Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live the “blogger’s dream”?
You know what I mean…
Making money blogging about something you love? Setting your hours, working when you want from where you want?
But then reality slaps you in the face.
After spending hours, days, weeks, maybe even months racking your brain for ideas – you STILL can’t figure out what to blog about.
Or maybe you were excited about an idea, started a blog (or you’re still trying to start a blog), but now you’ve hit a wall.
And you have no idea what to do, or where to go from here.
Frankly, you’re tempted to give up.
You’re so fed up of the frustration and the overwhelm.
Of constantly fighting discouragement, and battling the “little voices” that tell you: “this is never going to work.”
You can’t help but wonder…is making money blogging a myth?
Is it just a “Hollywood dream”?
You know what I mean.
Something that a lot of people dream of, but only a lucky few achieve? Those who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Or they made the right connection.
I remember feeling the same way and wondering the same thing.
Both as a blogger, and even before…when I first entered the world of “making money online.”
My first experience in the “make money online” world was a flop
It was 2003. I had shut down my private nutrition consulting practice to move to a new city for my husband’s job.
At the time, I had a 6-month-old, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. My husband worked crazy long hours, and we were always in debt.
I was desperate to make an extra income but I didn’t know how. My kids already rarely saw their dad. I didn’t want them to be shoved into daycare and barely see their mom either.
Although I spent time online, I wasn’t very savvy when it came to the online world. I knew how to search for information, send emails and shop on eBay.
I remember thinking that a lot of people were doing really well on eBay. That piqued my interest and got me wondering about whether it would be possible for me to start making money online too.
So I started researching what it would take.
People made it sound so easy – find something to sell, promote it, and then sell it. I decided to give it a go.
Not knowing what else to do, I opened an eBay shop selling paper crafting kits (I was a huge scrapbooker at the time).
My first experience trying to make money online ended up being full-time work with poverty level pay.
For more than 2 years I worked my butt off. I continued to research “how to make money online” and I did my best to implement what I learned.
But I never made more than a few hundred dollars a month. And it didn’t really feel like I was “earning” money. When I factored the time I put into my business and the cost of my supplies against the money I made, my hourly rate was less than $2 an hour.
The only decision that made sense at the time was to close my eBay store.
Can you imagine how I felt? I had invested SO much time into my “business” – and all for nothing.
This whole experience left me feeling frustrated, discouraged and stuck.
I remember thinking to myself “this whole making money online thing is NOT as easy as everyone makes it sound.”
Even though I wanted to give up, something inside just wouldn’t let me.
On the one hand, I would question whether this whole “making money online” thing was a myth. But then deep down inside, I felt like it was very real and very possible.
I knew that if I could figure out how to make it work, making money online would be the perfect solution to what I needed. It would be a way to earn an income from home so that I could still be there for my kids.
So I went back to the drawing board.
The problem was that I felt that the “make money online” was scammy. I wasn’t comfortable with it and didn’t want to sell something just for the sake of making money.
I wanted to know that I was adding real value to people’s lives.
Making a difference.
But I didn’t know how.
I spent so much time thinking…and thinking…and thinking…
Racking my brain…hoping that I would have a brilliant idea.
It was while I was still thinking that I decided to check out a Network Marketing Company.
I started a side-hustle with a Network Marketing Company
The company was called Stampin’ Up!
Let me say up front, I never considered myself to be a network marketer.
And I didn’t really want to be.
It wasn’t the online business that I wanted. But at the time, it felt like the next best thing.
I could “be my own boss” and “work my own hours”.
Stampin’ Up! is a company that sells supplies for making hand made greeting cards and other paper crafts. Their network marketers are called Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators.
Honestly, it was a weird choice for me, as I HATE sales, and I’m a total introvert.
But I loved paper crafts.
And I was passionate about pretty much everything creative – cooking, sewing, photography, pottery, painting, drawing, scrapbooking…I had dabbled in everything under the sun.
I figured that my creative passion would outweigh my sales phobia.
When I think back now, I realize that the real reason I joined Stampin’ Up! was because I didn’t know what else to do.
I didn’t want to restart my nutrition practice. Working outside the home wasn’t an option. And I hadn’t been able to make my online business work.
So I figured it was at least worth trying.
And I did.
I gave it my all. I offered “home parties” (which we called workshops) as well as classes and monthly clubs, along with large group stamping events.
About 2-3 events a week was my average.
We had no babysitters so I had to wait until my husband got home from work. He would come home, I would leave.
By the end of the first year, I had made less than $5000. Better than my eBay store, but not by much!
Going into my second year, I decided to ramp up my efforts.
