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How to Start a Fashion Blog and Make Money [2020 Guide]

Wondering how to start a fashion blog and make money in 2020? This guide contains everything you need to know to get started.

Now, there are many guides floating around the internet about how to start a blog. I’ve even seen a few that focus specifically on starting a fashion blog.

Here’s the problem with 99% of these guides:

They’re not written by actual full time bloggers, let alone full time fashion bloggers.

In fact, most of these guides are published by people trying to make a quick dollar off of web hosting commissions (we’ll talk about hosting later on).

This guide is different. It’s written by someone who runs a profitable six figure fashion blog (me), and it’s the last guide you’ll ever need to read before starting your own blog.

But first…

What Is a Fashion Blog?

A fashion blog is – you guessed it – a blog about fashion. Specifically, it’s a website that’s typically run by an individual person who’s passionate about all things fashion and style.

Extra Petite blog
Extra Petite is one of the most popular women’s fashion blogs out there.

Of course, many larger blogs have a team of employees and operate more like an online magazine.

The content could include style advice, clothing reviews, outfit ideas, sale round ups, celebrity style breakdowns and any other fashion-related content.

Most fashion blogs are geared toward a certain type of person, and this is usually based off who the founder/blogger is.

Some are very niche (e.g., style for shorter men), and others target more of a broader audience (e.g., women who like to shop).

I’ll talk more about choosing a good niche later on. Either way, a fashion blog publishes content in the form of “blog posts” which are just articles full of text, images and links.

What It Is Not…

A fashion blog is not a shop. While many online clothing retailers have blogs on their website, most fashion blogs aren’t selling any physical products.

While some e-commerce brands have a blog on their site, they wouldn’t be categorized as a blog. They’re usually just using a blog to drive traffic to their store.

You might be wondering how fashion bloggers make money without selling anything. I’ll cover that in detail below!

Just remember: a blog is sort of like a casual online magazine or newspaper, although most blogs only publish 1-5x per week (while many online newspapers publish several times a day).

Should You Even Start A Fashion Blog?

It depends. Blogging is very rewarding in many different ways. First of all, it’s an excellent creative outlet. Most fashion bloggers are super passionate about their own personal style, and they want to share what they know with the world.

It can be very rewarding to teach others how to improve their appearance, and to put yourself out there as an enthusiast or even an expert in your field.

Second, you can make a lot of money with a fashion blog. The top fashion bloggers are making 6 and even 7 figures per year, and they’re doing it on their own terms.

As a full time blogger myself, I can honestly say that this job isn’t easy, but it’s extremely fulfilling, and it provides a sense of freedom and flexibility that most people will never experience.

Last but not least, being a blogger – especially a fashion blogger – often comes with a bit of “fame” (for lack of a better word).

Once you build an audience, you may even run into readers out in real life, which is a very cool experience!

I’m not saying you’ll turn into an A list celebrity overnight, but many fashion bloggers garner a bit of internet celebrity over time, especially since more and more time and money is being spent on “influencer” marketing.

This isn’t the case with some types of blogs. For example, if you have a website about pest control, you could make a lot of money, but you probably won’t be in the spotlight very often.

As a fashion blogger, you will likely be the subject of most of your photos, and you’ll have social media accounts tied to your name and face.

This “celebrity” factor will lead to many opportunities, including lots of free products and experiences. Here’s one small example:

Through my own men’s style blog, I’ve built a relationship with a marketing agency specializing in the auto industry. So I can get free rental cars in most major cities, in exchange for featuring the car on social media.

These kinds of perks are very cool, but it’s not necessarily something everyone is interested in. Just something to keep in mind!

What Are Some Successful Examples Already Out There?

There are SO many successful fashion bloggers out there, which is a great sign. That means that this niche is very lucrative, albeit competitive.

It’s better to have lots of competition than to have no competition. If no one else is doing it, it’s probably not a great way to make a living.Here are 5 examples of highly successful fashion blogs:

1. Dappered

This site is sort of a “consumer reports” for men’s fashion. Joe, its anonymous founder, has grown Dappered into one of the most popular resources on the internet for guys who want to dress well and find the best deals on clothing and accessories.

Dappered is an established and trusted blog that helps guys look great without breaking the bank.

Dappered is monetized mostly through affiliate programs and display advertising. They don’t do sponsored content, and they’re not very big into social media.

