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How I Got Started Blogging As A Business

by jenny sansouci on April 5, 2014

I get emails with this question almost every single day: “Can you tell me your story, how you got started?”

Admittedly, these emails usually go unanswered.

Not because I don’t want to get back to you. It’s just that for a blogger, I’m rarely actually at my computer. (I take certain things a little too literally).

So I figured it might be nice to write out a little play-by-play. I got super emo even thinking about writing this, because the journey has been long and insane and magical. And it’s just beginning, which blows my mind.

So here goes. This is the cliffs notes version of my journey to “where I am today.”

Let’s start in 2007. I moved to NYC to take a job in advertising sales at a food magazine. I partied. A LOT. Every night. In fact, the main reason I moved to NYC is because the bars were open til 5am. Other cities weren’t open late enough for me. I spent most of my time either partying until the sun came up, nursing my hangovers with adderall and cocaine, or trying to find ways to meet Pete Wentz. Ah, what a brilliant existence. πŸ™‚

My boss at the time thought I needed to clean up my act (shocker). He said to me, “instead of going out every night, why don’t you stay in and read a book? Or better yet, WRITE a book?” I laughed hysterically.

Every so often, he would tell me he wanted me to meet his friend Gabby Bernstein, who “used to party just like you…but now she’s into meditation and helping people and stuff.” I brushed it off repeatedly.

Until one day when things got…let’s just say…out of hand. I finally agreed to meet Gabby for dinner.

It was one of those moments where life swoops in and everything changes.Β Gabby quickly became my mentor. I cleaned up MAJORLY, and immediately.Β 

(I swear, this story is about blogging).

With my newfound cleaner lifestyle, staying in and writing didn’t seem so crazy anymore.

In December 2007, I started my first 2 blogs. They were both private, password-protected blogs. Nobody read them but me. The first one was called “The Sansarazzi Report” where I would write about my NYC celebrity sightings (productive, I know). That one I actually did send around to a few friends. The second one was called “Taking 2008 To The Extreme: My Adventures in Life.” There, I wrote my daily epiphanies about boys, sobriety, and vegan food. I wrote here under the name “Parvati,” because I had read this in the story of the goddess Parvati and loved it:

“If one is persistent and heroic enough, one will generate so much heat that the gods will be forced to grant his or her wish in order to save themselves and the world from being scorched.”

MY FIRST BLOGS:



HAHA! OK. Wow. Onward.

At the beginning of 2008, my resume got in the hands of someone at Everyday Health. (“Ooh, health!” I thought. “I love health now!”) I took a job there as an assistant on the online ad sales team. I was fairly unfamiliar with online business, but I was tech savvy and I learned the tricks of the trade pretty fast. Working there for 3 years, I learned everything about how web sites make money.

In 2008, while I was sitting at my desk at Everyday Health, I was doing research on how to do a 30-day raw food diet. That’s when I stumbled upon Steve Pavlina’s blog. This post, specifically, about how to make money from your blog. I must have read that post 500 times. There was one line that stood out to me more than any other:

“So while most people can’t make a living this way, I would say that most smart people can. Perhaps it’s true that 99 out of 100 people can’t make a decent living from blogging yet. But maybe you’re amongΒ the 1 in 100 who can.”

My whole body felt like it had been hit with an electric current. It was in that moment I KNEW I could do it. It was a visceral knowing. I would become a blogger.

I emailed my dad immediately. Here’s a screenshot of the exact email from 2008, titled “my new career.”

I like that I said I wanted to do something “cool” and “hip.” Ha! (I also don’t know why I said “my job is flexible.” I had a full time, 9-5 job. Ah, delusions).

That’s the first time I considered blogging as a business.

In 2008, I started my first public blog on WordPress.com.Β  This was my first post ever. On that blog, I wrote about things like fall out boy,Β  discovering kombucha, my pet peeves, how to choose coffee flavors, chicken nuggets, what it would be like if we had an emo president, and…”subway jumping.


So random!
ButI blogged because I LOVED it. I loved the self-expression that came with it. I blogged as if people were actually reading it. It was really fun. I probably had 5 readers – a handful of friends and family. I didn’t monetize it.

In 2009, I went to an Artist’s Way Workshop with Julia Cameron at the Omega Institute. It was there I realized that what excited me most was writing about health and wellness. I decided to make an entirely new blog, all about health and wellness, and I decided to begin monetizing it.

