If you have a full time job and you want to make money blogging, you may be wondering if that’s even possible.
I remember being in a job I hated, working over time, feeling completely stressed about money, and feeling totally overwhelmed.
Making money blogging sounded crazy.
But staying in the job I was in, working the hours I was working, feeling broke and confused about money also sounded crazy.
What led me to take a chance on starting a blog was the fact that I knew I had to do something different to change the situation I was in. After all, if I didn’t try something, I would continue to be stressed out about work and money. So, at least if I failed I could say I tried. Better than doing nothing.
That’s when I decided to start a blog about money and student loans, targeting women specifically so I could learn about money and help other women, too.
I knew absolutely nothing about blogging, and I also worked full time. This meant there was a huuuuuge learning curve. But the time was going to pass anyways, so instead of watching more TV or doing nothing meaningful with my downtime, I decided to use my free time to learn how to blog.
This was 2014. Fast forward to now, and I make $3k+ blogging (gross). I’ve done this slow and steady, while I worked full time throughout the whole thing. And as most of you know, I also took a 50% paycut during that time, so I could pursue a career in personal finance as a financial planner.
The income from my blog has allowed me to switch careers and still pay off my debt. And yes, I do all of this while working full time.
So, the answer is yes – it is possible to make money blogging and work full time.
How much money can you make exactly? That depends. Honestly, it’s all about what you put into your blog and how much time you can commit to it. If you think you can start a blog this weekend and make money by next week, you’re probably not going to succeed. It takes longer. But how much time? It depends – everyone is different. You can start out making $100/month and wind up making $1,000+ a month in a matter of six months or a year. It also depends how much you’re able and willing to invest in your blog. If you want to take a monetization course right after you set up your blog, you could start earning what I make now within six months. I didn’t do this right away because I was skeptical. It’s just part of the learning curve I went through. Your learning curve will be different than the next person’s. That’s the beauty of blogging – you’ll have your own journey to follow.
I’d like to call myself a pro at making money blogging while holding down a full time job. I’ve been doing it for three years, and I love it.
- If you’re wondering what my schedule looks like, check out my YouTube video where I talk about my schedule working full time and blogging.
To get started making money blogging while you work full time, you need to have a plan – that’s my biggest advice. It won’t just happen by starting a blog and hoping and praying you’ll make money from it. There’s actually a strategy that you have to use.
There are lots of ways for you to make money blogging while working full time. My way is only one of many ways. But since that’s the way I know from personal experience, that’s what I’m going to walk you through in this post.
Below is a step by step tutorial of how I make money blogging while working full time. I broke down the process into two phases.
- First, I’ll show you how to make money blogging, in general.
- Second, I’ll show you how to implement that strategy while working full time.
Let’s get started!
Update: I published How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time to share my journey. Check it out if you’re interested in blogging. You can get started with a free PDF here.
Phase 1: How To Make Money Blogging
In Phase 1, I will show you how to make money blogging. This includes the main ways I use and recommend, and also the ways that other bloggers use that don’t work for me, but that you should know about and consider yourself.
1. Start a blog with the end goal of making money from it
First, you need to start a blog with the intention of making money. This may sound obvious, but so many people don’t do this. So many bloggers start a blog as a passion project. Yes, you can do this and yes it’s maybe even a good idea if you want a hobby. But we’re not talking about hobbies here. I’m talking about the specific goal of making money blogging. If that’s what you want to do while you work full time, there is no shame in that. Just be honest and focus on that from the beginning, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and avoid being distracted.
Having the goal of making money blogging sounds kind of “dirty” to some people. But that’s just because they’re not thinking about it right. If you have a goal of making money blogging, you are going to have to provide tremendous value to people. This is going to help so many people compared to if you just started a diary blog. So, having a goal of making money blogging is not selfish – it’s a win win (you make money and you provide value to people).
If you’re wondering what to start a blog about, do some research online and start a blog about something you know other people are making money from. Keep in mind it’s harder to sell to broke people. If your goal is to make money, think about niches where people like to spend – photography, fitness, tech, for example.
I want to point out here that there’s a difference between making money as an influencer (having a huge following and getting paid to be places and promote things) versus from your blog (from the content and products on your site). I’m talking about the latter here. It’s easier to monetize from your blog than from being an influencer because you can scale and grow your business in a passive way when you make money from your blog (unless you’re already famous or something). This is important if you work full time.
It was only recently I made the distinction between monetizing as an influencer versus my blog. Until now I was trying to be both “popular” and grow as an influencer and make money from my blog. Now, my focus is on making a profit from my blog – not on being popular. If the latter comes, great. But it is not my focus. Remember: profitability > popularity.
