Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Can You Make Money Blogging without Selling Your Soul?

I didn’t start blogging to find a way to make money. I did it, because I love writing. But at a certain point in exploring a passion, you have to ask: “Can I make money doing this? Can I find a way to monetize my passion?”

Yes, you can.

Make Money Blogging

Photo credit: Images_of_Money (Creative Commons)

Freelance writing and book publishing traditionally doesn’t make a ton of money (unless your last name happens to be “King” or “Rowling”).

So we writers have to be inventive with how we support our families and keep the water on. Or settle for being starving artists. But these days, there is a third option: blogging.

You can do what you love, find ways to monetize it, and then use it to fund other less lucrative passions, like writing a book. That’s what I’m interested in.

The question is: Can you really make a ton of money with a blog, like all those “gurus” say?

Sure you can.

And no. You absolutely cannot.

Allow me to explain…

How to make a buck with a blog

I just got $120 worth of free books on Amazon. On a whim a few months ago, I signed up for Amazon Affiliates a few months ago and started linking to books I would’ve recommended, anyway.

I was surprised when the pennies turned to dollars without much effort on my part. I’ve since decided to save up my earnings and finally get a Kindle.

This is what blogging can do. It’s a fun little perk, but is it enough to quit your job and pay the bills? Well, no. Not in and of itself. But it is just one strategy among many in how people can make money online.

Here are other ways people make money online:

  • Affiliate marketing: Selling other people’s products for them and earning a commission on each sale. My Amazon story is an example of this. I’m also starting to see some fruit from promoting other products I believe in, like 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
  • Product sales: Sell your own products (eBooks, webinars, iPhone apps, whatever). I’m working on a few of these myself. The trick is delivering value and only giving your community what they want.
  • Advertising: If you have decent traffic, you can sell ad space. (I’ve just started exploring this, but so far it’s been fruitful. Recently, to jump-start my advertising, I offered a 50% discount on Cyber Monday.)
  • Market your own services: If selling stuff makes your skin crawl, you can use a blog to build an online presence and brand and then use it to land consulting or freelance services. (I’ve had several people contact me about things like writing an eBook, SEO, and other topics I’ve written about.)

When I started placing Amazon links on my site, I was amazed at how quickly I started earning commissions. Then, I started promoting other products with higher returns.

And that’s when it became fun. When I would get emails in the middle of the night, informing me I had earned $10 here, $50 there — without having to lift a finger.

This led to a startling realization: You really can do this; you can make money with a blog. Without selling your soul. So what’s with the “no” part?

The gurus are wrong

The gurus say this is easy. They say you’ll make money fast. Just like they did. But that’s not true. At least, it’s not probable.

The reality is making a full-time living online is hard. Not impossible, but hard. This is why they call it “work.” You’re probably not going to make six figures with a blog. Not right away, anyhow. But that’s not to say you can’t make decent money.

I know people who make $20,000-$40,000 (USD) per year, which is nice, but nothing noteworthy. Even Darren Rowse, founder of Problogger.net, said he had to work very, very hard to make $36,000 his first year as a professional blogger, which is hardly stop-the-press kind of news.

In other words, there is no magic bullet. No success-over-night story. And if there is, you shouldn’t count on it. It takes work.

I don’t know about you, but this was a relief to me. I’m not interested in get-rich-quick schemes; I don’t believe they’re the smartest way to accumulate wealth. All the millionaires who remain millionaires practice something better:

Get rich slow.

If you want to succeed, you should play the long game, also.

So what do you do?

This brings us back to the beginning, back to writing for the love of it and using blogging to supplement your passion.

I’m not interested in being the next professional blogging success story. I just want to find ways to make my blog pay for itself. And I’d like to earn a little extra money to make the hours I invest into blogging worthwhile.

And if you’re a blogger, this should be your bare minimum, too. Even if it’s a passion project, there is no reason why your blog shouldn’t be able to eventually pay for itself. And then on top of that, your life.

My goal is to find creative ways to help others — ways that people are willing to pay for — to give me the freedom to do what I really love doing: writing. Without having to worry about paying the bills.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to getting started with making money blogging, read: Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. And this book has been helpful, too.

What about you? Isn’t it time that your blog became your patron? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the author of four books, including The Art of Work. I also run an online business teaching writers how to get the attention their work deserves. Every week, I send out an email newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

Your Work Deserves to Be Noticed — Here’s How

All art needs an audience. So does your writing. To download a free eBook and learn exactly what I did to grow my blog from zero to 100,000 readers in 18 months, enter your email below.

  • http://www.bestearbudsandheadphones.blogspot.com Jenna Felton
  • Jacqueline Lee

    Not a spammer–thanks for being honest about the fact that I’m not going to become an amazingly super rich blogger if I just download your ebook or pay for your super-secret webinar. It’s refreshing.

  • http://pmjandhanyojana.co.in/ Ankita Agrawal

    very well written article. I am a newbie and required this kind of information to monetize my blog

  • adeem jan

    Hi Goins,

    While running any blog even in the starting of the blogging journey most of bloggers think to make money which is not a good approach. Many people start their blogging as their hobby but when they become serious and take it as their business then many things are required to work upon.

    I have seen many newbies who ask about getting more visitors at their blog. Initially I think that they may be serious about blogging but you know most of them don’t even maintain consistency in writing their blog post which can’t be taken in a positive way.

    Money is always the concern but if you are thinking only about money then no one can save you from getting ruined.
    Your readers should be your main focus but if you think only about SEO then it will not bring good results to you.

