2017: Review of My First Year Working Online

2017: Review of My First Year Working Online

It’s New Year’s Eve (morning) I want to take a few moments to reflect on the past year.

This was my first full year working from home with my online business. The words that come to mind when I think about this past year are: Crazy, Awesome-Sauceum (a real word in our house), and Thriving.

Ever since I got out of debt and paid off all my student loans (full details in my book), I continue to know goals work. Setting goals. Writing them down. Thinking through the steps that need to happen. Setting target dates. The whole process works for me. If I set goals, 9.5 times out of 10, I meet them.

So let’s take a look the business goals I set at the end of 2016:

P.S. This is a screenshot of my goals in Trello, which is a free tool I love and use for both personal and business. I found out about Trello from Dana Malstaff AKA Boss Mom. She has a free Trello training, which included sweet free boards too. I use Trello with my main virtual assistant client too. It’s the main tool our team uses for managing our projects and tasks.

Ok enough Trello love, onto the goals review…

Goal #1: Write Get Out Of Debt Book –> COMPLETE!

As of July 2017, I am officially an author with a legit book for sale on Amazon. It comes in both ebook or paperback. And just last night I tallied up the copies sold so far. I thought I had sold ~80 copies, but as of last night, I’ve sold 103!

Which means that my story of getting out of debt, the inspiration that others can do it too, and the steps that show exactly how to do it has impacted over 100 different people/families! That’s crazy!

Because honestly, just a few months before I started writing my book I said the words: “I’ll never write a book.” I thought I had nothing to write about and that I didn’t have anything valuable to share.

But look at these reviews! And these aren’t even all from my mom! (Amazon deleted hers. Something about her being biased…psssh.)



but wait, there’s more!

Now I reflect on my old thoughts, read these honest reviews, and realize how harsh I was on myself. Look at all those people I get to help, inspire, and teach with my story and passion for getting out of debt and being smart with money!

Plus, that’s only 10 reviews and I’ve sold over 100 copies…so take those positive words times ten! That’s a whole lot of crazy, awesome-sauceum, thriving goodness.

I firmly believe EVERYONE has SOMETHING to share. So if it’s ever been an idea to write a book, do it!! Trust me, If I can do it, so can you!

Ok I have to cut myself off there, or this will turn into a book about writing a book…

If you haven’t yet, I hope you spare an hour or two and check it out! Even if you don’t have student loans, you’re bound to know someone who does in this day and age. Plus, as you can see from the reviews, it really applies to any type of debt. Read the book. Follow the steps. Kick your debt to the curb. Start living a more fulfilling life with the things that matter most to you!

Goal #2: Earn $15,000 Online –> COMPLETE!

This came from a variety of sources, including virtual assistance, freelance writing and editing, book sales, and my first speaking gig at a private college. Check out this post to learn more about the 7 different ways I made money online this year.

Goal #3: Average $40 Per Hour Editing –> COMPLETE!

When I started my freelance editing business, I started at the bottom of the totem pole. I started providing hours of editing for free first. Then I moved up to dirt cheap. I did this in order to get testimonials and referrals before I could raise my rates. There are so many editors to choose from, I had to prove my skills first.

One thing I learned with being a full-time stay-at-home mom and an online business owner is my time is so valuable (as yours is too!). So I set this goal because I only wanted to continue pursuing editing if I could average at least $40 per hour.

With the editing work I did this year, I averaged $43 per hour. Mission complete!

Goal #4: Complete Michael Hyatt’s Amazon Author Page –> Complete!

Do you know Michael Hyatt? If not, I recommend you check out his stuff. He is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author. And he used to be the CEO & Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers (now part of HarperCollins). He also has a podcast, a blog, and several online courses. He makes awesome stuff. I’m a fan, to say the least.

Do you know that every author with a book on Amazon has an Author Page? Here’s mine.

And here is Michael Hyatt’s Author Page, which I helped make!

This super cool project started unfolding at the end of 2016. It’s a long, but neat story that started with a simple question I had about his page. Turns out, he ended up hiring me to revamp his page for him! What an honor.

I share a little more about it in my post how to build an Amazon author page that rocks.

So those were the 4 business goals I set at the end of 2016. I am super happy with how they all turned out.

That would have been enough for me to call it a successful year, but way more happened than I could have predicted.