Most important thing Julia Cameron said to me at the workshop? “Be willing to be a beginner. Good things will happen.”

At that point, I saw how much money Everyday Health was making and I knew enough about online business to get started. I thought: if they can make MILLIONS of dollars a month with a health site…I can definitely figure out a way to pay my rent with mine.

In 2009, I launched my 2nd public blog. I bought a URL, set up my site on WordPress.org and hosted it on GoDaddy. It was called Recipe For Life.Β 

Note: I use Bluehost hosting now and I find it to be much faster.

My plan was for my blog to be primarily a healthy recipe site. I was madly inspired by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks.

I set it up myself. To figure out how, I used a neat trick called Googling. I spent hours upon hours upon hours watching YouTube videos and learning how to build a site.

I joined a couple of ad networks.I understood what those were based on my time at Everyday Health, and at that point I knew how to implement ad code in my sleep. I ran ads on my blog. My only marketing tactic was posting things on my personal facebook and twitter pages. I started making a few bucks a month. As the bloggers say, “enough to support my coffee habit.”

A few examples of ad networks I’ve used: FoodBuzz, Google Adsense, Gourmet Ads, Glam.

 

I blogged whenever I had free time, while I was still at my full time job.

I started getting free products in the mail to review. Every time I got one I wanted to cry with happiness and also self-doubt. I kinda felt like a fraud. Who was I to be writing about this stuff? (But really, who was I NOT TO BE? Ya know?)

Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way had inspired me so much, I wanted to hear her speak again. I Googled her. I found out she was speaking at an event for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in NYC. I brought my sister and my at-the-time boyfriend along with me — we all loved Julia Cameron. I had no idea what IIN was.

After Julia Cameron spoke, I checked out some info about IIN. I noticed that some of the leaders in nutrition that I was already obsessively researching were teachers in the program. I thought, “this school could probably make me a much more LEGIT health blogger. I enrolled. I learned a ton, met incredible people, and my eyes opened to a whole new entrepreneurial world.

I still wanted to be a blogger more than anything else, but after IIN I felt like I could be a health coach in my sleep. The IIN program taught me so much about how to run my own business.

In 2010, after graduating from IIN, I quit my full time job. I only had 1 health coaching client, and was making only a few dollars a month from the advertising on my blog…but I just knew in my heart that I could succeed. So I jumped.

I kept blogging and I built up a solid base of health coaching clients. In addition to the advertising on my site, I signed up for affiliate programs (Vitamix and Amazon Associates, for instance) and I started tweeting about products I liked. I only had a few Twitter followers at the time, but people bought things through my affiliate links. I started getting affiliate checks in the mail. Sometimes a few hundred bucks.

In 2011, IIN hosted a 60-day business building contest, and the prize was a spot at an exclusive conference in Costa Rica.

For the contest, I decided to create another blog. This time, my dream blog.

I journaled about it every day for weeks. I prayed and prayed for the perfect brand name. I plugged endless URL ideas into GoDaddy and nothing was available.

One day, I went for a run in McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — and the name “Healthy Crush” popped into my head out of nowhere.

I’ve never sprinted home so fast in my entire life.

The URL was available. That was it.

In April 2011, I launched Healthy Crush. I made this video to document the experience. (I just watched it again and cried). I hired a web designer to create the look and feel I wanted.

(Yes, I got to go to Costa Rica). πŸ™‚

Content-wise, Healthy Crush changes based on whatever is happening in my life. At first, it was mostly recipes. I spent every day going to the health food store, cooking, testing and photographing food. I even bought a special camera just for food photos, and photographed my food only at certain times of the day to get the perfect lighting. My live-in boyfriend at the time was my taste-tester (tough job). I spent my evenings researching SEO, blogging strategy, and whatever else I could find about online business. Healthy Crush began to flourish.

Then, said taste-tester boyfriend and I broke up, we moved out, and I became homeless (aka, I needed to get the F out of New York and I decided to be transient and not get another apartment for almost a year). No more cooking. No more photographing food. All I could focus on was my own healing, so I started requesting press passes to every yoga festival imaginable just so I’d have places to go. I started writing more about yoga and self helpy stuff. Healthy Crush evolved in a new way.

It continues to evolve. Now, instagram is a form of mini-blogging for me. I spend much more time posting there than I do writing on the blog, because for the past couple of years I’ve been out in the world doing stuff more than I’ve been at my computer working. Lifestyle design.

