[This is a guest interview with Cate Rosales from SweetandSimpleLife.com on becoming a blogger, and she provides great pro blogging tips you MUST know to monetize your blog! I’m so stoked to conduct this guest interview with Cate because she’s a pro blogger that is highly respected in our blogging community, and I’ve had the honor of working with her on multiple occasions. So I can personally attest to the fact that she’s amazing and quite inspiring! Read the Q & A below to find out more!]
Becoming a Blogger: Pro Blogging Tips From Cate Rosales
GUEST INTERVIEW (answers to your Top 15 FAQ blogging questions!)
1. Can you tell us about yourself and your blog?
Of course! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Cate Rosales, the blogger and business strategist behind SweetandSimpleLife.com.
I’m married to an electrician and together, we have two small babes, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. I’m a work-at-home-mama that runs my own little blogging biz full-time.
My business is designed to help aspiring bloggers start, grow, and monetize their blogging business as quickly and easily as possible.
Fun facts: I love the beach, summertime, and street tacos!
[I love tacos and the beach too!]
2. What inspired you to start a blog?
Oh, so many things!
I’ve loved writing and storytelling since I was a little girl. I even wrote two full-length (unpublished) novels before I was fourteen years old. Writing is just a part of me, so it just made sense to pursue something I loved.
And my professional experience was always in business, I was a business major and then an online business manager for nearly a decade. I’m a huge lover of systems, processes, management, and analytics. So, running my own business just made sense too!
The idea of living life on my own terms and raising my own babies is truly what inspired me to dive into blogging though. Being able to drive down to the beach on a Tuesday, just because I can, and my “boss” is cool like that! I had a skill and a passion, I just needed that extra push to make it happen.
A few years back, my husband saw how frustrated I had become with my day job and my horrible boss, and he told me I should try doing something I loved…that settled it. We started brainstorming and planning…and we decided on a one-year trial of pursuing blogging as a business.
Needless to say, it worked out well!
[Wow, that’s so inspiring! I wish I could take that leap of faith. I love my job as a lawyer but it would be nice to be my own boss completely. I can’t believe you wrote novels when you were just a teenager – blogging is definitely your calling :)]
3. What do you love the most about blogging and what frustrates you?
I love helping people. When someone comments on my blog post and says they have been searching for this answer that no one else could give them, it’s the best feeling ever!
When someone tells me that I make everything so easy to understand, that is music to my ears. That is all I want to do: help people solve their problems, as quickly and easily as possible.
But like any job, there are hard parts!
I think the most frustrating part of blogging is dealing with the imposters, the people that steal your content or even just “imitate” your voice so that they don’t actually have to do the work themselves.
It’s bound to happen when all of your work is in digital form, easy to copy/paste and replicate, but it’s very frustrating to deal with. Especially when you put your heart and soul into everything you write…
Thankfully, the majority of the blogging community is tight-knit and supportive, and they’ve got your back when someone steals from you!
[Oh I couldn’t agree more! Unfortunately, I see a lot of copyright infringement and plagiarism in the blogging world and wish that wasn’t the case.]
4. As a professional blogger, how many hours per week do you blog? What does your typical day look like?
Every week looks a little different, depending on the projects I’m working on at that time. Now that I have a steady system in place, I tend to work about 25-30 hours each week. But if I’m creating and launching a new product, obviously I’ll work a lot more than that.
I actually wrote a blog post that details my typical daily schedule. It is one of my most popular posts too, so this must be a question on a lot of people’s minds! Here is the post.
[haha, yes it is! It was certainly on my mind. I definitely work around the clock, so now I know there’s hope for me in the future! 25-30 hours sounds like a dream :)]
5. I see that you have helped tons of bloggers with your Becoming a Blogger course, can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I have helped over 200 students start and monetize their blogs in less than a year. I created the course because I was getting so many questions from readers about how to do what I was doing.
It became so time-consuming trying to coach individual people, I couldn’t manage it on top of my workload. So, for the sake of efficiency, I created this comprehensive self-paced program for new bloggers and hobby bloggers that want to learn how to make money from their blogs.
The course is a detailed road map that shows you how to start a blog the right way, how to start making money from your blog, how to grow your social media channels, how to do email marketing, and how to turn your blog into a real business.
If you are not making money from your blog yet, then check out this course which has really simplified affiliate marketing for bloggers!
[I saw that! Your courses are truly very detailed and packed with tons of information to succeed as a newbie blogger quickly. I don’t know about others but when I started blogging, I wanted to see the results the next day lol. So I’m glad that I came across your courses, which are very comprehensive giving us all the tools to make money blogging!]
6. What else can a new blogger expect to learn from your Becoming a Blogger course?
A new blogger will complete this course with all of the important tools that they need for starting, growing, and monetizing their blog. I provide step-by-step guidance for each of the top revenue streams that bloggers use.
