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Now that it’s Tax Season, I can sit back and look at my first year of professional blogging on paper. I have worked really hard and have been very blessed to have totally matched (and exceeded) my previous full time income. However, don’t mistake being self-employed for an easy ride. I have learned a lot the hard way, experimented, and worked countless hours. It has been really interesting to look back at my income versus my expenses and see what were wise investments and what were not.
When cultivating a monetized blog, it can be overwhelming to decide where to spend money or where to save it. As with any business, it’s a bit of a gamble at times knowing what investments will have the most return. The beauty of having a blog as a business is the minimal overhead. There aren’t a ton of big ticket expenses that eat away at the budget. With my tax return, I hope to put the sum in a separate account to be used for blog expenses. These are the top expense categories that I prioritize regularly.
CAPABILITY TO WORK REMOTELY
Working for myself with kids brings the challenge of needing to work from anywhere at anytime. Having a device with plenty of data is crucial. I recently decided to try the Samsung Galaxy On5 phone (on Rollback for $69.00!) with the Walmart Family Plus plan. This plan includes Unlimited Talk and Text and Data up to 10GB of 4G LTE then 2G plus a free VUDU movie credit every month ($7 value- same as a new release rental) per line for only $49.88. I can’t wait to use the VUDU credit for a family movie night! Just pick a phone or Bring Your Own, and get your SIM Kit for only $19.88. *Includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE† data then 2G.*
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/7e-jr or your local Walmart for current pricing.
After a year of doing this, I’m confident in saying that investing in solid content is always worth it. I already had a nice camera and some other photography equipment before I got started, but if I hadn’t, it would have been a necessity. I have a Nikon D610 and I primarily use a 50mm fixed lens. In addition, I have a basic tripod, a camera remote, and a wireless SD card. For editing, I subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud and pay monthly to use Photoshop and Lightroom.
Social media is key to a successful blog these days. Creating a community that trusts and respects what I have to say is necessary. My blog would be nothing without it. Social media is the best way to stay in contact with readers/followers more frequently and authentically. The hard part, is that managing 4+ social media platforms alone can be tedious and time consuming. Fortunately, there are programs available to help with this. I use Boardbooster to schedule pins on Pinterest and Instagress to help expose my Instagram to a larger audience. There are other programs as well that I look forward to trying in the future. I hope to start scheduling tweets and Facebook posts, too. Another way to give back to my audience and hopefully gain new followers is through giveaways. These usually cost something to join or host, but are typically worth the exposure.
The actual blog itself has it’s own costs. Initially, I had to purchase my domain, a layout, and a year of hosting. I designed my own logo and brand graphics, but I would have also had to pay someone to do that for me, had I not been able to. There are times throughout the past year when I have gotten stuck on something that was too advanced for me on the back end of my blog. I am no coding or web building pro. In fact, I know very little. I have had to pay someone to help me get things straightened out a time or two, and it was 100% worth it.
This is something I plan to invest more in over the next year. Luckily, there is a ton of free education on the internet via articles and YouTube videos. Once the web has been scoured, there are plenty of paid courses available as well. There are also conferences around the country for bloggers. I am so anxious to go to my first blog conference! They can be a bit pricey, but are usually packed with great information and networking opportunities.
These are the basics of what I have chosen to invest in to my blog over my first year. I hope it helps, and if you have anything else to offer- let me know!