Buckle up for this craziness:

Even More Awesomeness in 2017


  • I edited a book for a New York Times bestselling author
  • I got 10 (5-star) reviews for my book
  • I started this blog (check out the first steps to start a blog if you want to start your own)
  • My student loan payoff story was featured here on Student Loan Hero
  • And my story was featured is Boss Mom’s new book: Confessions of a Boss Mom


And that’s just the business stuff! Which is just my part-time job.

For me, my family is first, and it’s my full-time job.

Here’s a quick review of my two biggest personal milestones in 2017.

New Home!

We sold our first home (in one weekend), bought a new home, and moved!

It was a crazy, crazy, stressful, and crazy process. The market in our area was HOT this year, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say the homes were selling within a few days or even a few hours after being listed.

I am so glad that is over. I love real estate. I enjoy changes. And I love our new home. But I do NOT plan on doing that again in 2018.

New Baby!

My days and nights became a lot busier as I became the mama to a sweet little boy in July.

He is 5 months now and jumping in the jumper, squawking like a dinosaur next to me as I write this. He has the cutest blue eyes, dimples, smile, and an absolutely adorable laugh.

He has had some health challenges, which we’re still trying to figure out. And I am still getting up with him MANY times each night. Five months of being up at night with him, plus being up all day with him and my 2.5-year old daughter, has put me in a state of exhaustion I never knew before. That’s why I’ve taken a break from writing on this blog actually.

Despite the challenges, we successfully transitioned from a family of three to a family of four this year. My husband stepped up tremendously to help with our daughter. They’re pretty much best buds now. (They’re rocking in the chair reading books as I write this. So sweet.)

This is another milestone I do not plan on repeating in 2018. 😉

What Will 2018 Bring For Me?

Hopefully more sleep, fewer doctor visits, stronger faith, and touching the lives of more people.

My word for the year is a surprising one: Gentle.

I recently read a book called Anxious for Nothing, which focused on the Bible verses Philippians 4:5-11.

Philippians 4:5-11 New International Version (NIV)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I want to be more gentle with myself, with my family (even when I’m completely sleep-deprived and frustrated), and with others. I want to use my gifts to help others and show God’s greatness through all I do.

I want to let my light shine!

What Will You Do In 2018?

Are you a mom who wants to stay at home but needs to earn money? It can be done.

Want to stop throwing away money on the interest on all of your loans? You can do it.

Always wanted to write a book? You bet it can be done.

Need to make more money but want the flexibility of working from home? Yuppers. There’s no better time.

Why not YOU?! And why not NOW?!

What would you be proud to achieve in 2018?

Comment or send me an email. I love talking goals!

Let your light shine,

How To Make Money As A Stay At Home Mom

How To Make Money As A Stay At Home Mom

One of the most common questions I get from friends, family, and readers is how to make money as a stay at home mom. Not long ago, I had the same question! And figuring out how to make money from home allowed me to leave my full-time job, work when it fits into my schedule, and most importantly, be home with my babies. (P.S. I started adding resources for moms who want to work from home into my Free Resource Library. Sign up for access later on in this post!)

You see, just over one year ago, I was unhappy in my job, stressed out, and longing for a change. I hated leaving my daughter at daycare all day, but my family needed my income. I felt completely stuck. Once I found out there were legitimate ways to make money from home, I was hooked. I knew this was my opportunity to make a huge change and avoid regrets later in life. This was my chance to create a lifestyle that included more time for the things that mattered most in my life–my kids!

At first, I was amazed to even find one way to earn money online. And now I’ve made money at least seven different ways! (Likely, there are more in progress as you read this…I love the challenge.)

So if you are wondering how to make money as a stay at home mom, you’re in luck. It CAN be done! I’ll be real though, the strategies below do take time and effort–like any career. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can have the flexibility of working when it fits in your schedule and have the freedom to spend time with your kids every day, and make money too. In my world, it doesn’t get much better than that. So here we go…

How To Make Money As A Stay At Home Mom

Below is not one, but seven ways I’ve made money online within one year while being a SAHM. These are the best jobs for stay at home moms to make money online, in my opinion, because I know they work.

Plus, there’s no pressuring your friends and family to host parties or buy stuff.

how stay at home mom makes money

1. Make Money as a Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant (VA) – One of my favorite ways I’ve found to make money as a stay at home mom is as a Virtual Assistant.

