March 2018 Income Report & Food Blog Update

march income report

It’s that time of the month again! The day when I sit down and reflect back on how the month went behind the scenes of paleobailey.com. Man, was it a busy month! If you’ve never read an income report before, read more about why I’m doing them. The short of it is that before I started this blog, other blogger’s monthly reports were so helpful for me when I was learning the ropes. And I’ve wanted to do it since the first month this blog started, the month I made $0.27, as a personal blog diary about all I’m changing, growing and learning along the way.

However, I didn’t start these income reports back when I wanted to. Someone told me, “people are just going to your blog for food, they don’t care about that”. So I didn’t. And now, even though I never started my blog with the thought of making money (I didn’t even know how people did it), I regret it not doing it anyway. Word of advice, do what you want with your blog, regardless of what other people think you should or shouldn’t be doing.

march income report

I also wish I would have done them sooner so there was a visual record of the work that went in, the times I totally failed and made mistakes, the amazing moments of paying off my debt, not having to put my bills on credit cards anymore, the month I had my first 100,000 page view month. All of those things are things I missed because I listened to one person’s opinion.

Anyway. I really hope the information in this post gives you a little insight and motivation if you’re new to this whole blog thing. And check out my post on how to start a blog  for a step-by-step of how I did it if you’re interested in giving it a go too! If you’re worried about being a little fish in a big massive blogger pond, don’t be. That was my biggest hang up but if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s room for EVERYONE to succeed and do well. The opportunity is yours if you want it enough!

This Month – The Good & Bad:

This was an exceptionally good month financially due to some big projects I’ve completed that finally paid out. Most, actually.. all work that I do takes a while to be paid for. Companies typically operate on a net30 payment terms system, while ad networks and affiliate networks can take 30-90 days. That being said, I’m not expecting this amount next month at all. My income has steadily been increasing month to month, but because of the large project I did, it’ll go back to gradual changes. Not a mega one like this.

Another thing that happened this month was that I had a pin on Pinterest go mini-viral. I’m not even sure what classifies a pin as a “viral pin”, but within a few days of posting it, it had 19k re-pins and brought in 16,000 page views in one day to that one recipe post. To me, that’s pretty crazy. Of course, things resumed to normal-ish traffic wise within the week and life went on. My love of Tailwind is still going strong though.

I’m wanting to write a post that shows the real, real behind the scenes at some point. Because while this month looks great in my business’s bank account, this month has really taken a toll on me. Remember when I said I was going to work on having a work-life balance back in January? Well, it’s gotten much worse since then, not better. I’m working pretty much non-stop. All day and often until between 1-3am. It’s not super glamorous, I haven’t showered in 4 days, I usually don’t know what I’m doing until I’m doing it, and I’m balancing so many things blog-related at once my head is spinning.

I’ve always been a hard worker, but I honestly have never worked this hard in my life. And I don’t say that to glorify the “work harder/work more/hustle” mantra. By saying I’ve never worked this hard before, I just mean I’ve never been responsible for as much, never had as many balls in the air at once, and never had so much expected of me or riding on my shoulders and my shoulders alone before. This is a combination of my being unable to say “no” very often, learning how to operate a legit business with accounts and accountants and such, and consistent MoM (month over month) growth that’s resulted in a 4000% YoY growth from March 2017 to March 2018. It’s just been a lot to learn and adjust to!

I’m not complaining either. I spoke with one of my blogger friends who’s been doing this much longer than I have, and she comforted me by saying that these are the growing pains of growing and building a business, and having it all happen pretty rapidly. It’s just a result of my blog growing faster than I can keep up with and faster than my learning curve.

It’s just hard some days when my friends and family don’t understand why I’m busy when I work from home. Most people’s idea is that I lay around and watch the View, leisurely read a trashy magazine while sitting on the deck drinking a margarita then just slap up a casserole recipe to the internet. While the reality is I’m lucky if I remember to feed myself most days, a blog post can take 6 hours of work, and the blog posts aren’t even what takes the majority of my time.

There’s about a million things that aren’t visible on my blog that nobody else sees except for me. So it’s pretty frustrating somedays when people just don’t get why I don’t have more of myself to give to them. Or why I can’t answer their Instagram DM immediately. Or why I’m not updating my stories every 2 hours with what I’m doing.

I PROMISE I’m not complaining. I guess I’m just using this blog update to be real for a second and vent a little. But I do know it’s temporary and I’m grateful for the opportunity to to create and do the things I love through this space. So onward we go!

Here’s the details you actually came here for:

Income:

Income is counted as what I have physically received in the month of March, not for the work I did. Typically sponsored posts don’t pay out for 30 days, affiliates don’t pay out for 30-60 days, and ad networks don’t pay out for 60-90 days. Meaning, I won’t physically have the money from February until next month or later.

Sponsored Posts: $5,700

Affiliates: $2,565.44

*Gourmet Ads: $904.52

Total: $9,169.96

Income I don’t consider blog income or add to my income report is my coaching business. I probably could consider it blog income, but truthfully, it takes up so much of my time – time that isn’t spent on blog work, so I think of that as a different revenue source.

Expenses:

PayPal taxes & fees: $436.48

Coschedule: $480 (annual)

Food: $297.82

Blog props/prop upgrades: $260.00

Food photography background: $295.00

Food photography equipment: $182.10

MailChimp: $30.00 (monthly)

Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler): $10 (monthly)

Lightroom/Photoshop: $10 (monthly)

Total: $2,001.40

While this was a good month financially as you can see from the income report, but that also tends to make it an expensive month as well. I reinvest quite a bit into the business and upgrading here and there when I can. I slowly either get better equipment, or better systems that will make my life or processes easier/more efficient. Only the expenses denoted as monthly are ones I can count on every month. The rest are one time expenses.

*You see gourmet ads on there for income, but no gourmet ads on my site. That payment was from revenue created in December through the ads. I switched in January to Mediavine after I had been putting it off for a while. I so regret that and wish I would have made the switch sooner, and I’m so happy I did. There’s one more month you’ll see gourmet ads on for revenue, because they pay out 60 some days behind the month it was earned.

I had some freelance recipe development projects this month that kept me busy, and that wasn’t at the invoice stage until late in the month, so that income won’t be here until almost May. So crazy that the year is going by this quickly already!

As for affiliate marketing, I was going to talk more in-depth about that this month, but decided to maybe make it it’s own post. I only focus on a few affiliates/ways to use affiliate marketing that I know make sense and that builds trusts with my audience, not detracts from it with each post. For example, if you were to go way back to the first recipes on this blog, you’ll find the same brands linked and talked about that I’m using now.

So let’s take Bob’s Red Mill for example. I’ve been using their products long before I had a blog, and they’re consistently linked all the way back to when it was just me reading my blog.. and maybe my best friend. You’ll find Vital Proteins recipes I put up on the blog long before I was an affiliate, or before I did sponsored posts.. because I wanted to.

I was naturally using these products. If a reader sees 3 posts where Bob’s is the arrowroot flour I’m always using, and then they see later that I’m telling them the same flour I already use is cheaper on Thrive Market, well, they’re going to trust me a bit more on spending $60 on a membership. They know I have their vested interest in mind when I recommend something, because I’m not recommending everything.

The main things I always consider before using affiliate marketing, whether that’s accepting a company’s offer to promote their product (very rarely do I do this) for a specific number of posts per month in exchange for a percentage of the sales (this is the “use my discount code” thing), or sign up for their affiliate program myself is how this would enhance or hurt my reader’s experience with my content, trust in me and their own health. Keeping that the most important thing, keeping the affiliate networks low, and not bouncing from protein bar to protein bar (or whatever) means that they’re going to trust me more when something does come along that I think is useful or that I want to market through my content.

I’m just realizing how long this post is getting! I think I should really start just covering a topic each month in addition to the income reports. If you have a topic idea, let me know in the comments!

