In 2016, I started a blog called Arts and Budgets to help people find the best and most lucrative side businesses for them. I have a background in the performing arts and wanted to help my community and other creative people earn more while pursuing their dreams.
The first year, I didn’t make any money, but I learned a lot. It was all valuable information that ultimately helped grow the business, and the following year I started systematically monetizing my blog. In July 2017, I turned my blog into a business by incorporating it into an LLC.
Today, Arts and Budgets has over 100,000 monthly readers and has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. I went from earning at most $450 a month in the beginning to currently making over $10,000 a month.
With this side hustle turned into a full-time business, I’ve created 10 streams of income, paid off $30,000 in debt, and can work from anywhere in the world.
Here are the steps I took to grow my business and develop multiple streams of income.
1. I developed offers to help my readers solve their biggest problems
Before I started monetizing Arts and Budgets, I surveyed my existing audience from my first year on the blog through my email provider, and polled my followers on my social media platforms to find out what they needed most ‘assistance.
Conducting this research helped me discover the topics that most interested my readers. There were two key areas that kept coming up in responses: “Finding the best and most profitable way to increase revenue” and “helping a blog turn into a successful business.”
This research was invaluable as it helped me narrow down the type of products and services I wanted to offer, in addition to my work on the blog.
From there, I created two passive income streams: my “Side Hustle To Freedom” e-book and my flagship course, Blog For Profit Academy, for new bloggers. I also created two other offerings, One-to-One Blog Coaching and One-to-one Hustle Coaching, to engage more personally with my audience.
Blog For Profit Academy sales and my e-book purchases have both been major contributors to my monthly revenue since their launch.
2. I gave myself clear goals and worked backwards
Once I narrowed down my niche and learned more about my target audience, I set clear goals with a timeline to help me stay organized.
For example, I defined my main overarching goals at the beginning of this year. Two of those goals were to grow my Instagram page to over 100,000 followers by the end of this year and hit $20,000 in sales with my Blog For Profit Academy course.
To date, I have achieved both goals using the SMART goals method. Smart is an acronym that stands for (S) Specific, (M) Measurable, (A) Achievable, (R) Relevant, and (T) Time-bound. Setting clear and attainable goals helped me stay on track and not get overwhelmed.
To help me set my monthly goals, I write down two to three trading goals for each day. As a mom of three little kids, maximizing every day is important to me, and writing down my daily goals helps me stay focused and achieve each goal.
My new business goal is to have at least 1,000 signups for my new Blog For Profit Masterclass starting in August.
3. I increased my passive income one step at a time
When I first started monetizing the blog, I researched many different ways to make money, and focused on building a passive income stream at a time, with the understanding that some would take longer work than others to become regular sources of income for me.
For example, I started with affiliate marketing and it took about three months to become a constant passive income. But once it worked, I applied to an advertising publishing company, Mediavine. It had a faster payback on the work I did, and once the ads were in place, I made passive income almost immediately.
Then, as my audience continued to grow, I started to focus on bigger projects that needed more time and attention, like the eBook and my course. But having all of these passive income streams has played a huge role in helping me reach my income goals each month.
4. I found the tools I need to create a cohesive schedule
Another critical step in turning my side hustle into a profitable business was creating a consistent schedule. As a busy mom, I started using tools like Hootsuite to help with consistency and tools like Trello to help with organization.
In a typical week, I’ll start my morning by setting three trading goals for the day. Since I have three little boys, my husband and I split the days in two. I have my time in the afternoon to work on Arts and Budgets tasks and conduct coaching calls and classes.
At the start of each week, I schedule my content on Pinterest, set up my posting schedule for Instagram and TikTok, and schedule my email newsletter for my followers. Using these simple tools in my business helps me stay focused and organized as my business grows each month.
5. I’ve built a team I can rely on to help my business reach its potential
As I grew my business, I noticed that I needed extra help to achieve all the goals I set for myself each month. So I decided to hire a copywriter for my team and a web designer to help with my site’s security and cleanup.
In June of this year, after arranging the fourth offer of my Blog For Profit Academy course, I realized that I would need to hire a virtual assistant to help me with the administrative and social media tasks of Arts and Budgets. So I recently hired two new virtual assistants to help me with the day-to-day tasks of Arts and Budgets and to help launch the Blog For Profit masterclass.
Becoming a full-time entrepreneur taught me the importance of asking for help. I think one of the biggest drivers of Arts and Budgets’ success has been finding people I trust who share my vision of what this business could be. Together, we are able to accomplish so much and help even more people pursue their hustle dreams.
Latasha Peterson is a wife, mother of three, side hustle coach, speaker, and founder of the Arts and Budgets blog. She created Arts and Budgets to help individuals find the best and most profitable side businesses for them. Her blog receives over 100,000 monthly visitors and has over 50,000 social media followers. She has been featured on Bankrate, Tailwind, LegalZoom, QuickBooks, Mediavine, Plutus Foundation, etc.
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