Life and Finances Update

It has been radio silent over here for a few weeks, and I’m sorry to have missed you!

As I have mentioned, my only “resolution” this year has been to be a little nicer and less hard on myself. So I actively chose to skip blogging for a few weeks.

Life is always crazy and busy, but honestly, these last few weeks have been very challenging for me.

As you may know, I am getting married at the beginning of March, which is coming up SO SOON. Wedding planning has been very time consuming. And other than that, life has been filled with a lot of travel. And some amazing things have been in the works for my freelancing business, so that has been even more consuming.

So here is a little update on where I have been.

Continue reading “Life and Finances Update”

Want to make money in the comfort of your own home and on your own time? A blog is the honest-to-goodness best way to start making money on your own terms. Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to start your own blog today!

How to Start a Profitable Blog

When people find out that I make money through blogging, it never fails that they ask how to start a blog themselves. So today I will explain exactly how I set up my blog with Bluehost and give you step-by-step instructions.

If you start a blog using my link, you will receive a very low price on Bluehost hosting, AND you will receive a FREE domain name. It’s super easy to do, so let’s get started.

I’ve been blogging consistently for less than a year, and in that time, my blog has earned me significant money as well as given me the opportunity to earn even more money with freelance writing on the side. Never did I expect anyone to actually read this blog, and I definitely never thought I could actually make money.

I could go on and on (and on) about how much blogging has benefited me and why you should start one. But I will try to be brief! Blogging has allowed me to earn extra income on top of my 9-5 job. I’ve used that money to pay down my student loans and save for my wedding. I’ve had the opportunity to work with incredible brands, improve my writing skills, and meet some really incredible fellow bloggers.

It’s a lot of work, but so worth it to me. I love feeling like I have control over my income, and blogging has provided me extra security if either my fiance or I lost our jobs. Plus, the extra money is always nice to have (and all the freebies I get from blogging is a major perk, tbh!)

Big bloggers earn hundreds of thousands of dollars every MONTH. Yes, you read that right…many bloggers are making over a million dollars a year from working online.

Many people tell me they have thought about starting a blog, but feel like they should educate themselves and prepare before they start a blog. My biggest piece of advice is to just start a blog right now. You can try to prepare and understand, but blogging is one of those things you really just have to dive right in to learn. You cannot start making money until you start a blog, and blogs don’t have to be perfect to make money.

Many people start a blog through free blogging services like Wix, Blogger, or the free WordPress. Starting a blog on one of these free providers is a mistake. You soon will find that having a free blog will hinder you from working with sponsors and advertisers. You have little control over the free blogs, and you DO NOT own your actual website!

I know a ton of bloggers who started out on these free services, only to realize they soon needed to self-host. They had to go through a major mess of trying to transition everything from their old blog to their new, self-hosted blog. It cost a lot of time and money for them, so I hope you do not make the same mistake!

The good news is that starting a professional blog with Bluehost is easy and VERY affordable. My fiance jokes that my blog was the cheapest hobby to start and the most (or only?) hobby that proves to be profitable!

I chose to start my blog with Bluehost because, after doing a lot of research, I found that most bloggers I knew used them and recommended them. I continue to use Bluehost and have had a great experience with them. They are easy to work with, cheap, and efficient.

And they were easy! I’m not a technical person at all. My fiance is an IT guy, but I set up my blog (and continue to run it) all by myself. Please don’t be intimidated by the term “self-hosted.” If I can do it, I promise you can.

When you register through my link, you get a reduced plan rate at just $3.95 per month (!) and a FREE domain name!

Other advantages to Bluehost is the 24/7 tech support, the ability to have a professional self-hosted blog, and a 30-day money back guarantee. So if you have even been thinking about starting a blog, I would suggest starting one today.

Click here to get the discounted price for Bluehost and your free domain name, and then continue reading the rest of the tutorial for how to set up your very own website.

Once you’ve signed up for your very own website here, follow the simple instructions below.

  1. Choose Your Hosting Plan

Once you’ve signed up for your discounted Bluehost account, you’ll be shown a few different hosting packages and options. Save your money and go with the cheapest “basic” package (shown on the far left). When you’re just starting out blogging, you won’t need anything fancy or huge. Even with thousands of visitors a month, I’m still on the starter package with Bluehost and have had no complaints, plus you can always upgrade at any point.

Bluehost

Remember that Bluehost is very affordable, but it also comes with a money-back guarantee. If you start blogging and decide it isn’t for you, you can always cancel and get a prorated refund for any months you have left on your plan.

2. Choose Your Blog and Domain Name

A domain is just the name of your blog or website, which you get for free when you sign up with Bluehost!

Think about what you want your blog name to be. You want it to be clear, easy to read and understand, and not confusing to spell or type out. You also want it to relate to whatever you’re blogging about.

