How to Make Money Blogging: 5 Ways to Use Your Blog as a Springboard to Earn Additional Income (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, we talked about teaching an online class and writing an ebook as two ways to earn money indirectly through blogging. Here are three additional ideas:

3) Accept Speaking Engagements

If you love public speaking (or want to grow to love it!), you can make a fairly good side income through accepting public speaking engagements. If you don’t have people beating a path to your door offering to fly you to their event and pay you to speak, never fear, you just need to work on getting your name out there and building up a reputation as a highly sought-after speaker.

Depending upon your blog’s topic, you could offer to speak at local events for free in order to build your portfolio. Or, you could offer a class through your local community center for a small fee per sign-up. If the class is well received, you could offer it on a regular basis or teach the same class in nearby towns, as well.

If you hope to be asked to do more speaking opportunities, you could set up a page on your blog that outlines details on what speaking engagements you accept, past speaking experience, testimonials, future speaking engagements, and how people can contact you about possibly speaking at their event.

As an added bonus, speaking engagements can put your name and blog name in front of dozens or even hundreds of people who haven’t heard of you or your blog before, helping to grow your blog and widen your audience.

4) Become a Freelance Writer

Blogging has opened up a few doors of opportunity for me to have extra paid writing gigs on occasion. It’s been a great experience, as well as extra cashflow. While it’s been a long time since I’ve sought out such opportunities, I know that there are many available–especially if you are a gifted writer.

If you want to do more freelance writing and are having trouble finding opportunities, contact small local parenting magazines across the nation. Many of these accept articles and pay up to $25 per article. Best of all, since these are local and state publications, they don’t ask for exclusive rights. So, hypothetically, you could spend a few hours on one article and pitch it to 100 different small publications. If even 10 of them run it, you could make $250 off it. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at!

Again, in most publications that you write for, you can include a bio with a link to your site. You might not get a lot of traffic from it, but it will more than likely send at least a few new visitors to your blog.

5) Offer Consulting Services

Many companies are taking notice of bloggers and realizing that we are much more adept at online marketing and social media than they. They want to know how they, too, can grow their business through blogging and social media. As a result, there are numerous companies who are more than willing to pay bloggers to give them tips and pointers–or even to take over their social media presence for them.

Consulting jobs pay well–often upwards of $50 or more per hour–but they are more difficult to get. Usually they are the result of networking and pre-established relationships.

My biggest tip is that you don’t sell yourself short or work for free. Sometimes companies expect bloggers to offer consulting services for free, just because, well, you’re a blogger. If a company comes to you and asks for advice on something that’s going to require more than 15 minutes of your time to help with, write back and let them know you are more than glad to consider helping them and your fees are $XX per hour (charge at least $20 to $25 per hour, if not more, to make it worth your time).

Your time is valuable and, unless it’s a ministry or nonprofit or some other company that you have strong ties to, don’t give them free handouts. This only hurts all bloggers when companies have the idea that they can get hours of consulting services from bloggers without paying. They wouldn’t expect to hire a consulting firm without paying them, so they also shouldn’t expect the same or similar services from bloggers without paying.

Bonus: Write a Book

As I’ve dipped my toe into the world of book publishing this year, I’ve learned many lessons. One of which is that getting your book published is not as hard as many may think. If you’ve built up a strong blog audience, have a social media presence, are passionate about your subject, and are a decent writer, you can likely get a book deal.

However, don’t do what I did and just accept whatever book deal a publisher offers you. I learned that the hard way. While my publisher has been excellent to work with, I wish I would have gotten my agent first before signing the book deal. There were a lot of little things I knew nothing about and having an agent to help me chart these never-before-navigated waters would have been invaluable, as well as saving me some headaches and hassles later. But oh well, live and learn right?

My advice? Come up with some winning book ideas and then get a great agent. You’ll not only have an advocate and a go-between for pitching your book idea to publishers, but you’ll have someone to hold your hand and cheer you on through the process.

This is the final format post in this series on How to Make Money Blogging. If there are lingering questions you still have or topics you’d like for me to delve into deeper or explain further, leave a comment or email me. If there are enough questions asked, I’ll do a follow-up post next Wednesday.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve recently been able to take my blogging platform and know-how and have begun offering consulting services and virtual assistance to other bloggers. My online reputation has served me well in landing clients!

  2. says

    Great tips, Crystal! I’ve not taken a dive into the book publishing *yet* but I do know that an agent is an awesome resource to have!

