Making money online... This is what y'all really care about right?! I will say it's not that simple. A lot of people start blogging for the sole hope of making money. I will tell you it's a part/full time job and you will be investing your time, and occasionally money, before you start making money.
As you know, I started my blog for fun and to update family, and then it turned into this where I share weekly posts about my life and motherhood. It takes a lot to write a post and you have to be willing to put in the work.
From my previous part of this series you already know how to make your Instagram stellar, which will really come in handy for this post. Your instagram has a lot to do with how successful your brand is if you choose it as your main other social media source. It's also super important for one of the programs I will be mentioning, because it is solely dependent on your Instagram. Now, how can you turn your amazing content into profit?
Sponsored posts are my secret. A sponsored post is where a company or brand will send you their product(s) and sometimes a monetary compensation as well in exchange for you writing a blog post about it. I am always transparent in when a post is sponsored, but a lot goes into it before your post even goes live. I have control in what companies I work with, and make sure it's always a genuine relationship. I never want to blog about something I don't support or agree with, or something that doesn't fit my blog's brand.
I work with three websites majorly that have been a huge contribution to my blog's income. I will break them down on how each of them work. I will not disclose how much I make because that's awkward to talk about, so don't make things weird.
Social Fabric may be my favorite because I've worked with them the most and they've allowed me to work with brands like John Frieda, Playtex Baby, Walmart, HP, Coca-Cola, and the list goes on. How it works is you sign up and enter all of your information about your blog and other social media channels.
Then, based on your niche and demographic there will be "shoppertunities" available that you apply for. I love this process because you are selling yourself to the brand and sharing your idea on how you would incorporate their product in a post. You fill out a few questions, sharing why you want to work with them and also a breakdown of your idea. (So if you are doing a recipe, you would list out the ingredients and steps.) You see how much you would get paid when you are applying which is great to get an upfront pay and it stay the same across the board. You can apply here: socialfabric.us and please put me as the referred by! Tips for being successful in this are to really have creative ideas. Think about what your blog demographic is and who your audience is. For example, I worked with Playtex baby for their bottles and worked in into a what's in my diaper bag post, while another blogger may have shared a DIY baby blanket and tied in the baby bottle. There is so much you can do, usually the brands will have a general outline and direction, but you can get pretty creative with it.
Linqia is a bit different because they come to you. You sign up on their website and fill out everything including your topics you have on your blog. Then, you will receive an email inviting you to different campaigns they think you'd be interested in and you say whether you're interested or not. If you are, it'll be evaluated again depending on if there's still openings and then you're accepted. Please note, it's not a consistent once a month email, it literally happens at random as they come. So don't feel discouraged if you go months without anything, but you can always reach out to them and see if there's any campaigns you could be considered for. In this blogging business sometimes you have to take the first step and reach out, there's nothing wrong with that!
From there, it will open up the campaign and you'll see its description, what needs to be included in the post, and also how many clicks you need. Yes, clicks. This sponsored post isn't guaranteed upfront money and you have to reach a certain number of clicks to get a certain number of money. The upside is, you get money for your clicks, even if it's under the target amount. Say you need 50, but only get 20; you will get paid for those 20 clicks to the link they provide you and are tracking. So even if you have a high number of blog page views, you need to have a good audience that will actually be clicking your links within your post. It sounds bad, but it's honestly a lot of fun and I've been able to work with brands like Hello Fresh. Sprouts, and ThredUp and had a great time making those posts. You can sign up here: Linqia
The good thing is if you exceed the number of clicks they set for you, they will generally bump up how many clicks you need for your next campaign, which means more money for you. Also, if you do a video (like I did for Hello Fresh and more recently Hill's Science Diet) they give you a flat fee on top of the potential pay.
Social Native is a more recent program I've signed up with and is quickly growing as my favorite! This one is for Instagram posts. I LOVE the opportunities they provide because you can literally work with anyone. One of my first posts was a promotion flyer for a movie where the image was provided, but since then they have all been where I take my own photo which I enjoy more because hello, themes are important!
