How I Made My First $25,000 Blogging
Instead of doing another monthly income report, this month I wanted to do a more comprehensive guide to how I made my first $25,000 blogging.
In my two years of blogging in 2017 and 2018, I actually made more than that ($36,348.17 from April 2017 to be exact), but I thought $25,000 was more of a special milestone to celebrate. It also has a better ring to it, don’t you think?
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How I Grew My Income By 500% In 1 Year
1. I Decided To Just Go For It
My income grew substantially from 2017 to 2018: In the tax year of 5th April 2017 to 6th April 2018, I earned a mere $7,821, or an average of $651 per month.
However, from April 2018 to December 2018, my earnings shot to $28,527 in 9 months – an average of $3,169 per month! Not bad for my second year of blogging.
There’s a couple of reasons why my income grew so substantially from 2017 to 2018.
First of all, in 2017, I was not only in my start up phase with blogging, I was also a full-time masters student in chemistry (fun) and writing up my thesis on Stem Cell research.
Blogging was my passion, but I wasn’t really pressured to make a living out of it. I was planning to apply for jobs and also I didn’t have to pay for my rent at that time (thanks mom!).
However, things took a different turn. I went travelling and briefly looked for jobs in both marketing and chemistry.
I didn’t really put my heart into it and by October I was certain that I wanted to become a full-time blogger and make a liveable income out of it.
Now when I look back at what I did during that start up phase, I wish I had done things sooooooo differently. At that time, I was barely making ends meet because I focused on all the wrong things.
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2. I Stopped Focusing On Instagram
In 2017 was barely even a blogger. I was just an Instagrammer who did sponsored posts! There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but if I had focused on growing my blog, I would’ve been able to grow my income SO much quicker.
In 2017, I treated my blog as an extension to my Instagram – I would just upload outfit pictures and I didn’t focus on providing anything meaningful or valuable to my audience.
I basically just shared my outfit photos, which were nothing special and took forever to put together and edit. No wonder my blog didn’t flourish!
Instead of creating tons of amazing blog posts, I was focusing on followers on Instagram and Youtube.
My main goal was to reach 100k, because I thought that once I had that number, I would be able to ask more for sponsored posts on Instagram.
While yes, that can definitely be the case, it’s really hard to grow your Instagram. The competition is also much higher, and your posts are only valuable for a matter of days – not great.
Even though I had 50k+ followers, I wasn’t really able to monetize my “Insta fame” and make a decent living out of it.
The most important lesson that I learned is that popularity ≠ profits. And of course, profits > popularity when you’re trying to make a living online.
In December 2017 I was so fed up with Instagram that I decided to start focusing on blogging instead.
I had come across a couple of blog income reports that really inspired me, and some helpful SEO videos that gave me the knowledge I needed to start ranking in Google.
I started doing keyword research and slowly but surely, my blog started growing.
As you can see, in 2017 I had barely any visitors on my site. In December 2017, my blog got a mere 2,094 sessions in the entire month. That’s how many visits I now get in one day.
Related: If you want to read more about how I grew my traffic to 90,000 pageviews /mo, head over to How I Got 5 Million Pageviews On Pinterest.
So, How Did I Make My First $25,000 Blogging?
Affiliate Marketing: $12,623
Affiliate income made up about 50% of my income in my start up phase of blogging and it continues to be my biggest source of income. Right now, it consistently makes up roughly 60% of my income and it’s my favorite way to monetize my blog.
My top earner has always been Amazon Associates, which makes up about 70% of my total affiliate earnings.
Everyone can get started with an Amazon Associates account, so I strongly encourage you to apply if you haven’t already! They accept everyone with a website and you can stay on the platform as long as you make at least one sale in your first 3 months.
As I mentioned, affiliate marketing is my favorite way to monetize my blog. This is because it’s so passive! You don’t need to focus on selling or creating a product and you also don’t need to deal with customer service.
Affiliate marketing also continues to work while you sleep so if you wanted to, you could go on holiday and leave your business to fend for itself for a month, and your earnings wouldn’t drop significantly! (That’s what I did in December!)