I named my blog The Latte Budget because I knew the idea of “the latte factor,” or the idea that coffee or other small, convenient purchases ruin budgets, gets Googled frequently.

You can really name your blog whatever you want! I would, however, highly suggest that you make sure your blog name ends in “.com” and not “.me,” “.net,” or any other suffix. In the world today, “.com” is most popular and it causes confusion for those trying to find your website if it isn’t a .com!

Once you choose your domain name, type it in the “new domain” box in Bluehost. This will tell you if it is already taken or not.

A lot of times, your domain name, plus the .com, will already be taken. Don’t get too frustrated! Just get creative with what you want to name your blog. Your blog name is important, but whats even more important is content. No matter what you name your blog, if you have good content, it will be read!

Once you enter in your free domain name, continue to follow through to register your new website. The last screen will list a bunch of extras you can add on, as shown below. Honestly, you don’t really need at this point. I don’t pay for any extras, so I suggest saving your money!

And then, congrats, you officially have your own blog! 🙂

3. Install WordPress into Your Blog

Now you’re not quite done, but you’re getting so close! The next step is to install WordPress onto your blog. WordPress is the actual platform your blog runs on.

Once you’ve completed the prior steps, log into your new Bluehost account. You will see a blue bar at the top of the page. Press “hosting” and then look at the white bar underneath that. You will see the option of “cpanel,” so click that.

When you’re on this page, go under website (not shown in the picture, but it is another box like where it says “marketing,” or “email.” Just keep scrolling down.) Once you’re in the website box, you will see a button that says “Install WordPress.” Click that.

After clicking the “InstallWordPress” icon, follow the directions and click install. You will install WordPress to the new domain you just created. Then go through and create your login info.

Now you are completely set! You can officially enter into your website by opening a new tab. Type in your website, plus /login to the end of the domain. (for example…www.thelattebudget.com/login). Now enter in your username and password and viola! You’re all done!

Really, if you have any questions about how to start your own blog with Bluehost, please let me know! Blogging has honestly provided me with so many opportunities and I want you to see for yourself what a blog can do for you. Please email me with any questions you may have (thelattebudget[at]gmail.com). I am so happy to help!

 

Have you ever wondered if it was possible for you to make money by freelance writing? I’m here to show you how, and why, you can start your own profitable freelance writing business. Get my free guide here!

How to Start Your Own Profitable Freelance Writing Business

Have you ever wondered if it was possible for you to make money by freelance writing? I’m here to show you how, and why, you can start your own profitable freelance writing business.

Freelance writing is appealing for a number of reasons. It gives you an opportunity to earn money while working from home on your own time. It pays well and if you enjoy writing like me, it only makes sense to get paid to do it!

I started TLB the summer of 2015, but it wasn’t until March of 2016 that I actually committed to blogging regularly. I started the blog simply to blog. I never thought it could ever lead to me making money, especially in such a short amount of time!

Since March of 2016, I have gone from making 1 cent from this blog to making a few hundreds of dollars a month – and my business is still growing.

I couldn’t have gained freelancing clients if it weren’t for my blog, so I consider my freelancing income as part of my blog profit.

While I have zero intentions of turning my freelance writing business into a full-time job as of now, it’s extremely comforting and exciting to know that I could fairly easily turn this into something more if I wanted to. In the meantime, however, I am too excited about where my day-time career is going, so freelancing will remain a fun side hustle.

If you aren’t yet convinced, here are more reasons why you should start freelance writing:

  • Extremely low startup cost – pretty much just need a computer and internet!
  • Work in the comfort of your own home
  • You choose your projects and work
  • Strengthens your writing skills
  • Writing skills are extremely transferable to any job
  • Make money!
  • Create a business on the side for more job and income security

So did I sell ya? Here’s my guide on how to start your own successful freelance writing business.

Decide on your niche

If you’re considering freelance writing, it is assumed you have strong writing skills. While you may think you have the ability to write about any topic under the sun, I caution you against that.

Clients want to hire experts in their field. They want to hire people who are just as passionate about the topic at hand as they are. By choosing a few niches, you are automatically making yourself look more skilled.

Obviously, my niche is personal finance and career. I also have experience in travel writing and legal press releases (from my full-time job…more fun than it sounds!) While I mention my experience in travel and legal writing to those interested, I will continue to primarily advertise myself as a personal finance writer.

Create a business plan

To be honest, the opportunity to get paid to write kind of fell in my lap. I didn’t have a business plan, but since I’ve gotten more writing gigs, I’ve started working on mine. Learn from my mistake and start your business plan “write” off the bat (ok sorry for the pun. It was TOO good.)

