How I Made My First $1k Blogging

What’s easier for you, lose 5 lbs or make $1k from your blogging biz? 

I recently asked this very question in a Facebook group. As the answers started pouring in, I was overwhelmed by how many women confessed that losing weight is easier for them than making money.

Stinks, right?

Having tried (and succeeded) to both shed pounds (I lost 66 lbs a few years ago and, full disclosure, it took me A WHILE!) and make money blogging (after losing the weight, I needed a new challenge so I started a blog) I know neither one nor the other comes served on a silver platter.

But it still pains me to see so many brave souls struggling.

Which made me realize… Holy cat, has it been a long time since I talked about money!

Sure, I wrote a post on the best income streams for bloggers.

But I only published one income report. Albeit that first income report proved pretty popular and still brings new readers to my blog every single day, I never took the time to write a second one.

Today I want to take you behind-the-scenes and hopefully, this will help you get ahead in your own blogging business journey. I have a few weight loss tips as well. But you’d probably hate me if I told you to skip tonight’s dinner, so I won’t.

So let’s cut to the chase ’cause I know you are busy.

YOU are the foundation of your blogging biz

This is the main takeaway of this post. I know you are here for the numbers. But this is WAY more important.

There are tons of amazing programs, courses and eBooks out there that will teach you how to make your first or your next $1k. They will give you a detailed strategy and by the time you finish reading the last chapter or watching the last video, you will know pretty much everything you need to know to start making money with your blog.

But there’s a catch. Knowledge is usually not enough. Anyone can follow a strategy. But that doesn’t make everyone successful.

Can a kickass strategy do wonders for your bottom line? ABSOLUTELY!

But your strategy is NOT the foundation of your blogging biz. YOU ARE.

At the end of the day, everything falls back on YOU.

People won’t just love your words and blog. They will LOVE YOU, the living, breathing soul. You are the glue that keeps everything together. And believe me, there’s no way you can be successful at this if you don’t love yourself.

Learn to make yourself your number one priority, do the forgiveness work, and fall madly in love with yourself. 

I’ve been working on myself so much lately. I’ve been getting out of my comfort zone waaay more than usual. And although I still have a loooong way to go to get where I want to be, it’s paying off.

So be brave, my little star. You are capable of incredible things.

How I Made My First $1k Blogging

I’ll start by saying the (maybe not so) obvious. This post is long overdue. I actually reached the $1k milestone months ago.

Since then I launched my own eBook, How to Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate and relaunched the Smart Blog Planner, both of which add up to my bottom line every month.

But I started with affiliate marketing as my primary source of income.

I love affiliate marketing mainly because I don’t have to rely on crazy high traffic to generate income.

Only the other day I made $14 by making a referral sale for the Pretty Link plugin from a post I wrote almost a year ago. And although I did update that post a couple of months back, I can’t deny affiliate marketing is pretty darn passive. You can do the work today and keep reaping the rewards way into the future.

So I lovingly encourage you to get serious about affiliate marketing, if you haven’t already. Don’t just stop at recommending your hosting company or that course you took 3 months ago.

Make a list of 20+ products and services and start writing about them. Not all of them will work well with your audience, but there will always be surprises along the way.

But before we get into the full breakdown of what made me money in the first few months of starting this blog, I want to say this.

Most affiliate programs have a payment threshold AND they don’t pay you right away but rather after a certain delay that allows for them to honor their money back guarantee and hence cancel any commissions a returned product might have generated. So I only included the first $1.033,39 I cashed in.

Let’s dive in…

Affiliate programs

My own products

  • Blog Planner – $20

Referral credit

Bluehost

Bluehost has been my web host ever since I started this blog and to be honest, they do a pretty awesome job. If you want to know more about them, I wrote a full Bluehost review where I highlight all the reasons I believe you should host your blog on Bluehost. There I also talk about my personal experience with them and share uptime and load speed screenshots!

Having used other hosting companies before, I can say they are at the top of the game and I’m confident to recommend them. So if you’ve been blogging on the free WordPress.com platform and finally feel ready to move to self-hosted WordPress.com, I gently encourage you to choose Bluehost. Same if you want to change web hosts.

Takeaway: Mention products and services you use, love and are familiar with whenever you have the chance.

Amazon

My second biggest earner is Amazon. This might come as a surprise (it certainly surprised me!). I used Amazon before on another blog, but I never bothered much with it because I always thought the commissions were too low. And yes, I sold hundreds of products before I made $412.89 in Amazon commissions, but it turns out I didn’t have to write hundreds of blog posts to get there. I only had to put together a few quick posts like this and this and they did really well.

