It’s kind of crazy to think that you can make money online.
I probably wouldn’t believe it was possible if I wasn’t doing it myself. And I definitely didn’t think it was possible three years ago.
But here I am, making money in my living room, from my laptop.
Let me start by saying there are a lot of ways to make money online.
But today, I want to talk with you specifically about my three favorite ways to make money from your laptop – blogging, freelance writing, and virtual assistant work.
Blogging is my favorite way to make money online because the income potential is unlimited.
How To Make Money Blogging
There are many ways to make money blogging (I have an entire blog post about it here). The most common ways are:
- Display advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Selling your own digital and physical products
3 Examples Of People Who Make Money Blogging
Here are 3 examples of people who make money blogging.
- Example 1: Michelle from Making Sense of Cents
Michelle started her personal finance blog randomly six years ago and had no experience with blogging at all. Michelle had a finance background and a corporate job that was draining her. She kept up with blogging and soon found out she could actually monetize her blog. It wasn’t fast, but sure enough, she began to make money blogging. Over time, she grew her blog to making a full time income, so she quit her full time job. Not only that but she sold her house to blog and travel full time with her husband. Michelle documents her story through in her income reports every month, posting exactly how much money she makes blogging and how she does it. Michelle makes money through display advertising, affiliate marketing, and her own digital products, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (a course that teaches bloggers how to make money with affiliate marketing).
When I interviewed Michelle, she said she never imagined she’d be a full time, seven figure blogger, traveling the world. It’s so inspiring to watch her journey and how she lives in an RV full time!
- Example 2: Alex & Lauren from Create & Go
Alex and Lauren made over $818k in 2017 from blogging. Their story is amazing. They started a health and wellness blog two years ago (called Avocadu) and got it up to six figures a year. Then, they started Create & Go to teach people how they did it (and that’s where most of their income comes from now – selling digital products). I found them on YouTube and took their blogging course Six Figure Blogger. It was so good that I took every single blogging course they have. Truly, I am forever grateful for them because they taught me how to create a monetization strategy for my blog. They’re the reason I was able to create my first product, How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time.
- Example 3: Me!
I make money blogging, too. And I do it while working full time, which is very different than most bloggers. The best part about this is that my income goes toward my student loan debt, so I was able to quit my job as an attorney to pursue a career I love, taking a 50% pay cut, without slowing down on paying off my student loans. I make money from display advertising, affiliate marketing, and now selling my own products.
Side note – here are my favorite free blogging resources if you’re interested in blogging:
- Blogging Quick Start Guide – this is my blogging eBook
- 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp – this is my 5 day blogging course
- How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time Free eBook – this is a look into how I made $45k blogging in 1 year while working full time
- 2018 Blogging Trends eBook – this is an amazing eBook I devoured in about 10 minutes about today’s top blogging trends
- 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight – this download has really applicable tips for taking your blog income up a notch asap
- 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas – this gives you soooo many blog post ideas
- The New Blogger’s Guide To Guest Posting – this is a download that shows you how to get started guest posting on other blogs
- Blog Structure Blueprint – this is a template that gives you a visual for how to organize your blog (I used this when I started)
- 10 Steps To Take When A Post Goes Viral – this is a download that gives you specific tips for what to do when a blog post goes viral
Is It Hard To Make Money Blogging?
Blogging is not hard. Making money blogging is not hard. The hard part: doing the work. I cannot tell you how many people I know that get stuck in “passive action” – working by learning instead of doing. If you actually take “massive action” and put what you learn into practice, you can make money blogging, just like everyone else who does it. The key is to have discipline and focus. You can get very distracted in the blogging world, making it easy to do things that won’t help you. But if you take your blog seriously and focus on building a monetization strategy, you can make money blogging.
Time Commitment For Making Money Blogging
Making money blogging takes time. As you saw in the examples above, Michelle has been at it for six years, and I’ve been blogging for three years. Alex and Lauren are entering their thired year of blogging. So, you can see the variation of income is so large between bloggers. You really get out of it what you put in. The more time and massive action you take, the greater your results will be.
The Downsides To Trying To Make Money Blogging
There are three main downsides to making money blogging: 1) the money it costs up front, 2) the time it takes before you’re making a substantial income, and 3) the potential for distractions.
