She wanted $60K/year from blogging. What she got was even *better.*

She wanted $60K/year from blogging. What she got was even *better.*

You already know you’re working too much.
How one blogger increased her income while cutting her time in half

That little “hobby blog” turned into Gol-dang-zilla the moment you decided to make money from it.

The posting.

The planning.

The social media free-for-all.

…and that’s why you need to see what happened to Leslie.

About 15 months ago, Leslie made some powerful changes on her blog, and it wasn’t a total makeover.

In fact, she changed just a few key things over just 8 weeks, and her income started to increase.

See if you can spot where that happened:

Make money blogging: Leslie's income

The interesting thing isn’t that Leslie’s income went up. There are lots of ways to make that happen. But usually if you want to double your income, you have to double your work time…or at least really ramp things up, right?

Well in this case, Leslie started blogging less.

As in, she went from blogging 40+ hours per week to only 20.

And in this post, you’ll learn the 6 things Leslie did in that 8-week period that took her from burned-out blogger to Smart CEO…with enough momentum that now?

Her business is practically growing itself.

But before you can see exactly what Leslie did (I promise, that’s coming!) you need to understand where Leslie was, in the BEFORE.

When Leslie came to me, she had already been blogging for 7 years. She had made a handful of small products ($5-8 each) and was selling them on Etsy. She had ads on her site. She was using affiliate links to promote products. But she had tried all the going advice out there and was stuck. Leslie said,

Success for me would be an income that averages $5K/month AFTER expenses. But I’ve been stuck in my income and my page views for months. I’d love to move forward with my numbers even if it’s for a short period of time.

I haven’t been meeting my goals and I don’t know why. I have followed all of the steps from blogging courses. I’ve improved my photography, written pithy paragraphs beneath my Pinterest posts, chosen likable fonts, etc. So, why didn’t I meet my goals?

Now, $1500/month is nothing to sneeze at. But the problem was, Leslie was blogging full time (and had been for years). She had maxed out at making less than $10/hour blogging, and she was stuck.

So how did Leslie start making more money blogging while cutting her time in half?

Let’s start with the most important thing:

1. She narrowed down and focused her topic…to one with *LOTS* of competition.

You’ve heard the advice “choose a niche” before, and so had Leslie. But on the surface, it doesn’t make sense, does it? You write about fewer things, and expect to get MORE popular?

Leslie had been writing about anything and everything she loved – gardening, sewing, gluten free living, the challenge of moving your parents to assisted living…and while she did have a faithful reader base that was willing to read whatever she wrote (because they loved HER), the fact was, her blog just wasn’t growing. It’s like it had reached a certain level and just hit a plateau.

(Maybe yours is the same?)

The reason it’s usually so scary to “niche down” is because for most bloggers, it’s just a guess – a wild shot in the dark – and ZOMG WHAT IF YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG THING??

But Leslie had been blogging for awhile, so she was able to employ some actual research methods to figure out where to focus her energy.

And when she did? BOOM.

Leslie said,

For so long I’ve felt like I was in a dark blogging room and couldn’t find the light switch. Occasionally, I’d get glimpses of light that would point me in a good-enough direction, but nothing has been as illuminating as this.”

Which was incredible, because she was expecting to hear about how much HARDER she’d have to work to ramp up her blog growth when in fact…

2. She started writing *LESS,* not more.

There’s a classic rule in economics, marketing, and business called the Pareto Principle, or the “80/20” rule. It says that 80 percent of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Applied to blogging, it looks like this:

  • Only 20% of the time you’re blogging leads to 80% of the results you’re getting…
  • Only 20% of the products you’re promoting/brands you’re working with/courses you’re creating lead to 80% of the money you’re making…
  • Only 20% of the posts you’re writing lead to 80% of your traffic (can I get a witness??)…

So once Leslie had learned how this principle applied to HER situation, she was confident that if she poured her energy into what – for her – was the 20% that was bringing all her results, she could blog LESS and get even greater results.

And take a look at what happened:

Make money blogging: Leslie's posting schedule

That means that for the last 6 months, while Leslie’s income has been climbing to over $5K/month? She has been posting less than once a week.