This inspired me to write my first eBook, How to Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate, which I launched at the beginning of the year. Frankly, I don’t know what’s more rewarding, the money or waking up to emails like this:

“I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you so much for this eBook! I just finished reading it, for the second time. I didn’t want it to end! (I know, I’m a nerd, ha!) It has taught me a great deal and given me so much more confidence with affiliate marketing. It’s so wonderfully written, it really was a joy to read. I recommend it all the time. I can’t help but rave about it. It truly was a huge help!”

– Jeannie Daigneault, JeanniesVirtualDesk.net

Takeaway: You can still make money by recommending $15 tape dispensers. Low priced items are an easy sell.

Elegant Themes

I also made a couple of affiliate sales for Elegant Themes and although I don’t use any of their themes myself, a while back I had the chance to help a friend set up her blog and fell head over heels in love with Divi.

I wholeheartedly believe Divi is the most badass theme out there.

While I strongly recommend you become an affiliate for products and services you use yourself, sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. If you believe in a product with all your heart, mentioning it might pay off.

Takeaway: Beat the drum for things you believe in and be honest.

ShareASale

I’m an affiliate for several merchants on ShareASale but only recommended ShareASale, the affiliate network, here. They pay $1 per lead, which I agree it’s peanuts, but I enjoy using them so much, I actually don’t mind.

What did I do with the $21, you might ask? Why, I spent it all on ricotta and honey roasted fig gelato, of course!

Takeaway: Even gelato money has to come from somewhere, right?

Blog Planner on Etsy

I created this planner to keep track of all my blogging activities. But then it turned out SO pretty, I decided to put it up for sale on Etsy. I linked to it from my blog and made a couple of sales.

Takeaway: You can use your blog to drive sales to other platforms.

Tailwind (referral credit)

I’ve been using Tailwind and Tailwind tribes almost since the launch day of this blog and I’m so grateful for all the traffic. Using an automation tool is the smartest way of driving hoards of people to your posts and I can’t imagine my life without it.

I started by creating a Tailwind tribe and invited my readers, newsletter subscribers, and Facebook group members to join. The cool thing is that for every person who signs up via my referral link and ends up upgrading, both they and I get a $15 Tailwind credit (you are welcome to join my tribe or to use my referral link to sign up, btw).

Referral credit means the money never reached my bank account, but eventually, I got enough credit to upgrade to the Tribes Max PowerUp without paying out of my own pocket. Woohoo!

Takeaway: You can’t pay the bills with referral credit but it sure helps not having to pay for services out of your own pocket.

Setup your own blog

It was income reports like this that inspired and motivated me to start blogging in the first place. I’m learning so much, acquiring new skills and becoming a better version of myself every single day. And it’s all because of this blog and the community I’m building around it.

If you don’t have a blog yet and you are interested in starting one and make money with it, it’s important to set up things right from the get-go. That means self-hosted, a beautiful design and a strong brand you are proud of.

I recommend using the WordPress & Bluehost combo. You can sign up for a domain and hosting right here, for only $2.95/month and be sure to check out my step-by-step start a blog tutorial in case you get stuck.

Once you have a few articles published (this post will help you stay motivated and blog consistently down the road) it’s important that you figure out how to market your content.

I highly recommend Pinterest for this because it has the potential to drive tons of traffic to your blog (and fast). Plus, you can also add direct affiliate links to your pins and start making money right away (this eBook will teach you how to make your first affiliate sale on Pinterest in 24 hours).

If you’ve never dipped your toes into affiliate marketing and have no idea where to even find programs to join, I have a post packed with affiliate marketing tips for beginners. Have a look. It’s a good read if I may say so myself.

And last but not least, start growing your email list from day one. Seriously, email is far from outdated. In fact, it has better conversion rates than social media and if you sign up with MailerLite, you don’t have to pay anything until you’ve reached 1k subscribers.

***

Blogging is a beautiful journey that will teach you so many things not only about growing a business but also about yourself. You might have lots of questions. Feel lost. And not know how to do shiz. And that’s okay. More than okay, really. Because that’s how you grow.

In all honesty, we all feel like that no matter where we are with our blogs. Because if you’ve never done something before, how on God’s green earth are you supposed to know how to do it AND do it with confidence?

Instead, be brave. That’s all you have to be. BRAVE. Ask questions. Find like-minded women to talk to. And don’t overthink and overcomplicate what doesn’t need to be overthought and overcomplicated.

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ABOUT LAURA
Hey there dream chaser! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of The Smart Blog Planner. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower you to create a highly profitable minimalist online business and show up for your dreams in a sustainable way.