Welcome to my Money Making Blogger interview series where I interview bloggers who are making money from their blogs!
Scroll down if you've been here before, or if it's your first time then read this intro first to understand why I'm doing this interview series.
I've been a full time blogger officially since May 2017. For one year before this I made a part time wage from my blog and worked a part time job. I started blogging in April 2013 and never even realised I could make a real living from my blog and thought it was just a hobby. So for the first three years I didn't make any money from my blog.
Before properly monetizing my blog I did have a few opportunities land in my inbox which I politely declined as I wasn't really sure what they were. Then I stumbled upon some blogger income reports and realised there was some real money to be made. I’ve never looked back and I started collaborating with brands and putting a value on my time and worth, instead of accepting unpaid collaborations. I now make a full time living from my blog and I want you to realise you can do this too, if you want to.
I get to write every day and make money by doing what I love. It’s amazing and still amazes me each day, even two years into making money from my website. It’s not without a lot of hard work though, so don’t be fooled into thinking you simply set up a website and voila, income starts rolling in. If only! I work 30-40 hours per week currently and my blog is my life!
In this series I am going to interview other bloggers who also make money from their blogs to hopefully inspire people to start a blog if they wish or to make that leap to monetizing content. I also find it so interesting to learn what other bloggers are up to and even us full time bloggers can learn from each other and inspire one another.
Hello, please introduce yourself and tell us all about your money making blog.
Hi, I'm Hayley, the parent behind Devon Mama. Devon Mama is a UK family lifestyle blog that covers all aspects of modern family life; food, travel, home and parenting of course!
How long have you been blogging for and when did you begin to monetize?
I started blogging in February 2016 as a bit of a hobby whilst preparing for the birth of our first child. Roughly around October 2016 I decided to take things a little bit more seriously, blog on a more regular basis, interact more on social media and go self-hosted. I had my first paid post about a month later and then nothing for a few months after that! It wasn't until about a year after that that I started making a regular income from it.
What's your monthly blog income like? (Pocket money, part time, full time or the figure)
It depends. I try to aim for around £500 a month minimum but the reality can vary wildly from this. I've had months where it's been ridiculously busy and months where it's far quieter than that. It also depends on how much I hustle for it! Right now we've just had our second baby so I've not been hunting down opportunities in quite the same way, and it shows!
How exactly do you make money from your blog and tell us more about your favourite method?
I make money primarily though collaborative content, either hosting pre-written work or by creating content that then links to a brands website or chosen page. 95% of my work is based around that. I work directly with brands or via PR companies and will often work with the same companies over and over on different clients. Some clients will come directly to me having found my site on Google or on my social channels. Others will be via recommendations from friends who've previously worked with them and have passed my details on. Finally, I do sometimes 'cold call' a company and drop their PR team an email. I'd recommend it for reviews but it's rare in my experience that this has worked for paid content. On the odd occasion I'll be paid to promote something on social media, especially Instagram or Facebook. My followings aren't huge on either of those, so it's a bit of a catch 22. I don't put the time into them so they don't make money, but because they don't make money, I can't justify the time spent. What can I say, I've had to prioritise a very limited work day!
Were there any steps you took in the early days to prep your blog for making money?
Just keeping going! I don't believe it works setting out purely to make money. There has to be a passion behind that that drives you as it can take a long time to get to the money stage. I'd also recommend networking with other bloggers in a similar position to you. I've met some great friends like this who not only offer guidance and support but also will happily pass my details over to companies they've worked with; it sometimes really is all about who you know!
Has it been an easy process to make money from your blog? Why?
With my first job I was amazed that people would pay me to write. But as time has gone on, I've realised that although it looks easy, it takes a lot. There's writing, editing, proofing, photographing, image editing, promoting and a whole heap more that goes on behind the scenes to create a simple post. Not only that but you have to keep creating great content even when you're not being paid in order to keep the blog fresh. It's a bit of a gigantic beast at times!
How many hours per week do you work on your blog? Has this changed over time?
On average I'd say I work 15hrs a week on my site, a couple of hours a day. It's less than it used to be now that we've got another child and it can be really frustrating. There's so much to do but so little time!
What are your aims for your blog in the future?
World domination!? I'm joking. I'd like to carry on with things as they are, maybe do a little more on the travel side. I have a job that I love outside of blogging which means I'm in the fortunate position of not wanting blogging to be my job. It definitely takes the pressure off.
