Last night I was chatting with a blogger who was feeling completely overwhelmed with their goal of making a living from blogging.
I asked them how much they wanted to make from blogging.
They responded that they wanted to be a full time blogger.
I pushed them for a figure – what does ‘full time’ mean for you?
They thought for a moment and said that they could live off $30,000 USD a year (note: they wouldn’t have minded earning more but would be able to quit their current job at this kind of rate).
$30,000 a year sounds like a lot to make from a blog – especially when you’re starting out and are yet to make a dollar. To this blogger it seemed so overwhelming that she had almost convinced herself that it was not possible.
Advice for Becoming a Full Time Blogger
My response was threefold:
1. Don’t Give Up Your Day Job…. Yet
It is possible to make $30,000 a year blogging, but it’s unlikely to happen over night. Keep your feet on the ground and your expectations reasonable. IF it happens (and there are no guarantees) it is almost certainly going to take some time.
2. Be Specific
Saying that you want to be full time as a blogger is a great goal – but it’s not really specific enough. This is why I wanted the blogger I was chatting with to name a figure. For her full time was $30,000 – for others it could be more or less – the amount is not the point, the point is that you need something more concrete to work towards so that you’re able to measure where you’re at.
For me when I decided I want to go full time as a blogger I decided that I wanted to aim for $50,000 (Aussie Dollars) in a year as the bench mark (at that time $50,000 was around 36,000 USD). That’s around what I would have been earning in my current main job if I had been doing that full time (I was actually working a number of part time jobs at the time as well as studying part time).
Knowing what I was aiming for helped me in a number of ways when it came to getting to that goal.
3. Break it down into something more Achievable
$30,000 USD still sounds big when you’re a new blogger – and in some ways it is. However there are different ways of thinking about that figure. Lets break it down in the way that I used to look at my target.
- $30,000 a year = $576.92 per week
- $30,000 a year = $82.19 a day
- $30,000 a year = $3.42 an hour
We could break it down on a monthly or on a minute by minute basis if we wanted to (in fact I did do it by minute from time to time for fun) – but the exercise is really about helping you to see that perhaps your big goal is a little more achievable if you are to break it down. Making $82.19 somehow seems a little bit easier to me than making $30,000 (or is that just me?).
OK – the other way that I used to break down my goal that I found really helpful to me was to do it based upon what I need to achieve to meet that target. For me I would usually look at the daily figure – in this case $82.19.
What do I need to do to make $82.19 a day ($30,000 a year)?
Well there’s a number of ways that much. Lets look at a few:
- CPC Ads – lets say we’re running mainly AdSense on our blog and that the average click is paying 5 cents. That equates to 1643 clicks on AdSense ads (note: AdSense also runs CPM ads so it’s not quite as simple as saying you need 1643 clicks… but to keep this simple lets just go with that).
- CPM Ads – lets say that we’re running CPM ads on our blog and we’re being paid $2 CPM per ad unit and we had 3 ads on each page (which is effectively $6 CPM per page). This would mean we’d need 13,000 page impressions.
- Monthly Sponsorships – one way to sell ads directly to advertisers is to sell ads on a month by month basis as a sponsorship. To make $30k in a year you need to sell $2500 a month in ads. You might have 6 ad spots on your blog so this is 6 advertisers at $416.66 per advertiser per month.
- Low Commission Affiliate Products – Lets say we were promoting affiliate products from a site like Amazon and your commissions were on average about 40 cents per sale. To earn $82.19 you’d need to sell 205 products.
- High Commission Affiliate Products – In this case you might be promoting ebooks and earning $8 a copy (that’s what you’d earn selling my 31DBBB ebook per commission). The math is simple on this one – you’d had to sell around 10 e-books a day.
- Really Big Commission Affiliate Products – of course e-books are not the biggest product out there to promote – there are products like training courses where you can earn hundreds per sale. Lets take one that might pay out $300 for a yearly membership on a bigger product. In this case you need to sell 8 of these per month.
- Selling Your Own E-book – got your own product, perhaps an e-book, to sell from your blog? At $19.95 a sale you need to sell just over 4 of these a day. You can do the sums on cheaper or more expensive products.
Of course there are many many other ways to make money from blogs. Subscriptions, donations, paid reviews, selling yourself as a consultant….. etc. You can do the sums for yourself on your own model.
I know that some of the above figures still sound out of reach for bloggers – 1643 clicks on your AdSense ads sounds massive to a new blogger…. and it is – but do keep in mind that you can combine some of the above (in fact I’d recommend you diversify your income).
You might run 2 ad networks on your site, promote Amazon affiliates, sell your own e-book and promote someone’s membership course.
Looking back on my own figures for around the time when I hit my $50,000 AUD (around $100 USD a day) goal and for me at that time my income mix looked a like this (going from memory here):
- AdSense: $35
- Chitika: $20
- Private Ad Sales: $20
- Amazon: $15
- Other Affiliate Commissions: $10
Note: I didn’t achieve this milestone until I’d been blogging for over 2 years (I blogged for the first year without trying to make money).
This didn’t happen over night (let me emphasize this – blogging for money is neither quick nor is it easy money) but I really found that breaking things down into more bite sized pieces helped me to stay motivated but also helped me to identify what I needed to work on in order to reach my goals (and for me to quite my day job).
Again – don’t quit your day job yet (in fact you may not want to quit it even when you reach your goal – it can be good to have a back up plan) but do work hard at being specific about your blogging goals and attempt to break it down in a way that helps you move towards them.