How I Made My First $100 Dollars From Blogging

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Are you just getting started with blogging, and wondering how to make your first $100 bucks online from your endeavors? Let me tell you a little story about how I made my first $100 from blogging specifically, and show you my income report from a little over a year ago when I had my first month over $100 dollars. It’s funny when I reminisce about where I was back then, because now I make over $100 a day from blogging online and vlogging on YouTube.

Seems crazy to think this happened in less than a year, and still feels surreal at times. I remember how it felt to not know if I could do it or not, and I wasn’t sure if I could make blogging work for me at all. But growing my blog wasn’t really rocket science, and if I had it to do over again, it would be much much easier. In this article, I’m going to share with you step by step, how I made my first $100 from blogging, and give you some tips and pointers on how you can expedite your success timeline and make it happen quicker for you.


A Lot People Think You Can’t Make Money Blogging Anymore
(or that blogging is “dead”)

My short term goal in the beginning I kept telling myself, was that if I could just make $500 a month from my blog, I knew I could make it work! I knew if I could make $500/mo, I could scale that to whatever I needed. Anything less than that, seemed too insignificant to matter in my mind at the time.

But when it comes down to it, it all started with the first dollar… and then the first $100, $200, and then eventually I had a $500 month you can see here. Even I fell into the trap of having aggressive goals, and I thought I could do it even faster because I had some experience with making money online with websites in the past, I had just never started a lifestyle blog of any kind before.

But I knew other bloggers all around me were able to do it, so why couldn’t I? It used to piss me off when I would read blog income report from other blogs who commingled income sources, and listed freelance income and services earnings to inflate their numbers. To me, that was not true blogging income, even if some of their “selling” their services was due to having a blog presence.

To each their own I suppose, but perhaps that is why some people seem to believe hat blogging is dead or you can’t make money blogging anymore. Sure, if you just think you’re going to throw up a wall of text about how you took a shit today, you’re never going to make a dime. But if you stop focusing on what you want for a minute, and follow what I’m about to show you, you too can be well on your way to making your first $100 dollars online, just like I did.

I believe that…

Anyone can do it, and everyone has something to give. Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, how old you are, and last but NOT LEAST, it makes no difference if you’re good with computers or not. (a common misconception is that people who aren’t good with computers can’t do this… lemme tell you something, I grew up working my grandmothers plant nursery and doing landscape services, including digging ditches for irrigation systems. I was good with my hands, but couldn’t use a computer to save my life…. If anyone should be saying that, it’s me, except now I make over $4k per month from my blog, and have systematized how I did it so you can model it too)


How I Made My First Dollar From My Blog
(and had my first $100 – $200 months of blogging income)

I didn’t make my first dollar instantly, and this isn’t some get rich quick scheme where I’m trying to sell you something. In fact, as of today (5/18/17), I have nothing to sell at all. lol  (people say I’m nuts, and I should have books and courses and yada yada… maybe next year)

But making my first few bucks online from my blog was a process, albeit a very simple one… The biggest hurdle was mental:

  • I was afraid to publish things publicly to the world.
  • Everything had to be perfect.
  • What would people think of me that knew me?
  • Would I live up to my own standard?
  • I had a master vision, and unrealistically expected to fulfill it from day 1

Again, the most important lesson was: this is a process. You develop and uncover over time.

“Quantity Breeds Quality.”


First I Had To Force Myself To Publish
8 Posts Publicly On January 1st, 2016
(even though I wasn’t happy with my writing)

I had hemmed and hawed for over 7 months from when I first got the idea to start clever leverage. I wanted the design to be perfect, I wanted the content layout to be perfect, I wanted everything to be populated nicely. And you’ll never guess how much money I made doing that? ZERO.

And don’t get this confused either, my first 8 posts didn’t make me a dime. It wasn’t until I let go of all that bullshit, and started creating content that would be helpful for others, that I began making money instantly as a result.

Read about my first money making blog post in the next section…


Then I Decided To Start Posting Reviews Of Things I Bought
(just to “grease” the wheels bit)

When I first wanted to start my blog, I moved to a small 500sq ft apartment to reduce expenses and have an office with wall to wall windows. I knew I would need to be super focused for the next 6 months, and in an effort to force minimalism, my place had zero storage outside of a closet.

I wanted to maintain some type of exercise, and sold all of my bikes many years before. But my apartment had a cool back porch, but there was no way to really lock up a bike. I used to race BMX and had a super nice Cannondale full suspension mountain bike at one time, but I was worried someone would steal it if I just left it out there.

So I went on an online man hunt looking for a good cheap mountain bike, that I could leave outside and not be upset if someone stole it. My price range was around $200 for this bike, and I found a few on Amazon but they had almost no or poor reviews.