Can You Make Money Blogging?

Yes! Like I mentioned earlier in this post, there’s room for everyone. I’m still SO NEW at this compared to a lot of people and even I’M telling you, go for it! I’m more than happy to help you, too! I have a really detailed step-by-step guide to setting up a blog, and a growing list of blog resources that I use on my own blog. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments!

‘Til next month!

February Income Report: My Blog’s 1st Birthday!

income report

Welcome to the February income report! As of February 23rd, my blog has been live for ONE WHOLE YEAR! I didn’t “announce it” to Instagram or Facebook until mid-March though, so I’m not really sure what an accurate “anniversary” date would be, so we’re just gonna go with February 23rd. It’ll be easier to remember a few years from now.. because I’m also officially a FULL-TIME BLOGGER!

It feels so weird to say that. I never in a million years would have guessed that would be my job. Never in a million years did I ever intend for it to be either. I loved my hospital job. For a while, I even really thought I would work 12 hour nightshifts forever. Eventually as my blog grew, I realized the things I loved about my job, aside from my medical interest, I am getting from my blog too.

The things that made me love working in the hospital, specifically the ICU, was learning something new every day, helping people, knowing that people can truly feel that I care about them, solving problems creatively, getting to know people’s stories, etc. my blog started to give me that too, and more.

With all of those things, I’m also 100% in charge of my time and as this job became more demanding of it, I started to really resent working 12 hour overnights. For almost a whole year, I would get up after only a few hours of sleep to make sure I had time to recipe test and photograph while the sun was still shining. I was using my breaks at work to catch up on emails, do backend work, and schedule content. Eventually, overnights and trying to flip sleep schedules on my off days was just burning me out while trying to dedicate full-time hours here too.

Read another one of the factors that played into why I left my job 

So long story short, I never guessed I’d be here, but I’m so grateful and excited that I am. I love what I do. Just as I’ve always loved what I’ve chosen to do for work. It’s hard work, but I’m just still in awe that I get to do this.

income report
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Let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

Why I’m Doing Income Reports:

I really hope the information in this income report, and the ones that came before it, gives you a little insight and motivation if you’re new to this whole blog thing. And check out my post on how to start a blog if you’re interested in giving it a go too! If you’re worried about being a little fish in a big massive blogger pond, don’t be. There’s room for everyone to do well, and *cliché coming*… a rising tide lifts all boats.

If there’s one thing I’ve taken from this community, and the amazing group of bloggers who are now friends, it’s that:

Good Bloggers Inspire Themselves. Great Bloggers Inspire Others.

I want to help people. That’s the whole point of this blog. It makes sense to me to share this part of it too. I’ve been lucky in the last few months to connect to some really inspiring bloggers who have been more than generous with information, advice, and their time. I relied on other people’s income reports while I was researching starting my own, and we’re all in this together so I’m returning the favor.

That, and being transparent with the people who’ve helped me get here is *the* most important thing to me. I don’t want being transparent to come off as showing off. My goal for these income reports will never the latter, in fact, I’m almost embarrassed about it because money is so awkward. It’s not about the money. I choose people over money every single day in this business. Without your support and your trust in me, I wouldn’t be making my dreams come true every day.

I’m here for you and because of you. There aren’t enough minutes in a day for how many times I want to say “thank you” to you.

Prior to making any income from my at-the-time side hustle, I was working 12 and 16 hour shifts to make ends meet, putting my bills on credit cards, selling DVDs to make my student loan payments and legitimately felt stuck, while each month the hole I was digging was getting deeper. My goal is only to remain humble in the fact that I both love to and want to offer support and encouragement to anyone aspiring to make a side income, work for themselves and do something they’re passionate about while they’re at it.

INCOME:

Income is counted as what I have physically received in the month of February, not for the work I did. Typically sponsored posts don’t pay out for 30 days, affiliates don’t pay out for 30-60 days, and ad networks don’t pay out for 60-90 days. Meaning, I won’t physically have the money from February until next month or later.

Sponsored Posts: $4,350.00

Affiliates: $1,236.51

*Gourmet Ads: $602.11

Blog/Marketing Consulting: $150.00

Total: $6,338.62

Income I don’t consider blog income or add to my income report is my coaching business. I probably could consider it blog income, but truthfully, it takes up so much of my time – time that isn’t spent on blog work, so I think of that as a different revenue source. If we’re counting that income as well, that totaled $971.81, after I pay the PayPal fees. That’s also as much as I’ll ever make in one month on coaching, because I limit the amount of clients I take on to make sure I can give them each the best of myself.

Learn How to start your own blog in a few easy steps!

*I’ve talked a bit about how ad networks work in previous income reports. This ad revenue that I got paid for this month was from all the way back in November. Since then, I have switched ad networks to Mediavine. February was my first full month with this network and I’ve never been happier!  Best move I’ve ever made and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! I won’t see any income from them until April, and even then it will only be for about 7 days of ad revenue, as I made the switch 3 weeks into January. My February total with Mediavine was over $1,500, which I’ll receive in May.

Expenses:

I’m trying to be better at keeping track of how much I spend on my blog and document them in the income report each month, but I typically just shove the receipt in my “taxes” binder and don’t think about it again. Excluding food, this month was an expensive month. I upgraded my tripod, purchased some new food photography surfaces, some new editing software, etc. In total I probably spent over $700.

In March I promise I’ll try to keep better track!

I’ll also add the new things I purchased to my Blogger Resources page that has everything I use and love for my blog.

Affilate Income:

Let’s have a chat about affiliate income. Each blogger has a different “strategy” when it comes to affiliate marketing. My strategy? Don’t do the things that annoy you when other bloggers do them.

Seriously. That’s my strategy. I told myself that from the day this blog started. From the day I realized my Instagram had become a “thing”. I unfollow people who are in my face with 6 different products every single day. While YES I love to purchase things that I know someone else loves, I also don’t like to be harassed about it.

There’s a fine line sometimes, and I’m just careful about what products and companies I take on as affiliates, and how I try to “sell” them. I won’t lose your trust, and I won’t work with a company I don’t LOVE or that wants me to post 24523 times a month, or sell a product I don’t really use. Trust is something you don’t get back.

I know that’s not a clear “strategy” but it’s working for me. And it might take you a while to find what works for you. Maybe you’re great at sales and are totally comfortable with the in-yo-face approach. DO YOU! I’m happy with the affiliate income I receive, because I can go to bed at night knowing I got it for the right reasons, and without selling my integrity. Best advice there is to focus your efforts on a few products/companies, instead of jumping on every affiliate opportunity at once.

If you’d like more of a breakdown on affiliate income, how I promote it, or how I choose which ones, leave a comment so I can include that information for you!

My Focus This Month:

This last month has been mostly about automation, automation, automation. I’m trying to experiment with ways to streamline some of my processes. This means I’m setting things up in advance, to reduce the amount of time I spend in front of a screen. Which… is a lot.

Of course I still do even with setting up posts, Pinterest pins, Facebook posts and Instagram posts. The difference is that it’s not feeling rushed, playing catch up, and I get more time to work on the things I want to, or do backend blog work.

Each post still takes the same amount of hours, but by working ahead and setting it up to self-publish, I’m freeing myself up to have more of a work-life balance, which is something I talked about in last month’s blog income report. I haven’t had much of it lately, and my hour count spent on work in some way, shape or form is astronomical. Automating things like Pinterest pins has helped me set a schedule and boundaries (Tailwind has been a godsend for growing my account, my pageviews, and automation!). Knowing I have my blog content for the week set to go and self-publish to different platforms is proving to make the whole thing just more manageable.

I just started figuring this out, so next month I’ll report back with any new developments or better processes I’ve come up with ;).

Next month I’ll also be discussing different types of partnerships in that income report, and a new type of partnership I did this month! If you have any questions on brand partnerships, I’d LOVE for you to leave a comment and let me know!