With Social Native they email you campaigns, and tell you what the brand is looking for. So sometimes it will say what needs to be included, which hashtags and who to tag, what you can't say, etc. Pretty straight forward. They normally provide product or a budget to purchase the product, and then give you payment on top for posting. It's super easy to work with and I enjoy all the different opportunities there. I have worked with Vans, Rachel Ray's Nutrish, and Makeup Forever. This is a great opportunity for those that may not want to start a blog just yet, or if you are still working on it, and want to just get your feet wet. If you want to apply I can invite you, so shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and write your email so I can easily copy it to invite you.
This is why it's important to have a good Instagram, BUT you also need great social media channels across the board because Linqia and Social Fabric both require you to share it on all of them. So, if you don't already have an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest... Set them up now! ha ha They will help your overall social media reach, and I also recommend trying to have the same name across the board if you can. Unfortunately with a name like "The Strattons" it was taken on a few of the platforms, so my tip for you starting out is get your name on all of them now if you can. I am just not creative and couldn't think of a better blog name, but I still wouldn't change it even now.
There are a TON of programs out there, but these are my top three and what I can tell you the most about based on experience. I'm signed up with a few others that have been great but these are the most popular and successful for me. What you need to remember is, you need to have amazing content and really build up your blog/Instagram before you can expect to be chosen for these sponsored posts. Try to only mention brands and companies by name on occasion, because a lot of the times they will be competitors and you want to keep things as simple as possible if you plan on doing sponsored content for companies.
Also, keep in mind that sponsored posts are just one avenue to making money from your blog. Affiliate networks, ads, guest posts, and so many others are all ways you can bring in money but I have found most success with sponsored content based on how my audience responds.
Another great thing, is you aren't restricted to just working through a third party to get these sponsored posts. You can go out and hustle yourself by contacting companies you want to work with and having them send you a product and/or payment for talking about them on your blog or Instagram. If you would like to see a blog post all about how I reach out to brands, and have successful email conversations with them, please leave a comment below and I'd be happy to give examples! This blogging world is so fascinating even now to me, and I feel like the possibilities for success are limitless. I love sharing what I've learned with others because I feel like there is room for everyone! I wish I had someone giving me tips and not having to spend 1-2 years figuring it out on my own ha ha!
I hope this gives y'all a good idea if you are in the stage of monetizing your blog and or Instagram. I definitely don't recommend striving to have sponsored posts until you've built up an audience and your content. The brands do look at your blog to make sure you are a fit and you have to have some sort of establishment already for success. I'm not saying you need to have a million followers at the moment, but definitely have good blog content and an audience that is active in your posts. If you guys would like me to take a step back and do a post on building up your blog and Instagram please let me know and I can definitely do a run down on the basics!
Top c/o Shop Pink Blush. This is the perfect top for postpartum and if you are nursing! I've loved this brand for their maternity clothing, but they have great clothes for the everyday mama. You can shop this top by clicking here. Thank you for sponsoring today's post and for making the transition to motherhood a good one.
Growing up in a small town, I always imagined a certain kind of future for myself and my children. I pictured my kids growing up with their grandparents just minutes away, being able to attend grandparent days, school events, the works. Call me delusional, but I planned on staying in my hometown my entire life and never imagined a world where I'd live anywhere else.
That all changed when I met my husband who's in the military. Suddenly, I found myself states away, later to be pregnant, and alone. I no longer had my safety net (otherwise known as mom) and I felt scared. All of a sudden I was going to transition to becoming a mom, without the one person who had always been that role in my life. How could I become a mom without my mom?
My mom, thank the Lord, was able to be present for my baby's birth and stay that first week with me. There I learned from the woman herself how to take on this new title.. She taught me how to breastfeed and not give up, how to take care of her, and basically reaffirmed how lost I would be without her. (Don't let her know I said that, she would never let it go if she knew!) But most importantly, she taught me that I can do this. My mama, after all, raised me right: to be independent and keep faith.
Being a mom is the biggest blessing and she raised me to adapt in any situation and prevail. I may not physically have my mom here with me or the ability to drive a few minutes and have her help. But, I do know that I can call her at midnight for advice or just because I need to hear my mom's voice.
