I created my website almost 4 years ago, and last year I earned around $1,800,000 before paying taxes. No doubt blogging changed my life for the better and it allows me to earn tens of thousands of dollars a month, all by doing something that I love, and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to earn money blogging either!
Blogging Allowed Me To Leave My Day Job
What’s funny is that I told my wife I was going to create a real estate investing website after a number of friends kept asking me how to invest their money. At first it was just a hobby site. A place to hang my hat. When I started the site in 2015 I had no idea what I was doing. And I certainly didn’t think I’d be making millions of dollars a year from my website.
Shortly after I launched the site my interest in blogging and creating content exploded. I just fell in love with helping people build wealth. We even launched the Financial Freedom Academy course to help people pay down debt, earn passive income and buy performing assets. The course exploded in popularity and we built a secret support Facebook group just for the academy members to work one on one with me and Natali. The positive feedback was overwhelming.
It was hard to believe that in a short amount of time we were able to leave our day jobs because of a website.
So why in the world would I create Just Build Wealth, the site you’re reading now? Great question. Why would we start over with no audience and do it all over again. Greater question.
Broadening Our Audience
I thought it would be an interesting social experiment to build it all over again from scratch and have you follow along on this journey so you could do it too. The reason Just Build Wealth exists is to reach a broader audience that might not be interested in real estate investing. I know it seems crazy. After all my 52 rental properties bring in over $33,000 a month in passive income. And there’s no better tax shelter than real estate. I like to say it’s the number one way to build wealth.
But I digress.
Stop me before I go off on a tangent. There are people that have zero interest in real estate but could benefit from my wealth of knowledge around paying off debt, creating passive income from blogging, and becoming financing intelligent in this financially ignorant world.
Side Bar Tanget: If you’re interested in real estate investing check out our massive YouTube channel devoted to the subject. We have over 300 videos and over 100,000 subscribers. Tangent finished.
Back to the Blog and my First Paycheck
A friend I met a few years ago created a real estate coaching program that I personally took. The course was off the charts amazing because it taught me the basics of finding off market properties that I could turn around and sell to a flipper that wanted to put the time into renovating the house. On my blog I started earning a few thousand dollars a month just from referring readers to his course. I was proud to refer people to his course because I knew how it changed my life and I knew how it could change the lives of my readers.
That first month I earned about $1,600 from referrals. I was hooked.
That one deal sparked my interest in learning about marketing and how to make a living with my blog.
My wife couldn’t believe it. She asked where this money was coming from. I wanted to tell her I became a sports gambler and to not ask any more questions. But I didn’t. And I don’t like gambling.
Blogging has allowed me to take total control of our finances and earn passive income. Additionally, I used to commute into New York City on a train. Yuck! Now I work from home using my iPad Pro and I travel the world. Seriously, all I need is my iPad Pro with the keyboard cover and my phone for taking pictures and that’s how I earn millions of dollars a year. You can earn money blogging also!
Today I’m going to share with you how I built a blog that earned me over $1,800,000 last year alone. I want this for you. So follow along and build the site of your dreams.
How I Began to Earn Money Blogging
As I mentioned earlier, I launched Morris Invest in 2015 but didn’t do much with it until 2016. Furthermore, I had no plan and no real idea how I was going to make money from content. When I say content I mean the cheese on the pizza, the wood behind the bat, the cream in the Twinkie. Content consists of any article, video, podcast that you create which brings readers and watchers to your site. Above all, without content you’ve got nothing. And so did I at the time.
About 3 months after starting the website I started a podcast. Now I want to be clear, you don’t have to do this, and I have NO plans to start a podcast for this website Just Build Wealth. You can build a sizable audience in a short amount of time without a podcast. But because I’m a broadcaster by nature podcasting seemed like a good fit for me.
So I started The Investing in Real Estate Podcast. I recorded eight episodes and launched them all at once. The podcast quickly rose to the top of the iTunes Business Podcast charts. I mentioned Morris Invest on the podcast and saw my traffic go up and up and up.
