Most hobby or part-time bloggers have the big dream of being able to quit their job to blog fully time. It’s an admirable dream, but turning this dream into reality can be… problematic.
The vicious cycle goes a little something like this:
I can’t quit my job to blog full time until I am making a livable income at it…
To make a livable income with blogging, you need to work at it full time…
To work on my blog full time, I need to quit my job…
I can’t quit my job to blog full time until I am making a livable income at it.
You have to make a leap of faith. To become a full-time blogger, you have to be honest with yourself about your stats, income, and potential, and then you have to dive into the deep end. You have to quit your job to blog full time without being 100% sure it will actually work out.
Today, I want to help you feel better about this dive into full-time blogging by giving you a few ways to supplement your blogging income outside of your blog (and without going back to working for the man).
That way, as your blog is still growing, you don’t have to panic about how you’re going to pay your bills…
…but you still have enough time to focus on your blog.
All of these money-making ideas could be used to supplement your income even if you keep your job too, but remember: if you want to actually build a blog that makes measurable amounts of money, you need to focus on that task, not going to a 9-5 every day when you could be blogging. The side-hustle is only going to distract you more if you don’t also quit your full-time job.
Without further ado, here are my best ideas for earning a little extra income on the side so you can feel confident working on your blog full time.
1. Become an Airbnb host.
This is one of the BEST ways to make a little side income, in my opinion. I’ve been an Airbnb host for nearly three years now, and during the summers, it 100% pays my household bills. (I live in a beach town, so don’t get as many bookings during the winter, unfortunately, but we do still get some bookings.)
Some people think that you need a beautiful rental property to make money with Airbnb. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! We rent out our spare bedroom, with limited access to the rest of the house. I know others on Airbnb rent out basement or attic bedrooms, couches, air mattresses, or even tent.
Here’s what you need to succeed on Airbnb:
- Somewhere for people to sleep
- A bathroom (can be shared)
Literally, that’s it.
Now, you can charge more money if you rent our a full apartment or suite, but why not let someone sleep on your guest bed or on your couch if no one else was going to use it for the night. It’s free money!
When you first join Airbnb and have no reviews, you might need to charge a little less per night. I remember when I first started, I only charged around $20 per night until I got 3-5 positive reviews on my profile. As a comparison, today, we charge $45 – $85 per night depending on the season and whether or not it is a holiday.
2. Promote affiliate products on social media.
You probably already talk about the products you use. Why not get paid for it?
For example, whenever I talk about Airbnb and how much I love it, I use my affiliate link, which earns me travel credit whenever a friend signs up using my link. I also use an affiliate link when I post pictures of myself in Gwynnie Bee dresses on Instagram, and when I talk about how much I love PicMonkey. Occasionally, I also promote Julep, certain kitchen products, and social tools I use.
Some products allow you to earn credit such as Airbnb, but others allow you to earn actual cash.
Here’s the thing: These affiliate products you promote on social media do not have to have ANYTHING to do with your blog niche. On your blog, you might be more limited as to what products you can successfully promote, but on social media, you are freer, because people follow your social accounts not just to learn about your niche, but also to get to know you as a person.
The key is to be authentic. Only promote products you actually like, and don’t try to hide the fact that you’re using an affiliate link.
My best recommendation is to work with programs that allow your to sign up for multiple affiliate promotions all through a single system. I personally like ShareASale and eBay Partner Network. Using these programs means that you’ll be paid sooner. Almost all affiliate programs have a payment minimum set at $50 or $100, and until you reach that minimum, you don’t get a check. So, by promoting products that are all from the same network, you’ll reach that minimum sooner, instead of having $34 sitting in once account, $19 in another, $29 in a third, etc.
3. Do sponsored posts on social media.
Affiliate ads via social media can bring in a lot of money if the post goes viral… but that’s a big, big if.
With sponsored posts, the amount you get paid is guaranteed. Instead of earning a percentage of every sale, you’ll simply earn a flat fee.
Now, to do this, you need to have a relatively large number of social followers. How large? That’s going to depend on your niche. But if you aren’t already, you should work on building up the 2-3 social media profiles that make the most sense for you. (Here’s a guide on how to get your first 3K followers on Instagram if you need it.)
