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My blog is not just about me. It’s about featuring other successful moms who have started their blogs and built successful businesses! There are so many different methods to growing a successful blog and below is an amazing guest post by Corina. She has grown her blog to over $20,000 in 18 months! Just imagine how your life would change if your blog was making thousands per month! You could pay the mortgage, send the kids to private school or go on that dream family vacation – or maybe just finally get your kitchen remodeled! Enjoy the post!
Hey mamas! I’m Corina, wife and mama of two boys. I blog over at www.nowthaticando.com, where I’m building a community for moms fighting the frumpy monster. Yup, we have a name for that force that keep us busy mamas in yoga pants and baggy tees despite our best intentions! Through my blog I’m learning how to re-prioritize my self-care and I’m sharing what I’ve gleaned about dressing better along the way. You can get my free wardrobe plan for moms eBook at: https://www.nowthaticando.com/fyw-freebie.
P.S. Totally unsolicited praise here for Suzi’s blog (I’m not an affiliate!)… but I just want to say I’m a HUGE fan of this blog and eBooks/courses. Suzi and I started our blogs around the same time. She’s obviously taken off a lot faster than I have, and I know much of that is due to her incredibly smart focus on the important things. Whenever a mom asks how to start a profitable blog, I refer her straight to StartAMomBlog.com. Her steps really work! Every time I follow her methods I see the best results! So I’m gonna try to keep doing more of that 😝 Thanks for being such a smart cookie and sharing that with us, Suzi! And I’m honored to share my blogging story here today.
I Wanted to Make Money from Home as a Stay at Home Mom
When I became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of our first child I was looking for something to keep me as challenged and driven as my previous job. I started looking into ways to make money online… Swagbucks was my point of reference.
I moved past making cents on web searches to blogging quickly when I started reading blogging stories on Pinterest. It was unbelievable at first… several thousand a month blogging? How is that POSSIBLE?
I decided to give it a try. While finishing up my bachelor’s degree online I mused over what kind of blog I would launch a couple months after graduating (I’m a planner to the core!).
I started with a blog idea that encompassed 3-4 areas of womanhood/motherhood. But as I started writing my first content for the blog it started to settle in: I couldn’t keep up with so many subjects and do them well at the same time.
When I thought about what was missing in the blogosphere that I also struggled with, I quickly realized it was fashion for moms. Sure there were lots of fashion blogs by moms out there. But I could never really connect with the concept of copying someone else’s outfit to try to be more stylish.
I wanted a comprehensive guide for dressing better as a mom. And I needed it to be simple. A la Mom Style for Dummies. Since I couldn’t find anything quite like that out there, I knew I had found a blog subject I could grow into and be passionate about.
I was no expert on the subject I chose, which is what made it an exciting challenge and genuine blogging venture for me.
I started writing posts for my blog in January 2016 and launched it to the world (aka my friends and family) that March. As of this post my blog is a year and a half old (or young!).
Tip from Suzi: I love that Corina started her blog without even knowing exactly what her niche would be. She discovered her niche as she started writing! So smart! Many times starting and writing a few posts reveals your niche to you quickly!
How Do You Work from Home with Two Little Kids?
I used to work in our home office, but that turned into our first son’s bedroom when our second baby arrived.
So we moved around our furniture and carved out a corner of our bedroom. I refinished an old librarians table with glossy white paint, hung my jewelry organizer and set up my mirror for taking outfit selfies to share with my Frumpy Fighters Facebook group.
I use my desk corner as a backdrop when I record videos for my course or landing pages.
How to Find Time to Work as a Mom with Young Children – 6 Ways to Find Time
I made a commitment from the beginning to only work while my kids slept (I had one boy at the time with another on the way). Having my workspace set up in my bedroom is another way I can stay committed to not working while the kids are up! When they’re up I simply cannot focus and my productivity drops at least 80%–it’s hard to type when someone’s hanging off your arm and the other one is asking the same question for the tenth time. Plus I didn’t want to look back and realize I’d missed out on time with my precious, growing boys.
So when do I fit work in?
(By the way, I started calling it my “work” early on… people just don’t take “blogging” as seriously. Blogging is just a hobby, not a career right?)
From the start, I’ve spent a minimum of 4 hours a day working on my blog (5-6 days a week). That comes out to around 20 hours a week (although during a recent launch I recorded working 36 hours!)… most of that while the kids slept.
Regular hours happened in the morning (6-8 am) before kids were up and in the afternoon (1-3 pm) while they napped. Thankfully my kids are good sleepers! But that’s mostly due to gradually but purposefully sleep training them from when they were born.
Besides those time blocks every day, here are a few other ways I’ve carved out bigger chunks of time when I really needed it (big projects or product launches):
- Working all evening while my husband fed and watched the kids.
