From FREE to FEE: 7 Steps on How to Make Money Blogging

I've been blogging for years and (finally!) figured out how to make money blogging! Check it out!

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A few years ago on a typical weekday morning, I was rushing around trying to get my three girls off to school.  As I dropped two bagels slices in the toaster, I heard my iPhone chime, letting me know that I had just received an email.  I quickly glanced over to scan the email subject line to see if the email was important enough to read right now.  The subject line read “How I Made $33,000 selling eBooks” and it was from a woman who taught blogging courses online.  Let’s call her Sally.  I was like, “What?!  $33,000!!  How in the world did Sally do that?”   Now, back then, I was shocked that someone could make $33,000 selling an eBook.  But I was also shocked because I knew Sally.  Sally and I weren’t BFFs or anything like that but I knew her well enough to talk business.  

Standing there thinking about making $33,000 selling ebooks, I almost burned the scrambled eggs trying to figure out how that could be possible.  Because at the time, I had an eBook that I was trying to sell to no avail.  I mean, in all honesty, I couldn’t give my eBook away.  I wanted to know how Sally was so successful in selling her ebook.  So as soon as I dropped my girls off to school and returned home, I called Sally.  We chatted for a bit and then I asked her about her $33,000 ebook.  Sally laughed and then she said something that rocked my world.  Sally said, “Marcella, you’re doing too many things for free.  Raise your prices, charge your worth and then you’ll start making bank.”  

I was sitting at my kitchen table with my mouth hanging open.  I couldn’t say anything because Sally was right.  I was giving my services away for free or next to nothing because I wanted to get clients.  I actually had a client snipe back at me when I gave her a reduced rate for my website design services.  She said, “You can give me the real price for the website.  I don’t need a discount.”  And I realized that she was actually offended that I was giving her a lower price for my services than she expected.  My husband had long been telling me to charge or charge more for my services.  Now I was realizing that he and Sally were right.

Right then and there, I purposed to start charging for my services and get paid for what I was worth.  Shoot!  I didn’t stay in school all those years for nothing.  Slowly but surely, I began putting things into place so I could profit from my blog.  And guess what?  I started earning money from my blog and it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.  So, If you too are trying to figure out how to stop that vicious cycle of doing things for free or get pair your worth, keep reading, I will show you 7 steps on how I did it.    

STEP 1: PERMISSION

Give yourself permission to follow your dreams and passion.  Now, this step might seem a little crazy but trust me, everyday I interact with women who want to blog about something or start a business but talk themselves out of it because they don’t think they can do it.  They think that too many other people are doing it, they won’t be able to make money doing it or are just too afraid to do it.  Don’t be afraid to follow your passion.  Your dreams were given to you by God for a reason and it’s your job to fulfill your purpose.  So stop trying to talk yourself out of it.  Allow yourself to follow your passion today.  

STEP 2: PURPOSE

Ask yourself what is your purpose and who do you help?  Who would use your products and services?  A man?  Woman?  Tweens?  An empty nester?  Take a moment and really think about the person you are trying to serve and how you can help them. If you don’t have a clear vision of who you are helping, you’re not going to be able to sell anything.  Take a few days to think about your ideal customer.  Really flesh out what they need, what they are looking for and how your products and services can help them.  

STEP 3: POSITION

Put yourself in the position to command the highest rate possible for your products and services.  Are their certifications or training that you need to be seen as qualified in your field?  If yes, then get them.  Yes, you are gonna have to put in some time and money to get that education, certification or training.  But it will be so worth it in the long run. Some clients won’t even consider working with you if you don’t have the standard certifications or training. I would never get a pedicure from a nail technician who was not board certified by the state.  I don’t care how much you know or how many YouTube videos you’ve watched.  Go get certified.

Once you get that piece of paper, you can look forward to charging (or charging more) for your services.  

