In the midst of a recession is not the time when most people would decide to leave their day job to work from home, but Crystal Stemberger, author of the blog Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, is not most people.
A relative newcomer to the blogging scene—Crystal started BFS in February 2010—she has nonetheless been able to turn her interest in money from a hobby blog into a $10,000/month career that includes blogging, freelancing, and advertising management. (And yes, you read that number correctly).
I recently had a chance to interview Crystal to find out more about her blogging success:
Tell us what you do as an online advertising manager.
I act as the middleman between bloggers and advertisers, which actually ends up saving them both time. I answer emails, negotiate deals, and send bloggers the final offers. I also save the advertisers time since they can come to me for access to a variety of blogs all at once instead of emailing hundreds of people a day.
What gave you the idea to start the online advertising management business?
Kay Lynn from Bucksome Boomer saw a comment I left in the Yakezie forums about how fun negotiating was for me. She emailed me and asked if I’d like to negotiate for her too since she hated that part. She officially was my first client in April 2011. It dawned on me a couple of weeks later to reach out to others bloggers since Kay Lynn probably wasn’t the only one who would appreciate some help.
How quickly did your new career come together?
I started Budgeting in the Fun Stuff in February 2010, started Crystal-For-Hire in April 2011, and quit my day job in July 2011 once I started bringing in $3,000 a month consistently.
How much do you make per month?
I only have about 3 months of what seems to be “normal” data since that is when my business really took off (see my monthly income reports). Most recently in November 2011, I made about $1,000 from BFS, $1,500 from my other blogs, $300 from writing, and $8,000 from my ad business. This wasn’t as good as October but I would be supremely happy if that is my new “slow” month.
How are you handling your extra income?
I pay myself a biweekly salary out of what I make online and we currently use the rest to pay off the mortgage and invest for our future. It’s way easier not to go crazy if the money is already used elsewhere. Once the house is paid off next year, we will be going back to splitting up the extra between our emergency fund, our investments, our vacation account, and our fun money accounts.
Do you have any advice for individuals who interested in becoming entrepreneurs?
Start with something you love. No matter what the business, it will probably grow slowly. During that initial slow period, if you don’t enjoy it anyway, you will give up. I started a personal finance blog because I love talking about money. I loved it even during the first few months when I was lucky to have 3-5 readers a day.
Also, remember that if you’re thinking about tackling a business of your own (or any project really), make friends in the same niche. I couldn’t have ever gotten this far without my blogging buddies. They are fantastic since we can vent together, learn together, and they actually understand my online frustrations, which is hard for my offline friends and family to grasp.
You can find more information about Crystal’s blogging story at http://howimakemoneyblogging.com/.
The Bottom Line
One of the most impressive aspects of Crystal’s story is the fact that she is walking the walk, too. Most of us would probably be perfectly happy blowing at least one month’s worth her new salary on something frivolous.
Crystal, true to the personal finance savvy that prompted her to start BFS, is using the extra income to pay off her mortgage. And I’m sure that her willingness to plan for the future is an important part of her success.