How I Started Making Money Online

So, I’ve followed the realm of “online” work for quite some time now. I just could never find anything to invest in, the right schedule, or the timing to make working from home a possibility. That sounds silly, I know. How could you not make time to work from home? Well, when you’re trying to provide for a family, while going to school, options seem limited. Now that I’ve graduated, and right before our big move, I knew it was a do or die moment for me.

I was either going to work toward the dream I really wanted or I wasn’t. As simple (and complicated) as that. And every tutorial on how to make money online and/or from home will tell you — it takes some hustlin’ on your part.

So, at the beginning of May…I really started hustlin. But what did hustlin’ even look like?

  • I revamped my LinkedIn profile — updating it with info that I thought would help for the jobs I really wanted. Before, I rarely even touched my LinkedIn profile except to add a new job or update my school information. I never shared it with prospective employers/clients unless they specifically requested it because I knew it was neglected. Now, I’m in a few groups, I check out job leads through the search, and can easily share the link with any new clients. It doesn’t take much to get it up and running, and once you do, it’s super easy to upkeep!

    How I Started Making Money Online

  • I found VA/Blogging Facebook Groups and started engaging — I’m an introvert. Even in the interwebs, it’s hard for me to be social. I’m that blog lurker that loves my fav bloggers, but rarely adds a comment. And don’t even get me started on self-promotion. I strive for authenticity, so it’s hard to find a way to promote my work without feeling like a spammy salesman. So, VA/Blogging FB groups are a goldmine for introverts (and extroverts!) because they’re communities that are trying to support each other, share their work, and engage in discussion over anything and everything. **A little side note about these groups: Make sure you know the groups rules. Some groups have a specific thread to share your work, others don’t allow self-promotion, only questions and such. I found my first VA job through a FB group, so they are definitely valuable in my book.
  • I worked (and continue to work) on my design — Design is a HUGE deal in the realm of online entrepreneurship and blogging. There are way too many blogs out there that function well and look great, so your blog design game needs to be strong. And if it’s not strong — you need to research how to make it better or hire someone. This is an active work in progress (literally, I’m searching for tutorials on blog design) for me. My blog still isn’t quite where I want it to be as far as look and functionality, but I continue to work on it. There is a huge, wide array of tutorials across Pinterest and YouTube that you can utilize! Financially, I just can’t swing having somebody else do my design for me right now, and yes, that means more leg work for me. But I also love searching for tutorials and figuring stuff out for myself. So, it’s not bad if you like the work, right?

Working from home has been a goal of mine for several years, and now it’s finally becoming a reality. Soon, I’ll start sharing my income reports so we can watch the growth together!

If you work from home, how did you get started?

My Blog Diagnosis: 3 Reasons Why I Haven’t Gained More Followers…

As my school year wraps up, and I anxiously await my graduation, I now have an opportunity to sit down with my blog(s) and get serious about improving them. I’ll be honest, this last semester, I struggled immensely with focus. After being the busiest I’ve ever been last semester, I found myself completely burnt out. It was a struggle making it through my final few classes (and I even had to drop a few, taking them in the summer to lessen my load) , and so all motivation was thrown out the window.

Now that I’ve (for the most part) closed the degree chapter of my life (yeah, grad school’s gonna wait for a bit…) I’m so excited about my adventure in blogging, virtual assisting, and Etsy selling. In the past few weeks, I’ve been focused on the mantra, “Find the joy.” Because that’s the core ingredient to what I want in life — to find joy in every season, joy in the ups and downs, failures and successes. To live a life with gratitude is my ultimate goal.

When I read the crazy amount of blogging how-tos and income reports from successful bloggers, I’m completely overwhelmed. When people mention have 100,000 pageviews, that seems like such a far-fetched number for me. I barely have 50/month.

So, what has been holding me back?

My Blog Diagnosis: 3 Reasons I Haven't Gained More Followers

Consistency of posts

I’ve had a post every month of two. That’s certainly not consistent enough to gain any sort of dedicated readership. I don’t even need to read another “How to blog” post to come to that conclusion. 😉 Remedy: Since, I’m still in a transition time with school, Z’s school, starting some VA gigs..etc, I’m going to make it a goal to have 3 posts/week with C2CM. My other blog is going to take the backseat for a bit.

