If you missed part one of this post, we talked about how to make money from your blog using advertising networks, getting paid for sponsored posts and ads and how to earn money by being an affiliate for some of your favorite and most recommended products.
If you are brand new to blogging and don’t plan to sell products just yet (or ever), offer any services on your blog (such as coaching, design or virtual assisting), or you are not quite ready for an online course then you can still have a read as you make plans for your blog as it grows. Don’t forget to bookmark and pin this post for when you are ready to take the leap!
*Please note. Some if the links included in this post are affiliate or referral links, meaning I will earn something if you decide to sign up or purchase with these brands. Don’t worry, everything I recommend is tried and tested, and I love it! I hope you will too 🙂
Selling Physical and Digital Products
Maybe you are like me, and you started your *Etsy shop before you started your blog. Perhaps it is through your Etsy shop that you decided you wanted to start a blog, which is definitely super cool and very smart for your business! The great thing is, there are many ways that you can start your own shop and tons of things that you can sell. If you sell digital products you can do so directly from your blog using Etsy, Creative Market, Gumroad, or Sendowl.
You can also use a plugin to add a shop directly to your blog or business site such as Easy Digital Downloads or Woocommerce (just make sure you have a compatible theme, like one from *Bluchic). You can also sell physical products from your Etsy shop, or have your own shop on your blog with Woocommerce.
There is also the option to have a drop ship shop, meaning you don’t actually hold any inventory. You can do this with some companies like Young Living for essential oils, Cloth Diapers or other types of companies that allow you to list their products, sell them for a certain price and then offer you a drop shipping discount, or commission for selling through them. You won’t make as much if you sourced your own products, however, the benefit is that you can earn money without the start up cost of actually having to source your products. You don’t have to hold any inventory, take images, and they typically make customer service a breeze.
Another option, especially if you are a designer or have the budget to work with one for designs, you can stock your shop with products such as wall art,mugs, cosmetic cases, iPhone cases, throw pillows, leggings, baby clothes- and the list goes on. My two favorite companies for Print on Demand is *The Printful and Art of Where. You can download design templates (or supply them for a designer) and you can easily use their mock-up tools to see what your finished product will look like. They offer a discount on products for drop shipping, and you can list your price for whatever you want.
These companies won’t include an invoice slip with your order and to start, you can order the products individually and have them drop shipped to your customer. They include branding options, such as a brand sticker, labels for clothing and an artist (business) card. You can use this with an Etsy shop, Woocommerce, and even Shopify. There is an integration called Shipstation that will automatically order for you, though it’s a bit expensive on the monthly side just starting out. Just be sure that you have full commercial rights to the designs, and to use them for print on demand. You can verify this through your designer, or through the site you have purchased the resources from (such as Design Cuts or Creative Market).
I am dabbling a bit in the drop ship option with my spiritual blog and Etsy shop, and so far have seen some great results, so I look forward to expanding the product offerings a bit more. If you are interested in learning how to plan, design and launch a profitable Etsy shop, you can sign up to learn when my mini course, Etsy Pie, is ready! I will teach you how to make an Etsy business plan, walk you through setting up and designing of your Etsy shop, planning and adding products, marketing and evaluating what works- and what doesn’t.
This is perfect for you whether you want to sell handmade baby bows or upcycled gift bags, or if you have a service based business and want to sell digital artwork. And yes, even if you want to set up a drop ship shop using Etsy, this will work for you too! Sign up HERE to be notified when Etsy Pie is ready!
You can get creative when adding your products to your blog or business site. If you are not ready or don’t have the tech know-how to set up an actual shop on your site, you can use an Etsy Mini to have a mock shop that links directly back to your Etsy shop. You can also add your digital products to Gumroad or Sendowl and add a gallery type page on your site or images in your sidebar with links back to purchase. You can also simply add your shop link to your navigation menu, using the custom link option.
Something special to note is that if you start an Etsy Shop or open a shop on Creative Market, they have a built in affiliate program! So you can encourage your readers and customers to become an affiliate for you through Etsy and have more word of mouth advertising power! You can also setup an affiliate program easily through *Gumroad and Sendowl or use Woocommerce OR Easy Digital Downloads with the AffiliateWP integration. Just be sure you set up terms and conditions to make sure you are doing everything the legit way!
