Ask anyone about becoming a successful entrepreneur, and you’ll hear the latest popular wisdom: if you start a business where your talents and passion converge, a thriving career will follow. And that’s exactly how it worked out for Michelle Schroeder, who started Making Sense of Cents in August 2011.
“After reading a magazine article that featured a personal finance website, I became super interested,” Schroeder explains. “I decided to start my own blog just for fun, and everything exploded from there. I did not create my blog with the intention of earning a living. It was all just a hobby. Then I realized how much I loved blogging, so now I am a full-time blogger.”
Schroeder’s passion for blogging pared with her finance smarts was the recipe for success — and securing 300,000 monthly readers. Making Sense of Cents is a personal finance and lifestyle blog, where Schroeder writes about everything related to money and fulfilling dreams. She helps readers find ways to make extra cash, save money, accomplish goals, and live a better life.
And the site has opened up the door to let Schroeder live her dream as well. “I’ve been blogging professionally for almost three years now, and it’s a great career,” she says. “My husband and I sold our house last year, and now we travel full time. Blogging allows us to do that.”
While Schroeder fell into her new career seemingly on accident, she now actively preaches the value of owning a website. And she’s got a lot of advice for those hoping to turn a website or blog into a viable business.
Educating Others to Succeed
When Schroeder started her blog, she wanted to help others achieve their dreams, not just turn a profit. And that commitment to help others is a big part of her success.
She now offers a free How To Start and Launch a Successful Blog course that helps others get started. The course is comprehensive and will help any new entrepreneur build a website. But Schroeder doesn’t just believe in educating her readers. Bloggers need to keep learning too.
“Make sure that you learn everything that you can,” she says. “There are tons of informative articles, great online courses, amazing ebooks, conferences, and more that will help you to start a great website.”
Her top piece of advice, however, is to just to get started. “Many people push off starting a website because they are unsure about it,” she says. “However, it’s an affordable business idea, and you won’t know how it’ll turn out until you actually start.”
That’s because taking the plunge has led to big rewards for Schroeder. “I had no idea five years ago that I would be earning over $75,000 a month by blogging.”
Although she loves the work, part of growing a business means learning how to outsource. So Schroeder advises newbies to delegate tasks. “This is something that I used to really struggle with, because I wanted full control of my business,” she says, “Now I realize that outsourcing can help you because you can’t be an expert at everything.”
Get the Right Tools for the Job
Schroeder’s business is all about the web, including the Making Sense of Cents website and various social media accounts. “The web helps me reach hundreds of thousands of people a month, so that I can help them improve their financial situation. Without it I don’t know where I would be.”
And to keep in line with her financially savvy mission statement, she uses the basic Bluehost plan for her private travel blog. “It’s affordable and easily gets the work done,” Michelle explains.
She recommends that anyone interested in starting as a full-time blogger begin with a website. “You never know if it will work or if you enjoy it unless you start,” she says. “My blog has completely changed my life. My husband and I were able to leave our day jobs, and we really love what we do now.”
Ashley R. Cummings is the owner of Searchlight Content and a professional freelance writer. She specializes in business trends, digital marketing, education, and all things travel.