start a blog that makes money

Making money online is not as easy as the title of this article makes it seem. The truth is, I first learned how to start a blog 7 years.

Since then have had years where I absolutely crushed it, and years where I straight lost money.

But in the years that I did make money, it’s because I looked at what was working in the market and replicated it the best I could.

So that’s what I did in this article.

I looked at 4 bloggers who are making a combined $124k per month, along with their exact monetization strategies, and then designed a step by step infographic that makes it easy for you (and me) to replicate their success.

I teach people how to start a blog as my full-time job, but my blog originally started out as just a hobby.

And that’s the case for the majority of people with a “blog”. They consider it as an outlet to occasionally share their thoughts, have fun and get compliments.

But when you talk about money, bloggers aren’t expected to be well-off. If you tell people that you blog full-time for a living, they might pity you.

And wish you all the best for finding a real job.

Numbers tell that those people aren’t completely wrong. In a 2015 survey of thousands of women bloggers by iBlog magazine, only 11% claimed to earn more than $30,000. 68% of bloggers said that they earned less than $5,000.

That’s sad.

The bloggers we profiled below made a collective $124,407 in a single month.

Free PDF Checklist: Download a free checklist that lists the top ways $100k bloggers are making money and how you can sign up for them. Here’s a link where you can download the PDF

This being Wise Startup Blog, we examined exactly what each of these bloggers is doing to produce this massive income and made it easy for you to replicate their results on your own.

You can do it.

The bad news is it isn’t an overnight journey. It’s a long road involving a lot of hard work, sweat and hustle.

This is the 12-Step Blueprint I'm Following to Make $124,407 Blogging #Infographic Click To Tweet

Here’s how you actually make money from this article:

  • Read through all of the 12 different monetization strategies
  • Pick the one that is the best fit for your blog/personality
  • Set a goal that’s achievable for where you are: say $10 or $100 or $1000 day
  • Go back to the article and read through the “additional reading” for your section
  • Make incremental progress every day, getting you closer and close to your goal

Let’s get started with blogger number 1.

#1 Pat Flynn Makes $100,000/Month

make money blogging with pat flynn

@PatFlynn has created a passive income cult. He was among the first few bloggers that practiced transparency by sharing an income report publicly every month at Smart Passive Income (SPI).

Since Jan, 2015 he has consistently touched the $100k mark every month (not year). And he makes a major chunk of money through affiliate marketing and offering new affiliates tips & tricks.

Let’s dig into 3 specific sources from his March, 2016 Income report.

This is How @PatFlynn Promotes Bluehost and Makes $53,400/Month Click To Tweet

1. Pat Flynn Promotes Bluehost and Makes $53,400/Month

Bluehost sells web hosting and domains. It’s an inexpensive and relatively easy way to setup your website – new sign ups get a free domain as well. So it’s a good fit for beginners considering starting a blog.

Bluehost affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways of making money for bloggers – as they pay $65 per sale. And they claim to have paid $5 million in commissions last year alone.

Pat Flynn earned a massive $53,400 from Bluehost in March, 2016. Here are two rules that Pat Flynn adheres to when promoting products as an affiliate.

  • Only promote products that you’re very familiar with. Preferably you’ve used them and it helped you to achieve something.
  • Don’t tell anyone to directly buy a product. Only recommend them in the context of how you’ve used them (maybe as a case study in a blog post).

You can sign up for the Bluehost affiliate program here and start getting paid by PayPal. Here is a quick tutorial by Harsh Agrawal (a popular make money online blogger) on how to join.

Pat once showed an insider look of how and where he placed his Bluehost affiliate links – YouTube video, getting started page and resources page among others. He also showed the exact number of commissions he derived from each location. Read the affiliate link conversions post.


Alternatively, you can also consider other Web Hosting Affiliate programs. Jon Morrow (another millionaire blogger) promotes Siteground as an affiliate. Here’s a post on the best web hosting affiliate programs that offer up to $150+ commission per sale.

