How I Earned 6 Figures Blogging (& The Big Mistakes I Made)

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Yes, you can earn six figures blogging. Yes, there may be some mistake made. In this post, I share the mistakes I made (so you won't make them too).

I’ve been asked time and again how to I became a full time blogger. Friends ask, family members ask, and even fellow bloggers ask. And lately, they’ve asked how I earned six figures blogging, as a small blogger.

4 Hats and Frugal has been around for almost 8 years as I write this article, yet it’s only until the past 2 years that I’ve understood the real work behind having a blog that produces income.

I’ve made many mistakes, I’ve done some silly things, but I’ve also decided that this is the career that brings me joy.

So, in 2015, I declared I would earn six figures blogging. Yes, my blog is “smaller” in comparison to others. Yes, we have a unique niche on this website (a frugal blog that doesn’t talk about deals or coupons? What?!).

But, I knew I could do it, as long as I decided to do it. In this post, I’ll share how I earned 6 figures blogging, and the big mistakes I made in 2015. We all learn from mistakes, and I want to make sure you learn from mine.

Ready? Let’s get real.

What I Did Right in 2015

Let’s start out with some positives before we get into the negatives, shall we? There are many things I actually did right in 2015, and they all attributed to how well the website did financially.

I didn’t know it at the time, but standing my ground on these things caused me to attain some very big opportunities.

We Focused Only On Family

In 2015, we niched down even more on the blog, and focused on the whole family. In past years, I would take opportunities that highlighted our platform, but it was mostly me in the spotlight.

In 2015, I decided to focus on the other family members. From our Johnson’s Baby ambassadorship, and many other financial opportunities, they were focused on either my husband, our kids, or our whole family.

This helped me to say no to other campaigns and ambassadorships that didn’t fit into our plan. Guess what? The more I said no, the better the YES opportunities became.

We even ended our year with our whole family on the cover of Parade Magazine, with grandparents in tow. I’d say our year of family ended well.


You’re going to hear every blogger on the planet talk about diversifying their income. Well, I did do a little of that, but I didn’t completely focus on it. I love sponsored ambassadorships, and I have to say, I do them pretty well.

You guys (our awesome readers) tend to respond well to them, so if the ambassadorship fits with our community and it’s something we would have talked about anyway, I said yes to it.

I also got to be an ambassador for 2 conferences this year, one being  Type-A Parent. Ambassadorships are where most of my income from 2015 came from, but not all of it.

This year, I had an ebook for sale, I consulted for other companies as an advisor, and I took part in a few social media-only campaigns.

Oh yeah, I helped create content for a large company’s brand new website. That last part? That was a big income booster. Big.

Diversification will look different for each blogger, but don’t think it always has to focus on creating your own products. There are tons of ways to make money.

I also added one more ad box to the blog. Just one. Well, that doubled my adsense income! I made four figures from my google adsense boxes, as well as the ads within my YouTube videos.

Bloggy Conference 2013


Yes, you have to talk to people from time to time as a blogger. The blogging community seems vast, but we are very close. We tend to know each other. We also pay attention to what our passions and talents are.

When campaigns or ambassadorships come around where we think someone would do well, we recommend one another.

OK, well I do that. Some others may not. But, I frequent blog conferences, talk to members of my community, and I remember.

When a Public Relations representative comes to me with a campaign, and I have to say no to it, I give them 3 names of other bloggers that would rock that partnership. This does three things:

  1. It gives the PR rep a short list of bloggers to check out, which means they can stop looking at the LONG list given to them by their superiors.
  2. They are connected with bloggers that have the same values and interests as the brands they are representing, again making their jobs easier.
  3. When something comes up that fits MY brand, they remember that I did them a solid and contact me again. Those secondary opportunities are usually worth way more than the campaign I had to pass on. I genuinely helped them out, so they genuinely want to work with me.

My friends like to call me a connector. I do way more connecting for others than I do for myself. Besides it being fun to do, I know eventually my turn will come.

2015’s income has shown me how true that can be.

My Blog Coach Is The Bomb

In 2015, I bit the bullet and hired a blog coach. Out of all of the good things I did, this was the best.

Brandi Riley is a true expert at what she does, and rocks as a blog coach. I actually started with Brandi through her blog strategy report.

She gave me 5 PAGES of things I should do to increase my income in 2015. They weren’t blanketed items, they were very personal to my brand, my family and my life.

She blew my mind with all of the tasks she thought up just from spending some quality time on my blog!

I didn’t get through them all (I’ll still be working on them in 2016), but I knew I needed to hire her as a blog coach as soon as possible. I did exactly that, and it has changed my family’s life.

When I won my Iris Award, I knew it was because I listened to what Brandi said to do. It was because she believed in what we’re trying to accomplish here on 4 Hats and Frugal, and made sure I stuck to it.

It was because she encouraged me to share our story, our family life, and why simple things like meal planning and budgeting mean so much to me.

I did what she said, and I made a money AND a difference.

