How to Build a Six-Figure Blog with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

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Blogging for Beginners: Do you want to start a self-hosted blog but don't know where to begin? No problem. Let a successful blogger, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, show you how to create and grow a six figure blog in as little as 18 months.

This article “How to Build a Six-Figure Blog with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner” is going to show you how she moved from debt to earning a million dollars every year.

Today’s interview is unique and so dear to my heart. I say ‘dear’ because Earn Smart Online Class came to being because of this awesome lady that I’m about to introduce to you.

Her name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, founder of Making Sense of Cents and creator of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing ecourse.

Michelle is a sucessful blogger who earns $100,000+ every single month, which translates to $1 million (six-figures) yearly. Most of her income comes from affiliate marketing as she believes that this is the best way to monetize a blog. She explains this in more detail in her course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

That’s not the only achievement. Her course has helped over 2,000 bloggers (students) who are now earning $10,000+ per month.

Virginia’s Notes:  I’m just a few months in, so I haven’t reached this level yet but my blog is growing pretty fast. I love the results I’m seeing.

Without further ado, allow me to bring Michelle to the floor so she can share with you her blogging journey on how she started and grew her blog to six-figures. This is huge!!

Please, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I run the personal finance and lifestyle website Making Sense of Cents. I have three finance-related college degrees and I used to be a financial analyst before I became a business owner.

Around August of 2011, I started my website with the hopes of teaching people how to save money as well as journaling my personal finance journey after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I became extremely interested in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there. This is interesting and hilarious because before that same summer, I had no idea about what blogs were, that they could even make an income, or anything like that. It was all just a hobby.

I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was all just a hobby and an outlet I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger! I went full-time in October of 2013 and I haven’t looked back once. Blogging has completely changed my life for the better and it’s something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.

On my blog Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, the best ways to save money, achieving your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.


I understand you were in debt when you got started. How much did it cost you to create your blog and where did you get the funds from?

I started my blog for free on Blogger. Like I said above, I didn’t start it to make money, so I didn’t spend any money on it because I didn’t know that you even could spend money on a blog. I don’t recommend Blogger for any serious blogger.

Virginia’s Notes: Using free blogging platforms like blogger will cost you big time. Your readers won’t take you seriously, and advertisers won’t accept your application to join their affiliate programs. Remember, affiliate marketing is what Michelle uses to make six-figures.

Start a self-hosted WordPress blog for as little as $0.01 today.

Did you do everything by yourself or you got help from experts?

In the beginning, I did.

How many hours did you dedicate to creating your blog at the beginning? How about now? How much time do you spend on your blog?

My blog was a hobby and I enjoyed it, so I still spent a decent amount of time on it because I was having fun. I don’t remember the exact amount of time but somewhere between 10-30 hours a week is probably what I spent on it in the beginning.

Now, I spend around 10 hours a week on my blog. I outsource a lot of tasks but I still do 100% of the writing.

How long did it take you before you made real money (full-time income) from your blog?

You can find all of my blogging income reports here. Around two years after I started my blog, I left my financial analyst job to become a full-time blogger. It was hard because my day job was extremely stable (I could have worked there forever with an almost guaranteed paycheck), but I was not happy, so I made the decision to leave in order to blog full-time.

It’s the best decision I have ever made!

Which strategies did you use to grow your blog into a successful blog that it is now?

Being personable is what really helped me. I blog for me and for my readers, and money has never been my sole motivator. Yes, money is great, but I always try to have fun with blogging and that is what has helped me to differentiate from many other bloggers.

There are many ways to make money online like Amazon FBA, Freelance Writing, etc. Why did you choose blogging?

Because I just fell into it 🙂 Like I said, it was a hobby and grew from there.

Why do you think affiliate marketing is the best way to monetize a blog?

I’ve always been interested in affiliate marketing since I started blogging, but I never thought it was possible before. I always thought that you had to have a huge following and a ton of page views in order to be successful with affiliate marketing.

Well, one day I decided to give myself a goal of earning affiliate income, and I worked towards achieving that goal. I started by making a little bit each month, and then it just continued to grow month after month.  I now know that you don’t need a ton of page views or a huge following in order to make a great income through affiliate marketing.

Read:  58 Top Affiliate Programs for Bloggers + Content Creators

I love affiliate income because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it. With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.