Today, Healthy Crush supports me. I no longer take coaching clients. In fact, some months, this ONE blog post ALONE pays my rent. (And I live in New York City. It ain’t cheap).

For reference, right now I get about 100,000 pageviews per month (I’m still a very small fry in the professional blogging world).

I’m still TOTALLY a work in progress. In fact, a lot of this stuff wasn’t “strategy,” but more just throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks. I’m the most unorganized person ever and I’ve just been winging it, for years. Every dollar I make surprises me. But I know my writing needs to come out, for some greater purpose I can’t explain, so I keep going.

So far, I’ve done everything myself, but after Pioneer Nation I’m gonna start hiring some peeps. Take it to the next level, yo!

Since launching Healthy Crush, I’ve played with various monetization strategies but the main ones I use now:

  • Ad networks (I currently use Healthy Ads and BlogAds)Β 
  • Direct advertising (once in awhile I’ll set up a direct advertising relationship with a brand)Β 
  • Amazon Associates
  • Affiliate programs (to see which ones I’m currently using, just take a look at my sidebar)
  • Next up: selling my own digital products

Here’s my new, upgraded logo.

 

Oh! I know some of you IIN grads want to know how I got started working with Dr. Frank Lipman, too. I work as a health coach for his patients at his office in Manhattan 1 day a week. Quite simply, how I got started with it — last year, a friend of mine who works for him was going on maternity leave. I covered for her for a few months and now I’m part of the team. It’s super fun and Dr. Lipman is a brilliant doctor.

So there you go! That’s the dilly with my blogging journey so far. Whew. I could talk about this for days, but that’s the short version. (You don’t have to love me. You don’t even have to like me. But you WILL respect me. You know why?) πŸ˜‰

Bottom line? Dreams come true if you nurture them. I’ll leave you with that quote again…the one I put in my first blog ever:

β€œIf one is persistent and heroic enough, one will generate so much heat that the gods will be forced to grant his or her wish in order to save themselves and the world from being scorched.”

Yes! So go conquer some stuff.

Got questions? I’ll answer them in the comments, rather than by personal email. That way, we can all learn. πŸ™‚



If you want a great resource about how to start a blog, check out this post.




Like Healthy Crush? Get the play-by-play. Follow me on Instagram. Instagram
Do you love health, nutrition and wellness? Check out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!

{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan April 5, 2014 at 11:34 am

You are amazing and this just rocked my life. I can’t wait to start implementing some of these strategies…I always think about this when I read your blog…and you answered all of the questions I was thinking. Thanks Jenny!!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 11:48 am

Yeah! Glad it’s already helping one person. It felt really important to me to write this. You rock, MM! So does your blog. πŸ™‚

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Hera April 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Amazing, and inspirational! Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on all your success!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Thanks, Hera!

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Megan Kober April 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Ha! This is too perfect. At the top of my Awesome Note list today is “look into health coaching programs”. I’m a dietitian and I’ve blogging for a minute. I want to offer services online but I really want to be great at it and not just say “I have this degree so listen to what I have to say”. Also I’m constantly researching how to start to make $ w my blog and this was such a great overview. I also love your story and can relate pretty closely with it. Thanks for sharing, Jenny!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Nice! Glad you found it helpful. Def look into IIN if you want a health coaching program, it’s legit!

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Megan Kober April 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I am – will let you know if I decide to go with it!

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Jasmine April 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm

This is probably one of the top 3 blogs you have ever written. It’s a timely post, as i just got hired to blog for a wellness clinic -acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy – as a health blogger (side gig). and you were my inspiration that got me started back in 2009. So…thank you!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Ah! Jasmine! You’ve been super inspirational to me along the way, too. You rock. Good luck with the new gig!!

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Stephanie Kirylych April 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Thank you so much for this post, Jenny! I really appreciate reading about your blog (and life!) journey and reminding myself that it is a JOURNEY. Consider me inspired!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

That’s how I felt writing this. Like oh, yeah, patience. And everything happens exactly how and when it’s supposed to. <3 Thanks for being part of the journey... xx

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Rachael@AnAvocadoADay April 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Perfect timing on this post Jenny! I just quit my job like, yesterday, to start a private practice! I’ve been blogging for a year as a creative outlet, but just like you, I know in my heart I can succeed. Actually, just the other week, I was in Atlanta and my mom and I drove by Horseshoe Bend. She asked about you and Lisa and when I told her what you were doing, she was like, “Well you need to email her and find out how she got started!” Synchronicity strikes again : )

