How To Make Money Blogging | Canadian Blogger Q&A | What it’s really like

How To Make Money Blogging | Canadian Blogger Q&A | What it’s really like


hey guys, Colleen here- DIYer behind LemonThistle.com, today I’m excited to be here with some of my favorite bloggers
from Western Canada and we’re going to be answering some questions that we get
all the time. This is Lindi from Love Create Celebrate. We’ve got Kristi from Making
it in the Mountains and Christina from the DIY Mommy. We have four different
questions that we’re taking on and we’re gonna put them all in a playlist for you
below so you can hop around and check those out. This video is going to be
all about how to make money blogging and the reality behind that for us. We are
here on a girls weekend in Jasper and we were talking about all the things that
we get asked all the time and we thought it would be really fun to do a collab
and put it together on YouTube for you guys so you can get to know us a little
bit better and to kind of break down some of those walls between viewers and
bloggers. Before we get into money I just kind of want to hear your guys’ blogging story; when did you get started; how did you get started and what were
your goals in starting blogging… how did you get here. My blog started more as
just for fun so it was when I had to quit my web design business and my graphic
design business because it was just too much when I had a newborn. Too many
commitments and when my daughter was six months old I really felt the need to
have another creative outlet and since I had the skills all ready to do web
design and things I thought a blog would be the perfect thing to do so I
just wanted to make stuff and write about it and it was just for fun and
since then it’s become a full-time career just over the years. And you
started how long ago? Nine years. So Christina has been blogging forever.
I’m like a senior citizen in the blogging world. I’m trying to compute how many years I’ve been
blogging and I think it’s four. I started when we lived 12 hours away from the
rest of our family and so it was sort of just a way that we were- we had bought
this new house so we were hoping to do a bunch of not renovations but things to
it and we wanted to be able to share with everyone and that just seemed like
an easy way to do it and I had no idea blogging was a career or something you
could do to make money it was just something I did to share
with my family. I’m the same- When I started I had moved away and I lived in
different province than my family and stuff. I think it’s three years ago but I just did it because I
want to share what I’m making with my mom basically. I don’t know. And then other people were looking at it and then all of a sudden I was like oh look, people are looking at this random little website I started. And I had no idea people made money blogging. I really had no clue when I started. I started- I knew people need money
blogging but that wasn’t my goal I didn’t want to do that. I was pregnant
with my first- my twins and I was on bed rest really early
and I was bored. I went from working three jobs to doing nothing and I knew
that I wouldn’t be able to go back to working contract work like I was working
and I had previously started businesses that I didn’t actually like, so I thought You know what- I’m going to start a blog. I’m going to write it while I’m on Mat leave and then when I’m off Mat leave, I’m
going to decide what I didn’t hate writing about for a year and then maybe I’ll start a business doing that. It’ll be great. and then by the end of that year, people had started to ask me to contribute. I went back to work
for a little bit but it just was too much to do both and I decided I can stay home with my kids. I can put the time into this and make this my new job. that took a couple years So when did it change to a business for you guys? When did it go from being a hobby or some way to share some things to being like okay this is a business-
what was that switch? For me me it was oh it was about five years after I started so it’s
quite a while after I started when we started building our house and I have
seen other bloggers get sponsorships from businesses to give them products to do their DIYs and so I thought I should try it- why not. So I approached a bunch of brands and they agreed to give us tons of material for
our home so we save like thousands of money building our home from these
brands giving us- and then later I learned oh the brands can give you stuff
plus they can pay you for sharing that stuff so it was about- I started the
blog 2009 I started making money in about 2014 and then 2015-16 started
making like a full-time income from the blog. I honestly think the switch for
the wasn’t that long ago it was fairly recent at another job for a long time
I had a couple mat leaves and that’s when I started putting effort into the blog, I was at home with my kids like you said I needed that sort of creative outlet I started doing more and then recently
things happened with my daycare and other things personally that just caused me to say never mind I’m gonna stay at home with my kids now
and I don’t think it was till after that when I was like I’m gonna put some push
into this and make it business because even before I considered it like a hobby when