Okay, now to the nitty gritty. You need to create your blog! There are many ways to do this. Here are a few I recommend:
- How to Start a Blog Tutorial (my step by step blog post that walks you through starting a blog)
- Launch Your Blog (a course that goes through setting up and creating a blog)
- 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp (my free email course to launching a blog)
Creating your blog can seem overwhelming. I recommend setting a goal of doing it by this time (the time you’re reading this post) next week. The key is to not over think it and instead just go for it.
2. Create a monetization strategy for your blog
Once your blog is up and running it’s time for you to create a monetization strategy. Most bloggers don’t get to this point until they have blogged for a while because they don’t realize that it takes a specific monetization strategy to actually make money blogging.
If you do this immediately after starting your blog and getting it up and running, you will save yourself sooo much time. Most bloggers just create random pieces of content without having any plan to make money at all. It’s chaos. And it took me a long time to learn this.
You can avoid all this by creating a monetization strategy right away.
To create a specific monetization strategy for your blog, you have to decide how you’re going to make money blogging. There are many ways to make money blogging, including:
- Selling your own products (physical or digital)
- Affiliate marketing
- Display advertizing
I recommend creating a monetization strategy focusing on affiliate marketing and creating your own digital products. There are tons of ways to monetize your blog, but these are the best when you have a full time job because you can scale them and they have the highest income potential.
To create a specific strategy for monetization with affiliate marketing and your own digital products, you need to learn how to sell products on your blog with affiliate marketing and then how to create your own digital products.
There are a number of ways you can do this, but the way I did it is through taking courses by other bloggers who teach how they did it.
I took Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing to learn how to promote affiliates on my blog.
I took Six Figure Blogger to learn how to create a specific monetization strategy for my blog with creating my own digital products.
You can learn how to do affiliate marketing and creating your own digital products on your own, but it will take a lot longer. One of the things about working full time and blogging is figuring out what to do on your own and what to pay for. This is one of those things you need to pay for (learning monetization, that is).
I don’t recommend using ads at first because they’re so distracting and until you have a large following, they’ll only make you pennies. Once you have a following, though, ads can be a great way to diversify your income.
I don’t recommend sponsorships if you’re a new blogger because the income is not passive and you can’t scale it (this assumes you’re not already well known).
Once you have decided on a monetization strategy, you will need to go out and find affiliate products to promote and even create your own digital products. This may seem like a lot to do at first, but it’s the fastest and most scalable way to make money blogging.
Again, you can learn how to do this in Making Sense of Affiliate Marking and Six Figure Blogger.
With your affiliates ready and your digital products created, your next step is to create “sales centered content (something I learned from Six Figure Blogger).
Then, you’re ready to drive traffic to your content.
3. Get traffic to your blog
Once you have content written around your affiliate products and your own products, you can move on to focusing on driving traffic to your blog.
The more traffic you have, the higher potential for sales.
There are many ways to drive traffic to your site. The most common are through search engine optimization (SEO), like from Google, and social media (Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).
I suggest starting with Pinterest for driving traffic to your blog because it’s the easiest place to start. It’s very hard to rank in Google, so this is something I suggest waiting to do until down the road. It’s also hard to get a lot of traffic from other social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, unless you’re willing to pay.
It’s still good to diversify your traffic and be everywhere you can promoting your content, but I would suggest starting by focusing on Pinterest, then moving on to other areas.
Here is what I recommend for driving traffic to your blog:
- Pinterest Traffic Avalanche (a course that will teach you how to 10x your traffic by using a specific Pinterest strategy).
- Strategies Worth Sharing (an eBook that gets you started with implementing a specific Facebook strategy.
Once you have a solid Pinterest strategy and Facebook strategy in place, you can start to dig into learning Google SEO. Here’s a post I wrote about SEO to bookmark for later, once you’re ready.
4. Create opt-ins and grow your email list
Experienced bloggers will tell you “the money is in the list.” They’re right.
The bigger your email list and the more engaged it is, the more money you are likely to make.
This means, you need to collect emails from the beginning. It’s not enough to ask your visitors to “subscribe” – you need to give them something in exchange for their email.
I used to create opt-ins about any and everything just to get people on my list, but now I am focusing on opt-ins that I think I could create products for or promote affiliate products with. My email list went from under 1k to 10k in seven months after switching to ConvertKit and coming up with a specific email strategy. I personally know my email list wouldn’t be where it is today without ConvertKit. It’s expensive, but the money is in the list, so I pay for it.
I wrote an entire post on how your email list is the secret to making money blogging that you can read here.
Once you have affiliate products you’re promoting, digital products you’re selling, and an email list that’s growing, all you need to do is fine tune the process and repeat over time.