    Also, people might also find the post I wrote helpful on speaking engagements and where to go about getting their name out there. It can be done for free without any money out of pocket for advertising even!

    http://savvyblogging.net/ways-to-personally-connect-with-your-audience/

    From several years under my belt, I can say it takes time but it’s totally possible!

  3. says

    How did you go about selecting an agent? Loved this series; it’s been so informative, inspiring and helpful. Can’t thank you enough.

    • says

      I wasn’t planning on getting one for this book since I had already signed a contract with the publisher. However, my agent (Sarah Sper McClellan), contacted me shortly thereafter (she found out I was writing a book from my blog) and asked if I had an agent. I knew that I was looking into getting one for possible future books, so I went ahead and asked her a bunch of questions. As it turned out, I was so impressed with her that, after prayer and discussion with my husband, I hired her that week. She has been incredible and gone way above and beyond the call of duty in helping me with my manuscript. And now I’m completely sold that getting a good agent is the way to go!

  4. says

    I offered a couponing class at my church in March thinking only a few people would come. I advertised it on my blog and that was it. Some gals attending a local FPU class got wind of it and brought their friends. It’s now August and I have given 7 classes in the Pittsburgh area at the request of local churches, libraries and mom’s groups and have another 7 scheduled before the end of the year! Little did I know… :)

  5. says

    I was just thinking earlier today about I question that I had for you and this gives me a great opportunity to ask.

    Early on in your blogging career when you were trying to take every opportunity to get your blog out there, how were you able to chase every lead or network often and still have a family life?

    I have chosen to put the blogging aside for most of the day and only work on it at night after my children go to bed. But I have found that it leaves me little time to network because this is also when I write my posts, not to mention spend any quiet time with my husband. I also fear that I’m losing some valuable networking opportunities.

    So, do you have any advice on how to balance it all when one is early on in their blogging?

  6. says

    Crystal, I feel so blessed to have such an experienced blogger such as yourself be willing to share this information with your readers (for free, I might add!). It is really top-notch info, and I have learned soooo much from this series. I really appreciate it so much. I also admire that you just put things out there, such as the most profitable affiliate companies with which you work. Your honesty and willingness to share keeps me coming back for more! :)

  7. says

    These are some great suggestions. I have absolutely ZERO interest in public speaking engagements, but my number one goal when I launched my blog was to parlay any success I may have into a career as a freelance writer – and eventually write a book. Right now, I’m still getting my site off the ground, but I feel really hopeful that I’ll be able to achieve these goals someday!

  8. Amy says

    Hi Crystal,
    What are the tax implications for blogging? My husband has worked as a consultant in another industryand all of those ‘small business’ fees add up. Since you are self-employed, at what dollar amount do you have to start reporting your income to the IRS and filing paperwork?
    Thanks!

    • says

      Amy,

      I’m not an expert, but I’d encourage you to contact someone at your state department of revenue. They were very helpful to me and can explain the laws for your particular state.

  9. Jennifer says

    There are already so many blogs out there about motherhood and saving money. It seems like this is already so saturated that it would be difficult to stand out or earn money. Do you have any suggestions about how to pick a topic and maybe about areas that are not so saturated? Thanks

    • says

      Jennifer,
      I cannot answer for Crystal but I will tell you that even though this is a highly saturated market niche, it is one that is here to stay for some time. And, more importantly, YOU have a unique voice and a unique perspective that no one else has. You will be able to speak into a readers life and into their day in a way that even Crystal can’t.

      That is just my two cents. I will say I have a money saving blog that is approximately 5 weeks old and have just hit the $200 mark due in large part to this series by Crystal. (and many, many, many hours of working)

  10. says

    Local newspapers are looking to add a saving sections to their papers. This would probably take different formats depending on the local audience but it may be worthwhile to contact your newspapers and pitch the idea to them, if they don’t already have a section like that.

  11. says

    Crystal, what a great series this has been. I’m sad to see it end, but can’t thank you enough for all the wonderful knowledge and tips you have shared with us!

  12. says

    The consulting thing really got to me. I’m so used to just offering up ideas and assistance to companies that I never think to ask for pay. I once spent an entire day working with a company on something and never heard anything about it again. I didn’t even get in on the initial launch of the product! I was SO upset. They used tons of my ideas and because I wasn’t a “big” enough blogger, I didn’t get accepted. It was heartbreaking and very very demeaning.

