Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Chance to Make Money Blogging?

Make Money Blogging: A Golden Opportunity?

Intrigued by a recent post at the WAHM forum, I applied to train for an editor position with a new network of blogging channels, spearheaded by a husband and wife team with an established internet marketing business.

The concept is that each editor will oversee between 10-100 blogs, as part of a team. Editors are responsible for managing their particular channel, but generally hire out to freelancers for blog posts and wouldn't be writing all the content (or any, if she didn't want to) herself.

Since I know that you can indeed make money blogging (see my previous post, "Does Blogging Make Money?") and because I would much prefer a long-term, performance-based income structure over simple paid posting, I am very excited about the possibilities ahead. I had a good feeling about this from the start, and I still do.

However, not everyone saw this opportunity the same way that I did. Another blogger, Dana, was also chosen for an editor position with this new gig. However, she didn't think the offer was as rosy as I did, and left the project. She started a post on the WAHM forum, "A Questionable Gig" to warn other writers about the pitfalls she saw in the blogging opportunity. Dana also discusses the topic in more detail on her writer's blog.

This recent debate brought back memories of my eHow experiment. Back in October, many on the WAHM forum were annoyed by Rich from eHow, who posted several times looking for writers. Many were skeptical, since eHow's criteria is so vague about payment. I'm sure many envisioned earning only pennies for their articles. I decided just to try eHow, with a few articles, and see what happened. Well, my articles have been so successful (one has earned over $100 to date) that I foresee replacing my current main gig simply with the passive income at eHow.

But I digress. My point is, sometimes you just have to make a leap of faith, try something out and evaluate it over time to know how it will work.

There are different criteria each freelance writer uses to determine what projects to look for and what opportunities to accept. We each have our own scam radar, and for each of us, it's a little different. In the end, we all rely on a little gut instinct. I did, in this case, and I am truly confident that I'll be reporting back periodically that my gut was right.

What are your thoughts? Do you make money blogging? I'd love to hear from you ...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Does Blogging Make Money?

Are you wondering, does blogging make money? The short answer is yes. But the reality is that only a small percentage of blogs are successful. There are many gems in a large mountain of ordinary rocks, and some of those gems do quite well.

J.D. at Get Rich Slowly now blogs as a full-time occupation as of this month. He worked hard to get his blog up to speed, and a venture he started as a hobby became an excellent source of income over the course of a couple years.

I am a daily reader of Survival Blog by J.W. Rawles, author of Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse. This is another very successful, and apparently lucrative, niche blog. It will soon reach the impressive feat of 3 million visitors, with over 69,000 unique hits each week.

So does blogging make money? Only when certain factors coincide. To be a successful blogger, you'll need to:

  • Know basic SEO (search engine optimization) and keyword techniques. I gained this experience writing $10 web content articles for a company that had a contract with a well-known website. There is a plethora of information available; some of the best can be found in the free Site Build It Netwriting Masters Course.
  • Find a niche. What is your passion? What do you love to research and write about? What skills do you have? Choose a topic that leaves you room for years of great content, not a passing fad. Findout what people are searching for by using Wordtracker's free tools.
  • Promote your site. Use social networking, link building and other techniques (check out Copy Blogger for more in-depth traffic-building information).
  • Monetize your blog with affiliate products, Google adSense and paid sponsors.
My own little blogs, Raw Milk Mama and My Work at Home Mom Blog, both in their infant stages, have already earned a few pennies in Google ad sense revenue as well as a few dollars in Amazon commissions.

Following my own advice, I hope to grow them into profitable blogs. I'm not in it for the money, yet, but as an eventual outcome, I'd be pleased.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Family Budget: Making it Work

I confess, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to money. I like to have a neat family budget, with all bills, spending categories and income sources duly noted. I allocate the money, my husband looks it over, and together, we try to stick to our family budget each month. Oh, I wasn't always this way. In fact, I'm still paying off the credit card debt we incurred before we read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book.

I look back in annoyance with my old ways of handling money and the cavalier way we added so much unnecessary debt to our lives, but I try not to dwell on it. Following Dave Ramsey's suggestion, we now make a spending plan each month, a “zero-based” budget. The amount going out has to equal the amount coming in, with a net of zero. Yes, you still save money and even invest (when debt-free) but that is part of the family budget and counts as outgo.

