Failing at your own business–Blogging

You’ve all seen the headlines “Make money blogging” “Become a millionaire blogger” “Quit your job and blog the day away.” Well, as with all too good to be true schemes, making incredible amounts of money with your blog is realistically not doable for average folks. That’s not to say that there aren’t bloggers out there who found the magic formula and made lots of money blogging. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be books or courses showing you how (and making money for their authors). Unfortunately, I’m average folks and this is how monetizing my blog is going for me. (Spoiler alert–read the title of this post again)

So what is the magic formula?  Problogger reveals all:

  1. Set up your blog
  2. Start creating useful content
  3. Get off your blog and start finding readers
  4. Build engagement with the readers that come
  5. Start making money from the readership you have through one or more of a variety of income streams

Provided you’ve achieved steps 1-4, it’s time to start thinking about monetizing your blog. Here’s a list of income generating ways to consider. Some I’ve tried, some I plan to, and some are just not for me.

Advertising Income

The easiest way to add advertising income is to apply for Google Adsense.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see areas where Google Adsense will place appropriate ads.  I don’t have to do anything but attract readers.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I have a privacy policy and an About page with a way to contact me.  (See also 12 Things to Do Before Applying for Google AdSense)

Other advertisers include Infolinks, BidVertiser, and Medianet.

Affiliate Income

I also use affiliate income. With these types of link, if someone clicks and buys a product during that session, I earn a commission on the sale. I link to Amazon and Amazon Mexico Amazon Mexico products in my posts and include links to a variety of products that I think my readers would be interested in through FlexOffers and ShareaSale.


Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content.

I have yet to earn any money through the last two sites but there are a lot of great companies listed!

I have an astore through Amazon as well, which lists products that I think people considering moving to Mexico would find useful. This has been the most profitable option for me. In 2016 I earned almost $20. I know, I know. I’m rolling in the big bucks.

amazon earnings 2016

I have also signed up for Zulily and G Suite affiliate programs. I’m always on the lookout for other companies that I think might be useful for my readers.

(See also The Ultimate guide to making money with the Amazon affiliate program and 10 popular affiliate programs for small and medium sized blogs)  

I have added a disclaimer on all my affiliate link pages to satisfy legal requirements.  (For more information on this requirement see Best Practices: Blogger Disclosure Examples and Tips)  

With ads and affiliate links as additions to my posts, I’ve opted for readability over prominent ad placement. I probably sacrifice earnings, but my readers come to my blog to read my stuff, not shop. If they happen to see a link or ad that appeals to them and I earn a commission, well, that’s great too.

Events

Some blogs organize conferences to add to their income. One of my favorite blogs Raising Miro organizes World schooling summits and Teen Learning retreats.  This isn’t something I do right now, but maybe in the future?  Who can say?

Memberships and services
Other blogs offer paying memberships. Internations.org/mexico-expats has a free version and an upgraded version. For a yearly fee you are entitled to use other services not permitted to the free loaders.

Memberships and services

Other blogs offer paying memberships. Internations.org has a free version and an upgraded version.  For a yearly fee you are entitled to use other services not permitted to the free loaders.

Other sites offer personal coaching or access to special lists and exclusive deals. I don’t know what I would offer paying readers that would differ enough to make it worth their while. I have mentioned that I’m available for certain jobs (See Failing at your own business–web design) but have yet to earn any money from readers contacting me.

Selling Products or Promoting a Business

My friend at ChildOrganics.com had an online business selling organic baby products for years.  She moved to a more informative setup and no longer sells those products but it was a major source of income for her family for quite some time.  I’ve started my writing career along with illustrator Claudia Guzes (who sells her artwork) with my first e-book.  I hope to add a whole series of e-books to my name in the near future.  I’ve promoted business as well, not that I receive a commission on that, but perhaps someday. (See Modern Day Marias–Maggie the provider and Modern Day Marias–Nicole the liberator).  I like to think I’m paying it forward.

Courses are another way to offer a virtual product that will keep providing income.  I’ve highlighted a few that I particularly on my Finding your Passion page.

Asking for donations and Crowdfunding

I’ve seen bloggers asking for donations on a variety of sites.  However, I have taken my donate button off because Paypal does not allow for donations to any organization except non-profit.  I also had a crowd funding option (Indiegogo) to receive donations for La Yacata (See Generosity) which I removed, mostly because after a year I hadn’t received a cent.  I’ve heard about this option doing well for some people.  Unfortunately, I’m not some people.

