Blogging + Business

  • The 4 Best Books About Blogging to Read in 2022

    The 5 Best Books About Blogging to Read in 2019


    In five years of blogging, I have read so freaking many blogging books. 

    Some of them were amazing and really helped me to move the needle in my business, while others weren’t great. 

    In this post, I’m talking about the 5 best books about blogging that I have read and that you can read in 2021 to help you grow your blog. 

    These books all include super actionable steps you can take to see an almost immediate difference in your business. 

    Not only do they tell you what to do, they tell you what not to do, so you don’t waste your time on tasks that aren’t worth it. 

    There are plenty of blogging books out there, but these four are my favorites!


    The 4 Best Books About Blogging to Read in 2022

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse


    If there’s one person you can definitely trust for amazing blogging advice, is Darren Rowse of the blog ProBlogger. Darren is one of the OG bloggers, and seriously, the guy knows everything!

    His ProBlogger book is where he teaches bloggers to choose a blog topic, analyze the market, set up their blog, and grow their blog to start earning money. 

    As with each of his blog posts that I’ve read, his advice is super actionable and he offers very specific steps you should take. 

    He gives step-by-step instructions for how to make money on your blog to eventually hit that elusive six-figure mark. 

    Click here to get ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income


    The Essential Habits of 6-Figure Bloggers by Sally Miller


    When I’m looking for great books for bloggers, I’m looking for those that have awesome and actionable advice, but also those that bring something different to the table!

    Unlike other books that just share blogging tips, Sally goes a lot deeper to look at the habits and systems of six-figure bloggers. 

    Sally interviewed 17 successful bloggers to really dive deep into their backgrounds, habits, and characteristics, and the business strategies that made them so successful. 

    You probably won’t be surprised to hear that all 17 of the bloggers share some common traits and habits. 

    Sally breaks down three specific habits that all of the six-figure bloggers shared – and they’re habits that can be applied to literally any area of your life!

    In addition to learning about the habits of six-figure bloggers, Sally does also share specific business strategies and systems of the bloggers that you can apply to your own blog. 

    Click here to get The Essential Habits of 6-Figure Bloggers


    Traffic Transformation Guide by Lena Gott


    When you’re working on growing a new blog, traffic is a huge focus. And Lena’s book is hands-down the best book I’ve read on growing your traffic!

    Even though I was several years into my blogging journey when I read this book for the first time, I still learned quite a few new tricks about growing my blog traffic. 

    I love the strategy behind Lena’s tips, and I’ve seen success implementing some of them myself. 

    The impetus for this book is a situation I’m sure so many bloggers can relate to:

    Lena checked her blog stats, sure that she had had a record-high month for page views, and realized that her traffic had actually dropped. 

    Then she starting testing one new strategy every day for growing her traffic. And by doing this, she was able to grow her traffic from 17,000 page views to over 400,000 pageviews in just ten months. 

    This one is really a must-read for me.

    Click here to get Traffic Transformation: 21 Strategies I Used to Increase My Monthly Page Views from 17k to 400k+ in 10 Months 


    One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothland


    Most bloggers I know do not have a strong content plan. They struggle to come up with blog post ideas, and they write posts based on what sounds fun to them on any given day rather than really following any kind of strategy. 

    And to be honest, I think this is a big part of why most bloggers don’t make it. 

    Meera’s book shares amazing guidance on creating a content plan for your blog.

    She talks about the types of content most likely to get people to buy, and how to create a long-term strategy for your content. 

    She also talks about creating free and paid offers and how to weave those into your content plan. 

    If blog content is an area you struggle with, Meera’s book can help you so much.

    Click here to get One Hour Content Plan


    Final Thoughts


    There is so much to learn about blogging. And it can be so overwhelming. I remember being in my first year of blogging feeling like I would never get it all figured out. 

    But I did. And these four books were the best books about blogging I found and a huge part of getting me to where I am today. I know you’ll love them too!




  • How to Start a Blog in 2022: A Step By Step Guide

    How to Start a Blog in 2020


    In 2015, desperate for a creative outlet when I wasn’t at my government job, I started my first blog.

    Years later, that job has not only made me a lot of money, but has also helped me to launch my six-figure freelance writing business, quit my full-time job, and completely change my life.

    Whether you’re starting a blog just as a creative hobby or because you’re hoping to grow it into a side business, this post is for you! This guide for how to start a blog in 2022 will go into the technical aspects of setting up your blog, as well as helping you to figure out what you want to blog about and how to get started with the creative side of blogging.