I had this other real job it was like a side hustle -yeah it was a hobby.
I think for me it was- I ended up stumbling into this amazing group of
bloggers that were some were at the same stage as me and some were well above me
and I feel like people just started lifting me up and opening my eyes to new
opportunities that this career could bring to our lives and then we bought
this house that like our first fixer-upper. We had always had like new houses and this was our first fixer-upper where we actually had to do some work
we weren’t really in a position to be a you know I’ll just move in and renovate
the whole house with a contractor and it’s just started to evolve like I had
people lifting me up and showing me the way and and I just took advantage of all
those opportunities and turned them into what I needed them to be. Yeah. Mine changed
not into a blogging business until not very long ago same thing I started in
2013 and when I decided not to go back I mean I was working contract work so it’s
not like I was making that much money anyways but I thought- okay if I can make
the difference between what I would pay and day care and what I would make at
work which is like $200. Like you don’t make that much money above paying for
daycare for two babies let me tell you and if I can do that in a month that
would be great so I started doing kind of social media help for businesses
because I’m like well now I know how to schedule social media that’s something
I’m really great at-I can help them with their images so that’s when I started
making money and I didn’t switch to doing things with my own blog until it
was getting- I was pregnant again and I was like this is so stressful being on other
people’s timelines and I mean if I’m gonna be home and I can’t I can’t be
doing all this so I decided to just take a step back and see where it went.
How have you made money over the years what are the different things that
you’ve tried and done? I think blogging is such an interesting
interesting career because it’s constantly evolving the ways that you
can make money blogging and for me it’s not just blogging anymore it’s just it’s
a whole bunch of different avenues so I make money through sponsored posts on
the blog and still my biggest source of income through pay-per-click ads on the
blog and also through affiliate links on the blog so that’s when you post a link
and people buy stuff in the link and you get a percentage and then now with
YouTube that’s a whole other avenue I’m getting paid for pay-per-click ads on
YouTube sponsorships on YouTube videos and other things like speaking
engagements and products I have a pillow line and stuff like that so I think you for blogging
you do have to be really open to all sorts of avenues if you want to be
successful. And I’ve heard it said too that your blog is kind of like your home
base right and it’s a springboard to do the other things that could bring in
income. it’s not necessarily like I have to- the end all- or yeah exactly it’s really a
door opener. yeah I agree The same as Christina like the biggest
thing for me has been sponsored posts and some really great partnerships with
brands and I make money from the ads on my website. I’m just branching out to
youtube so that is not necessarily a source of income for me but- there will
be- and it’s a really it’s a really fun avenue to explore because I think it’s a
new branch of things that I can bring to brands as well so even if it’s not
necessarily YouTube that I’m making money on I feel like it’s it’s opening
up some opportunities with brands and sponsors you know so yeah And I mean for me it’s the same like the same sort of base things and I I’m just at the
point now where I’m starting to think about how I want to branch out of the
blog like people do- write various ebooks or real books or people you know branch
into speaking engagement and different things where they make new forms of income. Or shops that
they have. So I haven’t really pushed out that boundary yet but I’m at that point
where I’m wondering which Avenue I want to go to start exploring. I feel like
maybe I was a little bit more creative in how to make income because my my traffic was not huge and so I thought hey why not try these other things and so I’ve done- yeah managing social media for brands and I’ve done managing blogger programs for
brands, I’ve done writing as small businesses. I wrote a wedding blog- a couple wedding blogs for a while as their business I mean I feel like I’ve done a lot of different things. I’ve been kind of like oh- I’ll try that sure, I’ll try it. and if it doesn’t work out- that’s okay. Let’s try something else. And it all evolved from this little sort of blog.
I had a printable shop on Etsy for a little bit.
And then after I started blogging for money I guess mostly it was guest posts on other
people’s sites and contributor posts on other people’s sites- that was my
first taste of- Oh oh my gosh I can make a little bit of pocket change
now I have an e course that I sell on brush lettering and I have another
eCourse on idea generation as well -you’re a jack of all trades-
yeah- I have a store where I sell things I just feel like I try at all but my biggest my
biggest is sponsored work and then ad income how do you balance
making money with authenticity? Yeah, that’s a tough one I think blogging has