Did you get that? She wrote just 3 posts in February and made $6,751.91.

But it’s not just POSTING she was doing less of – even more miraculous,

3. She spent LESS time on social media.

Publish. Publish. Publish.

Promote. Promote. Promote.

Link. Share. SCREAMMMMM!!!!

That’s what all the “experts” tell you to do, right? Join that link swapping group. BE EVERYWHERE.

It’s like the fanatic standing on the corner, preaching at the top of his lungs to everyone within earshot. Do people hear him? Sure. Do they care about his message? …Usually, no.

The idea that the loudest blogger wins is B.S.

::cough cough::

In fact, while you’re out there promoting yourself, screaming for attention, some savvy, business-minded blogger is quietly racking up the converts. Not because she’s better than you, but because she gives them a reason to care (See #5 below).

When Leslie stopped broadcasting anything and everything, running on that hamster wheel of social promotion, she started giving her people a REASON to care, and her level of engagement went UP…while she invested less time than ever. Leslie says,

I loathe, despise, and detest having to spend any time on social media. I had been spending about 5-10 hours a week Pinning [on Pinterest] at recommended times and participating in Linky parties.

But now I’ve reduced it to (at the most) 1.5 hours per week – which includes using a pinning scheduler. I only post to Instagram or Facebook as it suits me. Traffic is up.

And since I’ve honed my audience, yes, my page views are up, but it also represents a much more engaged audience who are interested in what I have to say. A more engaged audience = higher RPM = higher paying ads. Bottom Line: I work half as much for twice the money.

But the real reason that worked is because…

4. She created automated systems for building her email list.

In my guide, “5 Things You Can Fix On Your Blog NEXT WEEK to Get More Subscribers,” I recommend ditching your social media buttons. (Read more about that here.)

Well, Leslie had already taken that Biz Mavens advice to heart three years ago and immediately started getting more email subscribers. (Woot!)

But while that did give Leslie a good boost, it wasn’t the “magic pill” she was hoping for. Because what she didn’t have was a system in place for capturing that fresh traffic – whether it’s coming in from Pinterest, Facebook, or somewhere else – and turning those people into subscribers.

So in a very intensive two-week period, Leslie focused on building a system for JUST on calling out to the right people visiting her blog, showing them why she was the blogger to follow, and holding their hand through the process of joining her inner circle. And then making sure they’d STAY subscribed once they were on board.

And her blog now does that automatically.

That means that for every new person that ever sees her site, FOREVER, they now have the greatest possible chance of putting in their email into her subscribe form and becoming loyal members of Leslie’s tribe. So any blog post Leslie writes (ever again!), she knows that when the RIGHT person sees it, they’ll subscribe.

Before that two-week period, she averaged 87 subscribers per week. After? 271 per week. And she was writing, promoting, and blogging LESS.

And not only is she getting more subscribers, she’s handing off the hard work of promotion to THEM…so she can spend more time doing things with a big payoff (like making mo-nay!) and letting her subscribers do the sharing.

But Leslie’s “subscriber engine” would be completely impossible if she hadn’t already done one thing well:

5. She focused on solidifying and expressing her unique brand.

…So she spent hundreds of dollars on a new logo, right?


…well then, what – a new website design, maybe?


With thousands of bloggers out there who blog about sewing (talk about competition!), Leslie knew she had to stand out. And it wasn’t through some flashy new design.

Instead, Leslie dug deep into the WHY.

…WHY her site was different from other people’s.

…WHY her perspective was different.

…WHY she was the person to teach what she teaches.

…WHY her readers should even care.

…WHY they should follow her instead of someone else.

…WHY they should “settle down” with ONE blogger, instead of bouncing right back to Pinterest and flirting with any and every blogger who has a pretty post.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Without changing a single design pixel on her site, Leslie got to the heart of her brand, and now that she can express that, new readers are sticking to her like Gorilla Glue.

But it’s not just knowing the WHYs – once she figured those out, it’s what she DID with them, like…

6. She sent 340 posts to the chopping block.

That’s right – unpublished. Deleted. Cut.

41% of what she had previously written on her site, gone.

