Making Money as a Professional Fashion Blogger

I mentioned how I had 2 posts inspired by Franca's post, Why I Will Never Be a Professional Blogger. Earlier this week, I asked, What Makes a Professional Fashion Blogger?, and this time I want to address a really poignant section of Franca's post:

I just cannot see how it would possibly work financially. Apart from a very small number of superbloggers with huge sponsorship deals, or bloggers who operate more like journos and write for companies' blogs covering events or reviewing stuff, I don't see many examples of professional bloggers who are properly making a living off their blogs. Unlike Courtney, I don't really mind adverts/sponsorship links on blogs, as long as they are relevant and for something good quality, but I see people with much bigger blogs and better stats, selling sponsorship places for prices that basically cover hosting fees. And I remember this post on monetisation by Steph at the Loudmouth, which shows the miniscule amounts involved in affiliate programmes. I know opening one's blog up to sponsorship is a gamble, it works for some people and doesn't work for others, but for me to do it I would want to have at least a decent chance of a favourable result. And at the moment I just cannot work out how a blog of my type could ever make anything even near minimum wage.

The honesty and openness in Franca's post, especially when it comes to monetizing a blog, was really inspiring to me.  Many people get in to blogging with a goal to support themselves financially, without any understanding of the work and time it takes to make it happen.  A lot of bloggers think that banner and affilliate ads are the way to support themselves when, in reality, most bloggers find a variety of ways to make up their income.

 

Last week I talked about horizontal growth in blogging, which is where many bloggers do find success in supporting themselves.  I reached out to several full-time bloggers to share information about where their income comes from.  Each of these bloggers varies in size, how they monetize their site, and niche.  Yet they're all finding ways to make a living off of blogging.

 

While I'm not a professional, full-time blogger like the others that will be featured, I felt that it was worth showing that supplemental blogging income could be made, part-time, and how I personally accomplish it.  If I were going to pursue a full-time job in blogging, I would probably try to strengthen my income earned by affiliate sales, along with increasing my traffic to boost ad network revenue.

 

 

Retrochick is a lovely vintage and retro blogger.  She's a great example of horizontal growth– expanding in to an online shop where she sells vintage clothing.  She uses popular resources like affiliate networks and ad networks as well.

 

 

 

Elle writes for multiple sites (Broke & Beautiful, The Demoiselles, Awakened Aesthetic, Fashion While Eating) as well as managing a media company.  Elle says of monetizing her site, “Startlingly, I use very little monetization techniques to make money from my blog. This is changing, though my goal is to make that change without my readership or content being affected in the least bit.”


 

 

Danielle at Final Fashion is a great example of using your blog as a promotional tool for your career (for her, as a fashion illustrator).  Danielle says of her career and blog, “I started my business with almost no overhead and no debt liabilities so I've always been in the black. I've been freelancing pretty much full time for four years now (I first started freelancing part time when I was in fashion school in 2004), and almost all of my clients have found me either directly or indirectly through the notoriety I've earned blogging.”


 

I last mentioned Grechen in my post on horizontal blog growth, and thougth she was an amazing example of a blogger earning their income from affiliate ad networks and ad sales.  Grechen broke down her earnings by month, because she thought it was important to show how easily the two income sources can flip back and forth.  When I asked her for some insight on the fluctuations, she said, “Every time I think I have a trend nailed down, it flips again.  Obviously Q4 & Q1 are huge for affiliate income because of holiday shopping, and I think that ad sales pick up in Q1 a bit because retailers are looking for more exposure and to offer incentives to shoppers now that they're not holiday shopping anymore.”

 

Does this mystify your expectations of blogging income more or less now?  Does any person have a breakdown that is what you would expect from a blogger's salary?  If you earn income, I'd love to hear what percentages make up what in your income!


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14 Responses

  1. Jamillah

    This is absolutely fantastic. I have always wondered about ad sales and how effective they are for bloggers so this is a really wonderful and telling and super duper crazy interesting.

    I’ve always thought of my blog as more of a platform to do other things and I’m really inspired by the more horizontal growth examples.

    Wonderfully and clearly written piece and one everyone should read. I think it also dispels a lot of the perceived potential in certain areas. Really great job, Ashe.

    Reply
  2. Casee Marie

    This must be one of the best posts on monetization I’ve ever read. I haven’t pursued an income from my blog yet, though I’m always curious about the subject. It seems like a lot of bloggers say that their main source of revenue isn’t through sponsorships, but nobody ever elaborates on that. As someone who hasn’t delved down that avenue it makes me think, “What else is there?” and this post really answered the question perfectly. Thank you so much, Ashe!

    Reply
  3. Style Eyes Fashion Blog

    For the whole of last year I worked in blogging with some online marketing and social media aswell for 40 hours per week. I would say roughly 70% of my income was from freelance writing blogging for other companies and marketing work, 20% ad sales annd 10% affiliate marketing. This year I have cut back on my hours and the mix has changed to perhaps 60% freelance, 20% affiliate and 20% ad sales.

    It is really interesting to see what others are doing and how they are doing it differently. I guess it depends where you are putting your energy. Last year my affiliate sales fell because I neglected my blogs for freelance work. This year I want to change that and spend more time on my blogs. I have definitely noticed a fluctation in ad sales.

    The opening an online shop is also an interesting opportunity that I might explore.

    Reply
  4. Sandra at Debutante Clothing

    Great, no, fantastic article! Perfect timing as I think strategically about what my next step is. I think that many in the blogging world have lost site of the fact that blogging is no more than writing, but on a weblog platform vs. books vs. magazines, etc. It’s all writing! So it seems to make sense that writing, a notoriously underpaid career, but in multiple formats would pay more. I originally started my blog as a marketing tool. Then the fun and attention got the better of me and I lost site of what its intent was. I think this is why business plans for anyone wanting to make a living off of content producing is crucial.

    Reply
  5. Sade strehlke

    Being a fashion blogger is like being an actress. You have to do it because you love it; not because you want to make money.

    Reply
  6. Mordrian

    Once again, great post Ashe! Loving your recent articles 🙂 I love the last graph showing the amount of change took place over time, its really interesting to see something like that.

    Reply
  7. Bagaholicboy

    Great post! It is honestly never easy to make a living blogging full-time, but like the graphs show, one can by using a mix of different revenue sources.

    Reply
  8. Lindsay

    Thanks for writing this! As a new blogger, not pursuing a monetary reward (yet), this is very interesting. I always wondered what options were available.

    Reply
  9. pradeep

    Making money is directly related to traffic. its help to generate good income from your blog, and also give much experience in the internet marketing.

    Reply
  10. Beth J.

    This was super helpful! I just started a blog with a couple friends and I have been figuring out how I can make money while doing something I’m really interested in. I thought it was all about the ads and getting companies to sponsor you but I never thought about freelance writing! Thanks so much and keep up the good work!

    Reply