Trying to Do Too Much at Once

There’s a reason I reached threat level: burn out. I wrote earlier this year about my addiction to busy. And what I found the last 4-5 months was the fallout of that addiction. I went from a go-go-go rhythm to a I can barely convince myself to do the laundry attitude. I would sit in front of my computer to blog or do homework or even write a simple email and I would simply stare at the screen for minutes on end. Remedy: I’m learning the art of hustling, but I have to remember to stick with my mantra (and a huge inspiration for this blog): Take it one step at a time. So, instead of stressing myself out by trying to attempt every idea/thought that pops into my head, I have a continuous list going on in Evernote of my random ramblings, thoughts, ideas, goals…etc. Once I get a second, I’ll find the ones that really speak to me in that moment and start writing out more detailed goals. I’m also creating my goals with a sense of sustainability, based on my own rhythm and temperament.

Take Myself Seriously

As popular as blogging is, it’s hard for people to take it seriously. So, they ask you what you do and you say, “I’m a virtual assistant, but I’m also trying to grow my Etsy shop and blog.” It’s easy for that awkward tension to permeate the conversation as you feel them questioning and slightly judging your response. I’ve always been one that attempts to explain myself way too much, and so it’s been a daily reminder for me to take myself seriously. As crazy and unpredictable as that life might sound to some, it’s one that I very much believe in and fighting to own. Remedy: Stay clear on my goals. Reminding me of why I want this life, what writing does for me, how I want this blog to grow, and be excited for my successes when they come around.

Blogging is something I’ve been working on for years now. Mostly as a hobby, but now I can really see potential in investing in it. What are some stumbling blocks you’ve had to fight against in pursuing blogging or one of your passions?

September/October Blog Update

SeptemberOctoberUpdate

 

So, last month, I decided to start keeping track of my process from novice, hobby blogger to full-time income blogger. It’s a way to keep myself accountable and hopefully inspire someone else to reach out for the type of life they want to live.

I’ll be honest, this month was all about survival. Which is partly why October is almost at an end, and I’m just now posting this.  I wrote a few posts, and played around with affiliate marketing and the look of the site a bit, but overall the blog was really low on the priority list. Not only is Z in first grade, but I am taking 18 credit hours. Z is also involved in soccer, piano, and gymnastics…so, life is a bit insane. I think we’ve finally settled into a rhythm, which means that I should be able to divide my time better.

Goals for September:

Really get the whole affiliate marketing thing up and running. Which will inevitably mean going back through old posts and adding affiliate links. Such is life. – I’m still struggling with this whole affiliate marketing thing. I am now on ShareaSale, which I’ve heard good reviews about, and whenever I have a free moment, I’m looking at tutorials and recommendations. I’m trying to trust in the learning curve. I’ll get there, it’ll just take some time to wrap my head around it.

Update some graphics from older posts (particularly the ones that don’t have my new domain name on them). Nope, not even close to happening. Haha.

Get 50 new followers. I didn’t gain 50 new blog followers, but I’ve gained quite a few new Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook followers, so I’m calling this a success!

Really focus on my content. None of this will work if my content is shit. – While I didn’t write a ton this month, I was very much focused on where I want this blog to go, ideas for content, and ideas to let go of.

Have a new blog post up at least 3 times/week. Yep, not close.

Find at least 3-5 new blogs to follow and comment on their work. I still need to be better about commenting, but I’ve followed quite a few new blogs. I’m a part of several blogging communities on Facebook which has really helped me!

Get a custom theme up. It’s up, but I’m not a fan of it. I might look into Fiverr or Etsy for some design help. I know the essence of what I want, but am terrible at actually making it happen.

Fit ads on my page so that they’re not intrusive or ugly. Well, there are ads on my page, but I’m not liking the location, and they feel very intrusive at the moment. Please, trust me that they will not stay like this.

