(This post probably contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)

The truth about starting a profitable blog, not sugar coated. 

You wanna start a blog and you think you can be successful at it. (And that’s TRUE. You CAN be successful at it!) But it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the “Earn $5000 / month! posts. And it’s pretty disheartening when, a year later, you still aren’t making $500 / month.

But if you really want something, then you find a way to do it. Right? I for one, am certainly not fond of sitting around and wondering what it would be like now if I had just gone for it then

One of the main reasons I got married actually. I knew that if I didn’t do this, with this person, this would be the one I would wonder about. Forever.

I felt weirdly the same about blogging. I knew I was very interested, I knew it was what I wanted… but it was scary and unimaginable at the same time.

I guess, based on my computer abilities, that I knew that it wouldn’t be easy (- but I accepted a long time ago that very little worth having comes easy).

Much like marriage, I was a little surprised that it was this hard. Even more like marriage, I was blown away by the fact that it is this rewarding.

Just in case this is the first time you’re joining me – here’s a re-cap of my blogging journey. (And yes, I officially have a profitable blog – read my first ever income report!)

  • 2 years ago (ish) I followed one of those “how to start a profitable blog in 5 minutes” tutorials.
  • 2 years ago I discovered the truth about “starting a profitable blog in 5 minutes” (ummmm you can’t. You can set up hosting and install a theme, sure. Is it a blog? Is it profitable? Nope. First you need to BUILD it, and nurture it, and grow it. And invest in it. THAT is the truth about starting a profitable blog.) 
  • I gave up. And wasted the money I had put into hosting.
  • 6 months ago I started again, a better researched, more determined blog. With better investments and good tools.
  • 4 months ago I said If I made 10 dollars by Christmas, I would know I was on the right track, and I would keep going. This is a realistic goal. I also made a goal of 10,000 page views this year.
  • 2 months ago I started promoting my (ready for readers) blog, and made that 10 dollars in the first few days.
  • 1 month ago I achieved 150,000 page views in one month and qualified to apply to the “better” ad networks. (This month I am over 180,000 page views! EEK!)
  • In a of couple weeks I will receive my first blogging paycheck, and I will have completely paid off all the investments I made to start this blog AND made some profit on top of that. UPDATE – Three months later (October 2016) and I am OFFICIALLY making more money with this blog than I do at my day job – Read my October Blog Income Report here
  • I firmly believe the sky is the limit now, I know how to make money, and I am loving every minute of it. I am so proud of what I have accomplished.
  • I want that for you, if that’s what you want. Because it sucks to wonder what would have been, if you had just done it.

So here we are. You need to decide if you are all in or not, now that you know the truth about starting a profitable blog. Being totally committed and willing to put in the time and (some) money is the only way to (quickly) build a profitable blog.

Which brings up some pretty important questions, that you will need the answers to, before you can decide if you are all in or not.

A few FAQ’s just FYI (teehee, I’m funny)

Why isn’t starting a profitable blog free? What does self hosted mean, and why do you need to be self hosted? 

So, this isn’t the first time I’m going to say this, but when it comes to some internet things, especially for the computer confused folk, we need to make a little leap of faith.

Deciding whether or not we should spend our hard earned money is not one of those times. Whenever anyone suggests you should spend your money, know why.

Self hosted means you are paying to own your blog. And why do you wanna do that?

Imagine your blog is your home on the internet. You can either buy and own your home outright (and therefore all it’s contents) or you can just sort of stay in a home for free, on the good graces of a friend.

If you own your home, you can decorate it the way you want, you can run your own business out of it, and you can choose to build an addition (or many) to it if you want. There is a massive network of homeowners out there, and people catering exclusively to home owners.

If you stay in your friend’s home, they legally own the contents and they restrict the changes you can make in their home.

Plus when there is a power outage, the power company won’t speak to you because honestly – they don’t care. You aren’t paying the bill.

(On top of all this, you have a big sign that says “I don’t own this” on your lawn. Which, if you want to run a business from your home, is not ideal.)

You need to own your own blog and specifically, it’s content. If you want to make a profit, you need to be able to run your business from your blog. And you absolutely need that 24 hour tech support available to you.

If you have no interest in ever making a profit from your blog, you just want a hobby blog, or a newsletter blog for friends and family, and you don’t particularly care what it looks like, then a free platform is probably ok for you.

My blog is hosted with Siteground, and I love them because a) they are cheap. Less than 5$/month. And b) they have 24 hour tech support that never makes me feel stupid for being computer confused. This is critical if you are technology troubled.

So if you buy hosting and get started… how much MORE is it going to cost you? 

Honestly there isn’t a good one size fits all answer for this question. It depends on what you can afford and what you want for your blog. I don’t think that you have to spend a penny more than hosting for right now.

I will tell you up front that within a month of starting my blog I had spent over 600 dollars and I chose to see it as an investment, one that I might never get back. It was scary. I could have spent ten times that – but it would have been unnecessary. I will also tell you that my best blogging buddies have also spent AT LEAST that within their first months.

I will also tell you that I believe, based on my experiences so far (and the experiences of my bloggy friends) that if you are not willing to invest, you will either not succeed at all – or it will take you a very very long time. The money I have put into this blog has not only motivated me to succeed, but it allowed me to succeed, by learning (quickly) the things I needed to know.

It’s been worth it, since my investment has totally paid off and then some already, and I would do it again. In a heartbeat.