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Sarah April 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Looooved it Jenny!! This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am too trying to make it in the online business world of health and wellness but things do get rough and demotivating. Seeing your story I definitely feel like everything.is still possible for me too. I love Holistic Health and Nutrition and after studying to become certifed to consult as a Holistic Nutrionist I know I have a lot to offer. just need to figure out a way to monetize as u brilliantly did yourself!! So thanks for sharing and the continued inspiration :))

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Ali April 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I’m grateful i get to experience parts of the journey in person! Love the video, you have some editing skills we’re going to have to put to good use. So glad you posted all this. #allthiscouldbeyours

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

LOVE YOU!!! Couldn’t live without your priceless wisdom. πŸ™‚ Ever, ever so much more to come from the two of us little creative rascals.

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Bev Childress April 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Great info. Thanks so much. There is so much info out there that it becomes overwhelming. Thanks for cutting through the clutter.

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Alejandra April 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Hi jenny, this post was so inspirational. Thank you so much for putting so much good energy into everything you write. I can feel it all, it is VERY uplifting. I am currently enrolled in IIN, and I am trying to set up my own website. One of the things I wanna create is an unique logo. I love yours and I just wanna know if you used a program yourself or hired someone to do it? Thank you so much!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Alejandra! For my first logo I hired a logo designer and my 2nd one (the new one) I used 99 Designs, which is AWESOME and I highly recommend it. It’s super fun and cheap.

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Mary April 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Thank you, Jenny, for putting your story out there for all of us. I am one of those people that reached out to you for information and I so greatly appreciate your post. Not only did I find the information I was looking for but, more importantly,I found the inspiration I needed as well. I appreciate your candor, your honesty, and your sense of humor and delight in the world. Keep doing what you’re doing; the world needs more of you!

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jenny sansouci April 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Hey Mary, awesome! Apologies again if I didn’t write back to your email. I’m so glad you found this helpful. Really appreciate you! πŸ™‚ xx

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Mireille April 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Thanks so much Jenny! Wow! I’ve been so in the dark. And one question – did you use blog carnival to get traffic?

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Hey, Mireille! No, I’ve never used a blog carnival.

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macha April 5, 2014 at 7:38 pm

love this Jenny!!!

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Thanks Mach!! xx

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Nikki b April 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm

This gave me chills. I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging but I lack techie skills so its been bumpy. But to read this inspires me so much. Blogs like yours help to create beauty in the world…which is my motivation for creating a blog. If ever there were such thing as a blogging mentor it should be you! Excited to hear more from you πŸ™‚

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Thanks, Nikki….warmed my heart. You should totally start blogging. It’s pretty easy to get started with a free blog with minimal setup on Wordpress. Good luck!! Thank you for reading + supporting. xx

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taehreh April 5, 2014 at 11:45 pm

I’ve been reading Steve’s site on and off for years. That article in particular I have read and reread many times as well. I’ve written on several blogs since I was a teenager (none of which ever had any readers except me and my friends, though I loved writing them.) One night last year I spontaneously decided to start blogging again on wordpress.com with no idea what I was going to write about. A year later and for whatever reason I found myself writing poetry (never thought I’d blog that!) I’m loving it. I don’t make a penny off of it, of course, but I have found a small community of people who I love sharing my work with.

Anyways, long winded comment but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing πŸ™‚ I found this post very inspiring and I hope one day I can turn my love of writing into my living as well. Peace πŸ™‚

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:21 pm

That’s awesome! Happy to meet a fellow Steve Pavlina reader. πŸ™‚ Poetry writing is a mad skill!! Keep it up. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the insights and support. xx

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James Peterson April 6, 2014 at 5:47 am

Thanks for sharing. This was inspiring.

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Thanks, Jimmy. πŸ™‚ Ah, our partying days go way back….

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Amber April 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hi Jenny;

Thanks so much for sharing all the back story on where you are now. I’ve been along for the ride for some of your growth and changes and I’be been plugging away on my own site as well.

