Sick of your 9-5 job? Consider taking your passion to the next level. A complete guide to become self-employed as a blogger.

Okay, guys.

This is going to be a super long post, but it’s PACKED with information, tips, and hints from personal experience to help those of you who are looking at blogging as a form of self-employment. I’ve recently had an abundance of personal messages from people I know as well as emails from some other individuals in the blogosphere who want to know more about what self-employment as a blogger looks like. Although I am by no means an expert, I’m here to share my personal story about how I got started as a self-employed blogger. And when I say I’m not an expert, I am referring to the fact that I make a part-time income that ranges from $500-2000 a month, not a full-time income that fully supports myself. (But that’s the ultimate goal! :) )

When I first starting blogging, I did it because I needed a creative outlet. I loved writing, sharing my opinions and helping others. I had so many interests and passions, and wanted to share my pictures, experience and expertise with others. I had wanted to start a blog for years but never mustered up the courage to take the leap. In December of 2014 (ironically- a week before I graduated college and the week of final exams…. way to procrastinate, Chels!) Inspiration Indulgence was born.

I had NO IDEA how crazy the journey I was about to embark on was.

Shortly after starting a blog, I was scrolling through Pinterest and found to my surprise that there was actually such a thing as making a career out of blogging. Like, hello, dream job!!! From that day forward, I made it a goal to make money blogging. I knew that it wouldn’t come overnight, but that I had the passion and perseverance to make it happen.

So you want to be self-employed blogger?

Today I’m going to share with you my journey on how I became self-employed. I would like to first highhandedly point out that everybody’s blogging experience is different. Some don’t earn an income until 3 years after their blog is born. Some start making money within the first 6 months. Your blogging journey is your own. Don’t ever compare your journey to others or think there is a right or wrong answer, because there is not.

Also, if you think that you an just start a blog and make money overnight, don’t count on it, sister. Monetizing a blog is a step you should take only after several months of solid blogging… or even a year after.  Before you step out into the scary world of monetiziation, you should focus on building great content, having an aesthetically pleasing design, and increasing your traffic. Once you feel solid with these platforms, then take the step to monetize your blog.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to build your site up before you try to monetize it. I made the mistake of trying to monetize three months after my blog was born. My site was new, I didn’t have much content, and I didn’t have a solid readership. I implemented ads but didn’t make any sales because I didn’t have enough high traffic. I soon realized this was a mistake and took a step back to build my blog up before deciding to monetize it.

But first of all…let’s talk about why you want to be self-employed?

Self-employment isn’t for everyone. Self-employed folks:

-Are intrinsically motivated
-Are go-getters
-Are great with time-management
-Take risks
-Are patient and trust the process
-Take their job seriously
-Are self-learners
-Are organized
-Are technology savy

Here are some reasons why I love it:

-I can make my own schedule
-I’m my own boss
-I can work virtually anywhere; my favorites include my home and my local coffee shop
-I quit jobs I was sick of doing to make side income, such as waitressing
-It’s great as a college student

That being said, self-employment is work. It’s treating your blog like a job even if you aren’t at an office. That being said, it may be tempting to sleep in until 11am every day and watch Netflix when you don’t feel like writing, but you need to treat your blog like a business. Get up, show up, and do work.

FullSizeRender (4)

Typical day in the life of a self-employed blogger:

You may wonder what bloggers actually do all day. Here are some daily tasks I complete:

-Answer emails
-Reach out to companies to partner
-Schedule and promote posts on social media
-Write posts
-Research for post
-Make graphic images for posts
-Apply for influencer opportunities (see below)
-Track blog finances

….and many, many more. Honestly, the work of a blogger is NEVER over!

The equation of a successful blog

I’m a firm believer that a great blog employs two key elements:

Great content + Great marketing strategy = Successful Blog

A successful blog accompanies the following two traits of a blogger: One who is skilled at writing and one who is great at marketing. A blog with great content and a successful marketing strategy can’t survive without the other. No one is going to read your blog if your content isn’t strong; likewise no one is going to read your blog if they never come across it.

Even in the beginning stage of my blog, I worked my ass off at growing my social media. I knew that it would be an important catalyst for showcasing and sharing my work. So far, I wrote posts to help you develop a Pinterest Strategy and to help you grow your Instagram. I also made a Facebook page for my blog.