    How to Start a Blog in 2022

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    Step 1: Deciding What to Blog About

    There are plenty of general lifestyle blogs that have turned out to be successful, but you’ll see the most success by choosing a specific topic to blog about. 

    I’ll be honest, my blog was kind of aimless for the first few years. And while I did alright and was able to earn some money from ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing, it was when I narrowed in on a particular topic that things really started to change.

    You might find that your blog topic changes over time, but just start somewhere. If you’re struggling to figure out what you want to blog about, take some time and think about what you’re really passionate about. What do you love to talk about? What do you know a lot about and can pass that knowledge onto others? That’s your sweet spot.


    Step 2: Purchasing a Domain Name

    Next up, it’s time to choose a domain name! You can click here to purchase your domain whenever you’re ready!

    Choosing a domain name for your blog can be challenging. Finding the right name for your blog is probably going to take a lot of brainstorming and, unfortunately, a lot of the great ideas you have are probably already taken.

    Here are just a few guidelines to help you. First of all, do a brain dump and just write down anything that comes to mind. I found my current domain name by doing a brain dump, and then using the thesaurus to find synonyms of each word until I found some that sounded really good together!

    Second, make your domain name easy for others to type in. This means making it short, memorable, and easy to spell. I recommend going with a .com if possible as well because that’s what most people naturally search for.

    Finally, remember that it can be changed later. It’s certainly easier if you get it right the first time, but I changed my blog name after two and a half years of blogging and was able to easily switch everything over without losing any traffic or social media followers.

    Once you have some ideas, head over to SiteGround and start checking to see what’s available! You may find the occasional domain name that is for some reason super expensive, but most of them are going to be pretty reasonably priced for under $15 per year.

    Note: SiteGround is the company I recommend for blog hosting so also purchasing your domain name there helps streamline the process a bit. Click here to purchase your domain name with SiteGround


    Tip: Secure Your Social Media Handles

    Before purchasing a domain name, I recommend checking to see if the corresponding social media handles are available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Though it’s not absolutely necessary to have the same name on every platform, it will be a lot easier for people to find you if your social media pages match your blog name.

    When I was rebranding my blog last year and brainstorming new name ideas, I checked every single one on social media first and crossed out the ones where I wouldn’t be able to get matching names across platforms. And once you’ve checked social media and purchased your domain name, I recommend securing those social media usernames right away!

    You can use a free tool like Namecheckr to check the availability of your name on every platform at once.


    Step 3: Choosing and Installing a Platform

    Once you’ve purchased your domain name, it’s time to get started setting up your blog! First things first, it’s time to choose a platform. There are several options, including free platforms (Blogger) and paid platforms (WordPress and Squarespace). I highly recommend choosing one of the paid platforms. They aren’t that expensive, and it’s the only way to truly own your blog content.

    Since I use and recommend WordPress, this tutorial will be for those setting up a blog on WordPress using SiteGround hosting.

    First things first, head over to SiteGround and click “Sign Up”. This is where you’ll choose your hosting plan. If you’re setting up a brand new blog, I recommend going with the cheapest plan available. You can always upgrade later, but this plan will be a good starting place, and it’s a bargain at only $3.95/month!

    Seriously, that’s less than $50 per year!



    Finish signing up. Go through the signup form, filling in every space. Most of this is pretty self-explanatory, such as contact and payment information. When you get to the bottom, they’ll present you with additional services available. These are totally up to you, but I do recommend purchasing the domain security.



    Now that you’re all signed up with SiteGround, it’s time to install WordPress! In your SiteGround dashboard, you’re going to want to head to the “My Accounts” tab and click that red button that says “Go to cPanel”.



    Head down to “WordPress Tools” and select “WordPress Installer”, which is the first button in the box.



    This is what you’ll see next. Click the blue box that says “Install”.



    Fill out the form that comes up on the screen. This is where you’ll have an opportunity to name your site, fill in a site description, and choose a username and password. You can also choose to install a theme here if you already have one, but we’ll wait on that part for now.

    Once WordPress is fully installed, all that’s left to do is log in! Head over to your admin page (yourdomain . com / wp-admin). When you see the following screen, just log in and you’re all set!



    Tip: Why SiteGround?


    SiteGround is the hosting provider I recommend to all bloggers, both new and old. When I first started blogging, I was using a different hosting company (one you’ve probably seen promoted by other bloggers). It was a struggle for two years. My site was going down fairly often and the customer service was hardly ever any help.