When you are growing up, you don't really appreciate your mom as much as you should. You don't see the behind the scenes stuff that goes into becoming a mother, until you become one yourself.
Becoming a mom is so scary, because now we all of a sudden have to live up to everything our moms are, and it's a lot of responsibility to take on that change; and to do it alone.
Moving away from my mom, was very hard on both of us. While I know my mom was heartbroken to lose her best friend (yes I consider myself that!) I know deep down she feels proud because she raised me and did a darn good job at it too. If you are a new or expecting mom, know that the feeling of being alone and scared is perfectly okay. Being so close to your mom makes leaving so much harder, but with that closeness comes comfort that she did her job. You built a strong relationship that even a few states between you couldn't take away. Now it's our turn to carry the torch because she prepared you for this and we will do the same for our children.
Don't fear motherhood because you are definitely not alone. This is a community and when they say it takes a village, they aren't kidding! Befriend other mothers and surround yourself with good people. Being away from your mom is hard, but it gives you the opportunity to be independent and grow in your new role as a mother.
I tell everyone that our dog is our first baby, and it's true! Pepper recently turned two years old and we've had her since she was a new puppy. She was our baby and the first addition to our little family. When I had our baby, I was so afraid of how Pepper would feel and react. I wanted to make sure that she still felt loved, had playtime, and most importantly had her needs met.
I recently discovered the beauty of online shopping and having fast deliveries and man has it been great! Hill'sScience Diet dog food is such a great option for your pup because not only does it have no preservatives, artificial flavoring, or coloring; but also their a part of Amazon's subscription service!
With my busier new schedule, I've tried to make it a priority that she still gets the love and attention she deserves. If you are a busy pet owner as well, this one's for you!
Introduce your dog to your baby on their terms, but with your leadership. When we first brought her home, we greeted Pepper and loved on her while keeping our baby in her car seat. We sat the seat down and let Pepper approach it slowly. She gets anxious easily, so we didn't want to overwhelm her. She took her time and sniffed everything out and took to her well. She keeps her distance because Pepper feels like this whole baby crying thing is not for her, but likes to come up and sniff her still.
The way to my dog's heart is food. Seriously, anytime she hears that food hitting her bowl she acts like she's never seen food before! Ha ha Because she loves food so much, I wanted to make sure she got the best of the best. Science Diet is awesome because there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Starting with a good dog food is key to not only keeping your pet happy, but keeping you happy too! This dog food supports a healthy immune system with a clinically proven blend of antioxidants with Vitamins C and E. This may seem like an irrelevant point but just as us humans need vitamins, so do our pups.
Playtime is so essential, especially now that they aren't your only area of focus. Pepper and I used to play all day everyday, but now with a baby that has a lot of needs, it's just not possible. So, I've learned to carve out time to play with Pepper. This doesn't always have to be strictly one on one time, and you can get creative. I put my baby in a carrier and head outside to throw the ball (her favorite activity) or her toys. Even though I can't go run around with her, she's still getting exercise and playtime.
Including your pet is a great way to keep them happy. I take my baby on walks with the stroller and bring Pepper along. It's good to get out of the house and she loves to explore, and sniff, everything! Keeping them included in tasks they are able to be a part of keeps them a part of the family and have that stimulation. When our baby is up in the middle of the night and needs a car ride around the block, Pepper is more than welcome to tag along and come with.
Now I'll get real with y'all, it is so hard to make sure all of her needs are met. I can't tell you how many times I've had to make late night store runs to get more dog food for her because I simply forget or don't have the time. If you have mom brain like I do, or are too busy to make those tripsAmazon Subscribe and Save is the answer. You can easily subscribe toScience Diet dog food and have it delivered automatically, however often and much you want. #gamechanger You set up the free regular delivery times AND you save up to 15% each time and more. This dog food is Vet's #1 choice to feed their own pets and easily my #1 for the great convenience of it being delivered to my door step!
Focus on your dog's behavior. If your dog seems sad, you may need to give them more attention. Watch out for aggression cues and try to be proactive. Some dogs are just naturally aggressive towards children, and others are born out of jealousy. Keeping your pup happy and well loved will hopefully curb envy, but never ignore a dog's cues to their attitude. Also, your dog may become depressed and not eat as much which could result in a trip to the Vet. Keeping a close eye on your pooch is never a bad idea, you know them better than anyone!
