This posts is all about how I became a full-time blogger in less than a year.
If you’re brand new to this site, let me give you a brief introduction so we’re all on the same page.
*Ahem* My name is Claudia and I started my first site(the on you’re currently one) in October 2018. This blog did (and continues to do) very well in a short period of time.
In fact, within three months of launching, it had over 25,000 sessions and got approved for Mediavine in January 2019!
I honestly couldn’t believe how well it did in such a short period of time that I created a second site!
I wanted to test all my secrets and strategies to see if it was beginners luck or if I was onto something.
And little did I know it, that second site got approved for Mediavine in record time!
I launched my second blog on March 24, 2019 and it was accepted into Mediavine in May! Not even two months later.
So that’s basically the cliff-notes version of my blogging journey.
Overall in 2019 I made a total of $44,396 from my blogs.
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know I cancelled my income reports because I simply didn’t see them as beneficial anymore.
So I won’t be going into detail about the dollar amounts that make up the total, you can learn all about my income streams from my past monthly income reports
Let’s dive right in…
How I Became A Full-Time Blogger In Less Than One Year
It’s crazy to write that sentence.
Especially knowing that my income for the first five months of 2019 didn’t even add up to $10,000.
And then it just shot up!
So what did I do exactly?
1. I Created A Strong Foundation
From October 2018 to April 2019 I was making less than $2,000 a month (some months less than $200) but those six months were incredibly important for the overall success of my business.
When I say ‘create a strong foundation’ I don’t just mean a good hosting plan or strong domain name.
I’m referring to your ‘blogging education.’
I read SO many blogging resources, income reports, guides and spent a lot of money on ebooks and courses.
I am a chronic course-taker and am taking a course at any given time.
You can never assume you ‘know it all’ especially in a world that is changing constantly.
I set aside a couple of hundred dollars every month to invest in courses.
Some months I would invest in a BIG course (those $200 to $600 price-tag ones). Those typically take me a couple of months to go through it all and implement the strategies.
So the following month I would buy a smaller course or ebook (less than $100) to supplement the big one.
But I never, ever got stingy with my blogging education.
My logic is: I would spent thousands of dollars on college courses I had ZERO interest in and have not benefited me at all, so why do I hesitate to spend significantly less on something that I 1) am interested in and 2) will directly benefit me, my life, and my business.
I’ll be the first to admit that some course and ebooks were meh, but they were all worth it.
I feel like buying courses and ebooks helped me skip months and get ahead faster than those who are trying to figure it all out on their own.
Can you do it without courses? Honestly, yeah probably! But I value my time much more than my money, and if I can get from Point A to Point B in one month for $100 instead of for free in six months, I’ll pay the money. Every. Single. Time.
2. I Became A Detective
Some blogs I really admired didn’t have courses to teach me their ways.
For example, I absolutely love TheEveryGirl. They are an incredible blog turned magazine-style media company. It isn’t fair to compare my site to theirs as they have hundreds of employees at this point.
However! They grew incredibly quickly and have a bunch of loyal followers (like myself) who love the content they create.
Before I launched my blog, I would spend hours on sites like TheEveryGirl (and many others) to see exactly what it is they did.
What did they write about? Were they writing long posts or short ones? How did they drive traffic? How often did they post?
Find blogs YOU LIKE that resemble the type of site you want to create. Learn from them and see what they do, how they do it, and how you can do it better.
Every blog you encounter can teach you something if you look at it from an analytical standpoint.
By the way: I am not telling you to steal ideas or content. I am telling you to learn, get inspired, and create your own twist on content!
3. I Thought Long-Term
I never really thought of my site as a ‘blog’ but more of a business.
And I have read enough business books to know that the first two years of any business, you barely turn a profit. And even then the margins are slim.
So I planned to work on my business and not see the fruits of my labor for atleast two years.
Going into my business with that mentality is the absolute best way to do it.
We live in an age of instant gratification. Everything seems to happen so fast, but businesses don’t.
And I know it might seem a bit hypocritical for me to say this as I turned a profit within three months, but that wasn’t the point. I was committed to this idea and I wasn’t going to quit or obsess about the money in the beginning.
Not trying to ‘make a quick buck’ allowed me to create quality content and find affiliates that would genuinely help my readers.
The reason people fail is because they chase the money and want it NOW. When you obsess with the numbers (whether its money, page views, followers) you take your attention away from what actually matters: helping your audience!
4. I Created Value
The single most important lesson to be learned!
Whatever you do, you need to create value for your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have the best photography skills, Pinterest strategy, Instagram account, etc. If you don’t add value to your readers lives in one way or another, it’s all for nothing.
Now, you don’t have to end world hunger or solve big problems. The value you add to someones life can be as simple as teaching them how to do a french braid. Or it can be purely entertainment!
What value does reality tv add to someones life? I would argue none (lol, I strongly dislike it!) but many people love it as a source of entertainment.
Same with horror movies. Does the audience learn anything? Probably not. But they are an incredibly entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.
The point is: You can add value to peoples lives through solving problems, motivating them, entertaining them, inspiring them. There are SO many ways. I personally mix it up.
The best way to put this into practice is to ask yourself ‘what do I want my reader to get out of this article? What is the purpose of this post?’
