From its humble beginnings with LiveJournal in the 90’s, blogging has grown to be a hugely profitable industry. It has become a platform for real people to make real money, but the problem is that too many people quit before they even get started.
We talk about this a lot, the bloggers who see someone else making money online, register a domain name, start churning stuff out, but then quit after just a few months because they’re not making a dime. The lifespan for these bloggers is about six months, and we want to give you the tools you need to make sure you don’t end up one of these six monthers.
Related episode: Blogging is Dead.
One of the biggest issues new bloggers face is figuring out how to make your first $1,000 blogging. And by that, we mean how to make some serious money quickly. If you’re going to be successful, you need to see that money coming in. It’s motivation to keep going when things are tough and it’s money you can use to invest in growing your blog.
Our title for this article might be misleading, because in our experience that initial cash probably isn’t coming through your blog directly, but it is money for your time that you can use to support your blog.
The hot topic right now with blogging income is passive income, and yeah, that’s great, but even the big guys will tell you that you need to start generating revenue before you can even really begin looking at those passive income sources.
To earn passive income, you will need an audience, and to do that, you’ll need to build your traffic both organically, through things like SEO and social media, as well as paid traffic sources, like Facebook ads, because that traffic is what will lead to affiliate income and an audience to buy your courses– and those two things are where the real money is.
The biggest misconception with blogging revenue
When you start blogging, you might have this incredibly common misconception: display ads are where the money comes from. Putting ads on your site might make you some money eventually, but it’s going to be slow going and takes a lot more traffic than you think to make more than negligible amounts.
Non-bloggers think this is where bloggers are making money, and it’s the same with Youtubers, but in reality, ads will never be a quick or primary income source.
The other thing about putting ads on your blog is that despite earning you a little money, they can make the reader experience a little off putting. Simply put, readers don’t like lots of ads… I mean, do you?
We’re not saying that you should overlook them entirely because they can mitigate some of your costs, but again, they’re just not big earners.
But ultimately, the answer is yes, ads can earn you money. But if your plan for making your first $1,000 is ads, then you’ll be missing out on several other more lucrative and faster options, which we’re going to dig into now.
Wondering how to make your first $1,000 blogging, then start here with freelancing.
Most new bloggers want to get straight to that passive income, but that’s just not possible when you first start out. Before you can get to that passive income you need to start making money to put into your blog, and freelancing is a great way to start.
Freelancing is honestly going to be the fastest way to make that first bit of revenue. Freelancing options include things like running Facebook ads for local businesses, doing SEO audits, working as a virtual assistant, freelance writing (we’ll talk more about this in a second), etc.
Want to make an extra $1,000 per month? Check out the #1 freelancing side hustle we recommend for bloggers here.
Freelancing may not seem like it’s blogging money, but if it’s money you are using to support and invest into your blog, then you should consider it blogging income.
Both Bobby and Mike did freelance work to get their businesses off the ground. Mike’s helped fitness bloggers build their online businesses and has done freelance marketing work. Bobby’s freelanced as a writer, SEO coach, and running Facebook ads for businesses. If it weren’t for that revenue, there would have been nothing to support their other businesses, which is where they’re really making money
You don’t have to freelance forever, but it can help you earn good money until your blog is producing a good income. When your blog starts making serious gains, you can start to pull back on the freelance work.
One of the biggest things we learned from FinCon this year was that there are a huge number of sites that want to hire writers. You’re not going to get rich doing it, but if you know how to write blog posts, from the structure to the content and audience, there are both online and brick and mortar businesses looking for people like you.
The heart and soul of your blog is written content, which means you probably know enough to write for others. And as a new blogger, you’ll be desirable because you’ll know the business while still being affordable.
To get started, look around at those bigger blogs who are putting out more than 3-5 posts per week, chances are they’re hiring someone for at least some of that work. You can start at around $100 per article and work up from there, but seriously, never go under $50. Undercutting others working in this field will damage your reputation, and more importantly, you need to value your time and skill going in.