If you’re ready to give affiliate marketing a try, check out the following resources:
- The Best High Paying Affiliate Programs For Bloggers
- How I Make Money Blogging – My Monthly Income Reports
- How To Make Your First $1,000 As A Blogger (Affiliate Marketing Course)
Sponsored Posts (On Instagram + Blog): $9,689
As I mentioned, I got started as an Insta-blogger, so most of my early income came from sponsored posts on Instagram. I also did a couple of sponsored blog posts on my blog which paid me pretty well considering the low traffic that I was getting.
Doing sponsored posts is one of the best ways to supplement your income when you’re first getting started with blogging. While I still do sponsored content whenever a great deal comes along, I don’t make more than 25% of my income from it.
In the beginning when I started blogging, I used to pitch to brands all the time and get sponsorships that way.
I know it can be pretty hard to get started with pitching and sending your own proposal across, which is why I’ve created the Perfect Pitch Worksheet that helps you create the perfect email to send to the sponsor of your dreams.
Additionally, I’ve compiled an awesome list of the best platforms that offer sponsorships for bloggers, which you can sign up for free below.
These platforms are all super easy to use and what’s best, you don’t even need to send a pitch! The platform is there to help you out.
Sign up for it if you’re ready to start earning some extra cash from your blog!
Here are a couple more resources to help you out with landing sponsorships:
- How To Get Paid On Instagram And Work With Brands That You Love
- How I Got 50,000 Followers On Instagram
Display Ads: $1,968.48 (YT, Adsense and MediaVine)
I started my YouTube channel around September 2017 and although I now have 500,000+ views on my channel, the amount that I’ve made on YouTube is laughable. On an average month, I’ll earn $40 for 20,000 views. Yep, that’s right, AdSense for fashion bloggers is absolutely terrible.
I also experimented with ads on my blog and at first I didn’t get off to a good start.
I had a couple of ads on my sidebar with AdSense and made about $60 for 50,000 pageviews, which was better than YouTube but pretty awful considering that I now make $500-$1,000 per month from display ads (with around 80,000 pageviews).
I switched to Mediavine as soon as I hit their requirements (25k sessions per month), and I haven’t looked back since!
Ads are my second favorite way of earning income on my blog because even though they can be annoying, they are completely passive. Also, you can adjust the amount of ads that you have on your site, so at the end of the day, you’re in full control!
Here’s a couple of resources that will help you to hit 25,000 sessions so that you too can apply for Mediavine:
Freelancing & Misc.: $719.48
The final amount comes from a project that I did pretty early on into my full-time blogging journey. A company hired me to do research analysis for them and I spent a couple of days a week per month working on the project.
The project required my skills and knowledge about blogging, but it wasn’t beneficial for my blog in any way. At the time I needed the money, but if I got the offer now, I would’t jump on it.
If you’re a beginner blogger and need to supplement your income, I definitely recommend that you try out freelancing if you have the time.
I was personally discovered on LinkedIn, but you can also list your skills in places like Upwork. I hire all my contractors from Upwork now, so it’s definitely a place where you could find lots of relevant opportunities!
As you may have noticed, I didn’t sell any products when I first began blogging. I only launched my first product, the Millenial Presets, in October 2018, and my second product, Explosive Traffic With Tribes in January 2019.
In retrospect, it probably would have benefitted me to get started with my own products sooner, but I’m also glad that I didn’t.
It takes a certain time to master each skill in blogging and it’s never a good idea to have too much going on at the same time. There’s a lot that goes into product creation, so I’m glad that I got started with it when I did.
It’s also incredibly useful to have an e-mail list before you start selling products, but unfortunately during my first two years of blogging I didn’t see the value of having an e-mail list. In retro-spect, I can 100% see why people say that the money is in the list.
It took me about 2 weeks to finish the course because it had that much material and so much new information about email, sales and product research that I had never even thought about before.
Another amazing thing that the course offered was ready made templates that you can use on your sales page, your sales pitch and in your emails.
Even now, I constantly go back to the course every now and again when I need help with sales or pitching.
If you are ready to get started with selling your own product, even something that costs as little as $5, I can’t recommend Six Figure Blogger enough!
I hope this little guide was helpful for you and that you can reach your first $25,000 quicker than you think! Now, on to the next $25,000 😉
If you are wondering what my expenses were, they were around a $100 / month, or $1200 per year. You can read about my expenses in detail here!
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