Like I mentioned above, the best part of freelance writing is that there is extremely little overhead. You probably don’t need to rent office space, buy a brand new computer, or pay for much inventory. So don’t be intimidated by writing a business plan, even if you’ve never written one in your life. Freelance writing will start off as a one-person show. You won’t have investors or anyone to present your business plan to, so it’s okay to be extremely simple. But you should write a business plan to create a clear picture of your company to yourself and your clients.

A simple business plan for freelance writing could include:

  • What is your company and what does it aim to do?
  • What services will it provide and to whom?
  • How will you market your services?
  • How will you charge and collect money for your services?

Having a business plan will save you a ton of time and confusion. Once you understand your business, you’ll set yourself up for success when finding clients to hire you.

Start a blog or website

I can’t stress this enough. My clients have even said they wouldn’t hire anyone without a blog or website and it makes total sense.

Clients want to be able to see living examples of your work and they want to know that you are technologically savvy enough to put up with the demands of virtual writing.

Having a blog in your niche shows that you have current knowledge of your topic and that you understand how to write articles that people want to read! It helps potential clients understand your style of writing and who you are as a person.

If you aren’t sure about the whole blog thing, at least consider starting your own professional website. Make sure the design is aesthetically pleasing and that it is accessible and easy to navigate. You’ll want to include examples of your work and provide potential clients with an easy way to contact you.

Reach out to clients

With millions of websites and blogs out there, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to stumble upon your freelance writing business. You really need to work for those first few clients.

Think of who might need your services. Are they companies? Bloggers? Make a master list of potential clients and their contact info.

If you are regularly commenting on blogs you would like to write for, it’s easy to just shoot the blogger an email saying you enjoy their work and to keep you in mind if they are looking to hire writers. Having natural relationships with other writers is incredibly helpful for more reasons than finding work!

If you’re reaching out to large companies and websites, however, you likely do not have a direct contact. These are big-time businesses, so keep it professional. Simply find a contact form and send a professional email, stating that you are a follower of their work and that you would like to be considered as a contributor and why they should accept you. If you have links to any work, include a few.

If you’re not feeling super confident with reaching out to larger companies, focus first on scoring some smaller clients. They are more likely to work with you and teach you a few things and give you references to other clients.

But whoever you are emailing, make sure it is written well and always err on the side of professional. Even as a small blogger, I get emails from writers that start with “Hey,” and have a ton of spelling errors. Not a good look!

Keep in mind that you will face rejection a lot. It isn’t fun, but not everyone is always hiring freelance writers, or they may have a different budget. You have to keep trying and once you score one, the rest come easier!

Have a service mindset

Freelancing is NOT EASY. There are strict deadlines and it’s up to you to create contact. If you’re not an organized person, it can be challenging to cater to multiple projects and deadlines.

So above all, remember to only take on what you can provide exceptional service for, and make sure the client is a good fit for you. One of the best parts about being a freelancer is that you can choose who you want to work with.

It might be tempting to take on a ton of jobs and clients who either aren’t writing about a subject you are knowledgeable in or who are very demanding to work for. Don’t chase the money! Only take on what feels right and what you can do well. For example – I personally would never, ever take on a sports freelance writing project. Because I. Know. NOTHING about sports! I would waste my time trying to research the topic and be disappointing to the client. I wouldn’t be delivering exceptional service and my career would suffer.

As you gain more clients, keep in tune with their needs and wants. Some clients may want you to check in often, while others may want you to charge ahead with little direction. If you’re not sure what they prefer – ask! Ask all your questions ahead of time so they are out of the way. You will want to ensure you both are on the same page moving forward.

Understand the business side

Freelancing should be run like a business. You need to dedicate time to the financial side of your business, the marketing, and customer service.

You’ll need to develop a process. How will you organize conflicting deadlines? How will you invoice clients? How will you deliver your writing?

As far as the financial side goes, keep in mind – you likely are not paying taxes on whatever you earn, so you will be responsible for your own quarterly taxes! This means you will have to pay money in taxes every quarter, so it’s important to save your earnings. The last thing you want as a freelancer is a hefty tax bill!

DC over at Young Adult Money wrote this amazingly helpful article about freelance taxes – check it out!

To keep track of my freelance finances, I personally have my own Capital One 360 savings account, where I put all of my freelance earnings. I also put my travel fund, wedding fund, and emergency fund all within my Capital One 360 savings account, which is why I love it so much! Use my referral code and get $25 when you open an account with at least $250 in it.


My personal experience with freelance writing has been amazing. I honestly had no idea I could grow the beginnings of a business from home so quickly.

The fact that I can pick my own clients, make money from home, and create my own schedule while having almost no overhead makes freelancing a fun and profitable business. I love that I can grow it as much as I want…it’s very empowering!