Do you want to work LESS and live MORE? I think that’s every online entrepreneur’s dream. Today I am breaking it down on my goal setting method, how to prioritize, and work so efficiently that you won’t even believe how much you get done (and watch your income grow as a result).
As an online entrepreneur, do you ever feel like you are just running on that hamster wheel, doing all the things you need to be doing, but not actually getting ahead with your business?
Maybe you are posting all the time on instagram, but don’t really see huge growth in your following or engagement.
Or maybe you are publishing multiple new blog posts per week but your income doesn’t seem to be increasing.
Or that you have all these ideas of things you want to accomplish with your business but can’t seem to find the time to tackle them.
I totally get it. I used to have all of those same feelings, until I started implementing a method for myself of how I work.
Watch today’s YouTube video to learn exactly how I set strategic income-producing goals, work in 90-day chunks, and manage my days to optimize my productivity.
+ HOW you can get way more done with less time by working in 90-day quarters allowing you to stay focused and motivated
+ Why my business goals ALWAYS “focus on the hundred dollar bills”, like my friend Amber McCue teaches
+ The BIGGEST mistake most entrepreneurs make when they set goals
+ WHY I don’t look at my email until 2:00pm everyday
+ The CHANGES you can make to increase your productivity and watch your revenue skyrocket
The “90-Day” Goal Setting Method I Use:
Work in quarters or “90-day sprints” instead of setting goals for the whole year
Set 2-3 goals for each quarter that are income-producing (no more than 3 as you will lose focus!)
Plan out your months and weeks according to the task lists for each big goal
By using this method in the last year, I have personally been able to continue to grow my home and lifestyle blog in terms of traffic, ad revenue, and affiliate revenue, launch over 50 new products in my online shop, run this second business (GemmaBonhamCarter.com), and even also have a third business as a wellness educator where I teach classes and help people use essential oils.
All while still getting lots of quality time with my young kids, working about 25 hours a week, and just having a work-life balance I feel great about.
There are some major blogging myths I hear over and over again in the blogging community. If you are trying to grow an online business, you have probably fell into these traps.
I want to lay these out on the table today and debunk them for you.
If you write a blog or are an influencer of some kind and you are trying to grow your income and your business, I’m sure you have sat there before thinking you need to have a bigger following, need to publish new content ALL THE TIME, that you need to branch out and create content about tons of different topics, and that you need to sell a digital product in order to make money.
I so get it. #Beenthere
But what if I told you that none of that is true?
Watch today’s YouTube video to hear why these myths are NOT true, and what you should be doing instead.
+ You do NOT need to have a huge audience to make money. Having a dedicated following of the RIGHT target audience is much more important.
+ You SHOULDN’T post about every topic under the sun. Focus on creating a niched site, become known as the expert on that one thing. This will be a faster way to create a loyal following.
+ Why posting TOO MUCH content is a bad thing. Focus on quality over quantity in terms of content creation, and shift some of that time to other business activities like growing your email list, creating new products to sell, and marketing.
+ Although digital products can be great, they might not be the right fit for your brand and your niche. You SHOULD create a product line of goods that WILL resonate with your brand and audience.
Have you started your blog but are stuck on how to actually generate revenue from it?
As someone who has been blogging for over 8 years, I have gone through a major evolution with my own blogging business and have watched so many others go through the same things as they build their brand.
There are 3 phases to growing your blog, and it’s important to understand them so you can be doing the right tasks to move you forward and see growth.
Nailing down your niche BEFORE you launch an online shop is going to be a key factor in your success.
The more niched you can be, the easier it’s going to be to gain customers, create products, and ultimately make sales.
Have you ever landed on a blog for the first time, saw a whole bunch of random articles and then bounced on out of there because you couldn’t get a clear idea of what that blogger’s true message and focus was?
I would spend SO much time creating the project, taking photos, and then editing those pictures. Then came the writing and editing part. Then publishing and trying to promote it all across social media and anywhere else I could possibly think of. Facebook, instagram, pinterest, feature sites, and more. And then doing it all over again. Trying to maintain a ridiculous schedule of 3 brand new posts per week.
I was pouring in hours and hours and hours of time, but I was barely making any money and barely seeing that income needle move every month.
I thought I had done all the things I was supposed to do to have a successful blog, but I just wasn’t getting there.
I felt totally stuck. I didn’t know where to go next. My income and blog growth felt so slow, yet I was pouring in all this energy.
But I kept doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
You keep churning out post after post, like I was doing 3 times per week, expecting a different result after a certain amount of time. You expect that suddenly your blog will explode and so will your revenue, but it just doesn’t happen that way.
