What would it feel like to know you are making positive change, directly impacting hundreds of thousands of people’s lives? What if you could do all of that while also making a six-figure income AND have the time, flexibility and freedom to enjoy your dream life? In this Q&A guest post, my friend, Kate Kordsmeier, of Root + Revel is sharing ALL of her secrets that allowed her to grow her following to over 30,000 email subscribers, 75,000 social media followers, and her annual revenue to $150,000+ in just THREE years.
Kate and I met years ago when I was living in Atlanta. My boyfriend worked with her husband. We immediately clicked and have bonded for years over our love of online entrepreneurship, mindful living and intuitive eating. Kate is actually the person who not only convinced me to start a blog but showed me exactly how to do it. Sunny Thymes wouldn’t be here without her and I’m BEYOND excited she’s here to share her wisdom with you in this Q&A post. So without further ado, meet Kate 🙂
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give someone who wants to make 6 six figures blogging?
Treat your blog like a business. It’s not a hobby, it’s not passion project; if you want your blog to become a profitable business you have to treat it as such from DAY ONE. That includes everything from your taxes and accounting and legal incorporation to doing proper research for your posts and citing sources, to keeping office hours, demanding to be paid a fair wage for your work, taking customer service seriously, and investing in your business the same way you would if I were running a restaurant, starting an ad agency, or fundraising for a non-profit. You are not “just a blogger”. You’re an online business owner. This mindset is EVERYTHING!
What do you attribute your success to most? What really allowed you to hit the 6 figure mark with your blogging business?
Not trying to do allthethings. It’s so easy to get caught up in the million things you could do to grow your blog–there’s social media and ads and Pinterest and SEO and podcasts and courses and membership sites and sponsored content and affiliate marketing, and that’s all before you even think about just writing content for your blog. Do one thing at a time. When I was a year into my blog and feeling totally overwhelmed of what to do next, I decided to just put my head down and focus on just creating killer content that I knew would truly help people. It was amazing how much my revenue naturally grew when I stopped trying to do allthethings and just did ONE THING AT A TIME. We actually have a 99-Step Roadmap to get you to a profitable blog that helps you prioritize and start, grow and monetize your blog using a proven, step-by-step system. You can download it for FREE here.
What has been the biggest challenge in your business and how did you overcome it?
Oh man, there have been so many challenges and setbacks. In the online world, it’s often two steps forward and one step back. Just like life, there are ebbs and flows, feasts and famines, but it’s the people who ride out those waves who find success, no matter what kind of business they’re in. The people who give up too quickly, throw in the towel before they’ve really given their business a fair shake or before the dust from whatever recession might be happening really settles, those are the people who never get to see their blogs “make it”. Most blogs fail right around the 1-2 year mark. I can totally see why. After my first year of blogging, I only made $6,500 and was ready to give up. But I persevered, I trusted the process and myself, I worked my butt off and I did the work, and by the end of my 2nd year I made $75,000. By my 3rd, I broke $150,000. It would’ve been so much easier to give up, and that’s what most people do. I get it, I’ve been there and I’ve wanted to quit, too. But I didn’t. I kept going. I’m not any more special/talented/skilled than anyone else, but I found success because I kept going. Just keep going!
Do you think it’s necessary to have a big social media following or email list to have a successful business?
For social media: absolutely not. In fact, in my experience, I’ve found that a big social media following doesn’t often result in big profits from your blog. Not always, there are obviously influencers who have figured out how to monetize social media; but for me, social is just a way to build community. It’s not a great traffic driver, and I make my money from the blog and my email list. Which brings me to your second question–yes, I do think it’s infinitely easier to have a profitable business if you have an email list. You own your list, it’s not dependent on algorithm changes or any other company you can’t control. You can reach your people whenever you want. I’ve found email to be a great way to grow my affiliate income and sell my own digital products like eBooks and courses.
What’s a typical day like for you running a six figure plus blogging business?
Honestly, this sounds cliche, but no day is the same. There’s always something new and exciting to work on or learn and as such every day brings its own set of tasks and challenges. It’s part of why I love this job–I’m a creative who thrives with variety. But I’m also a Type A who craves structure and routine. So I try to batch my work as much as possible. Certain days I have blocked off for writing blog posts, other days I’ll spend a few hours answering emails or creating marketing campaigns or doing photoshoots. It’s more efficient and it helps improve my productivity and focus. And I always set time aside each day for learning, rest, movement, self-care and quality time with friends and family. The freedom that a blogging business provides is easily the very best part of the job–I would never have the flexibility to meet friends for lunch, or go to an acupuncture session at 10 AM or walk my dog in the afternoons or pick my son up from school if I worked a typical 9-to-5 desk job. Never having to ask for permission to make my life look like exactly what I want it to: priceless!