I know if Pepper could speak, she would agree 100% that spoiling your dog is beneficial! Take them to a trip to the store and buy a treat, give them that extra belly rub, and maybe even give in and let them lay on the couch (totally guilty!). Keeping your pet happy, especially as you are all adjusting to this new life, is definitely possible. Don't feel frustrated or stressed about keeping everyone alive. Your pet loves you and will adjust, too. I love that I have one less thing to worry about with knowing Science Diet is made with natural, high quality ingredients; and I just have to open my door to get it. If you are wanting to get it a go, it's 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Here is to a happy and healthy pup, fur parents can enjoy convenience without sacrificing quality time with family!
It has been nearly three weeks now that I've had my baby and it has been a whirlwind of emotions. While I am so blissfully in love with her and with being a mom, I have found myself pulling towards the opposite end of the spectrum. I know baby blues are very common, and I think my struggle with Breastfeeding has a lot to do with my feelings of inadequacy and anxiousness. After you have your baby, you just have such a rush of hormones where you find yourself feeling a certain way and have no control over it.
Dress c/o Shop Pink Blush (all opinions are my own, I picked out this adorable dress to review & obviously rock it in my wardrobe!)
Accepting your Postpartum body is a huge wave of emotions all tied into one look in the mirror. You are already a jumble of emotions and to mix in sleep deprivation, caring for a new baby, and then having to accept your new body; it can be overwhelming. I look down with pride at my stretch marks and think of the long hard journey it was for these markings to become part of my appearance. I prayed so hard for this baby and I would take any aftermath with humble gratitude. I know stretch marks tend to tear away at mothers' confidence thinking they look less beautiful and are now imperfect because of these markings. I know it's easier said than done to look at your stomach or thighs and think "oh man this is beautiful", but they are. Your body made room for a baby and stretched itself to its limits to accommodate them. How magnificent is it that our bodies can work in such a way that creates a life?
You may not lose all of the weight as quickly as you seemed to gain it, but that's okay. Your health and sanity greatly outweigh those few extra pounds that helped support your baby's journey on this earth.
I know I personally am having a time accepting my new body, I have always been small and it was a bit hard for me going through the pregnancy and seeing the numbers go up. Not because I expected to be one hundred pounds and still somehow grow a baby, but it was just hard psychologically to experience that change and accept it.
For me, I have been cautious of the psychological damage putting on my pre pregnancy clothes could do. I have been wearing a lot of my maternity clothes, but also relying a lot on more loose fitting clothes that I can be comfortable in. I know this may seem so simple, but avoiding your smaller clothes can make a world of a difference and it's one less thing for me to stress about and let's me focus my energy on my baby! I feel happier because not only am I getting dressed in the morning but I can focus more on being happy and accepting my new body.
As a new mom, I cherish the times that we are getting out of the house and I switch out of my nursing robes (I alternate between my two from Shop Pink Blush, they are so comfy!) and put on real clothes for the day ha ha! I love the fall time and it works perfectly that this is the season of layers and more loose fit clothing! Use the colder months to your advantage mamas!
I adore this dress from Shop Pink Blush and know I'll be styling it a lot during this fall season. This outfit was super comfy throughout our entire day. I pumped before we left and when we got back to his sister's house, so I know it's not the most nursing friendly look. I will have outfits soon that are though, so be on the look out! This dress is great for any woman honestly, I feel like it's so flattering and loose in the right places. I can't wait to dress it up and down this season, I have so many different ideas.
How would you style it?
Looking down at this little girl and having her snuggle up in my arms, makes the stretch marks and extra weight fade away. I made this and my body somehow carried an almost 9 pound baby which I think is a miracle in itself. You had a baby mama, don't feel in such a rush to go back to your pre baby body, your life is different now and that's a high expectation to put on yourself. You have a new life now, so look at all your stretchmarks, extra weight, and scars with pride that they all had a hand in making you a mom.