For all of your beginners out there who are reading this and having a panic attack, don’t freak out. It took me a year to grow a successful platform. It doesn’t come over night. Like I mentioned above, you need to be a self-learner. Always be learning and researching how you can grow your blog. During the beginning stages, I can’t even tell you how many hours I poured over Pinterest researching ways to grow my blog.

So you’re ready to start monetizing?

Once you’ve decided that self-employment is right for you, and you’re ready to commit to this long, crazy journey…it’s time to get to work, sister. After you’ve been blogging steady for several months and have increased your pageviews, it’s time to start monetizing.

Here are some simple ways to monetize:

Advertising

By either offering advertising space on your blog or placing ads on your site, you can make an income. Here are some ways you can advertise:

Sidebar ads: Offer adspace on your blog, such as your sidebar, as a form of monetization.

Google Adsense: Believe it or not, you can make money by sititng back and not doing a darn thing. AdSense is a program that allows bloggers and website owners to make money by displaying Google ads. Google Adsense works with EPC (earnings per click) and CPC (cost per click). Google will select ads that your viewers The commission you receive per click depends on how much advertisers are paying Google for the particular ad. I suggest working on increasing your pageviews before installing Google Ads, or you won’t see steady income.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks involve a relationship between a seller and a blogger. Your affiliate network will supply you with the tools you need to promote their products, and you advertise for the network on your blog. What does this look like for you? You will place ads and banners on your site that all have tracking codes so if they are clicked on and purchases are made later on you will get the commission. You will make a portion of the income through the network.

Here are some of my favorites:

Amazon Affiliates
Share A Sale
Target
Bluehost

Again, like with GoogleAdsense, don’t except the income to come pouring in unless you get a steady amount of traffic.

Influencer Networks

Influencer agencies are the #1 way I make income off my blog. They collab businesses to bloggers through a central network. Businesses post opportunities for bloggers to either promote their product on social media or throughout their blogger. Bloggers apply for opportunities and are compensated if chose. Here are the networks I’ve had the most success in:

Clever Girls Collective
Izea
Blog Her
Social Fabric
Blog Meets Brand
Her Campus
Pollinate Media

Depending on your social reach, traffic, and company, an average blogger makes $150-300 for a sponsored post.  Since I worked so hard to grow my social media channels, my favorite way to make money as a blogger is actually through my social media. Imagine my surprise when I started landing opportunities and getting paid $100 for just one Instagram post!

The only downside to working with Influencer networks is that the payout date is 30-60 days after you post your content. Usually, the work I do right now determines my income two months from now.

The bottom line 

In case you haven’t realized the theme throughout this post, self-employment is do-able, but prepare to work your ass off. You need to be self-motivated and have a genuine interest in blogging and interacting with your readers. I promise you that if you start a blog for the sole purpose of making money, you WILL fail.

There is SO much information about monetizing your blog, and I compiled it under 2,000 words. Please know that there is SO much information out there to guide you. I encourage you to check out my Blogging board on Pinterest, where I have over 500 pins to help you grow a successful blog.

In addition, if you would like more information about being self-employed as a blogger, I highly recommend reading How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup. I read this during the early stages of my blogging career and it was a TOTAL gamechanger for me and my blog. Ruth has one of the most successful blogs in the blogosphere and discusses monetization in WAY in more depth, with proven strategies that WORK! I highly recommend the book for beginners or even for those who are past the beginning stages of monetizing your blog. If you would like to check this book out, see it on my sidebar to your right!

Whew! I know that was a lot of information, but hopefully you found it useful. To all of you who dream about some day making an income off your blog, YOU CAN DO THIS!! I want to inspire you to live your dreams. Being a self-employed blogger is a lot of hard work, but it will all pay off in you enjoy the journey.

“Love your work, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of compensation. I PROMISE you guys that I only promote products that I truly love! Thanks for supporting brands that make Inspiration Indulgence possible!

Xoxo,

Check out these others posts in my Blogging series!
A Blogger’s Guide to Doubling Your Instagram Followers
How to Build a Pinterest Strategy for Your Blog

Want more blogging tips? Be sure to like me on Facebook!

 

  • Great post! I have actually been really frustrated because I started blogging a year ago and I have only monetized with a few ads on my sidebar. I’ve made maybe $15 in a year, and I just get so frustrated.