Just like it sounds, VAs assist people and businesses virtually with any number of things, like: checking emails, scheduling, writing blog posts, bookkeeping, editing online content, managing social media accounts, creating online courses, planning events, transcribing podcasts, or editing videos. There’s no cut and dry list of what VAs do because it’s based on what each business owner needs help with, but here is a list of 150+ services you can get paid to do as a virtual assistant.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

My role as a virtual assistant was the key to finding flexible ways to work from home and be a stay-at-home mom. To help other moms who want to learn how to make money from home, I searched high and low to find the best resources, including over 3 hours of FREE virtual training that covers:

  • how your current experience can transfer to working as a VA
  • how to easily find your first client
  • how to start out making $20-$30 per hour even if you have no experience
  • and so much more!

Virtual Assistant is another one of the best jobs for stay at home moms because the hours and duties are flexible, and there are tons of small business owners who need help with the day-to-day activities of running a business.

2. Make Money as a Freelance Writer

Freelance Writing – Since I am a complete introvert, I am much more comfortable writing than speaking. This is why freelance writing was a great fit and one of the first ways I found to earn money online.

To make money as a freelance writer, you’d usually write articles that are 500-2,000 words, and website owners will pay you for them. These are posts I’ve written for other websites about editing and Amazon’s author pages.

How to Become a Freelance Writer

When I was starting out, I took the course by Gina Horkey called 30 Days to Freelance Writing Success. It helped guide me when I was feeling lost in the beginning about:

  • what to write about
  • which writing niches pay the best
  • how to contact sites with your article ideas (aka “pitching,” not to be confused with the softball term).

You can learn more about becoming a paid freelance writer in Gina’s free guide.

Freelance writing is one of the best jobs for stay at home moms who have been told they’re a good writer and enjoy doing it. If you’re not sure what kind of sites pay for articles, this list of 92 websites that pay writers $50+ per article has been helpful.

3. Make Money as a Freelance Editor

Freelance Editor or Proofreader – If you travel through life and cannot help but correct the grammar and spelling mistakes you see around you, helping others as a freelance proofreader or editor might be a good option for you.

Lots of people, from business owners, bloggers, and authors hire editors and proofreaders to polish website content, blog articles, brochures, course content, and more.

How to Become a Freelance Editor

I started a book editing business called Keep Calm Write On and got to help everyone from first-time authors to New York Times bestselling authors improve their books by making their writing more clear, concise, and consistent.

If you’re detail-oriented and have a gift of spotting typos everywhere you go, then freelance proofreading could be the perfect fit for you. Check out:

4. Make Money as a Pinterest Virtual Assistant

Pinterest Manager / Strategist – Yes, it’s true. You can earn money from Pinterest…I was amazed when I found out too.

You can use Pinterest to get potential customers to your product, your MLM business, your blog or website. Or if you’re like me when I started out, I did not yet have my own blog. But I worked as a Pinterest Virtual Assistant providing only Pinterest setup and management services.

How to Make Money on Pinterest

There’s a course called Become a Pinterest VA that specifically teaches you the ins and outs of starting out as a Pinterest Virtual Assistant.

If you adore Pinterest and think being a Virtual Assistant might be a good side hustle for you, I highly recommend looking into a course that can show you step-by-step how to use your love for Pinterest to make money while you are a stay at home mom.

5. Make Money as a Blogger

Start a Blog – Since earning money online from home, I’ve been floored by the amount of money you can earn from blogging. The income reports of big, medium, and even fairly small blogs inspire me.

I don’t foresee my income from blogging being as big as Pat Flynn’s. However, I do hope that blogging will replace my old income with fewer and more flexible hours while helping moms like you make money online as a stay at home mom.

How to Make Money Blogging

If you have a hobby blog of your own already, you could learn how to monetize your blog. Things like ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, providing services like coaching, or selling digital or physical products are ways you can bring in cash through your blog.

Blogging can totally be done on your own time and you’re the boss. In addition to enjoying writing, bloggers need some tech skills to do all the website stuff that goes into having a blog. If you want to start a blog of your own, check out my tutorial for how to start a blog for beginners to show you how to get your blog up and running in as little as 15 minutes.