If I had to choose just two things to invest in FIRST (beyond hosting), it would be the courses Elite Blog Academy and Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. 

Elite Blog Academy only opens once per year (February usually) and it’s not cheap. The great thing is that you can put your name on the waiting list NOW without committing (and get an amazing free blog structure blueprint just for doing that) and then save your money until it’s time to buy the course. Some of the most successful bloggers out there today attribute all their success to Elite blog Academy.

(Don’t want to wait that long / spend that much money? Check out Building A Frame Work: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook, which is a fraction of the cost of EBA and am AMAZING resource that walks you throught starting a blog, right from step one!)

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is available all year and if you take this course NOW you might have already made enough to pay for Elite Blog Academy by February. Seriously. Michelle (the creator of the course) makes over $50,000/month with her blog – using affiliate marketing – and she walks you step by step through how to do it. If you want to make your blog profitable, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing will help you do that. (Plus it comes with an awesome Pinterest Strategy as a bonus, and you need one of those too).

There are literally millions of blogs in existence already. Is there really room for new blogs to make money?

This was my number one big question. I am SO inspired by blog income reports and I love reading them. But they all made me wonder the same thing. Did these bloggers get lucky and find a crack in the wall holding back the millions of blogs out there? Or did they have a strategy and work their way to the top?

If there are already millions of blogs, will there be any ROOM left at the top?

The answer is YES, resoundingly yes, there is plenty of room for new bloggers to make money. (Not to mention that just because there are “millions of blogs” doesn’t mean there are millions of successful blogs. People who won’t invest the time, money and effort it requires are included in that “millions” as well.)

I actually think that the recent success of more bloggers paves the way for new bloggers – we’re joining a growing industry at the perfect time. More and more brands see the benefits of working with bloggers, more affiliate programs are being offered, more consumers are turning to bloggers as a the source of their information. Ad networks are getting more competitive.

It’s good.

So, in that case, why are there so many blogs that aren’t making money?

Yup. I have thought about this long and hard, especially since I have started to see a profit from this blog in such a short time. It’s because people don’t know the truth about starting a profitable blog, because the internet world is filled with “8 minutes to a profitable blog” tutorials. (These are designed to get you to buy hosting, nothing more. Just FYI).

I believe that there are three big problems.

1  – Bloggers don’t view their blog as a business from the start and therefore they won’t invest in it. I hate cliches, but it takes money to make money. You can not start a profitable blog for zero dollars.

2 – Bloggers are unaware, when they start blogging, how much work it is to start a profitable blog. (In all fairness this is, again, the fault of “start a profitable blog in 7 minutes!” tutorials. Dude, what you are signing up for is gonna take some effort.)

3 – Bloggers are totally oblivious to what a profitable blog is. A profitable blog is not an online journal. A profitable blog is a resource.

When I told my husband and my sister that I was starting a blog for profit they had the exact same reaction. “How are you ever going to make money writing about your life on the internet?!”

Well, I’m not. (And, likely, neither are you.) If you write 150 posts about how your weekend went or why you love your cat, (even if you’re an excellent writer) you will probably not make money.

You need to present something useful, something inspirational, something that can change or encourage. Period.

Ok, now you wanna know – how SOON will you make money?

Honestly? This will depend on you. It will depend on how much time you can give your blog, and how much effort you are willing to put in. It will depend on how well you can take criticism.

I made my first cents (yes, you will start with cents. It will be thrilling.) 4 months after I started this blog. That includes one month were I did almost nothing. I believe, if you do it right, you may start to see a profit as soon as 4 months after starting. It will not be much. But it will grow. You will not make a full time income for a while. This is not a get rich quick thing.

It will also depend on what kind of traffic you can drive to your blog. Profitable blogs have readers. There’s no way around that. (If you are struggling with traffic, I LOVED – and by loved, I mean have read twice and will read again – Lena Gott’s How I went from 17k page views to 350k page views in 9 months.)

Are you ready to start a profitable blog?

Now that you have the truth – not sugar coated – you can make an informed decision about if you really want to start a blog.

(Just between you and me, I think you do want to.)

With your eyes wide open, you can tackle this blog thing and win 🙂

So let’s do this.

Or you’ll never know how it could have gone, and what you could have created. And that would be a major bummer. Even if you are computer confused and technology troubled… there IS a way!

SO where to start?

1 – Follow this tutorial on how to Start a Blog (this part IS easy, it’s the making-it-profitable that will take some work 😉 ) Then check out my blogging resources page to see what resources have brought me the furthest in my blogging journey.

2- Join my blogging mailing list to receive new posts and tips! This is 100% FREE information that will help you get your blog going, EVEN if you just can’t get along with computers!)

3 – Get in touch with me and let me know what your big blogging questions are! I’d love to help you on your journey!

4 – Get on the waiting list for Elite Blog Academy. You can think about it for the next few months, and at least your name will be on the list. (And you’ll get the awesome free blog structure blueprint!)

New to Blog world and looking for other blogging tips? Check out these posts:

How to Start a Blog for Profit and Work From Home
Choosing a Theme You Love
Creating Your First Blog Post in WordPress

5 Very Important Things to do Before You Start Blogging
WordPress Settings, Permalinks & Google Analytics
How to Install WordPress Plugins

7 Ways to Make Your Blog Look Less Like a “Newbie” Blog
Printable Blog Organization Binder
Affiliate Marketing: Can YOU Really Make Money With It

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