For quite a while, I’ve read Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s blog, Making Sense of Cents. She has a ton of great information on how to make extra money and pay off debt, as well as traveling, budgeting and blogging tips–that are helpful to anyone who wants to get out of debt without too much pain. After Michelle had started her blog, she paid off $38,000 in student loans in only seven months and had the ability to leave her job and blog full-time. She is a wealth of information who offers a tremendous amount of excellent financial advice.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, or want to make more money on your existing blog, Michelle is the one to watch. She shares, in her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course, how she grew her blog from $0 to now over $100K a month! The course will teach you the basics of affiliate marketing, how to increase conversions, and how to use Pinterest to grow your followers.
I had a chance to ask her some questions about blogging and the opportunity to travel around the United States with her husband in their RV. Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! My name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I blog full-time at Making Sense of Cents. Me and my husband, Wesley, currently travel full-time in an RV around the country with our two dogs. We sold our house last year and we’ve been traveling around since. We absolutely love life!
How did you get into blogging?
I never thought I would grow up and become a full-time blogger, haha. I graduated from college in 2010, and again in 2012 with my Masters with an emphasis in Finance. I started out as a financial analyst, and worked in that position for 3 years.
In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Due to that website, I became extremely interested in personal finance blogs, and my interest in blogging just grew from there. Before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was really all just a hobby.
But, I came to really love blogging (and I still do!), and eventually left my financial analyst job so that I could blog full time.
This was the best decision I have ever made!
On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra money, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.
Many new bloggers would like to see quick results, but it can take a while to see growth. How long did it take you to start seeing results on your blog?
Since I didn’t start my blog with the intention of making money, it took me 6 months in order to make my first $100. However, after that, I quickly became addicted to earning money from something that I loved. Due to that, after around 1.5 years of blogging, I was consistently earning around $5,000 a month, and it continued to grow quickly from there.
What is some advice that you offer new bloggers?
One piece of advice would be to just try all of the different ways to monetize. So many new bloggers think that they have to wait forever before they monetize, and that is just not true. You can start monetizing and learning about blog monetization methods any time!
My best piece of advice would be to network as much as you can with other bloggers. You should attend conferences, go to local meet ups, network on social media, and more as much as you can. Networking is extremely important in the blogging world, yet many bloggers don’t do that at all because they see other bloggers as competition. This is a huge mistake because bloggers should be your friends and colleagues.
You offer an amazing course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, that teaches students how to make money blogging through affiliates. You started out making a small amount, to now bringing in over $100,000 per month. I’ve taken your course, and learned a tremendous amount. What can you tell our readers about your course?
In Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, students will learn:
- The basics of affiliate marketing, what it is, etc.
- The positives of affiliate marketing and why all online influencers should be doing it
- The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $400,000 from a single blog post
- How to pick the correct affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing (yes, this includes the newest Pinterest affiliate rules!)
With my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course:
- One blogger went from $87 a month in affiliate income before taking the course, to over $1,700 a month after!
- One blogger received their first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course (and they were a brand new blogger too!).
- Another blogger doubled their monthly affiliate income from $2,500 to $5,000.
You have a Facebook group for students that have taken your course. What are some of your favorite things about your group?
My Facebook group for students of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is my absolutely favorite. I’ve always been told that your group/forum should be the most important part of a course as it brings people together and it really helps people understand the topics in the course better. Due to that, I tried extremely hard to create the best group I could, and it worked! So many other course’s have poorly run groups that are just a waste of time. However, mine is not like that at all. I am often told that my Facebook group is the best out there, and I agree!
Everyone is there to help one another, and I answer many of the questions as well. Plus, twice a month I run a group coaching session where students can ask me any question that they want.
Because you are able to work from home, you and your husband sold your house, and bought an RV, and travel around the country. Tell us a little bit more about your adventures, and what led you to this lifestyle?
Location independence is great! We’ve been location independent for a few years, and me and my husband sold our house last year and we’ve been full-time traveling since.
We absolutely love it. We get to work from wherever, all from the comfort of our home on wheels 🙂
What are some of the sights that you have seen?
We have been to numerous places in just the past year and a half. We’ve been to numerous national parks, many states, we’ve seen plenty of beautiful beaches and more. I’m currently answering these interview questions while sitting in my RV and facing Arches National Park in Moab, Utah – so life is great!
Thanks Michelle! We loved having you here at Back To My Southern Roots!
If you have any tips or thoughts about saving money, please share by leaving a comment.