There are expenses associated with starting a profitable blog. If you consider your blog as a business, then forking over a few hundred bucks to start it makes sense. But if you’re not willing to invest in it, it’s going to take much longer to monetize it. This is because you need to pay for a domain, a host, and other services that will help you monetize more quickly (e.g.: email marketing company, like the one I use – ConvertKit). You won’t see significant levels of income if you’re unwilling to spend a little to get there.
The second downside to making money blogging is that it takes time. You can’t start a blog today and make money from it by next week. This is why you’ll see so many people pick up other side jobs (like freelance writing) in addition to blogging. Typically, this is only a temporary downside. Overtime, blogging produces much more passive income than other online jobs, so it’s worth the time in the beginning.
Finally, if you get distracted while you are trying to make money blogging, you may not make any money blogging at all. This seems weird, but it happens to so many bloggers. Instead of focusing on the most passive monetization strategies, they will get distracted and focus on becoming an influencer or popular instead of being profitable. I learned about how to avoid this and implement a specific strategy in Six Figure Blogger.
How To Start Making Money Blogging
To start a money making blog, read my How To Start A Blog tutorial. All the steps are listed, in detail in this post.
Here are my fav resources to start a money making blog:
- How To Start A Blog (my blog post tutorial)
- 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp (free email course)
- Blogging Quick Start Guide (free eBook)
- How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time (free download)
2. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is another great way to make money from your laptop.
How To Make Money Freelance Writing
You make money freelance writing by writing blog posts for other people’s website’s in return for getting paid. You can do this for a variety of websites, including small one-man shops to big media sites and corporations.
3 Examples Of People Who Make Money Freelance Writing
Here are 3 examples of making money freelance writing.
- Example 1: Holly from Club Thrifty
Holly was working full time at a funeral home when she desperately wanted more time at home with her husband and kids. Feeling discouraged, she and her husband started their blog, Club Thrifty. Having no idea where it would take them, they began to find their niche in travel hacking and credit card rewards. What Holly soon discovered was that she could write for big websites about this stuff and make a killing. Holly makes over six figures a year from freelance writing. She loves it so much and feels so passionate about how it changed her life that she created her own course teaching people how to make money freelance writing.
Holly put it perfectly when she said “It still takes loads of hard work. But, you know what? Life is a lot more enjoyable now that I’m able to set my own hours and work when I want.” Read more about Holly’s story here in How This Mom Created A Six-Figure Freelance Writing Business.
Another great post you can read about people making money freelance writing is from these 3 writers who make over $10k per month freelance writing.
- Example 2: Cat from CatherineAlford.com
Cat Alford has a really inspiring story about making money freelance writing. She started her blog to figure out money for her and her husband. Wanting to stay home with her kids, she was able to learn how to start freelancing and get paid doing it. Cat turned this into a six-figure business and now stays home full time, makes six-figures every year from writing, all while her husband is in his residency. I don’t know how she does it, but she does it all!
- Example 3: Me!
This section wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my own story, too! I started blogging to learn about money and share what I learned with other women like me who didn’t have a financial background. It wasn’t long before I found out I could make money blogging. Since building up a blogging income takes time, I decided to start freelance writing. I had no experience and it was really hard to go from formal (legal) writing to very casual blog writing. But I persisted and was able to land really big gigs in no time. In fact, I was making $350 per blog post by the end of my freelancing. Keep in mind this is all while working full time and blogging, too. So, I would make $1k+ per month just from my writing gigs. It was a pretty sweet deal. Here’s the blog post I wrote if you want to learn how to get started freelance writing.
Difficulty Level Of Making Money Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is not hard, and you shouldn’t be intimidated if you don’t have any experience. It just takes practice and effort. You don’t have to be a stellar writer. You can get better with practice. Just be willing to start writing for lower pay, then you can build up. Over time, you can go from $25 per post to $300+ per post.
Some sites are pickier about what they want in their posts (research, formal writing, etc.) while other sites are much more laid back. Choose the types of clients you want to work with so you enjoy it more and get the most out of your time.
Time Commitment To Earning Money Writing
The good thing about freelance writing is that you can make money pretty quickly from it. Unlike blogging, which can take several months (or a year +) to monetize, you can get going with making money freelance writing this week. But unlike blogging, freelance writing can’t be scaled. You’ll always trade your time for money. Neither is right or wrong, but it’s good to be aware of the long term effects of building a business this way.
The Downsides To Freelance Writing
There are two major downsides to freelance writing: 1) trading your time for money, and 2) keeping clients long-term.