Can You Make Money Blogging?

Yes! While there’s been lots of failures, lots of hours spent figuring out how to do one single thing, lots of learning and humbling experiences, it’s all been worth the effort. If you’re wanting to start a blog, DO IT. More than ever before, online is the place people go to for information, and where money is made and spent. Plus you’re spending time doing something you truly love. The time is now!

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, there’s room for everyone. I’m still SO NEW at this compared to a lot of people and even I’M telling you, go for it! I’m more than happy to help you, too! I have a really detailed step-by-step guide to setting up a blog, and a growing list of blog resources that I use on my own blog. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments!

’til next month, my friends!

This post may contain some links that are affiliate links, though products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.

First Month as a Full-Time Blogger Update + January Income Report

11th month blogging

So I did it! I quit my “job” with my last day being 12/31. I didn’t mean for that to be my last scheduled shift, but it worked out that way and I felt it symbolic that it did. Some sort of “sign”, if you will, that I was suppose to head into this new year without it. The last few months at my “job” were rough, and full of more “signs” that I shouldn’t be there, or more, needed something different. So here I am. Doing things differently. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post on quitting my job!

11th month blogging
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I really hope the information in this post gives you a little insight and motivation if you’re new to this whole blog thing. And check out my post on how to start a blog if you’re interested in giving it a go too! If you’re worried about being a little fish in a big massive blogger pond, don’t be. That was my biggest hang up but if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s room for EVERYONE to succeed and do well. The opportunity is yours if you want it enough!

A few things that happened and a few things I’ve learned in my first month as a self-employed, full-time blogger:

I hit my second month of over 150,000 page views, and this was my first month of over 200,000 page views. WHAT!?! Ended January with 230,000. Just insane to think of when less than a year ago I was literally at zero page views.

I know this is nothing compared to some, but I’m not in the business of comparison. To ME, this is AWESOME and huge and worth celebrating. I’m proud of the silly number, but mostly I’m humbled and grateful that people are finding my content that I’ve worked hard on, and humbled and grateful that they’re finding it worth their time and continuing to come back. It means so much to me after so many months of feeling like I was shouting into the void. Plus, that number means that I can have the opportunities to continue to bring the people who matter most to me in this biz (YOU) great content by working with companies I value. Another thing I’m crazy grateful for and won’t ever take for granted.

I made more than double the income from my blog than I would have this month if I was working crappy 12 hour overnight shifts that made me miserable. Seriously. Words can’t explain how happy I am that I get to do what I love during normal people hours and do it on my own terms. And to be not so strapped for money all. the. time. and putting bills on my credit card. I feel like I wake up in a dream every day knowing that I’m doing something I love to do and it’s also paying my mortgage and feeding my dogs. I don’t say this to seem braggadocios, I’m by no means living large, I’m truly just grateful and my passion for doing it just makes me want to work harder for you… and for my dogs. 😉

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows this month though. I’ve been working SO MUCH and there’s a few things I’ve learned this first month flying solo.

This Month’s Takeaways:

I have no off-switch. Which I know I need to work on. Because I’m not punching a clock, and I work from home, it’s easy to fall into a place where I don’t give myself a break. I’ve spent a lot of this month feeling like every minute was an opportunity to get work done. To write something. To respond to someone. To answer emails. To negotiate and meet deadlines. To edit photos. To plan content. To write some more. To format an e-Book. Blah blah. The list goes on.

And on that note, that list is never ending and continually growing longer. I have to figure out a way to be okay with that, but also develop some sort of office hours. I’ve been working in some facet from 8am when I get up to midnight when I got to bed. No joke.

Not complaining, because I seriously love it and am just EXCITED. But it’s a learning process to know when (and how) to stop. When I was working full-time hours at work, I was also putting in full-time hours on my blog when I wasn’t working. So I feel like now that I have the time to work on the blog, I want to be because now I finally CAN dedicate more time to it. I mean, that’s what I quit to do right? So, yeah. Work-life balance needs some help. But I’ll get there.

Not having co-workers is WEIRD. I’ve had long-term jobs since I was 15. First in an assisted living facility, then at another one, and finally ending at the hospital. I worked with the same people for years. At the last one, over half a decade. Jobs that were extremely people oriented and all I did was talk to people, care for people, have direct contact with people.

Now, I talk to people on the internet and talk to my dogs. Some days I love it so much because I’m naturally an independent person, and honestly it’s kind of nice to not deal with people so much everyday, because I got so exhausted with that too. But somedays I miss having coworkers. My dogs are way cuter though.

Why I’m Doing Income Reports:

After having a hard time making ends met on my own (yellllllo crippling student loans, car, overpriced rent with no roommates to help, life, etc.), and working a ton of 12 and 16 hour shifts trying to do so, this is a welcomed reprieve to help me along financially. My goals for these income reports will never be to show off or gloat, only to remain humble in the fact that I both love to and want to help anyone aspiring to make a side income, work for themselves and do something they’re passionate about while they’re at it. The world of blogging is often pretty hush hush on this stuff, and I’ve been lucky to have a few mentors help me learn along the way, so giving a bit of that back is the goal here.

*Side note: I wanted to start these blog income reports the first month my blog was live, the month I made $0.27. Someone told me that “people aren’t going to your blog for blog advice, they’re only there for food.” That ONE comment deterred me from doing it until the 7th month. Man, do I regret that. I so wish I would have gone with my gut and tracked everything I did, didn’t do and changed right off the bat so I had something to look back at for my own reference. So basically what I’m saying is don’t let one person’s comment stop you from doing what you want to do. With your blog..

As always, a big huge THANK YOU hug to all of you. Without you and your support in both my health journey and my journey to share it here, none of this would be possible. Thanks for being here.

Income:

Gourmet Ads = $562.45

Sponsored Posts = $4,173.34

Affiliates = $1,124.55

Total = $5,860.34

Check out Octobers Income, and Why You Didn’t See An Update for December!

Note: This income reflects the sponsored work done in December, as companies typically have net30 payment terms after receiving the invoice from me. And even then, sometimes it takes longer. Part of this income was actually from a post I did in November, and one of the sponsored posts I did in December was contracted, so I won’t be paid for it until March!

The affiliates I focus on are Amazon and Thrive Market. I learned early on that trying to sell everything a) makes your readers annoyed and loses their trust and b) is way too much work than it’s worth. Pick a few things you REALLY love and care about. The income from affiliates and ads are results from usually 60-90 days earlier, as those two revenue sources take even longer.

For example, I made $900 bucks through ads in December, but I won’t see that until March.

Speaking of ads, this month I made the transition from GourmetAds to Mediavine. I won’t *really* know what the difference is going to be yet until the end of February. I was doing well with GourmetAds, but now that my traffic is more substantial, my blogger friends have been encouraging me to switch and take advantage of the higher RPMs.

What I can tell ya though, is that I made the switch over to Mediavine with 6 days left in the month. In those 6 days the ad revenue was $582. 13. Which blows my mind because I thought $900 for the whole MONTH last month with Gourmet Ads was awesome.

Another thing that happened this month was that I realized the true value of Pinterest. Some of my pins had hit over 7k repins and are doing really awesome things for my traffic. Like I mentioned in the first income report, I should have started my Pinterest account sooner.

But then, a few days before the end of the month my Pinterest account was suspended for “moving too many pins” as I was reorganizing my boards. And I lost EVERYTHING. My pins are still circulating, but they were removed from the group boards I was a part of. Anyway, lesson learned: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

This coming month I’m going to be finalizing my eBook format, and really working on getting the full time blogger schedule thing down. Meaning, I’m going to have a recipe development day, a writing day, video day, etc. I think this will help me feel like I’m not ALL over the place… ALL the time and working constantly because of it. I’m also going to be getting ahead in content and trying to be totally done with about 2 weeks worth of posts. I have some travel coming up, and having this taken care of will help me not be so hands on while I’m gone.