It’s so great to see what others have been through and learn from one another and know it can be done !

thanks for showing it all.
Amber

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Hey, Amber –
Thanks for being along for the ride. Good luck with your own site! Keep sharing.
xx

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Hadley Gustin April 6, 2014 at 11:34 am

This is the best blog to date that you’ve written, Jenny! I was hanging on every word. What an inspiring story you have! I am so excited to see what you launch next and will definitely be taking some of your strategies from this blog to heart in the meantime. As always, thank you so much for sharing in your uniquely honest voice. πŸ™‚

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Thanks, Hadley! Really appreciate your support. xx

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Emily April 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

Such an inspiration, Jenny! So honest, humble and generous. Thank you for writing this.

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Thanks, Em! And thank you for being the brilliant web designer that helped this site come to life. xx

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Shannon April 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

You are the coolest. I love that you shared this, I felt like I was going back in time, I remember all the steps and hearing from you each time you took another one, being in awe of your courage and tenacity. Thanks for always inspiring, and like many have said, very timely for me πŸ™‚ Also, BTDubz.. I know what you MEAN saying you are super disorganized, because I know you, but people she is organized! Maybe just not in the traditional sense πŸ™‚ xoxo

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jenny sansouci April 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Awwww….Thanks, Shandog. Lucky to have had you by my side for the whole journey…and thensome. I mean, wowzers. Love you. xx

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Julie April 7, 2014 at 1:47 am

Awesome article Jenny! Thanks so much for writing your story, inspiration and insight! Huge help to me!! xx

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jenny sansouci April 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Thank you Julie!! Glad it helps. Conquer!

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Tina Milnes April 7, 2014 at 10:31 am

Love this! You are such an inspiration for living an authentic and totally rad life. Health, wellness, and fitness has been a passion of mine since… well, forever… But your blog truly was the catalyst for pushing me to follow own dreams and ultimately, enroll in IIN πŸ™‚ I am kinda computer illiterate (was I sick or something the day we learned about technology in school or what?) but am treading the waters and trying to learn about blogging, etc as means to hopefully make some passive income- so this insight is so helpful! Mucho thanks!

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jenny sansouci April 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Tina! Thank you so much for this comment. Means a lot to me. So excited for you to be part of the IIN family and following your passions…and remember, we all start somewhere, so take it one step at a time and you’ll eventually get the hang of it!! xxx

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Stephanie April 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm

What a great story and inspiration!! So happy you are on a healing path. I went to IIN and loved it! I want to blog and feel clueless how to even start! What are affiliate programs? You mentioned them and I am unfamiliar with that. Also how did you add advertisers to your blog? What’s your suggestions for doing research to learn more about blogging? I know google is killer but is there anything else. Thank you for the inspiration! I wish you massive success!!

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jenny sansouci April 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hi, Stephanie! Affiliate programs are when you sell someone else’s product and make a commission from it. For instance, if I put a link to a Vitamix blender on my blog and someone buys it, I will get a % of the sale. For research, checkout problogger.net. Very legit information there, I’ve spent hours on that site. πŸ™‚

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Stephanie April 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Thank you so much! I love what you are doing! I am going to be in NY for two weeks starting April 15. Any suggestions on vegan places to eat, theater to see or inspirational business opportunities. I am still trying to figure out what to do with all these ideas floating around in my head!

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jenny sansouci April 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Vegan spots: http://healthycrush.com/healthy-nyc-guide

Not sure about theater or biz opportunities, but good luck + have fun!

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Gretchen April 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Thank you Jenny for being you, each and every time I read one of your blogs I feel refreshed, full of energy and know that I can accomplish my dreams! You are so cool and fun and it comes across through everything you write!
I will definitely take what you shared to help me transform my website and begin my blogging adventure!
xo

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jenny sansouci April 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Gretchen, your comment totally made my day, probably because you called me cool and fun. Haha! Thank you. πŸ™‚ Good luck with your own blogging!

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christine April 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm

love the honesty! love the great tips! PS…I remember you when you first started it! LOL πŸ™‚

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jenny sansouci April 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Thanks, Christine! So awesome that you’ve been along for the ride since then.

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Cassandra April 8, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hey Jenny!

Amazing post! Very inspirational! I have been blogging for a while, have had some very successful TV appearances (which is more my element) but have really been struggling to up my pageviews! I blog 2-3 times a week and always social media blast it out.

Any ideas on how to boost viewership? πŸ™‚

Thanks!!

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jenny sansouci April 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Awesome, Cassandra, congrats. My traffic has grown pretty organically, but I would check problogger.net — Darren has some awesome blogging tips there regarding SEO, links, guest blogging, etc.

