This is a special week. You see 7 years ago this week I pushed ‘Publish' on my very first blog post. That little action changed oh so much in our family's life.
My Blogging Story
When I was a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to grow up, get married and have babies. Honestly. I loved babies. (I still do actually. But now I get to hug and squeeze other people's babies.)
Anyway, like I mentioned in this post, I did indeed grow up, get married and have babies. Three of them in four years actually. And because I loved those babies SO much, I could not fathom going back to work after they were born.
But there was a problem. Dean and I were honestly not very good with money. Dean had a steady job, but because I'd gone to college on student loans after we were married and we never broke our dining out habits from when we were dating, we had debt payments to make each month.
I needed to make some money from home if we were ever going to make it work. And I couldn't go back to doing graphic design because all the crazy deadlines and small children do not mix.
So I set out to find something that I could do from home – and not hate:
- I joined a couple of direct sales companies selling toys and tea tree oil products. But I didn't like them much.
- I started a home decor business that sold country decor on the internet. But it cost me more than I made to buy and ship the products.
- I got both a Life Insurance License and a Mutual Fund license and sold financial services products to people while training a small team to do the same. Even though I was home with my babies during the day and I loved helping other families with their finances, in the end I tired of being out and away from my family (Dean) almost every night.
Then after we'd moved back to the suburbs to be closer to Dean's work (after we nearly went bankrupt from previous debts and loads of car repairs from a long commute) and started to work on our fixer upper (pictured above) I discovered blogs.
One of the first blogs I found and loved was Young House Love. Jon and Sherry were a young couple sharing their DIY projects and home decor ideas. In doing so they had somehow turned their little hobby blog into a business to support their family.
I was hooked.
I read more blogs and in 2010 I started AKA Design with a backlog of photos I'd taken to document the renovations on our fixer upper bungalow in order to get rebate on our home improvement loan. The step-by-step process of the photos and projects filled the blog fairly quickly. Slowly over time we did more projects and renovated more spaces.
After about a year of blogging inconsistently, I started to devour all the information I could on how to monetize my blog and grow my traffic. I read blog posts, took online workshops whenever I could find them and searched high and low for how to blog better. And I started to see results:
- I put a few ads on my site and in mid-2011 I made a whopping $600.
- Then in 2012 I figured out how to get into better ad networks and I started writing for another blogger occasionally and my income was $3000.
- In 2013, I discovered affiliate programs and sponsored posts through what are now called influencer networks. My income grew to $6000.
- In 2014 I wrote and launched Bloggers and Brands: The Blogger's Guide to Pitching and Working with Brands and I used Google DFP to create waterfall ads on the blog. I also worked with bigger, better paying sponsors. My income jumped to $28,000.
From there the blog grew and so did my income. I finally found something I loved doing that helped our family budget.
Blogging has helped me to create a beautifully cozy home for my family – which is incredibly important to me.
Blogging has allowed me to stay home with my kids – and homeschool them – for the last seven years.
Blogging has provided a creative outlet for me, when otherwise some days would be rather ‘challenging'. You know, what I mean Mommas.
Blogging has allowed me to add to our family's income in ways I could never have imagined before I started.
I didn't come into blogging knowing everything. In fact even though it was my intention to make money from it, it took me a little while to learn everything I needed to. But I didn't let not knowing everything stop me from getting started!
How To Start a Blog
I've written a simple post How to Start a Blog the Right Way – In 5 Simple Steps to help you dive in and get started on your own blog.
But if you really want to launch a blog that thrives, my friend Abby has poured her heart and soul into Building a Framework. In it, Abby not only goes over how to start a blog step-by-step, by the time you're finished, you'll have:
- A well thought out and executed blog concept
- A beautiful, welcoming site that readers will love
- Creative, inspiring content centered around both what you’re passionate about and what is helpful to your readers
- A thriving email list
- Growing social media channels that engage your followers and drive traffic to your site
- An effective plan for monetizing your site
- Relationships and collaboration opportunities with other bloggers
- The confidence and satisfaction that comes along with creating a blog and brand that you are proud of!
I can't recommend Building a Framework enough.
So what's next for me?
Well, after writing about decorating and DIY projects on AKA Design for 7+ years, I'm branching out and adding other topics like blogging and family life and saving money here on ShannonAcheson.com. AKA Design will stay right where it is and it will still include all sorts of decorating ideas and DIY tutorials. But I have some big things planned and I can't wait to share them with you!
If you're here from AKA Design, thank you so much for being a loyal reader. And if you're new here, I look forward to what's to come!
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