Not only are there many ways to earn income directly from blogging, but blogging also opens up a host of other ways to earn money indirectly. Here are five ways I’ve used my blog as a springboard to earn additional income:
1) Teach an Online Class
I taught my first online course back in 2006 — way back when I was just learning about online marketing and blogging and really didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing. That first class was successful, so I taught another and another and another. Not only did I learn so much through teaching (and hopefully imparted some helpful information to my students!), but it was a great source of side income to supplement our family during a lean season.
With just a few simple tools, you can teach video or audio courses online. Or, you can put together a package with video and/or audio plus a course handbook like Grocery University.
Consider what are your areas of expertise and what questions you are asked most as a blogger and then see if there’s a way you can turn these ideas into a marketable online class. Offer the class very inexpensively the first time around as you learn the ropes, ask other bloggers to promote the class for you (you could write a guest post for a few blogs on a relevant topic and then link to your class in your bio), and make sure to include testimonials from those who have gone through the class on your sales page.
2) Write an Ebook
Writing and selling ebooks is one market that is untapped by many, many bloggers — and there’s tremendous potential to earn a few hundred (or even a few thousand dollars!) each year by selling ebooks.
In the early days of blogging, selling ebooks was the bread and butter of our business. We moved away from selling ebooks for a few years, but we released 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life in 2012 and it turned out to be a best-seller on Amazon for months!
A few tips on writing and selling ebooks:
::You need to write on a relevant, practical topic. The best-selling ebooks are those that tell you how to make money, save money, lose weight, cook better, get organized, or somehow practically improve your life. Unfortunately, an ebook comprised of poems is probably not going to sell well.
::Your cover and salespage are everything. You can write a killer ebook, but if your cover is cheesy and your salespage is pathetic, it probably won’t sell. Hire a designer to do your cover (it’s worth the expense, I promise!), and make sure that your salespage has a clear-cut call to action, includes specific details on why someone should buy your book, and has testimonies to back up your claims.
::You must exhaust every marketing possibility. People need to see things again and again and again in order to consider buying. Write guest posts, get every blogger possible to review your ebook, run ebook giveaways on dozens of blogs, and find every other creative free way to get your ebook out there.
If you are planning to write an ebook, I recommend reading Sarah Mae’s helpful article on how to sell $20,000 worth of your next ebook.
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.