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Talia April 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Thanks SO much for this, Jenny! I’ve always admired your awesome blog and it’s so very refreshing to learn the behind-the-scenes of it. Such great inspiration as I embark on my own blogging journey πŸ™‚

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jenny sansouci April 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Thank you, Talia! Good luck with your own blogging! xx

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Kate April 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Wow, so good Jenny! I never even considered the idea of making money from my blog- what a game changer! Can you let us know some videos you recommend on youtube?

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jenny sansouci April 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Hi, Kate!
I usually just google exactly what I’m looking to do. For instance, “how to set up a blog on Wordpress” or “how to host a blog” or “basics of SEO” and just see what comes up. No specific recommendations. Google has been my best friend. πŸ™‚

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Kimberly April 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Thank you Thank you Thank you!! Feeling super grateful for you and your journey, wisdom, inspiration, and writing!! You’re story is very familiar to me and it’s so encouraging! Keep being amazing Jenny, can’t wait to see where life takes you!

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jenny sansouci April 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Thanks so much, Kimberly!

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Vivian Trinh April 9, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Hi Jenny!

I met you at Pioneer Nation and you emailed me your website link and how to contact IIN. I’m so thankful I met you! And your website is great! I enjoyed reading your bio πŸ™‚ Hope your online business and health coach business get better and better everyday!

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jenny sansouci April 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hi Vivian!! It was so fun to meet you in PDX. Good luck with everything you’re up to, and def keep in touch. πŸ™‚

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Ansley April 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Jenny!

Yours was the first blog I ever started following! In fact, I started following you in September of 2011 (yes, I went back and looked), right after you got started with Healthy Crush. Your blog helped open my eyes and get me through some hard times. I learned so much from you. I appreciated how energetic and real you were (and still are). I always said that if I came to NYC I would want to meet you! I remember when you were MIA for a little while and I emailed you to see if you were ok (WHAT!? sounds SO creepy), but you responded! Anyway, when I first started reading your blog I never thought I’d start my own, but that has changed! Thanks for the inspiration. Be on the look out for my blog!

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jenny sansouci April 10, 2014 at 10:39 pm

You are awesome, Ansley. And YES – I remember getting your email. I was so touched by it and so encouraged by it. Thank you. Really. I’m psyched for your blog! Please send it my way when you launch it. πŸ™‚ Sending hugs.

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Elena April 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm

This is incredibly inspiring and so direct, LOVE IT! Keep on radiating your light! xo

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jenny sansouci April 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Thanks, Elena! <3

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Ali April 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Hi Jenny,
Thank you so much for posting this! I’m currently enrolled at IIN and I want to get going on writing a blog but wasn’t sure where to start. I’ve seen you at the last few Gabby Bernstein events and I always want to talk to you but don’t want to sound like a creepy super fan. Anyway, thanks so much for posting this and for being someone who I can look up to!
Thanks!
Ali

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jenny sansouci April 14, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Ali – awesome that you’re at IIN! Just start wherever you are, you can refine the process along the way. If you have an urge to blog it means people need to hear whatever you have to share. πŸ™‚ Please come say hello at the next event. Not creepy at all. New friends rule. xx

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Simone April 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Thank you for sharing your journey Jenny. I appreciate reading this very much. Yes I was one of those IIN people who was like “how the heck is she making money from her blog that pays her rent”. So this was very helpful. I also loved the transformation that occurred in your life during this adventure that you continue to be on. Keep sharing your world with us. It’s very inspiring! I’ve always felt I had a barrier to writing, and this year I decided to just jump in and get started with my blog and mix it up with some video post because I am much better and comfortable with Public Speaking than I am with writing on a consistent basis. The lesson I got from this read today is, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be STARTED! πŸ™‚

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Simone April 14, 2014 at 6:16 pm

I forgot to add this to my last comment. I do have a question. You mentioned that your yoga post generates your rent basically? Can you dive a little more into how that post is able to do that for you? Also, would you ever consider doing an online blogging course teaching all that you’ve learned about Blogging For Money in a more structured step-by-step way to the IIN community? That sure would make a great partnership and pitch to the school as hundreds of students and graduates alike would probably be interested in paying for something like that. I know I would! πŸ™‚

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jenny sansouci April 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Hi Simone! Thanks for the kind words and good luck with getting started with your own blog. πŸ™‚ To clear it up a bit, that yoga mat post generates income through the Amazon Associates program (affiliate links for each yoga mat included in the post).