If someone is totally new to blogging, what should they concentrate on most to make money?
Creating great content and a strong identity. You need a site that ranks well on search engines and that looks good when people click through to it. You want to make people WANT to work with you... sometimes it's about getting high visitation numbers but I've had some of my best contracts and never discussed views or visitors once!
What are the drawbacks to running a money making blog?
Pressure! There's definitely an added element of pressure when your blog starts to give you a constant income stream. Whilst for us it's an added extra, it's amazing how quickly you come to rely on it.
What inspires you to blog and what is the best thing about blogging?
I love creating content. My role outside of blogging is Content Marketing Director so it's something I care a lot about. Unfortunately whilst it allows me overall creative control, it's rare that I get to do the doing these days! So blogging allows me to get back into the content creation side from the ground up. It's taught me a lot of skills which I believe help me be better at my 'real' job!
Would you still blog even if you couldn’t make money doing it and why?
I would because I enjoy it but I'd probably do it far less. I'd be that person that does 3 updates in a week then nothing for months. I love being able to look back though, it's made me document our lives and my children's childhoods... who wouldn't want that?
Do you think blogging is here to stay and why?
Yes and no. I think it's a really interesting time for blogging as a marketing channel but it's also an area which is rapidly becoming saturated. Will there be a time when there are just too many blogs and everything implodes? I doubt it just yet!
Thank you so much for taking part in my Money Making Blogger interview series and best of luck with your blog!
In fact, being self-employed isn’t for everyone, but the title is aimed at blogging as I see so many people question why their blogs aren’t making much money and I feel some other bloggers don’t realise the reality of making a blog a full time living. In this blog post I’ll explore three reasons why being a full time blogger is not the dream (for everyone).
Sure, I’ve also seen those bloggers with income reports of $100,000 per month in America. Isn’t that amazing?! I’ve no idea if it’s possible here in the UK, from a blog platform only, but possibly. Perhaps there are some who are making this, but I expect they have some serious viewer numbers in the hundreds of thousands or even millions per month. Well I’m nowhere near that. I average 14000 page views per month, with the help of some giveaways, but I still manage to make myself a decent full time living from my blog. I should really say blogs as I now run three profitable blogs. I bet those bloggers have spent hours and hours on their business too, building it up from scratch and being obsessed at all hours with every part of it.
Blogging full time certainly is the dream for many and those of us who do it are seen as so lucky.
But let me tell you this….
It’s far from easy.
I absolutely love what I do, but it isn’t without its stresses, hard work, determination, dedication, pressures, consistency and basically being on it Every. Single. Day.
For me it suits me down to the ground. I am very self-motivated and hardworking when it comes to work. I get obsessed and addicted to things so for me my current addiction is my blogs. I’m also an introvert and work well by myself, meaning I can work from dusk to dawn on my blogs by myself quite happily, most of the time.
I want to be honest though and share the highs and the lows! It’s not always a dreamy job role.
Here are three reasons why being a full time blogger is not the dream for everyone:
Running your own business from home leaves little time to switch off. Not only can you always be working as your work is always with you, but there’s no one to cover should you be sick or go on holiday. Yep, my laptop comes on holiday with me! That’s the reality. On my last holiday I got sent eight pieces of work with a tight deadline on the first day, so I was up until the early hours each day typing away!
Sure, I could have said I can’t do them as I was on holiday but then do you think that client would come back to me in the future when they had some urgent work? No. I have fear of missing out when it comes to blog work and in particular a fear of missing out on a recurring well-paying client if I set my emails to out-of-office for the duration of a holiday.
Plus if I don’t do the work, I don’t get paid. There’s no holiday pay. The same goes for sick pay. Luckily I rarely get sick, like not even once in the past year, which I put down to my vegan and very low added sugar diet, so it’s not something I worry about. But if you get sick regularly, then you may still have to work if you’re self-employed and that could be quite hard to deal with.
I’m always working. It’s the only way I can stay on top of it. I get hundreds of emails a day. They come in at all hours through the night. Obviously I turn my phone on do-not-disturb whilst I sleep, but they have all piled in by the time it’s morning. So the first thing I do in the morning is check my emails in bed for twenty minutes to clear some. Luckily I have some copy and paste replied for the same sorts of queries saved both on my phone notes and on my laptop so this saves vast amounts of time and effort!