With any type of freelance work, your price is a signal for the value of your work. Don’t devalue yourself.
If you’re worried about things like grammar and punctuation, most of those big blogs probably have an editor on staff to clean anything up. We’re obviously not suggesting you write like crap. Present yourself in a professional way, and know there is probably someone else who can catch those easy to overlook flaws.
Freelance writing is more than just an answer to the question of how to make your first $1,000 blogging, it’s going to make you a better blogger overall.
Freelancing will help you hone your craft, sharpen your skills, and ultimately become a better writer. As a newbie blogger, your early content is going to suck (we’ve all been there) but widening your scope to include other industries, styles, and voices, will improve your skills all round.
Depending on who you’re writing for, you may get to see the inner workings of someone else’s blog or business. This is the approach we’re taking– parting the curtains to show what happens behind the scenes. Because everyone on our team is valuable, we want all of them to know as much as possible about what we’re doing, and this holistic approach is paying off for us.
No matter what type of blog or business you’re writing for, take what you acquire in each of those jobs and invest that into your own blog.
If you’re ready for sponsored posts, then you’ve probably already figured out how to make your first $1,000 blogging. Still, some people, like Bobby, started making money with sponsored posts.
The first $300 Millennial Money Man made came from a sponsored post about a widget a company wanted to put on his site. They actually wanted to do it for free, but he threw out a number that also included a sponsored post, and that deal was his first real blogging revenue.
You won’t be seeing many sponsored posts on M$M anymore, but they can be serious revenue streams once you grow your audience. We’ve seen companies pay out $1,000-$8,000 for a sponsored post, and start-ups seem to be the loosest with their money.
To start adding sponsored posts to your blog, you will need regular traffic or a community so you’ve got an audience to drop that ad in front of.
We’ve got a few episodes of our podcast to help you grow and connect with your community:
And to increase your blog traffic with Facebook Ads, please check out our course Facebook Ads For Bloggers. Facebook is 100% our favorite traffic source.
You probably know the types of companies that are already suited to your niche, but you can also take a look at what types of sponsored posts other bloggers in your market are running.
The only caveat with ads is that they need to be a good fit for your audience. If it’s not a good fit, don’t put it on your website.
This one comes with a major disclaimer: you better freaking know what you’re doing if you’re trying to sell your skills to someone as a coach. We’ve seen too many people, even really successful ones, who fall for some scumbag who took like one webinar and decided to become a “coach.”
But, if you do have a marketable skill or asset, then you can use that to make money. Mike’s a good example of this as he merged his knowledge of marketing and fitness coaching into a skill set that he taught others in the fitness industry. It began as free help and advice for friends, but soon those were rolled into referrals and paid work.
Coaching is hands on and can be time consuming, but it can pay well if you actually know what you’re talking about. You can definitely consider this a freelance gig, and like we said before, freelancing is probably the best way how to make your first $1,000 blogging.
Just be careful with this. Know what you’re talking about and be honest with your abilities– your business and brand depend on it.
When you get to affiliate income, then you have definitely already learned how to make your first $1,000 blogging. This is because your blog won’t even be attractive to affiliates until you’ve really started to grow your traffic, and even if you are looking to affiliates for that first $1,000, then you’ve likely overlooked other ways to make it faster, like freelance work.
Affiliate income doesn’t really start earning you money until you’re up at around 20,000-50,000 pageviews per month. But once you get there, you will need to educate yourself about affiliate marketing. To stay on top of your game, it wouldn’t hurt to look into now.
We highly, highly recommend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. Michelle teaches you exactly how she grew her blog, Making Sense of Cents, from $0 to $50,000 a month in affiliate marketing, and this course is now the industry standard in affiliate marketing education.
Like we said in the beginning, too many bloggers quit early on because they don’t know where to start making money. Now that we’ve laid out how to make your first $1,000 blogging get out there and go hard with it.
Want to go even more in depth on how to make your first $1,000 blogging? Make sure you check out episode 29 of our podcast for more discussion on the topic.
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