I first “met” Stephanie Foster when she discovered one of my posts on Stumbleupon a few months ago. We’ve been following each other ever since, but it took me a while to realize she makes money online – as much as $5000 per month – from her websites.
This is significantly more than the average ANNUAL revenue for U.S. blogs ($5000), which is actually skewed by blogs in the top 1% who earn $200k+. The annual MEDIAN revenue for U.S. blogs is $200.
Stephanie’s websites are not high-profile. She doesn’t have 100,000 subscribers or millions of monthly page views. You don’t need any of these things to make money online. You do need to pick a good niche, work hard, be highly disciplined and ignore naysayers.
While numerous “make money online” so-called “experts” are claiming to make 6 figures and trying to scam people into buying their useless products, Stephanie actually makes money online, from her home, quietly and consistently.
Stephanie has agreed to answer a few questions.
What is your professional background?
I started working at home my last year of college, doing medical transcription. That’s what got me interested in the work at home field as a whole. Everywhere I went, when I mentioned that I transcribed at home, people would ask me how I got into that.
When did you start your websites?
I did my first site as a website design class project on a free hosting service, answering the question of how do you get into medical transcription. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone – credit for the class project and something to refer people to when they kept asking me the same questions over and over.
I started Home with the Kids in September 2003. I had decided to expand on the whole work at home concept because medical transcription is really not suited to everyone. It took me a while to realize that I could be earning money from the things I had been talking about for free. I eventually took my medical transcription stuff off the free host, updated it, and added it to Home with the Kids.
How much do you make? What are your sources of income?
My income ranges from $1000-5000 per month. The AdSense income is the biggest part, but some months I’ve done very well with other programs, breaking $2000 in a month in affiliate referrals. While Google AdSense is a major earner for me, I’m trying to dump it so that I have more control. I also do a little bit of ad selling, mostly featured links in the Direct Sales Opportunities directory on my site. It hasn’t been the focus for me that many say it ought to be. That’s just not one of my specialties.
Do you have any tips for getting started with making money online?
1. Just do it. Don’t worry about making mistakes: I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and that’s OK.
2. Pick a topic you enjoy. Do not pick a topic solely on what you think you’re going to earn. You probably won’t earn that much for a long time. Keep at it and you might just get there. But if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, it’s probably not going to work so well. I’ve tried that path. I have a site on credit cards, and while it earns a little, it really has not been worth the time for me. Yet that’s one of the fields people talk about as having great income potential. It does, but it’s a tough one to excel in. My top two sites, on the other hand, are fun for me to work on and bring in more money.
3. Focus on one marketing tool at a time. If you’re blogging, for example, how are you going to promote your blog? You can do blog comments, article marketing, buying ads on related sites and so much more to start getting your traffic. Study that type of marketing as you build up at least the basics of your site or blog. You need something to be sending the traffic to.
It doesn’t really matter if no one reads your posts for the first month or two. Visitors aren’t generally impressed by a single page unless you’re selling just one item and that’s all the page is for. A site or blog that is growing is more attractive for most topics.
Start your marketing as soon as you think your site is ready for visitors. Just work that one marketing skill in the beginning. You’re better off mastering one marketing technique than jumping all around and understanding none of them. Once you’ve mastered one you can pick up another.
4. Do a lot of reading as you get started, and ask a lot of questions before you start any home business. Every single one has its pitfalls, challenges and scams. Even my original career, medical transcription, has plenty of scams.
5. Do not assume it will be easy, no matter the promises made by any person or website. Most of the earnings you see are the exception, not the rule. I earn an adequate living, lower than the best, but better than most who run their own websites.
6. Involve your family. If your children and your spouse aren’t supportive, it’s just that much harder to get things going. I’ve had to deal with naysayers even when I was a medical transcriptionist. My mother-in-law took years before she believed anyone could earn enough money from home for it to be worthwhile. It wasn’t until the first time I had a check higher than my husband’s paycheck that she really believed. But because I kept at it I was able to support my family even when my husband was laid off for six months starting last January.
7. Learn to identify work-at-home scams. I write about new scams periodically. There’s a work at home scams section on my site, as well as blog articles such as Keeping Your Ethics as You Work at Home. There’s also a forum where you can ask questions if you’re ever in doubt about a work at home opportunity.
Scams are actually very easy to spot online. I think it’s the anonymity combined with how cheap and easy it is to get started that brings them out in such hordes. I rarely name names when I talk about scams, not only because I can get it wrong sometimes too, but because they change names so often that it would be a waste of my time trying to keep up with most of them. Better to know the symptoms and to have your B.S. detector set on high.
Keeping up with a home business, even one you love, is a lot of work. But being able to accomplish so much while always being there for my kids has been quite worthwhile.
Thank you, Stephanie, for your tips on how to make money online.
As I said, this woman is worth following. She obviously knows what she’s doing.
Photo credit: r3v