Susannah Shmurak writing on online incomes

Two years ago I decided to leave my career in teaching.

Even though I loved my field and my students, the more I learned about our worsening ecological crises, the less important the things I taught seemed to be. I began to spend all my free time reading about environmental problems and volunteering with groups working to solve them.

As I read about global environmental issues, I sought ways I could help make them better locally. I worked to make our 100-year old farmhouse as energy efficient and green as possible and planted our entire yard in edibles. Wherever I could I eliminated waste and found ways to conserve. I joined my city’s environmental commission and began leading workshops on greener living strategies.

As part of that work, I became a regular contributor to my city’s monthly newsletter…then I got a couple of magazine assignments…which opened up the possibility that someday I might write for a living about issues I cared about.

A colleague encouraged me to start a blog in order to share the healthy living tips I was always imparting. Imagine my shock to discover that some bloggers made six-figure incomes writing about what they loved.

As I delved into the blogosphere, I learned about the promise of “passive income,” which bloggers get by marketing others’ products, selling ad space on their sites, and selling their own books and courses. It sounded pretty amazing. Write about what I love…make my own terms…and earn more than I ever had teaching?

Sign me up!

So, I launched a blog, devoted to green and healthy living tips.

healthygreensavvy

I absolutely love the freedom of deciding what to put on my blog. When I feel like researching a new healthy living strategy, it becomes a blog post. I’ve found (and written about) ways to improve sleep, our immune systems, and allergies with food, which helps my own family’s health. And I get to share all this important information with thousands of readers, who pass my work along to their own social networks.

Sometimes “work” is learning how to make my own bug spray or trying out a new healthy recipe. Most of it doesn’t feel like work at all!

I’ve also developed a wide network of green blogging colleagues. It’s tremendously heartening that hundreds of people find these issues worth writing about and millions read their work.

The flexibility of blogging has also been a plus, allowing me to spend more time with my two daughters. I can write when we travel if I want, and I decide when to exercise or cook during the day since I have no set schedule.

I am slowly learning how to make my blog a source of income, from sponsored posts to affiliate promotion. When I write about gardening, I link to gardening supplies I love, and when I write about food, I link to kitchen products I use. When someone buys one of these products, I get a small commission.

I’m very choosy about who I work with, since I only want to promote companies who align with my values, so I’ve done only a few sponsored posts so far.

As time passes, my blog’s presence grows, and so does my income. I’m developing other income streams as well. I can use my site to sell e-books and courses, and I’m partnering with other bloggers to sell bundles of our products.

My blog also gives me a launch pad for informational e-books, which I’m planning to self-publish in the coming years. Some authors make a truly impressive living selling short books on Kindle, while others land print book deals based on their blog posts.

Blogging has been a deeply satisfying way to share valuable information with readers around the world, and as time passes, more people find me and share what I write. Some of my readers have used my energy-savings tips or contacted the solar company I recommended. Knowing that my words are helping create a safer and healthier planet for us all has been one of the greatest joys of this experiment, which I plan to continue for years to come.

Editor’s note: Susannah Shmurak is passionate about helping people find easy ways to live healthier lives. Check out her website, HealthyGreenSavvy.com

Image: ©iStock.com/lechatnoir 

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