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I’m about to make a very special statement. I’m going to share some information with you that I haven’t publicly announced yet. For the first time in my life, my online income has hit six-figure levels.

This is a new development. It started in summer/fall 2012. I’m waiting for one full calendar year to pass by – for 12 consecutive months of earning money at this level – before I can state that I’ve made six figures “per year.” As of right now, I can state that I’ve made a prorated six-figure equivalent over the last three quarters. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up, introduce myself, and tell you about how this all began.

Some people can point to a “definitive moment,” the day when they transitioned into full-time blogging. This usually happens when they quit their job in order to grow their online business full-time. (Or, in some cases, when they get fired and then choose not to look for another job).  

I didn’t have any clear-cut moment. I’m a former newspaper reporter and editor who quit her job to travel across Asia and Australia. I returned to the U.S. in 2010 and began making a living as a freelance writer, penning articles for a mixture of magazines, newspapers, and websites. So, I was already self-employed when I began blogging.

I launched my blog on February 22, 2011. I waited for four months to build some traffic, and put display advertising on my blog in June 2011. During my first month of advertising, I earned … $10.47! I’m rich, baby! Woo-hoo!

By the fall, my income had grown to the $50-per-month mark. That was enough money to give me some confidence, but not enough to approach a sustainable income. I realized I’d have to broaden my money-making strategy, so I dove into learning about the blogging industry. I read blogs about blogging. I spoke to other bloggers. I trial-ed-and-error-ed.

That’s when I realized there are dozens of ways to leverage your blog into income. You can sell display ads, collect commissions, use the blog as a platform to sell e-books or land a traditional book deal. Bloggers get offered lucrative writing assignments, they get consulting opportunities, they even get unsolicited job offers. 

The opportunities are endless. And you can choose whichever strategy appeals to you the most. 

Since I had a background as a freelance writer, I naturally gravitated toward leveraging my blog into more freelance writing opportunities. 

Over time, my offerings expanded into a suite of services: blog editing and management, social media management, content marketing, and guest posting services. These terms might sound like jargon, but I’m including them here for a purpose — to illustrate that the more time you spend blogging, the more skills you develop (and can sell). 

Within 18 months, I had created an entire online business that I could operate from anywhere on earth.

How did these efforts reward me? From August to November 2011, I earned an average of $1,160 per month from a combination of traditional blog advertising and freelance writing that resulted directly from my blog. (I say “average” because my records show $4,640 during that four-month period). 

In December 2011, my blog-related income topped $5,000 for the first time. Admittedly, though, a huge chunk of that came from an advertising deal that the client paid for one year in advance. 

From January through September of 2012, my monthly blog-related income ranged anywhere between $1,800 to $3,800 per month. Yes, that’s a very wide range, but volatility is the name of the game. And I spent many, many months near the lower end of that range.

Then it climbed: first it hovered near the “old high” of $5,000, then to $7,500 for two consecutive months, and then it grew into the $8,500 – $10,000 per month range. It continues to remain within that range today.

Some of that money comes from freelance work. Some comes from traditional advertising. Some comes from consulting, site management, social media campaigns, and other services.

I work harder than I ever have before. But I can take that work on the road…  work from any country in the world with a solid Internet connection… and I’m the boss. 

Blogging has allowed me to meet fascinating people, connect with readers, help my clients, and travel the world while I work from my laptop. I’m not sure what could be better. 

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[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.]  

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