I wanted to get to a place where I could create amazing blog content, but on a way more relaxed basis. Something more like 1 new blog post a week would be way more do-able.
I wanted to be earning regular income month over month that was steady and growing. Something that amounted to more than just a few hundred bucks a month. I didn’t need to be one of those “six figure bloggers”, but I did need to be making enough that I could leave my corporate job.
I wanted to have a clear picture and plan for growing my business and scaling it. I didn’t want to just publish blog posts willy-nilly, but instead have a strategic direction with clear tasks.
And ultimately I wanted to have a blog that was a brand. A community. A movement. Not just a random collection of articles.
Does that sound like where you want to go, too?
Where would you LIKE to be right now with your blogging business if you could just snap your fingers?
I know there are a million people out there telling you what to do as a blogger, and countless articles you can read.
Every expert has a different set of advice or different things to focus on, and it’s impossible to do all the things.
But you know what has a huge effect on me and my blog? It was a mindset shift.
I realized that if I wanted to create a sustainable, scalable business for myself, I needed to shift out of this “just a blogger who creates content” mindset and instead call myself a business owner.
I realized I NEEDED to have actual products I could sell in order to take control over my revenue and build toward something that was mine. Where I wouldn’t have to rely on ads, random affiliate links, or brand partnerships. Those were still great and something I didn’t want to give up, but I couldn’t put all of my eggs into those baskets.
I knew that if I could create a store as part of my blog where I could sell products that were in line with my niche, and that my readers would love, I would be able to transform my blog into a brand.
Here’s the thing about creating products and launching an online shop: It helps take your blog from just a website, and transforms it into a community. You are creating connection there with your readers. And then beyond the connection, it transforms your brand into a movement.
Imagine getting a notification on instagram that someone tagged you in their pic. You head over and it’s this amazing photo of one of your products showcased by a customer. How incredible would that feel?
That’s what happens when you sell your own products. You create pieces of your brand that your readers can actually own and have in their own homes. It makes your brand tangible.
By launching an online shop, you not only create that movement, but you are building a sustainable and scalable business plan for yourself. You will generate income every month through a completely new source – your store.
Launching my own online shop as a part of my blog was the number one way I took my blog from just a hobby to a full-time gig. And I get to continue to scale that revenue up month over month.
And you know what? I have been able to reduce my blogging publishing schedule down from a crazy 3 posts/week to 3-4 posts a MONTH.
I no longer have to listen to that advice of publishing every single week and going crazy with trying to produce SO MUCH CONTENT.
FREE Launch Your Shop Guide:
I have a free Launch Your Shop Get Started guide that will lay the groundwork for you.
I show you how I created my shop with dropship manufacturing partners, which means I don’t have to hold any inventory or do any packaging and shipping myself. There is no financial risk in getting started. I also include a big list in there of manufacturers you can partner with, and what each one of them offers. So make sure you grab that guide through the link. It’s totally free.
You’ve started a blog. You have big dreams and can’t wait to see your online empire flourish.
But once you have your site up and are publishing posts, you’re kind of left sitting there no knowing what to do next.
What should you focus on first?
How do you actually make money from this new venture?
Let’s start from the beginning and lay the foundation.
How to Monetize Your Blog:
Every single blogger you talk to is going to have a slightly different revenue mix. It depends on what monetize strategies they put in place, where they are focusing their efforts, and perhaps what niche they are in.
However, most (if not ALL) successful bloggers will diversify their revenue streams, so that there is money coming in from a variety of sources. It’s a much safer bet, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. If there is one month where ad revenue is down, you have other areas to fall back on, and vice versa.
There are 4 main streams of income for bloggers:
Selling products and services
Let’s dive deeper into each one of these strategies.
Display advertising is when you sell advertising space on your blog. See those sidebar or in-blog ads on other sites? Yep, those are display ads.
Generally most bloggers do this through an ad agency.
They are great when you are getting started and building your blog and audience. You can literally hop over there right now, fill out their application, and once approved, pop some ads in your sidebar and blog posts.
You aren’t going to strike it majorly rich, but you are going to start creating that stream of passive revenue.
Once you hit around the 30,000 pageviews/month mark, I recommend applying to MediaVine. They are my perosnal ad network and I ADORE them. They get excellent rates, are really there to help their bloggers, and are incredibly easy to use. It’s the most passive income you can make.
Here’s an example of my MediaVine earnings from early 2018. It’s a pretty wonderful passive income stream. $1700 a month, just from ad earnings.
Another ad network I have good things about is AdThrive.
Sponsored posts are when you work directly with a brand to promote their product to your audience.
