Make a Full-Time Income Online
The Blogging Beginnings
Our fifth baby was born on January 1, 2011. His New Year’s birth also ushered in a new season in our family life. I had a little flicker in my heart of wanting to have a voice. I had thoughts, feelings, and encouragement I wanted to share. I wasn’t sure if I should write a book, start a women’s group, or what life my little soul-flicker was supposed to take on.
Liam Joseph at two days old – January 2011
The reality was I was home with our (then) five beautiful children ages newborn, almost two, 4, 7, and 10. I also had the daily privilege of pouring into and homeschooling them. They were and still are my first ministry.
2011 Reading aloud to my children. One of my greatest joys!
But what of my flickering soul? This need to pour out, even if just a little, into the lives of others? As I sought the Lord for direction, I started getting a weird desire to start blogging more. You see, I had kept a little hobby blog I started in 2008. This little hobby blog was pre-Facebook and was a place to share pictures of the kids with out-of-state family and friends.
In 2010 I volunteered as our large state homeschool organization’s social media manager. I didn’t know much about social media management at the time, but I was a homeschool mom with a Facebook account. As I searched the internet for content to share on their homeschool support Facebook page I started reading some other blogs like Raising Arrows, Money Saving Mom, and The Pioneer Woman. I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like, but while reading these other lovely blogs, I felt led to start blogging in the mornings before the kids got up. I called my new blog Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling and jumped right in.
Long story short, through a series of events my hobby of blogging, turned into a full-time business within a year of jumping in that even brought my husband home full-time (you can read the full article of how my blogging brought my husband home full-time here).
You can also watch my video where I share more about How I Support My Family of Nine Online.
Click here to watch How I Support My Family of Nine Online video Q&A.
I support my family through my online work by having built a blogging and social media platform over the last four years at the time this article was originally published.
After that beginning, with Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling, my efforts turned into a new blog, FreeHomeschoolDeals.com, which receives traffic from loyal homeschooling families from around the world each day and includes my social media channels of hundreds of thousands and an additional large email list. I have multiple income streams, a small army of workers who help me each day, and the grace of God to hold it all together.
Usually, moms aren’t as interested in how I support my family of nine online as they are interested in how they can start a blog to supplement their husband’s income in some way. So based on my experience and lessons learned over these last four years, I’m going to share my thoughts with you on this topic.
How to Start a Blog
This post contains my affiliate links. This is one of the ways that I make money blogging and costs you nothing additional. My information, blog, videos, and resources are free. Any purchases made through my links is a blessing to my family. If you sign-up with Bluehost below I also make a commission. However, you can sign-up with *any* hosting company your prefer. I’m using Bluehost as an example. I personally haven’t always had a great experience with HostGator, but some people like them. Anyway it goes, thank you for your support!
Pick Your Domain Name
The first step is to choose the topic that you’re very passionate about as your base. You can expand over several different topic points, but having a central theme is generally a good idea. Pick a topic that you feel you would never get tired of talking about. For me, I can talk about homeschooling and ways to save money until the cows come home, hence my creation of FreeHomeschoolDeals.com.
You can get your domain name through BlueHost, which I’m sharing more about next. Some bloggers think long and hard about their domain names. I went with the first name that stuck in my head. I don’t give you too many important rules to follow because I don’t follow too many myself. You will need to have a http://www.yourdomainname.com anyway it goes, so getting one through your easy BlueHost blog setup might be the way to go.
Build Your Blog
To actually do the work of building a blog you’ll want to sign up for a hosting company like Bluehost. BlueHost offers professional web hosting for just $5.95 per month. With the BlueHost service, you can get your domain name, integrate a WordPress blog, and start publishing as a blogger!
Create Awesome Content
Once you get your site up and running, you’ll want to get some good content pieces loaded on your new site. Now, you can be like me and build a site and launch it the same day (FreeHomeschoolDeals history 😉 ), or you can be wise and lay the ground work. Shall we pretend that we’re wise and always take the time to plan? Yes, let’s do that.
Write several excellent posts on your passionate topic. Is it homemaking, homeschooling, natural cleaning, baking, saving money, laundry hacks, or ___________? I’ve always heard if you’re going to “do it right,” (and I probably read this from Amy Lynn Andrews) you should have about 10 or so posts already written. You’re going to need time to craft your posts. It will feel odd at first, and you may feel like you’re “doing it wrong.” However, the best way that I’ve ever learned to do anything (as I’m currently learning with YouTube) is just to jump in and start doing it.
