8 Reasons to Master Affiliate Marketing Before Creating Your Own Products

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Is creating and selling your own products on your blogging to-do list?

It’s definitely at the top of mine! That’s because creating your own courses, books, and other products is a fantastic way to monetize your blog and grow your influence.

You’ve already done the hard work of sharing your amazingly helpful free blog content every day. Why not put together an actual course or write a book that goes even deeper to help your readers and pays you real money?

There’s just one thing that I strongly urge you do too before creating and selling your own products… master affiliate marketing FIRST. Affiliate marketing is simply referring other people’s products to your audience. In exchange for your friendly referral, you get a commission.

I know when I first started blogging, affiliate marketing was scary for me. I was so hesitant to offer other products to my audience because I didn’t want to alienate them or make them feel like they were being sold to. So I waited a LONG time to do it.

Then I found a few companies that I love (as the experts advise) and I simply told my audience about them. And then I made money. Wow! The money certainly didn’t roll in overnight and took tons of trial and error, but it worked!!

As I prepare to finally create my own products to sell, I realized that my affiliate marketing journey prepared me in ways I couldn’t imagine when I started. I remember very early on how I wanted to write my own book and create my own course right out the gate. Dare I say... it would have FLOPPED!

I had a lot of knowledge and skills to write and create the product, but ZERO understanding of how to sell them to my audience. It’s my experience with affiliate sales that is setting me up for extreme success.

Here are the 8 Powerful Reasons to Master Affiliate Marketing Before Creating Your Own Products

1 – You Learn What Your Own Audience Responds To

When you begin your affiliate marketing journey you’ll start by referring the products and services that you personally love and are using all the time. It’s just like when you discover a new lunch spot and can’t wait to post about it on Instagram or call your friend to tell her how this one product got your one year old to finally sleep through the night and how she’s got to try it too!

There’s just one problem, you never know how your audience will respond to an offer until you offer it. They’ll either love it or you’ll hear the crickets loud and clear. In both cases, you need to be taking notes.

Simply put, offer more and more of what they love and less and less of what they ignore. In addition, you should be paying attention to the types of products they respond well to. Do they buy all your ebook referrals but never go crazy when you refer them amazing courses?

The last thing you want to do is work tirelessly for months creating your own course, only to find out they don’t dig courses for some reason. It doesn’t really matter why, it just matters that it is and that you know it.

2 – You Get All the Sales Jitters Out Now

The biggest hesitancy for most bloggers about affiliate marketing is not feeling comfortable with selling. They just want to write their book and start sharing their great information with the world.

Unfortunately, they don’t realize early on that they are required to SELL that amazing product. Yep! If you’re going to create anything outside of the realm of FREE, you instantly become your own VP of Sales.

The good news is, you can get all the jitters of sales out by practicing with other people’s stuff. The worst thing that can happen is you hear the crickets again or someone emails you to tell you they didn’t appreciate how you referred a great product to them. Ouch.

I need you to shift your perspective for a second… that’s all fantastic information! You need to dig deeper and find out what happened. Was it the product? Probably not. Most likely it was your delivery. Ouch again.

Just keep tweaking until you find what resonates with your readers the most.

3 – It Builds Trust and Conditions Your Audience  

So, let’s talk about the person who emailed you to complain that you referred an amazing product. You need to go ahead and remove them from your email list. They’ll never buy from you and frankly, their attitude kinda sucks.

You DO NOT want people on your email list, specifically, who just want to take up space on your list. Remember, you’re paying for them to be there. By sharing your regular stellar content and tips with them on a weekly basis and weaving in affiliate sales opportunities you’re conditioning your list to hear about buying opportunities.

The ones who hate hearing about buying anything will unsubscribe to make room for someone who will. And this is a really good thing. By the time you launch your own products, your list will be conditioned and ready to hear about it.

Another super important point is, you condition your audience to buy from YOU! This is powerful because if someone buys one thing from you, the chances of them buying from you again go WAY UP.

It’s basically the part of our human nature that makes us feel comfortable with someone we’ve already judged as “safe.” This is why the tripwire and one time offers work so well. If you can get someone to buy a $5.00 resource from you, they are more likely to move up your sales ladder. Start with the small and work your way up.

