Emma Drew helps people to get out of debt, pay for a holiday or even quit their job altogether. Find out she has been able to succeed in a crowded niche and completely rebrand her blog.
Revenue of $14,000/mo
Email list size of 5,300
Founded in 2015
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
My name is Emma Drew and I live in Cambridgeshire, England with my husband and our cats. I graduated from a university into the recession and I couldn’t get a job in any field at all, so I had to look for other ways to make money. I started making pocket money online through online surveys and the like, then I decided to start my blog to hold me accountable.
My blog helps people to make money, save money and live the life they want.
People come to my blog looking for real ways to make money from home, or on top of their existing job. I also get a lot of readers who are on maternity leave and struggling to make ends meet. I help them to pay off debts, increase their income or even leave their job entirely.
We have been fortunate enough to grow the blog into not only a full-time income, but we have now hit 5-figure months which is absolutely mind-blowing.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
I started blogging just to hold myself accountable. At the time I was trying to earn £10 (around $15) per day from anything online, and my blog was a diary of this. I chose the name “From Aldi To Harrods” to document my journey, and then rebranded to my own name in 2016.
At school, I was a bit of a computer geek, and I had created my own blogs using HTML before even discovering WordPress existed. This knowledge helped me with my blog design when I eventually moved away from Blogger and set up my own self-hosted website.
I started blogging without a job and income, then I started a part time job, then two part time jobs before getting a full time job. Fitting in blogging with a full time job was really hard, and I definitely made a lot of sacrifices along the way, but it has paid off really well now.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
I learned the importance of diversifying my blog income the hard way. I relied too heavily on one affiliate, and someone sabotaged that income causing my income to drop by thousands straight away. Since that happened just over a year ago I have worked really hard to diversify my blogging income.
I earn income from my blog from affiliate marketing, sponsorships, adverts, my own products and coaching. A year ago I was only earning money from affiliates and sponsorships, so I have added lots of new income streams.
Affiliate marketing is something I have had a great deal of success with – where I recommend a product or a service and I get a kick back when one of my readers clicks through my link and signs up or makes a purchase. I have also increased my sponsorship rates and found that as a result, brands take me more seriously and I get a lot more work than when I was charging just 10% of my fee now.
I have also been surprised at how well my online courses and digital products have sold. As a finance blogger, I find it hard to ask someone to pay me for my knowledge or coaching, but it has been paramount to my success.
If I were to give another blogger advice it would be to diversify your blogging income and not rely too heavily on one income stream.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
Getting traffic to a brand new blog can be really tough, especially for bloggers like myself who aren’t trying to write for a massive audience like in America. I value each and every single page view that I receive.
My biggest success comes from learning SEO and learning how to write for SEO naturally. I made sure to answer questions that people would be searching for, and around 800 out of every 1,000 page views are coming from SEO traffic. I also use my social media channels to bring in more traffic to my blog, with scheduling tools and sharing my blog posts in my Instagram stories.
One social media that I just cannot get to work for me is Pinterest. I have invested a lot of time and money into courses, tools and a virtual assistant and it just does not want to grow. I see lots of bloggers talking about the amazing things Pinterest has done for their business, and I wish I had the same success. If I hit three figures in traffic from Pinterest a day then that is a rare miracle.
I have also made appearances in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and radio, which help not only with traffic, but also branding.
I would advise any bloggers to try everything and drop what doesn’t work for them. I just cannot get Pinterest off the ground, however, I get at least three figures in traffic for every blog post I share in my Instagram stories.
How have you grown the email list?
My email list is still relatively new, being under two years old. I have just over 5,000 subscribers and the majority of those have come from a fantastic email opt in freebie.
My best email opt in freebie is a 6 week money making course, delivered via email twice per week. Not only do subscribers get a ton of information from me about real ways to make money, they also get access to my exclusive mastermind group on Facebook.'Start your email list from day one.'Click To Tweet
Having an awesome opt in freebie is so important for getting people onto your mailing list, and I cannot stress the importance of making something great, not just a PDF you knocked up in an hour. If you give great value and serve your audience then they will get to know you, like you and then buy from you.
I try to send a weekly newsletter out on a Tuesday, however, I think there is something about being British that means we don’t want to be a bother or disturb anyone by emailing them. Which is really silly, but it can still be a mental block to get over.
How do you write great content that performs well?
For someone who makes their livelihood from writing, I actually hate writing 90% of the time! I have over 600 blog posts published, and sometimes I feel as though there isn’t anything new to say.
I write if and when the inspiration hits me. I have tried to write every single day and train myself by doing that, but it just didn’t work for me. However, when I feel like it, I can write 5 or more posts at a time.
I always recommend bloggers write about what their audience ask them over and over again. If your audience are emailing you with questions and you haven’t written about that topic then that’s what you write next. I also pay attention to the search terms coming to my blog. I use my Instagram Stories to talk about selling on Amazon, yet I don’t have any blog posts about it. People were coming to my blog from searching “Emma Drew Amazon” so I knew I needed to get that post written as a matter of priority.
The best thing I ever did to enhance my writing and give my audience content they wanted was to write less about me and more about how to help them. Instead of writing, for example, ‘How I made money on eBay this month’ I would write the same content but change it to ’17 tried and tested tips for selling on eBay’. I shifted focus to helping my audience and it worked!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I have made so many mistakes and overcome so many obstacles in my blogging journey. The massively obvious one is that I originally used two trademarked names in my blog. It was fine for 6 years, but once I was building momentum, one of the companies wasn’t happy. Rebranding was one of the best things I ever did, but at the time I didn’t see it.
I have also had my fair share of internet trolls. I absolutely love using video to compliment my blog, however, being an overweight woman on video comes with its own challenges and trolls. I had a video watched over 2 million times on YouTube, and yet most of the comments focus on my weight and not the message behind the video. There are also your usual online trolls who are jealous of the success that you have achieved. Reminding yourself of where you have come from and what you have achieved is really important.
I wish that I had diversified my blogging income much earlier than I had.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I am a firm believer in paying for the right resources, and I have invested in lots of courses and even one to one coaching.
The most useful course I have taken is Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, which immediately saw me increase my affiliate income by over £2,000 a month. Even though the course would benefit American bloggers the most, I still took a lot away from it.
I found one to one coaching to be really useful in helping me to develop my own product last year. Being held accountable to someone helped me to push past any imposter syndrome and just get things done. Even now, months after completing my coaching, I use what I have learned.
I also learned to take myself to a coffee shop to write, distraction-free. Working from home means that there are constant interruptions or distractions – maybe someone knocks at the door, or I see a pile of laundry that needs doing. By taking myself to a coffee shop to write I can really focus on getting work done.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
There is enough space in the blogosphere for new bloggers, but my top tip would be to aim for progress, not perfection. It is easy to look at an established blog and want what that blogger has achieved, but it comes with time, patience and hard work.
Start your email list from day one. My email list is still relatively small, however, it is really powerful too.
Keep at it and don’t get disheartened. When I started blogging there weren’t many bloggers in the finance niche, yet I saw beauty bloggers and fashion bloggers getting amazing opportunities. I was jealous and it could have stopped me, but I didn’t stop. I kept at it and it eventually paid off.
Where can we go to learn more?