CAN YOU MAKE MONEY BLOGGING?

Yes! Like I mentioned earlier in this post, there’s room for everyone. I’m still SO NEW at this compared to a lot of people and even I’M telling you, go for it! I’m more than happy to help you, too! I have a really detailed step-by-step guide to setting up a blog, and a growing list of blog resources that I use on my own blog. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments!

income report

October 2017 Income Report: What I Earned in My 8th Month Blogging

income report food blog

I started this blog because I wanted to share and write and connect more. I knew other bloggers made money from their sites but that was never my intention at first. For one, I had no idea how people did it. It kind of just evolved. I do this because I truly enjoy doing it. I love creating healthy meals, sharing my story more in depth than I can on Instagram, and having a place of my own. I’m grateful (and a bit shocked) that I’m making some side hustle money doing something I love to do. I want to start to build a bit of a “blog diary” here and hopefully inspire both you and myself as I do it!

income report food blog
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If you’re wondering why you’re reading this and you came here for the other good stuff, just hop on over to the recipes or blog articles!

Why Are You Doing Income Reports?

For starters, the world of blogging seems to be pretty hush-hush on the actual day-to-day process of making it your full-time job. There are lots of people sharing their information, but it’s not always the easiest to find. Reading other income reports were a big help to me, and I’ve learned a lot over the past 8 months. Annnd the more I learn, the more I learn I have even more to learn.

Which is why I’m going to be doing these monthly reports to share the things I’m doing, learning and trying as I go along. When I first started researching monetizing, I kept landing on other blogger’s income reports. I wanted to do the same for others – share what I’ve learned. After all, isn’t that the whole point of my blog anyway? These income reports aren’t about the money, the bigger point is to document and track how I’m working hard every month to achieve a bit of financial freedom and hopefully help you as well. Remaining honest and transparent with you all is a big deal to me, too.

Secondly, after having a hard time making ends met on my own (yellllllo crippling student loans, car, overpriced rent with no roommates to help, life, etc.), and working a ton of 12 and 16 hour shifts trying to do so, this is a welcomed reprieve to help me along financially. My goals for these income reports will never be to show off or gloat, only to remain humble in the fact that I both love to and want to help anyone aspiring to make a side income, work for themselves and do something they’re passionate about while they’re at it.

*Side note: I wanted to start these blog income reports the first month my blog was live, the month I made $0.27. Someone told me that “people aren’t going to your blog for blog advice, they’re only there for food.” That ONE comment deterred me from doing it until the 7th month. Man, do I regret that. I so wish I would have gone with my gut and tracked everything I did, didn’t do and changed right off the bat so I had something to look back at for my own reference. So basically what I’m saying is don’t let one person’s comment stop you from doing what you want to do. With your blog..

As always, a big huge THANK YOU hug to all of you. Without you and your support in both my health journey and my journey to share it here, none of this would be possible. Thanks for being here.

I really hope the information in this post gives you a little insight and motivation if you’re new to this whole blog thing. And check out my post on how to start a blog if you’re interested in giving it a go too! If you’re worried about being a little fish in a big massive blogger pond, don’t be. That was my biggest hang up but if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s room for EVERYONE to succeed and do well. The opportunity is yours if you want it enough!

Income:

Note* Income is counted as what I physically received this month, not for the work I did. It’s often 4-8 weeks before work completed, affiliates or ad networks pay out.

Sponsored Posts: $900

Freelance Writing: $812

Affilates: $576.42

Ads: $231.93

Total: $2,520.35

Check Out September’s Income!

This Month’s Musings

Pinterest:

Last month I talked about implementing a new Pinterest strategy by using Tailwind. I’m super behind the times by just starting my Pinterest account last month. I don’t love it and I don’t really understand it but it works apparently so hey, better late than never. I’m starting to get the hang of it and using Tailwind makes it a lot easier.

Not only does it make it easier to understand and use, but it schedules my pins so I don’t have to spend hours a day pinning at “ideal” times. I said last month that I’d follow up and let you know how I liked it and how well it was working. It seems to be working, because I’ve grown to 240 followers which is better than the zero I had mid-september. It’s not 20k or anything, but it’s bringing in page views so I’m happy and I’ll keep truckin’ away at it.

Payouts:

If you noticed my little note before I listed my income, I mentioned that it’s 4-8 weeks before you see the money you made. I learned a little (big) lesson this month. Which was not to count your eggs before they hatch. I was counting on a direct deposit of $1000 for my income in October for work I did in September. Well, the company had delays in their accounting and that payment is going to be pushed out further. Now it’ll arrive in November and be on that income report.

It’s not the end of the world or anything, but I had be factoring that into my finances this whole month when I was budgeting and paying bills. So it was just a good reminder to me that things like that happen in the blogging world and you’re completely not in control of it. Unlike a job where you get paid every two weeks like clockwork and can plan ahead on how you’re going to pay for life, this job isn’t like that. And that’s okay, it just means I have to have a better system in place for how I budget. Aka, not counting on money for the mortgage before I have it in my pocket.

One thing I’ve learned about partnerships:

A lot of people will tell you not to take free work. I’m not one of them. There’s a huge value in doing some things for free, you know, because you want to and you believe in the product or brand. Two of the sponsored posts I did this month are for companies I created 2 free recipes in the past for each company. Now, those companies aren’t just companies to me. They’re people and friends even. People I really, really like and have gotten to know. Doing free work is good for a few reasons. 2 of those reasons are:

1) Especially as a beginner blogger, it’s important to build your site, create valuable content and do it because you want to.. not because someone’s paying you to do it. This time (and all the time, really) is your chance to under promise and over deliver. That’s my general rule of thumb for all of my work – paid or not. When a brand sees how much time and effort you put into something you did for them, you can bet they’ll not only be appreciative but they’ll be surprised, too. In my experience, this often leads to paid opportunities next time. They’ll remember you and want you to be the one their marketing dollars are used on, not a blogger who does a half-assed job. Promise ya that.

2) You get to know people in the industry you’re writing in. Connections, baby. One of the brands I did free work for is a newer company that I love and believe in. I totally know that in a year they’re not going to be so little anymore.. yes I believe in them that much. Anyway, after doing 2 unpaid recipes for them, I’ve now been paid for two as well! I’m still doing it for less than a normal sponsored post rate, but I don’t even care because I just love them. It’s not always about money, it’s about the people behind it!

Freelance:

I did two freelance articles this month for an online publication. They approached me about it and had a really good payout. I love writing and got to pick the topic within the health realm, so of course I jumped on it. I’ve only done freelancing for one other place before and that was for 3 articles for $400. This was 2 for $406 each. I have no idea where to find other freelance writing gigs on your own, but you can bet this is something I’ll be looking into this coming month.

If I find any resources or information, I’ll be sure to share it with you next month!

Ads:

Okay. I finally had it with AdSense. I talked about that last month and said I was waiting until I got to the next payout threshold. Yeah, I couldn’t wait that long. I just hated how the ads looked, the popups, the ad content. I just couldn’t take it anymore so I just cancelled it. Am I missing out on the 90 bucks that was in my account? Yep. Is my sanity and my readers experience worth it? Yep.

CAN YOU MAKE MONEY BLOGGING?

Yes! Like I mentioned earlier in this post, there’s room for everyone. I’m still SO NEW at this compared to a lot of people and even I’M telling you, go for it! I’m more than happy to help you, too! I have a really detailed step-by-step guide to setting up a blog, and a growing list of blog resources that I use on my own blog. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments! Talking about blogging is one of my favorite things now.

HUSTLING & LEARNING & GIVING IT MY ALL

If there’s one thing that I want you to know before you start a blog, or, before you give up on your baby blog, is that it. takes. work. But it’s so rewarding and worth it to have something you did 100% on your own.