In addition to all that, affiliate marketing also builds trust if you do it the right way and ONLY refer amazing and trust-worthy stuff. If your audience buys from one of your affiliates and loves it, they’ll be back for more. And when it’s time for your own launch, they’ll already trust that it’s as amazing as everything else you’ve shared with them.

4 – You Learn How to do an Effective Sales Email Campaign

There are do’s and don’ts when sending out an email sales launch campaign. There’s really a science to getting it right. And the key ingredient is practice.

You can follow all the advice and blueprints for success you want, but actually doing it yourself is learning. It takes a lot of trial and error and finesse. Your first launch campaign is sure to suck so get that one out the way quickly.

Practicing with someone else’s course and flopping hard is a no-lose situation for you. It’s like walking on a tightrope with a harness and a net! You’re getting great practice but without all the scary risk.

By the time you finish your book, you’ll be able to prime your list, have them eagerly awaiting, and buying like crazy when it’s time to launch. And that’s what you want!

5 – You Can Make Money Even With a Small Blog

Unlike ads on your site that require tons of traffic to make any decent income, affiliate marketing can make you money even if your audience is still small… if you do it right.

The key is to be strategic rather than randomly link dropping or referring products here and there. Start by making a list of affiliate products that you LOVE and genuinely want to refer your readers too because you believe it’ll make their lives better in some way. And those products MUST already fit well within your current blog’s niche. Remember, no randomness allowed.

Then start brainstorming post ideas that could help your readers begin thinking about that product such as how to use it in a unique way, or making them aware of what they are missing out on by not using this product or service.

Let’s say you are a home blogger and want to refer your readers to a natural cleaning products subscription box. Before the affiliate launch or before you begin offering this product to your readers, you can start creating content to build awareness for why we need natural cleaning products, the real-life dangers of using toxic cleaners, and simple ways or hacks to cleaning your home naturally. You’re basically priming them for your offer.

And just to be super clear, when I use this strategy, I don’t necessarily mention the product itself. I just want to attract my readers to that post(s) which is directly tied in some natural way to that product. This could be through an email or a pop-up offer at the end of the post.

Here’s an example image from one of my posts:

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If it’s a high-yield affiliate or an evergreen product, I’ll create a helpful content upgrade to get those interested readers on my email list. Then when that product launches or they have a flash sale, I can send an email to only those who showed interest and tell them about the sale.

You can certainly use paid traffic to ramp up this process. But you don’t need amazing traffic numbers to make decent income using this process.

I used this process to prepare for the amazing Ultimate Homemaking Bundle from Ultimate Bundles a few months ago. I created a post about modern homemaking and shined a positive light on how the word “homemaking” can be viewed as old-fashioned.

The post did really well, and I got a lot of sign-ups for the planner I created and was then able to email them about the Homemaking Bundle when it was released a few weeks later. You can check out the post here!

6 – You Build Key Relationships with other Bloggers

This one is by far my favorite benefit of affiliate marketing. That’s because relationships are so vitally important in this business. We need each other!

For example, I purchased McKinzie’s Pin to Profits course which is amazing and I highly recommend! I quickly became an affiliate because I believe my own audience could benefit from her expertise.

Over the course of a few months and many friendly emails, we developed a relationship. And now I’m guest posting here on her amazing blog!

This has happened with many other wonderful bloggers too. If you’re a blogger, you already know one of the pitfalls of blogging is how lonely blogging can be. Without trying to sound too dramatic, building key friendships and partnerships in blogging is life-changing!

7 – Start Making Money Now Without the Pressure and Time of Creating Your Own

Writing a book or creating an online course is A LOT of work and takes A LOT of time and focus. This means it could take months before it’s ready to sell and make you money.

Affiliate marketing is perfect if want to start bringing in an income from your blog now. There’s no waiting… except for all the practicing I mentioned earlier.

Once you’ve got it down, you can start making sales NOW… today… seriously.

8 – Get Used to Rejection and Flops

The final reason to master affiliate marketing is it gives you permission to suck. Because in the beginning, you will. Sorry to sound so harsh, but it’s true.

You need to get used to rejection and mistakes and get the initial shock out of your system. It feels terrible to totally flop on something you worked hard on, but it’s really par for the course.

Affiliate market gives you the place to fail it at with zero risk to you. And honestly, rejection and mistakes are going to happen no matter how long you’ve been doing this. But the reason you need to experience this early on, is it lessens the fear. And removes the tendency to be gun-shy when it’s time to do a new launch.