Selling Online Courses
Ok, you guys. I know you have seen the hype about online courses. I will be the first to tell you that creating an online course is NOT EASY. Yes, there are courses out there about creating online courses, but all that I have seen are really expensive. Are they worth it? For some, they most certainly could be and have been. Is creating an online course for everyone? Not necessarily. The best way to determine if creating an online course is for you, is to start with a free course to offer your readers.
One of the most effective list building strategies is actually an email course in which your subscribers can sign up and receive the information you are offering over a predetermined amount of days. You can also setup a free course using Teachable, which allows your students to sign up for free to your school and then absorb your video lessons, downloads, and quizzes.
From learning a ton about creating and launching courses, I can tell you that doing your research is a MUST. You have to build an audience of people who actually want to learn what you are teaching. A free course is a fabulous way to gauge that interest, and your free course can even serve as the first step in a funnel to a more premium online course in which students can purchase.
You also have to consider your course collateral design (Such as course banners, PDF worksheets, sidebar and in post ads, etc.) as well as how you will deliver your course. Will it be emailed? All Video? A PDF workbook and ebook combination? What platform will you use? If it’s video and pdf combination, you can consider Teachable. If you want to go with an email course, you could go with Mailchimp or Convertkit (these are not free), and even Madmimi if you want to get started for free (up to 100 subscribers).
After you design your course, create the material and set it up on your chosen platform you have to market it! For this, you can reach out to influencers who have an audience that would benefit from your course and offer them an affiliate arrangement (note, you will have to have a paid teachable account to use their affiliate program, or you can deliver your course through Gumroad and Product Press, which means you will host it on your site).
You can also really leverage social media during your launch and try out Facebook Ads, or Promoted Pins. If you want to go the free route, you should really consider list building! I highly recommend Meera Kothand’s Email List for Newbies to get started building a list full of active and engaged readers (and customers!) and Faridah Ceaser’s Launch Playbook (you can get the mini book for free!).
A special note about creating courses…
Courses take A LOT of time. A ton of time, to create, design, perfect, launch, presell, and then be involved with your students. You will constantly be revamping, engaging, promoting, and trying to figure out how to best serve your students. This is a long term commitment that you have to be certain you are ready for. If you are a new blogger, creating a course as soon as you launch your blog could be very difficult, but you know best what will work for you!
If you are trying to design a course while building a service based business, keep in mind that course creation WILL take away from the time you can spend with your clients and building your business (especially if you have a life outside of your business, which of course- I know you do!).
Don’t be bummed if your course idea flops a little. That is the importance of creating something for free first, and evaluating what your audience actually wants and needs from you. If your audience absolutely raves over your free course and wildly benefits from it, build on it! If you put a ton of time and effort into a freebie that didn’t gain much traction- try something else!
The best example I can give you is with a client who I have worked with long term since she started her blog. She designed a free, mini ecourse for her readers. We designed the course, set it up on Madmimi, added a landing page and other subscribe options to her site, and despite a huge flood of traffic she received from a viral pin- she didn’t get many sign ups. Instead of feeling bummed about it, we put our heads together and did some research. We checked out her most popular post and pins, and what her readers were doing after the post was over.
Turns out, the viral pin that brought MOST of her traffic was one about essential oils, which had nothing to do with her free email course. All of her other most popular posts were lined around the same topic, so now we are creating a mini guide (which can be monetized with affiliate links, and eventually be expanded to a paid guide) on essential oils, recipes and how to use them effectively to combat certain ailments and improve vitality for women. The point is, not every idea you have will stick.
You will see bloggers and brands release digital products, take them off the market, revamp them and release them again. Or, they release something new entirely. It’s all about figuring our what your readers want and need and coming up with a solution to solve their problem. Maybe the second time around, you will find you (and your audience) prefer something different entirely.
I love working with clients, and it’s possible to offer services for whatever niche you are in. As a brand and website designer, the natural choice for me to monetize my site is through brand design services. I have also found that my clients have ongoing needs and they love having me to work with on a monthly basis, so I also offer virtual assistant services that rely heavily on design and social media and launching. I offer business coaching for select clients, but again, I decided to do this based on the needs of my past clients.
