How to Start a $100k Blog with $0 in Startup Capital: 7 Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Secrets

Categories : Marketing Secrets
The best credit cards for freelancers

Every founder knows (or should know) that having a quality blog is integral to a startup’s success. Not only is it an effective way to build your company’s brand among your audience, but it’s also essential to establish trust with your customers.

However, did you know that running a blog can be a lucrative business in and of itself? In this guest blog post, Andrew Wise from the Wise Startup Blog delves deep into the methods that other bloggers have employed to launch and manage highly profitable blogs — WITHOUT any capital.

There’s a reason you’re not a millionaire.

It’s simple: you don’t have the connections to raise the millions of dollars that are required for any startup.

Lucky for you, we’re going to show you how these bloggers are making (up to) a million dollars a year just by running a blog, and they were all bootstrapped with $0 of investors money.

In this article, you’ll see 7 entrepreneurs with the following stats:

  • An average earning of some $54,000 per month, depending on which months you select.
  • For a vast majority of the bloggers on this list, it took less than one or two years to reach the 100k/year mark, which is about $8,333 per month.
  • For some bloggers (such as Pinch of Yum), single posts and affiliate links were responsible for almost 100k year — all by themselves.

As a bonus, we put together a list of the top performing affiliate programs that 50 $100k bloggers are using every day.

Let’s take a look at some bloggers who were able to quit their job thanks to their full-time income from their blogs:

Pat Flynn —

Income earned:

As high as $170k/month, or over $1 million per year.

How long it took to reach the 100k/year mark:

Depending on how you’re measuring it? Two friggin’ months. After being laid off in 2008, Flynn was quick to get started, selling an eBook on his blog InTheLeed.

By the second month of recording, was well above the $100k/year pace from all of his passive income sources.

It’s important to note that Flynn had a range of advertising, affiliate, and digital product sales on more than just his blog, however.

His affiliate earnings alone were up to 13k per month by 2011. It’s apparent that even if you discount his external sales from other blogs, Flynn was able to make a lot of money simply from maintaining the SmartPassiveIncome blog. And because he has multiple ventures going, he was able to bring them all together into a simple monthly passive income number.

How he’s making his income:

In the early days, his income primarily came from eBook sales, affiliate marketing, and online advertising from a range of sources.

More recently, his affiliate sales have boomed to a ridiculous 94k/month. His Smart Income podcast alone makes some 10k/month in sponsorships.

Lindsay Ostrom —

Income earned:

At least $25k net income in a month, equating to some $300k per year.

How long it took to reach the 100k/mark:

It’s good to be one of the queens of food blogging. But Ostrom didn’t start out that way. She started at some $21 a month according to Authority Hacker. Granted, when she started out, the food photography niche was still in its infancy.

But her income reports show that she was earning that 100k income within one year — an impressive feat indeed.

How she’s making her income:

Thanks to Ostrom’s detailed notes, we can discern the chief sources of her income. Here’s a snapshot from her February report:

  • Sponsored Posts and Speaking: $12,000
  • AdThrive: $19779.99
  • BlueHost: $8,165

The BlueHost money comes from a blog post wherein Ostrom shows people how to set up a food blog easily like hers. Because she gets so much traffic from her post, “How to Start a Food Blog,” the following affiliate link…

…earns her passive income.

Like Pat Flynn, Ostrom isn’t relying on any one source of income for her monthly numbers — she knows the best places to find the income.

Ostrom is unique in that she lists her expenses as well. It’s not all profit. With her JustWorks/Support staff expenses at $13k/month or so, it’s apparent that it takes more than just a simple blog to keep her business going.

Abby Lawson — Just a Girl and Her Blog

Income earned:

Around $35,000/month as of late

How long it took to reach the 100k/mark:

The 100k per year barrier occurs when you earn about $8,333 per month, a mark Abby Lawson hit in January of 2015. That’s just under a year after starting up. Not too shabby.

How she’s making her income:

A lot of the sales come through “Framework,” an eBook and course which is about something the authors are intimately familiar with…building a blog.

A popular post “How to Start a Blog” also sends affiliate traffic to Bluehost, which is becoming a recurring theme amongst the top bloggers. After that, the income splits across a variety of sources like AdThrive and Amazon Associates sales.

Michelle Schroeder — Making Sense of Cents

Income Earned:

By March 2016, the blog was earning some 70k per month.

How long it took to reach the 100k mark:

Having started in 2012, Michelle was finally able to quit her job in October of 2013 with an income of some $11,000 per month.

How she’s making her income:

Her tutorial on starting a blog linked to a BlueHost affiliate link earning her some $40k of her monthly income — at least in March of 2016.

Like Pinch of Yum, the key factor here was creating exclusive content and an exclusive deal with Bluehost (with whom she negotiated) for an affiliate link.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of blogging money in blogging about blogging. Other income came from survey companies (some 7k) and MOTIF investing.

Like other bloggers, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner has a multitude of different income streams, which makes it apparent that she’s spent a lot of time optimizing her site for passive income.

Moms Make Money

Income Earned:

Some $4k to $20k per month, depending on when you’re looking.

How long it took to reach the 100k mark:

Moms Make Money hit the magic number of 100k/year back in 2014, within a year or two of starting her blog.

How she’s making her income:

The March income report shows that a big portion of their income comes from Share A Sale, which is an affiliate link provider. Have you noticed how many bloggers get a majority of their income from affiliate links?

In the case of Moms Make Money, Share A Sale was far and away the most important part of the monthly income, with other sources (like Adsense) in just triple or double digits.

Still, not a bad gig.

Melyssa Griffin

Income Earned:

$50 per month at the time of the most recent report (February).

Wait, that’s a typo.

$50k per month. Yeesh.

How long it took to reach the 100k mark:

The income reports don’t go far back enough to show Melyssa’s site in its income infancy.

But in her post “How I Made $12,000 Last Month”, Griffin explains how she got to the point where she is and makes recommendations for bloggers.

But she also notes that she had doubled her income over the previous year, which suggests that she finally hit the 100k mark at some point in late 2014 or early 2015.

How she’s making her income:

You can see it in the picture above: most of her money comes from webinars and List Surge. But even the monthly recurring revenue would be enough to gross her 100k a year all by itself.

In fact, even her affiliate income is a worthy income for many people, as is her passive income. Put it together and she has a monthly income rate of 50k, or about 600k per year. That’s some impressive blogging.

Matthew Woodward

Income Earned:

$22k per month at least measure, though some months have been higher.

A recent de-emphasis on consulting fees still allows him to make a lot of passive income.

How long it took to reach the 100k mark:

Matthew Woodward is an accomplished SEO and affiliate professional, so it’s no wonder that he’s been able to get his income that high. In fact, he’s been at it since 2012.

He first cracked the 100k/year month with a great January of 2013 (less than a year into it), but started consistently cracking it in late of 2013.

That’s an impressive start of earning some 100k/year within about one year of blogging.

How he’s making his income: Woodward used to split up his income by affiliate sales and consulting fees, but it looks like he’s recently cut down on the consulting fees and focused on the passive income. It now weighs 100% of his monthly gross.

You’ll notice that Woodward features “Exclusive deals” on his website. And like many other of the bloggers listed here, Woodward uses affiliate links to drive a big portion of his income — or, in this case, 100% of it.

That’s a running theme that all bloggers will want to pay attention to if they hope to achieve what the bloggers on this list have achieved: affiliate marketing pays.

But only if you have quality material that drives traffic to your blog and makes people want to take action.

want to become a super affiliate? Here is how.

This article was Originally published at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2020 Manoj Belbase