You don’t want to be passing on great opportunities for both you and your readers because you’re afraid. Simply feeling the sting of rejection makes it less painless and scary the next time. Soon, you’ll begin to expect it and your focus will turn from fear to the hustle of getting the work done.

I hope you’re fired up right now about killing it in affiliate marketing! I also hope you feel less pressure to burn yourself out with your own products and start thinking of affiliates you can start promoting to your audience right now.

McKinzie has some amazing resources right here on this blog and has a FREE resource for amazing affiliates you can join today.

Moms Make Cents - Helpful Posts On Affiliate Marketing:

How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

8 Affiliate Networks To Boost Your Blog Income

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

How To Make Money With Pinterest Affiliate Links


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Brandi Michel is the creator of FamilyFelicity.com and when she's not spending time with her most favorite people on the planet – her family – you can find her drinking cold coffee and sharing her best tips and advice on creating your best "Felicity" family life on her blog! Felicity means joys of heaven, prosperity, and blissfulness. Sounds awesome, right?

One of her passions is helping moms to create their own online blogs and businesses. If you have a passion but don’t know how to get started or where to find the time, Brandi’s Passion Project Blueprint was created just for you! Click here to get your FREE copy! Plus, get access to her VIP vault full of 100+ printables to help bring out all your amazingness in your life and home! You can also get all her latest posts by following her on Facebook and Pinterest!

Can Your Really Make Passive Income From Blogging?

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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

You may have noticed that lately, I’ve been a little quiet in the blogosphere. I haven’t posted in a couple of months, I haven’t been emailing much, etc.

Many of my sweet readers even emailed me in concern. I received emails asking, “Are you okay? It has been a while since I’ve heard from you.”

I so appreciated each one of those messages!

Turns out there is a good reason why I’ve been so quiet. Maybe you’ve guessed it!

I’m pregnant!

Yep, team Moms Make Cents is growing this year. We are expecting our second in October and we are so excited!

But despite all of my excitement I have been so so sick - if you’ve had morning sickness you know what a beast it can be.

On top of that, I struggled with a brutal kidney stone and kidney infection. Being pregnant really complicated everything. It was super scary for a little bit, but God is good and after miraculously passing a stone they said would be too big to pass on my own - my little Bean and I are healthy.

With all of the sickness, doctors appointments and hospital visits, I literally had to take an entire month off from my business. However, the opportunist in me saw it as a chance to really gauge how much of my income is truly “passive” in my businesses.

Issues with my kidneys kicked in big on February 15th.  That was the first day I was totally out of commission. At that point, I was six weeks pregnant and the first signs of morning sickness were starting to creep in - but the kidney pain way overpowered it. About a week later I was mostly recovered from my kidney stone and morning sickness came in in full-force.

I don’t know about you, but morning sickness is one of my least favorite things ever.

With my first kiddo, it was pretty bad so going into it this time I knew I was in for it.

Again I was stuck in bed unable to work. Every time I tried to write a post or an email, my stomach would be in knots, and I’d have to lay back down.

Because of all of that I worked for a total of 10 hours for a solid month. That was me literally scraping by doing the bare minimum. Usually, I work 10-20x that in a month easily so letting go was hard.

Now let’s talk some numbers! 

Usually, between my two businesses (this blog and my affiliation with a direct sales company - almost all of my leads for sales and recruits come through this blog) I average about $10,000 per month before expenses - some months are more, but for the most part, $10k is my monthly goal - if I hit that, I’m happy.

I knew that by literally being hands-off” in my business would equal a lower amount of income but I wasn’t sure how volatile it would be.

During this month I pretty much only replied to emails as they came in. That was it. No writing blog posts, no working on products, just doing maintenance.

However, I added it up and from February 15th to March 15th (February only has 28 days so technically this was shorter than my average month too) - and with my minimal work I was still able to bring in $7363 in revenue.

Now, these aren’t businesses that I started last week. Passive income takes a ton of work and a lot of time to build. I’ve been actively involved working my booty off building up this income for the last two years.

If this was a younger business I don’t think it would have held so steady in my absence. The last two years I’ve built a solid foundation, created products, and systems that allow me to continue to bring in revenue even when I’m not actively able to be working.