- Working just an hour or two at night before bed.
- Spending a day house sitting somewhere else and working (I’ve heard of some bloggers booking a hotel). My husband watches the kids all day. They’re never more appreciative of me than when I get back from one of those days.
- Spending an afternoon at a coffee shop… my husband or mom watches the kids.
- On occasion when the kids sleep in… more work time!
A few months ago I also made the commitment to not work Sundays. Even though that was my loose rule starting out, I would end up getting up early anyway to get email done or some other task… leaving me frustrated because I couldn’t break away even on Sundays.
I was feeling burn out and needed that day to know I wasn’t going to get up early or work during naps. I’ve only had to break that rule a couple of times during big launches. It’s been such a blessing to have a whole 24 hours truly work-free!
Here’s a chart showing my work time each week in August and September. In the middle there I was launching a product– so that’s when hours got crazy!
Obviously I love my work too much to just stick to 20 hours!
I use Toggl.com (a phenomenal free tool) to track my time every day.
Yup, I “clock in” and “clock out.” I’m able to record how long projects and tasks take so that I can plan my days and deadlines better! It also keeps me focused on the task at hand while I work.
(I recorded a tutorial about using Toggl for my 90 Day Year group recently– you can view it here.)
Tip from Suzi: I follow the same work strategy as Corina. I get up early and work from 6am-8am (or when the little ones wake up). And then I work again during nap times, around 2pm-4pm.
Now that I have a third baby, I’ll be adapting my routine a bit. I’m predicting that I’ll only work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when my oldest is at preschool for a few hours. But little baby boy is only 2 weeks old, so I’ll let you know in a few months how my routine has changed with 3 children under 3.5 years old.
How I Made $1,600 with my Blog
Before my first eBook product I monetized it with referrals, affiliates, and ads. But that only brought in $1,600 this year because my traffic has stayed at about 30,000-50,000 page views/month.
I also had one VA client that I wrote for monthly… it brought in just enough money to cover my initial blogging expenses.
I soon realized I didn’t want to have to rely on traffic or active VA work to bring me income. It was a huge mental shift when I realized that my blog was just a component of my business. I was a business and I could start my own product line.
How I Exploded my Blog Income to $18,000 and Discovered the Perfect Product
So, I knew I needed to create my own eBook; or some kind of product. But I couldn’t think of anything for a while. I just kept blogging with purpose and trying to build my audience + email list.
In October of 2016 (7 months into launching the blog) I observed how popular my free fall capsule wardrobe plan had become. While on the couch recovering from the birth of my second baby, the idea hit me that I could create a visual guide showing you all the outfits you could create out of the pieces on that wardrobe plan.
Right then and there from the couch and in between nursing sessions, I put together my first eBook.
You won’t believe this… but I sold it for just $4.99 when I first launched. So of course, with an email list of under 1,000 and that kind of price I only made a couple hundred dollars.
And yet I was OVER THE MOON. I was now bringing in about $5 a day passively on my blog! It was just enough encouragement to help me keep pressing on with jubilance!!
11 months and 3 new outfit guides later, these eBooks (and accompanying printable upgrades) have brought me nearly $18,000 in revenue.
Tip from Suzi: If you need help finding your ebook idea, and creating and launching it, enroll in the Ebook by Number course.
The Step by Step Guideline How I Made Money with My Mom Fashion Blog
I started prepping to launch my blog in January of 2016. I launched it with about five blog posts on March 1, 2016.
My First $5
July, 2016 (four months after launch): My first monetary compensation was $5 from Ebates for a referral. 🙂 You gotta celebrate every little milestone along the way.
Making $75 With My Blog
August, 2016 (five months after launch): My second compensation of sorts was through a free dress for a sponsored post with PinkBlush.com. That was exciting because I got a $75 dollar product for free! And it was because of the blog platform I had built up!
Becoming a VA and Making $44
August, 2016 (five months after launch): In August I was also hired by a blog to create Pinterest graphics for her and write blog posts for her blog monthly. (She found me through a “hire me” page I had on my blog.) I charged $2 per Pinterest graphic and $30 per blog post. My check that first month was $44. I was celebrating BIG TIME!!
Making $117 Through Affiliate Marketing
October, 2016 (seven months after launch): I had been making a dollar or two a day from affiliate income for a couple of months. When I reached the $100 threshold I received a check for $117 from Shopstyle Collective. Another huge celebration time!!
Almost $1,000 from My First Ebook
Also in October I launched that first eBook–my outfit guide based on the popular fall capsule wardrobe plan. My email list was under 1,000 people and I made just under $1,000 from it in the following three months.
$1 Each Day – Passively!
