Most people believe that there are only a few, limited ways to earn six figures.
You could get an advanced degree in a high-demand, high-skill field like engineering or medicine. You could work at an executive-level for a major company. Or you could build a blog.
Okay, in all seriousness, almost nobody thinks about that third option. We all understand that it’s possible to make six figures taking one of the first two choices. But who on earth earns that kind of money from a blog?
Well, in 2013, I did! Here’s how it happened … and how it changed my life.
First of all, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “blog”…
A blog is a website that an author regularly updates with new stories. It’s usually about one or two specific topics, such as travel, finance, health, animals, cooking, or more.
Most people believe that if a blogger earns six figures, they must have a ridiculously large following. Perhaps they get 500,000 visitors to their website every month. Or they have 75,000 people subscribed to their e-mail list.
Then, in most people’s imagination, the blogger capitalizes on those 500,000 visits by selling ads on that space — as if they were following the same business model of a newspaper or a magazine.
In truth, however, a blog is an incredibly dynamic way to make money. There are literally dozens of ways that you can monetize a blog. And you don’t necessarily have to have a huge following in order to earn a solid living.
My blog gets between 30,000 to 35,000 visits per month and I have about 4,000 people subscribed to my e-mail list. That means that I’m bigger than a beginner, but I’m definitely not a “big blogger,” as compared to the mega-superstars of the blogging world.
Yet somehow, I managed to earn six figures from my blog in 2013. How?
How I Make Money Blogging
Here are the four ways in which I make money blogging.
#1: Freelance Writing.
Before I started my blog, I used to pitch stories to magazines and newspapers. Now, I don’t pitch anyone anymore. They come to me.
I’ll get an e-mail from a website publisher who’ll say something to the effect of: “Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a while. Would you be interested in writing for us? We need an article on: x…y…z.”
You see, the world features plenty of good writers. And the world features plenty of people who are well-versed within a particular niche, such as travel, finance, cooking or art.
But it’s tough to find people who are both good writers and also knowledgeable about a particular field. My blog shows that I’m both because I chose a topic for my blog that I know a lot about and I write on it regularly. And that combination of skills makes me a rare commodity … which means that I can charge higher fees when I’m contacted for an article.
#2: Blog Consulting.
Every company has a website. And companies understand that in order to get traffic to their website, they need to have a blog. But not every company is willing to hire an in-house employee to be a full-time blog manager. That’s where I come in.
Companies find my blog. They ask if I’ll manage their blog for them. And I agree. I basically do for them what I do for myself. And because I know a lot about blogging and they don’t, I can justifiably charge them a nice fee for all of the work involved. Work I can do from home or anywhere I care to travel.
#3: Traditional Display Advertising.
These are the ads you see when you visit my site. They’re not a massive moneymaker, but they tend to bring me a few thousand each year.
#4: Affiliate Links.
I earn commissions on some of the products that I mention on my site. For example, if I mention a book that’s sold on Amazon, I will link from the book title to its Amazon sales page, and get a commission on that sale.
How Earning Six Figures (For the First Time) Changed My Life
First, the serious stuff…
In 2013, my first year as a six-figure blogger, I saved more than $26,000 in a combination of my Individual 401(k), IRA, and Health Savings Accounts. In other words, about one-quarter of my pretax income went toward retirement and health savings … and that helps me sleep easier at night.
I also kept (and will continue to keep) plenty of cash on hand for emergencies.
I paid cash for a car, paid cash for LASIK surgery, and this year, I plan to replace the roof on my house.
In addition, I’m accelerating the mortgage paydown on my home. If I maintain the same earnings, my house will be paid-in-full by December 2016.
Now, the fun stuff…
On top of everything I just mentioned, I spent three weeks in Paris last year. I spent my days strolling the narrow streets, admiring the old buildings, reading books in the gardens, and eating far, far too many macaroons.
I decided to explore the Caribbean more, so I spent seven days in Jamaica and 10 days in Aruba. I visited friends in California, went to an arts festival in Nevada, and spent New Year’s Eve in sunny Florida.
Running a blog has changed my life. I used to send out pitch after pitch, with no response. Now, thanks to my blog, I’m earning six figures, financially secure, and traveling my heart out.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]