Dappered also has a small but active forum where men can post questions and discuss style-related topic.

This is an example of a blogger who stuck to his guns and consistently published helpful content, year after year, slowly building up revenue each month.

It’s hard to say how much revenue a site like Dappered generates, but it’s likely a healthy 5 figures per month.

2. Who What Wear

Here’s a simple fashion blog that turned into an online magazine and (eventually) into a media company that has:

  • Raised $13m from major venture funds, including Amazon
  • Secured a retail partnership with Target
  • Acquired additional blogs like The Thirty and Collegefashionista
Who What Wear is way more than a “blog” at this point, which is a testament to just how lucrative the blogging business can be.

This is an example of just how far you can take a blog. Most bloggers won’t (or don’t want to) take things to this level, but it’s definitely possible, and a blog is an excellent starting point.

3. Effortless Gent

Barron Cuadro, founder, teaches guys how to dress well while keeping their wardrobe lean (and without spending a ton of money).

He’s one of the OG’s of menswear blogging, and his site has stood the test of time.

Effortless Gent is another men’s fashion blog that has built a loyal audience over time and provides a nice living for its founder.

Effortless Gent monetizes with display ads, affiliate marketing, paid brand partnerships and digital products (courses and e-guides).

Unlike the other bloggers on this list, Barron has also experimented with 1-on-1 coaching (i.e., image consulting) and premium digital products (i.e., membership sites).

Barron has been a full time blogger for many years now.

4. Gentleman’s Gazette

Sven Raphael Schneider, founder of Gentleman’s Gazette, is often referred to as a living menswear encyclopedia.

Gentleman’s Gazette has mastered the art of producing high quality content that gets tons of search traffic from Google.

Put simply, the man knows his stuff!

And he’s built one of the most popular independent men’s fashion resources on the internet.

Like many successful blogs, GG has expanded to include an online shop. They now sell their own line of men’s accessories, including ties, gloves, socks and pocket squares.

This is now a seven figure business with multiple revenue streams and multiple contributors on staff, and it started out as a simple fashion blog for men.

5. The Modest Man

Founded by yours truly, this site has provided me with a “full time” income for over 3 years now.

While TMM started as a fashion blog geared toward shorter men, it covers a wider variety of topics around both height and fashion.

At the time of writing, it generates 5 figures revenue each month and 6 figures profit each year. I take a monthly draw from the business each month to pay my rent and other living expenses.

Like Effortless Gent and most other fashion blogs, The Modest Man (TMM) earns revenue from ads, affiliate programs, sponsorships and – to a lesser degree – digital products.

TMM is an example of a niche fashion blog, as the main topic is style for shorter men. Now that the site has plenty of domain authority, I cover lots of different topics that aren’t so specific.

But I think it’s important to niche down at the beginning, when you first start blogging (more on that later).

Almost all of the traffic to The Modest Man is organic (from Google search). That’s why so much of my content here at Full Time Blog is about SEO. I’ve seen the power of organic traffic at work on my own websites.

What Do You Need To Get Started?

TL;DR

  1. Domain Name – Use Namecheap or buy it through your host (Siteground is my favorite for beginners)
  2. Hosting – Go with Siteground, my top pick for beginner bloggers. You can always upgrade later on once you start raking in the traffic!
  3. CMS – There’s really only one option here, and that’s WordPress.org. Every serious fashion blogger uses WordPress, not Squarespace, Wix, Weebly or anything else.
  4. Theme – I strongly recommend Astra and StudioPress themes, but you can find lots of great free themes too. Even the default WordPress themes are pretty good for beginners. Don’t overthink the look and feel of your site right now. Focus on the content strategy and getting posts published.
  5. Plugins – Assuming you go with WordPress, I recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin right away. Don’t worry about anything else for now.

Starting your own fashion blog doesn’t have to be super complicated, but there are a few things you should think about before getting started.

If you put a little time and effort in at the beginning, you’ll avoid some headaches down the road. It’s no fun to change your web host or domain name after you’ve already built up an established site.

So let’s talk first about the technical side of starting a fashion blog.

The Technical Part

Unless you’re some sort of coder or computer programmer, you’re probably wondering how to get an actual website up and running – and how much it’s going to cost you.

The first question is: what is a website?