6. Make Money as an Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate Marketing – You can make money from home through affiliate marketing, which is where you promote products you love to use while earning a commission if someone makes a purchase through your link.

You can promote clothing, food, makeup, books…pretty much anything you use and love.

How to Become an Affiliate Marketer

One of the most impressive affiliate marketers I know is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from MakingSenseofCents.com. She’s earned over $300,000 from one single blog post due to its affiliate links. Naturally, from loads of questions about how she did it, Michelle revealed all her secrets in an online course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

I took her course and learned a ton. It’s been 3 months and my affiliate income has increased 183%

So now I’ve learned affiliate marketing is legit and another way to make money as a stay-at-home mom who blogs.

7. Make Money as an Author

Write and Sell Books – Thanks to Amazon, people with a book idea no longer have to bank on getting a rare deal from a big publisher. Instead, we can now self-publish a book.

Basically, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn and do all the steps yourself (or hire out), you can create and sell both ebooks and print books quite easily.

How to Self-Publish and Sell a Book

My first idea for writing a book came in November, and in less time than it takes to grow a human, Pay Your Student Loans Fast was for sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats.

I was a full-time stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old and pregnant with my second little one throughout the writing and publishing process. We also sold our home, found a new one, and moved in that timeframe too. My very first book published when I was 40 weeks pregnant, right on my due date!
published first book

How Can A Stay At Home Mom Make Money?

So when I get asked how can a stay at home mom make money online, I want to say, “How can’t they?! Where do I begin?!” I love to teach moms how they can make money even if they are a stay-at-home mom.

Within one year, those are seven ways I found to make money online. Although there are thousands of ways you can make money online, these are the jobs that best matched my interests, skills, and schedule. That’s why I think these are the best jobs for moms to make money on the side.

Where to Begin

So are you ready to start making money online but aren’t sure exactly where to begin? Here we go…

Step 1. Get access to the free resource library

The Common Cents Club Free Resource Library is starting to fill up with resources for moms who want to make money from home. Most resources are focused on freelancing, as that is the fastest way to make money as a work at home mom.

Inside The Resource Library You’ll Find:

  • 8 Secret Spots to Find People Who Will Happily Hire You (Even if you have no experience)
  • The Proven 10-Step Plan to Start Freelancing From Home (Checklist)
  • The Crazy Simple but Effective Test to Offer the Right Freelance Service
  • Goal Setting Worksheets to Create the Life You’ll Love
  • plus more for organizing your life as a busy mom!

Get Instant Access to These Resources for Thriving Family & Finances Below

Step 2. Sign Up For The Free Work Your Way Summit

I could not be more excited to share this incredible opportunity to hear from 45+ experts who’ve created massive success working from home. Many of the speakers were stay-at-home moms who figured out ways to successfully make money too.

I attended the very first WAHS Summit in 2018 and LOVED it. Thankfully, it’s back. And you can sign up for it today!

In this summit, you will learn:

  • LEGIT Ways to make money online or from home
  • How to get your first client
  • How to decide what to charge
  • How to handle taxes and health insurance
  • How to get paid and collect money
  • And much, much more!

This is 6 days jam-packed with inspirational people who started with nothing and now earn a full-time income working from home. Some of my favorite online entrepreneurs will be sharing their knowledge, such as Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (Making Sense of Cents), Rosemarie Groner (The Busy Budgeter), and Gina Horkey (Horkey Handbook).

This could be your first step to starting that side hustle, new job, and creating the life you so badly want with Financial And Family Freedom! Sign up to Reserve Your FREE Ticket for the Work Your Way Summit!

Step 3. Reflect

Now that you know how to make money as a stay at home mom, you have access to the resource library of tools, and you signed up for Work Your Way Summit…you’re on a roll!

You might know right away which way to make money you’re going to focus on first.

If not, that’s ok. Then it’s time for you to reflect and ask yourself the questions below.

WHY Do You Want To Make Money Online?

You’ll need a good reason.

Like, really good.

Because if you’re a stay-at-home mom, online work for you likely means early mornings (even when you’d rather pull the covers up and roll over in bed) and late nights after the kids are finally asleep (even when you’d rather relax with a glass of wine and binge on Netflix).

But those are small prices to pay if your reason is big enough.