There are so many pieces to the blogging puzzle, it’s difficult to break it all down in a short summary like this one. But the course truly covers all aspects of starting a blog, boosting blog traffic, learning search engine optimization, making money, and everything in between.
[I really liked how you provide a list of sponsored and affiliate networks along with guest post opportunities – this was new for me because I’ve personally taken some blogging courses but they did not cover sponsored networks or guest post opportunities or even the promotional groups you talk about. So your course already gives a head start to new bloggers!]
7. There are so many blogging courses out there, so can you tell us what distinguishes your Becoming a Blogger course from the rest?
There are definitely a lot of good courses out there! I’ve taken many of them and I know what kind of value they contain.
My course is a bit different from my competitors though because my focus is on SIMPLIFYING the business side of blogging so that you can make money faster and easier. We don’t use any fluff or fancy stuff. It is all practical, easy-to-follow guidance to get you from “here to there” with the least amount of struggle.
I also include my own personal experiences every step of the way, along with the pros and cons for each major blogging income stream, so that you can make a truly educated decision about what to focus on.
Along with the course itself, I provide daily support to a large audience of bloggers in my professional blogging group, and all of my course students are invited to join the group and request help there as well.
8. In addition to your course, do you offer one-on-one blog coaching?
I do offer one-on-one coaching whenever I have the time!
I highly recommend taking the blogging course first, because honestly, it’s more affordable than 1:1 coaching, and it lays the foundation for my coaching to truly make a difference in your business strategy.
[I agree, taking the course is the best value – you get to learn the A to Z of blogging in depth at your own pace!]
9. A lot of entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that blogging is a quick-rich scheme, how long did it take you to make your first $1,000 from your blog?
Oh man, this is the first thing I tell my students, new group members, and blog readers: blogging is the furthest thing from a get-rich-quick scheme. You are essentially building your own business from the ground up, and it takes time, effort, and investment.
It took me about six months of hard, focused work to start making a steady $1,000 a month from my blog. And that was with nearly a decade of online business experience under my belt!
Of course, everyone has different circumstances.
I had a full-time job, a husband in the ICU, a one-year-old baby, and a surprise baby on the way when I started taking my blog seriously. I was determined to turn that hobby blog into a money-making business…so I did.
[This is so encouraging for all of us! Thank you for setting up realistic expectations, so bloggers don’t feel disappointed when they are not making money right away! It’s a process and as you said, you are building a business from the ground up and it takes time and lots of sleepless nights (at least in my case!)]
10. How long did it take you to make a full-time income from your blog?
It took me a little over a year of hard, focused work to walk away from my sucky day job and fully replace that income. But my husband’s car accident really lit a fire under me. We didn’t know if he was going to live or die, and the idea of not being able to feed my own children terrified me.
So, I had to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I was already bringing in some money from my blog, I just needed to bring in more. So, I worked a little harder, woke up a little earlier, invested in more education…and focused on business strategy.
Less scrolling, more creating. Less talking, more action. No excuses.
Walking away from my day job was the best feeling of my life. I’ve had ups and downs since then, of course. Blogging isn’t always a guaranteed paycheck, it takes hard work and consistent effort…but it’s been worth it!
[I love what you wrote, “less scrolling, more creating…” I can relate to that completely. I also loved how you said you “invested in more education,” this is the part most bloggers miss sometimes. They waste so many valuable hours scrolling and searching the internet for free information instead of taking a course or buying a book for instance. I’m all about investing in education – when you don’t know something, trust the professionals and treat time like money! I wouldn’t be making money today from my blog if I didn’t first invest in myself and spent almost $700 on a blogging course. But obviously it was well worth it! Your course is SO much more affordable!]Less scrolling, more creating. Less talking, more action. No excuses.
11. Based on your blogging experience, what are some of the best ways to monetize your blog?
You can’t go wrong with affiliate marketing, sponsored work, or creating your own product to sell. Ultimately, bloggers are promoting products, businesses, and services no matter what…so you have to get used to that.
But when you promote something you use and love, something that will truly help your readers, it’s a great feeling. And then when you create something of your own that will truly help your readers, there is just nothing better.
12. What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting traffic to your blog?
When it comes to social media, you have to learn how to SERVE your audience. New bloggers tend to get frustrated and discouraged that their traffic isn’t growing quickly, people are unfollowing on social media, etc.
You can’t focus on those things.
You must focus on optimizing your content and giving your target audience what they want. Choose 1-2 social media platforms and learn how to rock them. By “rock them” I mean: learn what your audience is looking for on that platform and give them more of that…Then use automation to help you cover the rest of your social platforms.
