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How I Used Pinterest to Build a Six Figure Blogging Income

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This Blogger Used Pinterest to Build a Six Figure Income

Overview

Business Name: FinSavvy Panda
Website URL: https://www.finsavvypanda.com
Founder: Bonnie (Ling) Thich
Business Location: Online (Canada)
Year Started: 2017
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 2

Tell us about yourself and your business.

Hi, I’m Ling, the founder of the personal finance blog, FinSavvy Panda.

I started blogging in November 2017 and I’ve been doing it full-time since 2019. The topics covered on FinSavvy Panda include ways to save money, make extra money, and some beginner tips on how to start a profitable blog.

I also work on a few other blogs on the side to test my ideas in other niches that are outside of the personal finance space.

Prior to running an online blogging business, I worked as an Analyst in the wholesale banking area for a major financial institution. It was pretty comfortable, and I enjoyed working with different stakeholders, but my heart just wasn’t there. Deep down, it felt like I needed to do something different from the regular 9-5 but I just didn’t know what it was. Then, one day, when I was looking for profitable hobbies, I stumbled upon the idea of blogging. That’s when there was a calling within me to start a personal finance blog.

And here I am! I’ve been running my blog, along with other websites, and earning a six-figure full-time income for 6 years!

How does FinSavvy Panda make money?

I earn an income through a mix of affiliate marketing, display ads, and digital products.

A chunk of my earnings come from affiliate marketing where I would recommend products and services I love and personally use to my readers. Whenever a reader buys or signs up for one of my recommendations, I would earn a small commission. One of my favorite affiliate networks is Impact Radius. They offer a variety of affiliate programs for bloggers in any niche. 

Aside from affiliate marketing, I also earn money through Mediavine display ads, which require a blog or website to receive at least 50,000 sessions (approximately 60,000+ monthly pageviews) to apply. Here is an example of how much one of my blogs earned from Mediavine display ads last month.

Mediavine earnings

Lastly, I provide a range of digital products specifically designed for my audience, including The Power-Up Budget Binder, The Treasure Map To Blogging Success in 30 Days, The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic, and PinSavvy Pinterest Canva Templates. These are products I created to help my readers learn how to budget, save, and earn extra money from home.

What was your inspiration for starting FinSavvy Panda?

Back in 2017, I was always searching on Google for ways to make money online. I was also searching for business ideas that I could do from home. I accidentally stumbled upon the idea of starting a blog and I never really knew what that meant. 

But as I was reading more and more about bloggers’ stories and how they generated anywhere from six to seven figures a year, I was convinced that this may work out for me. Since my circle of friends, coworkers, and family members always asked me for money advice, I decided to start a blog about personal finance where I document all my favorite ways to save and earn extra money.

How and when did you launch FinSavvy Panda?

I started playing around with the idea of blogging somewhere in November 2017. Though I didn’t have a “launch” day, I guess you could say I launched it in November. That’s the month where I started publishing blog posts and creating a Pinterest business account for my website. 

How much money did you invest to start FinSavvy Panda?

Starting a blog is so cheap that I don’t think I really invested much money. During that time, I didn’t even think of it as an investment since it was just a hobby that I wanted to try. I spent only $100 for a 3-year hosting plan, which is equivalent to $3 a month.

Aside from the hosting plan, I also purchased a beginners’ blogging toolkit for $100 in addition to an affiliate marketing course for $200. In total, I spent $400 including the hosting plan for the first couple of years to learn how to start a profitable blog.

FinSavvy PandaFinSavvy Panda

How did you find your first few clients or customers?

Since I hadn’t developed a product or offered any service when I started my blog, I didn’t have any clients or customers.

In fact, most of my income stemmed from display ads and affiliate marketing programs, which were purely driven by traffic from Pinterest. To get those pageviews, I created a Pinterest business account. It was through Pinterest that I attracted my first readers and e-mail subscribers.

Once my readers warmed up to me, they began asking me questions about budgeting in addition to questions about how they can achieve financial independence by saving and earning extra money online. That’s when I created my budgeting binder, The Power-Up Budget Binder, in addition to a few profitable blogging resources like The Treasure Map To Blogging Success in 30 Days and The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic to serve my first clients and customers.