Other Stuff I’ve Done:

-I’ve been reading How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup (her blog is Living Well Spending Less). I’ve been following her for quite awhile, and the first thing that ever comes up when looking for “How to support yourself with blogging” tutorials…90% will refer to Elite Blog Academy which Ruth runs as well. I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in EBA yet, but I’m on the waiting list. I’m hoping I will have the funds to sign-up the next time registration opens! The book is fantastic and super helpful so far.

-I’ve been playing around with blog design a lot. So frustrating.

-I’ve focused a lot on establishing a strong editorial calendar, lining up blog posts, and carving out time to blog every day.

-I bought 2 domain names. One has to do with DISNEY! And the other is my name (amandabeeler.com) which I plan to use for my theatre, writing, and virtual assisting portfolio and services.

Goals for October:

-Content, content, content. I have some fun ideas and really think November and December could be a great time to explore some of these ideas!

-I will settle on a blog design. I will. YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT ME BLOG DESIGN!

-I want to start offering free printables. With the holidays coming up, this could be a perfect time to start.

-Start husslin’ on social media. I’m going to focus on Instagram (@cuetocuemama), and try to get at least 100 new followers.
Soccer season is finally done for Z, and I’ve finished all midterms, so things finally feel like they’re in a good rhythm. I’m really excited about what’s in store, I just have a lot of work ahead of me!

 

Building my Blog – August Ups & Downs

 

AugustBlog

So, last month, I decided to start keeping track of my process from novice, hobby blogger to full-time income blogger. It’s a way to keep myself accountable and hopefully inspire someone else to reach out for the type of life they want to live.

So, here’s my first completed month on this journey (at least in writing about it!)

August Goals:

Buy my domain & host  Yahoo! It’s been a long time coming, but I have now bought my domain (and dearzoeyblog.com as well!) I have been waiting to do this forever, so I have a huge sense of accomplishment. I’m also now hosted through Bluehost.

Figure out and setup Google Analytics. – DONE. Well, the set-up part, anyway. I’m still figuring out the terms and lingo, but this tutorial has helped GREATLY:

Find/create a custom theme. – This one is super overwhelming. I like to be a DIYer, especially with design. I’m just trying to determine if it’s worth my time. I think it will be once I have a totally custom design that really reflects me. I found these two great posts that will hopefully help a lot: Somewhat Simple & Creative Kristi.

Start planning out mine and Zoey’s big project. Funny story! Zo and I recorded a great intro and announcement for our upcoming YouTube channel. It’ll be a channel called Baking with Zo (and me). Well, we recorded this great video, then I plug my (new) phone into my laptop to edit the videos, and it asked me if I wanted to restore my phone to the last backup. Without looking at the date, I say, “Yes.” Well, the backup was from JULY 2ND! So, then I thought, “Oh, well it will surely be on iCloud.” Yep…not there..even though I say to automatically upload to iCloud, but still not there. Ugh. But anyway, we re-recorded the intro and even did our first baking video! I’m learning iMovie, but it’s pretty easy so far. I’m still editing the videos, but I think the more I do it, the better I’ll become (thanks, captain obvious). I’m a total novice at YouTube (Damn you, channel art and never coming out right!!) and baking, and I’m entering my busiest school year, so this should be interesting, but we’re both super excited about it!

Start tracking my hours (when blogging, researching, planning, etc)– To take any guesswork (otherwise known as math..) out of logging my hours, I went with this free time clock. I started logging my hours on Aug 17th and ended on August 31. Total Hours: 14.5 hrs.  Given that E school started for Z, E, and me, with E going leaving to go back to his school, I think that’s pretty impressive.

Work on connecting with other bloggers. – KINDA – This step is a big deal for me. I’m an introvert through and through. I don’t like the aspect of selling myself, and I’ve always thought that it’s a bit disingenuous to “connect with other bloggers.” Because I didn’t want to feel like I was reaching out to other bloggers purely to benefit myself. But I follow a lot of blogs (without actually “following”) and thoroughly enjoy the content, so I made a pact with myself that I would legitimately sign up for any newsletters, actually hit the follow button, and find these blogs on social media. I started commenting, but I would only comment if I felt really compelled to. I’ve started this process and have connected to a few Facebook groups of bloggers (two are in my city!)