Syndicating content

I have used syndicated content for one of my guest bloggers Jamie Miranda.  I asked permission to use her original blog post on my site with a link back to her blog.  I do not pay my guest bloggers, but appearing on my site does increase SEO for the original blogger.  Apparently there are paying gigs out there for syndicating content.  (For more information See The 101 on Content Syndication: Who, What, Where, When and Why)

Reviewing Products

I’ve just begun my venture into reviewing books for pay.  You can read all about that here)  Although I have yet to make any money doing this, I have high hopes.  If other products come my way for review that would appeal for my readers, I’d be interested as well.

Become a professional blogger

If you love blogging, there are people out there who will pay you to write their blogs.  This isn’t a feasible option for me as I can barely get out my own posts in a timely manner.  I’ve got too much else going on.  But….it’s an option. (See How I Make $5,000 a Month as a Paid Blogger)

Selling the blog

If you’ve established a successful blog that you no longer wish to pursue, instead of just letting it languish away quietly, sell it.  You’ll get a better price if you’ve done everything legally by the book (no copyright infringements, adequate disclosures, etc).  (See also Signs You Could Sell Your Blog and Make Money)

There you have it folks! The recipe for successful monetization of your blog. Have I missed anything? Let me know.

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Natural healing–Hibiscus tea or agua de jamaica

As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, I decided to enroll in a 6-week online herbal course through Herbal Academy.  As the program’s aims included sustainability, stewardship, and affordability, I knew this was the place for me!

So I jumped right into the Herbal Materia Medica course. The lessons and a number of print-outs were free.  The herbs I would be studying were left up to my discretion.  I decided to learn more about plants that I had readily available here in Mexico.  So I chose cilantro (coriander), jamaica (hibiscus), sabila (aloe vera), feverfew and wandering jew.  It was more than I bargained for, probably because once I started researching herbs, I couldn’t stop.  I kept adding more and more herbs to my list of useful local and medicinal plants.  

herbal-academy-logo

Find more herbal courses here!

I’d like to share some of what I learned about the hibiscus flower today.  

Agua de flor de jamaica is one of my favorite aguas frescas here in Mexico. When this is an option, who would every choose a coke? Its deep red color reminds me of Kool-aid, although the flavor is a bit on the tart side. Making it is nearly as easy as Kool-aid as well.

calyx

The calyx (the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud) are added to boiling water until thoroughly wet. Strain the mixture, getting all the juice out, add sugar to taste and stir.

Dried jamaica (hibiscus) calyx are easily obtainable at the market, so I went out and obtained some “for my class project.” I opted to add piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) and canela (cinnamon) to my tea. My son said it tasted more like ponche (fruit punch) but drank an enormous quantity of it. I only used a handful of flower petals, so I have plenty left to perfect my own agua de jamaica.

hibiscusteainfo-700x525

Not only is it delicious, but it is good for you too.  Agua de jamaica has citric acid, malic acid (giving it its tart flavoring) used in treating fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome because of its energy increasing properties, tartaric acid which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound useful in treating inflamed joints, pancreatitis and liver inflammation. Tartaric acid has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance and intestinal absorption of nutrients. The flower also contains polysaccharides which aid in reducing fatigue, regulating healthy blood pressure and blood sugar, encourage a positive mood, soothe irritation, support the immune system, and increase libido.  No wonder this is a drink recommended to reduce menopause symptoms! (See also  A Beautiful Transition In Life: Dealing With Menopause Naturally Without HRT and Health Benefits Of Hibiscus)  It’s been used to reduce pain from menstrual cramps, restore hormonal balance which reduces mood swings and depression.

Furthermore, jamaica has cyanidin and delphinidin, antioxidants found to have anti-carcinogenic properties found to be effective in skin, breast and colon cancer prevention.  

Studies have shown that extract of hibiscus (jamaica) is toxic to cancer cells. Why isn’t everybody drinking this?

As if that isn’t enough, flor de jamaica contains anthocyanins which have long been used to treat high blood pressure, colds and urinary tract infections.  As the drink is a natural diuretic, it’s easy to see how it could be just the thing for these all-too-common ailments.

Jamaica has been used to successfully treat obesity and head lice. Drinking agua de jamaica can reduce anxiety and depression.  This tea is low in calories and caffeine-free and can be enjoyed hot or cold. What more could anyone ask for?

hibicus-tea-life

So how much should you drink?  Superfoods Scientific Research recommends a typical adult should drink one cup of hibiscus tea twice daily.  Take 2 tsp of dried blossoms or 1 tsp of crumbled blossom with 1 cup of boiling water, steep for ten minutes.

