Interview with Work at Home Blogger, Anna Thurman of Real Ways to Earn Money Online

Interview with Anna ThurmanTell us about your work at home – entrepreneurial journey.

I was always interested in working from home, even before I became a mother. I first started casually looking in 2004, but back then the internet was littered with work from home scams and I felt skeptical of everything I came across. I had a 9 to 5 job at that time, so I just kept at it until I did become a mom in 2006. Then, I started looking more seriously.

In the beginning, I was clueless like most people. I had no idea what to search for or what I would be good at. I started off doing some paid surveys for extra cash. This netted me maybe $50 per month, but I was proud to get it. Eventually I found a few things that were a lot more lucrative –answering questions for ChaCha, freelance writing for Textbroker, Demand Studios and Wisegeek. In addition to writing for the sites listed above, I also took on a few private clients, and suddenly I was making just about as much money from home as I had ever made working outside the home. Of all the things I tried (and I tried a lot!), I found freelance writing to be the best option for me because it was flexible and I enjoyed it.

Even though I was making steady money writing, I still kept tabs on the work from home community. I visited blogs, forums, and several work from home websites all the time just to see what was new. I was amazed by all the opportunities there actually were, and so I decided to start my blog:  Real Ways to Earn Money Online. I began researching and writing about various companies that offered legit work from home. I kept it up, and the rest was history. I never started my blog thinking it would eventually be my primary source of income. In fact, I never started it with the intention of making money at all! But that is what happened.

How Are You Growing Your Audience?

Posting regularly helps! Google loves fresh content. I try to write a new post at least 3-4 times per week. I’m also very active on social media. Every time I write something, I share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus. I make every effort to create quality content each time I write a post to ensure that it will get shared by my current followers. This has been pretty effective so far. In the beginning, before I had a social media following, I held some small giveaways and posted the links on popular giveaway sites like Online-Sweepstakes. I knew from my experience entering sweepstakes that a lot of the people in the sweepstakes community were very interested in working from home, so I figured I’d get a few regular readers that way, and it worked.

What is Your Number One Source of Traffic?

Most of my traffic comes from Google. As far as social media traffic is concerned, Facebook is number one.

What Types of Monetization Strategies Work Best For You?

I do the best with ad networks like Google Adsense and Media.net. I try to make sure my ads are placed where people will notice them, but I’m very careful that they don’t block out or interfere with my content. Finding that perfect balance is tricky! I also do pretty well with different affiliate networks. I’m careful not to overdo affiliates. When I do write about something and include my affiliate link, I try to make sure I’ve written an honest, helpful post. I avoid any offers that I don’t feel I can stand behind personally.

How Did You Take Your Blog to The Next Level?

The first real turning point for me was when I moved my blog from a free Blogger account to self-hosted WordPress. I did this after my blog had been in existence for eight or nine months. I don’t know why, but for some reason my traffic more than doubled in the next month, and I went from making about $2 a month to making $30 a month. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it was the moment when I began to see that running my website could possibly turn into more than just something I did for fun. I was so excited to be able to make actual money doing something I felt so passionate about.

It was also around this time that I created a Facebook page for my blog, started actively networking with other bloggers in my niche and began submitting some guest posts. All of these things helped me and I felt like kicking myself for not doing them months before.

How Much Does Your Blog Earn Annually?

I am not sure yet what it’s going make this year, but last year roughly $13,000 dollars of my work from home income came from my blog. I’m on track for that to more than double this year. But blog income can also be a bit unpredictable! That’s one reason why I haven’t given up several of my other work from home “eggs.” I like having other things I can do for money on the back burner just in case.

What advice would you give to an individual who wants to be a career blogger?

I know it’s been said time and time again, but I cannot stress enough the importance of blogging about something you’re actively interested in and very passionate about. I would never have continued with my blog if I hadn’t been looking for work from home myself and didn’t find the subject so fascinating. Even though most of my income now comes from my blog, I still get very excited to discover new ways to work from home and I love sharing the info with others. It makes me happy to think I might be helping someone.

It can take a long, long time to make money with a blog. That’s why it’s important to start a blog around a topic near and dear to your heart. If you start a blog for no reason other than to make money and you find yourself writing about things you don’t care about, you’ll give up quickly because you likely won’t see much return on your efforts financially in the beginning.

It’s also important to post consistently. You can’t post five times one week and then drop back to once or twice for the rest of the month and expect to gain regular readers. People need to know they’re going to see regular content from you. If they don’t, they’ll eventually stop visiting.

Besides blogging, what do you think is the best work-at-home job for 2013?

Social media is huge right now! There are so many companies that want to be active on social media, but they have no idea how to manage their accounts properly and they would prefer to get outside help. I find these opportunities almost daily and they are often very flexible, work from home positions that pay fairly.

Connect with Anna Thurman…

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