To help you develop your own passive income plan I wanted to outline for you the systems that helped me generate revenue even when I wasn’t working.

1. Sales Funnels

If you’ve been blogging for a little while chances are you’ve heard about a sales funnel. Essentially, sales funnels are when you get someone to sign up for your email list and you give them value and information on a related topic.

Once they have some experience with you and the topic you can share a relevant product with them. This can be your own product or service or an affiliate product.

2. Promoted Pins

Promoted Pins are one of my favorite ways to scale-up a business. At a given time I have at least 7-10 different Promoted Pins campaigns running to bring traffic to build my email list and sell my products/affiliate products.

This was so important because it allowed me to continue to have a stream of traffic even when I wasn’t out promoting my posts and products on social media or to my email list (other than my sales funnels).

3. Social Media Scheduling

If you look at my social media accounts (well except Instagram because I never post on there) it looks like I have been consistently posting when in all reality it was all just set to loop in my social media scheduling tool.

I use a tool for social media called Post Planner. It runs about $10 a month and you can schedule posts based on a calendar you set or you can use their “repeat” feature to loop your social media posts. With me being so sick I’ve just had it set to looping - which completely automates the process.

4. BoardBooster

Want to know a secret? I didn’t pin one dang thing on Pinterest this month - well at least not me personally. I have the entire thing set up and automated via BoardBooster. With my system, it loops my popular posts, shares relevant blog posts to group boards and even pins new relevant content for me. Pretty sweet right?

Pinterest is my #1 traffic driver for my blog (followed by organic search) and this month I literally spent no time on the platform. It gave me such peace of mind to know that my content was still being shared even though I couldn’t manually do it.

If you want to check out my entire BoardBooster strategy you can check out the mini-course here.  

5. Get Help

My saving grace this month was my sweet assistant LeAnn. I hired her in October and it is the BEST thing that I could have done. She is my right-hand lady and I absolutely love her. Wayyyy more would have fallen apart this month without her help.

She organized my inbox so I only had to respond to urgent emails (she responded to all of the requests to be a part of my affiliate program, when someone was missing a video lesson from one of my free courses, etc.).

This took so much off of my plate. She also approved members of my Facebook group Blogging Newbs, and helped keep the group running well while I was gone and so much more!

Now you may not be in a place to hire help yet, and that is okay! It took me a year and a half of running my business before I could afford to hire someone but when you can don’t be afraid because it is awesome!

Having these five systems in place seriously saved me this last month!

Now you may be wondering, where did the other money go? How come you were short of your $10k goal?

I’ll admit I was curious too. A significant amount of income still came in - but why was the remaining $2-3k gone?

Here’s what I’ve figured out. Generally, with my blog, I will do some kind of promotion every month. Whether that's a sale on my products, launch a new product or do a big promotion for an affiliate. Usually, these promotions will bring in roughly another $2,000-2,500.

My Brand New Book + Course

In February I was planning on launching a new course all about how to start a successful blog called Mom Blogging Mentor. I had the ebook done in January and I was putting on the finishing touches for the course when I had my first kidney attack.

I was going to try to push the launch date back a couple of weeks but I was just too sick to get it finished and I didn’t want to do it halfway. But now that my morning sickness has eased up a bit I’ve got it ready to go!  Even though I’m launching it about a two months later than planned I’m still ecstatic about it!

I've made both the ebook & course super affordable - I know how hard it can be to make investments when you are first getting started!

 

 

 

 

Get the Ebook + Course for only $47

(Not bad for a 170+ page book and 40 lessons, tutorials, and bonuses!! 😉). 

What I learned...

So what did I learn from this experience? Yes, passive income is real.

If you work for it and take the time to build a solid foundation you can build up income streams that will bring in money even when you are sleeping - or have morning sickness.

But, with that said do I think I could just stop working and that type of income would keep rolling in forever?

No.

While some income would definitely still trickle in there are things that need my attention, like keeping course content up to date, writing new blog posts, and analyzing and improving the systems in my business.

I’m a busy body and I’ve been told I have “zero chill” so being cooped up in bed not working the last couple months or so has been hard, but it also has been an eye-opening experience.

All the hard work, sleepless nights, nap times spent hustling instead of binge-watching Netflix is paying off.

Do you have a passive income plan for your blog? What income streams are you establishing?