    On the recommendation of quite a few other bloggers, I switched to SiteGround and haven’t regretted it once. My site hasn’t gone down a single time, and I literally cannot say enough good things about the customer service!

    Plus they offer SO many services that you otherwise would end up paying for separately, such as daily backups for your blog, free moves from http to https, and WAY more.

    The best part is that despite being (in my opinion) the best hosting provider, the pricing still cannot be beaten! You can start your blog for just $3.95/month with SiteGround, which is an amazing deal!


    Step 4: Installing a Theme

    Your work is far from over once you install WordPress, but there’s just one more technical piece we’re going to go through today – installing your theme! There are lots and lots of free WordPress themes available, but I really think purchasing a premium theme is worth it when it comes to making your blog as easy to use and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

    On my blog, I used the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. I’ve used quite a few different themes over the years. The reason I ultimately chose Divi is how customizable and easy to use it is. Everything is drag and drop, meaning even someone who doesn’t understand code (like me) can totally customize their site however they want it.

    That’s why I think it is hands-down the BEST theme for beginners!

    Elegant Themes has TONS of tutorials on their website to set up your own blog with the Divi Theme. I’m planning to do a post at a later time sharing how I use it to create my site!

    Remember as you’re searching that most things in a theme such as fonts, logos, and colors will be customizable. The best bet is to focus on the overall structure and features of the theme when making your decision.

    Once you’ve downloaded your theme, find the “Appearance” button on the left side of your WordPress dashboard and select “Themes”. This is where you’ll be able to upload your new theme.


    Final Thoughts

    Everything I shared above is a lot of technical information that’s probably going to seem overwhelming if you’re brand new to blogging. But don’t worry! Take as much time as you need to get everything set up before you start creating content. 

    Plus if you ever have questions or technical issues, SiteGround‘s customer service is AMAZING and they can help you get over any roadblocks you might run into.

    Plus, you can ALWAYS reach out to me with any questions and I am happy to answer as best I can!

    I hope this information was all super helpful to you and provided you with the starting blocks to get your blog up and running and figure out where to focus your blog. Now that you’ve got your blog all set up, make sure to head over to my super-detailed guide on growing your blog this year!





    How to Start a Blog in 2018 - Want to start a blog? This the comprehensive guide for how to start a blog in 2018 is just what you need to help you with the technical aspects of starting your blog! | Blogging, Business, Side Hustle


  • Why You Should Start a Side Hustle (And 9 Side Hustle Ideas)

    Why You Should Start a Side Hustle (Plus 9 Side Hustle Ideas)


    When I first started blogging, I definitely didn’t have the intention of making money from it (I had no idea you could make money blogging). But it didn’t take me long to realize that it’s totally possible to turn a blog (or another hobby) into a side hustle you can actually make an income from! In this post, I’m talking about why YOU should start a side hustle, and I’m also sharing a few awesome side hustle ideas!


    Why You Should Start a Side Hustle


    You Can Diversify Your Income

    When I first started blogging, I gave no thought to the idea that I might be able to monetize my blog. In fact, I didn’t even know you could make money blogging! But it didn’t take me long to realize that there are a lot of people online making a great income from their blog or online business. I don’t make a full-time income from my blog by far, but it’s nice to have a bit of extra income in addition to my full-time job.

    I love my full-time job and blogging on the side, but a lot of people are side hustling with the intention of turning it into a full-time job. Starting your business on the side before quitting your job is a great way to allow you to grow slowly and stay financially stable until you’re making enough money to make the leap.

    Regardless of whether you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time job, having an extra source of income is great! Whether you’re paying off debt, saving for a trip, or just trying to build up your savings account, the extra income always helps!


    You’ll Have a Creative Outlet

    When I first started blogging, this is exactly why I did it. I have always loved writing and while I was doing a lot of writing in my full-time job, it didn’t leave a lot of room for creativity. The content I share on my site has changed significantly from the beginning, but I still love that it’s my own space where I can write about whatever I want.

    I will say, blogging is no longer quite as much of a stress relief as it was when I first started. In the beginning, it was just a hobby and was great for stress relief and just a way to focus on something fun. Since I’ve started making an income from my blog, there are obviously additional stressors put on it. Nevertheless, I still get a lot of joy from it and love having it as a creative outlet.


    You Can Make a Career Change

    If you’re interested in switching career fields but don’t necessarily have the resume to get a job in the new field, starting a side hustle is a great way to do that! I’ve only worked in one field since graduating college, and by starting a blog I was able to gain experience in areas I would never have otherwise, and that experience would be super helpful if I wanted to change career fields to something more relevant to blogging.