*You can use my goal setting worksheets in the Free Resource Library to clarify your goals and primary reason for your drive to make money from home.*

Reason to Be a Stay at Home Mom

For me, getting to see my daughter grow, learn, try new things, and experience all her firsts was worth it. And now I get to do the same with my son. I am so thankful I will never have to experience the tears and gut-wrenching feeling that I have to leave him and go to work in order to provide for my family. I get to provide financially without sacrificing family time.

If you’re serious about making a change and making money online, I believe you need a crystal clear answer to the questions:

  • Why do you want to make money from home?
  • What will change in your life by learning how to make money online?

Maybe you want a side hustle to pay down debt. Maybe you want to afford to stay home with the kids. Whatever it is, see it in HD and know your reasons why.

Pass the 3P Test

When you’re figuring out which way is right for you to make money as a stay at home mom, you’ll need to pass the 3P Test.

Whatever service you provide needs to be something you’re:

  1. Passionate about
  2. Proficient at
  3. Profitable

*PASSION* WHAT Do You Enjoy?

Obviously, if you’re going to invest your time and maybe even money in a new job, you want it to be something you enjoy.

I don’t think it necessarily has to be the one perfect job or the thing you are most passionate about. But I do think it should be something you enjoy to make sure you stick with it.

  • Do you like working with other people or by yourself?
  • Do you like being in the spotlight or behind the scenes?
  • Do you like spending time on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter?
  • Do you enjoy checking emails, scheduling, and managing projects?
  • Do you enjoy speaking or writing?

Figure out which three of the seven jobs above sounds the most enjoyable to you, and rank them 1-3.

More Ideas for How Moms Make Money From Home

Here are other moms I’ve interviewed who’ve shared exactly how to make money as a stay at home mom too:


Often times the things we enjoy are also the things are good at, but not always. Sometimes you can be good at things and not enjoy them. And sometimes you can enjoy things, but you really aren’t good at them.

Now it’s time to reflect on your skills and uncover what things are your natural gifts. Use past job or school experiences to discover what you are good at. Ask yourself:

  • Which classes did you earn the best grades in?
  • Which tasks did people ask you to help with at school or work?
  • What things came naturally to you?

The goal here is to again review the seven strategies listed above to make money online and identify three that seem to best align with the things you are good at. Rank them 1-3.

*PROFITABLE* HOW MUCH Money Do You Need To Earn?

Next, consider how much money you need to make each month. Do you have to earn a certain amount every month to avoid cover the bills? Or is your family out of debt and paying all the bills fine, but you want to supplement your family’s income?

The reason I added this question is because you can earn money in some of these jobs more quickly and regularly than others.

For example, before I left my job, my husband and I figured out through budgeting that I needed to earn $1,000 per month to comfortably pay our bills. I started with freelance writing, editing, and virtual assistant work.

I didn’t jump right into blogging or writing books because those methods take most newbies a lot more time to build a platform and get enough traffic to earn consistent money.

So if you need to earn money sooner than later, you will probably freelance at first as a virtual assistant, writer, graphic designer, social media manager, or editor. Then over time, you can build your own author or blogging platform if those interest you.

Pick Your Top 3 Jobs You Can Do Online

After you’ve spent time reflecting on your why, your talents, the things you enjoy, your timeline, and your financial situation, then choose your #1, #2, and #3 preferred ways to make money online. This will give you a clear target and plan of action by identifying your #1 Goal: Your Plan A for earning money online. Woo hoo!

*If you want an awesome goal-setting worksheet, use the ones in my free resource library.*

But identifying your #2 and #3 will serve as Backup Plans B and C just in case Plan A doesn’t work out.

Then start envisioning yourself as a successful ________ (virtual assistant, writer, editor, blogger, author, etc.). It’s getting real.

Step 4. Learn, Learn, Learn

Once you’ve identified the one way you’re going to start making money online, celebrate, relish the opportunity, smile because this really is happening. Then dive into the deep sea of information.

Google. Blog posts. Podcasts. Courses. Build a solid foundation of knowledge then create a plan of action. Identify what you want to get done by the end of this week, next week, and this month.

WARNING: Please do not get stuck in the learning phase for a year or two because you need everything to be perfect, or you’re waiting for the timing to be perfect, or you’re waiting for the sky to open and tell you that you’re on the right track. It’s not going to happen. Take action despite not knowing the entire process. It will be ok!