See how this family with expensive tastes only spent $64 on their groceries at Albertsons!

What I Did Wrong In 2015

Ok, it’s time for the negatives. I made mistakes while trying to monetize my blog in 2015. I made lots of them. But, let’s just focus on the biggest ones, so you will make sure not to follow in my footsteps.

Contributor Woes

The $64 Grocery Budget Series is our most popular series on 4 Hats and Frugal. In 2015, I decided to find contributors to take the challenge all over the country.

My readers had been emailing me non-stop to try the challenge at their local stores, and since we don’t have all of America’s grocery stores here in NJ, I had to “hire out.”

Some contributors even got to work with their local stores, because those stores read the post! While some of my contributors did an amazing job putting together their posts, some just phoned it in.

Why was this an issue? I was paying them. I even paid and extra $64 to cover the groceries.

After talking to many other bloggers who have contributors, I found out that I was paying them way too much, and if I wasn’t satisfied with their work, I shouldn’t have paid. Oof.

As someone who loves the blogging community so much, that was hard to hear. We should be paid what we are worth, but if I wasn’t getting quality content, then I needed to not let go of that money.

So, what did I learn? Contributors don’t have to be paid big bucks. Contributors have to give you quality content, and if they don’t, they can’t get paid.

Bartering is OK, too. I’ve been blogging for a while. I know a few things. I could have mentored a few of the bloggers in exchange for the post. Duh. I never even thought about that.

I Split My Focus

In 2015, I helped to start a wonderful community called Disney Moms of Color. It was so exciting to see this new community blossom, and I wanted to make sure that we were rooted in good soil.

Many of the moms said that they would love a place to be able to write about their love of Disney, so I took some of my income and created a blog.

I also hired a blog manager, again with the money made on 4 Hats and Frugal. My focus was turned away from the site that was making me money, and towards a site that wasn’t really mine in the first place.

So, not only did I lose money, I lost my groove a bit, since I wanted this community to win. I could have done so much more here, if I would have given myself a small, yet allotted, amount of time to focus on Disney Moms of Color.

Lesson: Keep your blinders on. If you have to switch gears to focus on something else, make sure that it won’t cause you to lose income.

Do you pack snacks when you travel? Here are a few reasons why this mom always has a healthy snack, or two, on hand when she travels.

Travel Time-Suck

I traveled my bum off in 2015. I actually traveled way less than I did in 2014, but traveling as a blogger means you will have to pay (for the most part).

Many of my traveling sessions were to conferences (see Networking above), while a few of them were for press events, TV appearances, and other opportunities.

What’s the problem with traveling? It’s a time-suck. As much as I think I’m going to work while I’m traveling this place and that place, I don’t. Less time working means less money made through partnerships, projects, and traffic to the blog (I have to blog to get blog traffic).

Be strategic with your traveling. Make a game plan for the conferences you attend. Schedule meetings with other bloggers that might be in town during your press event.

Use your money wisely, if you have to travel. Also? If you travel for a conference, give yourself 90 days to implement what you learn before you go to another conference.

Online Course Buyers Remorse

I purchased way too many online courses in 2015. I mentioned implementation above, and that goes for online courses, virtual conferences, e-books and more.

I don’t even want to tell you how many online educational items I purchased for business and blogging in 2015.

I didn’t think about how I needed to digest what I would learn from each one, before I bought it. If you are thinking of buying online courses, give yourself time to actually use what you learn before you buy another. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and money.

Not Hiring Help

I have this issue with being a “boss.” This kept me from hiring help for the blog in 2015.

Eventually, I did hire a VA to help with blog post syndication on Pinterest and Twitter, but that was a bust because I wouldn’t make the time to actually TEACH her what I needed on my accounts.

While you should hire slow and fire fast, you still have to hire. I should have started 2015 with a VA, and I should have stopped creating, traveling and doing all the things in order to train them.

In 2016, I will be building my team for 4 Hats and Frugal, but I will make sure to stop all work in order to show them what kind of quality work I need from them. This boss stuff is hard, yo.

What I’m Doing This Year

Did I learn from my mistakes? Of course. Will I be doing things a little differently this year? Yup. I’ll share some of those tasks with you.

I’m Going To Pitch More

I was OK with pitching in 2015, but I’m upping that quite a bit this year. I have a few partnerships with brands and other bloggers on my dream list for 2016.

Yes, I said brands AND bloggers. I mentioned how much connecting with the blogging community means to me, and I want to increase that by partnering with bloggers that I love and respect.

Remember, it’s not all about the brands! My goal is to pitch at least once a day. Three pitches on Monday, since I take weekends off. That’s 365 pitches to send.

Yes, that’s a lot, but you have to think about this. Maybe 10% of those will get a response. Maybe 5% will turn into a campaign, ambassadorship, or project. Pitch, pitch, pitch.

I’m Hiring Help

I will hire slow and fire fast. I would love to have a full team of help by the end of 2016, but I’m going to be smart about this.