Do you believe it’s possible to LOVE what you do AND make good money?
Heck yeah, girl! That’s exactly what I am doing. I am so freaking passionate about holistic wellness and helping people live healthier, happier lives and I get to do that all day long at my job where I make six figures. I love how creative, fulfilling, soul-satisfying and lucrative this job is. I’m also an entrepreneur down to my bones and love talking biz and coming up with new ways to monetize and grow, which is why I launched the Six-Figure Blog Academy. I couldn’t not share what I’ve learned over the past 4 years with people because I know it will help so many find the freedom, flexibility and fulfillment they’re so desperately searching for.
Where does most of your revenue come from?
It’s constantly changing as the online landscape and my goals change. In my second year, I made $56,000 from sponsored content alone. But I wasn’t comfortable with that bucket taking up so a large percentage of my income (75%), so I knew I needed to diversify. We focused on affiliate marketing in 2018 and I went from earning an average of just $1,005 per month to making over $10,000 per month from affiliate marketing. In 2019, I launched my first course and while it’s yet to be seen just how successful it will be for the entire year, it’s another revenue stream added to my list that I’m excited about, as it doesn’t rely on anybody else (not Google, not Instagram, not Pinterest) and puts me firmly in the driver’s seat. I also make money from display advertising, 1:1 coaching, and occasional freelance recipe development gigs.
How do you find brands to work with who are actually in alignment with your values?
I work really hard to only work with brands who are a perfect fit for the blog–this means that I often have to turn down requests from whose mission isn’t in line with our natural, organic and eco-friendly principles.I could definitely make more money if I didn’t uphold those standards, but my first priority has always and will always be to my readers and so I’m very particular about what brands we feature on R+R. I highly recommend that you set some standards for yourself to ensure the quality and integrity of your sponsored content campaigns, and thus your content.
Likewise, it’s important that you only work with brands you’ve personally used/tried, love and trust. If you’ve never tried a product before, how can you really tell your audience about it with any authority? Worse, let’s say you’ve tried a product and didn’t like it, but the brand is offering you a sponsored content campaign. DON’T TAKE IT! I know it can be tempting to take money where you can get it, especially in the beginning, but I promise you that if you’re not true to your readers and genuine in your recommendations, it’s going to show and your readers will lose your trust and leave.
What are the biggest mistakes you see for people who are trying to monetize their blog but nothing seems to be working?
I see so many awesome bloggers out there with helpful content, beautiful photography, great stories, and so much to offer their audience. And yet, most of these bloggers are making a whopping $0 from their blogs. Or maybe they’re earning a couple hundred bucks here and there, but can’t seem to get any more momentum. It’s usually because they’re making one of these fatal mistakes:
- Not treating your blog like a business from the beginning.
- Adding one affiliate link to one blog post and wondering why no one is buying.
- Relying solely on influencer networks to get paid sponsored content gigs
You can learn how to combat these mistakes in this blog post.
Who were you BEing to make your success possible? What did you have to think and believe in order to make this your reality?
Honestly, I thought of myself (and still do) as a successful business owner from Day 1. This goes back to the mindset we talked about in the beginning, but I believed that I had value, that my work was truly serving my readers and helping people and I trusted that the success and profits I desired would come. I really focus a lot on abundance and coming from a place of prosperity, rather than fear or lack or scarcity. I meditate a lot, I even do some hypnosis work, I read and learn a lot from others about the law of attraction and manifesting and I trust that when I am putting my best, most authentic, most helpful self out there, success will follow. There is room for EVERYONE to be successful, even in similar niches. And there is only one YOU. My best recommendation is to focus on service and providing value to your people. That attracts abundance to you. Couple that with doing the work, following a proven system and you’re unstoppable!
What has been the best part of owning your own super successful business?
Life is so much better now that I’m truly my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day–I wake up excited to work, I’m always learning something new and I love the challenge of running your own business, constantly coming up with new ways to monetize and help people, simultaneously.
After reaching a six-figure income in just my third year of blogging, I know I have something valuable to share about making money online, something that I hope will help you learn how to monetize your passion, something that lights you up every day and makes you excited to get to work, something that impacts others for the better, something you can do from your couch in your jammies or on a beach in the Caribbean or at a desk in a co-working space at whatever dang time you please because YOU’RE YOUR OWN BOSS.
Want the EXACT formula I used to grow my blog from $0 to $150,000 in 3 years? Join the Six-Figure Blog Academy here (enrollment is only open from October 3-9, 2019) and turn your dream into a reality!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from someone who I trust. There is no additional cost to you.