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How to Make a Full Time Income From Your Blog

Today’s episode is all about how to make a full time income from your blog. There are no guarantees, but earning a full time income from your blog is not an unrealistic goal if you’re willing to get very specific about your money goals, be patient and consistent, and break the work down into achievable chunks. I share my own personal journey, and my tips for how you can work out a realistic journey for making a full time income from your own blog.


In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • How to work out the exact dollar amount you need to earn from your blog to make a full time living
  • Why it’s useful to work out a daily target for how much money you want to earn from your blog
  • 9 different ways to earn money blogging
  • 3 case studies of how different types of bloggers can earn their full time income from blogging – a fashion blogger, photography blogger, and recipes blogger

Further Reading and Resources for How to Make a Full Time Income From Your Blog

Here is the breakdown of my blogging income streams when I hit my $50,000 a year target:

Darren Rowse ProBlogger income split at $100 a day

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Good morning and welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast episode 48 where today, I want to outline a plan for you to make at least $30,000 a year from your blog. Now, I’m not going to guarantee you’re going to get hit that, but I want to break down how you might go about doing that. You can find today’s show notes at

A few years ago, I was chatting with a blogging friend who was feeling completely overwhelmed with their goal of making a living from their blogging. Through the conversation, I asked him a whole series of questions, but one that started this conversation going was getting them to identify how much they actually wanted to make from blogging. They had this goal that they wanted to be full-time, but I really pushed them to try and come out with a figure, to actually work out what full-time meant for them. This is actually where I would encourage you to start with your goal of making a full-time living. What does it actually mean for you?

For this particular blogger, they said that they wanted to make about US$30,000 a year. That was probably not what they ultimately wanted to make. They wanted to make more, but that was the point where they had in their mind that they would be able to quit their current work to focus fully upon blogging.

For some of you, $30,000 a year sounds like way more than you’d need to be able to quit your job and go full-time. For others of you, it’s not enough. It doesn’t really matter what the amount is, but what I want to talk about today is actually starting with that figure and then try to work out what does it mean to be able to achieve that because for a lot of people, even with that figure in mind, still feel completely overwhelmed and doesn’t really help to have that figure, but it’s a great starting point.

Here’s my advice for you. Firstly, if you’ve got your figure in mind, don’t give up your day job yet as a lot of people who do give up their job to start blogging. I’m not sure that’s the wisest move because it’s actually going to take you a while to get to whatever point you have nominated in your mind, and there are no guarantees either. So, please don’t give up your day job. This is going to take you some time.

It actually took me about two years of blogging to get to that right of being a full-time blogger. For me, it was actually about US$36,000 a year; that was my goal. That’s about AU$50,000 a year at that time. That was what I was aiming for, that’s what I could’ve earned in the other work that I was doing. This was about 12 years ago. So, don’t give up your day job.

Secondly, be specific. We’ve already been talking about that. Saying you want to be a full-time blogger is great but it’s not specific enough. Come up with a figure, talk to your partner if you’ve got one, talk to family, talk to friends. What is it that is your goal in terms of the amount of money?

As I mentioned, for me, it was AU$50,000 dollars a year, about US$36,000. That’s when I knew if I was working full-time in my other work that I’d better give that other work up. For me, I was actually working a series of part-time jobs at the time and also doing some part-time study but that was the figure that I came up to.

The third thing (and this is really important) is to break that down into something that’s more achievable. My friend said $30,000 a year and that still overwhelmed her. That sounds really big when you’re a new blogger and you might be earning a dollar a day, if that. And $30,000 a year is a big thing when you are at that point, but there are different ways of thinking about that figure.

The helpful thing that I used to do when I was just starting out is to break that figure down. So, $30,000 is $576.92 per week, so that’s one way of breaking it down. Suddenly that becomes a little bit more achievable and you can break it down further. On a daily rate that’s $82.19 per day. Now, $82.19 is what you would need to earn every day for a year to get to $30,000. That’s actually a little bit more achievable.

Remember that a blog generally is making money every day of the week. It’s seven days a week, it’s making money 24 hours a day if you’ve got a global audience as well. That’s one of the reasons why that figure comes down a little. If you’re working a five day a week job, that figure would be higher but $82.19 a day, and if you want to go even further, that’s $3.42 an hour. Although, that may not be as helpful because there are certainly some hours that do better than others. But break it down at least to a daily rate. What do you need to make each day or what do you need to make each week?

For me, having $82.19 in my mind, I can then begin to say, “What do I need to do to make that much money?” Let’s look at some different income streams that you might have on your blog. When I started, AdSense was the number one source of income for me. AdSense may or may not be for you but on my blogs, I use AdSense which is an ad network that’s run by Google, for those of you who don’t know. I make about $1.72 per 1000 page views from AdSense. At that rate, I can calculate how many page views I would need to get to $82.19 and that is 47,000 page views which is a lot. AdSense is probably the hardest work in terms of making money, in terms of the amount of traffic that you need. Putting those banner ads on your site, you do need a lot of traffic.