I’ve already written down each step I take to post and syndicate on my social media accounts. Now, I just need to find team members that get me, and understand how our platform works.

I don’t want to just employ anyone, I want someone special. This might be the hardest thing I do in 2016, but it’s the most important.

From Coach to Agent

Did you know that there are blog agents? Me neither. Well, they exist and I will be getting help from one in 2016. We’ve already had meetings.

They get me. They REALLY get me and what I would like to accomplish this year. They even gave me homework. So, now I have a coach and an “agent.”

Why? Because I can’t do it all myself, and I can’t think of it all myself. This may not be an option for everyone, but I see it as the next step for me. If you just can’t do an agent right now, see the pitching section above.

Products Are Coming

Yes, I will be diving into products in 2016. I’m partnering with a platform that will make it so much easier for my readers to purchase and download the products I’m creating (thank you, Jesus and goodbye, E-Junkie).

I’m also taking a class on e-Course creation, so by the end of this year, I will have a full e-Course for sale. The best part is this is something my readers have emailed constantly about, so I need to make it into a course.

Within the plans are workbooks, ebooks, and possibly a planner of some sort. Will this all happen in 2016? Maybe not. But it will be started, and that’s cool with me.

I hope this post was helpful to you, fellow blogger. This can be done. You can make full-time income blogging, and you can turn it into a six-figure business.

Take my mistakes and learn from them. Once you do make six figures, do me a favor? Shoot me an email, so I can have a virtual dance party for you.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 2.2.16
    Nichole said:

    Holy cow, woman! I guess it has been that many years since you started blogging…way back when we were all on the MSN GC. Time flies. I love this post. Especially ’cause it’s free. I’ve come across so many posts that are really just teasers trying to get folks to buy the ebook. That’s frustrating to someone who’s new and not making an income from their blog. I will definitely be sharing this with other blogger friends and I hope, someday, when I’m fully up and running (and posting more than once a month) that you’ll give me a shout-out.

  2. 2.2.16
    Val said:

    Happy for you. You work hard. You are a giver. All of these good things are expected to come your way. Enjoy the ride!!

  3. 2.2.16
    Nichole said:

    Good for you!! It’s been a joy to see all of your hard work pay off.

  4. 2.2.16
    Roshini said:

    Thanks for sharing this Amiyrah, it’s so inspiring!! I’ve decided that 2016 will be different for me as well so this makes me feel even more encouraged that it truly is possible. All the best. <3

  5. 2.2.16

    I LOVE this post! You’ve given me so many things to think about. And I have made some of those same mistakes this year- especially the e-course. Thanks so much for sharing your growth and your wisdom… and what you’ve learned from your mistakes. I am so impressed by your accomplishments!

  6. 2.2.16

    I learn so much from you and I appreciate you sharing your goods and bads with us. I really can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for you, I’m a fan!

  7. 2.2.16
    Kat said:

    Yes! What an awesome breakdown! You hustle girl. You deserve every penny you make and more!

  8. 2.2.16
    JulieK said:

    Wowza you are amazing! Can you (or have you) talk more about this blog agent thing? How do you connect with one? TY

  9. 2.2.16
    Shell said:

    Way to go, my sweet friend! <3

  10. 2.3.16
    Leanne said:

    Thank you so much! I needed to read this post in the worst way and I was thrilled when I saw Brandi post it. 2016 is going to be my year 🙂

  11. 2.3.16
    Amy said:

    Wow! This article is absolutely fantastic, Amiyrah! Thank you SO much for taking time to share your positives and negatives. It’s truly appreciated, and very helpful for those of us still navigating how to make this blogging business thing work for us. You work tirelessly, share generously, and deserve every penny you earn, my friend. So proud of you and all of your successes!

  12. 2.3.16
    Bebe said:

    Thanks for the honest post. I really love your $64 grocery budget series but only when you do. I had no interest in the other contributors. I could read about you shopping at Aldi every week and seeing the meal plans you create. Those are so helpful.

    • 2.3.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Thank you so much for that feedback, Bebe!

  13. 2.3.16

    You are a rockstar … love this post, but am well aware of just how much you bust your cute derriere. You deserve many accolades my dear xxx

  14. 2.3.16

    You are amazing! I’m so happy for you – you and your family deserve every bit of that six-figure income! 🙂

  15. 2.11.16
    Veronica said:

    This was really helpful for me! I appreciate the fact that you shared this valuable info. I also think that you have such a big heart to be so willing to assist others in the blog community. All the best to you in 2016!

    • 2.12.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Thank you, Veronica!

  16. 2.21.16
    Ginger said:

    Amiyrah, would you be interested in a twist on your $64/week budget? We do monthly shopping to keep costs down. Let me know if you think your readers would be interested.

    • 2.22.16
      Amiyrah said:

      My monthly shopping post is coming soon, Ginger! I’m going to share what I loved (and didn’t love) about doing it on our budget. Stay tuned!