I went to a local pawn shop to see if I could find a better deal there, but everything looked stolen and I just didn’t feel good about buying one after asking the store owner if these bikes were free and clear. Needless to say, his response did not instill confidence in me. (I’ve had bikes stolen before, so I know what it feels like…. I wanted NO part of that)


Bought A Cheap Bike (of all things!) On Amazon Out Of need In My Daily Life

So back to Amazon I went, and took a chance on buying a Merax Finiss mountain bike, not expecting much. When it arrived, I was blown away at how cool it looked. For around $200 dollars, the bike was WAY better than anything I’d get at Walmart or Target for the same price range.

So I realized right then, I’ve got to tell people about this! This thing is awesome and has almost no reviews!!


I Took A Chance (maybe this would make good blog content?)

Even though I never set out to review products, and this wasn’t in line with my master vision at the time, I thought, “well I’m not where I should be on my business content right this minute, and I’m not happy with where I’m at with my goals, maybe this will make good blog content and force myself to publish something anyway.”

“I never intended on making money with this purchase when I placed the order”

So I took a few videos with my phone, and snapped some pictures of me out riding it, because if someone else had done that for me, I would have bought it right away.

I went back and added my affiliate link to all my videos and blog posts about the bike, and within a month or so I was getting a few sales per month like clockwork. But it was because I was providing real value, and I had a real face/voice behind the message. I wasn’t afraid to say what I did and didn’t like, and the authenticity is what rang true to people. Now that bike is one of the most popular in its category for that price range, and they frequently raise the price and sell out of them all the time.

I Reviewed It When No One Would (and it turned out to be really popular)

I couldn’t have predicted this, it just happened because I started and began working the process. This is what I mean when I say all the time that you have to work your own path to uncover your “thing.” You never know what it will be, and simply chugging along slow and steady is the barrier to entry to uncover your own success.

I couldn’t have been successful at someone else’s ideas, just as you need to uncover your own. If you follow the process, it will happen.


How Do You Make Money On Products You Buy Online You Ask?

So I’m sure you may have already heard of affiliate programs before, but essentially a company is willing to give you a percentage of sales in exchange for bringing them a new customer. This doesn’t cost the customer anything extra, and in some cases, they even get your discount if you’re a preferred affiliate who gets coupons emailed to you each month like I do for hosting programs. There is way too much to mention on affiliate companies here though, so see this affiliate marketing guide for in depth conversation about the topic.

How Did I Make Money On The Bike From YouTube And My Blog Platform?
(By Being An Affiliate For The Amazon Associates Programs)

Amazon Associates, is Amazon’s version of their in house affiliate program. They have a tiered system, whereby if you generate 1-6 transactions per month, they pay you 4% of all sales. Seems pitiful huh? But it gets better… like I said it’s a sliding scale depending on how many conversions you have in a given month. If you do 7 – 30 sales per month, you get 6% and it’s retroactive across most items for the entire month. Generate over 631 transactions, and your commission rate sails north of 8% commission on everything under the sun.

I made money on the strangest things (like baby diapers, womens shoes, mens gold clubs, and on and on) that I’ve never mentioned in my life, simply because people added them to their cart when they were purchasing something I reviewed. See how it starts to add up to thousands of dollars per month now?


An ROI On A Non-Investment Purchase I Never Could Have Imagined

It had never occurred to me before this experience, that I could make money consistently on the things I buy. This opened that door, and taught me to think about purchases in a different way in relation to running a lifestyle blog (in hindsight of course!). Not to mention, the tax benefits that I would later find out about in the coming years.

So I never anticipated that I could actually MAKE MONEY, simply by leveraging the things I buy in my daily life. This is where part of that concept came from that I talk about in the blogging tutorials, and specifically, how you can build a blog that pays you $50k a year.


So How Much Money Did I Make On This One Item?
I’ve Made Over $800 Dollars In Profit (on a $200 bike)

Every month after I reviewed the bike, I would make a handful of sales like clock work. At the time, I was in the lower commission tiers since I was new and wasn’t doing a lot of volume with my Amazon affiliate account. But over the next several months when my other stuff started kicking into high gear, I was making anywhere from $15 – $20 dollars every time someone bought one of those bikes.

And the cool thing about the Amazon Associates program, is they have a 24 hour cookie that will pay you on anything in a customers cart. This means when they check out, if they have a $2,000 dollar refrigerator they have been waiting to buy, you get credit for that too as long as they buy it within the 24 hours from the time they clicked your link. (this comes at no extra costs to them either, the affiliate program fees come out of the merchant end, not the customer)

So over the next two months, sales started to pick up. I was selling (inadvertently) over 10 bikes a month, and began making my money back on the purchase of the bike in the first place. I had never considered that I could actually make my money back on things I buy, AND even end up making money long term on those purchases.


But Matt, You Got Lucky And This Turned Out To Be A Badass Bike
If It Were A Bad Product, This Wouldn’t Work Right?

Sure it helps being first to market on anything, and yes it definitely helps when the stuff you’re reviewing is actually good!  But of course it doesn’t always work out like that, especially when you buy stuff that sucks, like in the case of my negative review of the GoPro Hero4 Session.

