Are you looking to start making money with your blog?

Do you wish you could get to that first dollar of revenue but feel like it won't happen?

In this post, I will walk you through a process to help that money to start flowing.

Listen to This Episode

My First Blogging Dollar (or $3,000)

First Blogging Dollar
My First Blogging Dollar

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I started my blog in August of 2008.

In September of that year, I made $3000. It was an AMAZING experience.

No longer was it only an idea. It was a reality. I could do this.

How did I do it?

First off – this is NOT typical. The reason I was able to make that amount of money so fast was because I already had an audience.

I had spent the previous 8 months working my behind off to build up my reputation in a forum.

When I started my blog, the audience came quickly because of the work I had done beforehand.

It was an audience of people who were looking to make money using Freebie Websites.

I was teaching them how to do it and I figured out a problem they needed solving.

Most of them were sticking in the forums all day trying to get people. But they didn't have a site of their own.

My solution was simple – I would set up a site for them (from a template I made).

All they had to do was use my affiliate link to sign up for hosting. Each of those transactions made me $100.

And in my first month of promoting that offer, I got 30 people to say yes.

Why did this work so well? Here are Five reasons:

  • I had a targeted audience. These weren't random people looking to build a website. They were people interested in starting websites for their freebie trading businesses.
  • I found a need. I knew how much time they were spending going after people in forums. But I also knew that they didn't have their own sites to send them to. Their processes were inefficient and I could help them do a better job.
  • I provided an EASY solution. The key here is the word easy. They didn't have to do a lot of work. All they had to do was sign up for hosting and send me their info. Easy peasy.
  • There was a low barrier to entry. They didn't have to spend a ton of money to get in. Their cost was only $5/month.
  • I offered extra value. Not only were they getting what they signed up for (hosting), I sweetened the pie. I offered them a customized site at no extra cost.

All in all, it was a successful first campaign.

Why it's important to make your first dollar

In this world of online business, there are so many scams out there. I've lost money on scams before and it ain't pretty.

Getting to your first dollar is important because it:

  • Proves that it IS possible. Most people who try NEVER make a dollar on the internet. That's VERY discouraging. By making something, you move from the realm of possibility to certainty.
  • Validates your business idea. Is the solution you're hoping to provide something people are willing to pay you for? You never know for sure until you get people to actually pay. Getting to that first dollar is a great way to validate your idea.

Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to get to that first dollar quickly.

What you need

To make your first dollar with your blog, you will need three things:

  • A specific audience.
  • A specific (pressing) problem to solve.
  • A specific solution to sell to that specific audience to help them solve that specific problem.

Start with the specific audience

specific audience
Start with the specific audience

In trying to decide on a specific audience, answer the following three questions:

  • Who is he/she?
  • What are his/her goals?
  • What are his/her struggles?

Answering these three questions will help you in the next step. If you haven't narrowed down your niche and target audience yet, listen to this episode.

A specific problem to solve

Once you've identified your audience, you should have an idea of what problems they face.

For this activity, choose the most pressing problem to move forward on.

Ask yourself this question – Which problem are they most likely to spend money to solve?

Beyond that I want you to think about problems where the barrier to entry (of the solution) is low.

Finding a Specific Solution

specific solution specific problem
Offer a specific solution to a specific problem

Now that you've identified a specific problem, it's time to find a solution.

Since you're still new to this, start with an affiliate product. These are products where you refer people using a special link (affiliate link). If someone decides to buy, you get a commission.

Here are a few reasons why I recommend starting with an affiliate product:

  • You don't have to create it.
  • You don't have to provide the customer service/support.
  • You don't have to set up the sales process.
  • You can focus on one thing – making the sale.

This will be great practice for all the amazing things you will do in the future.

IMPORTANT: It's very important for you to choose a compelling product. Here's what I mean by compelling:

  • It solves a pain. This is not just any product. There should be a clear pain point that it provides a solution to.
  • You believe in it. This is important for the brand you're building. Don't promote something because it makes money. Promote it because you know it's an A+ product. This means you will have to do your research (if you haven't done so already).
  • It should be very shareable. Ask yourself this question – If I create content about this product, are people likely to share it?

Where to look

Affiliate marketing has come a long way. There are many companies that offer affiliate programs. Here's where I would recommend for you to look.

Consult your past experiences.

This is the best option for finding great options for products/services to promote. What have you used and gotten value from in the past?

When searching, it's great to try something that offers a decent commission. But it is not necessary.

If you don't know if a particular product has an affiliate program, here are two things you can do:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the website and look for a link that says “Affiliates”. If there isn't a link then…
website affiliate
Example website: Link to their affiliate program can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of their webpage.
  • Search the website for the word “Affiliates”. If there is no search bar (or you don't find it this way), then…
Example website: A search tool is used to find the word “Affiliate” on the webpage.
  • Do a Google search for “Product name + affiliate”.
Google search affiliate
Example of a product, GetResponse, with affiliate program searched using Google by typing “GetResponse + Affiliate”

I generally find that by doing these three things I can find the affiliate program. Or, I find out that there isn't any.