I have definitely considered doing a course like that for IIN students. I will keep you posted for sure when that happens!
xo

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Cynthia April 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Just wanted to say Thank you for sharing your journey! It’s so interesting and inspiring! Keep shinin sista!

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Thank you Cynthia!

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Emily April 30, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Hey Jenny! I stumbled upon your blog around a year ago, sent you a “how do I do what you’re doing” email and you set me up with someone at IIN. I’m now half way through! πŸ™‚ I appreciate your honesty and REALNESS more than anything. Your journey is so relatable and inspiring. I’m trying to get the courage to get my own story out there as well. That first step seems to be the most difficult. You said you were looking to hire on a few people..I’m curious to learn more!! xx

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Yay! Glad to hear you went through IIN. I still haven’t hired anyone yet (I have the “I can do it all myself” syndrome) but will reach out to you when I do it. πŸ™‚ Good luck!!

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Brittany May 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Thank you SO much for this Jenny this was great and super helpful. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now and have seen little progress and 0 monetization. I am looking further into this and am going to go blogs to the wall with this thing. I have a question for you though: who hosts your site now? Do you use Wordpress or Blogger? Which platform is better? My blog is self-help/improvement and I have recently started sharing style pictures of my outfits and health tips. I don’t have a product yet but I am working on a cookbook, book book, and potentially clothing line. What are your thoughts.

Thanks SO much!!

xx Brittany

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Hi Brittany! Sorry it took me so long to reply to this. I use Wordpress.org. I think it’s better than Blogger but honestly that’s just because most of the sites I respect and have been following for years use Wordpress. πŸ™‚ Your biz sounds cool! Good luck!

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Sheree Trask May 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Hi Jenny,

I was just introduced to your website/IG etc and I am so glad I was! I am a CHHC from IIN as well and am transitioning from the corporate world into full-time coaching…a push from the universe, if you will. I have been racking my brain trying to think of outlets to pay the bills while I build and I LOVE writing, so a light bulb went off while reading this. Question though, how do you become an affiliate with companies? Do you choose companies you personally like and contact them? Who do you talk to? I am learning the tech world (a self-proclaimed tech-tard) so forgive me for my ignorance there.

Congrats on your success. I look forward to continuing to read your blog and catch your pics on IG. Love what you’ve done. Keep on inspirin’, girl!

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Hi Sheree! Thanks for the kind words and congrats on being an IIN grad too. Yes, I often find products I like and they will have an “affiliate program” link on their site, or my good friends in the wellness industry who have programs I love will set up affiliate platforms for their programs and we will collaborate. Good luck!

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Clare May 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Ahhhh, Jenny- thank you for this! I’m just now finding it. I struggle with a similar feeling of: this story can’t be worth time, energy, etc., but it IS. Sharing this renews my sense of why I want to do what I’m up to these day. I’m also an IIN grad and a writer. Thank you for living the dream and making it accessible to others. πŸ™‚ XO!

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Awesome! Totally relate. Keep it up, though! Good luck. πŸ™‚

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Rachel May 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

So in love Jenny! I never knew you’re story and this is SO inspiring. Can’t wait for your digital products to come out πŸ™‚ xoxo

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Haha! I can’t wait either! Thanks, Rachel. πŸ™‚

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Timmie May 22, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Thank you for this! So inspiring. I know I’m going to be re-reading this many times!

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Yay! Thanks for reading.

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Kate Charlton May 27, 2014 at 11:56 pm

You are amazing for sharing all of that info, thank you soooo much… Total inspiration and more than helpful!! I that quote is just about the best thing Ive ever heard. Absolute legend!!!!!!

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm

The quote is so epic! Best of luck to you.

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Becky Frey June 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Jenny,

It’s truly inspiring to read about your journey. I really enjoy your blog and website. It always gives me great ideas for continuing on my own health journey. I’m doing the Whole 30 again and really doing great this time. I’m just working on overhauling and making every part of my lifestyle so much healthier than I have been in the past and your words really help with that. I used to write so much poetry and in a journal and I’ve gotten away from that for so long. This post reminded me to get back into my passions and what makes me feel good. I also purchased The Artist’s Way recently for more inspiration and writing vibes. Keep doing what you’re doing! You’re helping so many people! Next time I’m in NYC, I’d love to see you if you’re free! Even back in college I remember how you’d always have a smile to share and kind words for friends! You obviously haven’t changed in that area!!

