When I rebranded my blog last year I mapped out my vision for how to grow my audience and then transition into monetizing it and eventually transforming it into a business.
This blog post is going to be a detailed report of how I made my first $1,000 after my rebrand in a span of five months and reflects the transition I made from growing my audience to monetizing. Now, I’m currently in the stage of transforming it into a business.
So for this blog post, yes you’re going to get nitty-gritty details about how I exactly made my first $1,000 but also some insights and “behind the scenes” into why I chose specific income streams, what worked (and what didn’t) along with takeaway tips that you can steal for yourself so you can start working your way towards your first $1k!
And to go a step further, I’m also spilling the deets on why I’ve never done an income report before and why I’m finally open to sharing them.
Keep reading to learn how I made my first $1k with my blog!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, that will help me continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for supporting In Search of Sheila! 🙂
Why It Took Me So Long to Do an Income Report
I never thought I would do an income report…just because I’m a rebel and since every other blogger who blogs about blogging does them…
I wanted to be different and NOT do them.
But when I polled you guys on Instagram last month, a lot of you were interested in an income report from me (a.k.a. You guys are NOSEY) so I was like okay, they want to see it…let’s do it!!
Now, the OTHER reason why I’ve never done them is because I was afraid to.
Yep…good ol’ fear strikes again.
Fear of what people would think…
Fear of people thinking I’m greedy…
Fear of people attacking me for the ways I made my money…
Fear of people thinking I didn’t deserve the money I earned…
Basically, just a whole bunch of damn fear around money a.k.a. MONEY BLOCKS!
Overcoming My Money Blocks
The way you allow more money to flow into your life is to allow yourself to receive and have positive feelings about it.
If you have what is a called a “money block” you will hold yourself back from making the money you want and deserve.Money block: anything that holds you back from making the money you want; usually an underlying belief or fear about money that you may or may not be aware of it.
So to start attracting more money into your life, you need to deal with your fear around money, allow yourself to be open and receive it, and not feel ashamed or bad about it.
And to take it a step further…TALK ABOUT IT OPENLY!
Which is what I’m doing now.
So instead of hiding my numbers, I am choosing to be open and transparent with you guys not only to help you but to help MYSELF by telling the Universe that I have POSITIVE feelings surrounding money and I am open to receiving MORE.
Some Background Info
- I rebranded my fashion blog to a blog about blogging in June 2017
- I’ve made some money prior to my rebrand, but very very little. I am excluding those from this income report
- I have invested A LOT into my blog and business to help me reach the $1,000 mark
- All the numbers in this income report are totals I pocketed. People have different methods of reporting their income…some share gross amounts, other show profit amounts. I’m going to share profit
- Keep in mind I also have to pay taxes as a sole proprietor
- Also keep in mind that I pay payment processor fees (which means Paypal gets a cut of the money I make since I use their platform to make transactions)
- My expenses for my business exceeded my income for 2017, so I ended up not having to pay any taxes (and got a lot back for writing off what I invested in)
- I have a full-time job and this blog is my side hustle
How Long Did It Take Me?
Time wise, it took me five months to earn my first $1,000, right after I rebranded. So this income report will span from July-November 2017.
The timeline will look different for everyone…some longer and some shorter.
A lot of this depends on…
- YOU and if you’re ready to create an income strategy and
- Taking action to make the money!
Okay, I think you guys have enough background info and context…let’s dive into the numbers!How I Made My First $1,000 Blogging: My First Income Report! Click To Tweet
Blog Audit Services: $148.16 (July-September 2017)
The very first way I made money with my blog after my rebrand was by offering blog audits!
Blog audits can look different depending on who is offering them. Essentially, they’re a blog review that highlights what the blogger is doing well, and areas that they can improve on to reach their goals.
My audits were multi-page documents (usually around 8 pages!) that I created in Google Docs.
Before reviewing the blog, I sent my clients a questionnaire to give me an idea of their goals and struggles so I could come up with the best feedback to help them succeed.
I got pretty in-depth with my review and never left anything out! My goal was to give my clients the best and most thorough review to really push their blog forward.
I also included a growth strategy plan on top of the audit to help them take action.
I started selling my audits for $29 and then increased them to $37. After selling 5 audits I stopped offering them.
I won’t go into tooo much detail about that (I plan on writing an entire post on the subject!) but the main reasons I stopped offering them was because they:
- took up too much of my time
- stopped being fun + mentally draining
- were priced severely too low
Now I offer one-on-one strategy sessions which are similar to blog audits, except they are more fun and rewarding for me and my client!
