Some of you may understand the business of blogging, but I suspect that many of you do not. Blogging has been such a gift for me, and because I value my relationships with you, I want to be completely honest about the business aspect of it.
First off, let me say that when I started this blog in 2014, it was simply a hobby. Sutton had just started kindergarden, and I was looking for a creative outlet. My friends and family will tell you that the things you see on The Joyful Home–like the clohtes, recipes, parties, and holiday stuff–have always been part of my life.
Even when I was practicing law full time, I made it a point to cook dinner every night, and I loved hosting holidays and birthday parties. I threw Pinterest-worthy parties before Pinterest was invented. Not with the desire to impress anyone, but because I loved going all out and celebrating my family.
I actually wrote a mommy blog chronicling the lives of my kids for a few years. When I retired from law, I went all-in on motherhood, and the blog fell to the wayside. Fast forward a couple of years, and I decided to take on blogging once again. To respect my family’s privacy, I decided to make The Joyful Home more of a lifestyle blog.
I started writing about the things I love like fashion, food, motherhood, and my home. My photography skills were terrible (I cringe looking back on those early days), but I really enjoyed doing it. My family and friends started reading it, and it slowly began to grow into something more.
Blogs Aren’t Free
I quickly learned that there are costs associated with running a blog. Things like purchasing a domain name, website hosting fees, mailing lists, backup software, etc. To offset those costs, I began running Google Ads in my sidebar. Because my traffic level was so low at that time, my ad income didn’t come close to paying for the blog. It was literally pennies per click. And there weren’t many clicks.
Blogging definitely isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme. My blog has grown slowly and steadily over the last few years. The time I’m putting into this blog has increased greatly, however. During the school year, I pretty much work on it full-time while my kids are at school. The summer is a bit more laid back, but it still requires a good amount of time and attention.
Because of that, I now rely on a couple of more sources of income not only to keep this blog running, but also to compensate me for my time. I was hesitant to post about this because it makes me a bit uncomfortable, but it really shouldn’t. I do my very best to develop content that goes along with my mission–to make your lives easier and your homes more joyful. It requires a lot of effort to do that, and it’s work that I’m proud of.
That’s why blogging is now more of a business than a hobby. Sure, I’m not solving legal problems or major crises, but if I can help you and add value to your day, then I’m on the right track. And because I’m providing value, there is nothing wrong with being compensated for it.
Some of the best feedback I receive is about fashion posts. I’m definitely not a style icon, but I do like to put effort into my appearance. Many of you do the same, and I love being your personal shopper and taking some of the stress out of shopping for you and those you love.
I was thrilled to be accepted into the world’s top affiliate program this year. It’s actually quite selective, and I was both floored and honored to get in.
Just as a sales assistant at a clothing store receives a commission on purchases she facilitates, I also receive commission in the form of affiliate income. For example, when you click on a link/picture for my new favorite denim jacket or shop My Closet and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission off the sale from that site.
I hope this isn’t bothersome to you. Every website now works this way. That’s why you can search for something on Amazon and then you see it in your Facebook feed. And the cost to you is $0.
The kicker is that these affiliate links are pretty much everywhere. So if you click on another blogger’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post, and then shop through that site, that person will earn the commission on your sale. The last link you click on is the “owner” of that commission. Does that make sense?
While most of my income still comes from my actual blog, I’ve seen an increase in income from social media. You’ve heard me talk about LikeToKnowIt before, and that’s how I’m able to monetize my Instagram and sometimes Facebook posts. Without getting too technical, LikeToKnow it allows me to link products directly into my pictures which makes them super easy for you to shop.
It’s completely free for you to sign up for a LikeToKnowIt account. You link it to your own Instagram, and any time you like one of my pictures, you’ll get an email with the product details. Just click on the product to shop, and again, I receive a small commission.
There’s also a LikeToKnowIt app now. Simply download it from the App Store and link it to your LikeToKnowIt account. That allows you to screenshot my pics and within seconds, you’ll get a notification that the pic is ready to shop. It’s almost a little too easy.
The “business” part in all of this is that I’m able to earn money by helping you shop easier and smarter. And again, it’s all completely free to you.
I hope this doesn’t offend you or come across the wrong way. This blog is a joy for me, but it’s also a lot of work. I’ve grown The Joyful Home all by myself. I designed this website on my own. I’ve done a thousand Google searches and watched countless YouTube videos about coding and SEO and all the other technical stuff that’s foreign to me. I’ve taken courses on writing and photography in an effort to improve everything you see here. I haven’t paid for social media followers (many, many bloggers do). I haven’t received any handouts or free stuff. I invest my own money in clothes and professional photography when needed.
I’d love to continue to grow this blog as a business. If I could use my earnings to save for my kids’ college educations, I would be thrilled. I’ve been approached by several brands this year for paid partnerships, but I turned down opportunities because I didn’t think they fit with my mission or served you well as readers. I always want to be 100% myself with you and only want to work with brands that I think you’ll love.
I’m not a big self-promoter, so I really struggle with this. While some people are comfortable saying, “Look at me and how good I am at this,” I am not one of them. I actually still have friends that don’t know about my blog because it’s not something I talk about outside of the internet.
I think God gives all of us unique gifts. I’m so thankful to be able to use mine through The Joyful Home. I know I’m on the right track because I get the loveliest feedback from you. You’re dressing better and feeling more confident about yourself. You’re feeding your family well–and every single family member ate last night’s dinner (which I know is rare). You enjoy a little diversion from your everyday life, and you keep telling your friends and family about The Joyful Home.
The small income I’m earning allows me to keep blogging and doing what I love. I truly appreciate you and your support. If you have any thoughts, questions, or feedback about this post, I would love to hear it.