How I finally helped our family budget, my blogging story. Encouragement if you've been thinking of starting a blog, but think you can't.
This is a special week. You see 7 years ago this week I pushed ‘Publish' on my very first blog post. That little action changed oh so much in our family's life.
When I was a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to grow up, get married and have babies. Honestly. I loved babies. (I still do actually. But now I get to hug and squeeze other people's babies.)
Anyway, like I mentioned in this post, I did indeed grow up, get married and have babies. Three of them in four years actually. And because I loved those babies SO much, I could not fathom going back to work after they were born.
But there was a problem. Dean and I were honestly not very good with money. Dean had a steady job, but because I'd gone to college on student loans after we were married and we never broke our dining out habits from when we were dating, we had debt payments to make each month.
Trying All the Things
I needed to make some money from home if we were ever going to make me staying home work. And I couldn't go back to doing graphic design because all the crazy deadlines and small children do not mix.
So I set out to find something that I could do from home – and not hate:
- I joined a couple of direct sales companies selling toys and tea tree oil products. But I didn't like them much.
- I started a home decor business that sold country decor on the internet. But it cost me more than I made to buy and ship the products.
- I got both a Life Insurance License and a Mutual Fund license and sold financial services products to people while training a small team to do the same. Even though I was home with my babies during the day and I loved helping other families with their finances, in the end I tired of being out and away from my family (Dean) almost every night.
Then after we'd moved back to the suburbs to be closer to Dean's work (after we nearly went bankrupt from previous debts and loads of car repairs from a long commute) and started to work on our fixer upper (pictured above) I discovered blogs.
Starting a Blog
One of the first blogs I found and loved was Young House Love. Jon and Sherry were a young couple sharing their DIY projects and home decor ideas. In doing so they had somehow turned their little hobby blog into a business to support their family.
I was hooked.
I read more blogs and in 2010 I started AKA Design with a backlog of photos I'd taken to document the renovations on our fixer upper bungalow in order to get rebate on our home improvement loan. The step-by-step process of the photos and projects filled the blog fairly quickly. Slowly over time we did more projects and renovated more spaces.
Learning to Make Money Blogging
After about a year of blogging inconsistently, I started to devour all the information I could on how to monetize my blog and grow my traffic. I read blog posts, took online workshops whenever I could find them and searched high and low for how to blog better. And I started to see results:
- I put a few ads on my site and in mid-2011 I made a whopping $600.
- Then in 2012 I got into better ad networks. I also started writing for another blogger and my income grew to $3000.
- In 2013, I joined a few affiliate programs and started getting sponsored posts through what are now called influencer networks. My income grew to $6000.
- In 2014 I wrote and launched Bloggers and Brands: The Blogger's Guide to Pitching and Working with Brands and I used Google DFP to create waterfall ads on the blog. I also worked with bigger, better paying sponsors. My income jumped to $28,000.
From there the blog grew and so did my income. I finally found something I loved doing that helped our family budget.
Blogging has helped me to create a beautifully cozy home for my family – which is incredibly important to me.
Blogging has allowed me to stay home with my kids – and homeschool them – for the last seven years.
Blogging has provided a creative outlet for me, when otherwise some days would be rather ‘challenging'. You know, what I mean Mommas.
Blogging has allowed me to add to our family's income in ways I could never have imagined before I started.
I didn't come into blogging knowing everything. In fact even though it was my intention to make money from it, it took me a little while to learn everything I needed to. But I started anyway!
If You Want to Learn How To Start a Blog
Maybe after reading my little story, you're sitting there nodding your head. Perhaps you're thinking that you'd like to give this blogging thing a try. Well, I've written a simple post How to Start a Blog the Right Way – In 5 Simple Steps to help you dive in and get started on your own blog. It's pretty simple to start. Honest. Plus I'm here to help answer any questions I can. I would LOVE to see you succeed at something you adore!
So what's next for me?
Well, after writing about decorating and DIY projects on AKA Design for 7+ years, I'm branching out and adding other topics like blogging and family life, saving money and simple family eats. Of course I will still include all sorts of decorating ideas and DIY tutorials. But I have some big things planned and I can't wait to share them with you!
If you've been a reader for awhile, thank you so much for being a loyal reader. And if you're new here, I look forward to what's to come!
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