Sarah Titus is a single mom who gets to stay at home with her kids, work online, and be an encouragement to millions of other women. But it wasn't always this way. In fact, six years ago, Sarah was living in a homeless shelter and had $30k worth of debt. Read on to find how she was able to blog her way to being debt free and earning six figures a year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blogging journey.
When I started my blogging career, I was in the middle of a divorce. My husband abandoned our family, and I was making a full time living on eBay. I felt there was more to life. eBay didn't really help people, and I love to serve others. All of my friends kept asking me the same questions over and over. How can it be possible I have more than them, and they were married and both working, yet I “lived like a queen on so much less than them.”
I started my blog simply answering their questions in the form of posts so that I didn't have to keep repeating myself all the time and soon it turned into this huge thing that I had no clue would happen. I stood before the judge telling him, I believed with all my heart I could make $1,000/month in blogging in one year's time, and everyone laughed at me. He told me if I continued, I would lose tens of thousands of dollars in the divorce and that I should get a job outside the home. I obeyed God rather than man and 12 months later; I was earning $10,000/month!
You managed to live on $18K a year, how were you able to do that?
I got absolutely everything I possibly could for free so that I could afford the things I wanted (a nice home with a garage and big backyard, etc.) I have no debt, so that helps a lot, and I'm obsessed with paying as little as I can for only quality items. I go into detail of my journey from starting out in a homeless shelter to making a fantastic living and becoming debt free in my upcoming book, How to Become Financially Free. Here's a sneak peek of the introduction.
Give us an example of how you first monetized your blog.
The most important thing a blogger can do is to focus on ONE thing at a time. Yes, it's slower, but the results are much better.
I first focused on ads because it was easy money and got really good at it. So much so, that I was earning quite a bit and was rocking it. Next, “Focus on traffic,” I thought, “With more traffic, my ads will make me more,” so I turned to Pinterest. I spent six months learning every detail I could about Pinterest, testing out my different theories until I hit the answers and my Pinterest started blowing up. Now, companies who are creating Pinterest scheduling programs beg me to use their software. But I won't budge. I know what works and what doesn't.
Between making money through ads and getting tons of traffic, my income started doing very well, and now I'm studying affiliates inside and out. :) That is what I'm currently working on.
What types of marketing strategies have worked best for you?
The absolute best strategy is just to be yourself. A reader may come to your blog because of a post, and they may stay on the post for 30 seconds because the content is good, the layout of your site is great, and your pictures rock, but they come BACK for YOU. Whether or not they think you can be their friend. It's all about personal connection. Many bloggers fail because they are too focused on other areas, rather than on serving and being a friend to the reader, serving them and THEIR needs.
A friend is kind, loving, and always tells the truth, even when it's hard. In blogging, you have to stand up sometimes. Sometimes bloggers lack courage, but that's what makes a top blogger. Although it's hard, we have to stand up for what we believe in. There's an old saying that goes something like this, “If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.” Readers don't want to follow a follower. They want to follow someone holding the torch and leading the way. As bloggers, it's our responsibility to be that for them. To be a voice for those who don't have a voice.
How do you minimize income peaks and valleys?
Funny you should ask that. No one ever asks, and I think it's a huge missed opportunity. I do have peaks and valleys like everyone else, however, I am able to minimize them by working HARDER than most when everyone else is asleep at the wheel. Very few blogs post every day. I do. In summers, most bloggers take time off, post content very lightly, just take it easy. That's when I'm working the hardest! The readers are there, and I snatch them all up! When things are crazy busy, that's when I take time off. During Christmas-time is when most blogs are slammed, but I'm taking a break because I know the traffic is there and my content is good. I make it a priority to never do anything like anyone else, and that's how I win at blogging. :)
How much are you making annually and what was your big turning point?
I'm still in my first year of blogging, I haven't hit two years old yet, so I can't really know an annual number for a little while longer, but I can say that within 12 months of my blogging, I was making $10,000/month. Projected total should be six figures a year no problem.
I don't think I've had one major turning point. I believe gaining momentum is about layers. I do something, I gain a ton of traffic, and those that don't connect with me fall off, and I keep some to become friends … I'll be featured somewhere, or guest post somewhere, or have a post that goes viral, and again, get a ton of traffic and keep friends. It's kind of like a funnel. Everyone goes in, the ones that I can help, stay. Those that stay, I bend over backward to help. One reader asks me to post something and I will. I still answer all my own emails. I'm incredibly personable in that way.
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own online business on a shoestring budget?
Get personalized one-on-one coaching right away. You won't see the value in it, but you'll lose more money by NOT doing it. I wasted months of blogging and thousands of dollars being scammed. Putting money where it wasn't smart. I just followed everyone's advice. I didn't know who was good and who was bad. Who was reputable and who was a scam. Check the Alexa score. The lower the number, the more you can trust the advice.
Get coaching to get a road map of exactly where you want to go your first year. It'll shave off months, even years of your own trial and error and get you earning income super fast. One-on-one coaching is something I offer on my site. You can find more information about it here. Just remember to always check the Alexa score before you buy time with a coach, and it HAS TO BE personalized coaching. What works for one blog most likely won't work for another.
As a busy single mom and entrepreneur, how do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
I probably don't sleep as much as I should. Sometimes it takes being super creative. The whole reason I work from home as a single mom is to be with my kids. I can't let working from home eat up my time FROM my kids. At the same time, I'm the sole provider of our family. To have a roof over our heads, I have to make money. It's definitely a balance. Thankfully, I have a wonderful team now that helps. My assistant Katie, my assistant who helps with editing Becky, my design technician Laura, and my contributors. All amazing women that I'm honored to be a part of their lives.
If you want to know nitty-gritty on how Sarah went from broke to six figures — check out her e-book, How to Turn Your Blog Into a Six-Figure Money Making Machine (only $4.99 on Amazon)!
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