Recently I have had many friends ask how to do what I do and work from home. I decided I would write a personal post to give you all a little insight into my journey to “follow my heart.” You can work from home. It is not easy but you can do it!
I started this blog in January 2010 as a way to help me save money, share my money saving tips, search for and share deals and get my life financially in a better place. At this time I was working full time outside the home. I started with NO idea how to blog or what to do! I started with blogger and a free blogspot.com link. I highly recommend this platform for beginners like I was. It is free, easy to customize and easy to learn to blog on. As the months past I started doing blogger reviews. I did not start big! I was reviewing suckers and pencils! REALLY! I was not paid for those reviews. I did them all for free with the products being compensation. As much as I wanted to start the same place as many of the “big” bloggers, it was necessary to start at the bottom. That is how this blogging world works for most of us. I joined groups like Pitch It to Me to help with learning how to pitch and how to do reviews. That became a big passion for me along with posting ways to live on a balance. I learned about and shared ways to coupon.
When 2011 rolled around I was finally at a place where I had stats…good stats. For those who are new to blogging, stats are very important. Every company asks for email follower count, page views, page rank, twitter and facebook pages, etc. After a year of working to build my audience I was there and had stats to share. That was when I discovered that people would pay you to write about and promote their sites. That was a WOW moment for me. Those offers came in along with people who would ask me to post for free. They wanted to use MY audience to promote their product or site . It sounds flattering right? That is what I thought too so I posted a lot of free material and spend hours writing and sharing their information hoping for more to come with those companies. I am sad to say that did not happen. I discovered that many companies use bloggers and have no intention of ever showing appreciation by letting it lead to bigger things.
By this time I had discovered companies that pay bloggers for campaigns. My favorite group was Business2Bloggers and Collective Bias. There are sites that are groups of bloggers and the organization has the sole purpose being to match a blogger up with a campaign that fits a client’s needs. Now if you are new like I was that may seem like a foreign language. So let me explain that campaigns are when a client hires the organization to hire out bloggers to try out, use or just write about their product. They expect the blogger to promote via all social media (Twitter, Facebook,etc.). That is where the stats come in. This was a great new world for me. I really liked working with these groups and learned a lot from them. There are also groups that pay you to post and it works about the same. I used these a lot during 2011 to make $20 here or there. I joined Blog Hops to network and find new followers. At one point I was co-hosting 5 blog hops a week! It was a fun way to get traffic, find blogs, find bloggers, learn and grow.
I shared with my readers how much I wanted to quit my full time job and stay home with my kids. I was so unhappy with my situation. Blogging was fun and brought in lunch money every now and then but that was all. It would not take the place of my current income and I did not know if it ever would. I continued to blog as a way to make a little extra money and to network. It was February on 2011 that I decided to take that leap of faith and quit my job. It was crazy but also a showing of faith in God. I believed it was right for my family and God would provide somehow! I enjoyed days with my kids, did online surveys and I blogged. I continued to dream that it would make a difference in someone’s life and bring in a little lunch money.
With my last real pay check I bought a domain through GoDaddy, moved over to WordPress and got a new look. I heard that WordPress was the way to go if you wanted to do all that I wanted to do—GROW! It was very confusing at first. I very quickly had to learn new HTML, how to transfer my old domain name with the blogspot.com to the new .com, Plug ins, how to post on WP, and so much more! It was scary and expensive but I new that was the only time I could do it because from that point on there would not be any income for me to use. I went from a totally free platform to a new platform that costs hundreds a year. SCARY but necessary for me.
Very quickly my Google Ads started earning a little more and I was actually being found by Google searches! WOW! I took that time to run with it! I saw many new opportunities as a I continued to work. I became a Houston Chevy Girl and was able to test drive a Malibu! That was awesome! From there I started doing more local work. I would promote local events and met so many fabulous bloggers and public relations people while doing this. I was able to participate in local charities and food/book drives which made heart very happy!
I started offering affordable adverting spots but I was very specific about who I would work with. I also learned about affiliate advertising. There are more affiliate companies than list right now. They are easy to sign up for. There is a large earning potential with them. When I first learned about them I posted their deals and offers all the time. I choose 2 to work with and focus on. I did make $100 or more a month. The problem with them is many do make you wait for payment but it is payment regardless. A lot of bloggers make A LOT with affilaite marketing. I choose this year though to stop with the promoting because it felt like I was “selling” their offers all the time. There was not anything unique or special about them and hundreds of other blogs were posting the same things. But I do want to say for new bloggers this is something to consider to get started.
I was also working more with Collective Bias than any other blogger company. I was doing Shoppertunities with them as a form of media marketing. In the summer of 2012 I was asked to be a Campaign Leader. That meant I managed other bloggers doing those Shoppertunities. It was FABULOUS and I had the time of my life! I was finally making money. Enough money to help pay the bills and I was having a blast doing it! I also discovered Twitter Parties and started to host Twitter Parties.
This year I have learned so much. I do not focus on stats so much. I focus more on the people and the interaction that we have! I love my readers and they bring me such joy! I honestly haven’t looked at my stats for weeks and it feels great. I started focusing on fun posts and not advertising or being paid for posts. That is when you started seeing more DIY, crafts, cooking and other fun projects.
That brings me to today. I LOVE this blog and the readers! I thank God every single day for the opportunities he brought my way! I have requests every day to work with people. I have the luxury now of telling people no or referring them to someone else. I have a built confidence so I can ask for exactly what I want. I do not always get it but at least I ask. I do post things for free now by choice when I am passionate about them. But it is all my choice and I know what to expect.
I am so excited to announce that I am now a member of the cbSocially team for Collective Bias. It is a dream job! cb.Socially is a division of Collective Bias that is devoted to conversational media management, engagement, interaction and relationship building activities for brand and retail clients. I will be working on all of my favorite social networks and chatting with people all day! I am THRILLED! I also blog for Autism United sharing my journey as a mom of an autistic child. I still blog daily and share what I can with my readers. I am excited to be able to spread the love. I am accepting applications to bring on bloggers to share their talent with my readers. I am looking for moms to blog and get paid! I never thought that day would come!
Exciting things are happening but it has not been an easy road! There have been months of no money coming in. There have been hours spent working for free with the dream of it meaning something to someone. There have been lots of NOs sent my way and lots of banging my head against the wall. Lots of tears and thoughts of giving up. Today my blog is something I am proud of. It brings in extra income to my family. It has lead to many awesome opportunities for me and my family. It has allowed me to help my readers.
I will be happy to share any how to information that you would like to help you follow your passion. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes. Please let me know what you would like to know more about. I will be going into detail on many of the steps above in the coming weeks. Be watching! Follow your heart! You can make it happen with a lot of love (and faith) and a little cents!