31 Days Blog to Biz / day 30 – Nester tells all

Once upon a time, one of the very first blogs I landed on was Nesting Place.

And I remember my land very well. I was immediately drawn to Nester’s decorating. Clean lines, beautiful things, but above all, she showed the messy side of life and claimed it didn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Meet the Nester

I was sold. Her blog became my major go to.  I loved her humorous take on delivery, how she delt with biz, features, held giveaway events, and her link parties were ALWAYS ALWAYS a major event.  I learned a whole lot from Nesting Place besides decorating.

Here we are today, 2 years later and Nester is still showing us the way. Not only is her blog a massive success, she’s able to earn a full time income while being home with her family, doing the very thing she loves to do… decorating.

But today, she’s going to do more than that. She’s going to talk about how she earns a living on her blog.

So I bring to you today, Nester from Nesting Place!

(insert wild applause here)

You were the first blog I ever came across. And you lured me right in, hook, line and sinker! What do you think your secret recipe is?

I think for most people, the secret recipe is being themselves.  So cliche, right?  But for me, that self is a dorky mom who loves beautiful things but doesn’t take herself too seriously.  When I started Nesting Place, I braced myself for being laughed off the internet, I was shocked that people not only didn’t laugh at my stuff {like window mistreatments} but actually made their own and emailed me the photos.

I still kind of can’t believe it even now, it amazes me that I’m not the only person who really thinks that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  Imperfectionists, UNITE!

master bedroom

How long were you blogging for before you discovered blogging could be your career?

I started Nesting Place in October 2007. I was blogging one year before I had any idea of stats, ads, or that people could really make money doing something as fun as blogging.  I went to the very first teeny tiny Blissdom conference in Nashville. I couldn’t have afforded to go if they hadn’t invited me to speak.  And there, I realized that not only were these women bringing in income, but Nesting Place was already built up enough where all I needed to do was implement advertising to start making some income.

I came home in shock.  My husband is in the car industry and at the time the bottom had just fallen out of the economy.  We had no idea how we were going to really get through the winter.  Two days after I came home, I stopped homeschooling and we enrolled our boys in school.  That was October 2008.  I asked my husband to give me to the end of the school year, if I could make it a business, I’d continue to devote precious time to blogging, if not, I wasn’t going to spend as much time at Nesting Place.  The Lord provided through Nesting Place that winter and both my husband and I are still shocked that people can bring in income from something like a ding a ling, dorky blog!

What avenues bring you income? 

I think it’s smart to diversify where your income comes from when you are a blogger.  To me, earning income from blogging is like the stock market~one day it’s great, the next day, it could crash.  There are a variety of ways I currently bring in income.

1. My Tassel Ebook

Two years ago I wrote an ebook about how to make decorative tassels.  It brought in a good chunk of income when it was launched and I still sell a few every month.  I forget to talk about it much and I don’t even have a button for it on my blog {bad blogger} but, every now and then I mention it and see a little rush in sales.  I’m a big believer in ebooks and the best thing is, you write it, and then it’s finished and you don’t have to think about it but, it can still make money for you.

2. My friend’s ebooks.

I’m an affiliate for a few ebooks but two in particular do really well for me.  Mandie from Altar’d had two ebooks about how to paint furniture and I also promote a slipcover ebook from Pink and Polka Dot.  I encouraged both of these brilliant women to write their books~I’m sure they would have done it without me, but, I like to think I had a little to do with it.  They are a great match for the Nesting Place audience because they are both books that I actually use and love.  I have furniture that I’ve had Mandie virtually hold my hand and coach me through painting, and I had The Slipcover Whisperer come to my house and teach 10 of us how to slipcover {using my own sofa of course!}.

