Growing and online business through the baby years

Let’s keep talking about blogging through the baby years.  Today we are plunging into making money in the best possible way–through passive income streams.

First though, if you’ve missed it, I’ve already posted twice on blogging through the baby years.  First I explained why I put all this time and effort into building an online business during these crazy baby years and last week I wrote about the things I do to build a business and the things I don’t do.

Enough of that buildup.  Let’s talk money.

There are lots of ways to make money through a blog or online business.  The best way, in my opinion, is through passive streams of income.  Meaning, channels through which, once set up, income continues to flow in with little to no effort on my part.

Not all ways of making money online are equal.  Trust me, I’ve tried them all.

If you are looking to monetize your blog…

You can use ads to make money (like I do).  After about a year of blogging I added Google Adsense ads to my blog’s header and sidebar.  The ads were okay, but the payout was pretty pathetic.  I was lucky if I made $100 a month, but at the time I was new to blogging and thought $100 a month, when I was having so much fun blogging anyway, was pretty nice.

About a year ago I switched to a more premium ad service.  Now I run ads through The Blogger Network.  They do require at least 75,000 pageview a month and they payout way better.  Depending on the month and my traffic I can make anywhere from $300-$800 a month.  And that’s nice, but very few people are really going to strike it rich with ads.  And plus, I kind of hate the ads I have here.  I like making a little extra money, but just about every month I ALMOST cancel my ads.  In fact, earlier this year I was all scheduled to cancel my ads for good when my husband swooped in and persuaded me to change my mind.  Husbands.

Once everything is set up, ads are a passive stream of income, but I am constantly questioning if it is worth it.  Are the ads too annoying?  Do they make people click away from my site?  Jury is still out on that one for me.

You can also make money through affiliate sales.  Affiliate sales mean you link to others’ products (like products on Amazon).  You make a commission for each person that clicks through from your site and actually buys something somewhere else.  Some people make amazing money through affiliate sales…but that’s not the case for most of us.  Once again through my husband’s insisting, I added affiliate links to my top 10 posts about 2 years ago.  It took roughly an hour to do so.  In those 2 years I’ve made about $500 in affiliate sales because those posts I inserted the links in continue to be popular.  You make a seriously LOW commission rate with Amazon.  It’s nice to have made those $500, but that took 2 years.  Meaning I made less than $1 a day…

Affiliate income can become a passive stream of income, but it’s more like a trickle.

You can also make money through writing sponsored posts.  In fact, I have a sponsored post coming your way this week.  Sponsored posts means that a company or brand hires you to write content for them, post it on your blog and promote it through your social media channels.  Once you get to a certain level with traffic sponsored posts can pay really well and sometimes they can fit your audience perfectly and be really fun to write.

However, writing sponsored posts is anything put passive income.  You write a post, you take a edit pictures for it, you promote it and then you get paid.  Often times the work involved in writing sponsored content can be extensive.

This setup might work well for many professional bloggers, but for busy moms dealing with the unpredictable nature of toddlers, pregnancy, infants and a million other things, it can be tough.  In fact, I have started to take on very few sponsored posts because they stress me out too much.  Often times it is just too hard to post at a specific time.

Building an Online Business through the baby years with passive income streams

And finally, you can make money through the sales of digital products.  This, my friends, is the BEST WAY TO SET UP A STREAM OF PASSIVE INCOME.

And, at the core of passive income streams are digital products.  Being able to sell Digital Projects is one of the biggest revolutions the internet has brought to the lives of entrepreneurs.  We can develop something (an eBook, a digital pattern, an online course, a downloadable Bible Study, etc) in a digital format and sell it over and over again.  Whether we sell 10 or 10,000, the input of money and effort on the entrepreneur’s end remains the same.

And that is an amazing thing.

Building a successful online business is a ton of work, don’t get me wrong.  And, setting up these passive income streams is also a ton of work–but the work is all on the front end.

For example, when I make a new pattern, like for instance the Mass Quiet Books I released earlier this year, I spent a ton of time brainstorming ideas, sketching out the pages, drawing the patterns in Adobe Illustrator (which I purchased and have spend countless hours teaching myself to use), physically making and remaking the book myself until it was just right, redoing all of the patterns, taking photos, editing photos, writing instructions, creating listings, writing blog posts, writing emails to my subscribers and posting on social media.  And this doesn’t even include all of the work that I am continually doing to grow and connect with my email list.

But, once the product is done and everything is set up just as it should be, my work is basically over.  I still pin and send emails once in a while, but every single day people find their way to the digital products I have created and buy them.  Every day!  And once those transactions come in, there is absolutely nothing on my end that I need to do.

In fact, the day I was having little Josephine was one of my best sales days in May.  During the 5 hours I was laboring I made several sales.  When I checked my email later that night I was happy to see that.  I did a quick calculation of my income and then I turned my phone off and rolled over to nurse my baby.

That’s right.  Making sales while having a baby.  The life of a mommy-blogger.


But….I hear your hesitation.

Passive Income Streams.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  It also, probably, sounds a little overwhelming, or even a little out of your reach.

A year ago when I first started down this journey of selling digital products I thought, what in the world could I create digitally that people would actually buy?  I mean, it makes sense to pay for a physical object.  It is made of material that has inherent value.  But, a digital product?  That’s just an image on a screen…

Coming up with what digital product to make and sell is probably the hardest part of this whole process.  And I can’t tell you what to create. It has a lot to do with your passions, your skills and your audience.  But, since I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the products I offer, and even now I am working to develop more products, here are a few guidelines to consider.

growing online when you are having babies

A digital product must:

1. Add Value To the Lives of Those that Purchase

Value can mean lots of different things, but here are a few ideas:

  • Make life easier (handy printables, collection of recipes they don’t have to waste time searching for)
  • Make life better (how to be productive, how to improve your marriage)
  • Make life less stressful (how to manage a budget, how to organize your home)
  • Make life more focused (how to pray, how to connect with your kids)
  • Make life more profitable (how to run a laudry-mat, how to make money on Pinterest)

2. Be Something Beyond What They Can Find For Free

There is so so so very much free content online.  If you are going to charge for digital content you need to make the case that what you are offering goes beyond what is free.  Maybe what you are offering:

  • Is more in-depth
  • Is more professionally put together
  • Is easier to print and use quickly
  • Is tailored to your specific audience (this is KEY)!

3.  Be Easy to Access and Consume

And finally, one of the biggest perks of buying something digitally is that you get it INSTANTLY.  Setting up instant delivery is easy with sites like Gumroad (which I use and love) and Etsy (which I also use).

And there you have it.

If you want to add blogging to you mommy-life just for fun, that is totally cool.  Don’t worry about turning it into a business–just enjoy it and the community that comes with it!  I did that for a long time and loved it.  However, if you want to turn your blog into a business that generates money–either some fun bonus money or an actual income, I really encourage you to think about selling digital products.  It is never too early to start offering digital products.  Just create something awesome and see where it goes.

I hope this was helpful!

There is one more post coming in this series, so stay tuned!

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