    Thanks for your wonderful post. :)

  • http://jodhasahib.com Jodha Sahib

    This is a hell of knowledge and information for every teenager,student,housewife,unemployed !

  • http://www.ezhomebasedbusinessreviews.com/ Henrico Ellis

    Great post wish I stumbled upon this earlier. I can resignate with the freelance writing portion of this article that is where I first started, long but informative post

  • gurpreet singh

    nice post money can also be earned by online offline jobs http://www.offlinework.com

  • Zeeshan Parvez

    A down to earth and factual explanation about what blogging is all about.

  • jhon

    with this
    method i make every month 280-300$ with http://torrentmethodtomakemoney.blogspot.com/

  • Mike

    You’ve pretty much articulated my thoughts on the whole online venture. I’d spent years talking about car safety before putting together a blog on it (http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com), and all of a sudden realized people were interested in reading my reviews on car seats and 3 across guides. It makes a little money, and that’s great, but what I really enjoy is being able to talk about car and child safety with people. Good post, Jeff.

  • Nerdgirl

    THANK YOU!!!!!!! I am trying to start a blog for my class and I really needed to know this.

  • Karl Rove

    I just bought an amazing book on Amazon that’s worth sharing, called “How to make money online” by a guy called Jerry Steinburg. Its step by step with lots of different ideas and covers from Drop shipping through to domain flipping . Well worth the few dollars it cost.


  • Lust Served

    Thoroughly enjoyed this article! Very well written and full of useful information! Have bookmarked this page. Check out the following blog too! This blog has reviews of many other money making websites. Directory of Online Jobs

  • ssv

    Check this out,

    You will make money for sure.. but done expect it to be fast. the site will create your link and you can earn money slowly


    I am not sure if its legit but its worth a try as you dont have to pay anything

  • http://meryslim.blogspot.com/ MerySlim

    why your name is not popular ?

  • Ewen Chia

    I’m so happy, this changed my life
    Step by Step tutorial on how to make money online 2015-2016

  • Ewen Chia

    I’m so happy, this changed my life froever
    Step by Step tutorial on how to make money online 2015-2016

  • Dany Andy

    Hmm..I must say that I never thinked about Amazon Affiliates. Can you make a lot of money with this idea?

    Dany My web:http://www.banidincriza.webatu.com/ideei_bani_pe_net.html

  • Angelina Alex

    3 steps to make at least $1,575.90 – $2,556.80 income over and over a day.

    Wanna Make Money $$$ extra income a day by Using This Amazing Product?

    This is a quick advice,>>https://tr.im/fA0VQ<&lt; how to make a pile with this incredible system that ALWAYS works.

    it will make your campaigns MUCH more profitable……..

    Click here and see at a glance :http://ow.ly/JsXof

    You will say ‘thank you’ later.

    All The Best.

  • Asge Staal

    Good post and nice to have by hand when building a blog. Many good advice, cheers.
    I recently posted a post about making money online. Think there are some good points:

  • http://bigmoney-blog.blogspot.in big money blog
  • mariana fernandez

    I was quite pleased to locate this site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this great post! I certainly enjoy reading it and I’ve you bookmarked to have a look at new stuff you blog post. On the contrary I would also like to draw your attention that there are so many micro-job site such as http://www.gicree.com, http://www.zopgraphics.com, http://www.freelancer.com and many more are really doing so good!

  • Kevin Peterson

    I enjoyed reading your pleasant site. This content has genuinely peaks my
    interest. My goal is to bookmark your web site and keep checking achievable
    information. I have seen many marketplace websites for microjobs, logo makers,
    business card designers, graphic designer like http://www.gicree.com, http://www.zopgraphics.com,
    http://www.elance.com and many other top good sites.

  • http://www.mohammedloanserviceplc.com mohammed

    Do you need a Loan?
    Are you looking for Finance?
    Are you looking for a Loan to enlarge your business?
    I think you have come to the right place.
    We offer Loans at low interest rate.
    Interested people should please contact us on
    For immediate response to your application, Kindly
    reply to this emails below only:

    Please, do provide us with the Following information if interested.
    First name:
    Middle name:
    Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):
    Marital status:
    Total Amount Needed:
    Time Duration:
    Zip/postal code:
    Monthly Income:
    Which sites did you know about us…..


  • Rajah Siwale

    This is a great and honest post. I started pursuing online cash in February but I had tried in 2011 and quit after a week. I am just glad I got my Adsense account then. I have been studying online money making methods and I have set a goal of 1000 Euros per week, however long it will take. You can track my progress here http://www.upwarddollar.blogspot.com

  • http://earn-money-now1.blogspot.in/ Gaurav Mishra

    Thanks for GUIDING your valuable information on your site, I will share your article
    to my friends also so that they can understand about the this huge market

  • Abryt

    Hey guys just earn double money at http://www.doubleearning.com

  • www.accordingtozascha.com

    I think you’re very right. It does take long and it does require a lot of hard work, but I do believe you can get there if you want to :)

  • Mark Penny

    Great post on making money blogging, you can also learn the secret blueprint to making money online step by step.

    Seriously this works and is working for me and many others around the globe. I earn TOP dollar, visit http://www.megaonlineprofits.net and follow the step by step guide.

    Watch all the videos and learn how to make a fortune with a little patience and you can do this from anywhere in the world 110% proven. All you have to do is enter your email address to start its that simple…

    6 figure salary is more than possible if you follow the guide inside, im nearly half way there