3. Private ads

These are the ads near and dear to my heart.  They are the cottage industry and etsy shop ads on the sidebar.  I have a sweet spot for those shops and we’ve had a waiting list for the sidebar ads for months and months.  My goal with private ads is a win win win.  A win for the shop owner because lots of eyes will see their ad, a win for me because, yippie, it’s an advertiser, but mostly, I like it to be a win for the reader.  If I don’t feel like I’m doing the reader a favor by introducing a shop to them, then I don’t accept a shop as an advertiser.  I’m very open about how I price the ads and the information I give, feel free to use my page as a guide if you are just starting out accepting advertisers.

4. Corporate Sponsor

It’s no secret that DaySpring and Nesting Place have a sweet little relationship.  I started out as an affiliate with DaySpring–meaning, I get a direct percentage of the sales that are made from the ads/mentions/antics at Nesting Place.  After that did well for a few months, I contacted them and asked if they would consider buying ad space.  It’s worked well for both parties for a few years now because it’s such a good match with the Nesting Place community and it’s a company that really easy to get behind and believe in, plus, they make some really cute things so that doesn’t hurt either!

5. Third Party Ad Agency Things That I Don’t Know What To Call Them

Oftentimes an ad agency will contact me to see if I want to do a sponsored post or giveaway for a company.  90% of the time I say no.  But every now and then it’s something that’s a perfect match with Nesting Place and the community so then I say yes.  For example, twice last year I had a Pier 1 sponsored post and giveaway~that was through what I call a third party agency because I didn’t work directly with Pier 1 but the agency contacts bloggers.

6. Speaking at Conferences

Ok, so really you don’t make much money here for the amount of time it requires.  Sometimes you speak in exchange for your hotel and conference pass~so if it’s a conference you really want to attend, this can save you some money. I don’t love to speak so I don’t pursue it at all but, I think if you loved speaking, blogging is a natural “in” that could lead to some fun speaking engagements that could lead to bigger speaking engagements.

7. Ad Network

I’ve been with Haven Home Media {recently bought out by Reader’s Digest} for a year now.  I’m happy with them.  The ad network accounts for over half my monthly income which is nice, and scary.  I like HHM because their purchased ads are all home related–Lowes, Home Depot stuff like that.  They fill in unsold ad space with google ads so you always find yourself dreaming about the day when every ad space actually gets sold.

You wrote a successful ebook on your infamous tassels. What advice would you give someone wanting to do the same?

Ebook writing is so different than blog writing.  You have to be like, organized and junk to write an ebook.  I’m good at blogging because I don’t have to be organized for the long term.  I can write about the colour pink one day, and ramble on about sofa’s the next.  The tassel ebook was a breeze for me.  I wrote it in a week because it was all information I already had in my head.  Of course, the photos were half of the content so, currently the kinds of ebooks I would write can’t be made available to their full potential on black and white eReaders.

These days, when you talk about an ebook, people expect that they can download it to their nook and kindle.  When you are writing about something that has photos, you just need to be clear that it’s photo rich and and iPad and computer will show color photos but, we aren’t quite to the place where every eReader shows color photos.  In my opinion, that puts a little kink in the decor ebook potential.

That being said, I think every blogger should write an ebook.  It’s a good experience, it’s not that difficult and it’s nice to have another form of writing out there, whether you sell it or give it away.

Yet you appeared really pleased when your 2nd potential ebook landed on the floor inside a broken laptop. What happened?

 I just wasn’t that into it.

I like blogging.  I hate writing book type things.  And the photos were killing me.  It was using up too much of my brain power to stay on task.  So, once the ebook was lost I was thrilled!  And I figured out maybe I should try turning it into a blog instead.  So now I have a Window MisTreatment website where I feature lots of other peoples mistreatments – that’s more fun than me trying to create them anyway!

… just sayin’… (ahem)… moving along….

I read that you now have help with maintaining the blog. Does it feel weird to delegate something so personal?

At first it felt weird.  For like 2 seconds.  I waited way too long to ask for help.  Caroline has been a life saver.  She’s the ad manager for the private ads–and any ad request come through her.  She also does our quarterly giveaway day and is the editor for the Window MisTreatment and Nest Files blogs.  It feels great to have her on board and she’s someone I know in real life and would trust with my children.   She’s also is a dear friend which comes in handy because she knows me really well.

