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Lately I’ve been straight up addicted to reading blogger income reports. If you’re following me on Twitter, you’re already painfully aware of this. So when I saw Chelsea’s book, the title: How I Made $40K my First Year of Blogging grabbed me instantly. And then it made me hesitate a moment.

Is this just another “get rich quick scheme” e-book that’s going to talk to me like I’m five and don’t know how to use social media? Is it going to be another half-assed vague e-book that tells me that I’m special and that I can do anything I put my heart into?

Either way, I had to know. With a title like that, the not knowing was more painful than the disappointment would be anyways.

But I wasn’t disappointed. At all.

What I read wasn’t a lot of vague, fluffy, overdone-to-death advice. It was real, practical, and broken down month by month showing me exactly how this woman made it rain on her blog.

 Who should read this book?

  • New bloggers – This book not only tells you- it shows you via screen shots how to start your own self-hosted WordPress blog. One of the biggest thing that keeps bloggers from getting off the ground: the confusion of setting up hosting and installing WordPress is explained step by step. After that, there is a year’s worth of applicable and specific advice about growing your blog. If you’re new to blogging, this book is a serious head start.
  • Food bloggers – Since Chelsea is a food blogger, a lot of her marketing strategies are specific to her niche. Investing $20 in this e-book is nothing compared to the money you will spend on ingredients, and the time you will spend trying to present that food to a hungry Pinterest audience. If you want to make $40k from your food blog, this would be the book to read.
  • DIY/Craft bloggers – A lot of Chelsea’s traffic is due to her investment in a great camera, her tireless efforts to perfect her photography, and her strategies on Pinterest & social media. DIY and craft blogs, like food blogs, are very visual. DIY blogs are basically recipes to make something other than food, so you’ll be able to follow most the strategies Chelsea uses.
  • WordPress Newbies – “I don’t find WordPress confusing,” said no WordPress newbie ever. Chelsea’s book not only talks about the back end of WordPress- it provides A TON of visuals in the form of screenshots. I’ve been using WordPress for 10 years and even I learned some new things.
  • People who want to make money blogging – Ok, yeah this last one is kind of a vague category. But honestly, a lot of what I read in this book are strategies I’ve been using (inconsistently) for years. I took away a lot of new knowledge, but the main thing I took away was inspiration and a desire to be more engaged with my traffic/income as a blogger. To analyze those results and actually apply that knowledge! As I saw how Chelsea applied what she learned month by month, and used that knowledge consistently, some things about my own blog started to make sense. When she made mistakes, she pointed them out and showed how it affected her traffic/income. I like the specificity and the structure of this book. It really shows that she was on top of her blog at all times- not only analyzing her results but engaging with them and making changes. She was willing to learn and grow every single day, and she really put in the time and effort to earn the results that she did.
  • People who are tired of reading e-books about get rich quick schemes – and are ready to start getting their hands dirty, showing up, and doing the real work that it takes to run a successful blog.

This is a quote from How I Made $40K my First Year of Blogging, and I Couldn’t agree more with this statement. No matter what stage you’re at, no matter what business you’re in, you have to seek answers. You have to learn how to get to where you want to be by asking yourself what steps you need to take to get there- and then go out (and by go out, I don’t mean like go out into nature- I mean go on google) and find your answers.

That’s how I became a blogger. That’s how I became a graphic designer. That’s how I became a web designer. That’s how I’ve done anything ever. When I hit a wall, I know it’s time to start learning something new. When things become stagnant, I know there’s something that I’m missing, so I go out and I find out what that is, and I grow.

My takeaways from the book:

  • Find a niche- and stick to it! I can’t stress this enough. It’s ok to have an experimental phase when you’re just starting out, but one of the biggest things working in Chelsea’s favor here is that she had a niche from the very beginning- which means that she had a target audience.
  • Growth doesn’t happen overnight. Although the title is catchy, this book is a really honest and detailed look at what goes into running a blog. In a word: WORK! You’ll notice that this book is structured to give you a detailed, month by month report of what happened as Chelsea’s blog was growing. You can see that she put a lot of effort into learning and trying new things. She tells us what worked, and what didn’t. Reading this book all in one day can feel overwhelming because it is packed with valuable information. Just remember that she didn’t learn everything in a day- and you don’t have to either!
  • Invest in your blog. From the very beginning, Chelsea stresses that she took her blog seriously, and invested in it like she would any other business. She bought a good camera, a hosting plan, photography props, and a premium WordPress theme. A few months later, she invested in a designer. Not only were these investments helpful to getting her blog off the ground for practical reasons like “having good photography makes posts more attractive,” but that investment made the business very real. Once you invest money into your blog, you’re less likely to flake out on it, because you’ve got to earn back that investment.
  • You can make money blogging. It is possible, and this isn’t the first success story I’ve read. It is not a get rich quick scheme, and not everyone will make $40k their first year. But it is definitely an inspiration to put in the extra effort, no?

What do you think? Have you read, or will you read this book?

What are your plans for learning, and growing your blog?

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