November through December 2016 continued to bring in some affiliate income as well as a dollar a day through Google Adsense. 😉
My total for my 1st year blogging was: $1,600
My Second Year of Blogging about Mom’s Fashion and Money Making Strategies
In 2017 I continued to focus on publishing amazing content, increasing traffic, growing my email list and creating more versions of my outfit guide eBooks. I also started work on an eCourse and did a pre-sale to 20 beta students.
My main streams of income in 2017:
- Ad/Affiliate/Referrals: $1600
- eBook/Printable Sales/eCourse Sales: $16,500
Total (as of October 1st) for my 2nd year blogging: $18,342.66
Obviously, it’s my product line that has brought in the real return on (time) investment.
How did I know my eBooks would sell? I basically asked for and assimilated the feedback on each new eBook and kept improving it with each new one. (The Facebook Group I started was key to understanding what my audience wanted… but more about that later.)
Notice, I didn’t start making real money until MONTHS into blogging. But I knew that those 20+ hours I was working every day would eventually pay off in passive income if I just stayed committed and worked smart. Well, I was sure of that most of the time… there were definitely moments of doubt! 😉
How I Get Traffic from Pinterest and Google – 30,000 Page Views per Month!
Pinterest used to be my biggest driver of traffic. Now it’s Google search (but only thanks to one particular post so far). Here’s how the shift happened.
In August 2016 (5 months after launching the blog) I posted my second most popular blog post to date: a fall capsule wardrobe plan for stay-at-home moms. People found me through my capsule infographic which went semi-viral on Pinterest. My monthly views jumped from 5,000/month to 30,000/month. They dipped a bit after fall, but picked back up when I continue publishing this kind of content (winter, spring, and summer capsules).
Side note: How do you write viral Pinterest posts? I’ve learned it’s by providing that thing that others aren’t providing through a blog post, and doing it really well. Then create an info-graphic type pin for your post that is amazing on its own but also makes people want to click because of “one other thing” on the other side.
In October 2016 (7 months after launching) I posted my most popular blog post to date: LuLaRoe: An Honest Review On The Pros And Cons Of The Popular Trend. In the months following it began to rank incredibly high on Google, and is now the top result when searching for “lularoe pros and cons.” That post continues to bring me the most traffic.
Date range: January – October 2017
Pinterest continues to be the second biggest traffic driver.
Date range: January – October 2017
Traffic Source: Google/Organic
I try to generally follow the rules for good SEO in my blog posts. However I use Squarespace so I can’t leverage the help of that helpful Yoast WordPress plugin.
Another side note: Squarespace has been awesome for avoiding the learning curve and keeping me focused on writing great content when I started out. But I will definitely be moving to WordPress (planning to use Suzi’s Divi course!) in the next year because of many free plugins and features I can’t use on Squarespace.
What worked with that one Lularoe post to rank high on Google? I wrote 1) with utmost honesty, 2) about a popular topic, 3) that no one else was writing honestly about.
I had no affiliate or sponsorship relationship with LuLaRoe (unlike all the other posts available about it). I was simply writing a helpful guide for women that were as confused by the craze as I was. Women search Google for this kind of insight into LuLaRoe, they find it on my blog, and they stick around to read the whole thing. So Google ranks me high!
Traffic Source: Pinterest
I create 1-3 Pinterest-optimized pins for every blog post I write. I also am careful to only write the kind of posts that do well on Pinterest. You can see my blog post board below to get a feel for my pins:
I used to rely on Group Boards as well as looping my pins within my boards. But I’ve recently switched to a less intense strategy that apparently will bring better results (I’m still testing it).
This strategy involves pinning only 30 pins per day to your own boards (minimal use of group boards) and is taught by Pinning Perfect. The course is phenomenal and lets you in on some mind blowing facts about how Pinterest does and doesn’t work (one of the instructors meets directly with Pinterest for insider secrets).
BONUS Traffic Source: Facebook Group
In January of this year (9 months ago) I started a private but free Facebook group for my readers. It’s called Frumpy Fighters and is all about helping moms connect around fighting the frump with easy fashion.
It’s also where my outfit guide customers post pictures of the outfits they try. This has become like free advertising for me… happy customers showing how they’re using my product in real life!
It’s also become a driving factor for traffic and subscribers. (As you see in the stats above, Facebook is second in line to Pinterest… but I only post on my Facebook page when there’s a new post so I know the Facebook group is driving lots of that traffic.)
Anyone who asks to join is asked how they found the group. Over half say Facebook suggested it to them. What this tells me is that because my group is so engaged and growing, Facebook is telling other similar audiences about it! Free advertising! Thanks to this free advertising I’m getting about 30 new members each day passively.
As soon as I add them to the group I send them a custom message saying welcome, introducing myself and linking to my premium freebie; this turns many of them into subscribers even if they’ve never heard of me before!