Because Leslie realized that SO much of what she had previously written about just didn’t align with the brand she wanted to create…and therefore was a distraction. People were seeing certain only-relevant-for-a-week posts, and instantly leaving because – who cares?

But now that every single post is on-brand for her – and also evergreen – when people DO visit her site, they understand exactly what she’s about, and she’s converting visitors to subscribers like a BOSS.

It turns out that less actually *is* more.

So where do YOU go with all this?

A few tips to nudge you in the right direction:

First, YOU must understand your brand. If you don’t understand it, no one else will.

And second, take time AWAY from writing posts to get a bigger system ironed out. If you just keep churning out the content without a real strategy – without a plan in place – next year is going to look exactly like this one. And you’ll be a year older, a year tireder, but still staring at the same stats and the same dollars.

So stop what you’re doing. Do the research. Make tough decisions. And plow ahead so you can blog smarter and build a business that lasts.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging.

Once or twice a year, we open up doors for the Blog Smarter mentorship program, where you get the same step-by-step process Leslie used to multiply her income while slashing her blogging time in half. This program is for bloggers who want to grow their business, blog less, and live more. Inside, you’ll get everything you need to turn your blog into a powerful brand so you can quit the endless cycle of publish-promote-publish-promote and step up to being a CEO.

But fair warning: Seats sell out FAST (every single time the doors have opened, we’ve had to close doors early!). Join the waiting list here, and you’ll be the first to hear when enrollment opens.

Remember: blogging should make your life BETTER, not more insane. Here’s what another one of my students said:

Blog Smarter grad Carla“I was all over the place with my blogging – I was putting all my time into things that weren’t taking me anywhere financially. The Blog Smarter program gave me clarity and a specific path to make my blog a business, and I have the tools to get me there. This would have taken me three years to do on my own.” – Carla Sanchez-Anderson, Organic Life TV

Join the waiting list NOW


…and P.S. What do you think Leslie is doing with all the extra time she has on her hands now? She’s keeping that CEO cap on, using it to create her own higher-tier products and courses…so she’ll be helping MORE of her readers in a deeper way, and making even more money. Now that’s blogging smarter. 😉

P.P.S. Thanks to Leslie from the Seasoned Homemaker for graciously allowing me to publish her results. She’s doing amazing things.


Leave a Comment:

Jenilee says

What an incredible story! Go Leslie! Blogging less and making more. That’s awesome 🙂

Adam Waring says

This is incredible… and super inspiring.
I guess the trick is to do the research and make the tough decisions… trying to have a good idea of the exact person you’re writing for.

How do you do that research though? Is it seeing which posts/pages have the most views or is it by communicating with the currently engaged users? Currently 75% of my visitors never make it off my first page…

Leslie says

When I saw this post in my inbox, I saw the name “Leslie” and I thought it was a trick to get me to click. But of course, it was a REAL story by another blogger named Leslie, HA! Thank you for sharing her blogging journey with us. As a Blog Smarter alumni myself, I can say without hesitation that it is worth every penny and every minute spent doing the work to become a smart CEO.

I’ve had my best month so far financially and my subscriber list is growing every day. Thank you Jeni for being the rockstar coach that you are!

    Jeni Elliott says

    Thank you, Leslie! Good to see you again! *Please email me* and update me on what’s happening. I’d love to hear your story.

Diane says

Great advice! I’m still pretty new to blogging… and haven’t found what I want my niche to be yet.
My most popular post is my camper remodel. But that’s not something I can continually post. I don’t redo campers that often (though I would love to!)
So now I need to find my niche! It’s mostly home remodeling. But I’m tempted at moving more towards mommy blogger. I have 5 kids, so it would make sense.
Too many choices!

Diane says

Question though….
I see how these steps helped her get more subscribers and therefore more traffic I’m assuming. Did these convert to more sales on her products? Or was in in advertising on her website? How did it convert to more income?

    Jeni Elliott says

    She’s had a few months where she released another small product and saw a small rise in her income, but only by a few hundred dollars at a time. Her bigger income increases have come from affiliate revenue (because she has a more focused message and is really getting to know her readers, and when she recommends a product, they buy it), and her ad revenue. Again, more focused topic >> more specialized audience >> higher clicks on targeted (sewing-related) products.