    While I find it incredibly difficult to ask for money in those situations, I’ve now learned that I just have to. You mentioning it here just validates it even more for me.

  13. says

    I think blogging is a great way to earn additional income for a family and connect with other people around the world. I’ve started my blog to help others do just that – blog for profit.

  14. says

    I just spoke in town on Tuesday night. I speak about once a month. I don’t charge to speak. I have a speaking engagements page on my site that details on what subjects I am available to speak. I also give garden tours 2-3 times a year (these are also free).

    I have written once for a local publication (I was paid for that).

    Since the primary purpose of my site is to serve others who are struggling financially, I’m fine with that.

  15. says

    Crystal, I would suggest to your readers and those looking to charge consulting fees to charge more than what you indicated.

    Your fees are a reflection of your own self worth. I know many will disagree with me, but I’ve coached hundreds of women and know the truth behind my statement.

    I would encourage anyone who is looking to charge a consulting fee to realize that your fee is based on the VALUE you bring to your prospective client, not the actual task. The trick here is to understand how to present your value to the client so they are MORE than willing to pay your fee. It’s not easy but can be learned.

    I write about this topic frequently on my blog and invite you to check them out at your leisure.

    Money is a complicated issue, especially for women. Learning to charge what you’re worth and have it be a reflection of the value you bring to the table is a journey worth taking!

    I hope you all have great success in getting the consulting fee I know you deserve!

    Maureen

    • says

      I would definitely agree that you can charge much more than what I listed. However, for first starting out (and especially if you’re a newer blogger), I think you shouldn’t overprice your services–especially if you want companies to hire you and you don’t have much experience! As you gain experience, you can significantly raise your fees. Many companies are willing to pay upwards of $75 to $200 (or even more!) per hour for consulting services.

      • says

        If you don’t have much experience then you probably should stay out of the consulting market until you feel confident in your skill. If on the other hand you have experience then you should proudly go for it.

        Your reply makes me think of the countless women I have spoken to over the years that make these “what do I charge” decisions out of fear rather than standing in their power. Undercharging because you’re afraid someone won’t hire you (and then getting the job) usually results in frustration because at some point you wake up and realize your worth so much more.

        My second point to your comment is don’t charge by the hour but rather by the project. That too takes some finesse in ensuring you provide a proposal whereby the company understands fully the value you bring to the project. Dollars for hours work can become a real trap. Charging by the project is much more liberating and a more lucrative way to make money for your services.

        Thanks for the reply, I appreciate the back and forth! Have a great day!

        • says

          I agree and disagree–and appreciate you chiming in! :)

          In my own life, I know that if I’d not taken on the $20 and $25 jobs, I would have never gotten the experience (or had the courage!) to accept the $100+ jobs. Sometimes, the only way to get the larger paying jobs (especially in this market) is to start with the smaller jobs. My advice is to slowly work your way up and to increase your prices as the demand increases.

          You wouldn’t believe how many companies I know that are trying to take advantage of bloggers by getting hours’ worth of work for them in exchange for a little free product–or nothing at all. Being courageous enough to state an hourly fee (even if it is on the low end) is a start in the right direction. :)

          • says

            We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one Crystal :). But I do agree that there are many people looking to take advantage of others in the way you describe and so no matter where someone starts with their fee they need to be 100% comfortable with the price they state so they are not taken advantage of.

  16. Lisa says

    Do you think there are some blog niches that are better suited to monetizing than others? It seems to me that there may be subject areas where it could be inappropriate to monetize a blog. For example, God has given me a passion to help and encourage fellow survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and educate people about abuse as well. I enjoy writing and am considering using a blog to start sharing my story and reaching out to others. If I recommended a book or other resource I found helpful, and used an affiliate link in my recommendation, would that be inappropriate? When my primary goal is encouragement and education, is it wrong to try to earn a profit in any way? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

    • says

      I think it’s your God given right to make money. You have gifts and talents and I personally don’t think it’s inappropriate to share a link and make a profit from a book you know would be good for others.

      If you were to go and become a therapist, and you worked with victims of domestic violence wouldn’t you expect compensation?

      I believe God gives us these talents in an effort for us to do what we love AND be able to make a living doing it. As long as you are not exploiting others in any way or taking advantage of someone and you have a policy which outlines your that you receive a commission on affiliate links etc I think it’s perfectly ok. That’s just my two cents :)!