This might include a review style blog post, social media posts, email newsletters, or a combination of some kind.
Sponsored work in general can really vary from collaboration to collaboration. Packages could include a blog post + social media outreach, or different combinations of work. You may get sponsored work through an ad agency if you work with one, or can pitch brands yourself and develop relationships and collaborations with them.
My favourite sponsored post opportunities have come when I reach out to brands directly (or meet them at a blogging conference), we work together, and then form a long-lasting relationship where I continue doing sponsored opportunities on a regular basis.
If you aren’t sure what to charge for sponsored posts, chat with other bloggers in your niche and check out Social BlueBook.
Say you are charging $500 per sponsored post, then just doing 2 collaborations a month can regularly bring in $1000/month in revenue. A great way to help build your overall income.
As you continue to build your blog traffic and social media following (whether it’s instagram, youtube, etc), you can increase your rate.
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product to your reader, include a link to that product with your specific tracking code, and then get a commission on the sale.
Commission levels vary from around 2-10% for a physical product to up to 50% for a digital product like an eBook or eCourse.
One of the most common affiliate programs for bloggers is the Amazon Affiliate Program.
Affiliate marketing can be wonderful, but it can take time for the income to add up. You need to be seeing a pretty high level of traffic for your links within your blog posts to convert in a really lucrative way.
See the “supplies you’ll need” section in the blog post below? Those are all embedded with affiliate links!
Beyond including affiliate links in your blog posts, I recommend working on building your email list, and then weaving affiliate links into your email newsletters. You can alert your subscribers to sales at your fave stores, latest products you’re loving, and more.
The most important thing about affiliate marketing is that your audience TRUSTS your recommendation. So don’t be spammy!
This fourth one is the more “non-traditional” income stream for bloggers. BUT, this is the secret sauce to building a thriving blog business and really making money.
Here, you aren’t selling anybody else’s products – you are selling your very own. You need to come up with a product or service that fits in with your blogging niche, and tie it around your overall blogging business. Sure, this stream is going to take more work, but the potential for revenue is SO much greater.
You are truly going from blogger to business owner here, and be way more in control of your growth.
There are loads of potential product and service ideas:
selling physical products with dropship manufacturing (more on that below)
selling handmade products on Etsy
freelance writing for other brands and publications
selling a digital product like an eBook or online course related to your blogging niche
sell a membership community
virtual services of some kind – like eDesign, virtual assistance, graphic design, etc.
I think it’s such a smart business move to create an online shop with unique products that fit your blog niche, but set up your shop in a way where it runs as passively as possible with dropship manufacturing.
I have done with my own shop, and it consistently brings in $1000 in revenue for me every single month (some months a lot more!).
It’s what I teach to hundreds of students inside my premium program, Launch Your Shop.
So that’s it! Focus on those four streams and you will build up your blogging revenue. It won’t happen overnight, but consistent work on your part will mean an ever-increasing revenue month over month.
Do you already have an online shop, but are drowning in how much time it takes you to manage?
Are you a blogger who is thinking about starting an online shop because you want to make more money, but are nervous about the amount of time it’s going to take you?
I want to let you in on a little secret.
I have an online shop where I sell over 90 different products, where I make regular sales that help contribute to my blogging income, but it takes me 10 minutes a day to manage.
Sometimes even less.
I don’t have to make any products by hand.
I don’t have to print or package up orders.
I don’t have to print out shipping labels.
I don’t have to make endless trips to the post office.
It literally takes a few pushes of a button to manage each order that comes in.
All though the magic of drop-ship manufacturing.
If you have a design idea and want to translate that into product, then a drop-shipping manufacturer might be just the right thing to go from concept to reality.
Basically, a drop-ship manufacturer is a company that does two things:
First, they print the product for you. So whether it’s a tee-shirt, a mug, an art print, a tea towel, whatever, they source the product and print it.
Secondly, the dropship part refers to the fact that they will ship the product directly to your customer on your behalf. This is amazing because it means you don’t have to package and ship the product yourself, and you don’t need to order and store inventory.
I love that I can create custom graphic designs that fit my brand, get them printed on amazing products, and sell them in an online shop but all in such a passive way.
It means I have been able to add this as a revenue stream to my blogging business, but it hasn’t meant a sacrifice to my other revenue streams or business growth elsewhere.
And the other amazing thing is that I can continue to market and scale my shop up and up, without trading time to do it.
I truly believe that every blogger needs to be selling their own products. It is one of the best ways for you to get in control of your income and help diversify your revenue sources.
Blogging is one of those things that people often hop into with huge excitement, and then later realize how challenging it can be to increase blogging income and turn it into a real business.