I didn’t get anywhere near this income when I first started. It took me 5 months to have decent page views and get my first notable income. I remember when I made my first 27 cents and was over the freakin’ moon about it. Or when I did a general google search and my recipe or article popped up on the first page. It’s a slow build, friends! And it takes hours of hard work on your end. I easily spend more than 40 hours a week on it in some form or another along with my full-time job. But I also know that that’s what’s going to set me apart in the long run. Not everyone is willing to do that and if you want to be successful, you gotta. That’s the cool thing though. 100% of your efforts will end up being worth it if you really want it badly enough.

I want to be clear about something. The money wasn’t handed to me. I’ve spent months up all hours of the night or getting up at 5am to get blog stuff done before my “regular” day has to begin. I spent months getting only 4 hours of sleep after a 12 hour overnight shift at my “real job” so I can be in the kitchen, create recipes and take photographs in the natural light before heading back to work for another 12 hour overnight shift. I research, network, edit photos, create graphics and respond to emails every possible free minute I get while waiting in lines, before bed, on break at work. I’ve spent months feeling like I was a tree falling in a deserted forest waiting for the page views that told me maybe I’m not just shouting into the internet void. I worked for and celebrated what were huge victories to me then (the 10k page view month, 20k, then 60k) and used them to push me to work harder for bigger victories the next month.

I don’t have anyone creating my site design (yet.. because $$$), I don’t have anyone making and updating my media kit. I don’t have fancy photo editing software. I don’t have anyone showing me the ropes of SEO, title tags or creating opt-in boxes. Not that other bloggers do, but I’m just saying there’s SO much to learn and you really have to be self-motivated to get it done. My to-do list grows longer even when things are getting checked off. I truly enjoy the challenge though, and enjoy the creative process even more. No, I don’t sit in a cubicle and I can lay on my bed if I want to, but that doesn’t make it any less “work”.

There’s been lots of “no’s”, lots of failures, 6 hours spent researching how to do something and lots of oops and yeah, shouldn’t have done thats, but I wouldn’t trade my blog for anyone else’s and I really, really hope these income reports can be a source of inspiration for you to create (and work hard!) on your own labor of love.

’til next month, friends.

food blog income report
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September 2017 Blog Income Report

food blog income report

I’m a little (a lot) nervous to be sharing these blog income reports, so here’s a bit of background. This site went live at the end February of this year, 2017. I purchased the domain in September of last year though. A YEAR ago already. Woah. Anyway, I let the blog sit untouched for a good 4 months before I started working on it in December and went live 3 months later. I was scared and felt like such a little fish in a big pond. That was my first mistake. So, after toying with the idea, researching, and twiddling my thumbs I finally got to work. I wanted to start my little corner of the internet as an extension of my Instagram.

I wanted to share and write and connect more. I knew other bloggers made money from their sites but that was never my intention at first. For one, I had no idea how people did it. It kind of just evolved. I do this because I truly enjoy doing it. I love creating healthy meals, sharing my story and struggles and having a place of my own. I’m grateful (and a bit shocked) that I’m making some side hustle money doing something I love to do. I want to start to build a bit of a “blog diary” here and hopefully inspire both you and myself as I do it!

If you’re wondering why you’re reading this and you came here for the other good stuff, just hop on over to the recipes or blog articles!

food blog income report
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Why Are You Doing Income Reports?

After having a hard time making ends met on my own (yellllllo crippling student loans, car, overpriced rent with no roommates to help, life, etc.), and working a ton of 12 and 16 hour shifts trying to do so, this is a welcomed reprieve to help me along financially. My goals for these income reports will never be to show off or gloat, only to remain humble in the fact that I both love to and want to help anyone aspiring to make a side income, work for themselves and do something they’re passionate about while they’re at it.

*Side note: I wanted to start these blog income reports the first month my blog was live, the month I made $0.27. Someone told me that “people aren’t going to your blog for blog advice, they’re only there for food.” That ONE comment deterred me from doing it until the 7th month. Man, do I regret that. I so wish I would have gone with my gut and tracked everything I did, didn’t do and changed right off the bat so I had something to look back at for my own reference. So basically what I’m saying is don’t let one person’s comment stop you from doing what you want to do. With your blog.

ANYWAY. I’ve learned a ton in the last 7 months, and I’m learning more everyday. Which is why I’m going to be doing these monthly reports to share the things I’m doing, learning and trying as I go along. When I first started researching monetizing, I kept landing on other blogger’s income reports. I wanted to do the same for others – share what I’ve learned. After all, isn’t that the whole point of my blog anyway? These income reports aren’t about the money (I mean, yeah, I’m talking about it), the bigger point is to document and track how I’m working hard every month to achieve a bit of financial freedom and hopefully help you as well. Remaining honest and transparent with you all is a big deal to me, too.

I have no idea where this blog will lead me, but I’m excited to be on the journey! As always, a big huge THANK YOU hug to all of you. Without you and your support in both my health journey and my journey to share it here, none of this would be possible. Appreciative is an understatement. Thanks for being here.

I really hope the information in this post gives you a little insight and motivation if you’re new to this whole blog thing. And check out my post on how to start a blog if you’re interested in giving it a go too! If you’re worried about being a little fish in a big massive blogger pond, don’t be. That was my biggest hang up but if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s room for EVERYONE to succeed and do well. The opportunity is yours if you want it enough!

Income This Month:

Note* Income is counted as what I physically received this month, not for the work I did. The income reflected in this report is from work, invoices or sales that happened in August or prior, not income that will be coming from the work I did in in the month of September. It’s often 4-8 weeks before work completed or affiliates pays out.

Total = 1,896.46

* I switched ad networks in July, and Gourmet Ads has an 8 week payout – meaning I won’t see the income I made in the month of September until November 1st.

Expenses This Month:

Total = 146.87

Things I’ve Done Differently:

I Recently Added Gourmet Ads to My Site

The changes went live in August, so that won’t be reflected on this months income report. But, I wanted to make note of it now. I used only AdSense up until this point, and, well, bleh. I wasn’t super impressed and I knew there had to be a better option. I don’t like the ads it displays so I limited them and limited the income I made because of that. I really hate ads, but they’re a necessary evil right now. SO, if I’m going to have them, I’d obviously like to have ones that pay more so eventually I can have less… does that make sense? Anywho, switching to Gourmet Ads was a GOOD MOVE. In the first full month with Gourmet Ads I made more than I made from AdSense in 6 months combined.

I’ll be removing the AdSense ads when I hit the next payout threshold. That just means that they only pay you if you have over 100 bucks in your account. I don’t want to leave 80 bucks just sitting there, ya know? I know some people like to create ad waterfalls with different ad networks, but for right now I want to focus my time elsewhere. Until I switch to another network, I’ll just keep it at this.

Taken on Partnerships That Extend Over 6 Months

This might sound weird to people, but this was kind of a scary contract to sign. 6 months is a long ways from now and even though I LOVE the product (that’s not the issue. I never take on a partnership with something I don’t 100% love), it’s that a lot can change in 6 months. Namely, how fast my blog is growing, what I’m doing, what kind of time I have, etc.

But even though I’m locked into the partnership pricing, I think that was a good decision. It’s income I can count on each month for the next half of a year and it’s work I know I can plan to get done. This makes planning my time and scheduling easier and makes me more efficient. I could work ahead and get all of the recipes done in a month if I wanted to! I think it also helps create continuity in some of my posts because I’m using the product so much anyway!