I began offering 5-6 events a week. By that point, I barely saw my husband. I was exhausted. I would be home all day taking care of the kids. When hubby got home, I left. On my one free day a week, I prepared for my events.
It was SO much work!
After a year of that, my sales had only gone up to $15,000 for the year.
As much as I loved stamping and making cards…I still hated sales…and it showed in my results.
I was crushed, and I was exhausted…and miserable.
Two years doing something I hated (sales)… for nothing!
Let me tell you, when you’re used to a much higher salary (from my work as a Registered Dietitian) – earning peanuts while working a lot harder really sucks!
That’s when I stumbled into the world of blogging.
Let me backtrack for a minute.
In the Stampin’ Up! world, workshops, clubs, and classes involved teaching people how to make cards using Stampin’ Up! Products.
In every free workshop (home party) I would teach people how to make two simple cards. This involved giving them the consumable supplies to make the cards (for free) and letting them use my tools and supplies as I walked them through the process.
Once the “making” part was over, I would transition into the “sale”. In other words, I would try and sell Stampin’ Up! products.
My monthly clubs and classes were different. I would teach people how to make anywhere from 3 to 5 paper crafting projects (cards, scrapbook pages, treat boxes, etc). They paid for the class, got the supplies, and could also buy Stampin’ Up! products at the end of the class if they wanted.
As you can imagine, with all these events, I had to come up with a LOT of ideas.
I was relatively new to cardmaking, and I found it really hard to be constantly coming up with ideas.
But then I discovered blogs.
Card making blogs to be exact.
I was in love.
I had found an endless supply of ideas.
After a few months of blog surfing, I started noticing that some of the bloggers were offering classes in their homes, and that they were using their blog to promote them.
I naturally started wondering if perhaps I could do the same.
After all, I hated the home parties, because I had to sell.
The classes, on the other hand, were a different story. I loved them.
I had a set price that I charged, and I didn’t have to focus on or worry about sales. The only thing I had to focus on was teaching. I loved teaching (still do), and I noticed that when I taught, I naturally seemed to get sales without having to push for them.
The thought of being able to replace home parties with classes really excited me. So I decided to give blogging a go.
My first blog was a complete failure
I had NO clue what I was doing.
Although there were a lot of people blogging, there wasn’t a lot of information online about how to blog.
As far as I could tell, you picked a topic, started a blog and then just started writing.
So that’s what I did.
I had no clue how to start a blog, so I hired someone to set up my blog for me. It was a pretty random hire as I didn’t know what to ask for. Which I ended up really regretting, as they set me up on some obscure platform that was super hard to use (I hadn’t heard of self-hosted WordPress blogs).
My blog was about making handmade cards using Stampin’ Up! products.
I didn’t actually teach people how to make the cards, I just showed pictures of the cards I made, talked about the products I used, and then promoted my classes.
Not knowing what the heck I was doing with my blog, I just copied what other people did. I posted every day, shared the projects I had made, and talked about my life.
I would love to tell you that because of my blog, my Stampin’ Up! business exploded.
But it didn’t.
In fact, the only difference my blog made in my life was that I was spending even more time working.
So now, I was spending a whole bunch of time on blogging along with the work I had to do for my Stampin’ Up! events, I was spending a bunch of time on blogging.
Just when I was thinking of packing it in, I found out about self-hosted WordPress blogs.
People in my circle were starting to talk about self-hosted WordPress blogs. And how great they were compared to other blogging platforms.
I didn’t have anything to lose, so I made the switch.
Of course, that is when I realized that I had no way of transferring my content from my platform to my new WordPress Blog. Unless I wanted to pay a few thousand dollars (which I didn’t have).
So I had to start over from scratch.
At first, I was devasted. I had lost everything.
Only later did I realize that it was actually a blessing in disguise.
That’s when blogging changed my life!
I decided that I was going to do things differently.
I committed myself to learning how to do everything that I could so that I would no longer be dependent on anyone else, so
Instead of just jumping into it (like I did with my first blog), I started doing some research. Market research, online marketing research, blogging research (there was more info by then), tech tutorials…you name it.
This time it was a completely different story!
Instead of going into it blind, I had a plan. I mapped out a path.
Rather than just posting whatever, I created content strategically.
I started building an email list and promoting my content in my networks.
My Stampin’ Up! Business blossomed and I became one of the top performers in Canada.
At the same time, I saw an opportunity.
That led to my very first digital product: step-by-step photo tutorials. In today’s terms, e-books.
My online business was born!
Within 6 months of starting that blog – what I like to call my first “real” blog, I had my first $10,000 month. Within a year, I had hit 6-figures and officially hired my first employee.
That blog changed my life!
I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s true.
My life is probably the furthest thing from the “average North American family.”