Shortly after that I connected with my real estate mentor and he offered me a referral program that I could feature on my blog. I earned over $1,600 from that first promotion.
It wasn’t a lot of money, considering how much time and attention I’d put into recording podcast episodes, editing them, writing blog posts, and building a whole freaking website. However, it was very motivating to watch something I built from scratch start to take off. Remember, I had no idea what I was doing.
Everything Was About to Change
By the Spring of that first year, just a few months after I started the website, I was earning around $8,000 per month, and over $100,000 a month less than a year later. I quit my day job and the rest is history.
I’m excited to start over from scratch and build Just Build Wealth from the ground up knowing what I know today. If you want to create a blog that earns you an income, you’ll want to follow my tips below and avoid my mistakes.
How to Build a Content Plan that Earns Passive Income
If you want to earn money blogging, you’ll need to put a plan in place. I want you to earn money so I recommend creating a plan that includes earning monthly revenue.
A lot of people start blogs to write about their passions. That’s great, but putting a simple framework in place ahead of time can let you earn money around that passion.
I wish I had a plan when I first started. In fact about 10 years ago I launched a passion blog around photography. I had no plan and no revenue as a result. Yes I love taking pictures but it’s more fun to take pictures and earn some money while doing it. Since creating a blogging plan I have been able to stay focused on the goals and the revenue that follows.
How to Build a Blogging Plan
Here are a few key items you’ll want to iron out at the beginning:
- What are your goals? Be as detailed as possible
- How will you make money from your website?
- How do you plan to grow your site and reach more people?
- What will your blog be about?
I recommend using a mind map for this plan. I love using an iPad or Mac app called MindNode for mind mapping. Here’s my original mind map for the content this website. It’s simple. You can see the genesis of some content ideas like How to use 0% credit cards to pay off debt. Once you have a general mind map you can start to move some of your categories over to a spreadsheet.
I want to call your attention to the revenue section of my mind map. Right from the beginning I knew I wanted the website to make money. This should be an integral part of your plan.
How to Get Started Building a Blog
Sure you can quit your job and dive in head first. Burn your boats as the Vikings did. You can do that. Or you can take a few hours a day and build it on the side while you’re planning your big departure from the 9-5 job.
If you dive in head first without a safety net you might find that you hate blogging, creating videos, or other content. Oh no! What did I do? If you start blogging in your extra time then you’ll see if it’s a fit, and know if you will actually be able to earn money blogging.
The 9-5 job is golden hand-cuffs as I like to say but in this scenario it can help you make that transition in the meantime.
Related article: How to Earn $3,000 A Month While Traveling the World
Create Epic Content to Build an Audience
Like this article. I could have written some dinky article about how to start a blog but I didn’t. I wanted to create an epic post that would help a lot of people take action. A funny thing happens when you put in the work. You get rewarded. People will share your content on social media and it will attract even more eyeballs and earholes to your stuff.
I know you want to pin this article. Go ahead, don’t be shy. It’s very pinnable.
For instance, I spent weeks working on my Ultimate Passive Income Tutorial video. It’s over 70 minutes long but it’s pure gold and the comments reflect it. People who watch this video get tons of value from it and it shows. Just look at these comments.
As you build high quality content you need to do a few things:
- Do Deep Work. Read Cal Newport’s amazing book on the subject to really hone in on your material and shut out all distractions.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you see a good article in your niche but it’s not epic, spend extra time to make an even better article. Google rewards this because they want the internet to be better. They want to recommend great content. So if you see a garbage article then take it and make something even better.
- Ask questions. Just look at my YouTube channel for real estate. Holy smokes. I get hundreds of viewer questions each day and those are valuable content ideas. Imagine being able to answer a question with a link to a great article you wrote which answers their question. You’ll have a reader for life with that kind of customer service.
- Proof your content. If you don’t like to do that then hire someone on Upwork.com for a small amount as you grow to proofread everything you publish. Your readers will thank you.
