Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blogging For Dollars Series - Guest Post by Gina from Shabby Creek Cottage

Hello, everyone! It's our weekly Blogging For Dollars Series and I'm so happy that Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage is sharing her money-making experience as a blogger.

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She is one of the influential bloggers that I really listen to when she pens something because I know that it's valuable and worth examining for. She had me with these words, "...we don’t do debt. We pay cash for every single remodel/project that we do. No credit cards… no home equity loans… just cash and carry. It's remarkable what she has achieved in her blog by paying cash for all her projects.

One notable thing about Gina is how she quit her full-time job so she can blog and sell in etsy. Another measure of her success is her Transformation Thursday blog party, one of the biggest parties in home decor blogging, which generates 10,000 page views each Thursday.

Alright. I'm sure you wanna hear from the blogging guru herself. Everybody, let's make a noise for Gina!

Thank you so much for inviting me here today - I'm so excited to be on Homemaker on a Dime! SJ asked me to share a little bit about monetizing my blog, and I'm happy to share my path for my blog, The Shabby Creek Cottage.

I didn't start a blog to make money, and I never recommend that anyone else do that, either. Blogging takes a huge amount of time, between projects, writing, connecting with the community as a whole - it really does take a lot of “work” without making a dime. Once you do find an income stream, then you also have to work on finding the balance between being a business, yet keeping the personal tone that you established from the beginning. But, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I had no idea when I started my blog that I'd ever make a dime. I had an old blog, where I wrote for 2 years randomly, without ever making anything. Those years were a learning experience about honing my voice, finding out my own interests, learning HTML, and even learning how to socialize in the blog world to find my folks. When I finally narrowed my focus to remodeling/decorating, then I made the decision to start fresh, so that the journey of remodeling our home was a virtual scrapbook to look back and see how far we'd come. I had no idea that it would change our lives.

My blog quickly found a readership, and about 4 months into blogging I received an email asking me if I would be interested in placing an ad on my blog. I was blown away! About the same time, my readers starting leaving comments & sending emails telling me to open an Etsy shop, because they wanted to buy the creations I made. And, so I did that, too. It opened up a whole new world for me. Within a couple of months I was working a full time job, then coming home and working another full time job between blogging & Etsy. Less than a year after starting my blog, I had to make a choice - work myself to death or quit my day job. Since we'd always dreamed of me being a stay at home mom again, quitting my job was the choice we made.

Now I have several streams of income, because multiple layers equals more security. I still have individual sponsors on my blog (and I love them!), as well as my Etsy shop, but I also run Google Adsense, Rivit Media, as well as work with individual PR firms on larger projects to create a diversified stream of income for my business. Most recently I was contacted via Etsy by a local shop to become one of their vendors, so I added another safety net to my collection.

There are so many possibilities for finding ways to monetize your blog. The easiest is Google - you sign up for an account, put the ads on your blog and that's it! If you create products you can sell, then product sales are definitely another venue. Affiliate ads for selling books that other bloggers have written is another layer that you can add, and putting layer on top of layer is what creates steady income.

Keeping a balance between regular everyday material and sponsor content is crucial. If you use other social media platforms, it's important to use those forms to help your sponsors get as much outreach as possible. Love your sponsors, believe in them, share them. It's easier to keep a happy sponsor than it is to find a new one.

Above all, no matter how big or small your blog is, just know that if you don't live your life you will have nothing to write about. So schedule yourself time to create content, write (and edit), time for socializing online, then walk away. Even though my business has become my full time job, it's still important that I spend as much time as possible with my kids. I involve them in projects I'm working on, as well as much needed couch time J

Thanks again for inviting me today, SJ, allowing me to share my story!

Thank you, Gina! Your informative post is very valuable to all of us.

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

5 comments:

  1. That's a great story and loaded with info. I love coming here!
    Lisa

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  2. Thanks for the inspiration! I am fairly new to running an Etsy shop and blogging, all the information is very helpful!

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  3. Congrats to Gina and thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

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  4. Gina was the third blogger that I ever followed. She does a great job showing a lot of great stuff, but also giving us peaks into her life without putting it ALL out there!!! Love her blog.:)

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  5. This is completely genius advice...it definitely takes a while to be able to find out who you are as a blogger and find a community, but once you do, blogging is so amazing! Thanks for the advice Gina!

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I love reading your comments. I may or may not respond to all of your comments since blogging is not my full-time job but please know how grateful I am for taking time to share your thoughts.

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