How do you parent, (homeschool still??), run a household and run 3 blogs all at the same time? 

I recently wrote about how I do the things I do. My secret~I do VERY few things. And, don’t forget, I really only run 1 blog–Caroline does the other ones–we have a system that involves private tumblr/twitter accounts and at the push of a button I can tell her the next post I want featured at the Mistreatment site or The Nest Files.

What would you want to say to a newbie desiring to make blogging part of their career?

Do what you love.  If you don’t love it, it’s not worth it.  When you love it, spending ungodly hours doing something doesn’t seem that bad.

Anything else?

This is the longest email in the history of the world.

 Yeah well… I wanted to ask you a lot more so you got off lucky, ok? ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

Thank-you Nester, for that amazing amazing interview!

No more excuses. We all have the answers now, don’t we?

And have your own stories ready for tomorrow because the link up will be live!

All 31 Day posts to date are HERE.
Please check the blog sidebar for the individual listings HERE.

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  1. Wow, I’ve only just found you and happy to be following. I’m your newest UK reader. Boy, you’re good, will take me about a month to catch up on your posts ๐Ÿ™‚
    Dianne
    YONKS

  2. I get this nervous feeling in my stomach when I read this….I will be “this” one day! I think it’s just going to take me longer because I don’t have the resources like most people. But, it’s not going to stop me! Her most valuable advice “Be yourself” and “Do it because you love it.” Sometimes I forget these and try to be someone else and I get frustrated and it leads me no where.

  3. I loved reading this! I had never come across her blog, but I will definately take a look. :)The common theme with all bloggers is doing what you love. Most all of us never get paid a dime, but continue to do it just because we love it and it’s fun. Great to see someone who does make a living out of something she loves to do.

  4. Fabulous interview. I love to hear about how the Nester does is all. She was one of the first blogs I cam across and inspired me to start mine – I am a renter as well, and her honesty about her life, finances and her home are inspiring.

    But that is what I love about BOTH of you, you keep it real – no pretending your life is this perfection – you share the gritty, the pain and the joys! Love that. Thanks for both of you being such an inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now I am starting to think about advertising, etc. this has been a true help!

  5. Hi Donna, I won the first Folk Magazine giveaway that you had. Because of all the delays and mix-ups I just received my first copy last Friday. I’m so happy to have it and wanted to thank you again for the great giveaway. Your article was so well written…I’m really anxious to see what you have going for Christmas! I’ve posted about the magazine and linked to your blog.
    Thank you some more,
    Angela

  6. Thanks for that great interview with The Nester. I’ve been contemplating writing an e-book and writing another blog so this post was especially helpful. Thanks!

  7. The Nester was one of the first blogs I found too! But that was only a year ago!! I’ve heard of your blog here and there but today was the first time I came over, I’ll be following from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I feel so fortunate to have come upon both of you at this point in my life. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom gained along the way. I love your creativity and style and am coming away from all of this much inspired. All the best to you both. Thank you Donna for this series.

  9. I LOVE this!!!! Typically I just add things until I โ€œfeelโ€ like it looks right and actually ends up looking fairly close to what it should look like according to this. But, a great layout to keep in mind, Iโ€™ll be sharing this too!

  10. Thank you for sharing this with us; her blog was one of the first I visited as well, you see; when I first entertained the thought of blogging, I intended to blog about my designs, home renos,photography, and art…it has turned into something a bit more eclectic. I was glad to see this, maybe I will add a bit more design and tips to my own blog.
    Jess

  11. Donna, I got to your site through Centsational Girl’s post on Growing Your Blog and through >>http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.ca/2012/01/making-money-blogging.html. Just wanted to say thank you for doing this informative post and I learned a lot from Nester’s comments. So strange to end up at your site a second time after I accidentally found it a few days ago and did some looking around. A very pleasant surprise to have found you this second time!

    Take care,
    Sandra from http://www.simpleispretty.com