[You are so right! Numbers are not important – people recognize you by the value you bring or the problem you solve! Focusing on 1-2 social media platforms is definitely more beneficial than trying to be active everywhere – I made the mistake of trying to maintain a presence on all my social media’s but I quickly realized that was futile and not the best use of my time. Now I mainly focus on Facebook and Pinterest and sometimes Instagram because everyone seems to like photos.]
13. What are the top 3 things new bloggers should concentrate on first?
First: Find your online voice. Figure out who YOU are, what YOUR passion is, where YOUR expertise lies, and how you can use those things to serve your audience.
Second: Refine your message. Who are you writing for and how are you helping them? We should always be refining and improving our message and mission so that our ideal audience will know they belong here when they land on our blog.
Third: Learn how to master search engine optimization (SEO) and Pinterest. People can’t enjoy or benefit from your blog if no one ever sees it. It’s important to learn how to optimize your content, your social media accounts, and your online presence. This way, people can find YOU right when they need you.
[These are some excellent pro blogger tips!]
14. What are some of the mistakes you see new bloggers making?
I think we all make a lot of mistakes when we’re starting out, but if there are a few important ones that I could recommend learning from and avoiding, it would be these:
- Not setting your blog up the right way. New bloggers don’t always realize the importance of setting your blog up the right way. The way that allows you to optimize your content, grow into a real business, reach the right audience, and OWN your website.
If you aren’t set up on a self-hosted website, you run the risk of losing your hard work, and that sucks. Avoid that mistake and set up your blogging website on a self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
- Not covering your legal bases. I was guilty of this one when I was a new blogger. I thought I could just use free legal templates I found online to protect my blogging business, but unfortunately, those “free” templates are free for a reason.
They do not protect you legally and they put you in a position of risk. It’s just not worth it. Avoid that mistake and make sure that your blogging website is legally protected. The easiest way to protect your blog is to use this Legal Bundle that contains your (3) essential legal pages, drafted by a real lawyer, and ready to use on your website.
- Focusing too much on numbers. It is a huge mistake to focus on numbers when you are a new blogger. I know it’s our tendency because we just want to grow and start making money! But focusing solely on numbers is distracting you from more important things, like creating quality content for your target readers.
Every moment that you obsess about page views and followers, you are neglecting the bigger, more important picture. To avoid this mistake, don’t check your stats more than once a week. And don’t dwell on those numbers for too long. Focus on the important things, and the numbers will grow naturally.
[These are great tips, Cate! I see so many new bloggers making these mistakes, especially not setting up their blog correctly. I think that’s because they didn’t take your course yet 🙂 otherwise they would know better! Another mistake new bloggers make is not protecting their online business legally with the lawyer drafted legal pages. They are so quick to obtain the free legal templates while not realizing how deficient and unreliable these free templates are subjecting them to all kinds of legal liability.]
15. Any other blogging or business-related tips that you would like to share?
Here’s something that I think we tend to neglect once we start focusing on making money from our blog: having fun!
We start to obsess over growing blog traffic, making money, finding clients and readers…and we forget why we started this thing to begin with. Most of us choose to start blogging because we enjoy writing, we enjoy storytelling, we want to be our own boss and live life on our own terms.
So, don’t forget why you started.
Find a way to make your blogging career fun! Collaborate with other bloggers, seek out fun sponsored work that you can look forward to, go to networking events and retreats, find local bloggers and go on coffee dates. Learn to laugh at the small stuff (and remember that it’s all small stuff).
Find JOY in your business.
[Very well said! So true. I started blogging because it was fun for me but I must admit, it quickly became a business and although I enjoy making money from blogging, I often find myself consumed in so many things that I forget to have fun these days. Great reminder for all of us to find joy in our business!]Find JOY in your business. #businesstips @sweetandsimplelife
Final Thoughts – Becoming a Blogger: Pro Blogging Tips From Cate Rosales
Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this guest interview with Cate as much as I did! Thank you, Cate for being so generous with your time to help fellow bloggers. These are truly pro blogger tips that will benefit all bloggers in their journey.
If you want more awesomeness then sign up for Cate’s Becoming a Blogger course here, which is so reasonably priced and offers tons of information that’s not available in other courses (trust me, I know because I’ve taken quite a few blogging courses!).
If you are serious about making money blogging then check out Cate’s Affiliate Marketing course here.
5 Other Helpful Blogging Courses for Beginners:
- Tracie’s Affiliate Marketing Roadmap
- Chelsea’s Affiliate Marketing Book
- Chelsea’s Be Your Own Blog Boss
- Create and Go’s Launch Your Blog Biz
- Savvy Couple’s Bloggers Secrets
About the Author:
Cate Rosales is the blogger and mama-of-two behind SweetandSimpleLife.com. She teaches aspiring bloggers how to start, grow, and monetize their blog, so they can be their own boss and live life on their own terms!