There are plenty of other income streams. You might sell ads to sponsors on a monthly basis and I know there are a lot of bloggers out there who have spots on their sidebar or they might have banners around their site where they say to an advertiser, “You can appear there if you pay me an amount per month.” To make $30,000 a year you would need to sell about $2500 per month in ads. If you have six ad spots on your blog for six different advertisers, that’s about $416 per advertiser per month.

You might sell sponsored posts on your blog. Let’s just say you charge $300 for a sponsored post. That may be more or maybe less, depending on how much traffic you have but at about $300 per piece of content, that’s about eight posts per month, which might be more than you’re comfortable to do.

You might promote affiliate products. To get to $82.19 per day, if you’re promoting low-cost affiliate products like a book, for example, you’re going to need to sell a lot of them. On an average book, you might earn $0.20 or $0.40 per sale and to get to $82.19, you need to sell hundreds of books. If you’re promoting higher value affiliate products, you might be promoting an ebook that another blogger has produced, in that case, you’re probably able to earn a little bit more per sale.

For example, our Digital Photography ebooks on my Digital Photography blog, if you became an affiliate for that you’d earn 40% of the total price of an ebook. You could earn as much as $8 per sale and there you would only have to sell 10 ebooks per day to get to your $80.

Then there are other bigger commission affiliate products. You might be recommending a training course which might be worth hundreds of dollars. Again, you could be earning higher commissions there. Another common method is to sell your own ebook. If you might have an ebook that you sell for $20, you need to sell four of those per day to get to the $80 mark.

Some of you I know are selling yourself as a consultant or a coach and that may be a higher value. Maybe your day rate is $300 and I know a lot of you probably charge more than that, but you need to sell eight days of your time to get to the $82. There’s a whole heap of different ways you can break it down.

Some of you are still thinking this sounds way out of reach. 47,000 pages to get enough money from AdSense is way more than you’ve got or selling eight days of my consulting time is way more than I can think. Here’s what you got to keep in mind. Most full-time bloggers that I come across don’t just monetize with one income stream. The things I’ve just run through you could technically be doing all of those things. You don’t need to be full-time and get $82 per day from each of those things. You might only earn $10 a day from each of those things and suddenly becomes a little bit more achievable.

Let’s break it down even further. Let’s just say you’re a fashion blogger and I’m actually basing this upon a conversation I had with a fashion blogger recently at a conference I went to in the States. She told me that she sells sidebar ads on her blog for about $150 per month and she has four running. That’s $600 towards her total for the month. She does two sponsored posts a month at about $450 per post. She’s got decent traffic but it’s not a massive blog, that’s another $900 for the month. She promotes her friend’s ebook as an affiliate and sells 10 of them at $10 commission per month, that’s another $100.

She promotes a clothe’s online retail store as an affiliate and she has around 20 sales of clothes and shoes per month, it’s probably making about $400 from that. Then, she also writes freelance for a magazine every month and she earns $400 for that article. All of those different income streams together, they’re quite bitsy, there’s nothing there that’s over $900 for the month which doesn’t get her close to $82. But when you combine those things together, she makes about $2400 per month which is just under $30,000 per year.

You can see there if you break it down and if you diversify your income, you can achieve that mark. You still do need traffic and it still takes time to build it to this point. I actually found when I started out by breaking it down and by diversifying my income, it became more achievable.

Let me give you another example. This is a photography blogger that I know, again, in the States. He sells about 100 ebooks per month of his own. These are ebooks that he wrote and they’re about $10 each, that’s $1000 here. He had some AdSense running on his blog, he makes about $200 a month from that. He does a little bit of freelance writing that’s about $500 a month from freelance writing. He promotes other people’s courses and ebooks and it makes about $400 a month from that. Then he sells a few of his photographs as well so he’s got a product to sell and he makes about $300 from that. Again, he makes about $2500 per year from those five different income streams.

The last example I’ll give you is that of a recipe blogger. She provides on her blog free recipes that you can go away and cook. She also has a membership area on her site where she charges $10 a month to get some extra exclusive content and some cooking lessons that she’s recorded on video. She has about 100 members who pay her about $10 per month to do that so she’s at $1000 just from that income stream. She sells some of her own ebooks for about $400 a month. She promotes some other people’s ebooks as an affiliate, that’s about $200. She does three sponsored posts per month and never goes beyond those three and that’s about $200 per post. Then she occasionally gets to Speaking Geek and that averages out at about $400 a month. Again, she’s earning about $2600 per month which takes her just over $30,000 per year.

You can see there three very different bloggers who are actually monetizing in three different ways. None of these bloggers have massive amounts of traffic. They don’t have tens of thousands of readers a month, they’re in the thousands mark which, again, for some, that sounds really big, but if you stick at it for a few months, for a few years, you’ll actually begin to grow that kind of traffic, hopefully. I’m not going to guarantee it but hopefully, you’ll get to that kind of level.