It isn’t like you can throw a few posts up, be active on instagram, and suddenly rake in thousands of dollars. Those income reports by “6-figure bloggers” sometimes can make it seem really easy, and in reality, it is far from that.
Blogging as a business requires strategy, focus, and a lot of hard work.
I’ve been blogging since 2010, when I started my site (The Sweetest Digs) as a hobby. Just a place where I wanted to update friends and family on our fixer upper home.
Since then, I have been able to take that blog and turn it into my 9-5 job, but it didn’t come without a lot of trial and error.
Here are 5 specific things I did that allowed me to substantially grow my blog income.
5 Ways to Increase Blogging Income:
#1: Selling my OWN Products
I started monetizing fairly early on with display ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts, but I hated relying only on pageviews and other brands for revenue. It felt so out of my control. So I knew I needed to start selling my own products.
I didn’t want to sell a digital product, as I didn’t feel like it fit all that well with my audience, who were generally moms interested in home decor and stylish living.
So, I decided to start an online boutique selling products like tote bags, mugs, accessories, and more. I utilize drop-ship manufacturing for this, so it’s basically as passive as it gets. No making, packaging, and shipping orders myself!
Launching my shop (where I sell both on Etsy and on my blog) was a huge piece of the puzzle for me to make more consistent revenue each month.
If you want to know more about how I launched my shop (it’s SO much easier than you think), then make sure to grab my Launch Your Shop Guide and get on the list for my next free masterclass.
#2: Focusing on ROI
It’s easy to get sucked into spending hours and hours on social media, or taking photos, or in your email inbox. I’m totally guilty of this!
But once I implemented a system where I was really focused on goal-setting every quarter (I use my own planner to do this!), and looking at the ROI (“return on investment”) for every task where I was spending my time, I was able to prioritize so much more clearly.
For example, I used to spend a lot of time on my blog’s Facebook page. Well, once I looked at the ROI of that time spent, I realized it did not give me enough of a return for it to be worth it. It wasn’t driving a ton of traffic, wasn’t leading to many affiliate sales, and my page wasn’t growing very quickly.
It made way more sense to take some time away from that task, and put it towards other things like building my email list, designing new products for my shop, or updating popular posts with better affiliate links. Those were things where I could easily see a return on investment.
Always monitor the ROI for every activity you’re doing, and do MORE of the ones with high ROI. The more time you spend on activities that bring in income, the more income you will make.
Leave your cell phone in the other room, close down your social media tabs, and FOCUS!
#3 – Leveraging Pinterest
If you haven’t been focusing on your Pinterest account as a blogger, then you’ve been missing out.
As soon as I dedicated time to in-depth learning about Pinterest and understanding how to use the platform to it’s max, I reaped HUGE benefits.
Pinterest can be a major driver of traffic (it has consistently been my #1 source of traffic for years now), which means increased ad revenue, increased affiliate earnings, more traffic so you can charge more for sponsored posts, and way more eyeballs on your products for sale in your shop.
I had my first 100,000 pageview month after I got really serious about my Pinterest strategy.
One of the things that I did not do for YEARS when I was first blogging was invest in any courses. I didn’t think I needed to, I thought they were all a bit scammy, and I figured I could learn everything for free online.
Boy was I wrong.
The very first course I invested in was Pinfinite Growth by Melyssa Griffin, and it was INCREDIBLY valuable. I earned my investment back within a few months of implementing her strategies.
After that, I was hooked on online courses.
I’m not saying to go out and throw money around buying a zillion courses you may not use, but every time you want to learn a new platform, implement a new revenue stream, or just get better at something, it’s going to save you so much time (and money) if you just invest in a course and learn from an expert.
I still buy courses whenever I need them, almost always buy the Ultimate Bundle “Genius Bloggers Toolkit” every year, and have even invested in a group coaching program. I have never regretted a purchase! I always learn something.
The other way to keep up on your education is to join email lists of mentors and to listen to podcasts.
#5: Built an Email List
This was something I neglected for a long, long time. I didn’t see the usefulness in growing an email list as a blogger. I figured social media was way more important.
But you know what? The people on your email list become your most raving fans. They are the ones who are going to feel the most connected to you, and the ones who will check out every post, want to buy the products you sell, click through on those affiliate links because they trust your recommendations.
Email lists convert waaay better than social media platforms, and that list is all YOURS (no algorithm changes messing you up!).
I wish I had focused on list-building in the early days of my blogging business.
If you’re just getting started, I totally recommend signing up for MailerLite, which is free for your first 1000 subscribers. They are a great email platform, allowing you to create attractive emails, build funnels, and opt-in’s.