    If you have a specific career field in mind that you’re hoping to switch into, think of the relevant skills you’re going to need and what kind of side hustle would allow you to hone those skills.


    You’ll Learn New Skills

    Even if you aren’t out to jump into a new career, you can still learn some awesome new skills from a side hustle! Before I started my blog, I had no idea of the skills and the hard work that went into running a successful blog and online business.

    When I started blogging, I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about blogging, social media, SEO, etc., and really dove into educating myself. I’ve learned so many skills over the last few years that I would never have had the chance to learn otherwise!

    Even if you aren’t planning on taking your side hustle full-time or switching into a new career field, these skills can be super useful in growing your side hustle and in other areas of your life and career as well. I’ve definitely found some of the skills I’ve learned to be super useful in my current full-time job, even though it’s a completely different industry!


    You’ll Meet New People

    This one has come as a huge surprise to me, but definitely a pleasant one! When I first started my blog, it didn’t occur to me that I might be able to meet new people. I simply started it to have a creative outlet. However, I quickly learned that there are a ton of people online doing the same thing I am, and there are so many ways to connect with them!

    One of my favorite ways to connect with other bloggers and side hustlers has been through Facebook groups. There are tons of Facebook groups specifically for people to ask questions (lots of technical questions about setting up and running a blog, as well as questions on growing your audience).

    There are also groups solely for connecting with other online business owners. I have met some awesome people in these groups, and blogging definitely wouldn’t be the same without that online community of people who are going through all of the same struggles I am.


    You’ll Be Pushed Out of Your Comfort Zone

    I’ve always been a fairly shy person and to be completely honest, my comfort zone has always been pretty small, and I definitely feel like that has caused me to miss out on some experiences over the years.

    Since starting a blog, I’ve put myself out there in a way that I would never have otherwise, and have had the opportunity to interact with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    If you’re someone who has a small comfort zone as I did for most of my life, a side hustle might be an awesome opportunity for you to challenge yourself and come out of your shell a bit!


    Side Hustle Ideas


    1. Start a Blog – This is definitely #1 for me! I started my blog in 2014 and have loved it ever since. It’s a great way to make some extra money while also doing something super fun (if writing happens to be super fun for you). The best part is there are so many different ways to make money from a blog!
    2. Open an Online Shop – Are you really crafty at something? Start selling your goods online! You can set up a shop on a site like Etsy, or set up your own site altogether.
    3. Become a Freelancer – Whatever your skill is, freelance it! There are tons of sites these days that connect freelancers with work opportunities.
    4. Sell Digital Products – It’s super easy to create and sell digital products these days. There are tons of options from online courses to eBooks to printables.
    5. Teach a Skill – If you have an awesome skill, chances are someone else is willing to pay you to teach it to them. Whether you play a musical instrument or are an awesome chef, I guarantee there’s a way to make money teaching someone else your skill.
    6. Become a Dog Walker/Sitter – If you love animals, this can be a fun way to make a bit of extra money while also doing something super fun!
    7. Drive for Uber/Lyft – I know quite a few people who have become an Uber driver in addition to their full-time job.
    8. Take Online Surveys – Online surveys won’t make you a ton of money, but a little extra here and there!
    9. Get a Part-Time Job – If you want to make a bit of extra money but aren’t interested in doing anything entrepreneurial, look for a part-time job at a nearby business.


    Final Thoughts

    These are definitely some great reasons to start a side hustle, and the side hustle ideas I shared above are a great start if you’re looking to start one! I would LOVE for you to leave me a comment and let me know if you have a side hustle, and leave a link so we can check it out!


  • How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time

    How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time


    When I started this blog back in 2014, I really had no plans to start a business while working full-time. It was meant to be a creative outlet and a way to build relationships online with those with similar interests and passions.

    Things have morphed a lot since then. Not only was I able to successfully grow my blog, but I also used it to launch a successful freelance writing business.

    For most of the time I’ve been blogging, I had a full-time job. Yes, starting a business while working a full-time job is a lot of work. A ton of work. But it’s a task that more and more people are taking on as they try to increase their income through side-hustles.

    If you’re interested in starting a business while working a full-time job, then this post is for you!


    How To Start A Business While Working Full-Time

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into


    You should know ahead of time that the task you’re getting ready to take on is not an easy one. Starting a business under any circumstances is stressful and a huge time investment, but starting a side business alongside a full-time job means all the stress without having nearly as much time to devote to it.