The Golden Compass to Pinterest TrafficThe Golden Compass to Pinterest Traffic

What was your first year in business like?

If I had to be honest, the first year felt very frustrating because I didn’t feel like I was getting any results, especially during the first several months. 

I didn’t get much traffic and I didn’t make much money. I had only earned like $20 from Google AdSense in my first few months combined. During that time, I also didn’t know that it would take longer for me to see results because I was naïve and believed other bloggers’ stories of how they made over $300 within their first month of publishing their blog posts (of a brand-new blog), and a full-time income by 3 to 5 months.

Despite those claims, I just chipped away and continued learning many aspects of blogging including Pinterest, Google SEO, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, etc. That all took time but the good thing is it didn’t feel like work to me because I genuinely enjoyed the learning process. I was still at my full-time job, so I spent mornings and evenings tackling this project. I would say I spent anywhere from 10 to 25 hours a week. I kept doing it and I was pretty consistent without showing any signs of stopping.

By 5 to 6 months, I finally earned my first $1,000 and from there it just grew. And within my first year of blogging, I was able to earn my first $5,000 monthly income, which was a huge milestone for me.

What strategies did you use to grow FinSavvy Panda?

I would say mostly Pinterest marketing in addition to nurturing my e-mail list. I also spent time learning Google SEO and implementing what I learned, but in hindsight, it was a distraction since I never really got any mind-blowing results with Google.

Most of my efforts were spent on building relationships with my readers and helping them by answering their questions. A lot of people would call me crazy and say it’s a waste of time because this strategy isn’t very passive. Though this wasn’t one of my passive ways to earn money, I have to admit that this effort resulted in a high ROI for me.

There is a saying by Thomas A. Edison that goes “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Tell us about your team.

I have a writer and VA on the team. It’s a personal blog so I’d like to keep it simple.

How did you make the transition from side hustle to full-time?

I quit my job once I earned my first $5,000 monthly income within my first year of blogging. However, I still viewed it as a hobby and I did not know what I was getting myself into, so I didn’t consider it a full-time income yet. I just took the plunge to see how things would turn out. 

Once I earned my first net six-figure annual income in 2019, that’s when I felt it in me to transition to a full-time blogging career. Still, it didn’t feel like this was “full-time” because I was feeling iffy. I just wasn’t sure if I could sustain the income since the idea of running a blog felt foreign to me. Needless to say, as each month passed with a healthy amount of net earnings, I felt comfortable enough to say, “Hey, being self-employed online is my life now. That’s my new normal so I’m going to learn how to adapt to this lifestyle.”  

It wasn’t until now, December 31, 2023, as I’m writing this, that I am starting to feel more and more comfortable with the uncertain nature of running an online business. It’s been 6 years since I started blogging full-time, and throughout all those years until now, it has sustained a net six-figure income. Looking back, it all seemed fine, but a lot of times felt uncertain and I just didn’t know what was going to happen. As we speak, I am just going with the flow. It’s always a learning process for me, so I will continuously adapt, learn, and implement different strategies.

To answer your question, it’s hard to say when the transition from side hustle to full-time happened. It just happened gradually over time as I developed a habit of being self-employed working anywhere I want with a laptop.

What is your best-selling product?

My best-selling product is The Treasure Map To Blogging Success in 30 Days. This is an A-Z guide that teaches beginners how to start and launch a successful blog from scratch. Many people have the desire to earn money by working from home or becoming a digital nomad, so I created this product to help my readers achieve their dreams of making money online. 

Treasure Map to BloggingTreasure Map to Blogging

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

The biggest challenge I had to overcome was acknowledging and accepting the fact that my blog, or any business, is never going to feel “safe,” no matter what social media and entrepreneurs claim. While they often paint a rosy image of their business’s success, you’ll rarely hear about the dark side or the struggles and challenges they face.

For example, in the early days of my blogging journey, my Pinterest account was suspended, and I lost all my Pinterest traffic overnight. It took months before I managed to get my account reinstated. I feared it was the end of my blogging career because you often hear stories from content creators that if you’re suspended for over a month, it’s pretty much hopeless, and you’ll never get your account back. However, I didn’t follow that advice. I persisted, and after many attempts, I finally got my Pinterest account back! Had I listened to the negative and false advice out there, I wouldn’t be here today. 

