I just had my first official pay-out from Awin the affiliate marketing company I use, woohoo! It’s actually my second, but the first was a little different. My first payment was over £200 as I’d won a blog competition through them with Etsy. I’d signed up to their affiliate scheme through Awin and entered a competition they’d emailed about. I won and had £200 paid into my Awin account. This was over the payment threshold and paid into my account soon after.
So this second payment is officially from affiliate marketing only! I was just paid over £25 out of the £60+ I have in my account. Payments show in the Awin account but have to clear before they become payable. The payment threshold is £25 so as soon as you reach this you’ll be paid directly into your bank account. They do two payment runs a month so if you earn a lot then you’ll never have to wait long to be paid.
I don’t earn loads as I’ve not yet mastered affiliate marketing. It’s something on my to do list and I really need to up my game. The best thing about Awin is there are over 6000 retailers on their books. They all have their own terms and commissions, but you can earn for all of them (well, the ones that accept you) in one place. This means you can earn a £1 from so and so, then £5 from so and so, and as soon as the total is £25 from all the schemes you’re a member of, you’ll be paid.
They also have a marketplace where you can offer your other blog services, such as reviews and collaborative posts. I did receive a paid blog post thanks to their marketplace as someone found me on their and then chose to contact me directly.
The best thing to install is the Awin browser extension. It’s the easiest way to grab links to products or websites you’re signed up to as an affiliate through them. You can also shorten links and share them directly to your social medias from the extension.
The only downside is you have to apply to join and pay a £5 sign-up fee. I’m not entirely sure why they need this, but they pay it back to you. It’s added to your first pay-out and is visible in your account as soon as you are approved.
It might take a while like me, but if you’re serious about monetizing your blog through affiliate marketing then I’d definitely recommend giving Awin a go.
The whole point of blogging is to be casual and relaxed. So, it seems counterproductive to appear as professional as possible. “Won’t that kill my vibe?” It’s easy to see why you would think that, but the reality is different. On the whole, consumers still want sites which are pretty, organised and which don’t smack of mediocrity. They are all traits of professionalism and need including in your platform as soon as possible. Bloggers may not know where to start after a lifetime of trying to be out there and uncouth, but the following can help set the story straight.
Bend The Truth
The most reputable brands on the planet don’t tell white lies, or do they? The truth is that advertising isn’t a confession where you reveal your deepest, darkest secrets. Marketing is a dog eat dog world where competitors try to lure in new audience members and increase traffic. To hit this goal, the blog has to have a sound reputation. The good people at physicaladdress.com understand your plight and are here to help. The company provides a virtual mailbox with a physical address. This is great for bloggers who don't want their personal address at the bottom of emails. They'll upload your mail so you can access it virtually. Just don't give this address out if you're reviewing products, or you'll only be able to access a photo of it! You know, I always wondered how full time RVers managed their mail and this must be how.
Write With Style
The written word is still a powerful tool, even when it is conversational. A professional outfit would never use vernacular to converse with customers, but you are different. Blogs are informal spaces where readers and audience members can stop by to read funny, informative and entertaining posts. They are the exact opposite of sites with long, preppy prose which go on for ages. Therefore, it’s essential to write in a chatty style. The use of ‘you’ as well as slang adds a sense of character as well as humour. Don’t forget to add images and videos too.
Reveal Your Features
No, this doesn’t mean the qualities of the blog which set it out from the crowd. Well, you should do that too but that’s a different conversation. Revealing your features is about putting a face to a name. Many CEOS and bosses prefer to work in the shadows and that the brand act as the figurehead. However, shoutmeloud.com says your face is your logo and that is why people come back to read, buy, or make a conversion. Publishing an image of yourself and your family on the blog’s ‘about me’ page makes it easier for your base to relate. It also adds an element of trust and makes them like you more.
Tell The Truth
Remember point one where I told you to bend the truth? Well, it wasn’t entirely accurate funnily enough! White lies in marketing are a necessary evil, yet fibs don’t always help. Your base asks questions because they want to hear the truth, so lying takes away that privilege. Plus, it makes your position as an authority blogger vulnerable. When you tell a lie, another blogger could counter with the truth and make you appear silly. Yes, you might want to lie about your real address on email newsletters, but no you shouldn't lie about yourself or your beliefs in your writing. Stay true to yourself and your readers.
Ultimately, unprofessional behaviour the most professional way to be a blogger!
January is a time of year filled with motivation and opportunity. So many of us feel a real buzz out of setting new year goals and resolutions, and it can be a great way to draw a line on past events and focus on the future. Some people like to focus on personal self-care, such as a new diet or fitness regime. Others like to place their focus on their lifestyle, which could mean you are questioning your career right now. Have you toyed with the idea of starting your own business? If so, then here are some of the top tips to help you become your own boss this year.