Then I work once the kids are at school, then again once they are in bed. Sometimes I start working as soon as Ben is back from work if I’m particularly busy, which is quite a lot, so that will be from 4.30pm right through to my bedtime at 10.30pm. I do stay up to midnight a few times a month to catch up on everything.
For me there is no leaving work at 5pm and forgetting about it until the next morning.
I work and think about work from the minute I wake and minute I go to bed. It’s probably 80% of my conversation topic with Ben. The other 20% being my other obsession – healthy living and plant based diets!
I told Ben yesterday I need a secretary as it’s the emails that take so long! Plus a lot of it is time wasted as it’s not opportunities I want to take part in, or you spend ages negotiating with a brand only to discover they want you to do all the work for free… So I try to make it clear I only accept paid opportunities from the offset to save a lot of hassle and disappointment down the email thread.
Always being switched on and available when you run your own business, by yourself, is just a part of it, but it can be very stressful at times, even for those of us who usually get a buzz from the pressure!
Be prepared for your business to become your baby and to find it difficult to switch off! I now, at least, work my butt off Monday to Friday and take the weekends off nearly every week so I don’t lose my sanity! But there’s still some email checking and ideas discussing…
The other pressure and why I am probably working all the time as much as I can is that there is no guaranteed pay. Most brands only want to work with a blogger once so it’s a lot of one-off, ad-hoc work. I get work as and when it comes and I complete it quickly. I never have work planned far in advance, maybe the odd post two weeks in the future sometimes, but I usually get work and complete it within a couple of days, then I move onto the next opportunity, so my income comes in as the work comes in. I can never plan ahead or know how much I will earn in one month.
This means I could earn nothing in one month if no one wants to work with me! Luckily that’s not happened yet and I do get some sort of regular work from various agencies and PRs who come back to me each time they have a new suitable client, but although they come back regularly it’s not consistent and it’s never guaranteed.
As I mentioned there is no sick pay or holiday pay.
I’m not sure everyone can deal with the pressures of not having a guaranteed income, especially when you rely on it for rent/mortgage payments, bills and food. The security of an employed job and regular income can certainly be appealing at times!
It can be incredibly lonely. Just as parenting can be lonely, choosing to then work from home, on your own, is even more so. I actually touched on the subject in this blog post and said one of the best and worst things about being a full time blogger is being able to work from home. It’s amazing to not have to commute and be in the comfort of your own home, but it also means you are by yourself all day long, every day. That can start to feel very isolating.
Thankfully with the internet it’s possible to network and interact with other people in the same field, which helps enormously. But I guess it’s not the same as real life interaction. Working from Wi-Fi spots such as cafes is also an option, but not always ideal. A few times I’ve done this and had important work to concentrate on with the loudest customers putting me off at times! So as much as it’s nice to get out of the house and work somewhere different, I’m not always as productive as when I’m in a quiet environment where I can concentrate fully.
There are also no other staff to make friends with, no staff parties, no Christmas parties or any of the usual stuff you may get when you have lots of work colleagues. So if you’re a social bee or extrovert then working all day by yourself might not suit you.
Ben, my husband, is a little afraid I’m going to become a recluse!
I do feel like a lot of people don’t realise how many hours are put into making a blog a full time living. Plus, it’s not all fun and games even when you are full time. I love to write, but I spend very little of my working time doing this. I spend hours applying for blog work checking different websites, networking groups, scrolling through hashtag feeds to filter the real opportunities from the junk. I also spend hours replying to emails and negotiating fees, wasting precious hours every week on time wasters and freeloaders. I have to do all my accounts, marketing, schedule social medias, remove broken links from my website, tweak my website and fix technical issues and do all the other boring mundane stuff too. If only it were as simple as simply writing each day to get paid!
BUT it’s also amazing. If you can take the bad, boring and stressful parts and totally outweigh them with all the good parts that you love then it’s a very satisfying self-employed career. For me the good still outweighs the bad so that’s what I try to focus on when things get tough or overwhelming or I’m having a rude idiot email me and insult my blog!! Oh yes that happens too and you just have to learn to deal with it. There’s a lot of learning to deal with things and grow a thicker skin when it comes to blogging, putting yourself out there and running your own business.
I just wanted to make the point that it’s not all dreamy being a full time blogger as many imagine it is. It’s a business at the end of the day when you go full time and with that comes a lot of negatives as with any job you do.
If you’ve been here before then scroll down to see the income breakdown, if not then start at this introduction for why I share my income online. Get ready for a blog post stuffed full of links to help you too make money online and from home!