 

Five Things I Wish I Knew As A New Blogger

This post may contain affiliate links

 Five things I wish I knew as a new blogger

You know that excited feeling you get when you have a big idea that could change everything?? 

Well... that wasn’t how I felt at all when I started my first blog almost six years ago.

Too honest? 😂

Sure, it sounded fun, but I had no idea what blogging would eventually mean to me.

I’d just gotten married and a bunch of my friends started doing it to document their new cute married lives, so I jumped aboard. Soon I was taking pictures left and right with my little blue kodak camera. Trying to document all of the fun & "glamorous" moments of life. 

At that point, I wasn’t really concerned with making money from my blog. It was more of an online journal, but soon I was swept up into page views, and followers and soon I wanted more. I wanted that number on my “Google Friend Connect” widget (P.S. who remembers GFC??) to be going up in my sidebar, but I was clueless. 

I wish that now I could take the brand new baby blogger me and walk her through what I know now, but unfortunately, I haven’t figured out time travel...yet. But I still can share some of my best tips for you as a new blogger. 

Tip 1: Blogger vs. WordPress vs. SquareSpace

For the love of all that is holy start your blog on WordPress, and not WordPress.com, WordPress.org. I know that is super confusing but stay with me. I’ve had blogs on all three platforms and trust me on this one, WordPress is where you want to be. 

My first blog was on Blogger. I didn’t want to fork out the dough for web hosting, if it was just going to be a hobby. I didn’t buy a domain name either, so I rocked the .blogspot.com URL. Looking back we were both in school full-time and we were pretty poor so I get my thinking, but now I would definitely go with WordPress and get a custom domain name. 

WordPress gives you much more customization and has become the “gold standard” in the blogging industry so there are a lot of resources, plugins, and tools to help you maximize your WordPress blog. SquareSpace and Blogger just don’t have abilities to grow with you as much as WordPress does. 

To get started check out this post about how to set up your hosting and install WordPress. 

Once you’ve installed WordPress you can choose a theme. There are free themes, which are totally okay if you are just starting out and then there are paid themes if you are able to invest a bit of money into your blog. These will have more features and functionality. 

The premium themes that I like are, 

Tip 2: Use High-Quality Images

Pretty, pretty please with sugar on top use high-quality images. This will make SUCH a difference in your readers experience and how many shares that you get on your posts. 

If you have dark low-quality images people are way less likely to share them, (especially on Pinterest, which we will talk more about in a sec!). 

If you have a DSLR camera to take your pictures that is great! Watch some Youtube videos about how to use the settings on your camera and then edit your images in Photoshop, PicMonkey or Gimp. Taking that few extra minutes to edit is SO worth it. 

If you don’t have a nicer camera and you are using your phone camera that is okay too! You still can take really pretty pictures with your phone. Try to take your images in natural light. I take mine in my living room in front of our window. 

There are also great apps that you can use on your phone to do basic editing. 

My favorites are, 

Use these to play around with the exposure, white balance and saturation to make your images pop! 

Tip 3: Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest

Pinterest was just barely starting to get big in 2012 when I started my first blog. I was introduced to it in late 2011 when I was planning my wedding and had NO idea how powerful it could be at the time. 

I was pretty much Pinterest illiterate. 

I published my blog post, with dark, horizontal images, pinned it to my Pinterest board ONCE and then thought, “Sweet, I’ve covered what I need to do on Pinterest!” 

NOPE! Pinterest is so much more than that. When pinning images on Pinterest make sure to pin crisp, bright, VERTICAL images.

There is much more to Pinterest than just pinning pretty pictures so if you are stumped on how to start with Pinterest check out this mega post that covers all about how to use Pinterest for beginners. 

I also have a free five-day Pinterest course with video lessons to help you establish your foundation on Pinterest. 

Tip 4: You Don’t Have To Post Three Times A Week

Phew, this one just about did me in. When I started blogging I was under the impression that to be successful I needed to be posting at least three times a week. I aimed to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the beat myself up on the days that I missed. 

Well, let me tell you something... 

YOU DON’T HAVE TO! 

I do think it is important especially in the beginning to post consistently, but it doesn’t have to be multiple times a week. That leads to one worn out blogger. 