The one thing I do want to mention is that offering services like an audit are the QUICKEST and easiest way you can start monetizing your blog, no matter what niche you’re in.
You just need to position yourself as a trustworthy expert in whatever subject your target clients need help with and put yourself out there.Offering services are the quickest and easiest way to start monetizing your blog! Click To Tweet
YOUR TAKEAWAY TIPS
- Offering services are the fastest and easiest way to start monetizing your blog–you just need to tell people what you’re selling, set up a way to pay, and do the work!
- Don’t overthink your first service…just take action, experiment, and stop selling them if you end up hating it! You can always move on to something else.
- Don’t let fear hold you back from offering your expertise and assistance for money…people are willing to pay to get the help they need!
Sponsored Video: $84.49 (July 2017)
To be open and transparent: I hate working with brands and very rarely partner with any (although there are a few exceptions!)
Whoa, that’s harsh Sheila…
However…early after my rebrand, I was still open to working with brands.
I was contacted by Hypertly to do a paid video for a shoe insole company. My task was to create a short video review for the insoles and submit it to the agency. I actually really loved the insoles and still use them!
I wasn’t required to write a blog post or any social media posts for it. I ended up getting paid $84.49.
Some of you might think wow that’s pretty good! Some of you might be thinking that’s it?!
And this is why I’ve always struggled with working with brands and/or agencies.
I never knew how to pitch myself to them or negotiate pricing, let alone have the CONFIDENCE to do so. (Cough cough money block!)
Let’s just say ya girl suffers from anxiety and much prefers assuming that they’ll say no than actually try and put myself out there. (Not the best strategy, don’t do this!!)
And if you have these same feelings, girl don’t feel bad!! Working with brands ISN’T for you. And the best part is, offering services is WAY BETTER.
Yes, I am bias af!Working with brands isn't for everyone! Don't feel like it's the end all, be all. There are BETTER ways to monetize your blog! Click To Tweet
I’m pretty sure none of you guys saw the video I made. I was so proud of it, but it took forever to get approval and PAID from the agency.
I corresponded back and forth with the rep for over a month and they said they were waiting on the company.
A few months went by and I was convinced I was scammed and wasn’t going to get my money. I second guessed doing the video and if it was really worth it…
If you want to watch the paid video I created click here!
Then I finally got the email from the company directly that they owed me a payout. Umm yeah… I know!!
Finally got my damn money.
The last thing I want to mention that although working with agencies is easier for micro-influencers, you are getting paid less since there is a middleman (the agency) plus there’s a lot of back and forth correspondence.
And payment may take months to get to you.
Now I don’t want you to think that ALL brands and agencies are horrible, this is just MY experience with ONE collaboration.
YOUR TAKEAWAY TIPS
- Be cautious of working with influencer agencies because you’ll get paid less than working directly with the brand
- Don’t be scared to PITCH yourself to brands no matter how “small” your blog is
- Always make sure you work with brands whose mission and values align with yours
- Working with brands isn’t for everyone. Don’t feel like it’s the only option to monetize your blog!
BTW if you are passionate about working with brands, go check out Katherine of Slightly Savvy. Her blog will change your life!
Affiliate marketing: $174 (September-October 2017)
First of all, I have to mention that I am NOT an affiliate marketing queen. If you want expert advice on affiliate marketing, go visit my girl Krista Aoki at her blog Reroute Lifestyle!
$150 of my first $1,000 was from affiliate income I received through SiteGround, my web hosting service.
They have an awesome commission rate—with every person who signs up with your affiliate link, you get $50. The more sales you get per month, the higher your commission.
So if you make 1-5 sales a month, you get $50; 6-10 sales a month, you get $75, and so forth.
The only thing with affiliate marketing is that you can’t rely on consistent commissions and payouts vary. It can take up to a month to receive your commissions!
As you can tell, I’ve made a decent amount of money from people using my affiliate link to sign up for web hosting with SiteGround! You can also see that if someone cancels their account, I don’t get a commission.
I have links to Siteground in relevant blog posts and my favorite resources page.
There are lots of other ways I could use my affiliate link, such as writing a whole blog post on what self-hosting is and recommend SiteGround. Maybe I’ll write that one day…
BTW I highly recommend choosing SiteGround to self-host your blog on! I’ve NEVER had any issues. Their tech support is on point and will hold your hand through the entire process.Blogger tip: Affiliate marketing is great for passive income, but don't rely on it as your main source of income! Click To Tweet
Slightly Savvy Summer Camp $24
In August I partnered up with Katherine of Slightly Savvy to promote her Summer Camp program, which is a workshop-style week long course (kinda like a camp!) to help bloggers work with brands.
