Most of you have probably already read Fashionista's article about “personal style bloggers raking in millions“, but in case you haven't, the gist of it is that there are some fashion bloggers out there who make hundreds of thousands of dollars – possibly “millions” – off their blogs, from affiliate links, personal appearances and brand collaborations, and you too (!) could be one of them if you blog about your passion and wait.
Okay…now, can we get serious? As Cora mentioned yesterday and Jennine mentioned earlier in the week, there are LOTS of paths to success as a blogger, and being a full-time blogger is NOT EASY. There's no doubt that some fashion bloggers are making a lot more than others, but the hard truth is that there are thousands of us out there and only maybe hundreds who make a living blogging.
I've never been one to discourage anyone from dreaming, or reaching for the stars (millions) as it were, but I'm also practical and believe that having a more attainable goal is, well, more attainable. If your goal is to make enough money from your blog to be able to support your shopping habit, then you can absolutely reach that with enough work, focus and the right monetization strategy for your blog. If you'd like to make enough to quit your full-time job, then you can do that too, given enough time and planning, trial & error and very hard work.
To make millions from affiliate links and brand partnerships is a different story altogether. You have to have loads of traffic, dedicated readers who will buy via your links, and – my opinion here – a perfect combination of “model” looks, money to invest in the beginning, and killer photography.
You also must work VERY hard, and dedicate all your time and energy towards making your blog work and your brand partnerships successful. But being realistic again, it takes so much more than just “hard work” and time to make a million dollars from a blog – especially in the fashion industry (which is fickle, fickle, fickle, and appearance-based).
So how much CAN you really make??
I've told my story plenty of times both here and on my own blogs, but basically I've been blogging for nearly 10 years, 8 years full-time, and DO NOT MAKE MILLIONS. When I wrote the piece about my income streams, I disclosed that I make the highest percentage of my income from affiliate commissions. The bloggers in the Fashionista article apparently make upwards of $50,000 a month on affiliate commissions, I make on average $3,700 a month. There, I said it – some months I make $700 and some months I make $5,000, but I honestly can't imagine ever making $50,000 a month (not that it wouldn't be nice). I'm obviously not one of RewardStyle's “top tier” bloggers, but I don't need to be, and I am thankful EVERY DAY that I can write about my crazy obsessions and make enough to live off of. I would do it even if I didn't make one penny.
I am thankful EVERY DAY that I can write about my crazy obsessions and make enough to live off of. I would do it even if I didn't make one penny.
Luckily – right now – my husband and I together make a great living, and maybe I don't have as much pressure on me as some do, but it wasn't always so. I got divorced in 2005 and shortly after quit my full-time job to devote everything to my blogs. I had to buy my own health insurance, take back over all my living expenses, and it was HARD. But I kept my goals simple and attainable, and pushed through. The rest, as they say, is history.
Over the years, I've made much more and I've made less. In total, I make a comfortable living from a combination of affiliate income, ad sales and freelance work – all thanks to my blogs. One of the great things about a blogging career is that you'll have limited expenses/overhead compared to owning a brick & mortar shop, for example. Expenses can add up though, and you have to be constantly vigilant that you're investing your money wisely and getting a good return. Keeping airtight accounting records are key too – knowing exactly how much is coming in and going out will help keep you focused and make you more aware of what will make you the most money.
Honestly, I don't know or care how much other fashion bloggers make; I try to stay focused on my own successes or failures, but after the hundredth article on the same five bloggers making bank on their blogs, I thought it was time for some reality. Of course there are bloggers who make millions, and of course you have the potential to make millions from your blog, but WILL you?
What do you think? Do you have realistic blogging goals in mind? Or would you rather shoot for the stars?