As part of my series, looking at how to make money blogging, I am super excited to bring you another story, this time from Emma over at Tuppennysfireplace.
Yeh, yeh you’ve seen the reports of people making 5 and 6 figures and really killing it income wise. These are the questions you might have spinning around your head right now:
But how do you set up a blog in the first place?
How do you also set it up so it makes money?
How do you create a sustainable business with balance, so you can still spend quality time with your family and friends?
How do you organize your time?
This series really digs into the blog secrets of each money making bloggers way of doing things, how they organise themselves and what they have used as tools to produce their success.
Emma has been so kind to share her story and her blog secrets, so you can get some extra inspiration and actionable tips. Emma, is a member of the UK money bloggers and passionately believes in living frugally, in order to achieve your financial goals.
Her approach is really balanced with a ‘having enough for your needs’ approach and her website is full of tonnes of superb advice from someone who has achieved and realised her financial goals.
As you can imagine, her content is brilliantly useful and, as a result, she is achieving amazing traffic results for her blog. She also has a loyal following of frugalistas – I’m one them and I love receiving her emails every week!
Over to you Emma…
Would you tell us a bit about yourself and what role you have online?
I’m Emma (known as Tuppenny on my blog), I’m 50 and was a civil servant for 33 years. Wife to 1, Mum to 2 and Nanny to 3! I’ve worked hard at being frugal in order to retire early and gain my financial freedom. My blog Tuppennysfireplace is all about helping people save money and live a fabulously frugal life.
How long have you been blogging for?
I started blogging April 2018, which on different levels feels both a lifetime ago and just like yesterday. I’ve published over 100 posts which feels amazing! I’m so not technical so am really pleased that not only have I managed the technical side, I’ve kept going and continued to learn.
What was your inspiration to start a blog?
I think there were 3 things that inspired me to actually start a blog and keep it going.
- I knew I would need something to challenge me once I retired as I’ve always worked in a target orientated environment so I started looking around for the right challenge.
- I read a lot of personal finance blogs and the majority are written by men and they come from the perspective of earning a lot of money (£100k+) and they are heavily into the finite detail of investing. There didn’t seem to be many female bloggers who were talking financial freedom on a moderate income. I don’t go into investing details as I find it confusing and off putting.
- I thought it would be an easy, fun thing to do which I could do for a few hours a week – how wrong I was on so many levels!
Define your blogging mission in less than 10 words.
I believe you can achieve financial freedom through frugal living (did it in exactly 10!)
You thrive on giving people easy to achieve money saving ideas. What is the absolute best purchase you have ever made, aside from houses, that has saved you a fortune over time?
My absolute best purchase has got to be my hot drinks flask.
It cost me £10 and I’ve had it for more than 7 years now. I used it daily at work so I always had a cheap hot drink at my desk (I detest cold tea). My flask also travels everywhere with me. Just last week it went up Snowdon with me and has been to the Lake District many times, providing me with hot tea on a cold mountain top – perfect!
Why pay £2 for a tea bag when I can make my own? I reckon I’ve saved over £7,000 as a result of taking my flask everywhere with me.
Explain what FIRE is and why you are so passionate about this.
FIRE is Financial Independence Retire Early with an emphasis for me on the Financial Independence. Being financially independent gives you options, you can choose to work, work less or not at all. Having options is key to feeling financially secure and living your best life. For me FIRE doesn’t mean being super rich, it means having enough money for your needs. Because I love being frugal I don’t need loads of money. We live on approximately £20k a year (no mortgage) and are very comfortable on it.
What did your blogging journey look like at the beginning and how has it evolved?
I am terrible for researching to the n’th degree. So I spent every spare moment of 2 months (including many late nights) researching how to start a blog. I signed up to at least a dozen free blogging courses, many of which made blogging sound so easy. I thought I’d buy a theme, some hosting, write a few blog posts and hey presto I’d have hundreds of daily visitors.
Of course it wasn’t anything like that, as you know there is so much more to blogging than that. My journey started as one of innocence, hope and unrealistic expectation. Now I understand better the scale of blogging, I understand better that I cannot do it all.
As a blogger you have a never ending to-do list. You have to learn to focus on your priorities, what do you want to do and how do you want to move your blog forward?
What does your typical blogging day look like?
