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My online side hustle can bring in $12,000/month: Here are my top tips for scaling up and earning more

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“It took about 14 months for us to have our first $1,000 month,” but “now we can make up to $12,000 a month.”

During the summer of 2020, after I was temporarily furloughed from my job due to the pandemic, I started a site with my wife called Parent Portfolio.

Our passion for wanting to help other parents build wealth for the next generation grew out of our own experience paying off debt, investing in real estate, and building our net worth.

I was completely new to blogging, and the first several months were a struggle as I found my footing. But early on, I was able to join a group of dedicated bloggers called Money Mix, who shared their time and expertise with me.

Learning about how they established their businesses, and building these relationships with them, helped me figure out how to make Parent Portfolio a reflection of us, and the best site it could be.

While it took about 14 months for us to have our first $1,000 month, we have been able to grow the business to the point where now we can make up to $12,000 a month.

Here is my best advice for how to scale your side hustle and earn more.

Look for growth opportunities, but go at your own pace

If you are growing a business, my best advice is to say yes to any opportunity that could help you reach more people.

When I saw a post for a paid freelance writing gig that seemed like a good fit for me, for example, I pursued it and invested the money I made back into the business.

I also did what I could to become a recognized resource in the personal finance space.

I learned about Help a Reporter Out (HARO) through one of my blogging courses. It is a platform where journalists request to speak to experts and sources for articles, and I respond any time I think I can be helpful. Being included as a source in pieces on sites like Business Insider, FOX Business, and USA Today boosted my visibility and brought more readers to Parent Portfolio. 

While it’s great to take advantage of opportunities, it’s important not to spread yourself too thin. Social media can be a big help, but for a long time, my main priority was making content for the site. I wanted to have that strong foundation and organic audience before branching out to other platforms. 

Now that we are consistently earning money, we are turning our attention to growing our presence on Facebook and Instagram.

When you are building your business, go at your own pace.

Remember you don’t have to do everything on your own 

My wife and I did all the writing as our site started up. However, about a month after we started consistently making money through ads, our first step was to hire some writers to take on more of that work while we focused on other strategies to help grow the blog.

Around this time, we invested in systems that handle certain operations for us automatically, such as posting content from our blog to social media or emailing people when they sign up for our free ebook. 

These automatic systems have helped us grow the Parent Portfolio email list to over 5,000 subscribers and counting. 

Diversify your revenue streams to scale your business 

When running a business, it’s essential not to depend on one customer or to rely on only one type of income stream, especially considering how traffic can fluctuate throughout the year. 

Blogs can monetize their traffic through display ads, affiliate marketingsponsorships, and digital products, to name a few. For example, Parent Portfolio currently makes most of its revenue from display ads and affiliate sales are helpful, too. 

Now we’re looking to utilize our email list of over 5,000 subscribers as an additional revenue stream by sharing with them any products or services we believe are valuable.

I’ve started using the approach I have with real estate investing and applying it to this space. I recently bought an existing blog called Invested Wallet with my good friend Monica Fish, who runs Planner at Heart. She and I put in equal amounts of money to purchase the site and reinvested the revenue to grow it, rather than paying ourselves immediately.

After a few months, we saw a consistent rise in traffic and revenue. In December 2021, Parent Portfolio generated over $8,000 via display ads alone, while Invested Wallet generated over $9,000 from display ads.

The two sites combined generated another couple thousand dollars through affiliate sales.

Don’t overthink it and be patient

I’ve learned that it can take six to eight months for a post to rank in Google. The higher up you are in the search, the more trustworthy Google finds your content to be. 

But I was impatient early on. In an attempt to rank higher, I would try to add more to an existing article, only to have those changes negatively affect the story and have it lose its place on the first page of results. I had to spend the next month waiting for it to return to that spot.

It was a more of a technical mistake, but it showed me how important it is when building a business to have strong convictions about the work you are putting out in the world, and not to try to force things. Try to be patient and let the work speak for itself.

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