For the first year, I made it my goal to post once a week. Occasionally, I would post twice a week sometimes I would have to skip a week if things were really crazy or if my little one got sick, but as long as I was averaging once a week, I didn’t worry about it. 

It is much better to have fewer high-quality posts on your site than a bunch of half-done posts that you threw up because you felt like that was what you were supposed to do! 

Tip 5: Give It Time

In a world of instant gratification, we want everything now. We want the followers, the big page views and the “passive income,” but all good things take time. 

If you want your blog to a source of income for you, please do not expect that you are going to be making buckets of money three months in. 

It takes most bloggers six months to turn a profit, but once you get to that point it becomes so much easier. If you are in month five without making anything, don’t quit! Getting to your first 1,000 subscribers or your first $1,000 is so much harder than getting to 10,000! 

I’ve spent years figuring out blogging, testing strategies, failing and succeeding, but now I am to a point where each month I consistently make more than I did working full-time with a college degree. 

It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you want it and you are willing to work for it, it is absolutely possible for you! 

If I could sit down with six years ago me, that is exactly what I would tell myself. I can’t get back that time, but you can use these tips to help you get started!

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I don’t want you to feel alone on this journey! I’ve created a Facebook group just for new bloggers and there are over 18,000 members. Come connect, collaborate, and find your blogging tribe! 

To help you get started I’ve put together some awesome resource for you too. Enter your name and email below and I’ll send you a 30-page ebook all about getting blog traffic, free stock photos and a list of my favorite free resources to help you get started! 

How To Create A Simple Financial Management System

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I'm so excited to introduce to you my friend Rebekah from TheCentsibleBookkeeper.com.  She is going to share how you can create a simple financial management system that will make tax season a breeze!

I’m going to be honest here: You need a system.

The system I’m talking about today is a financial management system.

Why?

To the best of my knowledge, no matter where you live, you will have to pay taxes at some point.  Ugh.

Here in the US, we not only have to pay taxes to the Federal government but in many cases to the State government too.

Each year we have to report our income. And as business owners (you do realize that if you are monetizing your blog, you are a biz owner, right?) we have to pay taxes on the business income. We do get to deduct our business expenses, however, but that adds a new wrinkle.

Whether you earned $1000 from your blog this year or $100,000 when tax time rolls around you need to be prepared.

There’s the easy way and the hard way.

Most business owners start out the hard way. It’s not their fault. No one ever told them what I’m about to tell you.

You get an email from PayPal that you just received your first affiliate payment. Congrats! But now what? What happens to those funds? How will you keep track of it all?

THE HARD WAY

For a lot of bloggers, the next step is to transfer those funds to their bank account. They’ll probably save the emails from PayPal and the affiliate program as receipts and think all is well. Depending on the amount, they may choose to spend some on a new tool like ConvertKit or Buffer. Or maybe take the family out for dinner!

The cycle repeats itself. Each time income is received, it’s transferred to the family bank account and spent on business needs or family fun. Or going toward reducing the mortgage. Or a new roof. Or whatever.

Then tax time rolls around.

The tax preparer asks how much income they received.

Gulp.

They have a file of receipts (most of them anyway), and a myriad of transactions both incoming and outgoing from the bank account.

How can they be expected to remember if a Walmart trip seven months ago was for personal or business??

THE EASY WAY

There is a solution. It’s quite simple.  Open a special bank account JUST for the business cash flow.

It doesn’t even have to be a business bank account, per se. Unless you are using a D/B/A (like MomsMakeCents), you can just use your own name and a personal account is fine. The key is to use a different account.

Let’s look at our scenario again:

You get an email from PayPal that you just received your first affiliate payment. Congrats! But now what? What happens to those funds? How will you keep track of it all?

You transfer those funds to your special, business only bank account. You’ll save the emails from PayPal and the affiliate program in Google Drive or somewhere cloud-based to be safe. Since you can see immediately how much you have, it’s easy to save it for something special that your biz will need.

The cycle repeats itself. Each time income is received, it’s transferred to the business bank account and spent on business needs. Periodically, funds are transferred to the personal account to use toward reducing the mortgage. Or a new roof. Or just for fun!

Then tax time rolls around.

The tax preparer asks how much income you received.

You proudly produce a thumb drive with all your bank statements, receipts, etc. showing exactly where the income came from and where the expenses went.  Easy peasy!