STEP 4: PROFESSIONALISM

If you don’t come across as legit or are unprofessional, clients will be hesitant to give your their money.  I recommend putting 3 these things into place quickly to get professional:

  1. GET A BLOG – Do this today!  You should have an online presence working for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  A blog is amazing because it’s always advertising your wares, skills, services and products.  Therefore, in order for your business to be profitable, creating a blog that attracts clients and paying clients is the first step.  If you don’t have a blog, no worries!  Click here to learn how you can start your own blog in about 20 minutes.
  2. GET BUSINESS CARDS – Yes, we can exchange phone numbers, text and follow each other on Facebook but business cards will never go out of style.  I never leave home without mine.  But business cards?  Why?  Well, they are not high-tech, easy to use and you can take them everywhere.  Now, some people fight me on this one but I stand by it.  You may have a blog and an online business, but you still need to get out there and meet people who can help you or you can help.  Attending conferences, trade shows, conventions, workshops, hang outs, meetups, and other networking events are a must to grow your business.  Nothing beats personal one-on-one contact.  And remember, everyone you meet and personally connect with may not be tech savvy or want to give out their online info.  Always keep your business cards handy, in your purse, backpack, gym bag or whatever.  I cannot tell you how many business cards I have handed out at Target, Walmart and the supermarket.  When you are out and about, talking with friends and meeting new people, what you do and your business is bound to come up.  Be ready to hand a business card to interested clients with all your contact info on it.
  3. GET THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION – To operate legally as a business, you must follow the specific guidelines of your state and submit the required paperwork and documents.  For starters, you’ll need a business bank account.  Please don’t try to skip this and mix your business money with your personal money.  It is a recipe for disaster!  Also, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or tax ID number from the IRS.  If you need a business license to operate, get that too.  Each state is different and may require different things to set up legally as a business.  So you’ll have to do some research to find out what documentation is required based on where you live.  But the bottom line is to get legit or no real power players are gonna want to deal with you.

If you want businesses and clients to pay for your services, then you need to be as professional as possible.  It doesn’t take much to get started.  Please start working on the above 3 steps today. 

STEP 5: PATH

Here is where you show people how you can help them.  More specifically, the Path is not just a great show on Hulu (ha ha!).  It is the way you show your readers how your products and services solve their problems.  People are coming to your blog because they have a need to fill, a problem to solve or they are in some type of “pain”.  In my case, mommies come to my blog because they need help starting or monetizing their blog.  As a result, my blog has information that solves the problems my readers face.  Likewise, your blog should answer questions that will help your readers solve their pain and fill their needs.  Your blog should also answer questions that your customers are not asking, but should be.

The best way to serve your customer is to educate them first.  However, while on your blog, readers should find products and services that solve their problems and fill their needs.  I want to stress that you are not blogging just for fun.  You are ultimately blogging to make money.  For that reason,  your content should be keyword optimized so that your blog will rank higher in Google.  The higher your blog ranks in Google, the more readers will come to your blog.  When those readers visit your site, your goal should be to convert them into paying customers.  Understand the difference.  A reader is someone who will frequently visit your blog, read it and leave.  A customer is a reader who TRUSTS your message and pays for products and services that HELPS them, fulfills a NEED or solves a PROBLEM they have.  

Therefore, it is very important that you tell people how they can work with you.  Do you offer products or services?  Tell what you offer.  The key is that you always give your reader the opportunity to make a purchase because research shows that 25% of people who come to your blog are ready to buy on their initial visit.  Hence, you need to have products and services available for those “25 percenters” who are ready to make a purchase.  You don’t want to leave any money on the table.  Go get that money!  Therefore, each blog post and page on your site should have information clearly stated on how to acquire your products and services.  

STEP 6: PRICING

Price your products and services.  Then add a “Hire Me” or “Services” page.  Make sure you write out your services and your rates clearly.  Then if someone asks you to speak, coach, consult, etc. for them, just refer them to your website where they can view your rates.  Remember to go high and don’t skimp or shortchange yourself.  It may seem uncomfortable at first, but do it.  Charge your worth.  However, be careful not to be greedy or gouge your prices.  That’s just not cool!

