When I first decided to start a blog, one of my main goals was monetization.
The idea of being able to work remotely and to make money from a blog is certainly an alluring one, and I’d argue this is why many people decide to get into blogging alongside the fact that blogging is just a tonne of fun.
I’ve made an effort to create transparent income reports on This Online World to track growth and inspire others, and series like my Road to $100 Blogging Income A Month have set (I hope) a decent foundation for anyone who is just starting out.
However, I have 0 idea about what it takes to blog for a full-time job. I’d also argue that many of the top income reports from six figure sites are from bloggers who have been blogging for so long they have lost touch with what it’s like to be a beginner.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how you can actually take a blog from a beginner to intermediate level and make the leap to full-time, this is the post for you.
I’m incredibly excited to have Shruti from Indian Girling to break down how she recently became a full-time travel blogger.
Keep in mind, Shruti started her blog around the same time I started This Online World…it’s safe to say that she is absolutely killing it while simultaneously providing an immense amount of value to her readers about how to effectively monetize and grow a blog while travelling the world.
Time to let Shruti take over with her incredible story about how she scaled to a full-time blog in under two years.
Let’s get to it!
Hi! My name is Shruti Pangtey. I’m a full time travel blogger and online entrepreneur. I was born and raised in India and had a traditional childhood where getting good grades was valued above all else.
I studied economics as my major during bachelors and went on to do an MBA straight after.
During my MBA, I had the chance to spend two semesters abroad. One semester was in Indonesia and the other one was in Poland. Having never traveled that far alone, I was positively bitten by the travel bug.
After finishing graduate school, I worked with a both big multinational company and startups for two years, until I realized I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life.
I wanted my life to be about more than a 9-5 job.
I wanted more control, more travel, more freedom.
Realizing this made me pack up my life and move to Germany for a second master degree. I figured this would give me enough time to travel, learn a new language, and hone in on what I really want to do in life.
What Side Hustle Did You Start?
After moving abroad in late 2016, I wanted to be able to share my adventures with my friends and family back home.
As far as I knew, I was the only person from my circle of friends who had chosen to move to Germany. As you probably know, most Indians head to the US, Canada or the UK to study and work, so I was quite the odd one out.
The desire to stay connected made me start an expat blog in 2017, and I worked on it during my free time. It wasn’t until I accidentally had a post go viral on Facebook and reached 20000 page views in a week that I realized I had a voice!
I realized I had so much potential to create an impact with fellow millennials around the world. However, having come to the end of my “expat advice” as a blogger, I realized there was one thing I was more passionate about, and that was travel.
The Second Blog:
The desire to write about travel made me start my second blog in July 2018, and this was the start of Indian Girling.
I focused this blog on my travel tips for Europe and a bit of life in Germany.
I knew traveling to Europe is such a dream for people around the world, and I wanted my blog to be the go-to Europe travel planning resource. I also wanted more people from developing countries to be able to explore the beautiful continent that I now call home.
I had started my second blog in the hopes that I would one day be able to monetize it.
I also wanted to make sure I didn’t make the 100 mistakes I made with my first blog. You can say that this was true start of my “side hustle”.
At this point, I was still finishing my master, learning German, and working 20h/week to pay for my living expenses. So, I basically spent every weekend and free hour I had working on my blog.
In the first six months, I didn’t see massive growth. However, I was busy with reading, studying, and educating myself about how I could convert my blog into a business.
After six months, I hit a point where my traffic started to grow thanks to my new found Pinterest marketing expertise, and I started to cross tens of thousands of page views a month. A big turning point was when I hit 40000 page views in a single month and qualified for Mediavine.
Even before I hit this point though, I had read and found that digital products were the way to go.
Having dabbled a bit in product sales myself, I found this to be a good fit for my personality and I decided to give it a try.
I launched a travel ebook to my email list and made $200 in a single day. This was absolutely monumental.
You see, as a blogger, you often have to wait months if not years to make $200 in a day. And here I was, with a product that I put together in 6 free weekends, that made me $200 in 24 hours.
I was hooked!
I started to experiment with more digital products, and along this way I had also found a passion for teaching other bloggers how to use Pinterest to grow their traffic.
I made my course Pinterest Traffic Explosion and pre-sold the course to a small list of 100 bloggers. This made me $600 in a weekend.
Looking back, I started out with zero revenue in July of 2018, and by the next summer I was averaging $1000/month using various monetization methods. My main methods of monetization include ads, affiliates and digital products with a few sponsored posts sprinkled here and there, but it adds up!