Fouad says

Wow… This is awesome.

Lately, I’ve been doing something similar to Leslie’s. And I’m beginning to see positive results. I narrowed down my niche and the outcome is encouraging.

Congratulations Leslie!

April@LoveOurRealLife says

This sounds blissful!

Jennifer says

Ggggrrreeeaattt read! I often find myself lately staring at the screen, wondering ‘how far will this reach?’ I’ve been putting alot forth to getting out maybe three posts a week but maybe after reading this, I just need to chill and do what is best for me! Loved this article! Thank you! And cheers!

David Boozer says

Awesome! Great job Leslie… I am personally trying to finally settle down here myself and am hoping to pull from the Blog Smarter program what you have here… =)

Kenny says

That sounds great

Jennifer @ Enjoying Our Days says

This may be exactly what I need to do. I’ve been working really hard on my blog lately, but it’s starting to be “not fun!”

Samba Siva says

Congrats Leslie!

It isn’t easy to make money from a blog. I started a blog and what I have made is $0. This is really an insipring story. Now, I got some hope on making money from my blog.

Dantee Fluellen says

Well im looking to start a SaaS consulting business using hubspot software. Also teaching about Inbound marketing and sales

Yasar says

It’s incredible to know someone is making that too much amount by just blogging.
Thank you for sharing this inspirational blog post.

Franks millon says

Hyee Thank you for this info.
Interesting read, and a very important optimisation technique to consider.

Oliver says

Not much to say than: Wow, that’s insane!

MD Saban says

This was a great article and motivating, I also started blogging in class 11th means 1 years ago. And still, i can’t make more than 50$ per month.

Moumita Ghosh says


This story has motivated me. Everyday I am struggling to find out a path that help me to earn from blog. I will follow these advises and hope I will sure meet the success.


Moumita Ghosh

Yasar Ali says

thank you so much for this very informative case study.

Jenny says

When you go through and delete old posts that don’t align with your core vision, what happens? Do you have to do some re-directs or some other sort of backend work?

    Jeni B. says

    Sorry I missed this, Jenny! Yes, you’d do redirects *if* they were posts that were getting traffic. No need to jump through those hoops, though, if you were only getting a handful of page views per month on those articles. 😉

Rohit says

Wow,incredible , Thank you for this article its a motivation for us like beginner

etiuwa says

wow. i really needed to read this…most people say social media is the key,promote yourself more,post more content to keep your viewers interested, post content about trending stuff… and it all just leaves me more confused. thank you. you are God sent. i just started blogging and its just a hobby but i feel so pressured to turn it into a money making machine and have awesome traffic. every where u turn people are talking about how to make money blogging…it is taking the passion out of it for me cause i feel im slacking.

Abdullah prem says

That’s a smart strategy to make that much success. All bloggers could make heavy income if they could work on a regular basis based on their plan and strategy.
Thanks for the case study.

Stephanie Fulgencio says

Jeni, you are awesome! I am just working on starting my own website/blog after years of thinking about it but being totally intimidated by the process. You are going to be my mentor in getting started right and not overwhelming myself with all of the stuff that doesn’t matter. I’m a single working mom, so I don’t have TIME for any of that stuff anyway. Thank you for your valuable content! And once I get going I’ll be giving you props!

    Jeni B. says

    Thanks, Stephanie. 🙂 Cheering you on as you build your blog and business!

Mind Roaster says

Wow..Awesome strategy and motivation for beginners

Faisal Zamir says

Great analysis which is full of knowledge.

Subhashree says

Hello Jeni Elliott,
First of all, thank you for sharing such an awesome case study.
I also started following “80/20” principle.
Buiding Email list is the key from day 1. Just Awesome!
Thanks Again

Marisa says

Thanks for sharing these great tips and insights. They will surely help me out.

Yasar Ali says

Thanks a lot for this awesome blog post.

prashant says

Thank you it was a really nice story Now, I got some hope on making money from my blog. I will follow these advises and hope I will sure meet the success.

Jason says

I can feel the amount of hard work she spent all those days while reading this article. Great work by the way. 20/80 research is new for me. Thanks for that too.

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