evolved so much now that people are finally kind of accepting that there are
sponsorships and like readers are accepting sponsored posts more but I
think it is our responsibility to write about things that were truly passionate about and
products that we truly love that we truly would you use I think that is
really really important and I think people can probably see right through
bloggers and vloggers that share things that they don’t truly believe in. I think
that it’s hard to when you start blogging again I started I was just like
someone wants to pay me to write about that. Yeah sure, but now that I’ve sort of
found my niche more and found my vision and my brand and there’s definitely
things that I will – there’s money opportunities that I’m like oh that doesn’t really fit with what I would actually use at home so I have to say no to that. yeah so I I think the most important
thing to me the thing that’s always driving or at least in the background of
all of my sponsored anything is that my readers trust me yeah and my word counts
for something and I don’t want to lose that
yeah I don’t. like I purchased things because friends have recommended them
and I want to be that friend that recommends to to my audiences and I I
want it to be genuine.
you don’t want them to be disappointed
-no on that note too there’s been a couple of times where I’ve had like sponsored content on
my blog and then use that product or used something that I thought was going to be
great and then was disappointed and that’s a struggle – cause you have to-
Like I’m not gonna lie my readers like that’s just- so I have to go back to
people and say well this was my experience and this is
how- what I’m willing to do but I can’t you know say that I liked this or that it
works easily or xyz and sometimes they come to you and say we’re not comfortable with you sharing that so just scrap it yeah and I’m okay with that
yeah I actually just the other day I was going back and work with the
brand and they wanted me to write about this and I’m like this is actually a
really great topic this is something I was going to write about anyways which
for me is immediately like great fit and I already had that post in mind yeah but
then they didn’t want to provide the service. I don’t feel comfortable
recommending something unless I’ve tried it and I know that I like it. if I’m not
gonna tell a friend about it I’m not gonna talk about it. what is the biggest
challenge in regards to blogging as a business that you’ve had that’s
specifically in making money in blogging I think for me the biggest challenge was
what I said before was having those sponsorships that don’t if it doesn’t
turn out the way I envisioned it I hoped that it would I think that
yeah being authentic with my readers being authentic with myself or my home. you know using- I don’t want to promote a product that I didn’t like or that didn’t work
properly or that’s at a store I wouldn’t shop at or whatever yeah. and
learning about that balance because at first as a new blogger you just want to
do it all Now I think for me if I’m thinking about
the business side of blogging its money management because sometimes yeah
it’s like most businesses like its most entrepreneurial endeavours you’re gonna
have seasons where you have lots of income and you’re gonna have seasons
where you have hardly income and with blogging it’s so all over the place
cuz like around Christmas time you’re gonna be raking in the cash from
affiliate sales and sponsorships and then in January you’re gonna have you’re
gonna make 5 bucks that month right so it’s like learning how to manage that income especially if you’re using it to provide for your family
yeah and even where to invest like reinvest some of that income into your blog too yeah i find that tricky too. it’s so I think for me it’s
really important to me that I don’t feel like I’m coming off as I’m selling
something to my readers yeah I don’t want to be my blog is not in an
advertisement for people that I’m working with it’s me genuinely sharing
things from my life and my home. yeah in a natural way. it’s it’s genuine it’s organic
it’s it’s my life right and I don’t want my blog to become an advertisement for
someone else. It is a big struggle.
And I would say for me the communication and managing expectations
not just from your readers who we love them we want to meet their needs but for the amount of time that we put into it like we have to see some sort of monetary
return or we can’t put that time in and also from brands who want you to post like their
logo and this infographic and this that because it’s like hey I value
you my readers and I know I’m not I don’t want to see that I
don’t want to be sold to and kind of managing that
and in contracts and try to know… I mean we want to think the best of everything
that it’s all going to work out but in reality like we have to read contracts
and try to put in it okay I’m going to do this many photos and no I’m not gonna
do a photo in the store that I don’t shop at. And no I’m like and you have to be
really it’s a business and that’s hard yeah just stay true to yourself and I
think that can be really hard because – brands do have expectations and how their money is being spent and that’s fair. Absolutley. But I feel like we need to juggle- first of all I feel like
I know my audience best I pay really close attention to what they respond to