Think about the idea you have
One of the first steps is to consider the idea you have for a business and nurture it wholeheartedly. It may have been a lightbulb moment, but once you know what the idea is, you need to consider how you can turn it into a business. Can is be something you do? Is it something that needs to be made or manufactured? How easy will it be to get it from production to customer? Being confident in your idea will help you progress.
How will you fund your business idea
You also need to consider how you will fund your business idea. Have you got the savings there to do it? Will you need an investor? Could you do it by means of a investment loan? This is when speaking to a finance broker could be beneficial. There are many success stories out there who have built business empires simply with the money they had in their bank account or a small credit card or loan. The next story could be yours.
Make sure you have a killer website
So much is done online these days that you can’t get away from the fact people shop online or seek ideas and information through google searches. So you new business needs to have a website that performs. Especially if you find yourself in a market where there is competition for business. A quick tip might be to let a professional do this for you.
Promote your business and brand in every way you can
The only way your business is going to start working is by promotion. Promotion can be done in any which way you want, but I suggest taking advantage of some of the popular options you have. Social media is a great tool for any business. It gives you the chance to share information there and then and respond to people in real time. You could also think about being more present locally, as so many more people are wanting to support smaller and local businesses. Perhaps sponsoring a local event or getting involved in charities could help you and help others.
It will take a lot of work
Finally, there is no hiding from the fact that this is going to take a lot of work. You need to ensure that you can put your time and heart into it, in order for it to be the success you want and deserve it to be. Good luck!
When your blog is your business, you’re always going to want to feel like your growing. As much as it’s definitely okay to spend time finding your feet and figuring out what works best for you, when your main source of income comes from your blog, you’re probably going to want to push things as much as you can. But when you’re relatively new to blogging, or your income isn’t quite where you want it to be, you may now know exactly how to go about that.
Well, with the turn of the new year, it’s definitely time to change all of that. Because if you want to be able to push your blog this year, now is the time to get started. And if you need ideas, you’ve now got them. Let’s take a look at three ways that you can look to push your blogging business this year.
If you’re not really sure where to start, then always look to your content. This is always going to be one of the best things that you can do for your blog. Because every now and then, your content may start to get a bit stale. But, by coming up with fresh and interesting ideas for your content, you’ll overcome that.
You should also be looking at ways to shake up your SEO, drive traffic, and get a lot of clicks too. Here, you may find that testing out different content ideas is exactly what you need to do to drive your blog forward.
Host An Event
As a blogger, there’s definitely going to be lots of ideas that you’re used to implementing and working on. But then, there are always going to be ideas that are really new to you. And hosting an event could be one of them. Yet, it’s still an exciting new way to shake up your blog for the year ahead.
With an event, you’re gaining a hold host of networking opportunities. You can invite other bloggers and really create something special. By putting on a proper show with stands and supplies, from the right places such as Imagin Products, it will look the part too. You could also charge a fee or invite brands to partake as a way of seeing this as a business opportunity too.
Increase Your Revenue Streams
Finally, you’re also going to want to work on different ways to bring in income. By now, you’re likely to know that affiliate income is a strong option. But if you’re not working with affiliates already, now’s the time to start. As well as matched betting and cashback, you also have more options to make money from home whilst you grow your blog income.
For one, you could start a shop on your blog. And if you wanted to take this idea further, you could also create different products and services for sale too. The idea here is to be able to come up with lots of different ways to generate income, so that you’re not just reliant on one area, and so that you’re able to grow in line with your goals too.
Wowsers. What a year. 2017 was the year I decided to go full time with my blog and it was definitely the right decision. I quit my part time job in May and took the plunge into the unknown world of blogging full time. Not unknown totally as I’d been blogging for a few years already, but unknown in terms of finances. I had no idea if I could make a substantial income from blogging alone and whether I was being really silly leaving the security of a regular wage from a part time job. I waited until I’d had a full time income for 6 months from my blog only before I handed in my notice, but it was the best thing I did, so far.
I’ve now managed to make a full time wage from my blog alone for just over one year. Hopefully it will continue too.
In order to diversify my income I also have a few other home money making ventures. These add some variety to my day and also give me a little extra income.
Blog - sponsored/review/giveaway/Google ads
LR shop sales
Blog - for others
My grand total for 2017 was over £26000 which is amazing. This is almost my total turnover. It is actually a bit more, but this figure doesn’t include my postage fees for anything I’ve sold in my shop or eBay, where I charged them. This is simply because I wasn’t recording those on my home income spreadsheet, but don’t worry they are on my mega spreadsheet which I use for my total income and expenditure to work out my tax bill. Going forward I’m going to include the total amount with postage on my monthly income reports so I can see the total turnover.