Pat also earned $12,000 in March, 2016 as a LeadPages affiliate. So you can also sign up as an affiliate for products other than web hosting products as well. Here is a guide by Pat on smart affiliate marketing.

lead magnet

Pro tip: Lead magnets convert like crazy and are surprisingly easy to create. If you don’t have any ideas for a lead magnet, simple condense your post into a checklist and offer it as a download.

start a blog lead magnet

This lead magnet has a 47% opt-in rate, whereas my site-wide opt-in rate is around 5%. I use LeadPages for my lead magnet delivery, just like Pat and I highly recommend them.

This Is How @PatFlynn Makes $16,399/Month Through Podcast Sponsorships Click To Tweet

2. Pat Flynn Makes $16,399/Month Through Podcast Sponsorships

Pat started the SPI podcast back in July, 2010. Back then, podcasting wasn’t mainstream and setting up your own podcast wasn’t easy.

Fast forward to Aug, 2015 and SPI podcast has crossed 17,000,000 total downloads. Moreover, Pat has started three more podcasts including AskPat.

There are various ways of monetising a podcast, but the most common is sponsorships. 67% of podcast listeners don’t mind listening to promotional messages. They even find them useful occasionally.

In March 2016, Pat earned $16,339.89 through podcast sponsorships.


Currently AskPat lists 3 sponsors – ZipRecruiter, Fresh Books and MileIQ. For SPI Podcast, Pat started with Audio Books as the first sponsor – they offered him $5,000 per episode. 99Designs also sponsors episodes currently.

With Apple having already crossed 1 billion subscribers for podcasts via iTunes in 2013, right now is the best time to launch your own podcast.

Pat Flynn has created a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can start your own podcast. He takes you through the entire process of naming your podcast, artwork, software, equipment, recording, setting your feed to publishing your first episode in it.

Tim Ferris also recently announced crossing 70,000,000 downloads for his business podcast. He started it as an experiment with long-form audio and testing the waters with six episodes in 2014. And he has quickly risen through the ranks interviewing likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Foxx.

As per Tim, premium, high-converting podcasts can earn $25-100 CPM. So if you can guarantee 100,000 downloads/episode within six weeks post-publication, you can earn upto $10,000 per episode per sponsor.

start a blog udemy tim ferris

Tim himself deals only with businesses ready to shell out at least $50k. You can pick some more nuggets of podcasting wisdom from Tim here.

How @PatFlynn Makes $12,307 By Building a Custom Smart Podcast Player Click To Tweet

3. Pat Makes $12,307 By Building a Custom Smart Podcast Player

Creating a software is a great monetisation strategy if your audience demands it. But you need to have (or hire) software development skills to pull it off.

Pat saw that there were 3.5 million podcast plays directly on his blog. That’s when he thought about improving the front-end experience of the podcast.

So he built a custom player for his new show Ask Pat and it was called the Ask Pat Player. He started getting hundreds of requests from people for getting their hands on the player for using it in their own show.

So he launched the podcast in June, 2014 to a group of beta users and finally made a public release on January 12, 2015. Here’s a look at the key salient features of the player.

smart podcast player

In March 2016, Pat earned $12,307.60 through Smart Podcast Player Licenses. Read  the 7 lessons he learned from building a software product (including how he dealt with his main software developer exiting the project).

It’s not out of the ordinary to expect bloggers to launch their own software products. But besides tackling your personal challenges, you should consider validating their demand to your audience and making the software public.

Spencer Haws also launched Long Tail Pro as a result of his own needs. And he ended up building it to $100,000 software business within a couple of years. He shares his Long Tail Pro story here.

#2 Regina Makes $16,392/Month

make money blogging with regina

@byReginaTV calls herself a sidekick to infopreneurs. She is committed to helping freelancers, coaches and teachers profit from their knowledge.

In her own words, “I want your readers to love you, your new customers to go crazy over you, and your fans to create #hashtags in your honor. That is all.”

In her January, 2015 income report she revealed that she made $16,382.91.

She made a couple thousand chunk of affiliate income from Bluehost. But we’ll look at her 3 other different approaches that helped her make money.