I ended up generating three commissions, but only received payment for two (long story, but this wasn’t Katherine’s fault lol!)
To promote the program and my affiliate link, I wrote a blog post specifically about what the program was, how it would benefit you, and my personal story with working with brands.
Funny Story Time
I shared this post in a Facebook group and a few people called me out for the title being “misleading”…basically because I didn’t fully disclose that I was promoting a paid program?
I can’t remember what the original title was, but I immediately changed it so it CLEARLY COMMUNICATED that it was about Summer Camp.
P.S. SUMMER CAMP IS COMING BACK AT THE END OF MARCH! You can start pre-gaming and check out all the details here!
YOUR TAKEAWAY TIPS
- Don’t rely on affiliate marketing as your main source of income because it’s inconsistent and not guaranteed
- It’s a great form of passive income, but it does require a little work upfront
- Only promote products and services you 100% believe in and that would benefit your audience
- Focus on promoting the benefits of the product/service you’re promoting and less of the features
Coaching: $1,035.12 (October-November 2017)
With my first monthly coaching payment received I reached a total of $924.21 with my blog income. When I received my next stream of income, it was a second monthly coaching payment of $517.56, which increased my income to $1,441.77.
So technically, this report should be called “How I Made My First $1,441.77” but $1,000 was more to the point!
As you can see coaching is the BULK of my first $1k.
And I plan for it to be my main source of income so I can take my coaching business and blog full-time later this year.
Coaching services and prices vary from coach to coach. For me, my 3-month coaching program is currently $1600. I plan on raising the price very soon!
Soon as this month…I wrote down that I’m committed to raising my prices this month!
When I rebranded, my vision for In Search of Sheila was to turn it into a coaching business. After working on my mission and how I wanted to help others, I knew that I was meant to be a coach.
I’m just that obsessed with helping you guys and being your cheerleader!
But I told myself that I probably wouldn’t be able to launch my coaching services until 2018…
Those damn self-limiting beliefs!
And then in September, I got an email from a Stephanie of Creating Within who was dead set on hiring me as her coach. I was SHOCKED but also over the moon with excitement.
I unintentionally manifested my dream client…months and months before I ever thought of launching my services!!
Fast forward to now, Stephanie and I are still working together…and making some magic happen!
YOUR TAKEAWAY TIPS
- High priced services are the best way to transform your blog into a full-time business and make a reliable and consistent stream of income
- Any blogger can offer services…you just need to know your strengths and what your audience needs help with
- Working one-on-one with someone is very rewarding BEYOND a monetary value. I love working with clients because we develop a long-term relationship and eventually become friends. I’m not only helping them, but they in return help and inspire me as well!
Phew, we made it! Let’s go over a few takeaways and observations from this report.
Offering Services is the Way to Go
The majority of my income came from services: coaching and audits. Services are the easiest and fastest income stream method.
If you haven’t caught on by now…I am ALL ABOUT SERVICES!
To make money by offering services you need to:
- have a service
- have people willing to buy it
- a way to make transactions (Paypal is great!)
You don’t need a sales page and all this fancy stuff to get the ball rolling.
Don’t overthink and complicate the process. Don’t sabotage your success by wanting everything to be perfect.Don't sabotage your success by wanting everything to be perfect. Click To Tweet
You just need to tell people you have a service, convince them it’ll change their life (because it will) and set up a way to pay!
Working With Brands Might Not Be For You
If you have this belief in your head that you can only work with brands to make money with your blog (because I definitely did) I want you to know that there are OTHER OPTIONS!
My mission moving forward with In Search of Sheila is to help you discover your strengths and expertise and how you can market your mind…through your blog!
And hey, if you love working with brands DO YOU! I am not going to stop ya 🙂
Digital Products Aren’t On This List
Perhaps you noticed that my eBook isn’t on this income report…
Well, because I launched my eBook well after I made my first $1k!
I am definitely going to write an entire blog post on the lessons I learned about creating and selling my first eBook…as well as include a little bit of an income report as well.
P.S. You can download a free chapter from my eBook below!
But just know that digital products such as eBooks or courses are another great way to make money with your blog (after services of course hehe)!
What Ways Are You Interested in Monetizing Your Blog?
The biggest takeaway I want you to know is that there is no right or wrong way to monetize your blog.
Despite what all the “experts” out there say…the only strategy you need to follow is what feels good for YOU and aligns with your blog!
So tell me, what methods are you most interested in to monetize your blog?
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