Out of this £26000 I have approximately £4000 of outgoings. These include postage costs, PayPal fees, stationery, website fees, social media fees, advertising and equipment for example.
After these I have tax and national insurance contributions. These are what I will owe for the year 2017/2018:
Income tax of 20% for earnings above £11500
£148.20 for class 2 national insurance
9% of any earnings above £8164 for class 4 national insurance
9% of any earnings above £17775 for my plan 1 student loan
10% towards my pension
Oh, and almost £5000 of this income is tax free! This is from cashback, matched betting and personal eBay sales, so no tax on any of these. Matched betting is technically gambling, even though it isn’t if you do the method correctly, so any winnings are not taxed.
I’m no expert on all of this, so do your own research if you’re self-employed to find what you’ll owe each year. I have formulas on my spreadsheet working it all out for me so I can save the exact amounts each year. The government websites are a really useful resource for the self-employed and they even have a handy online chat system if you have any queries. Their guides are mostly self-explanatory though.
So all in all, I’m really pleased with this total. I still have a two year old who has only 21 hours of childcare a week. He’s with me all day Friday and most of Monday, so I have to work around my mum duties. I’m able to drop the kids off at school and pick them up, so I squeeze my work into the days the kids are at school/childcare, evenings and weekends. I work around 30-40 hours a week at the moment, though I’ve never totally added it up, but I feel like I work all the time! It’s probably even more than this some weeks. In-between working I’ll be doing house chores or sorting the kids out, so I feel like there is never a break. Reuben will start school next year so I’ll have a set 30+ hours I know I can work and I’m sure the family-work life will fall into a much better and workable balance.
I obviously work all my tax returns on the tax year April to March, but I’d been recording all of 2017 Jan to Feb as it was the year I set myself the aim of making a full time income from home and quitting my part time job. So it’s great to see what I made and that I succeeded.
Here are my totals for 2017 and some links for further reading if you’re interested in making money from these methods yourself:
Blog Income £17523.59
I am amazed at this figure and can’t believe I can do what I love every day and make money. I really enjoy writing and researching topics I love, so it’s the perfect job for me. This income includes Google ads too as my original spreadsheet was a total of all blog related income. Google ads only make me £60 per year though!
I charge for reviews, collaborative posts and for hosting giveaways. I put a lot of effort into my blog and value my time. It can take 2 hours to complete a review sometimes and if I wasn’t being paid then I’d rather use my free time to choose what I write about or spend it with my family.
Unbelievable! Over £3000 from matched betting. Not as much as some though. I saw a blogger say she made over £100000 in a year as she hit some really big wins on the casino offers. Wow!
I mostly take part in the free bet football offers and it boosts my income by £100+ per month. Others do it full time and claim to make £1000-£2000 per month. I’d love to know their tactics!
I highly 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.
I never realised I made this much from affiliate links and referrals. Around £100 per month. One thing I still need to crack is Awin, I have around £60 in payments pending and they look like a great company to use for affiliate marketing.
I’ve always been a huge fan of eBay for selling unwanted personal items and decluttering. The fees are annoying at 10%, but nearly everything I put on eventually sells.
LR shop sales £1,161.23
These are sales from my online fashion boutique. I was expecting these to be low as I no longer take part in Twitter networking hours. The 3 years previous to 2017 I was obsessed with the networking hours on Twitter and took part in up to 13 per day, sometimes doing 2 or 3 at once! I became obsessed and stressed if I missed one. It got a bit unhealthy! It’s one reason I decided to shift my focus elsewhere for 2017.
I had sales daily when I did take part in all the networking though. I’d earn more than this in one month regularly, but after all the costs I’d only ever make 20% of the total sale price so though it seemed like a good amount, the outgoings were always a killer.
I still have my shop and I’ve spent the year cutting down my stock and selling just scarves instead.
I check Top Cashback for everything we buy. Here are a few things I’ve got it on: Formula One MOT, gift cards from Zeek, Holiday Inns booking, our First Choice holiday, Very shopping, Car insurance, comparing car insurance, eBay, photo books, supermarket shopping, Flybe flights, car hire, home insurance.
As you can see, you can earn cashback on so many different things. Not just online shopping. I even got over £2 just for doing a comparison search for car insurance. I didn’t have to even buy anything.
I have the Google ads which are included in my blog total, but these banner ads were specific ads for a company which I had in my footer for two months.
Blog - for others £50.00
I wrote one blog post for a company website and I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. I love being able to write in my own style on my website and exactly how I like. I felt too much pressure writing for someone else, especially when they wanted edits or it written in a certain tone that is not naturally me.
I shared some tweets for a company and was paid by their PR agency. It’s the only time I’ve taken part in a tweet only campaign.
That’s it. A very successful 2017 for me. Fingers crossed for a successful 2018 working from home.