How I Turned My Hobby Blog Into A Revenue Stream (As a Stay-At-Home-Mom)

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When I started Mom Makes Joy (formerly known as Essentially Eclectic), I knew nothing about blogging, and I had no idea you could make money from it.

We had just moved across the country, from Phoenix to Boston, and I had no friends, no job (yet), and a lot of free time on my hands. So I created a blog as a way to document my new life in Beantown.

It was a hot mess of a website, but it was my hot mess, and I loved it.

I spent hours and HOURS googling “how to move menu bar up webpage” and “what is a widget” and “how to change font color html” until I had taught myself basic CSS (this is the code that makes websites look pretty) and put together an actual, looks-like-a-real-website blog.

I turned my hobby blog into a revnue stream as a stay-at-home mom. Curious how it happened? I share all the details here!

Eventually I decided to move from Blogger to WordPress so I could do more with my blog. I got involved in “link parties” (remember those? anyone?), and very slowly–but surely–my audience grew.

I started to have people reach out to me, wanting me to try their products and write about them. And suddenly, complete strangers were signing up to get my updates by email!

So I threw some ads up on my blog, became an Amazon Associate, and found myself making–wait for it–a whopping few dollars a month!

Which was WAY more exciting than you would think. See, only with blogging does making 47 cents feel like a massive accomplishment. And my only goal at the time was to have my blog pay for itself, with maybe a little left over to buy some nail polish or something.

Fortunately, the start-up costs for blogging are low–astronomically low if you play your cards right–so it wasn’t too hard to hit my goal.

Here’s the thing, though. Beyond making the $5 a month I needed to cover my blog expenses, I had no idea what I was doing.

I had no direction, no focus, and I wasted a LOT of time tweaking things that gave me ZERO return on investment.

But that was fine, I told myself. Because my blog was just a hobby. I was just having fun. To be honest, though, I was terrified to invest more–time and definitely money–in my blog.

In fact, the only reason I purchased Elite Blog Academy in the fall of 2014 was because I could pay for it by taking on some Saturday shifts I wouldn’t have otherwise done. That way if my blogging endeavors failed, it would feel like I just wasted my weekends instead of my investment.

(Spoiler alert: It wasn’t a waste, and my investment has paid for itself over and over again. More on that shortly.)

Something else happened in the fall of 2014: I had my first post go viral. Pumpkin Spice Krispie Treats are the reason my blog income “skyrocketed” from a few measly dollars a month to around $150 a month from ad revenue alone.

It was the push I needed to realize that maybe I could do this. Maybe this little blog could be something more.

RELATED: How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul

Buuuuuut then it happened: We decided to try for a baby. So during my long and very high-risk pregnancy, my blog was completely abandoned.

I didn’t really get into writing and posting again until my oldest was about 14 months old. That’s when Elite Blog Academy 3.0 was released, and when I realized that my blog had continued to make money–around $100-$300 a month–over the months it sat collecting dust.

Fortunately, you get lifetime access to Elite Blog Academy, so that March I decided to start EBA over from the beginning. And thus, Mom Makes Joy was born.

I realized that as a mom, my heart was no longer into writing about the DIY/crafty posts I wrote about before. So I rebranded. I had Grayson at iMark Interactive help me forward my old domain name to my current one, and I officially became a “mommy blogger.”

Since then, Elite Blog Academy 4.0 has been released, and it’s even better than it was before. It’s geared towards people who want to turn their blog into a legit business, but it was still a worthwhile investment for me, even as a hobby blogger. Down the road, when I’m ready to take things to the next level, I’ll be prepared.

EBA has shown me that I still have a LOT to learn as a blogger. But even so, I’ve come a long way–from making literally pennies a month to bringing in as much as $1600 in the same timeframe!

The best part? Most of it is passive income. In other words, I don’t even have to log in every day to earn money.

How My Hobby Blog Makes Money

Curious where all that money comes from? I’ll break it down for you.

Mom on a laptop with her baby on her lap

Ad Revenue

Ad revenue is my biggest source of income right now. What’s great about ad revenue is that it happens automatically–I don’t have to do anything specific to earn money. Instead, I earn when readers click on my ads. Simple.

The downside to ad revenue is it depends quite a bit on how much traffic you are getting to your website. If you don’t have much traffic, you won’t earn much money.

Fortunately, there are other ways blogs make money.

Affiliate Revenue

Another great way to earn is through affiliate sales. If I use a special link that takes my readers to a product that I use and love. When they decide to buy using that link, I earn a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to them.

Affiliate revenue is great because I already talk about products I use and love, and doing so helps out my readers. They can buy a product with confidence knowing another mom recommends it for XYZ reasons. It’s a win-win!

Product Sales

Creating and selling your own products can be a HUGE source of revenue, depending on what the product is and how much of it you sell. If it’s a digital product, like an eBook or online course, the amount you can make is almost limitless and there are very few expenses involved in selling. Plus, no overhead.

On the other hand, it can be hard to know exactly what kind of product your readers need. And sometimes what they say they need isn’t something they actually want.

Figuring this out can be a challenge, but when it works, it really works.

I have only relatively recently started diving into the world of product creation–it can feel a little scary! Sometimes a lot of work can go into products that don’t take off, and it can be a challenge to figure out what works.

Other ways to make money blogging

Those are the 3 main ways my blog makes money, but there are other ways to earn too.

How Hobby Blogs Make Money - Blog income report December 2019
How Hobby Blogs Make Money - Blog income report January 2020

Some bloggers make money through sponsored posts, where companies pay them to try out and review certain products. Others make money through offering ad space on their blogs that companies or other bloggers can pay for. And still others earn money as freelance writers or virtual assistants, writing content or doing blog work for others.

Don’t let my hobby blog income fool you–there the blogging world is not dead. There is still a LOT of income to be made online, and I watch my EBA classmates do it all the time!

Join my Mom Makes Money Insiders

Want to follow my blogging journey and learn how to start one of your own? Sign up below! And be sure to subscribe to Elite Blog Academy‘s blog for even more information on how to get started–there are some major gems in there that are totally free!

you aren't TOO BUSY TO earn money blogging

Learn how I grew my hobby into a profitable side hustle (even as a busy stay-at-home mom)