Once you have a few thousand followers (this should take 1-2 months tops, even if you are starting from scratch), you can start charging for sponsored posts. You basically have two options:
- Reach out to companies directly and ask them if they are interested in a sponsored social post.
- Work with a network such as Clever Girls Collective to find sponsors interested in hiring you for a social post.
You can expect to make anywhere from $10 and up per social post you do, depending on the size of your following.
However, keep in mind that if all you post are sponsored posts and affiliate posts because you’re trying to make a buck, people will unfollow you. You have to give them valuable, interesting content first and foremost. It’s a balancing act between promotional and non-promotional content.
4. Sell items on eBay.
Okay, enough about social media. Let’s switch gears!
Last summer, I cleaned out my house and started putting items on a pile to have a yardsale. However, we noticed that we didn’t really have any big items, like furniture or baby stuff, which is what traditionally makes a yardsale effective. All we had were smaller items like DVDs and clothing.
In other words, stuff that was easy to ship…
So I jumped on eBay and started looking up prices. What I found was that over half of the stuff we were going to sell was going for a lot more on eBay than we’d get at a neighborhood yardsale.
One dress, which I bought on sale for $35 sold on eBay for over $40! And I had made the sticker out for $5 for our yardsale.
Now, once you get your feet wet, you don’t have to regulate yourself to just selling items you own. You can also start selling items you find at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets. You just have to be able to sell it for more than you buy it for, with enough profit to justify your shopping time.
It’s actually easier than it sounds.
I have especially found it easy to sell clothing. All I do is go to the thrift store and find clothing in good condition that has a name brand lable… do a quick search on ebay for the same article of clothing… and buy/list it if it is selling for at least twice as much on eBay. Easy peasy.
You can also do drop-shipping, but this takes a little more time, so it isn’t always easy to focus on your blog if you’re involved in the world of drop shipping. Basically, what this means is that you find a source for an item that people will want to buy (a pair of jeans for example), and then list is for slightly higher on eBay or another site where users can sell items. When someone purchases the item from you, you take their money and use it to pay for the item on the other site, where it is cheaper, and ship it directly to the buyer.
5. Become a mystery shopper.
I know, I know… mystery shopping totally sounds like a scam.
But actually, if you work with the right companies, it is a great way to supplement your blogging income! Notice I said “work with the right companies.” 🙂
I signed up as a mystery shopper several years ago, and right away I was turned off because of the 5 companies I signed up with, 4 of them emailed me back about a fee. You should never, never have to pay a company to do work for them! If they require a fee, they are more than likely a scam.
Once you sign up for a reputable company, though, it’s all about doing the job to the best of your abilities. You’re going to be asked to purchase certain items, order certain meals, and make certain notes. If you do not follow the instructions completely, there’s a chance you might not be paid… and you could also get booted out of the network. As a mystery shopper, you are only valuable to the company if you follow the rules and turn in the proper reports.
Before you sign up with any company, always make sure they are reputable, and the easiest way to do that is to see that they are a member of MSPA, the governing body for mystery shopper organizations. I recommend IntelliShop, but this is not the only reputable mystery shopper company out there. It really depends who is most active in your area and what type of shopping you want to do most.
Are you looking for even more side-hustle ideas you can do outside of your job?
I highly recommend this article from The Penny Hoarder, which does list some more common side jobs, like freelancing, but also weird stuff that I didn’t even know were things… like…
- Carving walking sticks
- Charging people to cuddle with them
- Officiating weddings
Basically, if you want to make a little extra income to supplement your blogging income, it’s time to get creative! Think about the skills you have, which could be anything from creating items to sell to parenting, and then think about what other people might pay you to do.
A word of caution, however. Don’t get so involved with your job on the side that you start focusing on it instead of your blog. I mean… do that, if you love it. But if you want to grow your blog, don’t just replace one full time job with a second full time job. Use a side job as a security blanket, but make sure your main focus is your blog. If it’s not, it will be extremely hard to grow.