Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the founder and writer at Making Sense of Cents. On her blog, she helps readers learn how to make extra money, how to save money, and reach their dream life. She currently earns $100,000 a month through her blog and she shares exactly how on her blog. Michelle and her husband sold their house in 2015 and currently travel full-time in an RV with their two dogs.
Michelle also teaches the very successful course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, taking students through the steps of turning a blog into a business!
What prompted you to start a blog business and be location-independent?
I never thought I would grow up and become a full-time blogger, haha. I graduated from college in 2010, and again in 2012 with my Masters with an emphasis in Finance. I started out as a financial analyst in 2010, and worked in that position for a little over 3 years.
In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Due to that website, I became extremely interested in personal finance blogs, and my interest in blogging just grew from there. However, before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money or anything else along those lines.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It all was just a hobby and that’s all I ever thought that it would be.
But, I came to really love blogging (and I still do!), and eventually left my financial analyst job so that I could blog full time.
Best. Decision. EVER.
On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.
What is the #1 reason people hesitate to start a blog business?
I think a lot of people hesitate to start a blog business because it’s such a new thing. As you can can see from what I said above, I didn’t even know about blogs or that they could make money until the month that I actually started my blog.
In your opinion what is the main upside to working online? Is there a downside?
The only downside is that since you can bring the internet with you everywhere, you can ALWAYS work. This makes it hard to take a vacation, to work normal hours, and so on, because you can always work.
There are plenty of upsides, though. I love being able to travel full-time, make my own schedule, be my own boss, and more. Being able to work online is seriously the best thing ever!
How can your website Making Sense of Cents help travelers?
My website does have a travel section, in which I talk about traveling full-time, RVing, and more. Also, I talk about how to save money, how to make money, success, life, and more, which can all be helpful as well to a traveler.
How can affiliate marketing help travel bloggers?
I love affiliate income because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it. With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
And, this is exactly how affiliate marketing could help travel bloggers as well. With affiliate marketing, you can earn an income while you are traveling, and it can be somewhat passive income. This is much better than trading time for dollars!
What is the first piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in the blog business? Especially travel blogging.
My best piece of advice that I’d give a new blogger is that I recommend networking as much as you can. One big blogging mistake that I’ve noticed many other bloggers make is not making the effort to network. Networking is so important as a blogger. You should see others in the blogging world as your colleagues and friends, not your enemies or competition.
What are your favourite resources when it comes to blogging?
One very important thing is to continue to learn about blogging and the many different ways to make money blogging.
One learning tool I recommend is my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a great learning tool, even if you are a brand new blogger. By taking this course, you will start off blogging the correct way. You can learn from my affiliate marketing mistakes and learn the best ways to start making an income by being an affiliate. Through taking this course you are sure to grow a profitable blog quicker than the average blogger, as you’ll learn exactly what you need to know about affiliate marketing. So, even if you only have one blog post or even none, you are ready to get started with this course!
Can you tell us a success story that stood out about someone who became location independent by starting a blog business?
I know several successful bloggers who are now location independent. Plus, nearly every young RVer that you meet has a blog business as well! I know someone who started their blog just 2 years ago and are earning $20,000 a month and traveling full-time – and they absolutely love life. Their story is always one that I’m happy to tell about others 🙂
What are your plans for the future? Travel, new business etc.
Business-wise, I hope to continue to grow my blog, help more people, and make another digital product in 2017. Travel-wise, we plan on RVing for a few more years, then full-time sailing. Life is great and I’m super excited for the future 🙂
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2 responses to “Making Sense of Cents: blogging and personal finance with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner”
Thanks so much for having me! 🙂
Thanks so much for the informative interview Michelle! You’re an inspiration to many!