For many of us moms, one of the biggest reasons we start blogging is to eventually make some extra income or possibly even to create a full-time income from our blogging efforts.
Caroline Lewis is a perfect example of a mompreneur who has been able to take her passion for blogging and turn it into a full-time income. Caroline runs not one, but two separate blogs which contribute to her full-time income.
I asked Caroline if she would answer a few questions to help other mompreneurs out there who aspire to bring in a full-time income from their blog.
Keep reading to learn more about her journey towards growing and monetizing her blog, and get tips to help you do the same.
1. What's the name of your blog (or blogs) and what do you blog about? When did you first start blogging?
Swaddles n’ Bottles is a website for new and expectant mothers. It’s a place to find information on anything from pregnancy to labor and delivery, breastfeeding, even decorating your baby’s nursery on a budget! I try to cover just about everything so it’s a one-stop hub of information for new mamas.
My second blog is The Basics of Blogging. It is a newer endeavor that just recently launched! After seeing success with Swaddles n’ Bottles, I had a few fellow mom bloggers reach out and ask if I would consider mentoring them. After multiple emails back and forth with them, I realized how much I LOVED helping these other moms work to meet their goals. So I started a blog dedicated to doing just helping them do that.
2. How many kiddos do you have? How do you balance your blogging/business tasks with your family life and other responsibilities?
I have a one-year-old daughter named Emmy and am currently 32 weeks pregnant with baby #2! The easiest way to balance is to stay organized. I may only get 4 hours a day to work, but you better believe that I know EXACLTY what I am going to be working on in those 4 hours before I even start. I never sit down at my laptop and just open Facebook and start browsing and wonder what I should do that day. I’ve got a running list and I aim to make the most of every minute I am able to work. I think knowing what your priorities are makes it possible to get just about anything accomplished.
3. What was your job (or career) prior to becoming a fulltime blogger/online business owner?
I worked in student life at a University here in Houston. I really enjoyed it and thought it would be my life-long career! Prior to that I worked for an Energy company… so basically ZERO website building or marketing/ promotional skills in my background. I would have never guessed in those days that I would one day be a mommy blogger!
4. Do you remember the first time you made money from your blog? How long did it take you? How much did you make? What did you sell?
I made money my first month of blogging on Swaddles n’ Bottles through Affiliate Marketing and Google AdSense. The products I was selling were items that we were already using throughout our home with our newborn. It felt really good knowing I was building a blog helping new moms just like me!
5. How long was it before you made a fulltime income from your blog? What key steps contributed to your transition? What barriers did you face in the process?
I hit the $5,000 mark in February 2017. From the launch of my blog in October, I have treated it like a business. Sure, I took time off on Holidays and to spend time with my family, but I was consistently working to build my blog and brand. By looking at it as a business and a hobby, I made different choices then I think I would have if I just thought “well, it’s just for fun, that little detail doesn’t matter”. I dig into statistics weekly to know what it is working and what is not. I especially did this with Pinterest. I knew it would be a huge source for traffic and therefore, income. I made a big point to ensure I was learning everything about it that I could.
6. What has been the most successful way you've been able to monetize your blog?
Affiliate marketing is my number one source of income, with Amazon being the front-runner.
7. What was the first product that you ever created? Did you consider it a success? If so, why? If not, why not?
My first product created was Pinning for Pageviews, an eBook that shares the strategies I used on Pinterest to bring in over 2 million pageviews in under 10 months. Once that was published, I jumped straight into writing Mastering Affiliate Marketing. With the purchase of these eBooks, bloggers gain access into a small, private Facebook community.
This group is what gives me a sense of success that the eBooks are doing what I set out for them to do. I don’t measure the success of the Basics of Blogging off of pageview, books sold or income, I base it off of the readers success after applying the strategies.
I get so much positive feedback through the Facebook group and have been able to watch these other bloggers grow so much! One blogger reached out to me just a week after starting her blog and applied the strategies in Pinning for Pageviews. Just a month or so later, her blog had grown so much that she was featured in Scary Mommy! So yes, I do consider the products to be successful, but I will always continue to improve and grow in way that will help people even more.
8. How often do you publish new blog posts? How do you organize your writing time? Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
I spend time at the end of every month really reflecting on the weeks to come and what needs to be accomplished. If I feel I need to concentrate on promotion or technical improvements on the blog, I may only post once or twice in a month. But there are other months where I am just overflowing with ideas and I feel like I might go crazy if I don’t start writing! This is definitely one of those months, I think I have already posted 10 times and still have 3 drafts I would like to get done before the month end.
9. How important is your email list to your overall monetization strategy and why? What list-building tips would you give to those struggling to build a list? Any recommended resources?
I love utilizing my email list to connect with my followers and highlight new material on Swaddles n’ Bottles. This new material usually includes affiliate links so it definitely contributes to my income!
SumoMe has always been my favorite tool to collect subscriber information. It is so customizable and easy to use. My biggest tip would be to reach beyond “Subscribe now to receive the latest news”. Those days are long gone. Readers want more than a weekly automated email to their inbox. Spend a few hours creating an awesome checklist or free eBook that can’t be refused!
10. Tell us your favorites: Favorite affiliate program? Favorite social media platform? Favorite blogging tool?
My favorite affiliate program is hands down Amazon. I’ve definitely become an Amazon mom since having my daughter! It’s been so cool that I am able to monetize my blog by linking products I am using myself, plus the THOUSANDS of other products Amazon has to offer!
My favorite social media platform is Instagram. I love the amount of interaction I am able to have with other mothers.
My favorite blogging tool is Canva! I use it for all of my pins, blog logos, and graphics on my site. It has so much potential and is so simple to use!
11. What's the best advice you can you give mompreneurs who are trying to monetize their blogs and make a full-time income?
Take time to educate yourself. The statistic of mom bloggers that throw in the towel is, sadly, very high. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that most new mom bloggers do not have any prior experience with some of the fundamentals you need to have a successful blog, like building a website, online marketing and promotional tactics (I definitely did not have any of these skills when I started!).
They start a blog with such high hopes and strong ambitions but as the months go on, the pageviews may not be where they want and their monetization goals are not being met. It’s discouraging and can lead to them wanting to quit blogging altogether. I think this can be avoided if you challenge yourself to learn something new about the blogging every day. Whether it be an eCourse or eBook, learn from others. And never stop doing this! Even when you are bringing in 300,000 pageviews and $10,000 monthly, there is always something new to learn.
12. Can you give us a rundown/brief explanation of your main products, freebies, and any related affiliate marketing opportunities for those reading this post?
The two products I offer to help new bloggers meet their goals are Pinning for Pageviews and Mastering Affiliate Marketing. Both of these are the recipe to the success of my blogs using Pinterest and reaching full- time monetization. I do offer affiliate programs for both of these books, however, the application is only available for those who have actually read the books.
13. Fun Question: If you had to wear the same t-shirt every day for a year, what graphics or words would be printed on it?
Oh this is a tough one! I saw a fun tank on Pinterest the other day that said “mother hustler”. It’s no coincidence why the majority of online influencers and bloggers are mothers- our drive is different than any other because we’ve got our kids as our motivation! They are our “why” and our hustle just can’t be stopped 😊.