    • I can see how that can be so frustrating, Kristin. Have you applied to any of the influence networks I suggested? Only a small percentage of my income is made off sidebar ads.

  • Deborah

    Good read Chelsea. I struggle with content issues. I mainly use my Facebook page – have 7,000 likes and not really doing much – except simple comments or research on suggestions and tips and of course Clothing with a few Off Topics. ( I also use a WordPress blog for the Mature Women (Clothing) also) Is there any hope for me??

    • Of course there is hope for you! 7,000 likes…WOW!! First of all, you should be proud of that accomplishment. What exactly are you struggling with, pageviews?

      • Deborah

        Chelsea – I have struggles about what to do about content. So much has been done by others before me and I am seriously uner-educated in the topic that I really like. I also only at this stage have 50 likes on WordPress only just starting. Followers are commenting on Polyvore sets that I have taken to posting up at this stage – but I feel lacking in what content to post :(

  • What a great post!!! It has taken me two years but I’m finally starting to monetize my blog!!!

    • Good for you, Ashley! And thanks for sharing!

  • This is a really informative post! I hope those who need to read this will find it! Blogging isn’t what I want as a career, but I enjoy it very much and always hope to create an enjoyable blog–I know that’s totally different from taking it seriously and making it one’s business.

    • For sure. The only thing I don’t like about monetizing is writing sponsored posts for products. Even if they are products I enjoy, it can be a buzzkill. I’m glad you blog for YOU and enjoy it so much :)

  • Lindsay Katherine

    Thanks for taking the time to put together such a comprehensive post. I have read so many articles on this, but each one seems to hold something back or seems confusing. Definitely pinning for future reference (and may hit you up ti discuss further!).

    • For sure!! I’ll chat anytime! I’m by no means an expert, but I’ll do my best to help!

  • Alissia Haggard

    Such great tips for someone like me starting out! totally appreciate you sharing your perspective!

    • Thanks for reading! Glad it helps :)

  • I appreciate what you have shared here about blogging and agree with you 100%. It isn’t easy or magic, but it can be very, very rewarding. BTW – I love the look of your blog.

    • Thanks so much, Linda! It’s very rewarding indeed. I love meeting people from all over the world.

  • Liz

    Fabulous tips!! My favorites are sponsored Instagram posts too :)

    • They almost seem too easy! lol

  • Burgh Brides

    thanks for the tips! always helpful to hear how others do it!

  • These a great tips!! I am always interested in how others do it!

  • So true! Thanks for writing this! So many people don’t really understand what “owning a blog” really means or what we do all day or how we get paid or how much work that goes into it. This is a great post, thanks!

    • Agreed. Going along with that, it can be frustrating to try and explain how blog monetization works to those who don’t have a blog!

  • Heather Gullett Denniston

    This is awesome. Already emailed it to myself to check out all the links. Really nicely done!

    • Aw thanks so much, Heather! Glad it helps!

  • I LOVE Ruth’s book! I’ve actually read it a few times, and different stages of my blog, and each time I get something totally different out of it! These are all great tips!

    • That’s so funny you say that, because I’m planning on rereading it this January! I read it in May and my blog has significantly grown since then.

  • Great post! I am pinning this for sure!

  • Lots of great stuff in this post. :)

  • Love love love this. I can’t wait til I can blog full-time!! This really excites me for that time!!

  • Bethany Frazier RD

    Awesome tips, I have just started researching this and will definitely be using some of these ideas.

    • Thanks, Bethany! Hope it helps!

  • Thank you for this! Everything is so nicely set up easy to follow. A few things I know and a few things that I didn’t know, so again – thank you for posting these. I can’t wait until I’ve grow my blog up more to implement some of these tips. Def. sharing.

    • Thank you so much for sharing! :)

  • This is such an awesome post Chelsea! My dream is also to blog full-time and I am aware of all the hard work that needs to go into it. This info is perfect for newbies that are just starting to build their blog (:

    • I know you can do it :) You’ve grown your blog so much since you started it!

  • I know from my own personal experience that it’s extremely difficult to make a full time income from blogging. It’s such a numbers game and if you don’t have upwards of
    10,000 unique visitors a month, you won’t see a huge return from adsense and a lot of companies won’t even work with you unless you meet that minimum requirement. I’m not saying this to discourage anybody, it’s just something I’ve learned over the years. I know some bloggers are really successful financially through selling e-books, courses and doing webinars but that also entails having a large amount of visitors. Great tips!

