How Becoming a Blogger Made Me $38,000 and Launched My Career

how much do bloggers make

I feel the need to clear the air. When I left my full-time job in April, I think the majority of people (who don’t know me super well, or don’t actively read the site) think I left my job to become a full time blogger. I get the sense this is the misconception because of the handful of times I’ve been introduced as “This is Lauren, she blogs for a living.” or some variant thereof these last six months.

I love blogging. I identify myself as a blogger and influencer, but I do not make a full-time living off the blog. That’s not to say I’m not proud of what I’ve accomplished here. I am! Incredibly so! But I don’t make a full-time person’s salary off it. At least not yet.

For a long time I considered this blog a side hustle, Just like the limited freelance writing work I used to do for clients on top of my full-time job was a side hustle. Now, they’ve both  morphed into a hybrid income pie that makes my eyes cross to understand. Still, I consider myself lucky that I’ve been able to make decent money from blogging part time.

I don’t do income reports. I did, briefly, when I side hustled, mostly to track how much I was making to put toward my $8k in 90 day challenge. I did for a time reveal my net worth on a quarterly basis, but then that got REAL weird. Mostly with comments like, “Why are you freaking out about money, you can afford it. I saw your net worth update.” So I stopped doing them. Also because since I started working for myself, my net worth hasn’t been that exciting.


But I do get asked a lot “How is it you make money from blogging?” which is a great question and one I wanted to answer, and I thought I would share with you today just how much I’ve made in the last three years as a blogger.


Finding Confidence as a Solopreneur

Thanks to LISTERINE® I’m practicing good oral care as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars 

As a small business owner, it’s all too easy to let the voice in your head talk you out of feeling confident in your abilities. I know I’ve sat over an email for way too long wondering if it was truly the right way to respond. You wonder if you should really go after a client – sometimes when they seem like they might be “too big” to consider a smaller shop, or other times when you have a bad client and you really just want to let them have it.

When I paid off $8k on my credit card in 3 months, it was easy to tell myself to go for it with such a clear goal to accomplish. But when it’s the day in day out hustle, sometimes you doubt yourself… and then it’s hard to get the doubt out of your head. In my months of entrepreneurship, I’ve learned to be more confident in my business. Here’s how you can do the same: (more…)

My Next 30 Day Challenge- 30 Days with No TV

30 Day tv

How many of you watch TV? Not cable…I’m talking Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBOGO. TV is part of our culture, and almost everyone I know watches a healthy dose of it.

I’ve always been a big TV fan. I have the shows I keep up with, and then I binge watch series with people. Binge watching TV has become an activity you can do with other people…it’s become “our show” or “our Wednesday night thing.” TV unites us.

But the reality is that ever since I left my full-time job I have been consuming an inordinate amount of television.

Now that I work for myself I am earning more while working less. I fill my time with working out, professional development and socializing….but there’s also a lot more unfilled, unscheduled time. And so it’s been Binge watching Friends in April-May and Scrubs from July- August. According to this app I’ve spent nearly A WEEK of my year in total time watching these shows, and you never notice. It just runs through your fingers.

I also want to point out, I can’t find time to take a whole week for vacation, but I can find time to binge watch shows.

Let me start from the beginning.


What I Learned from the Prudential Women Inspired Panel

I don’t want to oversell it, but last month’s Women Inspired Panel at the BlogHer conference was incredibly gratifying. The luncheon was sponsored by Prudential, with the ever-fabulous Tonya Rapley moderating the panel members (Me, Vera, Katie, and Valerie.) The discussion was guided by questions based on what we’ve shared in previous posts in this series, with  the first on what inspired us to become bloggers, and the second on  financial goals are for the immediate future.  Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 3.01.13 PM We fielded all kinds of questions about how we run our businesses from monetization tactics, to tax structure, to payroll. We talked about having money conversations with children and loved ones, and we discussed our struggles.There were many things I learned through sitting on the panel from both the other bloggers and the women in the audience: (more…)

My Great Summer Purge and the 5 Things I Learned From It

Photo credit: Pixabay

I’ve always prided on myself as being someone who gets by on less stuff. I’ll credit my theater background: moving from month-to-month having to take theater gigs meant you could only possess what would fit in a suitcase or in your car. I managed to hold onto this minimalism for years until I bought my first home in the summer of 2013.

When you buy a house…people will start “gifting” you things to help “fill it up.” Sometimes it will be actual gifts and other times it will be things they can’t bear to donate or throw away. At first it felt good. After all, receiving gifts is awesome, and as a personal finance blogger who never wants to spend money I don’t have to, I love freebies as much as the next person.

But somewhere around the time I came home from NYC, and decided to sell my home, I began to feel suffocated by all my possessions. Literally, suffocated.

Feeling restless and in need of a change, I turned to the internet for help.

Way back in 2012 I started reading Blonde on a Budget. Cait’s frankness about her own debt journey single handedly inspired me to start my own conversations about money online.Three years later, we’re both still blogging and much of her content these days is focused on minimalism, paring down, and living mindfully. 