Always view your blog as a reader and not as yourself.
Think about how you can benefit them, even if it’s just providing entertainment for two minutes.
5. I Focused On One Thing At A Time
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to creating a blog, and the learning curve is quite large, however, you can’t learn it all at once.
I decided early on to focus on one thing at a time.
Whether that was navigating WordPress (it’s hard!), creating posts, driving traffic, converting sales, etc. I did it one. step. at. a. time.
If I had tried to create blog posts WHILE mastering Pinterest WHILE running FB ads WHILE emailing my list, I would have 1) burnt out and 2) not gotten any good at anything.
So I did everything in bite-sized chunks.
You can do things in whatever order you please, but focus on one thing at a time! Once you get good at that one thing, add another component to focus on.
At this point I am very confident in my ability to write captivating blog posts, create pins, drive traffic from Pinterest, and find plus convert affiliate sales.
That’s what I focused on throughout the past year. It might not seem like much, but it’s actually a lot when you start from zero and each area requires your full attention.
Now that I have gotten good at those I might focus exclusively on Email Marketing, Selling My Course, Instagram, or a million other areas of blogging I can dive into.
But I will focus on one of those topics. I won’t try to master Instagram while taking on email marketing and creating Fb ads.
6. I Fell In Love With Pinterest
There are a lot of different ways to drive traffic to a site. Facebook, Google SEO, Google Ads, Forums, Influencer Marketing, etc.
However, my holy grail has been PINTEREST.
Pinterest is an amazing resource for bloggers because it isn’t a social media site but a visual search engine that can help you drive loads of free traffic to your site.
The best part about Pinterest (besides being free) is that you can grow a really powerful site with almost no followers and in little time.
Almost 90% of all my traffic (on both sites) comes from Pinterest.
A lot of aspiring bloggers flock to Instagram and Facebook because they are the most well-known social media sites, however, your time would be much better invested in Pinterest.
The ‘life-span’ of an instagram post is a couple of hours and the likelihood of that post to drive traffic to your site is slim.
On the other hand, I have Pinterest pins I created over a year ago that are still driving me traffic.
I always prioritize Pinterest over any other social media site when creating a blog. It is the secret weapon of most successful bloggers.
8. I Moved Fast
Instead of evaluating, analyzing, and overthinking everything; I kept moving.
I constantly created content, pins, more content, reached out to bloggers, studied courses, created even MORE content, and just didn’t stop.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs who get caught up on the little things.
“What type of font should I use? What color theme should my blog be? I can’t hit publish yet, it’s not perfect!” STOP!
Your blog will never be perfect. Stop overanalyzing every little detail.
I look back at posts and pins I created in the beginning and cringe, but who cares?! Everyone starts from somewhere!
I have perfectionistic tendencies and before I actually launched my first blog I was paralyzed by the little things. But then I decided, so what?! I will make a goal to just create and learn as I go.
I won’t overthink any one thing for more than thirty minutes.
And that shift in mentality made all the difference.
As vlogger FunForLouis once said, “It’s a lot easier to to steer a moving car than a parked one.”
Move fast and adjust as you go. That’s the only way to do it.
9. I Monetized Selectively
There are a lot of ways to monetize a blog.
When building up my blog, the most important thing to me was the relationship I had with my readers and the trust I was building with them.
That meant rejecting some high-paying affiliates I didn’t trust.
And also taking the time to use, research, and evaluate the affiliates I would promote.
You can’t expect to throw up a bunch of affiliate links on a site and make sales, especially when you don’t have firsthand experience with the company or products you’re promoting.
Your readers can smell the authenticity of your blog and even if they can’t, if you steer them in the wrong direction once, you lose all trust and authority.
Even when I created my course, it took me well over six months to go from conception to launching it. Although at times I just wanted to finish it already, I didn’t rush the process.
Monetizing a blog isn’t a race (in fact, nothing about blogging is a race).
You have to find affiliates you truly love and recommend, and if you’re creating products, you have to be 100% devoted to the quality of that product.
Doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $5,000, if your name is on it, you need to be 100% positive you stand by it.
Whenever you choose money over quality, you are betting against the longevity of your business.
Don’t be the ‘ig-model promoting skinny teas’ of the blogging world, I beg you.
10. I Believed In Myself
There were moments I was overwhelmed, stressed, and just didn’t see myself making any progress.
But I believed in myself and in my vision more than anything.
Your belief in yourself (or lack of) makes you strong or weak.
I’m not going to get too woo-woo here, but whatever you believe ultimately becomes true.
Person A believes the blogging space is full, saturated, and there is no room for their idea. There’s just too much competition and social media sites change too fast to learn and grow with.
Person B believes they have an amazing idea, that they can adapt to any algorithm change, that they have the skills to make it on their own. They believe in their vision and can almost feel it coming true, even if it’s far away.
Who do you think will succeed?
Clearly, Person B and not because they’re smarter, brighter, or better than Person A, but because they will not stop at the first hurdle. They will push forward.
Person B sees roadblocks for what they are. Lessons to be learned and conquered.
Person A, will see roadblocks as confirmation of their beliefs and give up.
Everything has its learning curve, struggles, and difficulties; but ultimately, my belief in my business, myself, and the life I wanted to create pushed me further and kept me going.