Can You Make Money on the Side by Blogging?
Welcome to the next Side Jam Interview! In this week’s post, you’ll learn more about Brian, who’s been blogging about personal finance for several years. He actually manages several blogs, all in his spare time.
We’ll explore what makes blogging so awesome, how you could potentially make money blogging, and why it’s so much harder than you’d think it would be. (And I will be the very first to wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment!)
Brian’s got quite a bit of knowledge and experience under his belt. In addition to blogging about money and other finance topics, he and his family successfully dug themselves out of debt. And he’s using his real-life experiences to carry the message forward to others.
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And now, here is more about Brian:
Brian is a Dad, husband, IT professional by trade, and an all-around good guy. He’s been a Personal Finance Blogger since 2013. In addition, he and his family have successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt.
Now debt free, his mission is to help his three children prepare for their financial lives and educate others to help them achieve financial success.
Brian is involved in his local community. As a Financial Committee Chair with the Board of Education in his local school district, he helped successfully launch a K-12 financial literacy program in a six thousand student district.
As a Board Member of a local non-profit, Brian helps provide educational opportunities to the community. In 2017, Brian presented a “How to Avoid Student Debt” evening to help parents and students avoid the traps of student loan debt.
Since 2015, Brian has been speaking to audiences and sharing his family’s get out of debt story. Through this venue, he gives tips on how others can do the same, and has reached several hundred people with over $2.1 million in debt.
His goal is to continue to champion the financial literacy message to anyone who will listen. He hopes his story will inspire and motivate them to take control of their money.
The Interview Questions
Tell us about a fun, unique, or interesting Side Jam you’ve tried:
I blog. I’m not sure if that’s fun or unique these days with the number of blogs out there today. But I currently have three blogs in total.
How/why did you get started with blogging?
I read many blogs to help increase my personal finance knowledge. I started my first blog to share our family’s get out of debt story to stay accountable and try and help others in a similar situation.
How much time do you spend per month working on your 3 blogs?
It varies, but on average I’d say two hours a day or between 50-60 hours a month.
I have different strategies in place for each blog, and don’t write new, unique content for each. I’ll use multiple sources like freelancers, guest posts, and curating other content. I do spend a good amount of time on emails and social media promotion.
In general, how profitable has blogging been for you? (financially, or even educationally, lessons learned…)
I’ve earned a bit of money over the years. But in most cases, it’s been a break-even proposition for me. Although I have learned a lot about WordPress and have also met a lot of great people along the way.
What are some common ways a blogger can make money through their blog?
The obvious answer is with display ads, like Google AdSense. There are more lucrative ad systems once you have reached a certain threshold of traffic.
Sponsored articles, product reviews, and affiliate programs are other ways that a blog can make money. The effectiveness of these is directly related to the amount of traffic your blog generates.
What is your opinion of the mindset that blogging is a “quick” way to make “easy money”?
I don’t think that’s true unless you have experience blogging before. There’s a bit of a learning curve to building a successful blog.
The good news is there are lots of guides and resources online to help increase your blogging IQ, and a pretty welcoming community of other bloggers. (Yes, I agree!)
What type of research or learning curve is required when you start a blog?
There are a number of blogging platforms that you can get started with right away. But you should also try to have a good looking blog that gets indexed by Google and is actually read. You need to have a little technical know-how and also dedicate some time to it.
What tips would you have for someone who would like to start blogging?
Blogging can be fun, but is also a lot of work and an incredible time suck. Before starting a blog, spend a little time planning and connecting with other bloggers to pick their brains. It will serve you well in the long run.
And what would be your advice to someone who has recently started blogging, and doesn’t know where they should focus their attention?
It all starts by producing great content that people want to read. I always suggest starting there.
You also need a stable blog — one that loads fast and is easy to read. Once you have those two in place, you can begin to focus on other things.
So that’s a long-winded way to say don’t try to do too many things at once. Because if you do, you probably won’t do any of them well.
Overall, what have you learned by starting and managing your multiple blogs? (soft skills, limitations, introspection, character-building, or any literal skills)
I’ve learned many things, but two things that stand out are time management and networking.
Time management, because I work a regular full-time job, and have to budget my spare time to run my blogs.
Networking because to build a successful blog, you need to rely on the blogging community. Building relationships to help grow your blog is pretty much a necessity.
Is this something you would like to continue doing? Why or why not?
Yes, it is. In fact, I recently started a new eSports blog with my son, esportsviral.com
Since I’ve already been through the learning curve of the technology, it makes sense to try and attempt a new blog in a different area.
Thank you so much, Brian! Where can my readers find you online?
My main blog – https://www.debtdiscipline.com/
My eSports blog – http://www.esportsviral.com/
Twitter – @debtdiscipline
The Wrap Up
Here are a few takeaways I’ve noted from Brian’s interview:
- Blogging takes hard work, dedication, discipline, and a bit of technical knowledge.
- Focusing on a topic that means something to you will help keep you on track for the long run.
- Anyone who says you can make easy money by blogging … is probably trying to sell you something.
- The greatest teachers educate by allowing us to learn by doing.
- Passing on your legacy of knowledge is one of the best gifts a parent can give (and receive!)
Thanks again to Brian! It really has been a pleasure getting to know you a little better, and soaking up some of the great knowledge from your websites!
If any of my readers get the chance, please check out Brian’s personal finance blog, as well as the new eSports blog he recently started with his son. They are both impressive pieces of work!
Also be sure to check back next week, for another installment in the Side Jam Interview Series —
Questions for the audience — Have you ever thought about starting a blog to make money?
Do you have a blog (and if so, let me know in the comments — I’d love to check it out!)
Is blogging something you might be interested in doing?
I’d love to know your thoughts — Hit me up in the Comments!
Missed my previous Side Jam interviews? Check out the Related Posts below —
#1 – Cricket’s Plant Selling and Worm Farm
#2 – Nelly’s Online Forum Contribution
#3 – Robert’s Digital Marketing Business
#4 – Cheryl’s Exercise Class Instruction
#5 – Riley’s House Hacking
#6 – Marc’s Product Selling on Amazon
#7 – Brian’s Blogging Activities
#8 – Gio’s Police Training Program
#9 – Jarek’s Self-Publishing on Amazon
#10 – Andrew’s Real Estate Wholesaling
Blogging to Make Extra Money – Side Jam Interview #7