*Updated: February 2017*
Today I want to go over something that I get asked about all the time. It’s something weighing on the minds of every single blogger I meet. I know it because I was there just a few short years ago.
How do I make money from my blog? How do I get people to read it? How do I get them to buy something from me? How does all of this work?
What “Big” Bloggers Do
When I first started asking these questions, I sought out advice online from bloggers who were where I hoped to be. The ones making a full time living from their blog and even the ones whose husbands had quit their jobs to work online as well. It seemed like an impossible dream, but these ladies seemed like real people, so I knew there was a secret they had that I didn’t know.
As I dove into my research, I noticed a consistent trend among “big” bloggers. When you read or hear an interview from them, they almost universally say the same thing – they attributed their success to massive investments in blogging education. I also noticed the mention of investing 10-20% of their income back into blogging education.
Investing in Blogging Education
Thing is….10-20% is different for everyone. And do you invest 10-20% of your current income or the income you WANT?
Not knowing the answer to this, two years ago I started investing heavily in education. 10% of the income I WANTED, not the income I had (which wasn’t much!) 😀 I tried to be selective, but also humble in my choices because I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I wanted to absorb as much as possible.
In order to evaluate each blogging education purchase, I held it up to this one standard:
IF this course/ebook teaches me what it promises, will I be able to at least DOUBLE my investment? If the answer was yes, it was a no brainer.
When I did this, I removed the absolute value of the product from the equation. I didn’t compare $25 versus $297 products. I compared the $25 or $297 cost against the RETURN. This is how you make investments like a CPA (see? I AM using my degree as a blogger!)
Who wouldn’t spend $25 to make $50? Or $297 to make $600? Nobody! Everyone loves those returns. When you’re faced with a buying decision, it’s easy to get caught up in the actual number, but I urge you to remove the amount from the equation and consider the return on your investment. (For instance, I recently invested $2,000 in a private mastermind group because I estimate that the knowledge I will gain is worth over $100,000 in future revenue. If I had looked at the $2K price tag and walked away, I would never see the estimated returns).
Once you know the value a course or ebook can have on your income, then your only issue is coming up with the money. I’ve found a good benchmark is to set aside 10% of my blogging income for investing in blogging education. Over time it always seems to work out that. And over time I’ve been able to afford more expensive courses and tools.
What Happens When You Invest Heavily in Blogging Education
You will be completely surprised at how quickly your knowledge progresses once you start investing in blogging education. For every course you take that someone else hasn’t, you will stand out above the pack. Sponsors will notice. Affiliates will notice. Everyone will notice!
Fast forward to now, and the past two years have been quite the ride for me. I went from not knowing how to make a single image to having 32,000 followers on Pinterest and being scared to email my list, to sending out drip campaigns to 3 different lists! I also went from wishing I could figure out affiliate marketing to having a virtual assistant implement the content plan that I mapped out on paper.
I’m blown away by the knowledge that other bloggers are willing to share, and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to share my passions with the world and with YOU!
Courses That Have Shaped My Blogging Journey
Here are just some of the courses I’ve taken and ebooks I’ve consumed in the past two years:
- Elite Blog Academy by Ruth Soukup
- Pinning Perfect by Blog Clarity
- Building a Framework by Abby Lawson
- 2 internet marketing bundles
- Genius Blogger’s Toolkit from Ultimate Bundles
- Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers by Tasha Agruso
- Moolah (Facebook Growth Strategies) by Rachel Miller
- List Building School by Navid Moazzez
- Pinaffiliate Masterclass by Addi Ganley
- Pro Blogging Secrets by Bob Lotich
- Facebook Brilliance by Beth Anne Schwamberger
- Brilliant Pin Promotion by Beth Ann Schwamberger
- Persuasion Hacks Labs by Bushra Azar
- Instagram Impact by Chalene Johnson
- Core Affiliate Strategy by Rosemarie Groner
- Instagram for Success by Helene Sula
- And many more!
I get asked all the time to help bloggers with their affiliate marketing and blog traffic. But here’s the thing – when I look at their blogs, I am piecing together bits of knowledge I’ve learned from 9 different courses to determine that they need to change certain things on their blog, utilize affiliates a certain way, improve their headlines, and update their Pinterest images.
What I want to say is “I need you to take these three courses and come back to me.” But of course I can’t say that! They need help NOW and don’t have time to go through those courses at lightning speed.
How to Know What Courses to Take
It may seem like I have taken a lot of random courses, but there’s a bit of a method to my madness. 😀 In general, I take a course when I feel like I have a knowledge gap.
I’ve taken so many Pinterest courses because I find it’s helpful to know as much as possible about Pinterest – it’s the #1 or #2 source of page views for many bloggers, so our livelihoods sorta depend on knowing what to do there.
When I wanted to know if Facebook ads were the way to go, I signed up for Beth Anne’s course, Facebook Brilliance. I am so glad I did that because it helped me realize just how complicated Facebook ads could be so I actually did NOT move forward with ads. Spending $197 to save potentially thousands of wasted dollars? Yes, please!
When I felt like I could be better at writing emails and capturing my visitors’ attention, I signed up for Bushra’s persuasion hacks lab. And so on! You get the idea. If you have a knowledge gap, there is no better way to fill that gap than find an expert who has written about the topic and invest in learning from them.
How Do You Fit in Learning Time?