    If you’re serious about your decision to start a side business, know that there are going to be sacrifices. It will likely mean passing up nights out with friends, time spent on other hobbies, and time you may have spent doing something more relaxing such as reading or binge-watching your favorite shows.

    While I caution you to take these things into account before you start a side business, I also wouldn’t consider these reasons not to. In the years since I started this blog, I’ve absolutely found those sacrifices to be worth it!


    Do Your Research Ahead of Time


    When I first started this blog, I was woefully unprepared for the task of running a business. That totally worked in my case, because it was purely a hobby for a long time, and I didn’t make my first dollar until I had already been at it for a year! But if you’re starting this journey with the intention of starting a real business, you’ll want to do a bit more research upfront.

    Take some time to consider what kind of business you’re starting, what services you’ll offer, and who your target audience will be. This will make it so much easier to start creating, whether it be a service, a product, or online content. It will also make it easier to make a marketing plan because you’ll know exactly who you’re marketing to, where they hang out online, and what it is they need from you.

    Running a business alongside a full-time job also takes a lot of planning. If you just wing it every time you sit down to work, or you don’t know what you should be working on, then you aren’t going to make much progress with your business.

    Everyone has a different system for planning that works best for them. Here’s how I plan my business ahead of time:

    • At the beginning of the year, I consider my business goals for the year and decide what projects and areas I really want to focus on.
    • Using Asana, I break those projects down into a timeline and write out every action item I’m going to need to accomplish.
    • Every week, I sit down and plan my entire week in advance. I use my Asana projects and task list to write out my daily to-do list/schedule for each day in my planner.

    Certainly, things come up that weren’t on my to-do list, or certain projects get dropped throughout the year. Plans change somewhat.

    That being said, it’s still super important to make a plan so you know everything on your to-do list is truly helping you to reach your goals.


    Invest in Your Business


    One of the great things about building an online business is that the start-up costs are quite low. I spent no money at all when I first started my blog, other than the cost of my own domain. Since then, even as my business has grown, I’ve still been able to keep costs low.

    The type of business you’re starting will certainly impact the investment needed up front, but I recommend limiting those costs as much as possible. You might also consider cutting costs in other areas of your life so you have more money available to put toward your business before you start bringing in an income there.

    Your costs upfront will likely include a domain and hosting service. You also might consider an email marketing platform and social media marketing tools. If you’re creating a physical product, you’ll have even more start-up costs associated.


    Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable


    I have found goal-setting to be hugely beneficial when it comes to growing my blog and business. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of writing new blog posts and promoting them on social media, and sometimes you can lose sight of the big picture and other projects you might like to take on.

    I like to find balance by having a few big goals that I’m working toward along with my normal blogging routine. Most notably, those big goals have included opening my Etsy shop and writing and launching my eBook.

    It can be so easy when your business is a side-hustle to set goals for yourself and then find that you never actually get around to accomplishing them. Find ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals such as writing them down, setting deadlines, and sharing them with others.


    Manage Your Time Wisely


    There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to have to get crafty with your time management if you’re going to start a side hustle. If you’re working full-time, that means 40 hours every week that you won’t be spending growing your business.

    Your evenings and weekends will suddenly be worth their weight in gold for your business. I like to make the most of that time by making sure I’ve outlined ahead of time what tasks I need to get done. You can also try to take advantage of early mornings and lunch hours (if that’s an option for you) to sneak in a little extra work.

    Everyone eventually figures out a system that works best for them, and it’s different for every business owner. I typically spend a couple of evenings each week working on blog work, as well as one full day on the weekend if I can manage it (on weekends where I’ve got a lot going on personally I’ll just make up for that lost work by putting in more hours during the workday evenings).


    Have a Content Strategy


    When I first started blogging (and for probably the first 2-3 years of my blog) I had no content strategy whatsoever.

    I would write blog posts that I thought were interesting with absolutely no thought as to how they would fit into my overall blog strategy.

    I also created lead magnets for my email list without any sort of strategy. I once created a lead magnet around a topic I wrote about only a few times, and that I wasn’t really interested in continuing to write about or monetize.

    And then 2,000 people signed up for the lead magnet. And I had 2,000 people on my email list (that I had to pay for) who had no interest in what I actually talk about on my blog.

    That experience definitely showed me how important a content strategy really is. Any time you write a blog post or email, create a lead magnet or throw up a social media post, know WHY you’re doing it.