Amazon is a great place to look for products to promote because they sell everything (almost).

The affiliate commissions are pretty low (between 1 and 10% depending on the product sold).

But you make a commission on anything that person buys within 24 hours of clicking on your link.

So if you recommended that diaper and they buy a couch, you will be happy.

Another great option is that they pay a flat bounty for audiobook sign-ups. You can recommend a book, refer someone to get 2 FREE books and make $5 for each signup.

Check out Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates

Other places

There are other affiliate networks that you can check out that list all kinds of products. Here are a few:

Whatever you decide to promote, I recommend you try it out first. NEVER recommend something you haven't used yourself.

Create a Detailed Review of the Product/Service

Once you decided on an affiliate product/service to promote, it's time to create content.

Create a detailed review of the product
Create a detailed review of the product

Create a detailed review of this product. In doing so, I recommend you share your story.

How did you stumble onto the product/service? How did/do you use it? What were the benefits you experienced?

Then switch to focusing on them – what specific problem will it help them solve?

Your goal here is to give as much detail as possible to help them make an educated decision.

I also recommend including lots of pictures and even video (if you want to be ambitious).

Here are a few more tips to help you be successful:

Craft a compelling (non-boring) title

This is something you should spend some time on. You want to have an element of curiosity in there. But you also want to show that it's a solution to a specific problem.

Here are some example titles that would work well:

  • How we Saved Tones of Money on Movies Using Moviepass
  • How the Instant Made me an Instant Chef
  • How I fell in Love with a Boring Hosting Company
  • Five Products that Literally Transformed my Marriage
  • How Poo Pouri Transformed my Bathroom-going Experience

Spend some time to get this right. It will pay off in the future.

Use a compelling open graph image

When someone shares your post on social media, this is the image that will show up.

Select this image carefully. Remember – it's NOT about the product. It's about the transformation.

It's a good idea to use curiosity in the image. Pay attention to the images you click on. What do they have in common? How can you use those elements in the images you choose?

Get the word out there

Now that you have your awesome article written, it's time to get the word out there. Here are a few steps you can take.

Email your list

Get the word out there
Get the word out there

It doesn't matter how large or small your list is, use it. Send out an email letting them know about this amazing solution.

Don't tell them all about it in the email. Instead, let them know they can find out about it in your latest blog post. Then link to that post.

Share on social media

Social media can be powerful for helping you get the word out there. Here are some things you can do:

  • Go live. Yes, pull out your phone (or webcam) and do a live video talking about the post. Well, not about the post – about the solution. Then point to the post for people to find out more.
  • Pre-recorded video. Maybe you aren't comfortable going live. That's fine. Upload a prerecorded video and link to your post.
  • Create a story. Stories are becoming popular on more platforms these days. Take advantage of this cool feature.
  • Written story. I find that writing out a short story on Facebook tends to work well for getting people to engage.
  • Share the link. While this isn't as effective as it used to be, you can still get some clicks by sharing the link with a little bit of info.

Message people you know would be interested

This can be annoying. But if you do it right, it actually provides value.

Do you know people who would find value in the product/service? Send them a PERSONAL message. Let them know why you thought of them.

Note: this should NOT be a template email. It should be personal.

Also, feel free to ask them to share it with others who might be interested.

Other tips

Facebook engagement
Engage people in Facebook groups

Here are a few other things you might want to try:

  • Engage people in Facebook groups. While most groups won't allow you to post links to your blog, they are great for relationships. Find relevant groups, engage in the community and nurture relationships with key people. As these relationships develop, feel free to reach out to your new friends when you post (but not too often).
  • Drive targeted ads to that post. I hesitate to recommend this because I know that it's easy to waste money on ads. Especially if you don't know what you're doing. But if you get the targeting right, spending a few bucks can help you validate an idea quickly.

Time to celebrate your win

If you take the steps outlined here, you are on your way to your first dollar.

Once you make that first dollar, I want you to go all out and celebrate that win.

Do a happy dance (or whatever celebration looks like to you). Don't let that moment pass you by. It's the first of many.

Your turn

And now I turn it over to you. Once you've decided what product/service you will promote, let me know in the comments.

And if you need feedback, feel free to ask.

Resources Mentioned


First Dollar with Your Blog
Infographic: How to Make Your First Dollar with Your Blog

About the Author Leslie Samuel

Leslie Samuel a business coach for high-performing entrepreneurs. As the host of the Leslie Samuel Show, he teaches how to build an online business. "Changing the world one post at a time” is the mission he strives towards. As a former university professor, he has a passion for education. He's the founder of Interactive Biology, a blog and YouTube channel dedicated to making biology fun for students and teachers. As the head of training for the Social Media Marketing Society, he helps social media marketers get the training they need to stay on the leading edge of social media.

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