I highly recommend reading Micheal Hyatt’s book Platform,
and Jon Acuff’s book Start for encouragement to jump out there and as Nike says, “just do it.” There’s planning and laying a foundation; but there’s also high value, in my humble opinion, in getting dirty and doing it.
Start your social media accounts. I recommend starting a Facebook Page (you can read here how to start a Facebook page and here on how to create a custom Facebook Page URL), Pinterest Account (here are great tips on how to make Pinterest work for you with The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest), Twitter, Instagram, and now even Periscope.
Blogging Wisdom from Jamerrill
Once your blog is up and running, your social media accounts are set up, and you begin posting, I want you to remember some wisdom here from Jamerrill. You have a message that’s important to share. You need to be heard. When you first start blogging it’s going to feel like you’re shouting into a chasm and no one is hearing you. Don’t worry. Continue to create excellent content that matters to you. Don’t get bogged down with what everyone else is doing.
Honestly, I hardly look at what others are doing. The times when I do, I immediately feel my creativity leaving and my inspiration and drive going out the window. If you are inspired to blog, you need to go forth with your own unique vision.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde
Now, back to the money part.
Okay, so you’re sharing your message, and now you want to be paid. This article IS about how I support my family of nine online. I DO make an income through blogging. But I didn’t get into blogging to “make money.” I started blogging with hunger to share and encourage. That being said, I feel that a worker is worth their wages. If you’re putting time, creativity, and energy into a blog that’s helping others and changing lives, then you should be paid for your time.
So, how are you paid? The simple ways to start making money blogging have 3rd party ads on your blogs, such as signing up for Adsense or something like The Blogger Network. I work with a company called AdThrive which manages multiple 3rd party ad networks that I’m a part of (I used to manage it myself).
There’s also affiliate marketing. Now affiliate marketing is you sharing about products you love and have experience with and telling your readers about those products. (There are FTC rules for affiliate marketing, and you’ll always want to tell your readers when you’re using affiliate links.) So, for example, if I share with you that my friend Ruth Soukup has a book called How to Blog for Profit Without Losing Your Soul and you click and buy her book through Amazon, I’ll make a minuscule percentage. You can read here The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program.
You can find products to be an affiliate of over time as you blog more. When I first started blogging, I didn’t know of any companies or affiliate marketing in general. Now I know, and you can learn too, that every niche of blogging has products. If your blog is going to be about gardening, there are affiliate programs about gardening tools. This is something that you’ll learn as you hone your blogging passion.
More ways to make money blogging
- VA – I know bloggers who take their blogging knowledge and start their own businesses as Virtual Assistants. I haven’t done this myself. However, several Virtual Assistants are part of my team. Read The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More!
- Consulting – share your expertise with others who need your wisdom.
- Public speaking – You can even branch out and speak on topics you’re passionate about at conferences and events.
- Other businesses – Bloggers may intertwine various MLM businesses into their platform.
- Through blogging, you can get into podcasting, Youtubing, and more.
- Brand Rep – Work with companies and represent their products and services.
- Website advertisers and sponsors – Sell ad space on your blog.
- Sponsored posts – Get paid to write about certain products or resources on your blog.
- Selling your own products – ultimately you want many income streams from various sources. Your main source needs to eventually come from your own products, so you are not majorly affected by fluctuations in income streams based on other companies’ rules, changes, etc.
I’ve given you a lot to chew on, I know. But moms write me all the time and want to know how to start a blog. I have friends at church, people at the grocery store, and even family members who have begged me to share some of what I know. I took blogging on as a hobby, and I’ve become a student of blogging over these years. I’ve gone to conferences, read books, taken wisdom from other blogging friends, and more than anything else I’ve shown up most days and done the hard work to build an online business, and you can too!
What other questions do you have about blogging and making money online?
What about health care coverage for bloggers?
Read here to find out about the affordable healthcare coverage my family and I chose once we became a 100% full-time self-employed family with my blogging efforts.
Follow the Affording the Homeschool Life board!
Click here for a bunch of additional articles to help you in affording the homeschool life!