How Bloggers Make Money

“So like, how do you make money?”

This is one of the first things people would say to me after I told them my full time job was blogging. Now I just say, “I make graphic tees.” It’s easier and then I don’t have to answer 100 questions about blogging, or listen to why that person has always thought about starting a blog (because everyone tells them they should!) Or feel the need to explain that yes, I do actually work and don’t just sit around watching TV all day.

Fun fact: I don’t turn the TV on during the day. Like ever. It doesn’t come on until Chris comes home and puts on his weird sports show where old men argue at each other.  And if he’s away on a trip, I usually won’t turn it on until 8 or 9 p.m. when it’s wine and popcorn time. 

Now that I’ve passive-aggressively boasted about my ability to work from home without watching television, let’s carry on with the post.


*in all caps because I like to think someone is screaming these questions at me.*

What I’m about to tell you is based on my personal experience, what I know from being in the biz for nearly ten years, and also from what I know my blogger friends do. That said, I don’t know it all, obviously. A lot of bloggers start making money very fast. I am not that blogger. Nothing happened “over night” for me. It took me a long time. (It still takes me a long time.) Everyone has their own strategy and way of doing things. Enough babbling, let’s get into it.

Affiliate Links.

The bread and butter of blogging, if you will. For example, if you click on this sweater, the sweater that every single blogger has shared in the past 48 hours because it’s oh so fall and oh so ON SALE, and if you buy it, I’ll make a small commission.

I like affiliate links because it’s where I have the most control. I can post what I want, when I want. I love fashion, but I don’t love writing entire posts about it, unless it’s this one I wrote last week and now you won’t see another for six months. So this is where I’ve really found Facebook to be a fun spot to share some of the best items/sales I’ve found for the week. And also my swipe-ups on Instagram 🙂

From what I can tell, affiliate links are where “bigger bloggers” make bank. Some up to more than a million a year… I know, it’s crazy. Just google “fashion bloggers and affiliate links” if you want the same info I’ve found. When you see bloggers posting a ton of new clothes all the time, I’m going to bet they’ve bought the majority of those clothes on their own, knowing they’ll make it back with affiliate links.

I haven’t said yes to free clothes in over a year. It seemed super fun at first to be sent free stuff, but then I always felt so much pressure and if I didn’t love the item I felt bad sending it back (but I always did.) I’m not about to post something I don’t love just because it was free.

Brand Campaigns. 

95% of the campaigns I’m offered now are for Instagram only. I get the hype of Instagram, but it’s also kind of weird to me from a brand’s standpoint because the longevity and SEO is so much better in a blog post where their brand can be searched forever rather than just being seen for a few days (or hours) on Instagram. Kids these days. So into their Instagram. 

If you see a blogger with 75K – 150k followers on Instagram posting a #ad image, they were probably paid anywhere from $500- $2500 for that one image. Please remember, I’m BALL PARKING this. I am generalizing, there’s obviously exceptions to everything, but from what I know/things I hear, that’s my guess.

I wouldn’t even know where to start guessing for the people with 150k and more followers. If you think this is nuts, look at it from an advertising standpoint. The numbers mentioned above are far cheaper than running TV ads, or slapping something on a billboard, and working with “influencers” allows brands to reach a much more targeted group of people.

So yes, campaigns can be very lucrative, but… I don’t know, they make me feel so much pressure (there’s that word again) to get the best image and have the best caption and at the end of the day I say no to most of them and would rather just hustle my t-shirts a little harder to pay my bills.

I like to keep my feed about Harlow and my daily shenanigans, I wouldn’t ever want it to turn into just an advertising page. *flash forward to one month from now and all of my pics are #ad #spon #sorry*

Worth noting that I do say yes to a lot of alcohol campaigns because I enjoy alcohol.

Ads on blogs. (Look around.)

I have a friend who makes around $7k/month from the ads on her blog because that’s the kind of traffic she’s getting. I assure you, I’m not even close to 7k. However, the ads on my blog do help pay off my student loans- which I recently found out for the past eight years I’ve basically only been paying off the interest on, so that’s GREAT! I should have never gone to Harvard! Ugh.

Ads can be annoying and a little hot-pockety, so I appreciate you understanding it’s my student loans keeping them here. Mom, I’m talking to you right now.


Side hustles.

Every blogger has one. For me it’s t-shirts.  For my friend Helene, it’s her workshops and webinars. Bon has a killer jewelry shop. I know a lot of bloggers who do freelance web design and social media and teach online classes. There’s a lot more things people do, but those are the best examples that I know of first hand.

I see a lot of snark about how entitled bloggers are and that we don’t have “real jobs” and we just shop and drink lattes all day, and blah blah blah. I’m sure you’ve seen it too. For some bloggers, that could be true. I do see some people in this biz that make me a little cringey, I think it was a swipe-up affiliate link for a bible that really got me once… I don’t know why that bothered me so much. I was being judgy. To each their own bible swipe up.

Anyway, like with any job or industry, there’s good people and there’s not-so-good people.

All of the bloggers I know and like, worked really hard to get to a place of blogging full time. We didn’t have anyone else paying our bills on the way here. We put in the extra hours of late nights and early mornings, (while probably still working a different job we hated,) in order to have a job we actually enjoy.


Should you start a blog? If you want to write and share things, yes. If you just want affiliate money, start an Instagram.

Do you! Live your dream life. One day your heart will stop beating and everything you ever worried about will be gone, anyway. THAT WAS DARK. But it was meant to be inspirational. I saw it on one of my self-help instagrams the other day I keep thinking about it… Life is happening now, so live it!  On instagram!

This post just took a weird turn and now I have to go. Have a great Wednesday!

Click here for a similar doormat. <— that’s an affiliate link.



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