It’s More Than Just the Money: Overcoming Mental Blocks to Monetization

fashion blogger

One of the most popular questions on IFB is “How do I make money from my blog?” Everyone wants to talk about monetization, and that makes sense. After all, money does important things like help keep you housed, clothed, and fed. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of articles on IFB about how to monetize your blog; it's a topic that's very well-covered. However, there are some more angles the monetization conversation that don't get discussed as much, and I thought it'd be a good idea to “air them out,” so to speak, and talk about them here. Like my post on “5 Things I Wish I'd Learned When I Started Blogging,” this post is about those things I wish I knew when I started monetizing.

First of all, monetizing your blog does not mean you've “sold out!” There are so many negative connotations to making money from your fashion blog, at least in America. People will ask why you're not doing it “for the love of blogging” anymore, or tell you over and over again how “blogging isn't a real job.” Those people are entitled to their opinions, of course, but doing what you love and making money from what you love should not be mutually exclusive. The very best jobs are ones you both enjoy doing and get paid for doing. And a job, loosely defined, is really just an exchange of your time, services, or expertise for money. Based on that, blogging absolutely qualifies. If you lose readers because of a couple of Google Adsense banners or because you're experimenting with sponsored posts, that's okay. Those people have done you the favor of letting you know they don't want to support your blog and that they're  not your target audience.

Second, monetizing your blog doesn't mean you're going to become a multimillionaire or even make enough to be a full-time blogger…and that's okay. Both of those goals are kind of major, and they're pretty ambitious for any blogger, especially one who's just starting out. Your bar for success at monetization doesn't have to be that lofty or high. Your blog is successfully monetized if you make enough from it to pay for your own hosting or finance your daily latte habit. One of the most important things I heard when I began monetizing years ago is that the first $100 is always the hardest. It may sound trite, but it's true. Once you pass that first hump, you can start building on what you know through replication and experimentation and testing what works (and, of course, setting higher goals). Most people will not be full-time professional bloggers (and really, being a professional blogger is a lot like being a publisher, only it's all under one roof.), and that is totally all right. Set a monetization goal that works for you.

Third, shift your focus from “How can I make money?” to “How can I provide value?” The brutally honest truth is that almost no one cares about you making money from your blog, so don't make monetization an issue for your readers' to solve. They do not exist to keep your blog online or feed your latte habit; that's your responsibility. Asking people to keep your blog around out of the goodness of their hearts is not a long-term strategy. Especially when you're starting out, the focus should be on giving value to others, not on getting dollars. Monetizing your blog isn't just checking boxes on a list or hoping for the best. You have to innovate and strategize and take risks and push yourself and stand out from the rest of the fashion blogging pack. It's hard work, but the upside is that doing all that adds value to your blog. Care about what you're doing. Be different from everyone else. And then start thinking about monetization.

Finally, all the advice in the world is useless if you don't actually start doing things. After awhile, reading more articles about monetization is just a delaying tactic to actually monetizing.  All the resources you need right now are literally are on this blog (and if you can't find them here, then there are dozens of other blogs about how to make money blogging), so the issue isn't a lack of information. You just have to get started. Set goals. Be willing to apply what you learned. Avoid getting trapped into the “I don't know enough yet”or “It's too difficult” bubbles. When it comes to goal setting, make sure your goal is a clear one so you both know what you're working towards and have a way to measure success or failure. “I want to make more money from my blog” isn't a goal. It's a wish. “I want to make $50 from my blog this month and $100 from my blog 3 months from now” is a goal. It's a specific statement to work towards. People rarely have a guarantee of success before they start, but the people who actually go on to be successful start anyway. Your ideas, no matter how awesome they are, are no good if they only stay in your head.

If you've monetized your blog successfully, what mental roadblocks have you had to overcome? If you've yet to monetize your blog, what do you think is holding you back and how do you plan to work on it? I want to hear from you in the comments.


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8 Responses

  1. Letitia - The Fashion Editor

    One thing I can recommend to new bloggers that is only now starting to take shape in the blogoshpere (thank goodness, 2011 was such a bad year for new “copycat” blogs all vying for space and money) is that ignoring the repeated advice of ADD VALUE will get you nowhere fast. I am surprised to see so many unique and original voices on display, even those who are mainly style bloggers are shedding fear of touching on substantial topics like my faves Coco Vera ( or those who just have a brand that no one can impersonate like Ivania from Love Aesthetics. And speaking of her, she is a blogger so rare she has ethics for herself regarding monetizing and sponsorships. Be one of a kind first, then the money part is much easier.

  2. Lucy

    Love. This. Blog. It is a really honest take on the ‘fear’ of monetization and selling out. If you are writing something people love then I feel like you should at least get your latte fix from it. Every little helps and it is hard to live the dream with no pennies to do it.

    Full disclosure I work at VigLink, a company that can helps publishers monetize their blogs easily without making it any less aesthetically pleasing, any way I procrastinate on this blog most days, and wanted to say there is great info on monetization on IFB. We also have a really simple guide called ‘A blogger’s guide to earning more’ that spells it all out and the different options in a easy to read and digestible form. Of course I am bias, but I do think affiliate linking is the best way to go. It is clean and in-content so creating great posts remains your and your reader’s focus. With technology like ours you don’t need to worry about the hard work of setting up affiliate networks.

    Do comment on this if any one has any questions I might be able to help with.

  3. Winston & Willow

    This is a really great article and I think is something that every blogger should read! I love the part which says the first $100 is the hardest to make which I think is definitely true! Once you get over the first hurdle, you know what works and what doesn’t work in regards to your blog.


  4. Style is...

    A really interesting read. Monetisation is a good route to take if that is what you want from your blog but is certainly not easy. In order to make money from your blog, you will need to dedicate lots of time and effort and just like this article says make it something that really adds value. If you are really serious about monetising your blog, you need to put some serious thought into how you will do this. I guess the fear behong monetising for me was that it would compromise my honest opinions but I think it is possible to do it without ‘selling out’

  5. Anonymous

    I so agree with you.
    It is indeed not selling-out; rather targeted advertising on the part of advertiser; and intelligent money-making on the part of blog writer. Rather a rather risky one; because people tend to associate some sort of credibility of the ad with the blogger. Even though it is uncorrelated, it still exists.