When you make money as a freelance writer, you’re always going to be limited on how much money you can make based on how much content you can produce. Yes, you can increase your rates, but it’s unlikely that you can increase them into the thousands of dollars, which means there’s a significant cap on what you can make compared to blogging. With freelance writing, you’re trading your time for money – it’s not passive at all.
Another downside to freelance writing is that it’s hard to keep clients long term because of the market. Things change so often and new writers are constantly coming onto the scene. Google is consistently making algorithm changes. You just don’t know what the freelance landscape is going to be and what the market will pay in a year or two.
How To Start Freelance Writing
If you want to start freelance writing today, use my step by step tutorial on how to start freelance writing. This will show you how to pitch clients and what to say when you email them.
You can also go pro with Earn More Writing, which is a course for learning how to become a successful freelance writer asap. It’s really popular for becoming a freelancer.
3. Virtual Assistant Work
Finally, you can make money from home as a virtual assistant (aka “VA”).
How To Make Money As A Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant, you make money by doing tasks online for other people. This may mean editing a blog post, scheduling social media, replying to emails, or something completely different. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you could do as a VA. Basically, you’re someone’s online assistant.
2 Examples Of People Who Make Money As A VA
Here are 2 examples of people who make money making money as a virtual assistant.
- Example 1: Laura from Your Way To VA
Laura was a struggling, inner city teacher who was dying to find a way to make more money every month. She worked sun up to sun down and never felt like she had any money to live on. After a while, Laura decided to try doing online tasks for people to bring in side money. This side job quickly became her primary focus as she learned that the income potential was far beyond anything she could make as a teacher. Before long, she make enough money to quit her full time job, allowing her to be flexible for travel since she married someone in the navy.
My fave quote from Laura is this: “I had no background as a virtual assistant when I got started. The truth, however, is that most people already have skills in their arsenal that will work really well online! It’s all about how you position yourself.” Read more about Laura’s story here.
Laura created her own course where she teaches people how to launch a business and start making money as a virtual assistant. The course is called Your Way To VA (and here’s a special code for my readers — use the code NATALIEB to get 20% off).
- Example 2: Kayla from KaylaSloan.com
Kayla made $7,886.06 in August 2017 from VA work. Kayla publishes her income reports monthly (just like Michelle).
The cool thing about Kayla is that I’ve followed her blog for a long time, and she started from nothing and had no idea it would become her full time gig. Kayla said that she didn’t even think of VA work as a business. She started for fun and it happened to make her a little money “almost by accident”.
Difficulty Level Of Making Money As A VA
Making money as a virtual assistant is not hard, but it may be tough to know what to start with. Whether it’s editing photos, revising blog posts, posting on social media, or something else, you may not know where to start. That said, if you have basic computer and office skills, you’re in good shape for being able to handle making money as a VA.
Time Commitment To Becoming A VA
The time commitment for becoming as virtual assistant is short compared to blogging. Like freelance writing, as a VA, you can make money very quickly. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to get and keep clients. I think it’s easier to do this for VA work because the market isn’t changing as much or as quickly as it is for writing. So, if you want to make money blogging, but need money asap, I would start with becoming a VA to bring in money quickly, then shift my focus on my own blog.
The Downsides To Making Money As A VA
The downsides to making money as a virtual assistant are: 1) you trade your time for money, and 2) you have to get and keep clients.
Like with freelance writing, you have to trade your time for getting paid as a VA. You can’t scale it up to make more money passively, like you can with blogging.
Again, as is with freelance writing, you have to get and keep clients. If you have one big client drop you, you may see a huge fall in income.
How To Start Making Money As A VA
To start making money as a virtual assistant, head on over to Your Way To VA to learn:
- What a VA Is
- How to Determine What to Offer
- Packages To Offer
- Hourly Vs. Project-Based Payments
- Firing Clients
- Types of VAs
- How to Spend Your Time as a VA
- Where to Find Clients
- Preparing for a VA Interview
- Offering Packages as a VA
- Most Common Challenges VA’s Experience
- How to Leave Your Day Job
- How to Use Job Boards
- Clients to Avoid
And here’s a special code for my readers — use the code NATALIEB to get 20% off.
A Final Note!
How lucky are we that we get to live in 2018 when we can turn our laptop into a money making machine?!
I feel so grateful that I’ve made money freelance writing and now from blogging. It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve been able to repay my student loan debt and work in a career I love.
Cheers to making money from your laptop on your own terms!