As I went through more bumpy roads, I came to realize that there will be good times and bad times. During the good times, you need to save for the rainy days to help you ride out the bad times.

What are some of your favorite books?

My favorite books are Atomic Habits, The Four-Hour Work Week, and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

What is your favorite quote?

Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.

Warren Buffett

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Nearly 50% of Parents Have Started Side Hustles: Survey

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Nearly 50% of Parents Have Started Side Hustles: Survey

Side hustles are soaring as Americans take on second jobs to be able to afford the normal stuff.

According to a new survey, one group in particular is feeling the crunch of rising inflation and home prices, and taking on extra work in response.

Bankrate released its side hustle survey on Wednesday and found that more than one in three U.S. adults make extra money with a side gig, like a weekend job or freelance work.

The survey noted that parents of children ages 18 and under are turning to side hustles more often than those without children or those with older kids.

Related: This Mom Started a Side Hustle on Facebook — Now It Averages $14,000 a Month and She Can ‘Work From a Resort in the Maldives’

“Many Americans are still finding that one job isn’t enough,” Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman stated. “The cost of living has risen sharply in recent years.”

Nearly half (45%) of parents with kids younger than 18 have a side hustle compared to 36% of childless adults and 28% of parents with adult children.

The average monthly side hustle income is $891 per month and the majority of Americans with side hustles (52%) have only been at it for less than two years. They’re likely using the money to pay bills, build their savings, or for discretionary spending.

Related: This 26-Year-Old’s Side Hustle That ‘Anybody Can Do’ Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here’s What Happened When I Tested It.

“My schedule is mayhem,” 41-year-old Jordan Chussler, parent to a 5-year-old daughter and editor of a financial publication, told Marketwatch.

His daughter’s private school bill is $10,600; inflation has brought household expenses up for his family across the board. Chussler works during his lunch break and at night, as a freelancer and at restaurants, to make ends meet.

Chussler and his wife make about $165,000 combined at their main jobs; Chussler takes on extra jobs throughout the year to bring their combined income closer to $200,000 for more financial security.

He puts the extra money from side hustles into a Roth IRA and his daughter’s education fund.

Related: He Turned His High School Science Fair Project Into a Product That Solves a $390 Billion Problem: ‘This Has Not Been Done Before’

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How Success Happened for Stephen Lease of Goodr

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How Success Happened for Stephen Lease of Goodr

This week on How Success Happens, I spoke with Stephen Lease, the CEO and co-founder of sunglasses brand Goodr. He’s had an amazing career, and I was curious to find out about what inspired him to become an entrepreneur, how selling industrial water treatment systems to golf courses taught him to identify what his core consumer base actually cares about, and how he applied the lessons he learned from his time in corporate America to the founding of Goodr.

You can listen to our full conversation above, and below, I’ve pulled out three key takeaways.

Don’t let sunk cost keep you attached to something that’s not working

When you launch a business and feel confident that it’s a great idea, your loved ones will root for you no matter what. Lease founded five businesses prior to finding success with Goodr, and despite feeling confident in all of them at the outset, it eventually became clear that hope was not a solid strategy when a business was simply not working. At the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey, it was painful to come to terms with folding a company he had invested energy into, but eventually, he got good at starting companies cheaply and identifying quickly whether or not they would be a success.
Timestamp — 8:50-10:30

When you shift your mindset to celebrate the work over the results, the ups and downs of the day-to-day grind become a gift

Lease started Goodr as a side hustle, which meant that he worked round the clock for several years before running the company full-time. He’s often asked how he found the motivation to put in that time, and the only answer he can think of is that he found joy in the day-to-day. As a leader, he wants to inspire his team to take big swings, and sometimes, that means putting a ton of effort into something that fails. However, he assures them that failure is okay so long as you celebrate the work over the results.
Timestamp — 19:40-20:50

You can’t be a master at everything — identify your north star as a brand and double down on it

When Lease and his co-founders launched Goodr, they weren’t sure if it would be a lifestyle brand or an eyewear brand, but after a few years, they took an honest look at the business and realized that eyewear is what it did best. That opened up a world of possibility, but they also needed to identify what their differentiators were as a brand — those differentiators are function, fun, fashion and “‘ffordability.” Honing in on that has given the brand a clear decision matrix as it expands its product offerings, and Lease is confident that with those differentiators top of mind, Goodr will continue creating products that its customers love.
Timestamp — 21:28-23:35

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How AI Is Revolutionizing the Marketing Landscape

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How AI Is Revolutionizing the Marketing Landscape

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The marketing landscape is on the cusp of a profound transformation, driven by the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). These new AI marketing tools are poised to revolutionize how companies approach their strategies, structure their organizations and ultimately reach their target markets.

