Make Money Blogging: What It Really Means to Make a Living With a Blog

Daniela Sprung Last updated on 22.10.2020
9 Min.
Earn money with blogs
Last updated on 22.10.2020

Imagine you apply for something and no one invites you for an interview. That's why I started my blog about blogging in general: bloggerabc . To be honest, out of unemployment. Ever wondered what you have to consider if you want to earn money with your blog? In this article, I will guide you through everything you have to consider.

In 2012 I went to Switzerland for a job in Online Marketing. As luck would have it, my company had a corporate blog. It was like a gift to me. Because I have always liked to read blogs. And so I familiarized myself with all the topics: Search engine optimization (SEO), web writing, content marketing, content curation and range building. I established blogger relations in my company and networked with the scene. I loved my work very much. But at some point it was time for a change and it went back to Germany.

Well educated and with several years of experience abroad it should be no problem to find a new job. I thought so. The reality was different. I only received refusals on my applications. When I asked why I was not invited for a conversation, nobody seemed to want to answer honestly. Except for two contact persons: "Ms. Sprung, you were in Switzerland. We won't be able to pay your salary requirements." Boom, that hit home.

Coaching to success?

Interestingly, these were applications in which no salary requirements were specified in the cover letter. Instead of talking to me and giving a budget, I was sorted out directly. Just because people thought they knew what I wanted to earn. It was not about my skills and abilities for the respective positions. That gave me a lot to think about. I decided to get help.

Tip: Do you also want to work as a freelancer? And avoid the typical mistakes of being newly independent? Read our contribution from Jan Tissler to learn more details: Avoid the most common mistakes being a Freelancer.

A coach should turn my application documents from left to right with me. In the course of the cooperation he suggested to start a blog. "Ms. Sprung, if you decide to blog, think twice about it. The blog will not accompany you once during your application phase and will be turned off again. On the contrary! This will be your calling card on the web."

bloggerabc Daniela Sprung
The blog bloggerabc of Daniela

I slept a few nights on the proposal. We also discussed the idea several times. But then my decision was made: I'm going to start blogging. Due to my previous work with a corporate blog I had a lot of knowledge and expertise. The challenge was to create the blog as its own label to build.

But how does that work, building a brand? Primarily by becoming an "expert" on a subject. This means that you are intensively engaged in this and make your knowledge public. In my case, through the blog. Although I don't call myself an expert. Whether I am an expert is decided by others. But blogging is my passion. That's what I burn for and that's why I write about it.

Rule number 1: Burn for your subject

Think about it: What subject do you have so much passion for that you can talk about it immediately when you are woken at 3am? It's very clear with me: blogging.

I wanted to create a blog that would help others find all relevant information on the topic. Without having to search the whole web with a lot of effort. I wanted people to be able to Daniela Sprung . think about blogging. And when you blog . Daniela Sprung .

Rule number 2: To become a trademark you need perseverance

My resulting blog bloggerabc has always been an important part of my applications ever since. The last sentence on my cover letter was: "And if you want to learn more about me, then take a look at my blog bloggerabc. Or visit me on the social networks."

So interested employers could get a picture of me. At the same time, I proved on a living object that I know something about SEO, editorial writing, content management systems, community management and social media. From then on, I published an article every Wednesday. And I networked with the industry. The result: After 6 months I did not have to look for a job anymore. I got my first permanent job at a start-up.

Earn money through the blog

My tasks there included the development of a blog strategy and a blog. Parallel to this I continued bloggerabc. So, little by little, the first free orders came in: first the writing of blog articles for company blogs. And then the first request from a company, whether I could help you to optimize their blog.

Together with my coach, who became a friend and mentor at the time, I prepared this assignment meticulously. The customer's feedback after the workshop was very positive. From then on, I had "tasted blood". It was exactly what I wanted to do. And I mean no ifs, ands or buts. Further orders from other companies followed. At the same time I blogged for companies and platforms. In doing so I continued to work on bloggerabc, my knowledge and my vision of where I want to go with the blog.

Rule number three: Find your "why."

Think about your "why" and what you want to achieve. Why do you want to implement the blog? Why this of all topics? What's your goal? What are your target groups?

When you have found your why, it is easier to stay focused. And to cope with setbacks. It drives you and helps you to realize your vision. Without your why, blogging will eventually frustrate you. Because it can take a long time to build a regular readership. Especially now, since blogs have mushroomed in the last three to four years. Especially in the lifestyle sector there are many competitors.

My personal "why" was that I wanted to help other people to find all relevant information about blogging at one place. I wanted readers to no longer have to distinguish between good and bad sources. They should find everything they need for blogging at bloggerabc. It was important to me to make it as easy as possible for people to research the topic.

In the meantime, not only do I write Professional articles for magazines like that of RAIDBOXES . I am also a lecturer for various further education institutes in the fields of corporate blogging and social media. I give lectures on these topics and organise two event formats of my own: The Blog4Business and that Corporate Blog Barcamp. Further ideas are already in preparation.

