As a busy mom raising 2 kids with special needs, I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands to make the extra income that my family needs. However, my blog has allowed me to earn income around the hours that I am available.
In 2015, these part time work efforts earned me over $10,000 in cash. I also made nearly $500 in gift cards, and came away with several hundred dollars worth of products including food, kitchen gadgets, toys and more. Here are my inside tips on how I did this.
1. Join Networks You Think You're Not Qualified For
Last year, a seasoned blogger encouraged me to join Social Fabric despite their “requirement” of more page views than I had. I signed up and was approved. In 6 months, I’ve earned over $1,000 from them – and have only applied for about 10% of the opportunities they offer because my niche is tight.
Even if the requirements for a particular group are above your page views, you should apply unless they explicitly tell you not to. Today, page views are less relevant for brands than metrics such as engagement and reach. Your specific talents in areas like recipe crafting, craft projects or photography can also make you valuable to a group like Social Fabric.
You can also apply this idea to blogger groups you may think you are too inexperienced to join. I’m a member of a number of exclusive blogger groups, and their support has helped me grow as well as brought me opportunities. Learn how to join a promotional group to increase social media interaction.
2. Apply to Anything That Fits Your Blog
In addition to Social Fabric, I’m a member of several networks, including:
- Clever Girls
- BlogHer Influencers
- Influencer Central
- Massive Sway
- And more…
I’ve joined so many because when you have a tight niche, it’s hard to get projects that fit your brand. Discover more influencer programs to join.
Apply and re-apply to the projects you want. As a result of repeated reapplying, I was finally selected for a Water Wipes project this fall. Tag the brands you like on social media, see if they have their own influencer programs and pitch them creative ideas. Don’t do straight up reviews, but figure out how you can make that product shine in a post that readers will value. For example, I wrote my Water Wipes post on how they can also help you safely clean your home.
3. Negotiate Higher Rates
You should be paid better for what you excel in. If you’re nervous about asking for a higher rate, remember that engaging with a brand means:
- Permanent advertising for the brand on your blog/social media
- Lower chances of working for one of their competitors
- Working to create a post that can go viral and sharing it
- Following the brands’ objectives, guidelines and copyright policies as well as your own
- The possibility of losing readers who don’t care for sponsored posts
Now if that doesn’t convince you to raise your rates, consider this: you can’t really earn a lot of income from blogging jobs that pay $100-500 per post or project because you need to make sure that 50-80% of your content is not sponsored.
If a brand reaches out and says, “We love your posts on this topic” or “Your photography is stunning,” pitch back with rates that reflect your value. It doesn’t hurt to pitch too high, but pitching too low can show them that you don’t value your own work. You may need to test back and forth until you settle on a comfortable rate that clients are willing to pay. Learn more in-depth advice about pitching sponsored posts.
4. Dos and Don'ts for Small Jobs
Typically, small jobs involve a social share, like Tweets or Facebook shares. You need to keep in mind how this share will impact your overall brand, so again, only accept jobs that fit your brand.
1. Don’t Do “Small Job” Blog Posts
Avoid “small” blog posts. You are better off writing for free for a brand you care about than taking low pay for a post or review.
2. Stick to Social Shares
Tweets, Instagrams, Pins and Facebook shares only take a few moments and can be easily set up or scheduled.
3. Set Rules
I will not share brand images on my Instagram as I think it pollutes my brand, but I’m okay doing that on Twitter. Think about what your streams mean for you as a brand and set rules accordingly before you start taking on small jobs.
4. Know Your Worth
$1 or less is too low for a share. $4 per share should be a minimum, but shares can be offered in the $5-10 range, or even higher, depending on your number of followers, the platform and what is being requested.
5. Join Izea or SocialPubli.com
With Izea, I have bid on tweets, earning over $200 last year. SocialPubli is a new network that provides similar services and gives a $50 credit for new influencers.
5. Strategically Integrate Affiliate Ads
Affiliate ads can be notoriously difficult to monetize. There are two methods:
Method # 1: Banner Ads
Banner ads work better if you have higher page views. When placing banner ads, you should integrate them where readers are most likely to click on them, for example, above the header. I’ve not had much luck using banner ads, except for at the bottom of every post, which I feel is intrusive.
Method # 2: Affiliate Links in an Article
If your page views are lower, place relevant affiliate links inside articles on your blog or newsletter. These naturally flow into your content, such as a top 10 book guide with links or affiliate links for recipe ingredients.
Learn more about how to making money as an affiliate.
6. Start Freelancing
If you’ve never taken the leap to do freelance work, now is the time. This is the bulk of my income. The trick is to work at what you’re good at so look at any positive feedback on your work and freelance in that area.
You may be able to freelance for pay outside for some of these jobs, if you already do these skills regularly for your blog:
- Freelance writer
- Image designer
- Fact checker
- Search engine optimization professional
- Social media management
- Blog design/management
Find some great networks for freelance bloggers.
7. Work Smarter
To be successful at generating additional income, you should follow these guidelines as well:
Guideline # 1: Master Your Craft
Master one thing that you excel in. This will help you develop authority and market your skills, both on your blog and off.
Guideline # 2: Networking Matters
Continually network. Relationships in your niche will help you find opportunities, partners and help boost your brand.
Guideline # 3: Become Good at Time Management
Prioritize your time. If you don’t have a lot of time to earn income, first prioritize your work assignments by order of how much they pay (greatest to least), and then by deadline.
Guideline # 4: Keep to a Work Schedule
Keep your work hours sacred. Set work hours and keep them free of children, family time and other commitments. For me, my husband understands that a closed door means paid work is being done and he is careful to respect that.
Guideline # 5: Are You Making What You're Worth?
Examine your return on investment. What are you getting paid in exchange for the effort you are putting into a project? For example, Social Fabric projects revolve around shopping trips that are reimbursed, but you may need to take travel into account if you cannot easily get to the requested store.
Joining more advanced networks, applying and pitching, negotiating, wisely choosing small jobs, freelancing and working smarter can help you leverage your blogging experience into part time income.