Think about affiliate marketing in this way: If you already enjoy a product, why not get paid to promote it?

You don’t need a ton of page views or a huge following in order to make a great income through affiliate marketing.Click To Tweet

Do you think it’s possible to make money from a new blog that has less than 100k page views per month?

You do not need a 100,000 page views each month in order to be successful with affiliate marketing. I believe that anyone with an influencer platform can be successful with affiliate marketing, regardless of page views. It’s all about approaching your audience and affiliate marketing in the correct way so that you can do it effectively and efficiently. These are all things that I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course.

I know you have an ecourse (Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing), please tell us more about your ecourse like how much it costs, what it entails, and what aspiring bloggers can learn from it. 

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

My course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, is for you if:

  • You want to have a profitable blog.
  • You want to improve your blogging income even further.
  • You want to earn income while you sleep.
  • You want to write a blog post and earn money from it for years down the line, with minimal work needed.
  • You tried affiliate marketing but haven’t had any luck.
  • You want to spend more time with your loved ones and have a better work-life balance.
  • You love blogging and want to be able to grow your blog, build trust with your audience, and help more people!

In Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, and more!

The course is $197 and comes with tons of great bonuses, such as a private mastermind for those in the course.

Do you have any success stories or testimonials from students who have undertaken the course that you can share with us?

With my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course:

  • One blogger went from $87 a month in affiliate income before taking the course, to over $1,700 a month after!
  • One blogger received their first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course (and they were a brand new blogger too!).
  • Another blogger doubled their monthly affiliate income from $2,500 to $5,000.

As we come to a close, what advice would you give someone who wants to start a blog today?

Start one now! If you are thinking about starting a blog, then just start one. Blogging can be started fairly affordably and easily (there’s not a huge barrier to entry like in many other businesses). If you find that you don’t like it, at least you will have tried and you won’t live in regret 🙂

Ready? Click here to start a blog on WordPress and be one of my lucky readers who gets a discounted price of $0.01 the first month. You will pay 1 Cent to get web hosting at HostGator. That’s $10.94 off!

Thank you, Michelle, for this inspirational and uplifting interview.

There you have it folks. If you had doubts about making money from your blog, now you know that it’s possible and it can be done. You heard it from someone who was in debt but turned her life around through blogging. Don’t let anything stop you now. Get started today!

Not sure how to set up your blog? I created a free step-by-step tutorial that shows you exactly how to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog in 15 minutes or less!)

Resources That May Interest You


HostGatorI host all my websites on HostGator.  No downtime, great customer support! Every time I have a query they respond in good time.

Side Note:  Want to start your own blog? I created a free step-by-step tutorial that shows you exactly how to set up a self-hosted WordPress  blog in 15 minutes or less!)  You can start yours for just $3.95 per month (you only get this lower price through my special link  for a short period of time) with HostGator. In addition, you will get $100 credit for Google Adwords and a $100 Bing Ads so you can start getting the right website traffic to your new site. Avoid free services like Blogger or You can’t make money with a free service and your website can be shut down without warning.

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TailwindTailwind is similar to BoardBooster. It is a pin scheduling tool that automates your pinning on Pinterest and Instagram thus giving you massive website traffic. I also love the tribe feature that allows you to populate your content in all the tribes you have within Tailwind. You can get as high as 1 million people in a matter of days. Tailwind is a super tool when it comes to website traffic

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GrammarlyThis list will not be complete without mentioning Grammarly. This tool checks and eliminates grammatical errors from your content thus improving your writing. I have installed the Firefox extension. It captures errors even in my Facebook posts! Amazing!


ConvertKitConvertKit is the new kid on the block. Everyone is talking about it. I’ve created a new website and will be getting the 1-month FREE trial. They have great automation, you can create multiple opt-ins on your site, landing pages and it also allows you to tag subscribers.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Making Sense of Affiliate MarketingMichelle Schroeder earned six figures in her first year of blogging and she teaches other bloggers how to do the same. Ever since her name and her course has been on everyone’s lips. There are countless reviews about this course on the internet. If you haven’t enrolled yet, you are really missing out.

I enrolled for this course and I have to say that the information is priceless. One thing I love about the site is the Facebook Mastermind group where you get to share your posts, ask a question and interact with other bloggers who want to achieve the same results as you. Now, I have so many new ideas that I can implement to grow my blog and my income, as well.

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