However, amidst this exciting wave of innovation, identity verification will emerge as a critical factor in ensuring the ethical and effective use of AI in marketing.

Related: How to Harness AI for a Competitive Edge in Marketing

AI marketing: A new era of possibilities

AI marketing tools are no longer a futuristic concept but a tangible reality. They offer unprecedented capabilities, from hyper-personalized customer experiences to data-driven campaign optimization. Let’s delve into how these tools are reshaping the marketing landscape:

  1. Hyper-personalization: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of customer data to deliver tailored messages and product recommendations in real time. Imagine websites dynamically adapting content and offers based on each visitor’s individual preferences and past behavior. This level of personalization can significantly enhance customer engagement and drive conversions.

  2. Predictive analytics: AI can predict customer behavior with increasing accuracy, enabling marketers to anticipate needs and proactively offer solutions. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction and retention rates.

  3. Campaign optimization: AI-powered tools can analyze campaign performance data in real time, allowing marketers to make data-driven adjustments on the fly. This can significantly improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and reduce wasted ad spend.

  4. Content creation: AI is increasingly being used to generate marketing content, including ad copy, social media posts, images and even product descriptions. While this can streamline content production, it raises important questions about authenticity and the need for human oversight.

Related: 5 AI Marketing Tools Every Startup Should Know About

Organizational impact and go-to-market strategies

The rise of AI marketing will inevitably impact the structure and operation of marketing organizations:

  • New skill sets: Marketing teams will need to acquire new skills in data analysis, AI tool utilization and ethical AI implementation. This may necessitate upskilling or hiring new talent.

  • Data-driven culture: Companies will need to foster a data-driven culture within their marketing departments. This involves embracing data-driven decision-making and investing in data infrastructure. This is critical for any size organization and regardless if you’re a hyperscaler or an organization looking to increase EBITDA.

  • Collaboration: Marketing teams will need to collaborate closely with data science and IT teams to maximize the benefits of AI marketing tools.

As for go-to-market strategies, companies will need to adapt to the evolving landscape:

  • Omnichannel marketing: AI can help create seamless, personalized experiences across multiple channels, from email to social media to in-app messaging.

  • Customer journey mapping: AI can help map the customer journey more effectively, identifying pain points and opportunities for optimization.

  • Transparency and trust: As AI becomes more prevalent in marketing, companies will need to be transparent about their use of AI and ensure customer trust.

Related: AI Is Considered the “Wild West” — Here’s How Marketers Can Rein It In and Ensure Ethical Use

The critical role of identity verification

Identity verification will play a crucial role in ensuring the ethical and effective use of AI in marketing. Here’s why:

  • Data accuracy: AI relies heavily on data. Accurate identity verification ensures that the data being fed into AI algorithms is reliable, preventing biased or discriminatory outcomes.

  • Regulatory compliance: Many regions have strict data protection, age verification and privacy regulations. AI ensures that marketing practices adhere to data protection regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA, by accurately verifying identities and managing consent. This reduces the risk of legal penalties and enhances consumer trust.

  • Preventing fraud: Inaccurate or fraudulent data can lead to misdirected marketing efforts, wasted resources and even reputational damage. Identity verification helps mitigate these risks.

  • Building trust: Customers are more likely to trust brands that prioritize their privacy and security. Robust identity verification practices can strengthen this trust.

The road ahead

The future of marketing is undoubtedly AI-powered. Embracing AI marketing tools can unlock new levels of personalization, efficiency and effectiveness. However, it’s imperative for companies to prioritize identity verification to ensure the ethical and responsible use of these powerful technologies.

As AI continues to evolve, the marketing landscape will undoubtedly undergo further transformations. Companies that adapt to these changes and harness the power of AI will be well-positioned to thrive in the years ahead.

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