When Kimberly Gauthier launched her blog, she was thrilled to make $30 a month.
But over time, her site started to earn extra money — $1,000 a month to be exact. Now, she’s using the second income from her blog to accelerate her debt repayment and save for retirement.
Find out how Kimberly is making extra money from her blog and how you can easily earn a second income, too.
How to start blogging
Kimberly works as a full-time accountant. She was originally researching side hustle jobs and thought she would be a pet photographer. She invested in cameras and supplies, but a friend told her she needed a blog to build her business.
“I just started blogging,” says Kimberly. “I didn’t even have my dogs yet. Once I got my dogs, Sydney and Rodrigo, I started blogging about them, too. Eventually, the photography side faded away.”
As interest in her dogs grew, she started a new blog called Keep The Tail Wagging in 2011.
Earn extra money from blogging
Kimberly hoped her site would earn extra money right away.
“I took a course on how to monetize a blog and make money,” says Kimberly. “The first month I made $30 and was over the moon. A lot of information in the course I took and out there is for review or product sites, not blogs like mine. So it was hard to earn a real income.”
But Kimberly saw the potential in the market. She joined a blogging organization called BlogPaws, which connects bloggers with companies launching new campaigns.
With product reviews, company advertising, and sponsored posts, Kimberly started earning between $500 and $1,000 a month.
Finding a niche
However, while her site was earning extra money, Kimberly soon shifted her focus.
“A reader asked me if I fed my dogs a raw diet, and I decided to write about it,” said Kimberly.
There was demand for the topic, so she decided to change her blog’s niche and wrote about raw feeding. She saw a 500 percent increase in traffic, but by switching to talking about raw diets, she lost her advertisers and sponsored posts. Suddenly, her site wasn’t earning at all.
“I had to shift my income streams. I started doing affiliate marketing instead. I started taking lessons on how to do it,” says Kimberly. “I went through my analytics and took a look at my most popular posts.”
One of her most-viewed posts was on healthy alternatives to rawhide chews. Kimberly added a few affiliate links and rewrote some of the content. Soon, she was making $50 to $100 a month from that one post.
She continues to write original content and includes relevant affiliate links. The Amazon Associates program makes up about 50 percent of her income, but she also connects with companies directly.
“I now can rely on $1,000 a month as steady income,” says Kimberly. “But during the big holiday season, like around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I make between $2,000 and $2,500 a month.”
The cost of running a blog
Kimberly estimates that she spends about 30 hours a week working on the blog on top of her full-time job.
“It doesn’t feel like work because I love it so much,” says Kimberly. “But I have an hour-long commute on the train, so I work on the blog to and from work. Then I work a few hours when I get home and a few hours on the weekend.”
Kimberly spends only about $150 a month to maintain the blog, and that number includes her internet, phone bill, and hosting. She does most of the work herself so, overall, her expenses are minimal.
Making good use of a second income
Kimberly says she has about $30,000 in a mix of credit card debt and student loans. She’s using her second income to accelerate her payments so she can get out of debt faster.
“Part of my income goes to debt repayment, and the rest goes to savings,” said Kimberly.
Within two years, Kimberly says she’ll be completely debt free.
If you want to start a blog
Kimberly recommends that you think about a topic you’re passionate about rather than choosing a niche you think is profitable.
“If you want to start a blog, pick a topic you can’t shut up about. Come up with ten blog posts ideas and draft them. If you can do that, you can probably maintain a blog,” says Kimberly.
And Kimberly recommends doing the backend work before worrying about monetizing.
“When I focused on money, I wasn’t earning,” says Kimberly. “When I was having fun and writing great content, that’s what resonated and ended up netting me more money. People can tell when you enjoy what you’re doing.”
For more ideas on side hustle jobs and how to earn extra money, check out this article on how to boost your income.
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