STEP 7: PROCESS PAYMENT

Once you start getting paid work, make sure that you have a way to get your money.  I recommend taking down payments for your work and having clients pay through PayPal.  You want to make it as hard as possible to get stiffed for your services.

If you want to start getting paid, you must provide a way for your customers to pay for your products and services.  Cash always works and personally I am a little wary of checks.  However, I prefer having a easy way for customers to pay online.  I recommend PayPal.  PayPal lets customers make an instant payment to you from their bank account or credit card.  You can use PayPal to setup one time or recurring payments (like if you have a membership site where members pay $39 monthly or $99 a year).  PayPal also takes donations and can be integrated with other online retailers like Amazon and eBay.  It takes a few days to set up your PayPal account because they verify each user and their bank account.  So don’t hesitate.  Go and setup your PayPal account today.

I also highly recommend taking a down payment for your work.  Do NOT do any work until you have received some money.  I have learned this many times the hard way.  People will talk a good game and say that are going to give you money and then never do it.  Don’t waste your time starting a job for someone until you get some money.  

GO GET THOSE COINS!

Today, determine that you will start charging fees for your services.  You can go on forever doing things for free in the name of getting more experience and exposure.  If you are afraid to ask for money, you’ve gotta get over that, quick!  You are the only one who can make the transition to start getting paid for your worth and time.  Above, I’ve outlined a 7-step plan that will get you on the path to earning income.  Don’t expect to complete these steps in a few days.  It will take some time to get all of these steps in place and complete, but that’s okay.  Having a business is a journey.  You are worth it and the time it takes to complete these 7 steps is worthwhile. But before you run off and get those coins, leave me a comment below letting me know where you are at in the 7-step process.  

Toodles,

Dr. Marcella Wilson

How I Got Paid $2 to Eat Ice Cream & Other Ways to Make Money Online

how I got paid $2 to eat ice cream and other fun ways to make money online

Don’t have time to read this blog post about how to make money online?  PIN IT for later.  This blog post contains affiliate links.  I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. 

I  cannot believe it’s July already!   The first half of this year has flown by.  It’s summer but I’m already seeing ‘back to school’ advertisements for school supplies and uniforms.   And before you know it, Christmas will be here.  I am the type of mom that shops for Christmas gifts all year round.  If I see something that I think my girls would like and it’s a good price, I get it.  My kids usually love the gifts I pick out for them but since they are getting bigger and more opinionated, they want specific things for Christmas.  So this year, I am doing something different.  I plan to make money online using three of my favorite apps and websites.  I will use that money for Christmas gifts.  I know that Christmas in July is a thing but I have set goals to start saving for Christmas in July.

I am all about blogging and how moms can make money online.  And a lot of times, people think making money online is hard to do or takes a long time to accomplish.  But I am here to tell you that making money online is easier than you think.  It is attainable and anyone can do it.  Below I’m gonna show you 3 ways you can make money online today doing things you normally do like shopping for groceries.

1. ibotta

ibotta is an app that you download to your apple or android device.  The cool thing about ibotta is that you get cash back for purchases you normally make for groceries.  Ibotta offers cash back for selected items like eggs, ice cream and bread at certain stores like Target, Costco, Walmart, Wegmans, Walgreens, etc.  What I really love about ibotta is that they will offer cash back for specific products like Halo Top ice cream.  But other times, they’ll also offer cash back for a food item like orange juice or toothpaste.  However, they allow you to buy any brand you like.  How cool is that?  Since you have to go grocery shopping anyway, might as well download the ibotta app and get some money back.  The ibotta app also offers cash back for restaurant dining, electronics and more.