Say a prayer, talk with your spouse if you have one, and get a move on.

Learn enough so you have a basic understanding then start doing. There’s lots of cash out there just waiting for you!

Step 5. Start Doing It!

After you start learning, it’s time to implement what you’ve learned one baby step at a time.

When you get stuck or something doesn’t make sense, Google it, email someone, hop on Skype or the phone, join Facebook groups and ask questions.

Do not stay stuck.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the supportive community of online entrepreneurs. Everyone was a beginner once and understands what it was like in the beginning, and most are willing to help out if you just ask.

And do not let fear hold you back. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Stretching out of your comfort zone is a good thing. If you want your life to change then you have to do something different.

So if you’re uncomfortable because you’re doing something you’ve never done before, like creating a website or editing someone’s book or writing something that potentially millions of people could read, it’s ok.

Every step you take will either be successful or it will be a lesson. Both will help you, and both will bring you one step closer to creating the lifestyle you dream of.Your why. The life you truly love because you’re doing what matters most to you.

Earning money online can allow you to be a stay at home mom and contribute financially to your family. We live in a great world of opportunity, don’t we?

Ways To Make Money As A Stay At Home Mom

And those are the ways and steps for how to make money as a stay at home mom.

Working smarter is not always easy. And in this case, working online in your spare time and being full-time mom is not easy. I will never say that.

But if it creates the lifestyle you adore, and if it allows you to be able to stay home and earn money for your family, then it is working smarter. You’ll be happier when your time (and money) is spent in ways that match your values.

So instead of wondering how can a stay at home mom make money online, be a stay at home mom that makes money online.

Access all the resources in the Free Resource Library, including checklists to start working from home, the best places to find freelance clients, and goal templates to focus on your most important goals.

Then pick one of the best ways to make money from home and dive in. Learn. Do. And start bringing home the bacon, Mama!

The great thing is you can always add another side hustle or try something different in the future. As you can see, I tried seven to make money online within just one year!

When you work online through these methods, whether it’s as a virtual assistant or a freelance writer, you’re the boss. If one thing doesn’t work out, there are plenty of other options for you until you find the right fit. It’s not like you’re stuck in one path for the rest of your life.

That’s the beautiful freedom this lifestyle of making money online brings.

So now I ask you: How will you make money as a stay-at-home mom?

Whatever you do, do something that lets your light shine in the world. It will be a better place because of you.

Cheers to your family and financial freedom,


Related Articles:

Stay-at-Home Mom Jobs

How to Become a Proofreader and Make Up to $50 Per Hour

How to Become a Virtual Assistant and Earn $1,000 – $5,000+ Per Month

100+ Simple Ways to Save Money This Month

Proven Tips for Living Off One Income as a Stay-at-Home Mom

How To Start A Blog For Beginners (The Easy Way)

How To Start A Blog For Beginners (The Easy Way)

You’ve been thinking about starting your own blog and you’re ready to take the plunge…but how do you start a blog as a beginner?Everything you need to know to start a blog. Blogging ideas and steps to start your blog today.

Or what if you just want to create a website, but not a blog? Is it the same thing?

Relax! This is super exciting in so many ways! It wasn’t long ago that I was in your same shoes.

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the tech talk.

Domains…hosting…servers…WordPress…themes…I didn’t get it.

In case you’re wondering how exactly you go about starting a blog or creating your first website, I created a step-by-step post just for you.

Yes, the steps are the same whether you plan to blog or just create a your own website.

And don’t worry, I included screenshots to make it even easier. I’m a visual person and like to see examples to make sure I’m on the right track. Here we go!

1. Why Do You Want To Start A Blog?

First, you need to answer this question for yourself: Why do you want to start a blog?

There are many reasons people start a blog. Below are some of the most common reasons. You should identify your main purpose for getting a blog started before taking another step.

Do you want to start a blog so you can…

1. Make money from home as a side hustle?

2. Become a self-published author?

3. Expand your existing business?

4. Enjoy writing and share your experience or knowledge?

All of these are excellent reasons to start a blog, and you may have answered “yes” to more than one question.

However, anytime you start a new adventure and decide to spend your time and energy on something (blogging definitely requires an investment of both time an energy), you want to be clear on your why.

