I’ll admit, this post is a little off-topic from the content you’re used to seeing on The Yellow Birdhouse. But I’m in the mood to spill the tea. All of it. Yes, I’ll show you my actual, real earnings from last year. In the hopes that you’ll find it either interesting or helpful! (No shame if you’re here simply out of curiosity!) Get ready for a deep dive into how I earn an income as a craft blogger!
This post contains affiliate links. Read more.
Let me begin with a BIG disclaimer. This post is not about how YOU can make money as a craft blogger. It’s simply a moment of transparency into how I personally make money doing this. If it inspires you to take a similar approach, then great! But I offer no guarantees or promises. My lane is crafting, not ‘teach others how to make money’. I generally try to stay in my lane.
So please don’t take this as an instructional post. Because my methods might not work for you. And I know there are other methods to earn as a craft blogger that I don’t use but they might suit you fine.
I just know that when I was starting out, I really could have used some of this information. All I was seeing back then was post after post of “I made $1000 my first month blogging!” and “I work one hour a day and make $12,000/month!” Ugh! Spare me.
I have no Idea if it’s true or not that some bloggers can earn that kind of money right out of the gate. But I do know it took me a couple of years to start earning a reliable income. And it was super discouraging to realize I was NOT going to be one of those bloggers who made thousands of dollars on day one. I could have used some real, truthful info on how this all works and a healthy dose of reasonable and realistic expectations.
This is also not a post about how I earn a bajillion dollars every month. Nope, I don’t. Sorry.
This is a post about how I am a regular mom, working regular hours, earning regular dollars, doing what I love.
My schedule is enormously flexible, which I value so much more than the number of dollars I earn. (I have the freedom to go to the beach today if I want to, and I probably will because the weather is gorgeous!)
My job as a mom has always come first, I started this gig so that I could have the flexibility to be home with my kiddos when they were small. As they’ve gotten older and go to school full-time, I’ve been able to increase my work hours and therefore my earning potential.
The folks who claim to earn squillions of dollars working only 4 hours a week are the exception, not the rule. But there’s still a place for us regular folks, the ones who struggle to show up consistently on social media, or for whom being ‘salesy’ is so uncomfortable. (Trust me, I couldn’t sell a life preserver to a drowning man.) You don’t have to be perfect or be skilled at EVERY aspect of running a business in order to be successful at it on your own terms!
I love my work, I really do! I’m currently living out my actual dream. Which is to contribute financially to my family, while doing crafty work I adore, with the flexibility to be available anytime to my children, family and friends.
What the Heck do I do for a Living?!
I suppose the first piece of the puzzle is explaining what my job actually consists of. Here’s what I spend my time doing, very broadly I am:
A Craft Blogger – I write everything you see on this website. Some posts are round-ups of other crafty people’s ideas. Some posts are my own ideas and designs. And some posts, like this one, are a little off-brand but valuable none the less. 🙂
A Product Seller – All the patterns you see listed on this website are also available in my Etsy shop. I also sell a few finished items, mainly initial ornaments during the Holiday season. I’m trying to phase out items I need to ship and design more digital patterns instead. But that’s a story for another day.
Local Wholesaler/Consignment – I sell some of my work in local shops either wholesale or on consignment. Mainly ornaments during the Holidays, but some other decor and accessories as well.
I also do all the things associated with the above three job descriptions. Social media management, email marketing, shipping, ordering supplies, customer support, graphic design etc etc etc.
And no, I don’t have any help. I’m a one-woman show.
I’m not exactly sure how many hours a week I work, but I think it averages out to full time, so 40ish hours. During the summer months I work less because I’m in mom-mode with my boys at home. September-December I work a ton of long hours prepping for the holiday season and then I scale way back in January in order to recover from holiday burn-out.
The bottom line is, my income is scalable. If I work more, I can earn more. But the ship doesn’t sink if a kid gets sick one week or we go visit family or something unexpected happens that requires my attention.
I’m gonna give you a snapshot of what 2022 looked like for me, then average it out into a monthly salary. Because the main thing to know about being crafty for a living is that income is not consistent on a monthly basis. June and July are slowwwwer than molasses. While October and November are extra booming. It’s seasonal stuff.
Here’s how my income breaks down:
In 2022, I made $38,320 cad which is about $28,250 usd.
(FYI, I live in Canada, I’m used to seeing all my numbers in Canadian dollars. But I know a lot of my readers are in the US so I roughly converted my earnings into USD based on today’s exchange rate.)
And look! I made a pie chart! This is my average monthly income for 2022.
While I couldn’t support my family’s current lifestyle SOLELY on my income, we also couldn’t have our current lifestyle WITHOUT my income. I make a valuable and necessary financial contribution to our family and that brings me a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction. 🙂
Here’s How it Works:
I design digital craft patterns and ready-to-ship items that I sell both in my Etsy shop and here on this website. There are costs associated with both like Etsy and Paypal fees.