It’s really just a bunch of files on a specific type of computer called a server. If your website is a house, the server is the pot of land your house sits on top of.

Companies called “web hosts” or “hosting companies” basically rent you space on their servers for all of your website files. You pay them to “serve” your website to visitors from around the world.

No matter how your website is built, it will be hosted somewhere. For example, if you used a service like Squarespace, your website files will be hosted on Squarespace computers.

I’ve tried many of the most popular hosts your money can buy, and I strongly recommend Siteground for beginners.

For new fashion blogs, Siteground’s StartUp plan is the best choice.

Their entry level plan is just a few dollars per month, and their customer service is amazing. They’ll even help you get your site up and running.

Once you have your host, or plot of land, you need your foundation. For a house, this is the concrete base, wooden framing and utility hookups.

For a website, the “foundation” is called a content management system (CMS). A good CMS handles all of the stuff that’s invisible to visitors but crucial for your site to function properly (just like your home’s plumbing is invisible, but vital).

By far, our favorite CMS is WordPress. Specifically, we like self-hosted websites built with WordPress.org (not WordPress.com, which is like a Wix or Squarespace).

Once you’ve got a good foundation/CMS, it’s time to think about the look and feel of your site. This is usually determined by your site’s theme.

If you use WordPress, there are thousands of themes to choose from, including many great free options. There are also plenty of premium options that won’t cost very much and that we think are worth investing in.

A small selection of the thousands of free themes available for websites built on the WordPress framework.

Most themes let you change the aesthetic of your site without any coding. For example, if you want to change the color of your links, that’s typically very easy.

Some themes require custom development (i.e., coding).

This site is built on the default WordPress theme. The Modest Man is built on a custom Genesis theme.

If you’re just getting started, it’s totally okay to start with a free WordPress theme for now.

What About the Domain Name?

Your domain name is kind of like your house’s address. It’s how people find your site. If you want people to come over, you can’t just say “go to my house”. They need an actual address they can use to find your exact location.

On the internet, that address is your domain name. Well, technically, it’s your IP address, and your domain name is more like your house’s nickname, but don’t worry too much about the technical side of things 😉

There are many places to buy a domain name, but I recommend buying it from your hosting company, if possible, for the sake of simplicity. So if you choose Siteground as your host, just buy your domain there.

I’ll talk about choosing a name and domain name for your fashion blog in another section below.

Can You Start a Fashion Blog for Free?

You can start a fashion blog for free, but I don’t recommend it for a few reasons:

  1. You won’t be able to have your own domain name, so your site will live at fashionblog.wordpress.com instead of fashionblog.com.
  2. You’ll only save about $10/month (or less).
  3. When you decide to upgrade, it’s going to be a total pain to migrate your site.

That said, if you really don’t want to spend money at the beginning, I still recommend going with WordPress, but you need to go to WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is kind of like Squarespace. They’ll host your site for you, and they’ll give you some easy-to-use tools to choose a name, build your site and start publishing content.

Again, this isn’t something I recommend unless you absolutely need to start your fashion blog for free.

Niching Down: Fashion Blog Ideas

I’m not going to lie to you: blogging is competitive. There are many fashion blogs already out there, and more are popping up every day.

That’s not a bad thing, but it does make it harder for new bloggers to stand out from the crowd.

That’s why I recommend niching down at the beginning. If you choose a specific niche – especially one that’s not too crowded – you’ll have an easier time getting traffic to your site.

Once you get a bit of authority, you can always expand the scope of your blog to cover broader topics that apply to more people.

Here’s an easy way to niche down:

The 2 Qualifier Rule

Most people who want to start a blog already have some idea about what kind of blog they want.

Maybe you already have a very specific idea, which is great. But if you’re just wanting to start a “fashion blog” and don’t have a particular niche picked out, try this exercise:

Start with your main topic, then add 2 unique qualifiers to it. Qualifiers can be anything from demographics to budget to geography.

Here are 5 examples of the 2 Qualifier Rule in action:

  1. Fashion > Fashion for men > Fashion for older men
  2. Cooking > Cooking for moms > Cooking for single moms
  3. Fitness > Fitness for women > Fitness for busy women
  4. Travel > Solo travel > Solo travel on a budget
  5. Gaming > iOS Gaming > Free iOS gaming

To come up with these qualifiers, think of attributes that make you unique. It could simple, obvious stuff like your age, gender, ethnicity or geography.