Blogging Fit My Life Perfectly
I live in a house with 11 people and a dog.
My husband and I now have 5 children (ages 10, 12, 16, 18 and 20). My almost 98-year-old grandpa has been living with us for the last 10 years. A year and a half ago my sister moved in with her two boys (ages 9 and 12).
My sister works part-time, and my husband works super long hours along and is frequently away on business. So I am the one who’s on call pretty much 24/7.
It’s an understatement to say my life is busy!
There is no such thing as “extra” time in my schedule.
Despite the chaos of my life, I have been able to create a steady income for our family through blogging.
Blogging Provided a Steady Second Income For Our Family
Blogging was the key that unlocked the door to making money online for me.
After tasting success with that first “real” blog, I went on to launch two more blogs also in the art and paper crafting space.
I monetized each of those blogs with digital products and was able to grow each of those blogs into a 6-figure business.
Together, I was able to provide an amazing second income for our family (as you can imagine it costs a LOT to provide for that many people).
More importantly, I could be there for my family because of my blogging business.
My kids tell me that I’m their best friend and that their friends envy what a close relationship we have.
Our teenagers WANT to hang out with us. They tell us that they LOVE hanging out with the family.
Would we have that relationship if I’d had not been a constant presence in their lives? If I had not been able to be with them in their best and worst moments?
I honestly don’t think so.
And then there’s my grandpa. He’s mobile – but I do just about everything for him – cooking, cleaning, laundry, appointments, errands…you name it.
If it weren’t for my online businesses and the fact that I could work from home and arrange my hours around everyone’s schedule, he would be in a nursing home right now.
Instead, he’s surrounded by family who adores him, and our children have been blessed by growing up with their great-grandpa in their midst.
All because of the fact that I have been able to make money online.
Blogging has allowed me to start over
At the end of 2016, I was forced to shut down ALL of my blogs and businesses for family and health reasons. I knew that blogging would be my first choice if life ever changed enough for me to get back online.
And finally, here I am.
It’s been a long hard road back, and even now, I’m not really in an “ideal” place to be starting a blog.
But I’m tired of waiting.
Tired of putting my dreams on hold.
And I figured that there are probably a lot of people out there, like me. People who dream of having a blog, but who feel like there is so much going on in their life that they have to put their dream on hold.
Well for all you dreamers out there, I want you to know that you don’t have to wait.
I unexpectedly lost two family members who were near and dear to me in the last 2 years.
My step-mom was recently diagnosed with Huntington’s Chorea. Now we are now dealing with the emotional trauma of seeing what is happening to her. And, to my dad. He lost my mom 20 years ago to cancer, and now he’s losing his second wife.
On top of all the emotional upheaval, my reality is what I shared with you earlier. Looking after 5 kids. Looking after my 98-year-old grandpa. Helping out my sister. Keeping everything running smoothly with a husband that travels 6 months out of the year.
Is this really a good time to start a blog?
I spent almost 2 years waiting for my life to get better only to see it getting worse. So I decided that enough was enough.
Life is never going to be perfect.
I finally realized that if I want to live my dreams, I need to start now. I need to work with what I have. Within my limitations.
And blogging is the perfect channel for that.
Blogging is allowing me to once more design the life of my dreams
Do you know what I love the most about building an online business through blogging?
I love that I can fit my online business into my schedule rather than fit my life around my business.
I can read through emails at 4:30 AM as I sip coffee at the start of my day; research blog posts while I’m on the treadmill at the gym; answer emails when I’m sitting at doctor’s appointments with my grandpa, or plan my promotions at 10 pm while I’m laying in bed.
No matter how hectic and unpredictable my schedule, I can still find a way to make it work.
So when you find yourself wondering whether making money blogging is possible and whether you have what it takes, know that the answer is yes.
I did it and I’m doing it again. Despite everything I had and have, “going against me.”
If I can do it, friend, you can too.
But you don’t have to do it alone.
I am here with you, every step of the way.
I really hope that if you’ve been struggling with blogging or the thought of blogging in any way, that this post inspires you.
Life is crazy busy for all of us. There will always be challenges. It will never be the right time.
But if blogging is your dream…or if making money online is your dream…then I encourage you to go for it.
This blog is here to help. I am here to help.
So where do you go from here?
Well, I hope you take a page from this story by spending some time learning more about blogging and what it really takes to make money blogging.
Listen. Making money from blogging CAN be done.
But you can’t jump into it blind. Especially if you already have a lot going on in your life.
The best thing that you can do is to keep reading. I am creating and organizing my posts in such a way that it will give you an overview of the blogging success path.
In my next post, I talk about why bloggers fail. It’s an important post to read because it will help clear up some big blogging myths that may be holding you back.