One thing I’ve learned from blogging and monetization is that it takes time. It takes time to get into blogging and form a steady group of readers, it takes time to sort out the best format for monetizing your blog, and it takes time to form relationships with companies and the blogging community.
When I first started thinking about monetizing, I made a list of what I thought would work for me, my lifestyle, my interests, and my blog. And from there, a list was formed:
- affiliate sales through Spreadshirt, Commission Junction, and other sources
- notebook sales in retail stores and on Etsy and Big Cartel
- private ads
- freelance writing and blog consulting
Affiliate sales probably require the least amount of work – you open an account with a company that you believe in (I’m currently doing so with Mighty Leaf Tea and Vega nutrition products, both of which I’ve used and loved). Then, for any sales you make, you get a set commission set in your contract from the company. My main advice for affiliate sales? Choose products you’ve used and loved, because otherwise you’re sharing false information with your readers.
In my case, I was able to also do affiliate sales through OpenSky for the last two years, which I set up with fellow blogger Kath of KathEats by selling my notebooks. And Spreadshirt is something anyone can set up – you just need an idea for a shirt design, and you set an amount to earn from each sale. (After getting into Disney races last year, I knew that my shirts would be a fun product to wear and promote.)
I also sell my notebooks on Etsy and Big Cartel, though I don’t advertise these shops too much, and I think in general my notebooks do better when people can see them and flip through them in person. I’m hoping to contact more local Vermont shops in the coming months to try to have my notebooks sold more in retail than online.
As for what I’d like to work on this year, I’d like to incorporate sponsorships and private ads onto the blog, if possible. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great companies, and I would love to find some new ones to work with. I’m also hoping to get in some freelance writing and consulting on blogs, but that’s another piece that will take time and a lot of work.
- Farmers’ Market: $12.00
- Samples / Giveaways: $145.41
- Affiliate Earnings:
- Spreadshirt: $30.00
the gross total: $187.41
Not bad, not bad. Actually, it’s only about $9.00 less than November, so that’s good to see.
Josh and I went to the Waterbury Winter Farmers’ Market a second time, and unfortunately, it didn’t go well at all. I really thought that with the holidays coming, I would have had a bunch of notebook sales for people buying gifts. Nope. I’ve decided that if I want to continue to sell my notebooks at markets, it’s either going to be at specific holiday craft markets, or when (down the road) we’re selling our homestead products. And Vermont shops that sell locally-made products work well well.
I won a bunch of giveaways and was sent samples, and I included the retail prices on those. Even though I know the companies that send them are paying wholesale, if I were to buy them myself I’d be buying them at the retail price. Whether or not I’d buy them in the first place is a different story, but their value is worth the retail price to me. (Basically, retail is what you pay at a store to buy a product, and wholesale is what the store pays the company to buy the product. Retail is usually double wholesale cost.)
And the Healthy Disney t-shirt sales continues to be slow and steady. I added some new products recently – a children’s shirt and a toddler’s shirt – so I’m hoping those will do well too.
In the works for January are looking more into writing articles for local newspapers and magazines, and since I recently joined the Foodie Blogroll ad network, seeing some profits from that. We’ll see. I didn’t think I’d join an ad network, but I wanted to experiment with this one.
Next month I’ll also share some of my annual blog expenses, which goes to show that this monetizing stuff really only helps even out costs, at best. Since I love blogging, I don’t mind paying out of pocket, but it definitely helps to find different ways to pay for one of my favorite hobbies.