    Have a goal for every piece of content. Is your blog post meant to grow your email list by sharing a relevant lead magnet? Is it meant to sell your product or even an affiliate product? Is it meant to build trust with your audience?

    Since implementing a content strategy for my blog, I’ve noticed that my audience is way more engaged and actually care about me and the things I’m posting!


    Batch Your Work


    Since blogging is not my full-time job, I don’t always have a consistent time to work on it. One week I might have a full 30-40 hours to devote to my blog, and the next week it might be more like 10.

    The best way I’ve found to deal with this inconsistency is by batching my work. If I have a day where I have a full eight hours to work on my business, I don’t just write my next blog post. I write my next four blog posts.

    I also schedule my social media posts for the entire month at once. It just takes me a few hours, and then I know I won’t have to worry about social media posts for the rest of the month.

    The other benefit of batching your work is that you’re saving yourself a lot of transition time. For example, I like to schedule Pinterest images for all of my upcoming blog posts at once. I’ve already got my design program open. I’m already focused on that project.

    If you have a consistent blogging schedule and always have to same chunks of time to devote to blogging, you could assign certain tasks to certain days.

    For example, you might have one day where you write all your blog posts for the following week, one day where you design the graphics, one day where you write and schedule the social media posts, etc.


    Get Off Balance


    One of my favorite bloggers and life coach Natalie Bacon teaches that if you want to reach a big goal, you need to get off balance in your life.

    We read so much these days about creating balance in your life and the importance of creating work-life balance.

    But if your blog is really a top priority for you, then you just can’t give it the same weight as everything else in your life. You need to prioritize your time so that your biggest priorities are getting the most time!

    Making your blog a priority is going to mean cutting back on other parts of your life. It means fewer nights out with friends and fewer days binge-watching your favorite shows.

    It might mean being okay with your house being mostly clean instead of super clean so you can devote more hours to your blog.

    Personally, I love reading. I used to spend hours reading every week. And don’t get me wrong, I still love reading. And I still make time to read. But I don’t devote the amount of time to it that I used to.

    I would rather spend more time on my blog and have that hard work pay off sooner.

    It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to prioritize your life. But just know that if you’re balancing your blog equal to everything else in your life, you aren’t going to see the fast growth you hope for.


    Network, Network, Network


    As I mentioned before, more and more people are choosing to become entrepreneurs while also holding a full-time job. This means you’re in good company and there are tons of like-minded individuals online doing what you’re doing!

    Forming relationships with other online bloggers and business owners has been truly invaluable to growing my own business. First of all, it has helped me to grow my business by allowing me to find individuals who are interested in what I’m talking about on my blog. It has also allowed me to make online friends whom I can lean on and who understand the pressures and stressors that go into this world of online business.

    Just a quick search on Facebook will allow you to find countless Facebook groups of like-minded entrepreneurs! You can also connect by reaching out directly on Instagram, Twitter, or another social media page.


    Final Thoughts


    If you have a side business, you know that building a successful business with a full-time job is not easy.

    It takes time. It takes an insane amount of hard work. And it just might take a bit of your sanity (kidding…sort of).

    One of the biggest challenges people seem to run into when they’re building their blog is really balancing their blog with a job that takes up 40+ hours of their week.

    I know the lessons I shared in this blog post can help you get on the right track.



    How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time - Thinking of starting a side-hustle? That’s AWESOME! Here are some tips to start a business while working full-time. - Blogging | Side Hustle


  • How to Write an eBook That Sells

    In 2016 I wrote my first eBook and officially launched it in October. Writing an eBook had been the #1 goal on my list for that year, and writing a book has been a goal of mine for just about my entire life. When I first got the idea I was grossly unprepared. I had this idea that I would just write something up in Microsoft Word, and surely people would buy it. Well, that’s not exactly how it went, and luckily I figured that out early in the process.

    You see, just when I was getting started on my eBook Abby Lawson at Just a Girl and Her Blog launched an eCourse called Book Boss, which was meant to help you write and launch an eBook in 90 days. Since it was at a launch price that seemed like a steal, I impulsively bought the course. Let me just say – best decision ever. In this post, I’m going to run you through what I loved about the course, and give you some guidance on how to write an eBook.


    write an ebook

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.





    Know Your Audience


    My eBook idea changed a LOT from the time I had the idea of writing one until the time I actually wrote one. Part of the reason for that was that my blog changed a lot too! When I first started blogging, I blogged about just about EVERYTHING. I had no clear focus, and therefore no clear audience.

    Finally, when I was really ready to dig into my eBook, I did a survey to find out more about my readers and what they wanted from me.