Corporate Blog Barcamp
The Corporate Blog Barcamp

I earn my money from this variety of activities. affiliate marketingI have not yet used the possibility of earning commission through recommendations. I had previously ruled out this path. But this will change in the future. Because I use many products that I recommend with pleasure and with absolute conviction.

But you have to realize: Affiliate marketing and partner programs are usually only worthwhile if you have a high number of visitors or readers. Often it is only cents that are earned by such recommendations at Amazon & Co. Of course there are also affiliate programs, with which vast sums are feasible. But there the products are also more expensive. Here, it is important to have solvent target groups that generate sales.

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Passive income is a myth

Living from blogging is continuous work. Even the digital nomadsThe people who are sometimes so picturesque in pictures with laptop on the beach in the hammock have to work constantly. Some, for example, take care of Online Marketing for others. Or they manage foreign social media channels. But of course they have to produce results, otherwise the job is gone.

Others promote their own products and services, which they may sell to you in advertisements under the keyword "make money easily and quickly". These are then the black sheep of the industry. But the fact is that they have to create, advertise, launch and constantly keep up with these products and services in order to revise them. And to sell them again and again.

Tip: What does it mean to work as a digital nomad regardless of location? And what should you bring for this? Please read our Interview with Michael Hörnlimann through. He has lived this way of working for many years.

What I'm trying to tell you is: Nobody makes money without doing something about it. Passive income is a myth. No reality.

Making a living with a blog is work

In my case I work more than in my time as an employee. After all, I have to take care of everything myself: Writing articles for my clients and me, developing seminars, preparing and following up consultations, accounting, marketing, acquisition, public relations etc. I am an entrepreneur and at all times bear the risk of not being able to pay my rent, food and insurance.

I just don't make enough money with the texts. This is because text work is often not well paid. Platforms like tempt companies to spend little on content. Because there are authors who offer articles for 2 cents per word. Or who work for idealistic reasons. The same applies to lectures.

An example: I was asked if I would give a 30-minute lecture. When I asked about payment, I received the answer that a budget was not provided. A colleague who had already agreed to participate would also be there free of charge. The argument that one can show one's expertise on the day of the lecture is then gladly put forward. To gain new customers and contacts.

My opinion is: If you invite speakers to set up an event, you have to pay for location, catering, electricity and staff. But not the speakers? After all, that's exactly what the visitors come for. Here you should not only show your negotiating skills, but also be able to enforce your fee. Or otherwise to say "no" clearly.

Because the income does not go 1:1 all on my account. That's not a myth, that's a fairy tale. About half goes away for tax purposes. Ergo, I have to earn enough to have enough net for myself. Not only do I have to pay my fixed costs, but I also have to secure my retirement provisions - and have enough to site put aside for bad times. Because you don't always have permanent contracts or foreseeable fixed income for the next few months.

Daniela Sprung
Daniela at one of her lectures. Picture: Anke Sundermeier

My very esteemed colleague Jan Tißler from Upload magazine (also a big recommendation) has written the article Avoid typical freelancer errors written. Among other things, he discusses how you should calculate your hourly rates. And what financial risks lurk as a freelancer.

Another point is recovery. I also don't have 30 days of vacation that I can take to just drop everything. I haven't done "free" in at least three years. And I know that's not smart. Breaks and recovery times are incredibly important. My problem is that I have a whole new sense of responsibility for my company. And that it's hard for me to let go. This is also part of being an entrepreneur: letting go, switching off, filling up on energy. Something I have to work hard at myself.

Tip: Not everyone likes to work from home or from a coworking space. We have for you advantages & disadvantages of the Remote working in summary. With tips for everyday life in the home office.

Nothing works without positioning

I am very free in what and when I work. I can decide with whom I want to work and in which projects I want to participate. I can implement my own ideas. Without having to get me clearance. This also means that I set my own prices. Independent of copywriting platforms or colleagues who sell below value. But I can only do that if I know what I stand for. You must know what your expertise is. Why would anyone work with you and not with others?

That's why my tip: Building up a positioning is the be-all and end-all. Only if it is clear what offer or service you stand for, you will be successful. If it is clear why a customer should buy from you and not from a competitor, then it is less difficult to survive in the market. And this is ongoing work.

I think I succeeded with bloggerabc. And I am constantly working on expanding my expertise. By communicating my added value and letting other people participate. The way is long, hard but also inconceivably brilliant. The people alone, whom I got to know through this, make me forget the difficulties. I have learned an incredible amount. This wouldn't have happened to me otherwise. And I'm nowhere near finished.

I hope I was able to refute all the stories about "easy money making" while blogging a little bit. And still promote this job. You can find more tips on this in my article to the topic Blog strategy. In it you will find tips on what you should pay attention to. And why I am very critical of the hype about blogging.

If you like, let's discuss it, in the comments. I would be very pleased!

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Picture: Ewan Robertson

Daniela Sprung is a blogger, content marketing & social media manager. With her Blog4Business and the Corporate Blog Barcamp she has created two events, which for the first time in Germany exclusively address Corporate Bloggers. The focus of her work is consulting in the area of blogs, corporate blogs and social media. Photographer author picture: Anke Sundermeier.

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