In late 2007, Stephanie O’Dea was a mom to two girls, one of who was sick frequently. She had just quit her job to focus on her child’s health (later that child was diagnosed with Celiac disease). She and her husband had just moved back to high-cost-of-living San Francisco, and she was desperate to find a way to make an income from home.
She decided to ring in 2008 with a new blog, documenting her resolution to make at least one meal in her crock pot every day for 365 days. When she started, she had no idea the success that would follow—four appearances on The Rachael Ray Show, three appearances on Good Morning America, and several slow cooker cookbooks.
Now, O’Dea is branching out into a series of books for mommy bloggers. Real Moms Making Real Money Blogging at Home in Their Pajamas is the first book in that series.
For simplicity sake, O’Dea talks about mommy bloggers, but she quickly dispels the negative stereotypes. Not all mommy bloggers overshare on social media and post endless photos of their kids. Many choose to keep their kids anonymous and are still successful. Contrary to stereotypes, a mommy blogger can be very successful, often earning six figures.
O’Dea’s writing is humorous, so you’ll likely enjoy reading the story of her success. I laughed out loud at some sections. At the same time, she shares her story, which is the story of many moms—how to find a way to work from home so you can spend more time with your kids and still make a good living.
How It All Started
If there’s one important lesson from this book, it’s “Be willing to put yourself out there.” Success came quickly to O’Dea because she was willing to apply for and appear on The Rachael Ray Show.
Find Your Niche and Then Don’t Give Up
In this section, O’Dea offers advice to new bloggers such as finding a specific niche rather than writing about everything, don’t spend any money on a blog until you’re making money (love this advice!), and how to find topics to write about that will bring readers to your blog.
Case Study Laura Wittman
Laura Wittman runs the popular website, Org Junkie. O’Dea uses her as a case study to explain how to find a niche that will make people come to and revisit your blog.
Creating Your Voice, AKA: Your Personal Brand
When you start a blog and open social media accounts, you have decisions to make. What is your voice? What topics do you talk about? If you’re a super couponer, you probably shouldn’t argue about politics on your blog or social media, even though you may be passionate about the topic.
You also need to determine how much of your personal life you’ll share. Will you use your real name? Will you share photos of your kids? Will you use your kids’ real names?
How will you react to criticism? Will you delete negative comments, or will you invite them?
This valuable chapter includes information about using social media, creating a schedule, and maintaining your blog persona. O’Dea also talks about how important SEO is to bringing you new readers.
Is there any WAHM who doesn’t struggle with time management? O’Dea has written another book, Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life, which she refers to in this chapter. She urges moms to be flexible with their schedules. When O’Dea has pressing deadlines, she gets up at 4 a.m. to work or goes to bed at 8 p.m., wakes up from midnight to 4 a.m., and then goes back to sleep until 7 a.m.
Yes, But How Do You Actually Make Money
In this chapter, O’Dea offers traditional venues for making money like affiliate marketing, but she also mentions how to get on PR companies’ mailing lists and why it’s good to maintain a relationship with any PR firm that contacts you.
She also explains how she sets her rates based on the time she has available to work and how much she would like to make every year.
Remember the Golden Rule
In this chapter, O’Dea hits on ethics, which I haven’t seen covered in many books about making money by blogging.
That’s a Wrap
O’Dea invites readers to e-mail her for an opportunity to share their story in the Mommy Blogger Next Door series.
Should You Buy This Book?
Even if you’ve been blogging for quite some time, you will probably glean some new tips from this book. If you’re relatively new to blogging, this book will be very helpful.
I enjoyed this book and found some valuable information that I plan to implement for my own blog.