Pinterest

WTF. Pinterest is a fricken mystery to me, guys. Here’s a little secret: I don’t really LOVE social media all that much. I love to write but not constantly connected, ya know? I hardly ever posted to my personal Facebook and Instagram. In fact, I started paleobailey to avoid sharing my weight loss and meals with family and friends. I wanted a space to do it away from everyone who knew me. Now I totally love Facebook and the ‘gram but Pinterest is a whole different story. I don’t get it. At all. This is something I’m working on though. Shameless plug: Follow me on Pinterest and I’ll be your best friend 😉

I started using Tailwind this month which schedules pins I want to post for me. This has been super helpful being I work overnights and that’s obviously not an ideal time to post, pin, share, etc. It’s 10 bucks a month (I paid upfront) and so far.. eh. I am seeing more page views come in from Pinterest everyday though, and some of my pins have been repined over 500 times, one of them 3.7k times, since I started using it mid September. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m liking the Tailwind service.

Hustling & Learning & Giving it My All

If there’s one thing that I want you to know before you start a blog, or, before you give up on your baby blog, is that it. takes. work. But it’s so rewarding and worth it to have something you did 100% on your own.

I didn’t get anywhere near this income when I first started. It took me 5 months to have decent page views and get my first notable income. I remember when I made my first 27 cents and was over the freakin’ moon about it. Or when I did a general google search and my recipe or article popped up on the first page. It’s a slow build, friends! And it takes hours of hard work on your end. I easily spend more than 40 hours a week on it in some form or another along with my full-time job. But I also know that that’s what’s going to set me apart in the long run. Not everyone is willing to do that and if you want to be successful, you gotta. That’s the cool thing though. 100% of your efforts will end up being worth it if you really want it badly enough.

I want to be clear about something. The money wasn’t handed to me. I’ve spent months up all hours of the night or getting up at 5am to get blog stuff done before my “regular” day has to begin. I spent months getting only 4 hours of sleep after a 12 hour overnight shift at my “real job” so I can be in the kitchen, create recipes and take photographs in the natural light before heading back to work for another 12 hour overnight shift. I research, network, edit photos, create graphics and respond to emails every possible free minute I get while waiting in lines, before bed, on break at work. I’ve spent months feeling like I was a tree falling in a deserted forest waiting for the page views that told me maybe I’m not just shouting into the internet void. I worked for and celebrated what were huge victories to me then (the 10k page view month, 20k, then 50k) and used them to push me to work harder for bigger victories the next month.

I don’t have anyone creating my site design (yet.. because $$$), I don’t have anyone making and updating my media kit. I don’t have fancy photo editing software. I don’t have anyone showing me the ropes of SEO, title tags or creating opt-in boxes. Not that other bloggers do, but I’m just saying there’s SO much to learn and you really have to be self-motivated to get it done. My to-do list grows longer even when things are getting checked off. I truly enjoy the challenge though, and enjoy the creative process even more. No, I don’t sit in a cubicle and I can lay on my bed if I want to, but that doesn’t make it any less “work”.

There’s been lots of “no’s”, lots of failures, 6 hours spent researching how to do something and lots of oops and yeah, shouldn’t have done thats, but I wouldn’t trade my blog for anyone else’s and I really, really hope these income reports can be a source of inspiration for you to create (and work hard!) on your own labor of love.

Can You Make Money Blogging?

Yes! Like I mentioned earlier in this post, there’s room for everyone. I’m still SO NEW at this compared to a lot of people and even I’M telling you, go for it! I’m more than happy to help you, too! I have a really detailed step-by-step guide to setting up a blog, and a growing list of blog resources that I use on my own blog. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments! Talking about blogging is one of my favorite things now. Just ask my friend Jen, over at Beauty and the Bench Press.. we do a lot of blog talk every day. SO! Gimme all your Q’s and I’ll give you my best A’s!

’til next month, friends.

This post may contain some links that are affiliate links, though products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.

Resources for Bloggers: Everything I Use and Love

blogger resources

After receiving lots of positive feedback on my how to start a blog post, I thought it would be helpful to create a post that lays out all of the products and services I use with my blog. I’ve tried out tons of different things, so this list will be only the ones I’ve found to be the best, most helpful or most trustworthy. As I learn and grow with you, I’ll continually add updates to the products and services I use here.

It’s weird to me that my friends and family come to me with blogging related questions. I’ve sat down and walked them through step-by-step and given my best tips and tricks. Me, helping others start a blog. Weird. It’s never a position I thought I’d be in and I’m in no way an expert. I’ve just dedicated myself and my time to learning as much as I can and developing new skills, while making a side income I’m happy with while I’m at it.

So, with that said, I’ve tried many ‘a things that didn’t work. Which is why I want to give you guys the ones that did. Here you won’t find expensive equipment and unnecessary software, as I don’t have any myself. I truly think even a beginner blogger can be successful without investing a ton into their blog right away. I mean, hey, I started this blog with only an iPhone. 😉

For Photography Tools:

blogger resourcesCannon EOS Rebel T6 – It’s not the fanciest camera out there, but as a beginner, it’s perfectly fine for me and my needs. My photographer friend recommended it to me and it’s been an awesome camera to learn with. It doesn’t have a touch screen like you’ll find with a $2,000 cameras but it has bluetooth and wifi capabilities for easy uploading from anywhere, remote capabilities (which means I can control my camera with my phone or computer for easy food photography sessions), good automatic and manual settings and it’s a really reasonable priced camera to invest in for taking professional photos.

blogger resources50mm lens – My boyfriend calls this little guy the “nifty fifty”. For 125 bucks it does a beautiful job. I heard for a long time that you should have a 50mm lens for food photography but dragged my feet spending the money. Well, I now use this lens for 50% of my shots and couldn’t be happier with the results. There’s other lenses that are comparable quality but much more expensive. For starting out, this does what I need it to.

 

blogger resourcesAdobe Photoshop Lightroom – It’s not super cheap and takes a bit of playing with to learn how to edit your photos the way you want them to be edited but it’s not hard to use at all once you get the hang of it. It’s an amazing tool. You can get a monthly subscription to both Photoshop and Lightroom and test it out until you decide, too!

 

 

blogger resourcesArtificial Lighting – Natural light is the best option to shoot photos in. However, I live in Minnesota with long and dark winters. So when the sun is going down at 5 p.m half of the year, it’s not every day that I can schedule taking food photos during the day when it’s optimal conditions outside. Or if I have one day I can shoot photos on and it’s gloomy, well I was kind of screwed. This little photo box set-up was used in MANY of the early recipe posts on this blog and tons of Instagram posts of my dinner (haha). It’s sort of cheaply made, but it does what it’s suppose to do once you get the hang of it. Big bloggers who make a ton more than I do no doubt have way more intense set-ups, but this is is a sufficient backup when it’s a gloomy day for me.

*Pro-tip: usually you’ll need to shoot from above or from a high angle to avoid getting the white background or corner of the box in your photos. Or use a background (a marble/concrete tile) and prop it up in the back. You’ll get the hang of it!

Backgrounds – Eventually you’ll probably want to upgrade to more expensive backgrounds, but that just isn’t/wasn’t in my budget! Especially when you can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost. One of the best tricks I’ve found is to use contact paper and a large poster or foam board. This white washed wood is one of my favorites, along with this concrete option. Again, you get what you pay for so don’t expect anything super fancy. But if you’re careful with it once you put it on a board (don’t bend or spill too much), they last a long time and serve their intended puprose for a fraction of the price. They’re also really easy to move around and store. Also, Home Depot sells tiles for less than 3 dollars a tile and IKEA sells tabletops without the legs! Go crazy!

For Starting & Running Your Own Blog:

Bluehost: I did tons of research on web hosting prior to going with Bluehost. It’s not something I took lightly and I’m so, so glad I went with Bluehost. Your domain name is free with them too! They’ve really simplified the process of self-hosting and make it quick and easy to get started doing the thing you actually want to do, blog, and not the backend work. It’s really affordable and I’ve had nothing but great customer service when I’m needy and have questions about how to do something. I know that backend stuff is super confusing, so if you’re wondering where and how to start, check out the step-by-step guide in this post on how to start a blog and you’ll be up, running and on your way to a profitable blog in 15 minutes.