It also takes a lot of hours to produce a single listing. There’s research and design development, testing the pattern, drawing the pattern and converting it to a printable PDF and layered SVG, taking all the photos and editing them, writing the tutorial instructions, uploading and re-sizing all the files, making graphics, creating the pattern listing on both Etsy and here. I’m not saying this to scare you about how many hours a single listing takes, but I also don’t want you to underestimate how much time goes into monetizing handmade items. It’s a lot of work, but I love doing it!
I also have relationships with some local shops who sell my finished products (not patterns) on consignment or wholesale. I could write a whole post on the topic. Maybe I will one day, but suffice it to say that there are pros and cons to EVERY method of selling handmade products.
Blog revenue might seem more mysterious so let me explain:
I work with a great ad company called Mediavine. All the ads you are currently seeing on my site, in the sidebar, at the bottom of the screen and as you scroll past blocks of text, are placed by Mediavine and are likely based on your personal search history.
I get paid based on the number of ad views I get. Meaning, you don’t need to click on an ad for me to get paid. You can just scroll on by, never look at the ad and I’ll still get paid.
I can customize what type of ads I’ll allow on my site (for example, I don’t allow any weight-loss type of advertising. barf.) but I don’t control the exact ads you’ll see. I can also customize how many ads I’ll allow and their placement. For example, I’d make more money if I allowed even more ads than you already see, or if I allowed pop-ups that prevent you from exiting the page. But since I know that would be super duper annoying, I opt out of that.
Ad revenue is based on 2 factors. The first is how much advertisers are willing to pay for ads (this fluctuates every day and depends heavily on the season), and the second is Pageviews aka the amount of traffic my site gets. To generate the ad revenue I shared above, I had a total of 1,087,400 pageviews in 2022, which is about 90,600 pageviews per month.
My ad revenue increases dramatically around the holidays because at those times, advertisers are willing to pay more per view. That, combined with increased blog traffic and Christmas ornament sales is why I make nearly half my yearly income from mid-October to mid-December. It’s a wild and crazy 8 weeks. 😛
I really like using ads as a source of income because it costs my readers absolutely nothing. You can make full use of my website, blog posts, free patterns and designs at no cost to you! It’s an arrangement I’m comfortable with and it allows me to create freebies for my readers. 😀
Affiliate marketing is when I create a link to a product on Amazon or Etsy (but not my own products), Scrapbook.com or another company I work with, in a blog post. I get paid a percentage of the sale if someone makes a purchase after clicking through my link, but I don’t get paid per click.
But if someone clicks my link for a pair of scissors, then shops around and buys a ruler instead, I’ll still get paid a percentage for the sale of the ruler. The links get tracked and if someone makes a purchase after clicking through from one of my links, I get paid regardless of what they bought.
I’ll be frank, if I was better at being sales-y, I’d make more money, lol. I’ve heard of some bloggers making bank on affiliating marketing. I’m just not very good at it. And I have no interest in being so. I only link to products I would genuinely recommend or think would be useful. I actively try not to be too pushy about it.
There are also expenses. But I’d have to do a deep dive into my books to give you those numbers and that’s not happening today, lol. But there are expenses no matter what industry you’re in. Website hosting, email marketing, supplies & materials, subscriptions and fees. They exist. Oh and taxes too! Yes, I pay taxes.
Ok I had so much fun making the first pie chart that I made another one. Haha! This one is a breakdown of the whole year of 2022 instead of average monthly.
What’s the Bottom Line?
I get to make money building my own tiny crafting empire and setting my own hours. I’m a happy girl!
Could I make more money than I am currently? Sure. But I’d have to employ more aggressive tactics and I have zero interest in doing that. I could place those annoying pop up ads on my website, but that would affect user-experience. No thanks.
I could also pursue doing sponsored posts. (I’ve heard there’s lots of money to be made doing those.) But then I’d be abiding by someone else’s schedule and expectations. And that defeats the point of being my own boss with my own uniquely flexible schedule. I did one or two sponsored posts in the early days of blogging and I found them to be wayyy more stressful than they were worth. I’d rather write what I like and not be trying to sell someone else’s product. But if that kind of work interests you, fill your boots! Make as much money as you can doing it and I’ll be the first to celebrate your success!
At this point my strategy for increasing my income is to continue designing more patterns (more products = more sales) and keep trying to increase blog traffic. (More traffic = more ad views = more money). If I wanted to be super aggressive with that strategy, I could hire some help to do the tasks I least enjoy (hello, email marketing) so I could focus on writing blog posts and designing patterns. But I’m not emotionally ready to do that yet, I like having full control of my business.
So did my income report surprise you, disappoint you or leave you feeling meh?
Please, sincerely, let me know if this post was helpful or informative for you. And I’d love to know if there’s anything you’d like me to expand on or another topic I can cover that would be helpful!
Happy (monetized) crafting!