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Today I’m very pleased to share with you my interview with my blogging friend, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents blog. Michelle created her blog six years ago, and since then, she has earned over $2,000,000 with her blog and around $979,000 in just 2016 alone. She is a legend!
She is also the creator of the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, which has helped thousands of people to succeed with affiliate marketing (I’m one of them 🙂 )
In this interview, Michelle explains how she started her blogging adventure and how she went full-time in 2013. Two years later, Michelle and her husband sold their house and started a new life travelling (and living) full-time in an RV.
She likes dogs, hiking mountains and she is a Korean food lover. Read the full interview to know more about her!
- How to Start a Money Making Blog from Home
- How I Increased in 338% my Affiliate Income In 4 Months
- Everything You Need To Know About Monetizing Your Blog
So, Michelle, I’ve given a little overview. Why don’t you just tell us a little more about who you are and what you do?
Hello! My name is Michelle and I run the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. I have three finance-related college degrees and I used to be a financial analyst.
In the summer of 2011, I started my blog with the aim of teaching people how to save money as well as journaling my personal finance journey after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I became extremely interested in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there. This is interesting and hilarious because, before that same summer, I had no idea about what blogs were, that they could even make money or anything along those lines.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was all just a hobby and an outlet I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger! I went full-time in October of 2013 and I haven’t looked back once. Blogging has completely changed my life for the better and it’s something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.
On my blog Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra money, the best ways to save money, achieving 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.
Did you have any mentors or inspirations when you started out your blog?
I didn’t start my blog to make money, so in the beginning, I was just having fun and wasn’t really looking up to anyone specifically. However, once I realized that I wanted to turn it into my career and a full-time business, I started reading blogs like Smart Passive Income almost religiously haha! I would read about anyone and everyone, such as Amy Porterfield, Ramit, EOFire, and more.
How would you convince somebody to start a blog with just one sentence?
Okay really, here is my one sentence – Blogging completely changed my life and allowed me and my husband to quit our jobs to blog full-time, and it all started on a whim several years ago, when we didn’t even know that blogs could make money.
Related article: How to Start a WordPress Blog in 15 minutes
It seems that many bloggers are waiting to make an average of $100/day before quitting their jobs. What is your thought on that and how long did it take you to reach your first $100 day
I think everyone’s numbers will be different. Look at how many money you need to live off of and determine it from that.
I made $100 around 6 months after I started blogging and you can find my income reports here that detail exactly how much money I have made each month for many years.
What would you say is the biggest fail in your business so far and how did you turn it around?
My biggest fails are related – not managing a good work-life balance and not outsourcing enough work. I now outsource a lot more and it has been a huge time saver!
In your course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, you show how you went from barely earning anything from affiliate income to earning around $50,000 a month from it. Truly inspiring story. But would you recommend new bloggers to start with affiliate marketing? Or would you recommend them to start with any other income stream like sponsored posts?
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, you are ready to get started with this course!
Note: Francisco here! I can confirm how awesome her course is. After I took Michelle’s course I tripled my affiliate income and it kept on growing since then.
After the huge success with your course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, are you planning to create any other course?
I have ideas but nothing concrete yet. Creating a course has been wonderful, though!
You were featured in Forbes as the blogger who made 1 million dollars. Congratulations! Making money is the first step to reach financial freedom, the second step is to invest it. How do you invest your blogging income?
I invest a lot in Vanguard funds.
What is the best lesson learned from your experience with affiliate marketing? Do you have a quick tip for my readers to put in action right now?
You do not need a crazy high number of page views each month in order to be successful with affiliate marketing. I believe that anyone with an influencer platform can be successful with affiliate marketing, regardless of page views. It’s all about approaching your audience and affiliate marketing in the correct way so that you can do it effectively and efficiently. These are all things that I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course.
To end up the interview. Would you share a fun fact about you?
I live in an RV! That’s fun, right? 🙂
And now, some quick questions!
Favourite quote – Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.
Yummiest food – Korean food
Favourite sport/activity – Hiking mountains
Coffee or tea – Tea
Dogs or cats – Dogs
If you’re interested in starting your own blog, I strongly recommend being self-hosted and using Bluehost as your hosting company. I’ve negotiated with Bluehost a special price for my readers at only $2.95/month (it can’t get any cheaper). Plus, you’ll get a free domain name for your blog. My complete guide on how to start a blog steps by step is here.