When I started my first blog, Living With Batman, 5 years ago, I didn’t even think about monetization. I didn’t know that you could make money from blogging at all. But that wasn’t the reason I started that blog in the first place so I didn’t pursue that option.
But as time went on, and I created new blogs, I came to the conclusion that I did love blogging but it took a lot of time, effort and knowledge and that I should try and leverage that into making money online. Those first few steps from hobby to business were fraught with a lot of life lessons and the realization of the biggest mistake I made when I first monetized my blog.
For at least 20 of my working years I was self-employed. And even though I made a lot of money, my business carried a lot of responsibility as I was the sole proprietor. There was no such thing as a day off. Ever. And when I did actually take a vacation, the logistics of hiring someone, training them and trusting them with my livelihood, was really scary. So even when I was away, I was constantly checking in.
I eventually went back to the corporate world because I longed for the 9-5, weekends off (I mean really off) and paid vacations. It didn’t take me long to realize that I hated working for someone else and after I had to take a leave of absence in 2015 to take care of my ailing mother, I never went back.
Thankfully, my husband had a great job, we had lived in the same house for almost 30 years so the expenses were manageable and my children were now adults and self-sufficient(mostly). We worked it out and we could “survive”. Of course it is always better to do more than survive on your household income.
I’m blogging. I’m having fun. I’m developing strategies to increase my pageviews using Pinterest. Other bloggers respond to my posts about Pinterest and ask for my help. I create some services, develop some courses and take advantage of some sponsored post opportunities. I start making some serious money. Like thousands a month serious. I am thrilled!
The Biggest Mistake I Made When I First Monetized My Blog
Things were going so well that my husband and I decided to take a long, overdue vacation. It all goes downhill from here.
It turned out to be so stressful that I wished I had never gone away.
- I could not get decent wifi, which meant I could not work when I wanted to.
- I had clients and brands relying on me and I couldn’t deliver.
- When I could get a signal, I worked and worked and worked, just in case the connection the next day was lost.
- My husband was not happy. When I did spend time with him, I was grumpy and not fun to be around.
Even though that was the vacation from hell, I learned a very valuable lesson. One I had been taught before in my days of self-employment but I guess I am either a slow learner or have a very bad memory. I had created an online business exactly like the business I had walked away from years ago.
My biggest mistake I made when I first monetized my blog was that my strategy relied heavily on me working. Every. Single. Day.
When I got back home, I re-evaluated what I wanted my life to look like and how I was going to mold my blog to fit it, not the other way around.
- I narrowed down my services and eliminated those with daily/monthly commitments.
- I declined all sponsored posts.
- I stopped putting pressure on myself to follow the crowd.
It was really difficult to drop all of my monthly clients and I went through a lot of very lean months. But I am happy to say that I am on course to have a $3,000 month for November. (I made it! Check out my blog income report here.)
How do I make my money now? A huge percentage is from running ads and the rest is through affiliate links.
I wish I had realized years ago that this was the way for me. My income is strictly tied to my pageviews and I am ok with that. But for many years, I poo-pooed the premise because everywhere in the blogging world, you hear that you shouldn’t look at pageviews and you don’t need them to create income.
I have never had any trouble driving tons of traffic to my sites. Why shouldn’t I use that to my advantage?
Is that the right fit for you and your blog? I don’t know. That is up to you to decide.
So before you go off buying courses and plug-ins, before you go throwing links in everywhere and before you start promoting products and offering services, stop and really think about what you want and then create your monetization strategy.
I am so thrilled to have built several blogs that I am super proud of. I work when I want to. My monetization strategy works for me and fits me. Of course I am at the retirement stage of my life and you may not be.
However you choose to make money with your blog, just make sure it works for your life. And don’t be afraid to change course if your life or circumstances alter.
You own your blog, not the other way around. Remember that.