Or it could be less obvious stuff like your family or financial situation.

Here’s the beauty of niching down based on these unique qualifiers: 

There are millions of other people around the world who share some or all of these attributes that make you unique, and they’re all searching for information and advice online.

If you’re an older guy who wants to improve his appearance, you’ll be much more attracted to a fashion blog run by a stylish older man.

Why? Because he knows what it’s like to be your age. He’s in the same stage of life and probably has similar taste, budget, etc.

If you’re a busy single mom looking to prepare a quick meal, you’ll feel more confident that you’ll find the perfect recipe at singlemomcooking.com vs. genericfoodblog.com.

So before you pick a name for your fashion blog, spend some time playing around with qualifiers, and see if you can come up with a great niche.

And note: it’s okay if someone else is already in that same niche. That’s a good sign!

How To Pick A Name (and Domain Name)

For a fashion blog, the domain name should be exactly the same as your blog’s name.

For example, my site is called The Modest Man, and my domain is themodestman.com (I also bought modestman.com just to strengthen the brand).

If you already have a name picked out, go to Siteground and use their domain finder to see if it’s available.

A .com is still the best way to go, but it’s okay to use a different ending if you really love the name.

Otherwise, try to pick a blog name that has the .com available.

If you’re not set on a name yet, it’s time to start brainstorming. The best blog names have a few things going for them:

  1. The exact domain is available (preferably the .com)
  2. They’re easy to remember
  3. They’re short (2-3 words is the sweet spot)
  4. They’re easy to spell
  5. They’re descriptive

For point #4, imagine you’re telling your grandma the blog of your blog over the phone. Could she type it into the browser on her iPad? Or would you have to spell it out for her?

Ideally, people will know how to spell your blog’s name if you say it out loud.

For point #5, take this with a grain of salt. There are many popular blogs and websites that fantastic names that aren’t descriptive (like Google and Amazon).

These names have a lot going for them – they’re emotive and easy to remember – so it’s okay that they’re not descriptive.

Google is way better than greatsearchengine.com, and Amazon is way better than everythingstore.com.

That said, most fashion blogs have somewhat descriptive names. For example:

  • Extra Petite
  • Real Men Real Style
  • The Curvy Fashionista
  • One Dapper Street
  • He Spoke Style

You may not know exactly what these blogs are about, but you know the general topic, and oftentimes the name describes the target audience as well.

When I first started my blog, I actually bought the domain name shortmanstyle.com. After some debate, I decided that it was too obvious and blunt, and I ended up brainstorming different ways to imply the idea of shorter stature without actually saying it.

I had used the phrase “men of modest height” and ended up going with The Modest Man.

Luckily, themodestman.com was available, and I actually ended up buying modestman.com a couple years later, just to strengthen the brand.

My point is, you don’t have to pick something super obvious.

Just set a timer for 10 minutes, and start writing ideas down – no matter how dumb they seem – until the timer runs out.

You can always get extra ideas from friends and family, and it’s helpful to plug some of the words on your list into a thesaurus to see if anything good comes up.

Maybe there’s a better way to describe a certain body type or budget you’re targeting.

Once you have your list narrowed down, head over to Siteground’s domain finder, and see what’s available.

Again, try to find a .com, as it’s still the most preferred type of domain from a user perspective (and possible an SEO perspective too).

Can You Get a Free Domain Name?

The only way to get a free domain name is by using a free website builder like WordPress.com, Weebly or Wix.

The problem is, your domain name will be yoursite.wordpress.com, which looks very amateur and is horrible for search engine optimization (SEO).

Domains only cost about $10/year, so I highly recommend staying away from free domains and website builders.

How To Create a Logo For Your Blog

Let me just say this upfront: you don’t need a “brand” or logo to get started. The best branding in the world won’t get you any traffic, so don’t spend too much (if any) time on this part.

The original version of The Modest Man site didn’t have any logo or customized colors. In fact, I didn’t hire a designer to make a logo until I had well over 50k monthly visitors to the blog.

This is the original (boring, ugly and slightly cringe-worthy) version of my blog’s homepage, built on a default free WordPress theme.

So I would strongly advise spending your time on content, rather than trying to get the perfect logo.