and what they like and I try to give out good content that they can relate to
I feel like I’m the expert of my audience and so I want to make sure I’m staying true
to myself and what keeping my audience what they need while still getting a
brand what what they’re expecting right. what’s one thing that worked really well
or that you want to focus on more? For me it’s been video so I started I started
writing tutorials on my blog nine years ago and now within the last three years
I started building my YouTube channel and I never ever would have thought that
that would have been something that I would focus on or something that did
both for me because I feel like I’m very self conscious of how I speak sometimes
how I look and stuff and there’s so many younger people on YouTube it’s such a
different audience but it’s been such a cool thing to try and I think there’s a
really big audience on YouTube ready to see some more home decor DIY
like real life stuff that’s not on HGTV that’s more of raw on YouTube and
it’s good and I’ve been able to get lots of brand
interested in YouTube and video and stuff like that so I think that’s something that I
have been successful with over the last couple years but I want to keep growing.
I do know like a big I talked to you guys about this I’ve got this vision
from where I want to take my blog this year and I’m really clear about it or
it’s been a while since I feel like that happened so I’m really excited to
make some changes and to a really hone where my blog going so. yeah yeah we talked about a lot cuz we’re both in that where I was
saying I’m just sort of found a vision and changed some things about my blog
and changed about what I’m sharing and I’m really happy with where it is
right now and just trying to see where I want to branch further from there. I think alot of that is trial and error because you don’t really know what’s
going to work for you until you do it and until people respond yeah like I always
-when I started my blog I wanted to make baby clothes right and now I am
doing decor videos and people love them. at one time in life I posted a recipe and we were just talking about how yummy that was last night I would say for me one thing that I’ve
always focused on that’s worked really well for me is the teaching aspect of
blogging if I’m gonna post a tutorial I want to give detailed photos and
instructions and real like avoid this because I did that and that’s always
worked really well for me I didn’t mention actually do workshops as well- and that brings in some income- so i just try it all, i just like to try it all. but one thing when I want to focus more on it’s
not necessarily the teaching but the sharing because I’ve had their time with
home decor being like well how can I share that that’s just an idea
yeah right so how can I break them into more posts but just to like let you guys
in more on my thought process and you guys have really inspired me to do that
like here’s my vision for the room okay here’s my update and I’ve always
been like no unless it’s finished and done and I can do the whole start to finish
in one post I’m not going to do it. Alright so my question for you guys now that this is done If you are a blogger what’s the one thing that you found either
challenging or that it’s helped you in your success? and if you are not a blogger
what’s one thing that you didn’t know from this video? hopefully you learned
something. I hope you guys like this video if you did please make sure to hit
that thumbs up button and you can subscribe to my channel for more DIY
and decor videos and I hope that you subscribe to all of us and enjoy all our videos. check out the playlist for the rest of these Q&A style
videos we have one on authenticity and blogging; home decor- finding your home
decor style; and managing work-life balance while you’re working from home.
see you guys next time youtube YouTube let’s do youtube. be authentic no pressure. be authentic.

6 thoughts on “How To Make Money Blogging | Canadian Blogger Q&A | What it’s really like

  1. Wow, you have really done it all, Colleen! This was one of the most informative videos— so packed!!!— in the playlist. I've been blogging for about six years now, but the quality of my blog is sorely lacking due to poor cameras, and mostly time, since I work full time also. I don't know how you ladies all do it! I have done sponsored blog posts in that I get free product in exchange for a post, but I have never asked for monetary compensation for it. I just started YouTube as well a few months ago to try something new! 😁

  2. This was an awesome discussion. It's so cool to see how differently we've been making income and how we've grown!

  3. Talking about money can be such a touchy subject – I love how open and encouraging this community is in lifting each other up and sharing what we've learned along the way!

  4. Super interesting! Kinda wanted to throat punch the husband on the phone 😆 but the discussion is so real and honest!

  5. I am looking to start a blog in the new year (my New Years resolution). I’m not looking to make money starting out, more so just as a hobby. Would you recommend buying a domain right away, or going with one of the blogging sites such as blogger or WordPress to start?

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