    • It’s surely a numbers game, which is why I focus on getting my pageviews up more than anything. Thank you!

  • wow! I have a LOT to learn!!!!! Thanks for sharing all your wisdom with us!

  • Great tips, and yes lots to learn, I have been at it a year, want to monetize, but its so much to get going when you have another full time job you cant quit. Also the tech knowledge required is unreal..I had NOOO Idea..ha!….thanks for sharing

    • It’s certainly hard to keep up if you have a full time job; I hear you!

  • Melissa Latimer

    You are so inspiring! I have had my blog for about a year, and have been discouraged at times. I am definitely a go-getter, and don’t mind hard work. I just applied to a few of your suggestions, and followed your Pinterest page. Thank you so much for the tips, as well as hope. :) -Primp And Prime Beauty

    • Yay! Glad it helps, and thanks for the follow! :)

  • Becky @Disney in your Day

    I’m definitely pinning this for reference. I’m in a number of networks but have been struggling to find opportunities there. I’ll have to check out some of the ones you’ve suggested.

  • Thanks for sharing, this is a great resource! I’d love to blog full-time some day!

    • Same here :) Thanks for reading!

  • These are all such great tips! I love that you really push people to grow their following, because you won’t be able to make any money without a strong following.

    • Yeah as much as I don’t want to admit it, social media following is huge and a big reason why I have landed a lot of my Instagram and Twitter campaigns

  • Great tips. I actually have made all of my income by selling online courses!!

    Hayli at Haylidejong.com

    • That’s awesome. Good for you…I would love to make an online course some day.

  • I love posts like these! When I started my blog I had NO IDEA how big blogging was and that people were making money from it. What?! That’s so exciting to think some day I might make money from my blog, which I LOVE! And you are oh so right, blogging takes so much time and people outside of the blogging world do not seem to understand :)

    • Yeah I’ve tried to explain this to co-workers and such but it can be a hassle because they just don’t get it…and I don’t blame them!

  • This is SO helpful! I especially love hearing about what networks and methods people are using for ads and sponsored posts. I’m excited to check some of the ones you mentioned out! Thanks for sharing all that you’ve learned with us :)

    • Thanks for reading, glad it helps!

  • Such an awesome read and so informative! Thanks for the tips via IG and everything else! :)
    -Linh

  • Ariel Pingault

    All of these are great tips for bloggers starting out! I’ve had my blog for almost a year now and I’m just now wanting to dive into monetizing and making this my full time job so it’s always great to read real stories of what others do everyday to make a living :) Thanks for sharing!

    • You can do it! Just never stop learning :)

  • Brianna George

    so informative. Thanks. I am about 4 months into blogging and have been wondering how I might monetize my blog. Your info is great. Thanks.
    http://unveiledandrevealed.com

    • Thank you so much, Brianna!

  • I started blogging in February of this year and sometimes feel like I am so behind but I am semi-monetizing my blog…definitely not enough to give up my day job but I get a little side cash from it. I aspire to work for myself someday though.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

    • Never stop believing in yourself, Jenny! You can do this! Keep working hard :)

  • Mimi Rose

    I LOVED this post!! I’ve had my blog for a few years now but I just started monetizing it and turning it into a full-time business this year. It definitely takes a lot of self-discipline, and I’m currently working about 12 hour days, but I find the work so incredibly satisfying, I don’t mind. I need to look more into influencer networks, I haven’t explored that type of monetization yet, thanks for the tips!

    • That’s awesome! How do you make your income, then? With online courses and such?

      • Mimi Rose

        I’ve mainly just been doing individual affiliate programs, such as Amazon & Bluehost and then freelance writing and marketing on the side. Influencer networks seem like the next step for my monetization journey :)

  • Nitta Notes

    Thanks so much for sharing this information! I appreciate your honesty and realistic view of what it’s like to be a full time blogger. After a couple of years, I have FINALLY started my blog. Definitely hear what you’re saying about how it takes time to grow and put the site together. Still working on it! Only a few months in so far!

    • Good for you!!! It’s a work in progress but you can do it!

  • All great tips, Chels! I have a post talking about what my life is like since I started working on my blog full time coming up this week! We’re definitely on the same page!

    • Can’t wait to read it!!

