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Increase your blogging income sooner rather than later with these side hustles and supplemental income strategies.I once heard someone say, “Blogging as a business is a marathon, not a sprint.”  That was certainly true for me: I spent nine months working on my first blog, RVinspiration.com, full time before I got my first paycheck from Amazon for about $30.

But what do you do if working full time for months is not feasible for you?  It’s certainly tough to grow a blog while working a regular day job, so the sooner you can replace that with a side hustle or supplemental income, the sooner you’ll start seeing blogging success.

Below are some ways bloggers I’ve personally known started earning paychecks while simultaneously growing their blogs.

1. Freelance Writing

Several bloggers I know wrote paid articles for other websites before their own blogs started bringing in enough income that they no longer felt freelance writing was a good use of their time.  If this is something you’re interested in, I would recommend that you not look for jobs on generic freelancing websites like Upwork.com, because there you’ll be competing with people who can afford to work for very little per hour.

Instead, search out the major websites and print publications in your niche and contact their marketing department to find out if they pay for articles (look for a link on their website that says “work with us” or “write for us”, and try Googling “{your niche} write for us”).  Some may have their own team of content writers, but you may also find some who accept freelance submissions.

As an added bonus, if you write a freelance article for a website that allows you to include a link to your own website in your author bio, you’ll be building quality backlinks, which are one of the most important factors for SEO that will help your own website later on.  (Take this into consideration when negotiating your price, as a link from a well-established can be considered a form of payment!)

2. VA Work

Typing photo by Christian Hume
Stock photo of someone who could very well be working as a freelance writer or VA

Many of the skills you learn as a blogger make you qualified to do tasks other bloggers are willing to pay a VA (virtual assistant) for.  For example, do you design graphics for promoting your blog posts on Pinterest and social media?  If so, you know how time-consuming that can be, and you’ll understand how much value you can offer to other bloggers who would like to outsource this important part of blogging!

Other tasks that entrepreneurs frequently pay VA’s to do using skills you probably already have or can easily develop include email inbox management, social media post scheduling, Facebook group moderation, and blog post formatting.

So where can you find this type of work?

Most VA’s I know personally (including my own VA) found their clients by building personal relationships with other bloggers in their niche, mainly in Facebook groups, and were eventually hired by people they knew or friends of people they knew.

There are also Facebook groups specifically for Virtual Assistants you can join and be pointed in the right direction by other successful VA’s.  You might also check out the website Horkey Handbook, which offers both free and paid education to help virtual assistants learn skills and find clients.

I do have one tip, which is to build a separate website (just a Wix or Squarespace website will be fine) for advertising yourself as a VA.  This will give you a leg-up by making you appear more professional to prospective clients.  Here are a couple of examples (these are VA’s I know personally):

MeganSchacherbauer.com

MichelleRudge.com

3. Speaking Gigs

Ashley Mann presenting at the RV Entrepreneur Summit 2019
Me giving a presentation at the RV Entrepreneur Summit

Look for conventions, meet-ups, conferences, and virtual summits in your niche that feature speakers, and find out if they are hiring for future events.  Be prepared with a few ideas to pitch them, and don’t be discouraged if you hear “no” a few times before you get a “yes”!

An RV blogger friend of mine did this when her blog was fairly new; she reached out to the organizers of RV shows (by visiting their websites and looking for contact information) until finally one of them agreed to sign a contract with her!  Even though she didn’t have many visitors to her site at that time, the organizers of the RV show were impressed by their content and the fact that they were published authors (i.e. had written an e-book which they were selling on Amazon!).  Since then my friend’s blogging business has grown a lot, but paid speaking gigs are still her best source of revenue.

If you can’t find any events to speak at, why not create your own?  You could hold a workshop in your local community (perhaps at a library or community center) and advertise it in local Facebook groups, Meetup.com, the Nextdoor app, and with flyers on community bulletin boards.  If you don’t think the topic you blog about would be of interest to very many people in your community, you could even offer a workshop about how how set up a blog!

4. Custom Ads

Premium ad networks like Ezoic (the one I use for RVinspiration.com) and Mediavine usually require a minimum of 25k-30k website visitors per month, and this is usually about the number (in my opinion) where it starts making financial sense to consider putting ugly ads on your website.

However, you don’t have to wait that long to put ads on your site, because you can create your own ads by designing graphics on Canva.com to advertise affiliate products you feel comfortable promoting (especially ones which offer high affiliate commissions). Then add these graphics to your sidebar or in between paragraphs of your most popular blog posts hyperlinked with your affiliate links.

To get ideas for ad design, try doing a Google image search for “banner ads”.

I’ll confess, this is a strategy I tried out early on that didn’t work very well for me, but I figured at least it couldn’t hurt.  One thing I didn’t do that I would definitely do now if I were to try this again is to add a Facebook retargeting pixel to my website and run some Facebook ads for the products I was promoting that would show specifically to people who had clicked the images on my website, since I know now that people are more likely to buy the second or third time they hear about a product.

5. Partner with Other Bloggers

A mistake new bloggers often make (a mistake I made!) is to think of other bloggers in their niche as competition.  Instead, think of them of as colleagues, potential co-workers, or even future friends!  By getting to know and partnering with other people who are blogging to the same audience you are, you can multiply your reach while sharing the work load.

An example: Four bloggers I know decided to form a mastermind group when they were all just starting out, and one idea they came up with was to host a virtual summit about RVing.  They all worked together on the project, and as a result, they all drastically grew their audiences and authority in their niche, and are currently gearing up for year three of the event, which has grown into a profitable business on its own.

Ashley Mann and Liz Wilcox
Me hanging out with fellow RV blogger Liz Wilcox, who I’ve partnered with on several projects

Don’t think you can only partner with other new bloggers, either.  Even if you don’t have a huge audience yet, if you can bring another skill to the partnership such as graphic design, video editing, a great product idea, leadership and organizational skills, or even just your time, with effort, creativity, and a willingness to provide as much value you receive, you can find mutually beneficial ways to work with whoever you want.

It Still Takes Time.

Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas here that can help you start earning some money while you’re working on the slow process of creating and marketing content, building an audience, and figuring out how to monetize your audience.

Even these ideas will likely take time to implement and gather steam, so it might still be a few months before any of them will deliver a paycheck, and even longer before you’re seeing the kind of money you would like to be making.  But what I want to convey is that there are ways you can make money as a blogger other than directly through your website, and the more streams of income you can have to diversify your blogging business, the more stable your business will be, and less depending on a single factor such as the Google search algorithm.

What ways have you made money with your blog, directly or indirectly?  And what advice would you share with others looking to do the same?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!