Someone just asked me this and I think it’s a great question.
The answer is: I fit it in when I’m not at the computer! I don’t really make time, I just prioritize it and multitask during otherwise wasted times of day. I do it because I have to. There is no way I could be an involved mom, professional blogger, AND blogging student. I just don’t have that in me! But I can be a student while I’m doing random things.
I prefer video based courses because I can listen to them. So I can easily do 2 hours a day if I need to…I drive the kids around so much that I primarily use my van time to listen. So an hour for carpool, driving to sports, etc. I make sure to talk to my kids, too. LOL But when they’re not in the car, I’m learning something or I feel like I just wasted a valuable half hour! 😀 Sometimes if it’s a nice day and the kids are playing outside after school, I’ll also listen/watch on the iPad while I cook dinner. And today I’m learning while I reorganize my closet and do laundry! You get the idea.
Importance of Finding a Mentor
I will say that the easiest way to figure out which courses to take is to find a mentor (whether you actually meet them at a blogging conference or you’re just a huge fan of their blog) and once you determine that they are someone you can trust, do everything they say.
There are a few bloggers I follow who I completely trust to lead me in the right direction. I’ve never been let down by their recommendations. Those bloggers include: Rosemarie Groner, Abby & Donnie Lawson, Darren Rowse, Ruth Soukup, Beth Anne Schwamberger, and Addi Ganley.
What this means is – if they write about a tool they use on their site and explain how it helped them, I will err on the side of choosing the same tool for myself. If they create a new course, I am the first in line to buy it. If they recommend that I follow another blogger, then I am off to check out what the fuss is all about.
I hope I can be that voice of reason for some of you. I don’t recommend resources lightly and only recommend select courses and ebooks to my audience. It’s important to me that a new blogger can take my advice and implement changes with great success. I love teaching what I know, and I hope you find it useful!
How to Consume Blogging Education Without a Body Double
I know it sounds overwhelming, but consuming a lot of blogging education doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. It just takes CONSISTENT EFFORT.
- I listen to podcasts during carpool (Amy Porterfield and Darren Rowse are my current favorites)
- I catch up on course videos when I’m cooking dinner (I just choose the one I’m feeling that day)
- I set fitness goals & layer on an education goal (like I will listen to one module from EBA while I walk 2 miles!)
- I read one blog post per day on the topic of internet marketing OR pull up a resource from an old bundle
- I take at least one module of one course every week
Over time, the little 10-30 minute increments here and there really do add up to something quite significant! I feel like I now have nearly a Bachelor’s Degree in Blogging without having actually been to a university!
The Best Blogging Education Investment You Can Make RIGHT NOW
I get asked all the time to recommend blogging courses. Choosing one particular blog course or ebook to recommend is super tough.
My blogging education isn’t one single resource; it’s all of them rolled up into one.
If I had to choose one course that could make the biggest long term impact on your blogging destiny….then I would have to say Elite Blog Academy (or, EBA).
When I took EBA, I already had quite a few blog posts under my belt (over 400 actually!), and I would listen to the videos as I went on afternoon walks.
The entire time I was walking, I was rolling my eyes. Rolling my eyes because I was hearing things that I needed to hear THREE YEARS earlier. Things about finding my audience, refining my message, and growing my blog that I learned the hard way and that Ruth was simply laying out there for everyone to understand.
I can’t imagine where my blog would be if I had taken EBA years earlier. I really really wish I had! I highly recommend Elite Blog Academy it to every blogger, new and old. And the sooner you can take it, the better!
The one catch with Elite Blog Academy is that it is only open for enrollment ONCE a year!
That’s one of the reasons I took so long to enroll. I kept thinking, every time it rolled around, that “I don’t need that. I know what I’m doing.”
And every year, I saw my friends enrolling and watched their blogs roll right on past mine on the path to success. I kid you not!
When you come across a blogger who has taken EBA, you KNOW IT. There’s something uniform about the way they approach blogging. I wanted to know it. Now I get it!
I want that for you, too. Regardless of what time of year you’re reading this post, I always recommend getting on the Elite Blog Academy mailing list. That way you won’t miss the announcement of open enrollment and in the meantime you will receiving helpful blogging advice, including the Blog Structure Blueprint shown below!
Elite Blog Academy should be the tip of the education iceberg for you. It’s an intense course that delivers a lot of value, but I guarantee once you go through it, you will be primed and ready for more!!
Wouldn’t it be nice if this time next year you had worked your way through EBA and were already moving onto some advanced marketing trainings or getting involved in a mastermind full of EBA graduates?
That’s what I’m doing now! I recently joined a VIP version of EBA (and gladly paid a pretty penny to do so) because it’s giving me the chance to work with over 17 other like-minded bloggers who aren’t afraid to DREAM BIG.
By this time next year, I fully expect to blow my current average monthly earnings out of the water. And it all started with a stack of courses + the connections I’ve made through EBA.
You want to be a six figure blogger…..
I know this is a dream for you. I had the same dream three years ago and didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I am so glad I took a chance on myself!
To have the feeling of accomplishment (whether or not you tell the world in blog income reports like I do) that you created something out of nothing and make more than $100,000 per year doing exactly what you love. It’s the dream!!
I know you can get there. You just have to take 1000 steps in the right direction, but in a manageable way – one foot at a time.
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