for you. So, create a schedule that fits your life, something that will work. Write it down and stick to it!
  2. Make lists. I love lists with all of my heart. I’m one of those people that adds stuff to my list that I’ve already done, just so I can cross them off. Lists make me happy. You may not be a list person but making lists will help you maintain balance. Lists will help keep you on track. I think this is especially important considering that almost everything we do as bloggers is on the internet. The internet is a wonderful place but it can also eat up two hours in what seems like two minutes. If I don’t keep lists, my time is easily wasted. I keep a list with two columns “now” and “later”. I write all of my daily tasks down in the “now” column and as other things pop up, I jot them down in the “later”.  I make sure to complete my “now” before moving on to the “later”. If I don’t get to a “later”, it simply moves to a “now” for the next day.
  3. Put your phone down. This is one I’m seriously working on. I could literally work on blog stuff all day long. There is always something to be done and many can be done from my phone. There are certain times that I need to walk away from my phone so that I don’t get distracted from spending quality time with my son or even a simple mommy task like putting his laundry away.
  4. Multi-task when possible. Ok, so this might seem like a contradiction to number 3 but it’s not. I promise. There are certain times when multi-tasking blogging and momming (I know, totally not a word) works. Determine what those tasks are and go with it. For example, some blog group threads that I participate in are tasks I can do while my son is happily playing alone (and by “alone” I mean as long as some part of me is touching some part of him).
  5. Prioritize. I love writing. I love blogging. I could easily lock myself away all day and work on my blog and freelance projects. As much as I love it, though, it is not my top priority. My son is. One of the things I love about the blog life is that I can earn a living from it and stay home with my son. But if it’s taking all of my time and attention that really doesn’t matter. When I notice that blogging is taking priority over my son, I know adjustments need to be made. The scale needs some tipping, so to speak. Also, I have other priorities besides blogging. Being aware of these priorities, helps me make decisions that will keep my life in balance.

How do you balance being the blog life and mom life?

How to Make Cash Without Getting a Second Job (Or a Job at All!)

How to Make Cash Without Getting a Job - Diary of a New Mommy - Novicemommy.com - SAHM - WAHM

I have spent the majority of my adult life employed by churches and non-profit organizations. While this is extremely rewarding, the salaries are not always super competitive (some are, but many are not). Therefore, I’ve frequently looked for ways to supplement my income. Currently, I am a stay at home mom. Again, in need of supplemental income!

People often ask me why I don’t get a job. Not that it’s really anyone’s business but here’s the answer: I made a commitment to myself (and my son) that I would stay home with him for at least the first year of his life (5 if possible!).  There are just too may precious moments that I will never get back.

Something that a lot of people aren’t aware of is that, I do generate income while at home with my son. (Again, not that it’s anyone’s business.) There are some fairly easy ways to make money from home (and some not-so-easy) ways. If you’d like to make money without getting a “job” here are some ideas:

  • Selling stuff! It’s amazing how quickly we can accumulate stuff. Chances are right now you easily have $50 in your garage, closet, desk, etc. I have made quite a bit of money selling my own stuff via eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups, Offer Up and even good old-fashioned yard sales. When I first started selling stuff I mostly used Craigslist but now I primarily use Offer Up or eBay, depending on what it is that I have to sell (for example, large items I would choose Facebook over eBay because shipping costs might drive the price up way too high). This is probably the quickest way to make some cash and it is something I do on a regular basis.
  • Babysitting. If you don’t like kids, you probably should scroll on by this one! But if you happen to like kids and have even just a little experience with them, this is another pretty easy money-maker… and it’s FUN! There are a few ways you can go about getting some babysitting gigs and a variety of services you can offer. One way to get some jobs is by word of mouth. Don’t know who to ask? Who do you know that knows a lot of  people? Start there! I have mostly used word of mouth but I’ve also gotten quite a few jobs from Care.com.
  • Class Action Lawsuits.  This takes a little bit of time so it’s not necessarily a “quick” way to make money but it is by far the easiest. Class action lawsuits are constantly going on and you may qualify to cash in! All you have to do is find  an item you’ve purchased and fill out a claim form (be sure to read the qualifications first). Some claims offer cash and some offer vouchers. Either way, it’s definitely worth checking out. I’ve used Class Action Rebates.
  • Dropshipping. Did you know you could have a store without keeping any inventory? Customers purchase directly from you and you have the item sent from the company to them. You’re basically a middle man or advertiser for the company. I personally have done this using eBay and Amazon and made over $700 in my first month. That’s a nice chunk of “extra” change! I paid for DS Domination to learn how to do this. Obviously, it was worth the investment for me but I didn’t like that in order to learn “more” you had to… you guessed it… pay more. The cost was $19. I also, recently came across Doba. Doba works with thousands of suppliers that you can choose products from to sell from the platform of your choice (i.e. eBay, Shopify, etc.). I recently previewed this company and I was super impressed. Also, Ashley in customer service is amazing!
  • Direct Sales.  I have done quite a bit of direct selling in my day. I’ve never made a full-time income but I have made some pretty good “extra” money. Even though, I haven’t gotten rich from it I know people who have. And I mean, personally know. And I mean have gotten rich. Here’s the thing about direct sales… it does work but it takes work. Also, there are generally start up costs involved. Many are $99 but some go as high as $1000+.  Personally, I’ve never done a business that I didn’t make my investment back in under a month. I’m sure you know someone who does direct sales, if you’re the least bit curious just ask them for some info. If they’re local, ask to meet in person and get yourself a free cup of coffee (I jest, sort of)!

These are just a few ideas. Again, I have done all of these and I have made anywhere from a few bucks (residual income from work I had already done in a month that I didn’t work at all) to almost three thousand dollars in a month.

How have you earned extra cash?