When I look back on my own figures for around the time that I went full-time which was about $36,000 a year, I was earning from five main income streams. Number one for me at the time was AdSense. Number two is Chitika which was another ad network that was quite popular at the time, still around today. I was doing a few private ad sales so these are monthly sponsorships. I was recommending some products on Amazon and I was also recommending a few ebooks and courses from other people.

My split was that I was making about $35 a day from AdSense, about $20 a day from Chitika, about $20 a day from private ad sales, about $15 a day from Amazon, and about $10 a day from other affiliate commissions. That got me into around the full-time mark. I had those five different income streams. From month to month, they each went up and down a little bit but it averaged at that. I’ve been blogging for two years at that point, so again, this is going to take some time to build. Don’t give up your day job.

I actually found it really helpful to better break it down and to better think about, “Could I add another income stream to it?” To actually go from just having AdSense on my blog to adding Chitika, which is the other ad network, I almost doubled my income just by adding another income stream without having to increase my traffic a whole heap. It really does depend upon the income streams that you use. As you’ve probably seen already, some of them will monetize with less traffic than others.

In general, if you are trying to monetize with AdSense or a banner ad, you’re going to need a lot of traffic. In fact, if you’re trying to monetize with sponsorship, you’re probably going to need some reasonable traffic even if you’re doing sponsored posts. No one’s going to pay you $200 or $300 for a post unless you’ve got some half-decent traffic. To monetize with an affiliate product or even your own ebook or your own course, you’ll probably need a little less traffic than sponsorship. If you’re trying to monetize by selling your own services (which are higher value), you’ll probably need even less traffic again. It really does depend upon the niche, it depends upon the income stream. The key is to diversify your income and this is something you can do gradually over time as opportunity opens up.

The other things to keep in mind is that you really want to target the right readers. I’ve talked in previous episodes of this podcast about really trying to identify who you’re trying to reach, this is really so key. It’s so much easier to monetize if you have a few of the right readers rather than lots of just anyone reading your blog. I know if anyone just surfs in from anywhere on the web to my photography site and they don’t have a digital camera, they’re not interested in photography, they’ve got no chance of buying my ebook.

Whereas if I get a couple of people referred from another photography blog, they’re qualified, they’re the right type of reader for me. They have a camera, they’re interested in photography, they’re much more likely to buy my ebook, they’re much more likely to click on the sponsorships that we have from other photography sources. You need to focus on building the right type of readers, and then, you want to try and really work hard on getting people to keep coming back again and again. You want a connected reader. It’s so much easier to make money from a reader if they’ve been coming to your site every day or if they’ve been coming every week. If they’re engaged, if they’re connected with you, if they feel like they belong to your community.

Focus upon multiple income streams, focus upon finding the right reader, focus upon getting them subscribed and getting them hooked, and then focus on getting them engaged and interacting with you, and contributing to the community. If you do that and you stick at it for a few years, you are much more likely to get to that level of being a full-time blogger. Again, break it down, whatever your target is. Don’t think about it as this massive amount of money. Break down what that means and what you would need to do to achieve that. Gradually, as you get traffic, you’d begin to see how much traffic you’re going to need as well.

In the early days, you might sell one ebook a day and your goal might be to be able to sell 10 a day to get to that level. Either add new income streams or you need to multiply the amount of traffic that you have by tenfold to get to that point. You can begin to estimate how much traffic you need and begin to see what you need to do to achieve that kind of level.

I hope that by breaking it down, that makes it a little bit more achievable and perhaps point you in the direction of what you need to do to get to that point of making a full-time living from your blogs.

I’d love to hear your feedback on today’s episode. If you’ve got any questions please go to today’s show notes at Any questions, throw them in there. Also, if you feel like you’re able and you want to, show me the kind of income streams that you are working on for your blogs. I’ve mentioned just a few of them there and every day I come across bloggers who are monetizing in different ways. If you’ve got a different income stream, I’d love to hear about it. I’d love to learn from you in today’s show notes as well.

If you have a moment to leave a review of this podcast on iTunes, I’d be incredibly grateful. I’ve been checking out the local iTunes stores and I’ve just found this one from SuperLany from New Zealand, “It’s very easy to just keep blogging away without spending time thinking about how to improve it. Going through this podcast has been useful to reflect and improve on my blog.” Thank you for your review SuperLany and from ForeignGeek who is from Singapore, “These are some of the best blogging tips I’ve ever got. Packed with information, these ideas are easy to follow and good to implement.”

I’d love to see your review. I’d notice that there are no reviews yet from the Philippines and I can’t find any in Indonesia. I know we’ve got a lot of readers from those regions so if you’re all from those regions, please leave a review and Tweet me at @ProBlogger when you leave one and it appears in the store. I’d love to check it out and see what you think of this show today but also the podcast overall.

Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you in episode 49. We’re getting close to that 50 mark now which is a big milestone. We’ll talk to you tomorrow in episode 49.

How did you go with today’s episode?

What did you learn from today’s episode? Have you worked out your money goals for your blog? What income streams are already working for you on your blog? What income streams might you try next for your blog?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Don’t forget to share a link to your blog.


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