What is it you most hope to achieve with your blog? This will help guide your decisions as you go along and keep you motivated when things get challenging.


Blogging can help you earn money from home.

Lots of people start blogs on the side of their regular full-time job. There are several ways you could make money from a blog, such as building affiliate partnerships, advertising, creating and selling digital or physical products, or referring services. If you get really good at blogging for money, you can even earn a full-time income through a blog.

Blogging can help you become a published author.

Writing and selling a book through self-publishing has made writing a book possible for almost anyone. Without a traditional publisher to market for you, however, the marketing and selling of your book is up to you (hence, self-publishing). One of the best ways to sell your books is to grow a community of people who like your writing and build an email list through a blog.

Starting a blog is a great idea even if you want to land a traditional publishing deal because you’ll have much better odds with a publisher if you already have a bunch of fans.

Blogging can help you expand your existing business.

Whether you’re a one-man show or part of a large business, and whether you provide a service or sell products, a blog can expand your reach. For a very low expense, a blog is a way you can introduce your business to lots of potential new customers.

Blogging can be fun.

If you love to write and share your experience with others, blogging can be a lot of fun. By starting a blog, you can easily connect with others, build a community, and even help others by sharing your stories and knowledge.

…which brings me to your next important decision before starting a blog.

After you’ve decided what your main goal is for your blog, you need to decide what you’re going to write about!

2. What Do You Want To Write About?

If you already have a business you’re trying to promote, you’ll write about something related to your business to try and reach the right readers and potential customers.

However, if you’re an individual, you have the freedom to write about whatever your heart desires!

You may read contradicting advice that you should or shouldn’t choose a super narrow niche (or topic).

Here’s my take: While I believe you need general themes, I don’t go so far as to say you have to pin yourself into a tiny corner of one topic to write about.

Here are two guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Write about something you like! This will make it easier for you to write, be your authentic self, and connect with readers. Plus, writing will seem like a chore if you pick a topic you don’t give a rip about. Don’t start a blog about a topic you don’t care about. Pick something you really like.
  • Make sure there’s plenty to write about. Assuming you want to stick with blogging for a while, you’ll write many blog posts in the years to come. Make sure you can brainstorm lots of headline ideas to write about before choosing your niche.

Once you know why you want a blog and what you want to write about, it’s time to get your blog started!

3. Pick A Blogging Platform

You may or may not have heard the wonders of WordPress for blogging.

Something that can be confusing at first is there are two WordPresses: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress is the behind the scenes tool for designing your blog, adding content and pictures, and writing posts.

WordPress.com has a free option because your site is hosted for you (more on “hosting” next). Using this free version severely limits what you can do with your blog. You have limited space (only 3GB), very limited customization, and plenty of rules to follow. It’s a lot like renting a house. It’s not yours.

WordPress.org is “the real WordPress” that you’ve heard all the wonderful and successful blogging stories about. While the WordPress software itself is free for anyone to use, there is a small cost to use this platform because you host the blog yourself (it’s “self-hosted”). You need web hosting and a domain name, both small expenses for the benefits you get.

With WordPress.org, you have complete control over your site. You can customize the themes, add plugins, and design it to make your blog exactly how you want it. You can use ads, sell digital or physical products, or create membership sites to earn money from your blog. The blog is yours. It’s like owning your home, instead of renting it from someone else.

For the best blogging experience, flexibility, and control over your site, I (and most experienced bloggers) recommend creating a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. There are a ton of resources and tutorials available for WordPress users for any questions you have, and it’s what I’ve happily used for both my websites.

Plus, if you plan to make money from your blog, you have unlimited potential to quickly earn the small expense of self-hosting back…and then some.

So if you are serious about blogging, please do it right from the start and create a self-hosted WordPress blog. Avoid starting with WordPress.com, getting frustrated with the limitations, then having the added struggle of switching over to WordPress.org.

The rest of this tutorial assumes you follow this recommendation 🙂 We want to work smarter, not harder, right? Every once in a while, working smarter is not the free version. This is one of those times.

4. Choose A Host For Your Blog

Web hosting is what gives your blog space on the internet so others can find you. Every website needs web hosting. It’s kind of like the property taxes for your home on the internet.

If you don’t choose the right host, it can get expensive.

