How Do Bloggers Make Money?

Feb 18, 2019

how do bloggers make money

Coat: Club Monacosimilar (more Club Monaco coats here) | Sweater: NordstromJeans: Paige (more Paige jeans here) | Booties: Kendall & KyliesimilarHandbag: Vince CamutoScarf: Rag & Bone – more affordable version (more Rag & Bone here) | Necklace: Gorjana (more Gorjana here



Good morning! We are officially back from Vegas after a delayed flight debacle and settled back in. I think we are all still adjusting to the time change (3 hours is a lot for a toddler…) but I am so happy to be home and back to work. I’ll be sharing more about our trip next week so stay tuned for that! 


Today’s post is one that has taken me quite a long time to write mostly because there is just so much to get through. I have so many feelings about whether this is something that people should share, how much should they share and so on but ultimately I thought it was a good idea for the sake of transparency and understanding. 

A lot of times my best friends will tell me that people don’t respect bloggers or their job because they just don’t understand it. The whole idea is that it looks easy and takes very little work when in fact it’s much the opposite.

Now, don’t get me wrong it also has a lot of wonderful attributes like a flexible schedule, allows for creative freedom and offers so many unique experiences. But I digress, that is for a whole other time. 

Today’s post is all about answering a few questions I get asked frequently:


‘Can you make money blogging?’ ‘How much money do you make?’ ‘Are you still working?’


Although I know that people are referring to ‘work’ as me practicing dentistry it does reinforce the idea that blogging is generally not regarded as a job. It also confuses me that people ask about money so often because I would never approach a friend that works in marketing or medicine and ask the same question. I know it’s most likely because the industry is new and people are just generally confused.

I also very often get told ‘Oh I should do that’ and I always respond that you should if you are passionate about it and feel like you have something to share! The idea that everyone that starts a blog is successful is not realistic just like any other job but if it’s something you are interested in, go for it! You will never know unless you try!

So, here’s my general opinion and how I personally make a living from blogging. There are 3 large sources: Brand Collaborations, Affiliate Sales and Ad Revenue. This is different for everyone but these are my top 3!


Brand Collaborations

This is my greatest source of income from the blog and how I prefer to work. This is when a particular brand or agency will reach out and we tailor a project together. It’s great to work with new and sometimes reoccurring agency teams and get creative! Sometimes these involve blog posts and social shares and sometimes it may just be social. 

Contrary to popular belief, I think most people say no to the majority of things they are offered. I try to be very particular with the companies and brands I partner with and always want to feel like I’m offering value to my readers. I actually backed out of a full year partnership and my highest paying contract ever a few months after working with a particular brand because I quickly realized their vision and mine were not the same. I didn’t feel like it would be authentic content to my brand but that doesn’t mean it didn’t pain me that we couldn’t make it work. I think the territory of blogging is so new that it’s often times a balancing act and at the end of the day it’s impossible to run a business with no revenue. 

I did have a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago and she was annoyed with a blogger she follows because every week she was posting about a new beauty product she loved. I can see how this would be confusing for a consumer but I think it’s important for us to make it clear that everything we share is not the only thing we use. I love to try new products and share them (if I like them) and be able to offer options at different price points. 


Affiliate Commissions

This stream of revenue is most often earned through an agency. I belong to RewardStyle so certain retailers are ‘in my network’ and offer commissions on sales driven. Different agencies are run different ways and some may pay based on sales commissions and some may pay based solely on clicks.

Since my platform is based on commission if I pull a link through my Rewardstyle account backend for products and place them on my site, Instagram or somewhere else I have the potential to earn commissions. These commissions are negotiated per retailer and can vary greatly!  It’s essentially like a finder’s fee or commission someone in a retail store would earn. 


Ad Revenue

This is the smallest piece of my particular revenue stream. When you click on a lot of websites you will see ad’s on the sidebar, below the fold and some may even pop up in your face. Depending on the location and intrusiveness of the ad the owner of the website is paid a certain fee. It’s hard for me to read lifestyle or fashion blogs that have a lot of ad’s breaking up the text because I find it distracting so I steer away from those personally.



On the flip side blogging also comes expenses and not a lot of guarantees. It’s much of the reason I didn’t love doing it full time. It took a lot of the joy and creativity away while simultaneously adding stress. Working for yourself wasn’t something new to me since as a dentist I have always worked as an independent contractor under my own LLC. However, if you are leaving a corporate job it’s something to consider. There is no health insurance, retirement investment on your behalf and certainly no guarantees of income. The months will ebb and flow so you just have to be prepared for that. 

Ultimately, working as a dentist and maintaining the blog was the best combination for me personally but everyone is different! Here is an idea of some of the expenses that come with it:


PR Agency: This is a recent addition but I now have an agency manage and secure collaborations for me because I can’t keep up and it’s not my strength. It’s so nice to have someone help with negotiations, reviewing contracts and emails. 

Website Hosting & Maintenance: General hosting and upkeep of the website. I also use a service to backup my site and help support the memory I need. 

Site Design and Updates: I use Rob Sefer to help update or tweak my current design when I need it. 

Photographer: I often times shoot with Trevor or Grace now but will need a photographer occasionally. When I was in Chicago I LOVED working with Hannah Schweiss

Camera: I use a Canon 6D with a 35mm lens.

Lightroom: This is what I use to edit my photos and create my own preset. 

I am currently toying with the idea of bringing someone on to help with SEO and social media but haven’t done that quite yet. 


I hope this helps possibly clear up some of the behind the scenes and if you have other questions feel free to shoot them my way! 


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