- Spend the time writing long blog articles when you can. Google loves articles that sit over 2,200 words. I know that’s long but if you’re into coffee and your coffee blog needs an article on the French Press, then write an amazing piece that sits at the top of Google will pay you back in droves with new reader traffic. Write about the history of the press, why the taste is better, why the steeping process is superior, etc. Can you tell I like good coffee?
Coffee Tangent: The French press is fantastic. Here’s the one I use. But if you really want good coffee you’ve got to use a burr grinder that rips the beans properly. Here’s the one I use for delicious coffee. Tangent over.
The Two Ways to Build a Blog
You don’t need to be an expert on the subject you choose. And you don’t have to be a professor to write about your passions. You need to follow one of two formulas to successfully earn money blogging.
- Be Luke Skywalker
- Be Yoda
Forgive my love of Star Wars as a way of illustrating a point but it works. If you take nothing else from this article I want you to take this pearl of wisdom with you.
You should write from a place of Yoda or a place of Luke. One was the teacher one was the bumbling learner. Let me explain further.
When I launched the now defunct photography website, it as a tool to catalog my journey of learning photography. I studied under one of the great photographers of the world and I was no where near his skill level, I was good, but not great. I chose to be the Luke, and talked about my mistakes, the things I was trying, the things I was learning. Sometimes I made the mistake of trying to be the expert in the posts and my few readers called me out on it. It wasn’t authentic. Don’t do it.
Readers love authenticity and there’s a level of forgiveness they’re willing to give you when you admit you don’t know much about the subject. You can build a great audience of people who are also learning.
When I launched this website I decided to take the role of Yoda. When it comes to generating passive income, paying down debt, and lowering your taxes, I am a Yoda. I’ve put in years of work to become the Yoda. And I’ve successfully helped countless people in our Financial Freedom Academy also build wealth. I’ve got this.
What You Need to Do to Earn Money Blogging
I’ve got news for you, blogging and creating content is not easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it. Just like building passive income from real estate investing it takes a lot of hard work if you want to be successful.
In order to build a successful blog you’ll have to:
- Create a blog
- Publish great content
- Be consistent with your publishing schedule
- Network with other people on social media to promote your blog
- Understand the key ways to make money
Set a schedule and stick to it. When I first started I mapped out a few hours a day on the calendar to make it happen. Review your calendar the night before so you are prepared for your day. Go to a quiet place and focus on those items. You’ll feel amazing when you’ve done deep work to produce some awesome content.
Build up a strong arsenal of content, say 100 articles, then slide into maintenance mode. That means you can start assessing the blog posts that perform the best for you and make them even better. I call this the top 10 strategy. Look at your top 10 posts that are driving the most traffic to your site and make them even better. This is where you can freshen them up, add affiliate links, or a video. I’m constantly tweaking our content to make them drive even more traffic.
Have you ever heard the saying that 20% of the work will end up driving 80% of the results? It’s true. My best videos, my best podcasts, my best blog posts drive most of the traffic to my site. I treat those posts like their my children and I make them even better every few months.
When you’re in maintenance mode you will still be turning out great content but now you can start to reap the rewards of your hard work by building affiliate sales, running ads on your site, and sponsored posts. It’s not set it an forget it but it does make life a little easier once you’ve put in the work up front.
Making Money with Your Blog
There are an endless number of ways you can earn money blogging. For us, I like to have as many legs of the stool as possible. Allow me to use an Apple analogy for a moment. I’m a big fan of the company. About ten years ago I tried a Mac laptop for the first time and I couldn’t believe how much better it was than the crappy Windows PC’s I’d been using. I digress. Apple is a hardware company. They make iPhones and computers.
But a few years ago they started building additional sources of revenue, additional legs of the stool. They started charging people for cloud storage, app downloads, book sales, and on and on. Apple doesn’t just make hardware anymore they are a services company too. So if fewer people by iPhones in 2020 but more people buy iCloud storage for their photos it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. Apple is diversified and still making money. That’s how I like to roll on my blog. I want multiple streams of income. You should too.