Thankfully, Bluehost offers my readers a great deal on hosting and a free domain name (your web address). Bluehost is an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, and one I’ve happily used myself.

Disclosure: These are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you (in fact, you get a discount and a free domain name), I earn a small commission for the referral if you use my link to sign up. I have a partnership with Bluehost because I’ve happily used them to host my site and recommend their web hosting for websites and blogs.

Bluehost is recommended by me and so many experienced bloggers because:

  • it’s affordable (seriously, only a few bucks per month)
  • it’s powerful (they host millions of websites)
  • it’s reliable (never had an issue with my website being down)
  • it’s easy to use (you can install WordPress software with one click!)
  • you get a FREE domain name (which we’ll get to next)
  • you can customize it with just about any theme or plugin you want
  • you can use their hosting to make money from your blog
  • customer service support is available 24/7 for any tech questions that come up
  • it comes with a money-back guarantee if for some reason it turns out not to be right for you

So there’s really no risk and LOTS to gain!

Just follow the steps below to set up hosting and start your blog today.

I’ll include screenshots so you can see what it’ll look like. The images may vary a little as Bluehost updates their site often, but the general steps should still follow the guide below:

5. Click The Button Below To Open Bluehost.

6. Click The Green “Get Started Now” Button.

start a blog on bluehost

7. Choose Your Plan.

The Basic plan should be enough for most and is what I started with. The Plus and Prime plans do have some nice extra features, but if you’re trying to keep costs as low as possible, Basic should be all you need to get started. You can always upgrade later. Click the green “select” button for the plan you want.

bluehost blog choose your plan

8. Pick Your Domain Name.

This is the web address of your website, like TheCommonCentsClub.com. If you already have a domain that you registered with another source, such as GoDaddy, you’d type under “I have a domain name.”

If you don’t have a domain yet, pick one and type it under “new domain.” Click the blue “next” button and make sure it’s available.

start a blog on bluehost choose domain name

I’ll continue through the steps as if you are picking a new domain. If you already have a domain, the steps will only be slightly different.

9. Fill In Your Account Information.

start a blog on bluehost add your account information

10. Complete Your Package Information.

You can choose to pay for 1, 2, or 3 years by clicking on the drop down menu next to Account Plan. You’ll pay the least today if you choose to pay for 1 year, however, you’ll get the best value (rate per month) if you pay for 3 years.

There are a few extras offered and selected by default, but the only one I bought was Domain Privacy Protection for 99¢ per month, which keeps your personal information private, like your phone number and address.

start a blog on bluehost package information

11. Add Your Payment Information, Check The Box That You Agree To Their Terms, Then Click The Green “Submit” Button.

start a blog on bluehost payment information

That’s it! You now have a hosting account…Hooray!

You should receive an email from Bluehost with your login information for the control panel (cpanel). Keep this information for future reference. Once you’re logged in to Bluehost, you’ll be able to install and start using WordPress.

When you login to Bluehost, you will see a dashboard like this. This is where you can put WordPress on your blog.

start a blog on bluehost dashboard

12. Install WordPress On Your Blog

From your dashboard or homepage within your Bluehost hosting account, you’ll be able to click “Install WordPress.” Follow the steps to install WordPress for your blog domain.

start a blog on bluehost install wordpress

You’ll create log in info for your WordPress account. You will use your WordPress login link and account information (which you should get in an email) to get to the backend of your blog. This will likely be YourBlogName.com/wp-admin.

Your WordPress account is separate from your live blog, which is what everyone else will see. Through WordPress, you will be able to do the fun parts of designing your blog and writing posts to share with the world.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

And that’s all there is to it! After following those 12 steps, you should have your very own piece of real estate on the web: your own blog!

From here, you might want to learn the basics of using WordPress or find a theme to design your site. There is a learning curve, but there are free resources for anything you need to know. Just take your time learning one thing at a time. Resist the urge to get overwhelmed and enjoy the journey to becoming a blogger and turning your blog into a successful business.Learn how to start a blog today for beginners. Start blogging for money or fun.

Congratulations on taking the leap to start your own blog! I hope that step-by-step guide to starting your own blog for beginners was helpful. It won’t be long before you’re the one teaching someone else how to start their own blog.

Keep working smarter, not harder.

And no matter what you do today, do something that lets your light shine.




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