As a work at home mom (WAHM), a careful budget is especially important because I want to make sure the time I'm spending earning an income is going to good use. Knowing how precious my time is, wasting money on things we don't need bugs me more now than when I had an office job and no kids.

So how do you make a family budget friendly enough for a skeptical spouse and reluctant teenagers? Start by getting your spouse on the same page so you can tackle the rest of the family as a team. Make some time each week to discuss finances with your husband. Try these resources together:

*My Total Money Makeover

*Financial Peace University

*The Envelope System

With your spouse, plan out a family budget you both can live with. Allocate the set bills first, as that is easy to do (your monthly housing and debt payments should be consistent, and use the average for fluctuating electric bills and the like). Next, your disposable income. Include:

  • Food (estimate $100 per person per month to start)

  • Transportation (gas & oil, tolls, bus fares)

  • Clothing, shoes

  • Tuition, dues, subscriptions

  • Household (cleaning products, repairs)

  • Extra money (gifts, personal, etc.)

If you find your outgo exceeds your income, you need to Earn Extra Money. Also check out How to Save Money and Get Out of Debt.

If you have older children, it's time to get your teens on board. It's essential that you be open with them and ask them to pull together as a teem to make the family budget work. Older teens with jobs may need to pay for their own gas and clothes and even contribute something to the grocery budget, especially if you and your spouse are trying to pay off debt and get finances in order. Younger teens and children can help with extra chores if parents will be working overtime or from home to increase income.

What successes--or pitfalls--have you experienced with a family budget at your house?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Personal Finance as a Work at Home Mom

Many personal finance sites tend to focus on one end of the money equation: how you spend and save it. But in my blog, I'm focusing mostly on the other end of the equation, earning money. Specifically, I write about earning money as a stay at home mom and the unique challenges this situation presents.

When looking at a tight budget, there are two things you can do to improve the wiggle room and find money for underfunded categories (whether it be your blow money or your debt reduction).

1. Make more money.

2. Spend less money.

Really, it is that simple. You can do one or the other, or both, but those are your only options. (a huge inheritance just isn't practical for most people, and not something you can control in any case... well, let's just not go there.)

There comes a point for many people when it is easier to do the first than the second, and this is certainly true in my case. With two mortgage payments,a home equity loan payment, student loans and more, much of our monthly income is eaten up by set bills that we can't change (unless our house finally sells, but that's another post for another day).

We are very frugal with our so-called disposable income. We buy natural food in bulk, bake our own bread, plant a garden, drive old paid-for vehicles, shop at thrift stores whenever possible, and don't have TV, cable, or other entertainment extras.

To supplement my husband's income and pay for my children's Atrium class, among other things, I spend part of my day working from home, as an English grader and a freelance writer. There are many other ways to earn extra money. Here are a couple short articles with ideas for you:

How to Earn Extra Money
& How to Earn Extra Money at Home on a Computer.

Making Money with Affiliate Programs

Some people make a living marketing other peoples' stuff online. One is the author of The Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 Last Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online, a book that purports to show you how it is done. I don't have $75 for the book, so I am learning as I go.

I am now an affiliate for,, and The Coupon Clippers. I've started posting the links on my blog, forum signatures, and articles I write for other websites.

I earn about $20 a month from Amazon, without much promotion at all. Most of my purchases are made through some plain text links on another site (not this blog).

For me, becoming an affiliate marketer allows me another opportunity to earn passive income, my new hobby. I spend a few minutes creating text links, add them to my articles or posts, and leave them alone. I log in to my Amazon Associates account a few times a week to check on the progress and am pleasantly surprised when a sale shows up.

However, I haven't made more than $5 on any one item and was slightly jealous to see that many Amazon Associates have had commissions of $100 or more on a single item. One associate mentioned selling a $1,000+ watch and earning a large commission for it. That would be nice, but for now I am content to build up my traffic and hope my referral links get the clicks.

I'll let you know how my progress goes, so keep an eye on my blog for an update.