Unfortunately this is an area for improvement. I wish I had a typical day but I don’t, I lurch from one thing to another, something I need to get a better handle on. I am currently working on implementing 12 week goals and tactics based on the book The 12 Week Year
A blogger friend has had great success in using it to gain more focus on her blog work and I am hoping to replicate her success.
Be sure to save a pin for later!
If you had 2 pieces of advice for new or up and coming bloggers, what would it be?
Don’t try to do it all alone.
If you want to grow your blog into a side hustle bringing in an income then you need to invest in both yourself and the blog. Do your research and find the courses that will work for you. Remember most bloggers who recommend courses or products will be affiliates for them so their glowing review could be biased. Do more research than just reading what affiliated bloggers say. Facebook groups can be good for getting unbiased information.
Don’t aim for perfection when you first get started, or later.
When your blog first goes live you won’t have hoards of people reading it. Just get started and keep going. As you learn more you can improve existing content, site design etc. Aim for good enough.
You have been incredible successful at increasing your Pinterest presence. How did you achieve this?
I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. My early research told me Pinterest was great for sending traffic to new bloggers but ye gods it is a time suck and an emotional rollercoaster. I had never used or heard of Pinterest before so I knew I would need help if I was going to crack Pinterest.
Right at the beginning of my blogging journey I invested in an all encompassing course (including but not limited to Pinterest). The course took me through what Pinterest is and how people use it, making pins and using a scheduler (Tailwind). I also invested in a manual pinning strategy course. This really helped me develop my understanding of how Pinterest works, it’s quirks etc.
Using Tailwind has increased my Pinterest presence as I can schedule pins at the more popular times which for my blog is 12am – 3am (traffic from the US). In the ideal world (apparently) to be successful you need to pin at the times your potential readers are on line.
I am constantly trying to improve the design of my pins which is hard work as I am not creative, don’t have a mac or Photoshop or Illustrator. I use the free version of Canva. I take inspiration from the many different pin styles I see on Pinterest. A year ago my pins were ugly. Now, not so much. I am constantly trying to improve and test different styles.
Last but not least, you are a fabulous inspiration to new bloggers like myself.
From any of the products that you have developed, or anyone else’s you have used, which would you recommend to new bloggers?
I said before about not doing it all alone. I recommend taking as many free courses in the beginning as possible but what has made the most enormous difference to my blogging journey was becoming a member of Dare To Conquer (DTC)
It’s run by Scrivs (Paul Scrivens) and is a membership site which has both course, challenges, member webinars and a brilliant Slack community.
It’s not cheap but it is totally worth the price and then some. The Slack community of other members is fantastic (see my inspirations below) and I’ve learnt so much from other DTC’ers as well as from Scrivs.
The webinars are organised and run by other members sharing their knowledge, advice and instruction on subjects like Mailerlite, Elementor and Canva. All done to help other members, for free, how fabulous is that?
I joined because I knew I would need help on my blogging journey and justified the cost on the basis that I had no other hobbies that cost money – I’m still more frugal than my husband in that regard! As it is I made the cost back in blog income within 6 months.
If you are interested in DTC, check out all the free stuff that Scrivs offers first to see if his style resonates with you (very important). He offers 9 different free Bootcamps and 12 videos which will give you a headstart in getting your blog up and running. Take advantage of them all.
If you love them and his style then I totally recommend you invest in DTC if (and that’s a big if) you have the money spare and you have the time to commit to making your blog work and doing all the training and learning required. 2 hours a week won’t cut it.
Talking of inspiration, is there anyone out there that you truly admire? Explain why.
There are 2 bloggers I really admire.
Kristy over at Moneybliss.org is a member of DTC and has been blogging for a lot longer than me. She is so determined, organised and dedicated to making her blog work for her family. She introduced me to the 12 week year and has helped move my focus away from chasing pageviews and concentrating on what my readers need. She’s a great one for setting herself (and others) challenges, which of course I then have to achieve.
Mrs Five Senses Of Living is also a member of DTC and inspires me because she works a 7 night shift system, is the sole breadwinner and still finds time to blog. Her determination and ability to get things done when she’s sleep deprived is so inspiring.
Thanks for your valuable time today Emma and the host of blog secrets and tips that I will be taking on board from you, to action right now!
The pinning time tip is definitely one that I’m now trying – so thanks again Emma. If you have any questions or comments for Emma, please write them down in the comments section below!
Guys, you might want to check out the posts below for further information and tutorials on how to get started blogging.