When I started my coupon blog, CouponKarma*, I really had no idea what would come of it. I had a great job as a social media consultant and was on my way to getting a job at my DREAM advertising agency in Portland, so I really didn’t set out to become a full time blogger. Truth be told, I kinda liked having a steady paycheck….especially since I was going through a divorce. BUT, even though I didn’t think I was going to go full time with the blog, I knew that I wanted to monetize it from the very beginning. (My husband likes to joke that I don’t have any hobbies that don’t make me money..and it’s partly true. If I’m going to spend my valuable time on something, I want to get paid for it.)
The first day I publicly launched my blog (August 2010) I made $10 in Google Adsense & coupon print revenue. This is AMAZING for a first day. All I did to promote it was announce my new website on my personal Facebook page and Twitter. That’s it. At first, I was a writing machine, blogging every free minute of the day. It helped that my ex-husband and I had 50/50 custody because I spent all of my time writing on the blog. Having a coupon blog is a little unlike having a regular blog because you are constantly posting new deals as they come..it’s almost like writing ‘breaking news’ posts for a news outlet. Over the next few months, my friends began to tell their friends and my blog readership grew quite rapidly.
In January 2011, my local newspaper, The Portland Press Herald ran an article about my couponing habits and blog. It gave me a nice little boost of readership. Then something totally unexpected happened…I began to think…maybe I should do this full time? I loved blogging, I loved couponing and I wanted to spend more time with my children. I made a plan of action and my first vision board (they really work!) that would help take me from full time consultant to full time blogger by my one year anniversary, which was 8 months away!
Here are the three things I did immediately:
- Figure out how much I would have to make – This would be the amount of money I needed to make to cover my bills if I left consulting. My number happened to be $2500. This was ONLY enough to cover expenses, there was no savings or extras in that number. That number made me a little nervous (especially since I had an older car at the time), so I rounded up and decided on $100 a day. I told myself that when I made $100 a day for at least a month consecutively I would quit consulting.
- Spend less – This was an easy one for me because I was extreme couponing on a daily basis, so my food bill went from $750 a month to $150 a month and I was spending practically nothing on beauty and health supplies thanks to couponing.
- Earn more – I began teaching in-home coupon parties where I would charge $20 per person to teach them how to extreme coupon. Women loved these parties and I did too. Doing these parties REALLY helped spread the word about my blog and created a built-in readership. (Truth be told, I miss doing these in-home parties the most)
In March, 6 months after I started my blog, TLC’s Extreme Couponing reached out to me to appear on their TV show. They had seen the article that my local paper had done and asked me if I wanted to appear on the show. I couldn’t let that opportunity pass by, so I filmed an episode of Extreme Couponing later that month. Traffic on my website exploded the night and days after I appeared on the show. This publicity helped me reach a national audience for the first time. In September 2011, I quit all of my consulting jobs and became a full time blogger, exactly 1 year and 1 month after starting my blog.
The day I finally went full time with the blog, I was making $100 a day. Think about it…$100 a day is $35,600 a year. Less than I had ever made, but happier than I had ever been. The best part is that this was just my starting point. Now that I was a full time blogger, I could dedicate more time to monetization and traffic building. I eventually went on to double and triple that before I sold the website in early 2015.
Now I want to emphasize for those of you who may be thinking to yourselves, “well she got help from being on the show”…that I would’ve never gotten on the TV show had I not started that blog. You never know what kind of opportunities that will come your way when you start a blog. I feel so grateful for all of the people I have met, that I have helped and that have supported my career as a blogger. This my friends, IS the power of blogging 🙂
*I sold CouponKarma in 2015 and no longer have any affiliation with it.