Welcome to my monthly income report where I share exactly how much money I have made from my blog and at home. It’s great for me to see where I’m earning the money and also to inspire others who want to earn from home. There’s a lot of debate of whether people should share income reports, but personally I love them! When I wanted to monetise my blog I read them and they inspired me to push forward and go for it. Without reading an income report of another blogger I wouldn’t have even known it was possible to make money from my own blog.
Making money from blogging is totally possible if you’re prepared to treat it like a business and put the hard work in. As well as blogging, I make money from mystery tasks, website testing, matched betting, online selling and cashback.
The below are my totals before any expenses, income tax, national insurance or anything else, so my total turnover for the month. My yearly business expenses last year were approximately £4000. I also save £500 per month to cover my annual tax, national insurance, student loan repayments and pension. So my total monthly outgoings and savings to cover all this are approximately £830.
Last month, July 2018, was my best EVER month moneywise working from home. This month is now my second best month! It was a whopper of a month and totally unexpected. Last August was so quiet and I assumed it was because many people were on holiday and so on. I expected this August to be the same, but amazingly it was much busier. It could be because I’m now running three money making blogs and not just one! The other two have much lower DA scores, but I’ve still been managing to get some paid collaborations for them.
As I’ve been blogging for so long now I also get a lot of regular paid work from the same agencies and PRs. It’s never guaranteed, but as I provide a fast and reliable service they do come back time and time again.
I do always get scared of getting too excited when my earnings increase as I think it must just be fluke! It’s only day two of September and I’m already feeling anxious that it will be a quiet month. I wonder if this is just a normal feeling at the start of every month for self-employed people, whether it’s something I’ll just have to get used to! I work on an ad-hoc basis too, so I never know what work will come my way each month until it happens. I can see how some people couldn’t work like this as the worry and uncertainty would just be too much!
Anyway, August was a great month, so I’ll focus on that!
Read on for the breakdown of how much money I earned from home in August:
Blogging - £3059.37
This includes running giveaways, collaborative blog posts and reviews. I charge for all of them. Blog posts can take around 2 hours of my time so I have to value this time. Any free time I have is spent with my children, husband, or blogging just for me.
If there was no compensation for blogging for companies then I wouldn’t do it. I would still blog, but my blog would be 100% for me. It’s amazing how many emails I get every day asking me to share business links for free, write content for free and review products on my blog and social channels for free. The worst are the ones who tell me I should be so grateful for their high quality content for free… though it’s stuffed with links to help their clients SEO who are paying them…
My advice to bloggers is to value your time, your dedication and your resources.
Another great month! My aim is always £100 per month, so anything over is excellent. Plus, the best thing is it’s tax free!
I recommend using Profit Accumulator for matched betting as a beginner. They have so many guides and walk you through the whole process in the first few offers. If you are stuck you can ask a question in the forum and someone will get back to you. They also have a 30 day money back guarantee on their memberships, plus you can try the first couple of offers without even signing up to anything to see that it really does work and is so simple once you get the hang of the free bet offers!
Over £100 again! I’m selling old and outgrown kids clothes, toys and a few home bits. I’ve cleared out our attic and there’s almost nothing left to sell. I’ve been on a minimal mission for years and years and I’m nearly at the point of only owning things I need and use. It’s a personal mission of mine and I think I’ve almost got hubby on board. There’s a corner of the attic with bits he’s held onto for years and he’s finally starting to sell some of it! I do love selling online.
Ooh a touch more than last month. I’d love to always hit £100 per month, so I have a little work to do. These were from Profit Accumulator referrals and around 70p from Amazon Associates! I never had luck with Amazon so I closed my account and cashed out my pence.
I signed up for a Curve card using someone else’s code last month which meant I got £5 cashback for free! Curve is an app and also a Mastercard debit card with which you can use any of your bank cards or credit cards to pay for a purchase, but you only have to carry around the Curve card. You use the app to control which card you pay with. You have 14 days to change which card you paid with, if you need to move it from your debit card to credit card for example. You also get 1% cashback for three months, so it’s worth paying for everything for at least three months using the Curve card to take advantage of this.
Another month where I beat my husband Ben’s wage - a personal target of mine!
I’m so chuffed again, but I’m still thinking it’s a fluke couple of months. Let’s see what September brings. My aims are to increase the domain authorities on my two new blogs and hopefully increase their money making capability.