Getting Paid to Eat Ice Cream

Every major grocery store chain has some kind of special discount program or app to download to get more savings.  You give them your name, address, email and phone number, and in return you get specialized coupons and discounts on grocery items.  Definitely sign up for these programs.  Most grocery chains will also hand you coupons along with your receipt after your purchase.  These coupons are customized based on your shopping patterns and offer discounts on items you already buy or are most likely to buy.  The more you shop at that particular grocery store, the more accurate these coupons will be in offering you discounts on something you’d actually buy.  

About 10 days ago, as I was leaving Safeway, I noticed that the cashier handed me a coupon for one free pint Halo Top ice cream along with my receipt.  I was ecstatic.  If you don’t know about Halo Top ice cream, it’s a healthy ice cream that’s low in calories and high in protein.  And did I mention that it’s delicious?!?  You must try it.   So the next time I went to Safeway, I got my free pint of Halo Top ice cream and headed home.  When I checked my ibotta app, I saw that they were giving $1 cash back for a Halo Top ice cream purchase, which can be used up to 2 times.  Yes!  I quickly uploaded my Safeway receipt to my ibotta app and within the hour, $1 landed in my account.  A few days later, my husband brought home another pint of Halo Top ice cream from Wegmans.  I again opened up my ibotta app and uploaded the Wegman’s receipt to get my additional $1 cash back for the ice cream.  So all in all, I got paid $2 to eat Halo Top ice cream and I didn’t even pay for the first pint.  Not bad, right?

2. Ebates.com

Ebates is a site that offers cash back and coupons for online shopping purchases.  Retailers such as Amazon, Etsy, Sephora, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, JC Penny and many other stores that you’ll find at your local mall have teamed up with Ebates to give you cash back.  If you’re shopping online anyway – and who isn’t – you might as well get some money back from those purchases.  It’s a no-brainer.

Ebates offers rebates for mostly online shopping purchases.  However, rebates for in-store purchases at certain retailers are available.  They don’t have as many in-store cash back opportunities as they do for online shopping, but enough to make it worth your while to check out.  So, if you know you are going to a certain store ahead of time, check Ebates to see if they’re offering in-store cash back for purchases at that retailer.  If so, you must link up the credit card that you’ll use to make your in-store purchase for that retailer on Ebates.  Then, head off to that store and make your purchase.  Ebates will track that purchase and your cash will land in your account in a few day.  There has to be a bit of planning involved if you are trying to get cash back from Ebates for an in-store purchase. But the effort is well worth it!

I didn’t find out about Ebates through some blog or from another mommy.  My husband told me.  He had been regularly receiving checks from Ebates, getting cash back from purchases he made online.  One day, he was like, “Cella, you should sign up for Ebates so you can get money back when you shop.”  He sent me an email link so I could sign up and the rest is history.  Why don’t you try Ebates and see if you like it?  They will give you $10 just to sign up.  See, I told you it was super easy to make money online!

A Funny Story About How I Made Money Online

This past weekend, my husband and I were at L’occitane.  I love their vegetable soap bars!  They smell great and last forever!  I was at the counter getting ready to slap down my credit card to pay when I heard my husband behind me whispering, “Ebates, Ebates”.  I immediately stopped and pulled up Ebates on my phone to see if they had any cash back offers.  They did but only for only online purchases :(.  Then, I checked my ibotta app and saw that L’occitane was offering 6% cash back on all in-store purchases.  Yay!  I bought my soaps and headed home.  As soon as we got home, I quickly scanned in my L’occitane receipt into my ibotta app.  Within the hour, I was notified that money was added to my account for that purchase.  

Now, you may think that using Ebates to get 1% back from Target or 6% back from JC Penny is not worth your time.   Or you may feel that scanning your receipts just to get $.25 back for buying milk and $.50 for milk is a wasted effort.  But trust me, that 2% here and 5% from there quickly adds up over time. It’s fun to watch your money add up over time.  Once you see how much money you are making, you’ll be hooked.  