Breastfeeding was always my plan for my children. "Breast is Best" is always toted around and I couldn't fathom why moms would want to pay so much for formula when they have free milk already enstilled. I loved the idea of having that bond with my baby, giving her the valuable nutrients she needed, and I've heard from other moms how amazing it was.
Well, things didn't exactly go as planned.
Shortly after giving birth, we moved up to our room and I was helped by my nurse to have our first feeding. This was it, my time to finally have my mom moment. And, she couldn't latch right. I was in so much pain and I felt frustrated but I wasn't ready to throw in the towel. A lactation consultant came in several times and she was a saint. She showed me how to cup my breast, how Savvy was supposed to be angled, and also different positions to hold her in.
But still we just couldn't get it right. We discovered she had a shallow latch and at this point I was so raw and was bleeding a bit, it was not the special and magical moment I had envisioned.
At 3 am during my hospital stay, she was hungry. I followed each step how I was showed, and even then she was screaming and just hungry. I didn't know what to do. I was alone (husband was passed out on the couch bed ha ha) and sleep deprived. My angel of a nurse came in and tried helping, and ultimately she suggested she warm up some donor breast milk so she could eat. I lost it. I couldn't provide for my baby and I was the biggest failure of a mom. The ONE thing I thought would just happen and be a long with the postpartum process was stripped from me. I felt inadequate and like I failed her. We fed her donor milk the rest of the stay while I filled syringes and table spoons with colostrum.
When it was time to go home, I accepted that we would just formula feed her and I would continue pumping while my milk came in. In the very least, when my milk was to come she would be getting that so it wasn't all bad. But, still I felt like I had failed and looking back now this caused me a lot of postpartum stress and anxiety. I would cry at night as I held her and offered her bottles, and saw how intently she would guzzle them down and enter a milk coma. I was a pumping machine, literally. I wanted to give her the best and was pumping every two hours and now I have an oversupply stored away.
I wasn't ready to give up. I spoke to my mom about waiting too long and how she may not want to latch at all, so a few days later I decided it was now or never. I picked up my nipple shield, got situated with some support pillows, and was handed my baby. Immediately on the first attempt, she latched perfectly.
Now, don't think it was some fairytale ending from there. She still has a short latch and sometimes it feels like she is intentionally wanting them to rip off ha ha. I wince through the pain and continue to try again until it's comfortable. I believe those days of bottle feeding truly helped her with using the nipple shield so in a way I'm thankful for our struggle.
Sharing this bond together is the best blessing, because this is what I wanted. It's still pain and I have come to terms that I will never be like those super crunchy moms that can just nurse wherever they are, not having to look down to make sure baby latches right.
My point of this post is breastfeeding is hard and it doesn't always work out for every mom. You may get the latch perfectly from your first try, you may find you're a pumping goddess, or you may even find you're the best mom for keeping your baby fed and full with formula. Whatever you find works best for you and your baby, own it. We do all three still and when she's laying there with milk dribbling down her cheek after passing out, I know that she is getting exactly what she needs from parents that love her.
Find ways to bond and make each feeding special. Do skin to skin time, hold your baby close, and know that no matter what is in that bottle: you are providing for your little one.
Throw away the mom guilt and shame others, or you, may bring on. I suck at Breastfeeding but I know I'm giving it my all. It took a lot of self pep talk to return her to the boob. I lived in fear of that pain again and then I felt even more guilt for fearing every time she got hungry. What kind of monster mom was I to not look forward to my baby needing food? I felt stripped down and like I got cheated out of being a natural of a mom.
Now I look forward to feeding because whether it's from my breast or a bottle, that's are special time for me to sit there, hold her, and meet her needs. And mamas, that's all your baby is really going to care about in the end. Feeding your baby is what's most important and no mom should feel guilty for not feeding their babe a certain way. I had to learn to take myself out of it and not be so caught up on my wants for motherhood were, and focus more on what my baby's wants and needs are. Most importantly, having support around you is crucial. Below are some resources you can check out for some support locally, or virtually! I suck at breastfeeding, but I am feeling less and less guilty about it.
Find a lactation consultant near you.
Join a Breastfeeding group.
Join a Pumping group.
Join a Formula group.