I’m using this bad review to set an example here, because I think a lot of people are conditioned to look for why things won’t work for them, instead of how they could work in their favor. In the case of picking good products to review, I would simply focus on helping others make informed decisions, and you will naturally fall into something that hits if you stick with it.

Now you would think that it’s game over on a negative review, wouldn’t you? And while I won’t lie to you and say it’s just as profitable to have negative reviews as positive ones, they are still profitable. Now you’re probably thinking I’ve lost it for saying that, but you have to look at the big picture. One of the most important things for helping people, is advising them on what they SHOULD NOT buy! Seems counter-intuitive, but if you can save people time, money, frustration (from even having to deal with a bad product!!!), they are still happy.

In the case of the GoPro for example, the camera itself I do not recommend. But a lot of the accessories I bought for it, along with other similar gear IS good. And if you have personally had trouble with something, and can both steer someone away from a frustrating purchase, AND provide a suitable replacement, it’s a true WIN WIN. In the case of the GoPro, I haven’t gotten around to testing anything new yet, so I don’t have a good example of that for now.


The Key Takeaways You Can Use In Your Blogging Journey
To Making Your First $100 Dollars Online

You might be a bit bored by some of this by now, I’m not sure how some readers will perceive my story since everyone is at different levels. Some people have a good idea of what goes into running a blog, whereas others have never even heard of affiliate programs before or what they do. I try to keep this appealing for a wide variety of people, because I wish someone else would have written something like this when I was first thinking of starting a blog… it would have helped immensely. If there’s anything you wish I would have mentioned, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add it!


Taught Me To Review What I Already Buy Everyday

We as consumers, often think we’re some isolated tribe in the deep African forest or something. Meaning, that what we buy, and our interests for sourcing products that improve our lives is some unique phenomemnon unique to only us. Sure, it might feel like that at times, but on a grand scale, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

With 8 billion people on the planet, you can bet your ass that if you’ve thought of something, had trouble with something, loved a product, etc… that there’s 100k other people that feel exactly like you.

I never thought in a million years that so many other people would be looking for a decent cheap mountain bike… for whatever reason they had. But it turns out the need was way bigger than I could have predicted if I tried, and I simply stumbled into the opportunity by blogging and vlogging about my experience with my purchase. I would later find out, that if more people would do just that, they too would find success with their blogs.

In fact, there is an entire door opening opportunity with this I haven’t yet mentioned: free stuff. Because I put my neck out there and reviewed a bunch of items, and stuck with it even though it felt uncomfortable (and I even made an ass of myself in some instances), companies are now contacting me to see if they can send me products to review, simply because they want the promotion on my little ecosystem. With over 300k views on YouTube, and over 30k pageviews a month from the blog alone, this is an ever growing opportunity that I need to dedicate a single blog post to.


I Was On A Snowmobiling Trip When I Made My First Dollar Online From Blogging
(hello semi-passive income!!!)

I can’t tell you how excited I was to be in the loft of my grandmother’s cabin in Maine, when I happened to glance at my email while charging the GoPro on the computer. I had a couple notifications, and one was an email telling me I had made money while we were out riding the sleds!

It wasn’t much, but I was pumped. This was far from my first experience of making money while I slept online, but this was the first time I had made any money from lifestyle blogging specifically, in my entire life.

Sure, I’d imagine some of you are thinking, “$200 bucks a month isn’t much”, even if it is passive income. But you have to think, it starts to add up when you begin replicating the same process with other things. Before you know it, you’re making $1,000 dollars a month, and it’s mostly hands off after you did the work initially. Though I wouldn’t call it 100% passive income, it’s pretty much semi-passive income in my eyes. Sure, if you were to stop working on your blog altogether, sales would dwindle. But simply maintaining the status quo doesn’t take much work.

Note – this post was originally written in mid to late 2016, so if the figures or dates seem off, it’s because I didn’t get around to publishing this until 2017… and have updated it a time or two as well, which is reflected in the date at the top of the page.


How You Can Setup Your Own Blog In 20 Minutes

I actually removed this section, and added a separate page just for those of you who are looking to setup your own blog.

You can now find several tutorials here:


Where To Find The Same Affiliate Programs I Use
To Make Money From My Blog (for free)

There are a lot of bullshit drop-shipping companies and affiliate scams out there that charge you for access to their platform. That is a load of crap, so I put together a list of good paying and reliable affiliate programs I use personally to make my money blogging. You can sign up to any of these that fit your needs, and they’re all free.

The list is here.

Pro tip: everyone should start with Amazon. It’s the easiest to use, and has the most widely available inventory for almost any niche out there. It’s also one of the most widely accepted and trusted merchants online, which is helpful regarding conversion rates. (how many people actually buy something after looking around… all of which, you get credit for)


Coming Soon…

how to setup your youtube channel and write your blog posts to get google traffic
where to ask questions and get help (but NO HANDHOLDING!)
how I now I make 200 a day (and you can too)
If I had it to do over again, this is what I would do differently
faster, more more more content, quantity breeds quality, don’t worry about what anyone thinks, know that greatness comes with repetition

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Join the conversation on Matt's case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.

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