Just one year ago, I came up with the idea of motivating myself to earn money by motivating others to earn money. I wanted to come up with $3000 to pay off my credit card debt, so I came up with a challenge to small bloggers everywhere to try to earn the same amount online. I pledge a $50 Amazon gift card to the winner. And so the $3k Challenge was born.
It was beyond my wildest dreams when the post was picked up by The Consumerist.
17 people joined the challenge, coming from all walks of life. There were PF bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, mommy bloggers, a food blogger, and even a music blog. Like me, they largely had no clue how they were going to do it, beyond some hazy ideas about how bloggers make money.
Without further ado, I give you the winner of the 2012 $3K Challenge: Don from Money Smart Guides.
Hi, my name is Don and I have a personal finance blog, http://moneysmartguides.com/blog where I attempt to provide basic personal finance for everyone. After all, no one taught us this stuff in school!
After Don won, I asked him some questions about his success so we could all learn from him.
When did you start blogging and why?
I actually started blogging back in 2010. At that time I was completely clueless as to what I was doing and wasn’t even sure how long I would blog. I started because I enjoy reading and talking about personal finance. I get asked a lot by my family members and friends on what they should do with their money (i.e. investing, general savings, debt paydown, etc.). Because of that and the fact that personal finance is not taught in school and so many don’t understand it, I decided to blog to hopefully educate others on the topic.
How did you earn your online income?
To earn income this year I set up an AdSense account and was also approached by another “AdSense-like” advertiser which I signed up for. But I really only earn a little from these ventures. I have noticed a nice increase however now that my blog is gaining in popularity, but the amount is still small compared to other income sources.
Another source is staff writing gigs for 3 other blogs. It’s a good amount of work, but those posts not only bring in money but they also get my name and blog out there.
The third source is advertising. I use Crystal over at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. I forward her all of the emails I get and she negotiates with the advertisers for posts and ads. I then just publish them.
Lastly is affiliate income. This was close to non-existent in 2012 as I didn’t push it that hard.
What advice do you have for other bloggers trying to make money?
My advice is to not go overboard with thinking about making money. If you do too much, readers will see that you are just out for a quick buck. You can have ads, but don’t over do it. Also, give it time. You aren’t going to make $5,000/mo right away. It might not take you as long as it did with me because I wasn’t fully committed at the start, but it does take time.
If you could go back, what would you have done differently this year?
I would have made more of push to comment more and get my name out there more earlier in the year. I didn’t do so until later in the year and would have liked to do this earlier.
What are your plans for 2013?
I have big plans for 2013! I want to publish my first (and second eBook) as well as get my Alexa ranking under 100K. I also am going to push harder on affiliate income as I hope to double my income in 2013.
Congratulations to Don for winning and to all of the others for all of their hard work.