Get a few great opt-in’s on your blog and start sending out regular emails. I personally aim to send out an email every 2 weeks to my subscribers.
One of the reasons it is so important to constantly be building your email list, is because email lists convert better than any other platform for making sales. A social media post may barely get seen by your followers, but an email is WAY more likely to be opened and engaged with by your audience.
Wondering how to have a shop sale and use your email list effectively?
Want to capitalize on Black Friday and Holiday sales using your email list?
Don’t know what to write, or when to send?
Keep reading for a detailed sample schedule that I have written for you below!
Sample Holiday Email Marketing Campaign:
Alright, here we go.
You’ll want to draft and schedule these emails to go out in the lead up to any holiday or major sale you might be running. If you don’t have your own online shop, you can totally use a similar schedule for promoting affiliate products, too.
This is a 5-week campaign. It takes on average 7 mentions of a product before a purchase is made, which is why we want to be cleverly inserting our products into our emails way before the actual promotion or sale. If you are regularly sending helpful content to your list already (like on a weekly basis), then you could shorten this down to a 3-week campaign.
You want to warm up your email list, offering them great, helpful content. For week 1, send some kind of useful email to your audience.
This may be your latest room makeover, a DIY tutorial, a recipe, anything that you publish on your blog and will be valuable to your audience.
If you can, try to make it an article that includes your product somehow. So if it’s a room makeover, if you can inject your product in there (say you sell art prints or pillows!). If it’s a recipe, include one of the mugs you sell in your shop. It’s not a blatant sales email, but you are cleverly showing off your product.
Send another helpful email!
If you haven’t published a new blog post, this could be an article or fellow blogger’s post that you loved and you know your reader will like.
For example, you might have seen a new home tour from your favourite blogger that is just stunning and you know your audience will be crazy for it – share that!
Anything that is engaging, helpful, and inspiring for your readers.
You probably publish a gift guide every holiday season on your blog. Publish it, and then make sure to send around an email to your list that directs your readers to your gift guide.
In my experience, narrowing the theme of the gift guide helps it do better. So instead of just doing “gifts for her”, it might be “gifts for the girl who loves home decor” or “gifts for fixer upper fans” or “gifts for 4 year old girls who love science”. Your theme here will depend on your audience, but try to niche it down.
The other thing you want to do here is include 2-3 of your own products within the gift guide. Again, you are getting them seen by your audience. Did you know that on average it takes 7 instances of someone seeing your product before they will buy? This is why you need to get it in front of them a lot before you actually announce your sale.
Video is an amazing way of engaging your audience at another level. They get to see and hear you in a more real way.
For this week’s email, try to do a video of some kind where you are showing off your product line and answering any frequently asked questions about your products.
You can do this as a Facebook Live Stream on your blog Facebook page that you can then embed in your email, or record it and upload it to YouTube.
Don’t stress about this being a beautifully put-together video. A fun live stream is totally good enough! The key thing is that you are showing off your products in a fun way. If you sell tea towels, do the video in your kitchen and show off your designs. If you sell art prints for kids room, do a room tour of your kid’s room where the artwork is featured.
Most email service providers don’t allow you to embed the video directly in the email, so just take a screenshot of the video image, embed that in your email, and then link the image to where you video is hosted.
This is the big sale week!
You are going to want to send multiple emails to make sure everyone sees the promotion.
Don’t stress about bombarding your email list – during promo times, people are used to getting several emails. If they unsubscribe, well they weren’t your true fan anyway!
Here are the 3 emails you want to send in week 5:
Email #1 – You’ll send this email out at the beginning of the week, hinting at the sale that’s about to come. Give them the sale start date/time and what the promotions are going to be (% discount, free gift with purchase, free shipping, etc). Make it peppy and fun!
Email #2 – Sale starts! Send this email the minute your sale starts. Make sure you have clear links to your shop, remind them of the promotions, and have some great catchy graphics.
Email #3 – This is your last chance email. Send this one out about 4 hours before the end of your sale. Remind them to act fast and that stock is dwindling. You want to create a sense of urgency in this email. Going, going, gone!
That’s a wrap! Sit back and watch the sales roll in 🙂
I recommend writing this email sequence out in advance so that you have everything ready to go. If you use an email service like ConvertKit, you can have it all scheduled so you literally don’t have to lift a finger during the promotion.
I would also encourage you to send engaging and helpful emails regularly to your email list, so that they are used to seeing things from you. If you have an email list that is primed to receive great content from you, then they are more likely to open your emails and buy products. Cultivating your email list should be a top priority as a blog and business owner.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Do you want to launch your own online shop using drop-ship manufacturing?