When my son was first born, we were broke. Way, way, WAY broke.
To help make ends meet, I started a business from home making wooden nursery letters.
We didn’t make it rich or anything, but it was enough to provide margin in our budget and alleviate some of the stress that comes when the “money in” doesn’t equate to the “money out.”
Here at Crumbs, I talk a lot about ways to save money and stretch your hard earned dollars. But sometimes the budget isn’t about saving money. Sometimes it’s about making money.
This post is part of a How to Make Money series. Here are some of the other ways we’ve talked about making money at home:
If you’ve ever sat down to discuss the household budget with your spouse (or even done it on your own), you know what I’m talking about. It’s that moment in time when you look at all the bills you have to pay and how much money comes home each month. You have a sinking feeling in your gut because you realize the numbers don’t add up.
For one reason or another, your expenses are more than your income.
You’ve already cut every corner you can think of and stretched what you have beyond what you thought was possible. It all boils down to one simple truth: you need to make more money.
That’s where my heart is right now – for the families who have done the best they can but are still coming up short. I want y’all to know that there is hope! There are ways to make money from home and it doesn’t have to be all-time consuming, crazy difficult or even a full-time gig.
I’ve learned from my own experience that there are things you can do in your spare time to help your family financially and offset the bottom line.
I want to talk more about these ventures this year, and first up is the one I know most about: blogging.
I’ve been blogging now for almost 4 years and I absolutely love it. It originally started out as just a hobby – just a few hours each week, sharing the frugal ideas floating around in my head while the kids napped.
For 2 years I didn’t try to make any money on the blog. Back then, I didn’t even know you could!
But at the beginning of that third year, I put up one ad. And I made $5.
Again, we didn’t get rich off that one ad, but it showed me that it is possible to make money doing something I love and in turn, help my family with our finances.
So how exactly do you make money blogging?
Since this is a frugal food and natural living blog and not a how to make money blogging blog, I’ll keep it short and to the point!
After all, my goal with this series is to share how you earn income from various jobs working at home so you can decide for yourself if it’s something you want to pursue!
Note: See the bottom of this post for recommended blogging-related resources and if you’re ready to jump in and start your own blog, follow the guidelines on my How to Start a Blog on a Budget page.
Make Money from Home Blogging
Ads are pictures, words and/or videos found typically in the sidebar or in posts. Most bloggers (including me!) start earning income with ads because they’re the easiest.
To get started, you apply to an ad network. They review your blog and if you’re accepted, they give you a piece of code that you copy/paste into a widget behind the scenes of the blog. Hit save and you’ll start seeing ads usually within 24 hours.
You earn money with ads in two ways: either based on the number of times people click on the ad OR the based on the number of times an ad is shown to a group of 1000 people. Payments usually come 30-90 days AFTER the last day of the month.
The key to ads is enough to earn but not so much that you sacrifice the reader’s experience.
The specific number of ads you use is up to you, and if you’re blogging for the main purpose to make money, you might start out with several (the more you have the more you earn). Remember that you can add more or take them off as your blog grows and as you see fit.
When you’re just starting out I recommend contacting these ad companies:
(2) Sponsored Posts – Direct Sales
Don’t let the word “sales” scare you – it’s just a classification term for the moment.
Sponsored posts are when a company/brand pays you to write about their product. Sponsored content used to just be posts, but companies/brand now pay for social media content and even email campaigns.
In direct sales, you work directly with the brand by either contacting them or in some cases, they contact you. You work out an agreement directly with them in terms of what type of content you’ll write, what product(s) you’ll write about and compensation.
Compensation is generally based on traffic, so if you’re just starting out, you might only earn $5-$20 per post or you might get paid with product instead of actual money. Earning potential goes up with higher traffic, a social media following, experience in writing, experience in photography and a good relationship with the sponsor. Because you’re working with a company/brand (literally emailing someone in their office), you can negotiate with them whether you get paid beforehand or after the post is delivered (live).
The key to sponsored posts (direct sales) is creating amazing and useful content for the reader while sharing the company/brand with them in a genuine way.
As a blogger, it’s important to me that the reader ALWAYS comes first. I never share products or brands that I myself wouldn’t buy or don’t use. I’ve also turned down many opportunities that weren’t a good fit. However, I know of some bloggers who don’t share this same stance with me, and that’s fine too.
(3) Sponsored Posts – Indirect Sales
These type of sponsored posts are similar to direct sales, except this time you’re working with a third party company who is a network of sorts who finds and negotiates sponsored content on your behalf.
They take your your blog stats (monthly pageviews, email subscribers, etc.) and pool them into a big pot with the stats of all the other bloggers in the network. The network then uses all the data in the pot to woo companies to use them for marketing. The network matches a company/brand to a blogger that fits their product and the blogger writes and shares the content.
Compensation for these type of sponsored posts is somewhat based on traffic, but there’s less wiggle room because you’re dealing with the network, not the company/brand. In most cases, the network has already negotiated the price with the company/brand beforehand and what the network pays you is a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Also when working with networks, you usually do not get paid until after you’ve delivered the content.
The key to sponsored posts (indirect sales) is choosing opportunities that genuinely fit your blog.
When you’re part of a network, you are approached with all sorts of writing opportunities. From cat food to frozen dinners to LEGO’S to romance novels – I’ve seen them all and accepted very few. Still, if you are a lifestyle blogger, you could make them all work.
(4) Affiliate Sales
Affiliate sales is earning commission when someone else make a purchase through you. In addition to ads, this is also what most bloggers start with because it’s easy.
“Making a purchase through you” on the internet usually means the reader clicks on a special link given to you by the company/brand. The majority of companies online have affiliate programs nowadays, but the most commonly used among them is probably Amazon.
Compensation ranges from 3% to 50% of the price of the item being sold, depending on the company/brand you’re working with. Like ad networks, payment is also sent 30-90 days after the month ends.
The key to affiliate sales is to link to products that would actually benefit the reader.
You can easily link to every single thing you ever mention on your blog, but then the reader would be lost in a sea of blue links and they’d forget what the purpose of your article was. Linking to a product is a form of endorsement (unless you state otherwise), so it’s important (in my opinion) to use discretion with what you link to and be intentional with the links you use.
Obviously this is a short answer to what could easily become a whole day discussion (if not longer!), but these are four main ways you can make money blogging.
If you are interested in starting your own blog (or any business really), it’s important to keep your expenses low so you can maximize your earnings. Here are the two things I’d recommend to get started:
- follow my tutorial on How to Start a Blog on a Budget
- pick up a copy of “How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul” (it’s free to read on Kindle!)
Note: The tutorial for How to Start a Blog on a Budget will work for any website, so it’s a great place to start if you’ve been wanting to create any sort of website. From a family blog to share updates with relatives to an online store to public accountability with your budget – it all starts here!
Are you looking to make money from home this year? Have you considered a blog? If you started one, what would you write about? Tell me about it in the comments, and leave your blog URL so I can come visit!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through those links, I will earn commission that helps to keep the lights on in the Crumbs house – with no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crumbs in this way. Read my full disclosure statement here.