Other stuff I did:
-Separated all of my personal social media from my blog social media. – Not sure how I feel about this one yet. I’m trying to find the best way to be able to post to my personal stuff as well as my professional stuff without constantly having to sign out and such. Pinterest and Instagram have me most frustrated at this point. I’m checking out Buffer and Hootsuite and I’ve also heard of TailWind for Pinterest. I’ll keep you updated on that one!

-Signed up for Adsense, Shareasale, Amazon Associates…doing more research and trying to figure out this whole affiliate thing. Another overwhelming aspect of trying to blog for a living. I JUST WANT TO WRITE DAMMIT!

-Started working on an editorial calendar.

Goals for September:

Really get the whole affiliate marketing thing up and running. Which will inevitably mean going back through old posts and adding affiliate links. Such is life.

-Update some graphics from older posts (particularly the ones that don’t have my new domain name on them).

-Get 50 new followers

-Really focus on my content. None of this will work if my content is shit.

-Have a new blog post up at least 3 times/week.

-Find at least 3-5 new blogs to follow and comment on their work.

-Get a custom theme up.

-Fit ads on my page so that they’re not intrusive or ugly.

 

Overall, this has been a really rewarding month. While I’m nowhere near close to being able to support myself and family with blogging, I see it in my future, and I’m excited for the opportunities that can come from working for myself.

Just keep on keepin’ on.

Building a Blog from the Bottom Up!

If you all haven’t noticed, I’m really focused on building my blog. I have gained so much knowledge from blogs that share their income reports every month such as: Retired By 40!Pinch of YumYour Modern Family, and byRegina. And while all of these blog numbers seem so far away from me, I am determined to build this blog over this next year (well, and after that…of course). I wanted to start sharing my journey and goals for a few different reasons.

BuildingBlog

First off, I think it’s incredibly important to be able to reflect on your goals and which ones you’ve reached, what you’ve struggled with..etc. I’m an INFJ, so self-reflection is a big deal for me. I also think tracking progress from day one allows you to be proud of the baby steps you take. I’m an extremely ambitious dreamer of a person. I also struggle with anxiety. So the meeting of the two worlds can lead to a big, overwhelming mess in which I’m crying and screaming to myself, “What the hell are you thinking?! This will never work out for you.” Because of this, I’ve learned over the last couple of years how to itemize my goals. About two years ago, I became really sick of standing in my own way. I talked myself out of dozens of opportunities or chances that could’ve led to something great. So, after working with a therapist for a few months, I started to really work on making tiny goals that could build up to my bigger goals. And suddenly my tiny goals weren’t so overwhelming and huge.

Another reason I want to share this on the blog is for accountability. Making my goals public, regardless of how many (or few..) people see it, there’s certain pressure I put on myself to uphold what I write about. Follow through has become a big deal to me because talk doesn’t mean anything, if actions aren’t backing it up.

And lastly, I hope that my blog can eventually help someone else who wants to build a blog without any idea of where to start. I like the idea of someone reading this and saying, “She had no clue what she was doing, but she made something out of her goals.” And if I fail miserably, I hope I can at least give a few laughs or a few pieces of inspiration.

So, I am truly starting at ground zero. I have had 627 views TOTAL. That means, not 627 views in the month of August, but 627 views for the life of my blog. So, when I say I’m starting at the bottom, I mean it. All that being said, here are my goals for August:

– Buy my domain & host (I still haven’t figured out if I need to buy my domain thru wordpress and then be hosted by BlueHost — which is praised by every single blogger when they first start out or if I can do all of it through BlueHost…advice anyone?)

– Figure out and setup Google Analytics.

– Find/create a custom theme.

– Start planning out mine and Zoey’s big project (coming in September…could very well have something to do with YouTube…yeah, Zo is chomping at the bit to get started)

– Start tracking my hours (when blogging, researching, planning, etc).

– Work on connecting with other bloggers.

Each month, I’ll cross off the goals I’ve met (or exceeded). I’ll also mention anything else I add to the list, and dish on the good, bad, and ugly. Since I only have about 3 weeks left in the month (yeesh!) and school will be starting for both Z and me, these few goals are going to be a feat in and of itself, so I’m excited to tackle them and share the ups and downs with you all.