To be honest… starting a group was scary. I thought it would suck all my time. I was scared to “put myself out there” and be vulnerable like that. What if there were crickets in the group when I opened it?
I’m so glad I pushed past those worries and just did it. The women in there (almost all moms) rave about it. They finally feel connected and understood around the frustrations and struggles of fashion.
Frumpy Fighters has single-handedly built a true community of moms around my blog and business. I don’t have to try to prove myself to new subscribers… the group does that for me!
And as for being a time-sucker… it’s not. It’s well worth the few minutes I spend in there connecting with the ladies each day (and the weekly posts are scheduled ahead of time so they just happen automatically). I couldn’t ask for a better marketer than my free Facebook group.
As a point of reference, here is my website traffic for the last 30 days: 53,000 page views/month
How I Grew My Email List to 3,900 Raving Fans
My email list isn’t huge. And while it’s grown steadily over the last year and half blogging, it’s still only 3,900 subscribers as of October 2017. But with that size of a list I’ve made around $20,000.
Let me state that again: With just 3,900 subscribers, I’ve made around $20,000.
Email subscriber growth Dec 16’ to Sept 17’ (I switched from MailerLite to ConvertKit in Dec 16’ with about 1,000 subscribers–not shown here)
As Suzi teaches, what’s important is the quality of your subscribers, not just the number of them. A small list can bring you great income if you acquire highly targeted people AND you nurture them into fans through awesome ongoing contact (for me that’s through an occasional newsletter and the Facebook group).
My subscribers all sign up through freebies/content upgrades/optins on my blog posts: printables and ebooks. I write blog posts that are extremely helpful and then offer a freebie that relates to it. You can see all my blog posts offering freebies here.
I currently post about 2-3 times per month. I don’t post unless it’s gonna be awesome. I try to write a blog post that includes a new content upgrade every month or two. Now that I have nearly twenty strong content upgrades, I don’t add new ones that often. I just keep marketing the ones I already have!
My 2-part formula for getting subscribers:
Drive Traffic to Helpful Blog Posts (Organic/Google + Pinterest & Facebook + Facebook Group) → Offer Awesome Content Upgrades
I’ve recently started testing out some Facebook ads to get subscribers into my sales funnel (I direct them straight to optin landing pages for freebies).
My initial ads are just retargeting blog visitors as well as subscribers who haven’t purchased. They are doing pretty well and I just purchased a course (FB Brilliance by Brilliant Business Moms) to further learn and master this method of growth.
Before purchasing a course about Facebook ads though, I learned a ton about ads with free content. My favorites are:
- Rick Mulready’s podcast The Art of Paid Traffic
- Amy Porterfield’s podcast Online Marketing Made Easy (search for Facebook ads episodes)
- Andrew Hubbard’s blog
- Beth Anne Schwamberger’s podcast Brilliants Business Moms (I just purchased her full ads course, FB Brilliance!)
Once you find your target audience on Facebook, using ads to bring them into your sales funnel is so much less stressful than trying to post constantly on your blog and social media or guest post to keep up traffic. I’m all about that because I want to eventually work less than 20-30 hours a week. My kids won’t take naps forever.
What do You Email to Your Subscribers?
I tend to err on the side of not emailing enough because I hate annoying my subscribers. I only email about 2-3 times per month and every email has at least some free value included. Examples:
- Latest blog post and freebie download
- News about the blog plus a fashion tip
- Announcing upcoming product plus free related class
Around product launches I offer a freebie followed up by an “upgrade” offer. I only email 2-3 follow-up reminders before the deadline.
I also have automated sequences set up for new subscribers when they download any freebie tied to a product. The sequences are 3-4 emails long, offering tips and instructions around the freebie as well as pitching a special limited time offer on the product.
I use Deadline Funnel to create individual deadlines for each subscriber based on the date they subscribe. This allows me to have an evergreen sales funnel that offers that time-crunch incentive to buy that is so effective during launches… except it’s set up to work on new subscribers year-round.
I use Deadline Funnel to create urgency for every single subscriber that opts in to a freebie that is directly related to one of my products (eBooks). This email is an example of my delivery email. I follow that up with 3-4 more emails: value, value + reminder to upgrade, & final reminder to upgrade.
Those wins keep you going and eventually you find you’ve made progress!! Those wins build up, one on the other, building your confidence. So keep moving. The wins will keep coming. And so will your confidence.
Keep moving. Stay focused. Stay smart!
We can DO this mama!
Golly! That was an amazing post by Corina – thank you! I’m so honored she shared almost over 4,000 words of amazing advice for all mom bloggers! And to make over $20,000 with an email list of under 4,000 email subscribers is fantastic! Thank you for sharing Corina!
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