    At this point, I had become more and more passionate about writing about both blogging and productivity, and a quick reader survey showed me that those topics were perfect! The majority of my readers have their own blog, but most of them also have a job outside the home, meaning they’re balancing the two. The survey showed me that people were struggling to find that balance, and I knew I had my topic.

    That’s how I ended up writing Streamline Your Side-Hustle, to help people balance their blogs, their jobs, and everything in between.


    Set an End Date


    I set the goal of writing an eBook in 2015 but didn’t really start writing it until July of 2016. I continued to tell myself I would get to it eventually, just not yet. Finally, in July I looked at my calendar and picked a date about three months out that I was for sure going to launch my eBook.

    I hadn’t even started writing yet and I was already running out of time! If there’s anything that will light a fire under you to get something accomplished, it’s having a deadline. It becomes even more real when you announce to your readers months early that you have an eBook coming soon because then you have people waiting and counting on you. Accountability at it’s finest!


    Write a Launch Plan


    Despite what I thought when I first set out to write an eBook, you can’t just write something and post it online somewhere and assume that people will buy it. The launch is as important as the writing process itself! Book Boss provides a super comprehensive planner of every single task you’ll do in the 90 days leading up to your launch, so it really made it as simple as possible for me.


    Have People to Sell To


    Writing and launching the eBook is all well and good, but you have to have someone to launch to! I used a free email course on a topic related to my eBook topic to start building my email list months before actually launching my eBook. That way, when the time came to launch, I knew I would have people on my list who were interested in my topic!

    Someone on your email list is going to be WAY more invested in your work than someone reading your blog or following your Instagram account, so getting people onto the email list is key to making sales. And I knew my email subscribers would be interested in my topic because my free email opt-in SUPER relevant to my eBook topic!


    So what about Book Boss?


    I feel super lucky that Abby launched Book Boss when she did. I can’t imagine what my eBook and launch what have looked like without taking that course. The tips I shared above honestly barely scratch the surface of what the course entails.

    Instead of just telling you to have a launch plan, Abby shares the exact launch plan she uses for her own eBooks, complete with a calendar of events. She gives detailed questions she asks in reader surveys to gauge what it is her readers want to learn from her and gives lots of technical advice on setting up landing pages, shopping carts, and more.

    If writing an eBook is something you have considered (I 1000% recommend it!), then you simply can’t go wrong with Book Boss!




    P.S. If you’re ready to start or grow your blog, here are some blogging resources I recommend checking out:


    And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 5-Day blog challenge where I teach you how to grow your blog from hobby to side hustle!



    write an ebook


  • Tax Tips for Your Side Hustle

    Tax Tips For Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances


    One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started my business was not understanding the tax implications. I knew I paid taxes out of my paychecks from my full-time government job. Yet somehow, I didn’t consider the fact that I would have to pay taxes on my side hustle.

    And eventually, that ignorance came back to bite me. After a couple of years, I had started to make real money and ended up with a large tax bill when I filed my taxes. I definitely learned my lesson then.

    Now over the past few years, I’ve seen more and more people starting their own side hustles, which is amazing. But whether it’s a blog, an Etsy shop, a gig side hustle, or anything else, it’s important to know what it means for your taxes.

    In retrospect, I wish I had all of the knowledge and the bookkeeping and tax system that I have today in those early years. So today, I’m sharing all of that advice I have with you to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes I do.


    Tax Tips For Your Side Hustle

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.


    Set up a separate bank account

    First things first, if you’ve decided to start making money from any side hustle or small business set up a separate bank account ASAP.

    When you are making money from your side hustle, you have to track every single dollar of income you get. And since you report and pay taxes on your income, you’ll also get to deduct your expenses (meaning you need to track those too).

    The best way to do this is by keeping your side hustle income separate. If you have your side hustle income going to your personal bank account, you’re sifting through far more transactions to figure out which were and were not business-related.

    Aside from making it easier to track, it also helps with budgeting. I like investing in myself and my business with tools and education. However, I want to make sure the amount I’m investing in the business isn’t excessive compared to the amount I’m bringing in. Having a bank account with just my business income, especially early on, showed me exactly how much I’ve made from my business so I can get a look at the big-picture of my business finances.

    It also helps when it comes to paying quarterly taxes. QuickBooks (the tool I use to manage my business finances) keeps track of how much I’m likely to be paying in estimated quarterly taxes. I keep an eye on that number and make sure I ALWAYS have enough set aside to cover that number.