Granted, using a bookkeeping software system would make it even simpler, but if you are just starting out, a separate bank account is really all you need.

HOW TO GET STARTED

The first place to check is your current bank.

If you are using a D/B/A and not just your own name, you’ll want to find out if they offer free business checking accounts. Some do, others have a small fee. You’ll have to decide if the small fee is worth keeping the account local.

If your bank doesn’t have an option for you, you can check with other local banks, or explore online bank options.

If you need a business account (and have your EIN and biz license) and you don’t want to pay any fees, I recommend checking out Capital One Spark Business. It’s worked out well for me so far.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you are conducting business under your own name (ie: not using a D/B/A), then you do not need a business account and a personal account will be fine.

  • If you are using a D/B/A, make sure you have your EIN and whatever licensing your area requires. You’ll need these documents when you go to open your account.

  • It can take a few days or even a week or two for applications to be processed fully. Give yourself plenty of time and don’t stress!

  • If you have any questions, your local banker would be happy to help. They deal with these all the time and will have some great, local information to help you out.

BUT WHAT IF I STARTED OUT THE HARD WAY?

No worries! Everyone does.

First, get set up with a separate bank account and get all services switched over.

Next, using a spreadsheet or notebook, figure out the total funds your business currently has. Transfer this amount to your new bank account. Make sure that all future income and future expenses use this new account.

For figuring out the total funds your business has, here’s what I recommend.

  1. Go back through all the data you’ve saved since you started your business.

  2. List each income payment you received

  3. List each business expense for which you have documentation

  4. Total it up… there’s your figure!

  5. SAVE THIS: your tax preparer will thank you!

Even if you are making just a tiny amount from your blog right now, you know it won’t stay that way! Get set up the right way right now and enjoy the peace of mind you’ll receive. You deserve it!


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Rebekah Zobel Jones is The Centsible Bookkeeper. With a deep financial heritage (her grandmother, father, and aunt were all accountants/bookkeepers), digging into the books is always an adventure. She irons out the difficulties and automates as much as possible — giving you peace of mind and clarity about your financial position.

Grab her quick guide to reduce expenses, 5 Simple Steps to Shrinking Your Financial Waistline.

   

A special thanks to Rebekah for this awesome post!  If you want more check out her...

 WEBSITE        SERVICES      FREEBIE

      And don't forget to follow her on social media!

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How To Overcome Doubt & Fear About Blogging

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Today I wanted to share something really personal that I've been struggling with in case you've been feeling this way too. 

Since October I’ve been in a bit of a funk with my blog. I felt like I didn’t know what to write anymore. I would go to type out a blog post and the words just wouldn’t come. Or I’d think of a live video I could do in my Facebook group and I would make an excuse why I shouldn’t. Something was just pushing me away from blogging.

I’ve wondered, what is wrong with me?

We had some pretty intense personal challenges the end of this year and I thought, “hmmm maybe that has been deterring my focus?”. But it wasn’t that. Maybe I’ve been hustling so hard for so long that I’m feeling burned out? I did relaunch Pin to Profits in November and that took a lot of work, but no, that wasn’t the reason either.

Slowly, ideas of “throwing in the towel” crept in. Maybe I wasn’t good enough to do this. Maybe I wasn’t blogging because I didn’t have anything of value to say?

My husband and I currently do my blog and other business full-time so quitting isn’t really a viable option, unless I want him to go back to work, which doesn’t sound dreamy either.

As I dug deeper and leveled with what I was feeling I finally realized what the issue was.

Doubt and fear.

As I looked over my yearly plan that I made at the beginning of 2017, it was full of goals, growth and exciting projections. When I sat down to make my 2018 calendar. Nothing. I couldn’t think of a dang thing.

But then I realized it was because I was afraid of putting those numbers on paper. When I made my 2017 goals sheet I wasn’t our families sole provider so the numbers were just for fun. In 2018 I have the push of providing for my family. So putting something down, planning on it and then not hitting it was terrifying to me.

So for the last few months, I’ve just sat here stuck. Not blogging, not engaging, because I really wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go.

MY NEW MOTTO

Finally, I was able to get a little perspective.

Everyone keeps saying, “new year, new you” I’m saying, “new year, new view.”

When I was able to look at myself through someone else's eyes I realized I don’t need to be afraid of not knowing enough, not having the cutest office background in my live videos, or being asked a question I don’t know the answer too.

