I started blogging in November 2017 and I’ve been doing it full-time since 2019. The topics covered on FinSavvy Panda include ways to save money, make extra money, and some beginner tips on how to start a profitable blog.
I also work on a few other blogs on the side to test my ideas in other niches that are outside of the personal finance space.
Prior to running an online blogging business, I worked as an Analyst in the wholesale banking area for a major financial institution. It was pretty comfortable, and I enjoyed working with different stakeholders, but my heart just wasn’t there. Deep down, it felt like I needed to do something different from the regular 9-5 but I just didn’t know what it was. Then, one day, when I was looking for profitable hobbies, I stumbled upon the idea of blogging. That’s when there was a calling within me to start a personal finance blog.
And here I am! I’ve been running my blog, along with other websites, and earning a six-figure full-time income for 6 years!
I earn an income through a mix of affiliate marketing, display ads, and digital products.
A chunk of my earnings come from affiliate marketing where I would recommend products and services I love and personally use to my readers. Whenever a reader buys or signs up for one of my recommendations, I would earn a small commission. One of my favorite affiliate networks is Impact Radius. They offer a variety of affiliate programs for bloggers in any niche.
Aside from affiliate marketing, I also earn money through Mediavine display ads, which require a blog or website to receive at least 50,000 sessions (approximately 60,000+ monthly pageviews) to apply. Here is an example of how much one of my blogs earned from Mediavine display ads last month.
Lastly, I provide a range of digital products specifically designed for my audience, including The Power-Up Budget Binder, The Treasure Map To Blogging Success in 30 Days, The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic, and PinSavvy Pinterest Canva Templates. These are products I created to help my readers learn how to budget, save, and earn extra money from home.
Back in 2017, I was always searching on Google for ways to make money online. I was also searching for business ideas that I could do from home. I accidentally stumbled upon the idea of starting a blog and I never really knew what that meant.
But as I was reading more and more about bloggers’ stories and how they generated anywhere from six to seven figures a year, I was convinced that this may work out for me. Since my circle of friends, coworkers, and family members always asked me for money advice, I decided to start a blog about personal finance where I document all my favorite ways to save and earn extra money.
I started playing around with the idea of blogging somewhere in November 2017. Though I didn’t have a “launch” day, I guess you could say I launched it in November. That’s the month where I started publishing blog posts and creating a Pinterest business account for my website.
Starting a blog is so cheap that I don’t think I really invested much money. During that time, I didn’t even think of it as an investment since it was just a hobby that I wanted to try. I spent only $100 for a 3-year hosting plan, which is equivalent to $3 a month.
Aside from the hosting plan, I also purchased a beginners’ blogging toolkit for $100 in addition to an affiliate marketing course for $200. In total, I spent $400 including the hosting plan for the first couple of years to learn how to start a profitable blog.
Since I hadn’t developed a product or offered any service when I started my blog, I didn’t have any clients or customers.
In fact, most of my income stemmed from display ads and affiliate marketing programs, which were purely driven by traffic from Pinterest. To get those pageviews, I created a Pinterest business account. It was through Pinterest that I attracted my first readers and e-mail subscribers.
Once my readers warmed up to me, they began asking me questions about budgeting in addition to questions about how they can achieve financial independence by saving and earning extra money online. That’s when I created my budgeting binder, The Power-Up Budget Binder, in addition to a few profitable blogging resources like The Treasure Map To Blogging Success in 30 Days and The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic to serve my first clients and customers.
If I had to be honest, the first year felt very frustrating because I didn’t feel like I was getting any results, especially during the first several months.
I didn’t get much traffic and I didn’t make much money. I had only earned like $20 from Google AdSense in my first few months combined. During that time, I also didn’t know that it would take longer for me to see results because I was naïve and believed other bloggers’ stories of how they made over $300 within their first month of publishing their blog posts (of a brand-new blog), and a full-time income by 3 to 5 months.
Despite those claims, I just chipped away and continued learning many aspects of blogging including Pinterest, Google SEO, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, etc. That all took time but the good thing is it didn’t feel like work to me because I genuinely enjoyed the learning process. I was still at my full-time job, so I spent mornings and evenings tackling this project. I would say I spent anywhere from 10 to 25 hours a week. I kept doing it and I was pretty consistent without showing any signs of stopping.
By 5 to 6 months, I finally earned my first $1,000 and from there it just grew. And within my first year of blogging, I was able to earn my first $5,000 monthly income, which was a huge milestone for me.
I would say mostly Pinterest marketing in addition to nurturing my e-mail list. I also spent time learning Google SEO and implementing what I learned, but in hindsight, it was a distraction since I never really got any mind-blowing results with Google.
Most of my efforts were spent on building relationships with my readers and helping them by answering their questions. A lot of people would call me crazy and say it’s a waste of time because this strategy isn’t very passive. Though this wasn’t one of my passive ways to earn money, I have to admit that this effort resulted in a high ROI for me.
There is a saying by Thomas A. Edison that goes “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
I have a writer and VA on the team. It’s a personal blog so I’d like to keep it simple.
I quit my job once I earned my first $5,000 monthly income within my first year of blogging. However, I still viewed it as a hobby and I did not know what I was getting myself into, so I didn’t consider it a full-time income yet. I just took the plunge to see how things would turn out.
Once I earned my first net six-figure annual income in 2019, that’s when I felt it in me to transition to a full-time blogging career. Still, it didn’t feel like this was “full-time” because I was feeling iffy. I just wasn’t sure if I could sustain the income since the idea of running a blog felt foreign to me. Needless to say, as each month passed with a healthy amount of net earnings, I felt comfortable enough to say, “Hey, being self-employed online is my life now. That’s my new normal so I’m going to learn how to adapt to this lifestyle.”
It wasn’t until now, December 31, 2023, as I’m writing this, that I am starting to feel more and more comfortable with the uncertain nature of running an online business. It’s been 6 years since I started blogging full-time, and throughout all those years until now, it has sustained a net six-figure income. Looking back, it all seemed fine, but a lot of times felt uncertain and I just didn’t know what was going to happen. As we speak, I am just going with the flow. It’s always a learning process for me, so I will continuously adapt, learn, and implement different strategies.
To answer your question, it’s hard to say when the transition from side hustle to full-time happened. It just happened gradually over time as I developed a habit of being self-employed working anywhere I want with a laptop.
My best-selling product is The Treasure Map To Blogging Success in 30 Days. This is an A-Z guide that teaches beginners how to start and launch a successful blog from scratch. Many people have the desire to earn money by working from home or becoming a digital nomad, so I created this product to help my readers achieve their dreams of making money online.
The biggest challenge I had to overcome was acknowledging and accepting the fact that my blog, or any business, is never going to feel “safe,” no matter what social media and entrepreneurs claim. While they often paint a rosy image of their business’s success, you’ll rarely hear about the dark side or the struggles and challenges they face.
For example, in the early days of my blogging journey, my Pinterest account was suspended, and I lost all my Pinterest traffic overnight. It took months before I managed to get my account reinstated. I feared it was the end of my blogging career because you often hear stories from content creators that if you’re suspended for over a month, it’s pretty much hopeless, and you’ll never get your account back. However, I didn’t follow that advice. I persisted, and after many attempts, I finally got my Pinterest account back! Had I listened to the negative and false advice out there, I wouldn’t be here today.
As I went through more bumpy roads, I came to realize that there will be good times and bad times. During the good times, you need to save for the rainy days to help you ride out the bad times.
Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.
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