I frequently get questions both in my personal life and via email from you guys about running this blog–how much time do I put into it, how much money do I make, etc. Since I’ve been in a bit of a lull with projects lately I figured this is as good a time as any to dish the details.
Time and Inspiration
I put in about 5-10 hours a week actually sitting at my computer editing photos, writing posts, and responding to comments. These days I usually knock it all out during Jack’s morning nap, but when I still worked full time I would do it in the evenings and early mornings. I have the WordPress app on my phone so I can post on the go if I need to, but I really prefer to use my laptop whenever possible.
The amount of time put into projects is another thing entirely. Back in the day I used to knock out three blog-worthy projects every weekend. These days inspiration and funds are scarce and I often find myself wondering in the evening what I’ll post about the next day. I keep a running list on my phone of potential blog topics and often refer to it when I’m planning my to-do list or heading out to run errands, but a lot of times I’m limited by both the amount of money I can spend on supplies and the amount of time I can devote to a project. Gone are the days when Jack played happily on a blanket while I painted! He’s into everything now and it’s much harder to get anything done with him underfoot.
As for inspiration, I get ideas from other blogs, Pinterest, other homes and places that I visit, etc. Keeping a list on my phone of projects big and small that I’d love to tackle someday helps me keep track of my hopes and dreams.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a big-time blogger by any stretch of the imagination and I am not particularly ambitious. I have been quietly plugging away at my little corner of the Internet for two and a half years because I enjoy it. In the earlier days I did a lot of commenting on other blogs and even submitted posts to be featured on other websites (like Knock Off Decor). My traffic has grown slowly but surely, with a few big jumps when my site has been linked to by other blogs or internet message boards. These days I average almost 500 page views per day and 15,000 per month. I remember a time when I would have been thrilled to see 100 hits in a day so I’m still pinching myself over these numbers even though they’re paltry by some standards.
Just kidding, I do make a little money nowadays. I didn’t start placing ads on my blog until I had 10,000 hits per month (this was after about two years of blogging). I really wanted to wait until I had enough traffic to actually make a difference to advertisers and also to have a solid enough blog following that my readers knew I wasn’t in it for the money. I started accepting sponsorships from small businesses (mostly etsy shops) at a rate of $10 per month and that’s still what I charge. I usually only have 1-3 sponsors at any given time though I’ve got room on my sidebar for up to 10. I’ve turned down sponsorships from businesses that I didn’t think would be a good fit–if I wouldn’t personally use it or recommend it to a friend I’m not going to advertise it on my blog.
I also display sidebar ads from BlogHer. I think I was on the waiting list about six months, but once I got accepted into the program it was really easy to get my ads up and running. The way it works is that I install a code on my sidebar and then BlogHer runs ads from companies that they work with and pay me based on how many people saw it. I can select categories that I don’t want on my blog, such as diet companies, junk food, certain political ads, etc. With my traffic I currently make about $20 per month from BlogHer. If you’ve got your calculator handy you’ll see that I make about $2 per hour. I am so not in this for the money.
This is not something that I had to contend with until the last year or so. Sometimes a comment will rub me the wrong way or I’ll see traffic coming in from a message board where people are discussing my blog. I handle this the same way I do criticism in my personal life–just because somebody says something (good or bad) doesn’t mean it’s true. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but it’s up to me to decide. So after taking a few deep breaths I ask myself, “Is there merit to this criticism?” If there is then I go for gratitude. Maybe this is some information I can use–like the time I was inspired by criticism to rearrange my office a bit. If whatever this person has said is not true or relevant then I do my best to dismiss it. Easier said than done, I know, but start working on it and see if you’re not happier after a few months. I’ve learned the hard way that the best way to deal with criticism is to get your affirmation from within. This strategy helped me get through a really difficult time in my career–I was working with many challenging clients who said hurtful things to me on a regular basis. Internet snarks have nothing on angry teenagers.
This blog has been such a wonderful thing in my life. It helps me connect with others, gives me a sense of purpose and identity, and serves as a creative outlet to help me cope with the stresses of both social work and motherhood. It’s also inspired me to learn new things–like improved photography. I seriously cannot imagine my life without it. Thank you all so much for reading. This whole endeavor would be so much less meaningful without you!