Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the blogger behind Making Sense of Cents, an award winning blog that earned $979,000 last year, and is on track to earn around $1.5 million in 2017. She sold her house in 2015 and currently travels full-time with her husband and two dogs. It all started in August of 2011 as a hobby, when she didn’t even know that bloggers could earn a living. She eventually paid off her $40,000 student loan debt in just a 7 month time frame and it all grew from there. She’s been featured on Forbes, Tripadvisor, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Entrepreneur, and more.
Who are you?
Michelle is the mastermind behind Making Sense of Cents, a blog that made her almost one million dollars last year, by using affiliate marketing. She was featured in Forbes, and has three finance related college degrees, so she knows what she’s talking about. She started blogging five years ago while paying off student loans and working as a financial analyst. After about six months of blogging, she made her first $100, and realized she loved it. She decided to turn it to a side hustle in hopes of making it a full-time job. Now she is making money with affiliate marketing and her blog, and teaching others how to do it too.
How were you able to pay off your student loans in 7 months?
When Michelle graduated with her MBA in finance, she received her first student loan bill. She realized it was more than most of her monthly bills, and she wasn’t earning enough to pay it all and stay above water. She found extra ways to make money, like becoming a staff writer and starting her blog. She also sold items around her house, took surveys, and mystery shopped. After paying taxes on her side hustles, she would throw the rest at her debt. With all of the side hustles she was doing, she was able to pay off $38,000 in 7 months.
So what is affiliate marketing?
Michelle explains affiliate marketing as passive income. She recommends promoting products that you already enjoy or use in your day to day life. When you link to them and someone clicks on the link and purchases the product, you receive some sort of commission.
How long did it take for you to start making money with affiliate marketing?
First, Michelle gave herself a goal to start making money with affiliate marketing. After about two years of blogging, she made her first affiliate sale. After that, her blog began to grow, and so did her affiliate income.
How does someone start making money with affiliate marketing?
Michelle’s top tip for the total newbie is to take her course “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing”. Not only will it walk you through the ways to making money with affiliate marketing, but it also teaching you about promoting, social media, and even writing emails. If you aren’t ready to take a course yet, Michelle recommends taking products that you already use, naturally talk about them and promote them, and then link to them. Plus, don’t just talk about the positives, but talk about the negatives too (if there are any). This makes everything more real and helps you to become a trustworthy source. Also, don’t forget to provide high-quality content that people will want to read.
What made you want to create your course?
After receiving so many questions about making money with affiliate marketing, Michelle thought it would be best to answer them all at one time. Her first thoughts were to create an ebook, but when she realized how dense the book would be, she decided to turn it into a course. This allowed her to start a Facebook group for motivation and inspiration, and gave her the opportunity to add bonuses.
Can you share some of the success stories from the people who’ve taken your course?
Michelle has over 2,500 members in her private Facebook group, and many of them have shared their making money with affiliate marketing success stories. A brand new blogger was able to receive her first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course. An international blogger doubled her affiliate income, which also shows you don’t have to be in the US to make this course work for you. She’s seen success stories across multiple niches as well, including lifestyle, parenting, cooking, and even fashion blogging.
What is one financial tip you have that could help the readers improve their finances right now?
Michelle’s tip tip is to find ways to make extra money. There is only so many things that you can cut out of your budget, but there is an unlimited potential in how much money you make. By finding ways to side hustle and earn extra money, you are giving yourself the freedom to save, invest, and spend more.
How do you make money your honey?
Michelle likes to make her money work for her. She does this by investing in the stock market and finding ways to make passive income. She now works less than 10 hours a week, and is able to earn a six figure monthly income from her blog. She believes in working now in order to reap the benefits later. Now that she works 10 hours a week, Michelle has more time to devote to travel, which she does with her husband in their RV (they live in it full-time!).
Where can listeners go to find out more about you?
Resources that are mentioned or add value to this episode:
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- Make Money Your Honey With Freelance Writing
- October 2016 Passive Income Report
- Persuade to Profit