How to Diversify the Revenue Streams on a Blog
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money blogging by placing a link to a product or service you’re already using on your website. It’s a great tool if your goal is to earn money blogging. If someone purchases the product through your link, you make a small percentage for every sale. The reason this is so powerful is that it’s a win-win for everyone. You the blogger make money from promoting products your readers need. The company selling the product is reaching new customers they’d otherwise miss. And the best part is that your readers won’t pay anything additional just for using your link. In fact they often save a lot of money for using your links because you can negotiate with the affiliate company to get your reader a cheaper rate.
Utilizing Blue Host as an Affiliate
My blog runs on Blue Host. To me there’s no better blog hosting company out there. They are an affiliate. Which means if you start your blog on WordPress, and choose Blue Host as your hosting company through my affiliate link, I’ll get a little bit of money as a result. But you win because you’ve never heard of Blue Host, you also get a discount because I’ve negotiated a discount.
Side note. I only promote affiliate links of products that I use and endorse. I don’t want my reputation sullied by promoting crappy services. You should also do the same. Don’t just take money from a company that you don’t believe in. Your readers will notice and it’ll be hard to sleep at night. Do right by your readers and they’ll thank you for it.
Right now I earn close to $100,000 a month from affiliates on my website. It’s all done fairly passively in my blog posts and emails we send out to readers. These are products I believe in and I’ve personally used and endorsed. While nothing is truly passive it’s a great way to leverage your traffic.
Build Your Own Product
I know, I know. It sounds hard to create your own product. And for the most part it is. Don’t worry it’s not something you need to create out of the gate. Remember, this is a long slow strategy that we’re talking about here. But eventually you’ll have a large audience and they’ll want to hear from you.
Your audience will lead you to your product. That’s exactly what happened to me. I’d built up an audience and noticed a trend in the comments and emails coming in. They wanted a way to get out of debt and build financial freedom. They had questions about taxes, 401k’s, and Roth IRA’s. We decided to build The Financial Freedom Academy course that answered these questions. Now we have a thriving community and private Facebook group that helps people build wealth. That course also generates around $30,000-40,000 per month. My audience led me to this course just by paying attention to the questions.
Here are this month’s course sales numbers:
Side note. With the course we created an affiliate program so other people could promote our course to their audience. I see this as the ultimate win-win. They make money by promoting a product they didn’t have to create. We make money because we are in front of an entirely new audience. And the best part is that this audience is learning how to build wealth and create financial freedom. Win, Win, Winner.
But you don’t have to build a course. You could create a monthly newsletter for $9.99 a month. Or write an eBook from your most popular blog posts. That’s how Tim Ferris wrote The 4-Hour Work Week. He compiled his most popular posts into a book and the rest is history. The point is to create something that you can hang your hat on.
Build an Email List
Don’t make the mistake so many new companies make. They fail to capture email addresses.
When we launched this site I wanted a way to engage with my audience from day one. Most companies wait and try to do this later. Big mistake. If you want to earn money blogging, you need to put this on your priority list.
I’ve tested a lot of email providers over the years and we now use Active Campaign. Their customer service support is stellar and they allow you to segment lists and serve your audience. Think of them as buckets. Perhaps a segment of your list bought one of your products and another segment did not. Imagine what you can do with that kind of list?
The 3 reasons to start an email list:
- These subscribers are your most loyal audience. Inside of Active Campaign we can see our most active readers. That motivates me to create even better content.
- You own the list. No one can take it from you. If Facebook goes out of business one day they take all of those followers with them. Your list goes with you. And it’s yours to nurture.
- Your List is Your Best Group of Customers. Before you launch your course to the world just launch it to your best email subscribers.
Let me tell you about the first time I learned the power of email marketing.
A number of years ago I built a very successful iPhone and iPad app called ReadQuick. It was a speed reading app for iOS. Before launching the app I attended Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, I met Steve Jobs, and got to hang out with some really smart developers. One of them warned me about launching my app. He said make sure you create a way to capture email addresses inside the app. He said so many people build a great app but they don’t know how to reach their audience.
So How Do You Do That With an App?