  • These are great ideas. I agree that jumping in with high expectations is a way to be let down. Taking the time to create good content and figure out the blog is good. It is so true, the work is never done!

    • The work is NEVER done!!! lol

  • Great, detailed post! Love how realistic you are too, as there are so many blogs out there that don’t mention the amount of effort and work that needs to go in to create something that’s profitable!

    • Thanks Lizzie! Just want to be as real as I can :)

  • These are great tips for anyone making that leap! Even though I’ve been blogging awhile, I know there’s a lot to learn! Love the notebook that you have, too.

  • great advice- so detailed and so many tips! i really appreciate it ♥ usually people are like- don’t even try, it’s not possible. i love your positive outlook!!

    • Thanks, Nelle! I want to help others :)

  • Hil D

    I am struggling working, blogging, and staying home with my kids as a mom, if I could monetize my blog that would make things slightly easier.

    • I can imagine how stressful that must be. You can do this!! <3

  • Rebecca Jalernpan

    Great tips. I had no idea I could become a Target affiliate! Totally looking into that now. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes…it’s like a dream partnership! lol

  • Donnica Smalls

    These are really great tips! My friend and I started our blog as a creative outlet, but eventually want to try to make that leap. I’m pinning this post so we can refer back to it.

    • Thanks for pinning, Donnica! I appreciate it!

  • Oh my goodness, these are amazing tips!!! Thanks so much!!! <3

    • Thanks for checking them out!!

  • Thanks so much for these tips! I’m working on monetizing in hope that one day I can make an income from my blog, so these are all super helpful.

    Best Wishes,
    Allison | http://www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

    • Your blog is amazing, Allison! I have no doubt you will be able to (:

  • I have blogged for forever but recently focused more on monetizing! Love this post and its super helpful! Thanks!

  • Deborah

    Hi back again Chelsea – Couldn’t find my original post. I have over 7,000 likes on my Facebook (which is where I started – but only have just started a Lifestyle blog (have 53 followers) I guess content is the thing – there is so much available out there and I feel lacking :)

    • May I ask how the heck you grew your FB page to 7,000 likes?!

      And keep growing your blog! Remember- it’s a journey, not a process!

      • Deborah

        It’s taken 2 years and then I noticed about 6 or 9 months ago it slowed with changes Facebook was making I guess. But it picked up and on average I get 50 to 100 likes per week. I keep at it with posting everyday – several times per day. It does involve a lot of time. And then if people aren’t getting the posts (except the popular ones) that can be a problem. I share a lot of material as well as posting clothing choices from different stores that I like – so nothing personal ever usually goes up.

      • That’s amazing. Stupid Facebook for making things difficult! I’m trying so hard to increase my likes. I usually get about 20-30 new likes a week.

  • Neely

    Great information. I’ve been a full time blogger for 3 years. It’s amazing!

    • You are so incredibly blessed!!! My ultimate dream.

  • Great post – lots of awesome information! I’ve heard of Passionfruit, I need to look into it more.
    I’ve been blogging for a year, not full-time, but want to transition into a full-time gig within the next year or two. I’m hoping to sell services and get away from all the sponsored ish, it’s hard for me to believe in that as a long-term solution. However for now, it’s a great way to make side income and learn about brands/blogging collaborations.
    Thanks again for the info, have a great day – xoxo!

    • Hey Allie, so glad to hear that it helps!!! Selling stuff/starting a shop is a great way to earn side income! That’s actually on my to-do list :)

  • It is awesome that you have shared your story and have given tips to the bloggers who want to be self employed! xx Larisa @ weheartbeauty.com

    • Thanks so much, Larisa! I’m not full time but I enjoy it!

  • Sweet Right Here

    I’m only one month into blogging, so this is super helpful…I had no idea Target had their own affiliate program!

    • Yes they do! :) I’m all around a HUGE Target fan! Congrats on starting a blog! That seriously is such a huge accomplishment that you should be proud of 😉

  • Burgh Brides

    This is one of my long term goals! Thanks for all of the great advice :)

    • Awesome! I believe in you!!

  • Don’t know how to describe that this is A GREAT GREAT POST. Thank you for sharing these with us. :)

    • Thanks for reading and enjoying!! XO

  • Morgan Roberts

    Thank you for sharing this! I am getting ready to start my own blog and this was SUPER helpful!

    • I’m SO happy it was helpful!! XO