There you have it, folks!  I would be lax if I failed to mention that there have been reported side effects from drinking this tea.  As mentioned above, it lowers hormone levels which is great for menopausal women but might not be what someone trying to get pregnant would want. So avoid this drink if you are undergoing fertility treatments or are in the first trimester of pregnancy.  As it lowers blood pressure, if your blood pressure is already low, don’t drink it.  As it reduces anxiety, you may feel utterly relaxed or drowsy after drinking it.  In fact, some people have reported hallucinations, although I have yet to experience that particular side effect myself.


Well, I have my packet of organic hibiscus seeds and am going to give it another go this year.  I made an attempt before, but the seeds didn’t sprout (See Failing at Container Gardening.)  Once I get my first batch, I’ll walk you through the drying process.  If you can’t wait until then check out the steps at HIBISCUS: A TASTY ADDITION TO YOUR EDIBLE LANDSCAPE OR GARDEN.

So, as you can see, I learned quite a bit as a result of my free course at Herbal Academy. Totally worth it!  Stay tuned for more informative herbal posts in the future!

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Theme Reveal–A to Z Blogging Challenge

thmrevel

The 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge!

Where has the month of March gone?  I should have had this post up last week, but obviously, I didn’t.  So what’s this all about?  Well, in April I’ve accepted a month long day blogging challenge.  Seems ambitious of me, I know.  A post a day for 26 days?  On top of all my other goings on?  What’s life without a little risk (and a lot of pressure) anyway?

So to whet your appetite for my fine blog posts–today is the big theme reveal!

A to Z reasons why La Yacata is the place to be WTSHTF (When the Sh*t hits the Fan)

Tada! Yep, you heard it right folks.  I’m venturing into the realms of Prepperdom for a spell.  If you’ve always wanted to know why La Yacata is the best place to live, I’ll give you 26 alphabetically inspired posts this month to set your mind at ease.  If, at the end of the month, you decide, like we did, that La Yacata is the place to be, then I know of a few lots for sale right next door!

Look for the first riveting post April 1.

Find other blogs that have accepted the challenge at:

The Great and Powerful A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

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Book Review: For Love & Honor by Jody Hedlund

For Love & Honor by Jody Hedlund

for love and honor

Sir Bennet finds himself in a bit of a quandary.  His elder brother, Aldric, the Baron of Windsor, has made a mess of the family finances and it’s up to Sir Bennet to make things right.  An arranged marriage with wealthy Lady Sabine might just solve the problem.  Not knowing that she is on her way to meet her potential husband, Lady Sabine believes the reason for the trip to Maidstone Castle is to view the renowned relic collection housed there with the hopes of acquiring a few of the ancient pieces.  Little does she realize that the birthmark she hides beneath her glove will be proof enough to be labeled a witch, endangering her own life and the lives of all who surround her unless she is able to prove her innocence.

This novel is written with teens and young adults in mind.  The story is light and romantic. Lady Sabine are Sir Bennet are likable characters and their interactions during their courtship are entertaining.  The discussion questions that follow the story are designed to help teen girls reflect on their own lives.  This book would make a great addition to units on life in the 1300s, superstitions in medieval Europe and the belief systems of the time.

Although there is no Maidstone Castle in Hampton, where this story takes place, there is a castle near Maidstone which dates to the medieval ages.  The setting adds to the romantic nature of the story.

Set in the middle ages, the accusation of being a witch was a serious matter. A person could be accused of witchcraft for a number of reasons but one of the most common was having a witch’s mark in the form of moles, scars, or birthmarks.  Once accused, innocence could be proven through certain physical trials.

Three trials are mentioned in the story, although there were many more.  Trial by ordeal, where an accused witch was subjected to some sort of physical punishment.  Rapid healing of the wounds inflicted during the ordeal meant the accused was innocent.  However, if the wound became infected, he or she was guilty.  Trial by dunking was another common test.  The accused would be thrown into a body of water from a boat.  If the accused sank, innocence was the verdict and he or she would be pulled up into the boat.  If the accused floated, it meant he or she had renounced baptism by entering the Devil’s service.  The idea of water being so pure an element that it rejects the guilty originates with Pliney the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, BK VII (AD 70) which states that witches will never drown.

The third trial mentioned in the book was The Lord’s Prayer Test.  The accused is asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer.  If he or she is able to recite the prayer without misspeaking, then the accused would be declared innocent since it was thought that the Devil would not allow one of his servants to do so.

Get your copy here.  Read other reviews of the book here.

three stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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