We were one of the first iPhone apps to utilize this strategy. When someone downloaded the app for the first time they were prompted to sign up for our newsletter. They’d have to give me an email address in exchange for some additional value. We would send out emails every week with additional tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the application. Because of this, my list grew to over 70,000 people in a short amount of time.
Our offer was simple. We’ll provide you with additional free value in exchange for your email. Our goal was to eventually launch another app and we’d have a great list to market to.
Imagine if I’d didn’t include that simple sign up form the first time they launched the app. That’s what so many companies do. They don’t offer value in exchange for an email address. At the top of this page is a way for us to engage with our audience. When someone signs up they get emails that help them build wealth but they’ll also get access to our private group. People would be silly to not sign up because we’re providing a ton of value for free.
Try to follow the 80/20 rule when sending emails to your list. 80% value and 20% asking for something. Don’t spam them. We provide a ton of value most of the time and then every once in a while we’ll ask them to buy a book we’ve written. That’s not spam, that’s capitalism. Try it sometime. If you hold the door open for people eventually people will hold the door for you. That’s how this works. My friend Gary Vaynerchuk wrote about this strategy in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
How to Promote Your Blog Posts
It’s not enough to write blog posts and hope that people come to your site. In addition to doing this, you’ve got to spend the time promoting your work. If it’s worth writing it’s worth sharing on social media. Focus on one or maybe two promotion platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
My favorite source for driving quality readers to my site is Pinterest. Don’t think of it as a social network. It is a giant search engine for blog posts. When someone goes to Pinterest they’re not looking for friends, they’re looking for blog posts like this one.
For Pinterest you can use the free software Canva to create some great images for your blog posts and use Tailwind to schedule your posts on Pinterest. We’ve found that in 2019 Pinterest is rewarding at least 5 pins per day. Anything less and Pinterest thinks you’re mostly inactive. And they want fresh content. So write new posts and pin at least 5 articles per day and watch the traffic pour into your site. If your goal is to earn money blogging, then this will fast-track your progress.
You might also consider Facebook. The rumors about its untimely demise are flat wrong. Facebook Groups are a great way to create an almost second email list. Bring people onto your email list and reward them with access to your private Facebook group. Each time you’ve got a new blog article, just post it in the group for much higher engagement.
You could also follow an amazing Facebook ad posting strategy that could accelerate your growth. I took a course called FB for Bloggers that taught me how to use Facebook ads to drive some insane traffic to my website. And my email list grew very quickly thanks to this course.
The only way to grow is to learn and challenge yourself. I’m reminded of a Richard Branson quote I saw this morning:
Nothing good in my life has ever happened from the safety of my comfort zone.
Maybe you’re afraid of spending a few hundred dollars on some courses. Knock it off! When you invest a few dollars into something, you tend to complete it. Every few months I take a digital course on the internet and I learn a TON of new information that helps me grow and ultimately make a lot more money.
Here are a few of my favorite resources:
- Become a Better Writer. Recently I spent $9 on a Udemy course on blog writing. It was the best two hours I’ve spent in a long time. I’ve been able to zero in on writing better blog posts. My audience appreciates it and I’m making more money thanks to the better content. Now I can follow this framework to turn out exceptional posts like clockwork.
- Pinterest Traffic. This is the best course I’ve found on Pinterest. I transformed my Pinterest boards and strategy which allowed me to drive tons of traffic to my website. You should take this course!
- How to Set Up Your Blog. This isn’t a course but it’s everything I know about building a WordPress site from scratch. I spent years using different platforms until enough smart entrepreneurs told me to move over to WordPress. This is a step-by-step guide and it’s free.
I love carving out some time on the weekends to review some of my bigger projects and watch an hour or two of content that teach me a thing or two. Go ahead and sign up for a course and start learning so you can successfully earn money blog
Start Blogging and Grow Your Wealth Now!
This is not a get rich quick strategy. You have to put in the time to make it happen. But if you map it out, stick to a schedule, continue to learn then you will be unstoppable. Very often the only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that one of them actually got started. That’s all it takes. So get started so you can earn money blogging, ditch the 9-5 job, and become financially free!