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jenny sansouci November 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Becky! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Would love to catch up in person sometime. Keep up the amazing work my friend! The Artist’s Way is powerful. <3 xoxo

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sarah October 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm

You are an inspiration to us all! I REALLY want to start blogging, but don’t know where to start…this really helped open my eyes that dreams are possible. Thank you for sharing. much love

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Juanita November 23, 2014 at 12:08 am

Hi Jenny!
Your Blog re-inspired me to take my blogging to the next level-earning money! I was actually writing a blog of my own just now, when i decided to Google about soaking beans for a link I could post-I clicked on a pic and voila.. I ended up here on your site- reading about your amazing and inspiring story of how you started making money of blogging..(It was meant to be!)
I have a question: right now my blog is on wordpress.com; is Wordpress.org the preferred site/platform for setting up Google Adsense? ( I know wordpress has it’s own rules for ads).
Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚
Juanita Mary
‘Holistic Beauty Lifestyle’

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jenny sansouci December 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Hi Juanita, I don’t believe Wordpress.com allows you to run your own ads. Wordpress.org definitely gives you more freedom to design the site and have more control over the backend with ads and stuff, but it takes more work, so it depends what you’re looking to do. πŸ™‚

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Christy January 5, 2015 at 10:31 pm

This just rocked my world. You are amazing.

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jenny sansouci January 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm

YOU’RE amazing.

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JJ February 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Hey Jenny!

Thank you for sharing this. I know of you through the IIN community, as well as seeing the circlesd you run in and following all those cool kids too πŸ˜‰

Love where you are at and what you are doing. It makes the rest of us know it is all possible.

Congrats on the gig with D. Lipman. Every time I reach out they say they aren’t hiring, so well done!!

I really appreciate your honest and details regarding your journey thus far.

Keep on keepin on πŸ˜‰

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jenny sansouci March 1, 2015 at 11:14 am

Thanks so much for reading it!! Nice to meet you, keep up the great work and you’ll be led to the right places. πŸ™‚

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Alyson May 29, 2015 at 2:25 am

This is such a helpful post Jenny I’ve come back to it more than 10 times already, it’s just so good! πŸ™‚ I’d love any tips about how to grow your readership? I post once a week which I know is low but with a full time job this is what I’ve been able to sustain. I would just love a lively community of readers that love talking about green living just as much as I do. I comment on other blogs and have guest posted on two other blogs but nothing really seems to move the mark. Any tips would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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jenny sansouci July 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

Hey Alyson!
I would recommend posting every post on social media — twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, etc. And work on building your email list and then send your posts out by email. Holding contests or giveaways can be a great way to get more readers, too. πŸ™‚

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Sami pants June 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Omg you are a genius. When you start hiring I want to be on your payroll. I’m one of your biggest fans. You change lives. Also I think it’s hysterical you have kelis bossy YouTube video. Love you always you rock

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Noah October 12, 2015 at 10:14 am

I heard you on the IIN call with Joshua the other day, bookmarked your site and well here I am! First wanted to say thank you for sharing all your information. I’m a 2013 IIN grad, fellow health coach and aspiring health and wellness blogger. I began a blog in 2007 that chronicled the life of my daughter and have always found writing extremely fulfilling. In the instance of my daughter, writing was my refuge. It still is even though she is now my little angel. I linked the blog with this post if you (or anyone) wants to check it out.

Anywaaaay, I find everything you’re doing very inspiring and this information is exactly the what was looking for after the IIN call the other day. Isn’t it great how Joshua and the IIN family can get you PUMPED for what you’re doing!!??

Anyway just reading this brilliant article here and had a question.

You say:
“In 2009, I launched my 2nd public blog. I bought a URL, set up my site on WordPress.org and hosted it on GoDaddy. It was called Recipe For Life.

Note: I use now and I find it to be much faster.”

The “Note” part there seems to be missing the name of what you’re currently using. You use WHAT now and what is it much faster than? wp.org? GoDaddy? Both? I’m currently building a blog on wordpress.com and want make sure I’m optimizing my time!

Thanks look forward to reading your response and getting some clarity on that.

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jenny sansouci January 4, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Hi Noah! Weird – it shows up for me, but it says Bluehost Hosting. πŸ™‚ So cool that you listened to the IIN call! πŸ™‚ All the best luck with your blog!! I’m sure you will find it a really rewarding way to connect with people and share your passions.

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