Wins & Losses:
The biggest win so far has been to be able to help over 40+ bloggers grow their Pinterest following by using my marketing strategies and see how successful they have been after using my course. In terms of income, I had a month recently where I made over $3000 and I was on holiday for two weeks of the month.
For me, THIS WAS IT.
A career where I could have location and financial freedom while still being able to impact a ton of people.
Shortly after, I decided to quit my day job and jump into blogging full-time. I’m now a full-time blogger and online entrepreneur.
The biggest loss (or learning, as I like to call all my failures) was initially thinking that just because a monetization strategy works for someone else, it does not mean it will work for you.
Affiliate marketing, while all the rage, just doesn’t scale that fast in my niche.
You have to realize that there is no custom monetization strategy that fits every blog.
You have to be willing to experiment, listen to your audience, and find a way that best helps them all the while still growing your income. This realization made me pivot my focus from affiliate marketing and focus more on ads and products.
I am also guilty for trying to do too many things at the same time. When it comes to make money with a blog, it is SO important to focus on 1-2 things each month and to exclusively work on them before you make any conclusions or rule anything out.
What Advice Do You Have For Other Bloggers?
As a new blogger who is learning the ropes of a non-traditional career, I believe it is hard to stay consistent when you don’t see immediate growth. Add friends and family who do not understand your passion at all to the mix, and this becomes as much a mindset challenge as anything else.
I believe the thing that kept me going was connecting with other bloggers and seeing their success online.
I knew that it wouldn’t happen overnight or even in a year, but as long as I was consistent, invested in myself, and treated my blog as a business, things would work out.
As a business woman with a startup background, I am very well aware of what scaling a tech business looks like: years of hustle with no pay or profits.
I believe having this mindset where I don’t expect instant gratification has been key to growing my blog into a business in a short period of time.
If I had to look back and give one piece of advice to my past self, it would be to invest in your blog.
I went into $40000 in debt over my MBA, but when it came to $100 for an e-course, I hesitated.
There are people out there who are miles ahead of you and can teach you how to fast-track your audience and income.
Learn from them.
Make a “learning budget,” and use that to buy books, courses, or even coaching (if you can afford it).
It doesn’t matter if you can only afford to spend $10 a month, just do it. I promise you it will come back manifold. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, talk to other bloggers, but always keep learning.
This industry moves fast and you gotta keep up if you want to grow!
I want to thank Shruti for taking the time to share her amazing blogging journey for the 6th Young Money interview (these interviews are coming in quick eh?)
While many bloggers start with dreams of monetization, I think it can be hard to keep focused during the grueling hours of work and early stages where zero revenue is coming in,
However, I think it’s critical that bloggers remember some of the realizations Shruti has outlined.
Starting a blog is like building a startup. You will not make significant income in the early stages, and sweat equity is what you need to put in to get things up and running.
Additionally, you need to view your blog like a business. Investing into better hosting, SEO, social media marketing, or content is what will drive growth.
I’ve just recently had the same realization, and I’m now outsourcing all of my Pinterest marketing and looking to improve site speed and content production. While it might be tempting to take your blog earnings and to funnel them towards grocery money, there’s also value in funneling your revenue back into growth.
At the end of the day, if you want to build an online platform and audience, you will have to put in the time and dedication. It might take months or years to achieve your goals, but the only way to get there is to start and never look back!
If you’re looking to accelerate your Pinterest marketing efforts, I highly recommend checking out Digital Empires and Shruti’s Pinterest Traffic Explosion course.
Since I’ve implemented some of Shruti’s tactics and passed on the advice to the freelancer who is managing my account, I’ve seen month over month improvement in terms of traffic and follower growth. I’d also suggest signing up for Shruti’s email blasts since she puts out a lot of informative content about how to design viral pins and grow a Pinterest audience.
If you’re super serious about Pinterest marketing, I also recommend checking out Tailwind app review and my and tips on how to automate most of your marketing efforts.
That’s all for now! Catch you guys in the next one.
Shruti is an MBA graduate turned blogger and online entrepreneur. Her travel blog, Indian Girling, has received over 170K page views in less than a year and has over 30000 subscribers. Her advice has been featured in the Matador Network, Her Campus, Medium, and she has published a best-selling travel guide. Through her online courses at Digital Empires, she aims to help content creators and bloggers take their business to the next level.