Here's How @byReginaTV Sells Her Class 50 Workdays - Zero to blog and Makes $5,475/Month Click To Tweet

4. She Sells Her Class 50 Workdays – Zero to blog and Makes $5,475/Month

Regina achieves her brand’s mission of helping people sell their knowledge with her premium information products.

And Zero to Blog is one such self-guided class with added incentives in community, checklists and more. In Jan, 2015 Regina earned $5475.00 with this class.

She later relaunched the class as Epic Blog Crew in 2016.

Information courses are very hot right now. Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich recently shared how he sold $5 million worth of courses in a week in April 2014.

start a blog graphs

Here’s the basic process – create a blog, write value-adding posts and build about 1000 email subscribers (should take you under 3 months if you do it right). While building your audience, it’s advisable to use a tool that allows segmentation.

Next, you find out your most popular blog posts (driving maximum email subscriber conversions). And validate the demand for a course around one of these most popular posts.

Guess what?

The validation involves earning some pre-launch revenue – which might be the best indication of demand.

This saves wasted effort and time. You don’t want to build a product that everyone labels awesome, but no one wants to buy.

how to make more money online

Bryan Harris elucidates this process in detail and how it helped him make $10,000 within 24 hours.

Later on, Bryan launched his flagship course on getting 10,000 email subscribers and ended up making $220,750 in 10 days. He writes about it here.


Here's How @byReginaTV Makes $3,224/Month Selling her Epic Blog: One year editorial planner Click To Tweet

5. Regina Makes $3,224/Month Selling her Epic Blog: One year editorial planner

This is a physical blog calendar that helped Regina make $3,224.22. She also offered this in her physical welcome kit to her Zero to blog students.

Listed at $18.5, the planner helps bloggers for one-year worth of content planning. And it has received 56 positive reviews.

sell an epic blog

Once you build an audience, it’s also possible to make good money off selling workbooks, checklists and the like. On her blog’s right sidebar, Regina also sells these workbooks and resources.

start a blog resources

If a workbook doesn’t fit your niche, then you can also sell physical products. Neil Patel in his $100,000/month blog challenge at sells Fish Oil supplements on Amazon.

And he sold $76,326.90 worth of supplements in Jan, 2016 (although he also had $56,401.91 worth of expenses). In this post, Neil mentions that he didn’t create the product himself. Rather his friend, Mike found a company ready to white-label their product.

start selling a blog

6. Zach Garry Makes $8/k Month Selling Products via Amazon Associates

Regina only made $273.49 off this source. But Amazon Associates is an incredible way to earn money for niche websites – they pay upto 8.5% commission on sales through your advertising efforts.


Many websites listed at Empire flippers pull huge incomes from Amazon. A great example is Zach Garry. He bought a website from Flippa and after building good traffic, he now makes a living from the Amazon Affiliates program. He made over $8k in July, 2015.


Again, key to making money through Amazon is not being too pushy and writing posts relevant to the products you promote. Jon Haver has written a brilliant post on setting up Amazon Affiliate websites on WordPress.

Spencer Haws has also built many websites earning through Amazon Affiliates. He shares how targeting long-tail keywords and 8 other strategies can help you increase your Amazon Affiliate earnings in this post.

Once you’ve built an Amazon Affiliate website to a stage where it makes a couple thousand dollars in profits:

You can sell the website for about 2.5x – 3x its annual income. 

Pat Flynn was offered $10k when his website was making merely $700-$800 in monthly profits. Here’s a 4-step guide to sell your website.

#3 Johnny FD Makes $18,391/Month

make money blogging with johnnyFD

@JohnnyFDK has a fascinating life story of how the 4-hour work week inspired him to quit his corporate job and follow his passion of becoming a scuba diving instructor. And later a Muay Thai kickboxer.

But as he turned 30, he was short of cash and that’s when he started his blog

Since starting the blog he has been featured on various media outlets including Entrepreneur and Business Insider.

In March, 2016 Johnny made $18,391.06.