That said, if you really want a logo, here’s how to get one:

  1. Ask a Friend – Everyone knows a graphic designer, and most designers love working on brand developrment and logos. Just don’t ask them to do it for free!
  2. Use Fiverr – This is a budget-friendly option, and you’ll get budget-friendly results, but it’s something.
  3. Use Upwork – Similar to Fiverr but with more premium options, Upwork is a freelance marketplace that’s used by designers of all levels. There are some gems on Upwork, but also many unskilled designers. Tread carefully…
  4. Use 99 Designs – This will be more expensive than Fiverr and Upwork, but it will likely yield better results.

Just to re-emphasize my thoughts on fashion blog branding and logos: if I could start over from scratch, I would not worry about getting a logo at the beginning.

How to Get a Free Logo

If you’re not ready to spend money hiring a logo designer, but you really don’t want to launch your fashion blog without any sort of branding, here’s what you can do:

Use Canva

You can use a freemium design app called Canva to make your own logo and/or word mark (a typeface logo).

Canva has a whole library of logo templates you can use to create a logo for your fashion blog – for free.

Canva actually has a whole library of logo templates you can start from. You just have to be mindful of choosing the right colors.

I recommend using Adobe’s Color tool. You can start with a color you love (your primary brand color), then it will help you decide on a set of complimentary colors that can be used for your logo, social media graphics and anything else you end up creating for your site.

How To Make Money With a Fashion Blog

Want to know one of the best parts about being a fashion blogger?

Having multiple revenue streams.

Most fashion blogs have more than one revenue stream, some more passive than others.

The three most popular revenue streams for fashion bloggers are:

  1. Advertising
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Sponsorships

Let’s look at each one in a bit more detail.

Advertising

Ads have been around since the early days of the internet, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Sure, some people use ad blocking browser extensions to avoid seeing any ads as they browse the web, but most people still allow ads, and most websites still make money from displaying them.

These are display ads served up by AdThrive, the ad network I use for my blog, themodestman.com.

On websites (including fashion blogs), there are a few different kinds of ads.

  • Demand ads – sold and fulfilled by ad networks like Google, Mediavine and AdThrive
  • Direct ads – sold directly to brands and maintained by you (the website owner)
  • Video ads – pre, mid and post roll ads shown in video players on your site

When you first start your fashion blog, you won’t have much traffic, so you won’t have access to premium ad networks like AdThrive, which typically require at least 25k page views per month (if not more).

This means you’ll have to use Google Adsense or sell your own inventory directly to brand partners.

I recommend using Google Adsense until you have at least 25k page views per month, but don’t expect to make any real money for a while.

Display ads are usually purchased at a certain “cost per mille” (CPM) or cost per thousand impressions. For example, a company might pay a $10 CPM for an ad on your site, which means you get $10 for every thousand impressions that ad receives.

An impression is a page view. So if your site is getting 10,000 page views per month, you’ll earn $100 per month from that ad.

Granted, you can have multiple ads on your site, and it is possible to have higher CPMs, but my point is that ads don’t generate meaningful revenue without lots of traffic.

Fear not, though! There are other ways to make money as a fashion blogger…

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another popular and lucrative revenue stream for fashion bloggers.

You, the blogger, act as an affiliate for a brand by sending traffic to their online shop. When that traffic converts into customers, you get paid a commission for each purchase.

On my blog, almost every post contains affiliate links; there’s also a sidebar “favorites” widgets with affiliate links.

For example, if you’re part of Amazon Associates, which is Amazon.com’s affiliate program, and you show off a pair of jeans you got from Amazon in a look book post, you can link to those jeans on Amazon using an affiliate link.

This affiliate link lets Amazon keep track of any purchases made by your readers who clicked through to buy the jeans.

An example of Amazon Associates affiliate program commissions; the column to the right is how much I earned on each transaction.

Here’s the best part: you don’t just get credit if they buy the jeans. You get credit for anything they buy on Amazon.

It’s just like when a sales person is paid by commission for any sales they generate.

Most fashion and apparel affiliate programs pay their affiliates between 3-10% of the sale price. So if your reader clicks your affiliate link and buys a $100 pair of jeans, you’ll earn $3-10.

Many brands have their own individual affiliate programs that are hosted on affiliate networks like ShareASale or Commission Junction.

Their are also a handful of aggregates like RewardStyle and Skimlinks that let you create affiliate links for thousands of brands from one convenient dashboard.