Yes, You Can Use Coupons with ibotta and Ebates

The beautiful thing about ibotta is that they don’t preclude you from using physical coupons.  Actually, the use of coupons is highly recommended, especially on Ebates.  If you visit Ebates, they regularly list cash back and coupon opportunities for your purchase.  So doing both is encouraged.  And as I mentioned earlier, I used my Safeway coupon to get free Halo Top ice cream and $2 cash back from ibotta.  

Yes, You Can Use Ebates and ibotta on the Same Purchase

As I stated earlier, Ibotta offers cash back for selected items like eggs, ice cream and bread at certain stores like Target, Costco, Walmart, Wegmans, Walgreens, etc.  Ebates gives rebates just for shopping at specific stores.  In some cases, you may be able to get cash back from ibotta and Ebates for the same purchase.  For example, let’s say that Ebates is offering 4% cash back for in-store Bed, Bath and Beyond purchases and the ibotta app is giving its users $1 for buying Cetaphil Face Cleanser at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  If you go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and purchase the Cetaphil Face Cleanser, you’ll get 4% cash back from Ebates on your total Bed, Bath and Beyond purchase and you’ll get $1 back from ibotta.  Oh, if you used one of those 20% off coupons that Bed, Bath and Beyond is always mailing out buy that Cetaphil Face Cleanser, you save even more.  See how easy it is to make $5, $10 or more on a purchase – and maybe even get it for free.  A little effort can go a long way to get paid to shop in no time.

3. Start a Blog

My final way to make money online is to start a blog.  With your own a blog, you most likely won’t be able to use coupons to save money or get cash back from other retailers.  However, there are many different ways bloggers can create income from their blog.  It take may take some time to get going but other bloggers are out there doing it, and you can too.

There are many different ways bloggers create income from their blog.  The most popular methods are selling your own products (physical or digital) and services online.  But other methods like putting ads on your blog, training webinars and sponsorships are also prevalent.  Check out my eBook where I show you the top 10 ways blogger make money online.

Affiliate Products

Also some bloggers make money selling affiliate products.  If you don’t know what affiliate products are, that’s when you sell another company’s product to your audience and they give you a cut of the sale.   For example, I can feature my (favorite!) Snapchat pillow in a blog post and give a link so any readers interested in that pillow can buy it directly from Amazon.  If someone clicks on that link and buys the pillow, Amazon will give me 50% of what you paid for the pillow.  Cool, right?  Lots of bloggers sell affiliate products or become affiliates for a company because it’s no work on their part.  All they have to do is blog about products and cash their checks when someone buys it.  

Some bloggers make their entire living selling affiliate products.  One popular blogger makes over $50,000 each month in affiliate income.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Financial blogger Michelle Schroeder-Gardner makes over $50,000 each month selling other people’s products!!!     Michelle has been blogging for years and her affiliate income has increased over time.  So, making five figures a month in affiliate income may not be realistic for you to achieve right now.   However, many bloggers start out earning $60 or $70 of affiliate income a month and then grow from there.   If you want to learn exactly how Michelle earns $50,000 a month in affiliate income, check out her online course “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing“. 

If you are interesting in starting your own blog, I can help you do it quickly and cheaply.  And I’ll show you how to make money the same day you set up your blog!  I have created a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a WordPress blog in about 5 minutes.  And for a limited time, you can get web hosting service from Blue Host for as low as $3.95 a month, which is ridiculously cheap.  As an added bonus, you’ll get a free domain name ($15 value) through my Blue Host link if you purchase at least one year of web hosting service.   

But that’s not all, I checked Ebates, and they will give you $10 cash back if you sign up for Blue Host today.   So you can save money by signing up for Blue Host and  literally start making money on your blog today!   To start, follow the steps below.

  • After the Ebates “Cash Back Button” is active on your browser, head over to Blue Host using my link to purchase web hosting service

Now you are ready to start blogging and generating income.  And you’ve learned how to make money from your purchases.  You are off to great start to making money online.

Do you use the ibotta app?  What other apps do you use that offer cash back?  Do you use Ebates?  Let me know in the comments below you the top 10 ways blogger make money online.

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