    Then, when I have money left after the amount I need for quarterly taxes and the amount I plan to reinvest in the business, I can transfer that money into my personal bank account.


    Track all income and expenses

    Track every dollar you make from or spend on your side hustle. That way when it comes time to file taxes, you’re ready to go. As I mentioned above, setting up a separate bank account makes it way easier to do this. So does using an accounting tool like QuickBooks.

    As you’re tracking your expenses, make sure you save all of your receipts so you can deduct them on your taxes. Without receipts to prove your expenses, you might run into trouble with the IRS down the road.

    I recommend doing your bookkeeping at least monthly. My QuickBooks is connected to my business checking account and credit card, meaning it automatically pulls all income and expenses. I simply sit down once per month and go through them to ensure everything is accurate.

    Then, at the end of the year, it’s easy to pull all of that information for my business tax return. And since I’ve been diligently checking it each month, I know it’s all accurate.


    Report all of your income

    The bottom line is that you need to report every dollar you make from your side hustle. I read articles or Facebook posts occasionally where someone says you don’t have to pay income unless you make a certain amount of money, or you only have to report income you have a 1099 form for. That’s simply not the case.

    The IRS wants to know about and tax every dollar that you’re bringing in. Yes, you may get 1099 forms from some companies you work for. But that is NOT the only income you have to report.

    The pain of having to pay taxes on your side hustle income is a lot less than the pain of the fine you could be facing down the road if you don’t report your income.


    Know what you can deduct

    Having to report and pay income on your side hustle income is a bummer, but the good news is that your side hustle expenses are tax-deductible! The general rule is that you can deduct any expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary for your profession.

    The expenses you deduct will depend on the type of side hustle you have. Deductions that I deduct for my own business include the cost of my website, bookkeeping software, marketing expenses, education, my accountant, and more.

    NerdWallet has a really good list of common tax deductions for small businesses you can use to see which of your expenses qualify.


    Learn about quarterly taxes

    Do you know how at your full-time job there is money taken out of every paycheck for taxes? Yeah, that’s because the IRS wants you to be paying taxes on your money as you’re earning it. Meaning if you’re making money from your side hustle, they don’t want you to wait until the following April to be making good on that tax bill.

    That is where quarterly taxes come in. Every quarter (on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15) you will pay your quarterly taxes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an accounting tool for your business, because this tool will estimate your quarterly taxes for you and coordinate the payment (my go-to accounting tool is QuickBooks).

    Don’t start freaking out now – this rule probably doesn’t apply to you if you’re a beginner. Generally, you won’t have to do this if you didn’t have a tax liability the following year OR if you don’t owe more than $1,000 in taxes for your side hustle. If you’re concerned about it though, I would definitely talk to an accountant.


    Find the right tools to help you

    Finances and taxes can be complicated. There’s a reason we pay accountants so much money to do this for us. And if you’re new to the whole side hustle thing, this probably all seems pretty overwhelming to you. The best advice I can offer you is to find tools that help you to implement these tax and finance tips. Here are my favorites:

    1. QuickBooks: This is the tool I use to do my business accounting. I’ve tried a couple of other tools, and this one is hands down my favorite so far. It connects to my business bank account, credit card, and PayPal account to track all of my income and expenses. It also tracks my estimated quarterly income. Finally, it connects with TurboTax (the tool I used to use to file my taxes) so I can just import all of my business income and expenses for the year.
    2. TurboTax: As I mentioned, this is the tool I previously used to file my taxes. I now work with a CPA who files my taxes, but when your business finances are fairly simple, a software like TurboTax can do the trick.


    Hire a CPA

    I’m going to share a secret with you: It took me more than five years of being a business owner before I finally hired an accountant. While many people will recommend this as a first step when you start a business or side hustle, I really think you can DIY your finances at first – if you understand what you’re doing.

    But eventually, you may hit a point where your financial situation has become too complicated to handle your own taxes. I should also mention that while I went the DIY approach for several years, I was a personal finance blogger, meaning I had a deeper understanding of taxes.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the tax part of running a side hustle or don’t feel that you understand what’s expected of you, then I recommend hiring a CPA sooner. The cost you’ll pay is well worth avoiding any problems with the IRS.


    Final thoughts

    Learning to deal with taxes and finances is definitely one of the most daunting parts of having a side hustle. For years after earning income from my business, I was nervous that I would make a mistake. Do your research and when in doubt, talk to an accountant. if you already have an accountant you work with for your taxes, they should be able to talk you through all of this.