You can be creative when offering services on your blog or business site, and even if your site is not directly related to offering services (such as, you are a designer, virtual assistant or coach) you can still very much offer services from your blog.
Do your research, and learn about what your audience needs from you. Was your most popular post about how to get started on a Paleo diet? Do you always hear questions and feel the pain of those who are trying to transition to that lifestyle? Offer a mini coaching package, to help relieve those pain points through a live question and answer session with. You could offer a one time one on one coaching call, and an ongoing coaching package to assist through the full transition with a combination of coaching calls, designing a diet plan, shopping lists, and email support.
Whatever you decide to do, be flexible in your offering but firm on your terms. Offer a few complimentary or discounted sessions to your subscribers so that you can gain testimonials, up your expertise level and tweak your offerings if you need to.
You also should have a system in place, and make sure your blog or business site is setup so your potential clients know what you offer. You can do this by having a dedicated service page or adding a section about working one on one with you on your ‘Start Here’ page. You also need to be sure to have a client process in place. This means once a client contacts you, what are the next steps?
It’s important to create some email templates so you can have an easier time responding to common questions (a frequently asked questions page is also really great!). You should consider how you are going to provide your clients with a quote, how they will sign a contract with you, and how they will pay you. My favorite service for this is *17hats, which now has a free monthly plan (Woo!). If you sign up for the Unlimited plan using my link, you get 10% off your membership (which is totally worth it!). You can also use a service like Adobe Acrobat for sending contracts for signing and invoice your clients through a Paypal business account. So you totally have options here!
Now, how will you manage your client projects? How will you keep up with which package they chose? How will you schedule your meetings with them? How will you deliver their files, or get the information you need for their website design? A project management system is a MUST. Not only will it help you appear more professional, it will keep you SANE, especially when you start working with multiple clients.
I love and recently started using Asana, and I also work in Todoist (which can serve as a brain dump for projects, ideas, blog posts, etc). Getting started with Asana is free, and if starting a service based business is on your radar, check out Nesha Woollery’s free email course on how to get started on Asana (it’s really great!). You can also use Trello, which also has a free plan.
Check out my TOOLS page to get a better idea of the products and services I use to run a successful business, a ton of them are totally free!
Once you have your blog or website ready to accept clients, how in the world do you find new clients (or better yet, how can they find you?). Facebook groups are fabulous for networking and finding clients, and even for bartering services to up level your blog or business. Many of my clients came from networking in Facebook groups, so it is definitely worth it to find the right ones. Instagram is also another fabulous tool for finding clients, and I know of another blogger who offers services and gains a ton of clients using Instagram.
It’s really important to find what platform your potential clients ‘live’ on. Do they thrive for Twitter chats? Feast on Instagram stories? Hop into a Facebook group looking for solutions to problems? Do some research and find that out! I also very HIGHLY recommend Nesha Woollery’s book, *Social Splash who used the exact methods outlined in her book, to book herself out with design clients for 6 months!
So, What’s right for you?
Part one and Part two of How to Make Money from Your Blog outlines pretty much every way that you can make money from your blog or business site, now it’s your job to decide what way(s) are right for you. If you are brand new to blogging and business, I highly recommend going with a few select affiliates to monetize your posts and newsletters. After a few months once you start to learn what your readers love, then you can consider creating some digital products that would be appealing to your audience. Not every way is going to be the best way for you. You may never create an online course, or offer services from your blog and that is totally ok.
Do you remember why you started your blog or business? It was to reach people, to teach people and to interact and engage with your readers. You want to tell the world what you have to offer and you want to earn a bit for your family, to pay your way through college, or save for your dream home. It is possible, just be patient! Put out quality products, listen to your audience and blog your little heart out.
If you are offering services, wow your clients! Put your time and energy into your client process and making your clients love you- referral clients are the best! If you have questions, leave them below or let’s do some coaching to get your blog or business off on the right foot. I can also help you get your brand business ready, so check out my design packages HERE. If you are new to blogging and feel clueless about how to start, try Blog WOW! It’s my FREE email course designed to help you plan, design and launch an awesome blog!
Have you monetized your blog or business site using one of these methods? Let me know what worked best for you in the comments 🙂