He has experimented with various revenue streams and here’s a look at 4 of them.

Here's How @JohnnyJDK Makes $99/Hour with Phone Coaching Click To Tweet

7. Johnny Makes $99/Hour with Phone Coaching

make money phone coachingMentors can shorten your learning curve and sail you through many business struggles, right?

After rejecting a couple of people, Johnny thought that he could help the people just starting out or those struggling to achieve their goals.

So he started offering phone coaching services in areas off niche selection, drop shipping, affiliate marketing, lifestyle and more.

He hasn’t shared his earnings from the phone coaching in his March, 2016 income report (maybe he’s currently discontinued the services). But he offers 4 kinds of coaching plans in the range of $175-$800.

Even Jon Morrow loves offering coaching services. As per his estimates, even a beginner blogger can charge $99/hour for telephone coaching. And the learning experience is priceless.

In his flagship course, Guest Blogging, Jon has added one-on-one phone coaching to the mix.

Ramit Sethi shows you how to get your first 3 paying clients.

8. Johnny Makes $264/Month Selling His eBook in Spanish

Once you’ve built your list, it’s easier to get book deals and get more sales. Johnny made $264.89 from the Spanish version of his book ‘Life Changes Quick’.

If you’re interested in becoming an author, Tim Ferris has compiled an awesome resource on how to write a bestselling book.

Gaining early momentum is extremely important when you sell a book. That’s why many modern authors focus on building a robust book marketing team for ensuring a successful launch.

Jeff Goins recently pulled a successful book launch with over 14,000 pre-orders, hitting three bestseller lists – USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Washington Post. He shares his launch experience in this article.


Pat Flynn also self-published his book ‘Will it Fly?’ and managed to hit the Wall Street Journal’s best seller list. He shares his detailed journey of writing the post in two parts – one and two.

9. Johnny Makes $551/Month By Creating Udemy Courses

Remember how I told you informational products sell like hotcakes right now?

Udemy takes courses to the next level. It has adopted a marketplace model pooling students and instructors under one platform. Look at its massive numbers.

how to make more money online udemy

With millions of students scouting the platform for education on a plethora of subjects, you’re virtually guaranteed to make some sales – you can keep 70% of the revenue from your courses.

The only drawback is Udemy controls the pricing and runs discounts that might lead your course to sell under $20.

Indeed in April 2015, Udemy announced pricing changes for all courses, streamlining them in the range of $20 – $50.

Johnny made $551.20 through Udemy in March, 2016 from his two courses – Small Talk Networking and Relationship Ready.

start a blog udemy

It’s possible to earn a full-time income on Udemy. But you need to create multiple courses that have demand and run regular discounts/ promotions.

Udemy instructor Alun Hill made $30,000/month from selling his courses on YouTube marketing, graphic design and the like at Udemy (though he’s no longer on the platform).

To get started, you can watch John Colley’s 25 tips for creating great Udemy courses below.

How @JohnnyFDK Makes $5,324/Month from Drop Shipping Click To Tweet

 10. Johnny Makes $5,324/Month from Drop Shipping

If you’ve always wanted to open your own eCommerce store, but were short of capital and didn’t want to maintain inventory, then the drop shipping model is for you.

Johnny has been running drop shipping stores since 2013 – working about an hour a day. And it has played a huge role in replacing his 9-5 job. In March 2016, Johnny made a net profit of $5,324.24 from his two drop shipping stores.

If you want to get started with drop shipping, here’s a quick video tutorial from Shopify. You can also read their 11-chapter guide here.

Johnny recommends using this pdf with discounts on resources you’ll need for starting your drop shipping business.

Once you get profitable, you can also sell your drop shipping website upwards of 6 figures. In this podcast episode with Spencer Haws, Andrew Youderian shares how he sold his website for $170,000.

#4 Abby Makes $36,234/Month

start a blog abby

@JustAGirlAbby started her blog in 2013 to share her passion for building a beautiful, thriving home, life and business. It was supposed to be a hobby blog.