A few weeks ago while at lunch with my dear friend Carrie, she mentioned that because I’d linked to Cait’s blog so much, she too had gotten hooked on Blonde on a Budget. Inspired by Cait’s blog and the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” she finally started her own decluttering challenge. I mention this because a) I love it when my blog life and real life come full circle and b) because it was the kick in the pants I needed to get started. 

And so, like Cait and Carrie, I began to declutter my own life. Here’s what I learned.



Thank You For Being a Friend..(The Awkward Money Chat Blooper Video)

If you keep up with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you may have heard some exciting news: my companion web series Awkward Money Chat is a finalist (again!) for the 6th Annual Plutus Awards.

I’m beyond pumped to attend FinCon15 later on this week, say hey to all my blogging besties, and shoot some more videos on behalf of Fidelity Investments (our awesome Season 2 sponsor, who we’re teaming up with again for the event.)

Me and the production team batted around the idea of a blooper video for some time. We have a lot of fun filming our Awkward Money Chat episodes and after a year and a half and two incredible seasons, we felt it was time to put together something as an extra special thank you for watching the show, supporting LBMT, and getting us to the Plutus for the second year in a row!

How I Moved to A New City With No Money and No Prospects

how to move to NYC on a budget

This post originally appeared on August 14th 2013. It was updated on September 8th 2015. 

Flash back five years ago to the Summer of 2010. It was my first post-college summer and I’d spent it singing and dancing in a country music show at a well-known American theme park.  I was  living paycheck to paycheck (because of the shopping addiction I had in college that had left me with a lot of bad money habits and you know..copious amounts of credit card debt.) Still, I was able to make a full-time living and support myself by being an actor, and at the time, I was HIGH on the fact I was living out my dream.

..Until we got laid off before our contract ended and I had no backup plan or backup savings.

I was unable to get another job, so I had to move back into my parents house. I remember getting $122.00 each week in unemployment checks. After about 2 and a half months of being unable to find work, I called my best friend Jackie to cry to a listening ear.

She’d just taken her internship full time and was living the glamorous life in NYC.

“Why don’t you just move to New York? There are tons of jobs here.”

Addicted to Sex and the City re-runs, Moving to New York was something I’d dreamed about doing my entire life. Several of my college friends had departed for New York or L.A. immediately upon graduation. I didn’t have the savings for that, and I also wanted more time to “Cut my teeth” in regional theater before I made the leap to the big time in New York.

But every time I thought about it, I always had an excuse. Sometimes they were really good, and sometimes they weren’t.

I was in a bad way that Summer: single, chronically unemployed, no money, and with it being the middle of the recession, no end in site.

Why can’t I move to New York? I mean, it wasn’t like I had anything to lose.

I hung up the phone and my mind began to race. The only thing holding me back was money and fear of the unknown.

Later that night I was browsing Facebook and discovered my arch nemesis had finally made the leap and moved to New York.

If she can do it, so can I, I thought. And that night I vowed I was going to make the move- NYC or bust. I had no money, no prospects and I ended up successfully relocating and living in New York for about two years. Here’s how I did it.


5 Important Things to Do Before Listing Your Home for Sale

5 Things to Do Before Listing Your Home for Sale

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Redfin.

Long-time readers know that I’ve wanted to sell my adorable brick home….pretty much from the second I moved in. What was supposed to be a starter home for me and my pretend family has now turned into an exhausting two-year long flip, with me upgrading the bulk of the home in 2013, and doing a million dizzying projects ever since (new stairs! Window treatments! Upgrading light fixtures!).

Even though the plan was always to sell, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous about it. I’ve interviewed a handful of realtors over the last few years each time I toyed with the idea of selling, so I had a fair idea of what to expect, but Redfin brought in a foolproof process that was unlike anything else any other agency had shown me. It actually helped me feel more secure and confident about my decision: like I had a strategic selling partner rather than someone working “for” the listing.

My initial consultation with my agent, Will, also helped to clarify a list of final to-do’s I needed to scratch off before officially listing the home.

Now for the five most important things to do before listing your home: two of these are important questions to ask before you select a realtor, and the final three are mantras to repeat to yourself every day as you prep your home for listing photos and (ultimately) showings to prospective buyers.


What Happened When I Stopped Eating Out for 30 Days….

what happened when I stopped eating out for 30 days

When I was a kid, I would finish lunch and ask what was for dinner. Not because I was hungry, but because I was already looking forward to what I was going to eat next. My Dad often remarks on how my appetite outpaces my brother’s. It’s truly a testament to my metabolism (because it sure AF isn’t my workout habits) that I haven’t managed to gain a lot of weight since college.

In a culture where women are still supposed to want salads and chardonnay, I want meat and three with a cocktail. I love food. All kinds: from fast food (Captain D’s is my biggest, dirtiest, dirtiest guilty pleasure) to the more high brow restaurants that get written about in magazines. And In a city like Atlanta, trying the newest, hippest restaurant can go from a casual night out to weekend hobby very, very quickly.

Which is why I wanted to take a minute and zero in on my largest discretionary expense: Eating Out.


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