The imposter syndrome is real y’all. It knocks you down and kicks you in the shins when you are least expecting it. Something I’ve struggled this year is doubtful thoughts like, “Why would anyone want to listen to me?” or “What do I know?”

I stopped sharing income reports in 2016 for various reasons, but I do feel like they are a good way to gauge how successful someone is with their blog and if they really know what they're doing. Put your money where your mouth is, you know?

I’m not going to go into a big income report, but I did want to share a couple of quick numbers with you.

Almost every month in 2017 my businesses brought in over $10k in revenue and in September I hit my highest month ever at $20,294.

To me that is crazy!! I absolutely crushed every one of my big goals last year. So why was I asking myself, “Why would anyone want to listen to me?”

The conclusion is fear because I DO have something to say of value. I have proven myself time and time again that I know what I am doing and that I have what it takes.

And you know what?

YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!

I know I am not alone in the fear and self-doubt. If you are feeling stuck in the same rut that I was in, here are a few things that you can do to stay motivated and confident.

FIVE WAYS TO OVERCOME DOUBT & FEAR

1. New View

The #1 thing that I did was take a look at myself and my accomplishments from a different perspective. When I made note of some of the really big things that I did this year, I started to think, “huh, I really am capable!”

List at least five things that you’ve done that you are proud of. They can be big or small, but they need to mean something to you.

2. Stop Comparing

Oh, how I hate the comparison cycle. Sometimes when I see other bloggers in my niche publish something new, I get a pit in my stomach. Like, “why didn’t I think of that?” or “crap, that competes directly with my products,” or “whoa.”

Then I get in a panicked little pitty party and I go from creative ideas, working on things that will build my business and help my readers to being afraid and feeling like I have to go on the defensive.

Here are a couple ways that I’ve combatted this,

1. I unsubscribed from their emails. 

Yep, I straight up stopped reading what they were doing. Now you make think this is counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t I want to know what they were doing so that I could know how to react and stay relevant?

Now that's what I thought at first too. But, so many times I would get an email and then go into a tailspin about how no one was going to buy my course anymore because they just launched one super similar. However, a few months later and a new perspective and sales keep going.

I had 476 people enroll in my courses in 2017.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you!!

2. Unfollow their groups or social media

Similar to the previous point. Focus on YOU and YOUR audience. If you are always chasing down what someone else is doing you are always going to be two steps behind. Foster a relationship with your people, see where they need help and then go and do.

People resonate with different people. Just because one thing works for someone, doesn’t mean it will work for you and vice versa. You do you!

3. Start a “Smile File”

This one has been so helpful for me! Whenever I get a really thoughtful email from a student or a reader saying how much a course, freebie or a blog post helped them, I screenshot it and put it in my “smile file.” This is just a file on my desktop that I can pop in and look at when I am feeling down.

If you don’t have a smile file yet, start one today! Start putting those little drops of happiness in there to save for a rainy day.

4. Give Yourself 10 Seconds

I personally have struggled with anxiety since I was a little kid and this 10 seconds trick has helped me cope with all sorts of challenging things in life.

All you do is give yourself 10 seconds to be afraid, feel all the feels, and then just do it. If you are scared to go live on your Facebook page, freak out for 10 seconds, scream in your pillow, do whatever you’ve got to do and then push that live button and just do it.

Done is better than perfect.

If you are waiting for something in your business to be perfect, you are going to be waiting a long time and will miss a ton of opportunities to grow and learn in the process.

So in the words of Nike, “JUST DO IT!”

5. Find A Blogging BFF

I honestly have no idea how I would have made it this year without my blogging bff Jen. We’ve been there for each other through thick and thin.

A blogging bff is crucial to conquering your fears. Your bff is someone you can bounce ideas off of, get feedback from and someone who gets this whole blogging world. As much as our spouses, parents and friends try to understand blogging there are so many things that people just “don’t get” unless they are in this realm day in and day out.

On low days, or confused days, or even days that I feel like I’m on top of the world and with something exciting that I’ve just got to share, I message Jen and from over a thousand miles away we cheer each other on.

If you are struggling with doubt or fear on your blog, know you are not alone! It is okay to be afraid, it is human nature. Address the fear and then go and do.

You’ve got this mama! You can do it.