Now, let’s talk about how to do this while holding down that full time job. 🙂
Side note – here are my favorite free blogging resources you can grab:
- 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
Phase 2: Implement A Strategy To Make Money Blogging While You Work Full Time
Once you know how to make money blogging, you need to have a strategy for implementing this while you work a full time job. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to actually make money from your blog because you won’t put in the time to do it.
1. Commit to a blogging work schedule
Commit to a blogging “work schedule”. Whether it’s before your day job from 6am-8am or after work from 7pm-10pm, find a block of time Monday through Friday that you can commit to for blogging.
This will ensure you make progress on your blog every day. I talk about my blogging schedule while working full time in this YouTube video.
2. Set a monetization goal
Know ahead of time how much money you need to make every month. Use an accountability partner (or a goal-setting planner!) to set this goal and work toward it. If it’s a very small goal, like $100/month, you may not need to work as hard, but if you are like me and you want to repay massive student loan debt asap, then you may need to set your goal more seriously.
3. Say “no” to other things
Start saying “no” to other things. This sounds obvious and maybe even easy, but you’ll soon realize if you work full time and want to make money blogging, you have very little extra time. This means, you have to say “no” to other activities that people ask you to do. You may even have to change your lifestyle completely – there is only so much time in the day.
One way to look at this is that by saying “yes” to something else, you are saying “no” to blogging. So, make sure whatever you say “yes” to in your free time is more important than you earning money blogging. Otherwise, say “no” to it.
I do this by sticking to my gCalendar month view and choosing only one extra social thing to do per week. That way, I leave the rest to blogging. Saying “no” for me has a lot to do with time management. It’s gotten much easier over time, too.
4. Batch tasks
Batch blogging tasks so you get them done faster.
Sunday and Monday are content days for me. I shoot YouTube videos and edit them on Sundays, and I write a new blog post on Monday. Then, Tuesday through Saturday, I work on growing my blog.
If you spend all your time on content, you won’t have time to learn how to monetize or grow your business, so it’s important you make time for these things. Batching helps.
5. Ignore most advice you get
When you start blogging, you may find that people will think you’re crazy for working so much. You’ll be working at your day job and blogging on the side, essentially having two jobs. A lot of people won’t understand this. They won’t understand blogging. They won’t care much about it. They’ll think you’re working too much.
Ignore them. Stick to your goals. Be clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Join Facebook communities or blogging mastermind groups to connect with other bloggers who are doing this so you don’t feel so alone. It helps a lot.
I have massive student loan debt that I want to repay asap. Instead of going on an income repayment plan, I am making money blogging while I work full time. This goal is so clear to me that I’m able to stay grounded in my “why” and ignore the haters. Otherwise, I would be questioning myself and probably feel very alone. I use my Facebook Community to help me with this, and I’ve made friends with tons of bloggers online, and I enjoy conferences, too.
Whatever you can do to get around people who are doing this, too (working full time and blogging), do it. It will help you tremendously.
Here’s a look at how I did it
To give you a little perspective on my blogging journey and making money blogging while working a full time job, here’s a look at how I did it.
Year 1 breakdown (2015): I worked full time as a lawyer. I made just over $8k total from my blog. I barely monetized during this time. I focused on creation. I was pretty clueless about how to blog or how to make money blogging. The little bit of money I made was from a combination of freelance writing, display advertising, and affiliate marketing.
Year 2 breakdown (2016): I worked full time as a financial planner. I made just under $30k total from my blog (this number is gross so I paid taxes and expenses out of it). The first half of the year I was studying for a certification exam for my career, so I didn’t focus on my blog much. The second half of the year, I blogged a lot after work and on weekends. I made money from a combination of freelance writing, display advertising, and affiliate marketing.
Year 3 breakdown (2017): I worked full time as a financial planner. The verdict is still out on how much money I’ll make from my blog. I don’t know what I’ll make total this year, but it will be more than last year. 🙂 I blogged before work, after work, and on the weekends (unless I was busy with something else). I stopped freelance writing. I made money from display advertising and affiliate marketing – nothing else. During the second half of the year, I took Six Figure Blogger, which gave me a new strategy for monetization. I’m super duper excited to see how the impacts my income over the next year.
And that is how I make money blogging and work a full time job. I started a small business, learned a ton, gave up free time, and created something out of a crappy situation (my student loan debt).
A Final Note!
You can make money blogging and work full time. It’s not always easy, but it’s possible.
If you’re a visual learner, you can check out this post on YouTube!
There are so many ways to make money blogging. If your plan is to make money blogging while you work full time, keep in mind that the more clarity and focus you have for how you’ll monetize and find time to blog, the faster you’ll see results. The strategy I listed above is how I do it and how I think it’s most likely possible for you to do it.
Okay, now it’s time for you to learn how to launch, grow, and monetize your blog!