Genesis Framework – This is what I’m currently using on my site, as with most bloggers out there. It provides the building blocks for making your blog beautifully your own and provides the secure and SEO (search-engine optimization) foundation that you need. With Genesis, you’ll also want a theme to go with it. Think of Genesis as the walls of your house and a theme as the decor. My favorite place to find themes are from Studio Press Themes. They have so many pretty and functional site designs.

Tailwind – Tailwind is a scheduling service for Pinterest. Pinning all day everyday to try to get traffic to your site and promote your posts is just not realistic and no one has that kind of time. Especially not when you’re not a full time blogger and have a full time job. Tailwind allows you to schedule pins days, and even weeks in advance if you wanted to, to multiple boards, at times you choose for them to be pinned. An hour of work at the beginning of the week makes it so that I don’t need to be on Pinterest constantly but still get my stuff out there.

Income Reports – I’ve started publishing monthly income reports, not to just talk about money this blog brings in to pay some bills, but to get into the back end blog work I’m doing. I’ll discuss the things I’m learning, doing and changing – from plugins I’m loving, monetizing tips and fails, growing your traffic.. basically everything behind-the-scenes! Hmm, maybe I should call them “paleobailey BTS” instead of income reports? Either way, I want them to help you gain ideas and inspiration for your own blog.

WordPress Plugins:

Zip Recipes – This is the plugin I use to format my recipes into printable recipe cards. There’s a zillion recipe plugins out there, but this one works well for me!

Thrive Leads – I use this for opt-in boxes and mostly, I just love how many options and personalization I can do with them. I don’t have to have a giant pop-up asking readers to join my mailing list, I can put them anywhere I want in any size I want because there’s unlimited ways Thrive Leads shows you how to do it.

Askimet – This is a plugin that blocks spam comments from getting through onto your blog. You wouldn’t believe the amount of spam that can happen in a day if you don’t have a blocker/guard up.

Jetpack – The one plugin that I couldn’t operate my blog without. I use it daily and for so many different functions. From site stats and trends, security, related posts and backups, Jetpack is a necessity. I’ve yet to find (or even look) for anything better because it’s so awesome.

That’s all for now! I promise to keep updating as I’m learning with you. If you have any must-have suggestions for me, I’m all ears – let me know if I’m missing something!

This post may contain some links that are affiliate links, though products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.

6 Things I’ve Learned in My First 6 Months of Blogging

6 things I've learned blogging

When I first started this blog, I felt like I was drowning in information, to-do lists a mile long of things I didn’t know how to even start to do and thoughts of comparison and inadequacy. What kept me afloat, however, was remembering my purpose for starting it in the first place – my urge to write about and share the things I love. Helping more than one person would just be a bonus.

Now, I’m no expert by any means, but during the last 6 months I’ve learned more than could ever fit into this single post. So here are just some of my top takeaways from this experience so far and they’re all reasons why you should start a blog too.

6 things I've learned blogging

1. You’ll Develop Your Skills

I started my blog with just an iPhone and a dream. Yes, I’m being a bit dramatic there. But in all seriousness, I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to continue helping people, sharing what I know and expanding on my journey.

Because of my persistence and general love of learning and growing in whatever I’m doing, I’ve gotten better at a lot things like writing, editing, researching and mostly, photography. I’ve always loved photography but never had a real reason to get into it. I was always “too busy” and continued feeling pings of jealousy when my photographer friends or blogging mentors posted beautiful photos – food, wedding or otherwise.

I got pretty good at iPhone photography and even started making an income with this blog while using it, which is proof you don’t need to be a pro to start a blog! I didn’t get a DSLR until recently and even this one is a super cheap, beginner model. But with it, I’ve worked really hard, watched tons of YouTube tutorials, practiced, annoyed my boyfriend by taking an hour before we ate to attempt to get better at photographing our dinner and practiced some more.

balsamic glazed chicken wings
One of the first and most popular recipes on this blog – taken with an iPhone!

I’m starting to take pictures I’m proud of and I know I’ll just keep getting better. It’s something I never thought would be a skill I had but I’m glad I have it because it’s coming in useful in my everyday life with my family, too.

2. Your Goals, Hopes and Dreams For Your Blog Will Grow As You Do

I really had no motive to make a legit income source from this blog. I really, really didn’t. I figured I’d get a couple of cents here or there from ads or affiliate links (they really are just cents on the dollar, if that!). I hoped to just make back the money I spend each month on maintaining the website. I know other people do this full-time but I thought, for a long time, that there’s no way that I could do that. I’m such a small fish in a massive pond.. there’s just no way. I felt so “unworthy” of being a quote ‘blogger’ that I bought my domain in September but didn’t even start working on it until January and didn’t go live until late February. Seriously. My own fears of not having anything “good enough” to put on a blog kept me from even logging in after I created the domain for FIVE MONTHS!

But soon after I did start, I found myself putting more time and effort into my little baby blog and the more TLC I gave it, the more I started to begin cultivating ideas of working for myself. I started fantasizing about no longer having to “work for the man”. I read the book “You Are a Badass” and decided to stop shying away from my true passions (helping people) and shrinking down because I felt like I wasn’t worth the success I wanted but wouldn’t admit I wanted out of fear. I want to be my own boss and I want to do it by being MYSELF. Simple as that. So I put it out into the universe and started manifesting my own destiny.. or so they say. I’m still no where NEAR a full-time income, but it’s just proof that your goals change as you grow and learn. It’s the way humans work and it’s such a fun daydream to toss around.

Even if THAT isn’t the same growth you want, your goals will still grow and get bigger as you chug along on your blogging journey. You’ll come up with new ideas for posts, new ways to put your work out into the world, new dreams that align with your growth and so much more. It’s exciting and exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time

3. You’ll Be a One-Woman Show

I thought being in the medical field made me a jack of all trades but being a blogger gives that a whole new meaning. I’m now the developer, manager, planner, HR specialist, communications expert, accountant, tech support, producer, lighting engineer, cook, graphic designer, editor, personal assistant, negotiator and there’s no one else who is going to get things done, fix a HTML crisis or put out the fires except for YOU.

first 6 months blogging

With that being said…

4. You’ll Spend a lot More Time on Your Phone, Computer and By Yourself

Blogging is obviously done 100% online and much of the creative process is a solo effort. I’m not (er, wasn’t) a person who compulsively checked their phone, had emails pop up as notifications, was replying to comments from multiple social media outlets through all hours of the night and writing/editing/emailing/working at every opportunity. At first, it’s hard to find a balance of work and real life and the two blend together. There’s no set office hours and because of that your screen time exponentially increases. A big adjustment if you weren’t previously a computer person.

5. Not Everyone Wants You to Succeed or Thinks You Can

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of people who WILL believe in you and be supportive of you and starting a blog about your passions. Buuuuut… there will also be people, both other bloggers and people in your life (co-workers, friends, etc.) that try to warn you against it.

Most fellow bloggers are genuinely supportive, helpful and remember what it was like when they first started, making them more willing to lend advice or support you by commenting on/sharing your work. I have found, however, that there are others who just…. aren’t like that. Whether they’re too busy, feel like you’re beneath them, are threatened, don’t care, whatever it is… some will give you the cold shoulder (which you’ll learn to be fine with!) and you’ll find yourself realizing there’s definitely a clique-y, high-school like drama to some blogger groups and you don’t want any part of that anyway. You’ll just learn to steer clear instead of wish you had that connection/networking. I’ve learned to give and accept support from some and that I can be successful without the support of others.

The same holds true for people in your life. Most will be encouraging, others will think you’re crazy. They’ll doubt you and think you’re wasting you time, efforts and money doing this and offer their words of wisdom that usually sound like, “if you don’t have anything better to do, I have a huge list of things that need to get done around my house,” or something to that effect. Ignore it. Or, use it as fuel to prove them wrong! Both work in this scenario. Just don’t ever believe them. You got this!