Fast forward 3 years and now the blog has become her family’s full-time endeavour – Abby works on it along with her husband Donnie. She shares her journey from being a hobby blog to a thriving business in this post.

In Feb, 2016 Abby earned $36,234. Let us look at two income sources used by Just a Girl and a Blog during their journey to $30k+/month.

How @JustAGirlAbby Makes $10,668 Selling Her Ebooks Click To Tweet

11. Abby Makes $10,668 Selling Her Ebooks

While Abby writes high-quality content on her blog, she has gone into a greater depth on certain subjects in her eBooks.


Let us look at the subjects of her 3 eBooks.

‘Building a framework’ deals with building a successful blog. Which she later bundled into a course with more lessons and value-packed interviews with experts.

‘Paperless Home’ deals with organising your life through Evernote. Again, the eBook is also available with video tutorials.

‘Simplify’ is a resource containing “35+ Printables to Help You Organize Your Life.”

Whoever said you can’t make money by selling eBooks was lying:

In Feb, 2016 Abby managed to make $10,668 from the Framework eBook and course, $1,956 from the Simplify eBook and $814 from Paperless home eBook.

The price point of eBooks is generally in the $10-$20 range. But you can make a living from selling eBooks.

Ryan Buckley from Scripted shows real-world case studies of how you can make $1,000,000 selling ebooks.

If you don’t have an audience yet, you can also consider self-publishing and selling eBooks on Kindle. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Mike Shreeve sold $746,256.61 worth of fiction ebooks via Kindle, Kobo, B&N and more. Here’s a look at the royalties he earned from various pen names in November, 2014.

start a blog earnings

He breaks down the process on how to sell 978 fiction eBooks every day in this post.

Even if you’re not a prolific writer you can build a six-figure annual business with Kindle eBooks.


By hiring ghostwriters and publishing a high-quantity of eBooks.

Dave Koziel’s free 9-part video series on building a six-figure Kindle publishing business is a great place to start.

How @JustAGirlAbby Makes $5,070/Month Selling Her Intentional Life Planner on Amazon Click To Tweet

12. Abby Makes $5,070/Month Selling Her Intentional Life Planner on Amazon

This next income source is seasonal, but it’s a nice addition that can help in building your brand offline.

The international life planner was announced by Abby in November, 2015 and it focused on helping her audience achieve their goals while keeping them productive.

sell life planners

Mind you, it’s a printable digital product (not physical) – you’ll receive PDF files in two different sizes. And the product was priced at $10.

The response to the planner was positive – Abby managed to make $2,240 in Jan 2016, $2,100 in December 2015 and $5,070 in November 2015.

You can also consider selling a physical life resource that adds value to your audience, like the five minute gratitude journal. And later bundle it with iPhone and Android apps.

John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire (EOF) launched a kickstarter project for a resource to help his audience achieve their #1 goal in 100 days – The Freedom Journal.

start writing

The journal’s personal pack was priced at $35, but the mastermind pack went all the way to $295.

Can you guess the amount of capital EOF managed to raise through Kickstarter?

$453k in 33 days.

That’s the 6th most funded Kickstarter publishing campaign of all time. John elucidates the 4 phases of creating the freedom journal in this post.

$100k isn’t usual income for bloggers… But the actionable strategies and resources in this article will help you get on the right path.

Hopefully you’ve got inspired by at least one of the 12 monetisation strategies I’ve shared in the article. And are ready to kick start your journey to $100k.

Free PDF Checklist: Download a free checklist that lists the top ways $100k bloggers are making money and how you can sign up for them. Here’s a link where you can download the PDF

Once you get serious about your blog, it’s possible to make a living from it and live your dreams.

You Can Start a Blog That Makes $124,407: Just Replicate These 12 Monetization Strategies… Click To Tweet

Infographic: How to Start a Blog That Makes $100k+

Pro 134 12 Blogging Strategies That Make $69,782 Month 03.05.16

Teach your readers how to start a blog that makes money by embedding this infographic:

Do you know of any other strategies used by bloggers to make six figures annually? I would love to hear about them in the comments box below.

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