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I’ve launched and shuttered many blogs in my life, including ones that received press and accolades. But somehow they just didn’t feel right, like I was blogging for someone else instead of what actually interested and excited me. And honestly, I was too impatient to see the rewards.
I wanted to earn money sooner than later, so focused strictly on freelance writing for magazines, travel guidebooks, small businesses, and websites. It worked and soon I was earning a living as a freelance writer and social media consultant while staying home with my kids.
That desire to be my own boss and the leader in my own life kept calling me back until I finally decided to launch this one. It helped that a client and friend encouraged me to and was my first ad sponsor.
That’s when I saw that I could earn money from my blog in dozens of different ways while focusing on my content lifestyle career that I love. In fact, building a blog can dramatically increase your lifestyle rewards like products to review, free travel and other perks.
Here are 9 ways to earn money blogging, even if you’re just starting out.
1) Start Earning with Linqia Right Away
It’s tempting to think you can just start a blog and start earning immediately. in reality, most bloggers spend a few years building up their audience to a profitable level. However, there are ways to quickly earn small wins right away by leveraging your social media following with Linqia.
It’s totally free to sign-up and can put real dollars in your pocket quickly.
Linqia partners smaller bloggers with at least 2,500 social media followers across two or more channels. Once you’re up and running, you can partner with brands and earn right away. Some bloggers may just earn $25 or so per campaign, but Lisa Driscol from Fun Money Mom earned $1,000 in a recent Twitter campaign and up to $200 an hour to participate in Twitter parties. Read the article here.
I could talk about the topic of Content Lifestyle Careers all day. Most bloggers and writers either start out trying to earn money for their work or freebies to review. In reality, you can do both at the same time.
2) Build a Writing Portfolio and Attract Clients
I came into blogging after I had already amassed clips as a freelance writer for publications like Newborn & Pregnancy, Global Traveler, Amazing Wellness, Mothering and dozens of other outlets. Read the success stories of freelance writers earning thousands.
If I had to do it all over again, I would start a writer’s website and create valuable pieces of content that showcased my writing style and interests. This could have shaved years off my pitching process and attracted clients sooner. While you’re getting your feet wet as a freelance writer, use your blog as a shining example of the work you’re capable of.
3) Earn Lifestyle Perks
Create more wealth in your lifestyle by focusing on a topic you love, like technology for kids, luxury family travel or educational toys for special needs kids. Whatever your passion and interest are, focus on that first. Next, build your blog content around this focus while pitching publications on topic ideas in your niche.
I run a small Atlanta-focused travel blog and have a tiny audience. But that doesn’t stop me from getting free tickets to museums, Broadway tours, fairs, festivals, and more. There simply aren’t a lot of local bloggers in my area. My guess is those bloggers are looking for more cash for blogging opportunities, whereas I use my small Atlanta travel blog to land perks, freebies, press trips, and showcase my social media and freelance writing services to local tourism businesses. It’s been a huge win for my career and lifestyle.
4) Land Virtual Assistant Clients
I get the feeling most bloggers think that “clients” don’t read blogs. In reality, clients are everywhere. Right now I could be looking for a freelancer to create a special design or work on a research project. Guess who I would reach out to if I regularly followed bloggers focusing on these topics?
With few exceptions, clients don’t want to hunt down award-winning freelancers and contractors to offer virtual support. They just want a need filled with someone reasonably talented and reliable. Here are 150 ideas for virtual assistant services that can earn a big payday.
Use your blog as an anchor to reach out to people in your niche or dream clients and offer virtual assistant services on everything from social media to customer service and email marketing. Your blog helps put a name to a face and gives a powerful visual to what you can do for them. Next, start reaching out to people who fit the type of clients you want to work with by connecting with them on social media, sending them an email to say hello, and building relationships.
5) Get Creative with Affiliate Marketing
In the early days of blogging, you could just put up a link to a product you use on Amazon and earn commissions when someone clicked and bought it. Technically, that can still work, but you’ll see a trickle of pennies and a few dollars at best.
Today, seasoned bloggers roll-out a launch around high-end affiliate products that earn hundreds to thousands per sale. Use your honest feedback, insights, and enthusiasm for a product and build a campaign around selling it. In exchange, you receive a commission (often 50%) to help promote and sell it. I’ve used my own blogs (including this one) to earn a commission on products I use and believe in.
For example, just promoting eBates can help your personal network and blog audience save when they shop. You earn $15 whenever someone signs-up for eBates with your referral link, and the person you refer earns a bonus, too. It’s win-win.
6) Run a MeetUp Group
MeetUp Groups can be a game changer for your blog or business. Setup a MeetUp Group in your area with the same focus and theme as your blog. For example, if your blog is about saving more money and budgeting, you can start a MeetUp group to meet once a month. Start out with a few free meetings to get your following up and running. Once you’ve established some credibility you can start charging a fee for MeetUp groups on specialized topics. Consider asking a guest speaker with an inspiring message for your premium MeetUp group to drum up a broader attendance.
But here’s a tip. Promoting your blog and MeetUp group should be reciprocal. Place a link or ad on your blog to advertise your MeetUp. Meanwhile, put a link to your blog in the description of your MeetUp group to entice more traffic. And if your blog following isn’t local to your area to attend a MeetUp, consider filming it and selling it on your blog with a service like Gumroad that simplifies the process.
7) Sell a Course
It seems like just about every blogger out there is selling a course, but that doesn’t mean it’s too crowded for you to jump in. When I was just getting started, I made over a thousand dollars on Udemy with courses on freelance writing.
I also scooped up this awesome course to learn more about becoming a Pinterest Virtual Assistant to add to the roster of services I was already offering as a social media consultant and freelance writer. I loved having a go-to resource to learn about the business side of Pinterest and was happy to pay top dollar for it. Because of the investment I’ve made in courses and consulting, I now I have five social media clients in the travel industry, and also earn money as a freelance writer.
You can market your courses to your audience, or get started on Udemy. Although it still takes work to gain traction on Udemy, they already have a built-in audience looking to expand their knowledge and invest in courses.
8) Start a Service-Focused Membership Site
This is one area that intrigues and inspires me. Starting your own membership site can be daunting and feel like a juggling act of adding content and lessons on a regular basis. In reality, you can develop a membership site around one or two useful resources that recur annually.
For example, a teacher can build a membership site around annual lesson plans, open house ideas and a support forum to help other teachers save time and enjoy their jobs more. Or if you’re a graphic designer you can offer clients a membership site full of unlimited graphics for download. If you have an existing network that needs your resources and services, or are already offering paid services, you can launch a membership site.
9) Increase Your Offline Credibility
A freshly launched blog can still help build your offline credibility and brand. Create carefully curated pieces around an expertise like HR management for millennials or personal finance for single Moms. Bonus points if you want to record a few videos or podcasts where you interview a leader in your field.
Turn those pieces into a showcase for yourself to score speaking gigs, consulting with small businesses in your neighborhood or a column in your local newspaper. The idea is to grow your online presence in tandem with your offline dreams to achieve your goals faster.
There are also the more traditional ways to earn money blogging like Google Ads, but I like to look at opportunities that can scale relatively quickly and do more than putting a few dollars in a new blogger’s pocket.
It’s not that hard to start making money blogging, but it is hard if you’re expectations are to nail down six-figures in a few months and rapidly grow a raving audience. Start small and make a goal to be able to pay off one bill or start a travel savings fund for that trip to Disney (or do it free with these tips). Then see how it grows.