6. Your Success is Entirely Up to You and It’s So, So Rewarding

Your results (much like anything in life) are a direct reflection of the effort you put in. You have as much or as little to gain from this as YOU would like. Unlike being at an hourly or salaried job where you’re getting paid regardless of if it’s a busy day or if customers are walking into the store you work at, this job is 100% based on your efforts and your efforts alone. I’ve learned to be better at time management, asking for what my time is worth and that you really have to be self-motivated because no one is standing over you reminding you to do this, giving you deadlines for that or writing you a check on payday.

You might put in a ton of effort and not see the fruits of your labor for a while (and I mean months) but if you keep at it, once you do start seeing your hard work pay off it is way more rewarding. Maybe it’s a share from a person or company you admire. Maybe it’s an opportunity you never expected. Maybe it’s your first 27 cents from Amazon (true story – that was the first amount of money I made from this blog and I was THRILLED). The success can come in many forms that will be meaningful to you but it will always be incredibly rewarding because no one can take credit for it except you. You’ll know that it’s entirely YOUR success because you worked for it.

Finally, don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes, big and small, because you earned it! Even if it’s a small dance party in your kitchen before you get back to work, always be so, so proud of the milestones you reach along the way.

first six months blogging

There’s so many things I’ve learned lately and I’m grateful for all of them. It’s opened me up to even more new passions (hello, photography) and brought me hard lessons I’d rather not have had to experience (hello, half of my blog getting deleted before a backup). All said and done though, I’m forever thankful I took the leap and started my blog. Regardless of what happens, it’ll always be my own corner of the internet where I can share my story, passions and anything and everything in between. It’s given me the outlet I didn’t even know I needed and something to be proud of. I’m sure I’ll learn even more in the following 6 months and I hope to bring you all along for the ride as I do!

For more info on how to start a blog and step-by-step instructions on how I started mine, check out How to Start a Blog in 15 Minutes! And, if you have any questions, let me know! I’d be happy to share more lessons and other insights I’ve learned!

how to start a blog

How to Start a Blog in 15 Minutes

how to start a blog

So you love food. You love taking pictures of your food. Or, maybe you love fashion or fitness, creating cool workouts, DIYing your whole house, your dog. Or hey, maybe you love all of those things. Whatever your interest, passion and niche is, I say go for it. It’s easier than you may think.

how to start a blog

I’m going to walk you through, step-by-step, what I did to create mine. I did the hard work already and spent a really long time researching the best way to go about it before I even started mine so I want to share what I’ve learned with you! I figured out which hosting sucks and which one is the best and about a zillion other things I never even knew existed so I want this to be a painless, and less time consuming, process for you unlike it was for me.

I hope that didn’t scare you too much, because the good news is, now you get to set up a money making blog in only a few minutes! Even if your intent isn’t to make money, having a blog is a really fun creative outlet. It was definitely an outlet I didn’t even realize I was missing in my life and I love every single minute of having my own corner of the internet to share the things I love. After only 4 months of blogging (and starting with iPhone photography!) mine generated enough income to pay rent this last month. So, the bonus income is a nice perk too!

Let’s get down to it, shall we?

I’ve broken it down into 3 steps:

  1. Domain Name & Hosting
  2. Installing WordPress
  3. Making it Beautiful

But first we need to talk about why you shouldn’t use Blogger/Blogspot or WordPress.com. These are free platforms and while you may be thinking “yesssss I can just save a few bucks and do it this way!” I’m telling you, don’t. There’s a ton of reasons why this isn’t a smart move.

The difference between these free platforms and WordPress.org is that WordPress.org is self-hosted, meaning you host your own blog or website. If you’re thinking that one day you’ll be interested in making a bit of money off of your website or even turning it into a business, then going with a WordPress.org site hosted with Bluehost is the way to go. You’ll save yourself so much time, hassle and tears down the road when you have to switch EVERYTHING over to your own hosting.

Bluehost is extremely cheap (under 4 bucks a month) and you’ll likely make your money back quickly. I learned through my research  on the blogging world that most companies and advertisers don’t view free platforms that aren’t self-hosted as professional. With Bluehost you can control and run your own advertisements, direct advertising and affiliate links and have more control over SEO. You’ll also get your domain name through Bluehost so there’s no need to go through even more hoops to register the name of your website.

1. Hosting & Domain Name

First, you’ll want to click “get started now” on Bluehost’s home page. From there it’s going to bring you to a page that lets you pick your hosting plan. I’d suggest the starter plan. You can always upgrade later but for just staring out, you really don’t need a higher level.

It does require you pay up front but that saves you more money than paying monthly does. I’ve found it to be totally worth it to not have to worry about when my hosting plan expires or having to remember to go update my card information if I get a new card. True story – my card was just stolen and I forgot to update all of the things I have monthly automatic payments on. My Netflix stopped working and I would have FREAKED out if my blog went down because of that.

Anywho.. Select the “basic” plan.

how to start a blog

Next, you’re going to be brought to a page where you get to do some fun creating! Pick your domain!

Your domain name is going to be what your website is called. Mine is (you guessed it!) paleobailey. This could be anything you want, as long as it’s available. I would choose something memorable and something you feel represents the overall intent of your website. I’d avoid excessive numbers being numbers are often hard for someone who’s reading your blog to remember and come back to next time. Catchy is good. Confusing isn’t!

how to start a blog

After you’ve picked your domain name, you’re going to be brought to the next page which is your account details and hosting package. Self-hosting on Bluehost is basically like you renting a space on a server for your website to live. The reason I went with Bluehost is because they offer great rates, amazing tech support, a user friendly interface and your domain name is free when you host with them. All in all, a pretty good deal.

After you enter your basic account info, you’ll see the package details. This is what I use for my site and what I recommend you use for yours.

how to start a blog

You can uncheck everything except for the domain privacy protection. This protects your address and personal information linked to your blog from being available to the public.

2. Installing WordPress

Now that you’re all registered with Bluehost, you’ll just need to install WordPress. This is a super easy process. WordPress is the blogging software you’ll use to actually CREATE your blog.

First, you’ll log into Bluehost and click on the “website builder” tab and then click on “WordPress”. Just follow the prompts to install, enter your domain name and you’re all set to go! Write down all the information you used (passwords and usernames) because you’ll want to refer to them later unless you’re a memorizing ninja, unlike me.

how to start a blog

3. Beautify

Guess what! You’re now a blogger! In just minutes you went from looking at blogs to now HAVING a blog! Before you dive in and start pouring your passions into posts, take a few minutes to make it beautiful. We all know that going to a website and seeing a pretty layout and design makes reading it more enjoyable, right? Now you get to pick your theme!

WordPress has tons of free themes you can use and that’s a good choice if you find one you like that doesn’t need much changing. Most free themes limit the personalization and changes you can make so I invested in a premium theme that would give me exactly what I wanted right off the bat.

Genesis Framework is the current framework I’m using for my site and I looove it. From there you should look into getting any of the StudioPress Themes.

I’m currently using Foodie Pro Theme under the Genesis Framework and have been able to easily make it my own, making it worth every penny. Two of my other favorites are Brunch Pro Theme and Elegance Theme. Once you have the Genesis Framework your life will be made 100% easier when you want to switch things up on your own. It makes it super easy to make your site beautiful without paying hundreds of dollars for a designer.

I also really love and highly recommend themes from Elegant Themes. They have a ton to pick from and all of them are clean and easily customizable so you can make your website into your vision.

Welcome to the world of blogging! With a little work (or, a lot) you now get to create and make as much or as little out of your little corner of the internet as you want! I promise it’ll be a rewarding and hopefully therapeutic experience. After all of the work and research I did I wanted to create a valuable resource for you! I hope with this guide you have an easier time navigating the best way to start up than I did!

how to start a blog

This post may contain some links that are affiliate links, though products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.