An affiliate conversion for GREATS through RewardStyle

For fashion bloggers, the most popular affiliate network is RewardStyle, and for good reason: they work with all of the most popular fashion brands and have a variety of tools that make it easy to promote these brands as an affiliate.

Right now, RewardStyle is only available by invitation. If you already have an active blog that’s getting traffic and need an invite, feel free to get in touch with me.

If you’re just getting started, don’t worry about joining any affiliate program until your site is up and running and you have a few posts published (at least 10).

After that, sign up for Amazon Associates, and start adding affiliate links to your content.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is one of the most lucrative ways for online publishers to make money from their websites and content.

An example of a sponsored blog post on The Modest Man

From major online magazines to solo content creators, most publishers are working with brands on a paid basis.

I’m not saying you have to go this route. Some blogs don’t do any sponsored content, and readers generally appreciate this approach.

For example, The Wirecutter took an aggressive stance against paid reviews, which helped it reach a $20 million valuation and sell to The New York Times.

One of my favorite food blogs, Minimalist Baker, doesn’t do any sponsored content. They make most of their money from advertising and affiliate programs.

In the world of fashion blogging, sponsored content is very common, especially for small independent blogs, as these are often lumped into “influencer marketing” budgets.

Should you work with sponsors?

I think that, done correctly, it’s one of the best ways to start earning a living as a fashion blogger.

How To Start Getting Traffic to Your Blog

I’m going to be brutally honest here: when you first start blogging, you’re not going to have any traffic for a while, and it’s not going to feel great.

You’ll be putting a lot of work into creating your first blog posts, and no one will even notice.

This is okay!

You need to focus on getting plenty of high quality content published before you start focusing on traffic.

That said, here are three things you can do to get traffic right out of the gate.

#1: Use Social Media

This one is obvious. If you have a Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest account, be sure to post links to your new articles on these platforms.

Don’t be afraid to post your content to your personal feeds. Facebook tends to give these more exposure than brand/business pages.

Chances are, your friends and family will be excited to see what you’re creating, and they may even share it with other people (okay, maybe just your mom will share it with her friends, but it’s a start!).

#2: Learn Basic SEO

I know that you probably didn’t get into blogging because you’re passionate about how search engines work, but you need to understand the basic principles of search engine optimization (SEO) if you’re serious about becoming a full time blogger.

I promise, this is much easier and more fun than it sounds, and if you put some time in at the beginning, you’ll have a huge advantage over most fashion bloggers.

#3: Network Like Crazy

This is more of a long term strategy, but you should start meeting other fashion bloggers sooner than later.

Nothing beats a real, in person connection, so go to local meet ups, or travel to conferences if you have to.

Trust me, you’re going to want to make friends and build your network early on. This will make guest posting much easier, and you might even make some great friends in the process. Some of my closest friends are people I met while networking as a new blogger.

At the very least, make it a point to email your favorite bloggers and say hi. Don’t ask for anything – you’re just trying to get on their radar right now.

Maybe send them a compliment and let them know that you shared their latest post with your small-but-growing audience.

What About Instagram and YouTube?

These days, it’s increasingly rare to find a fashion blogger who isn’t simultaneously building an audience on social media and/or YouTube.

I still think your website should be the home base. It’s very easy to monetize, and many people will always prefer the written format over video or social media.

Plus, people will never stop Googling fashion related questions, and the Google search results are mostly full of webpages (i.e., blog posts).

An example of monthly search volume for a set of specific, fashion related questions (i.e., stuff people are Googling)

It’s not a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket by relying solely on one source of traffic.

I see so many Instagram “influencers” out there whose livelihood would dry up if that platform went away.

These people haven’t created a business. They’ve created a job for themselves. Granted, it’s a cool job, but it’s still a job.

A website, on the other hand, can be a real business. I could walk away from my site for six months, and it would continue to earn revenue each month, with or without my involvement.

Sure, I earn revenue from sponsorships, some of which take place on Instagram or YouTube, but I don’t rely on this revenue stream like so many influencers do.

That’s why I don’t put myself in the “influencer” category. I’m not an influencer. I run a media company, and I publish content wherever my audience is.

Right now, they’re on blogs, YouTube and Instagram.

So should every fashion blogger have a YouTube channel and Instagram profile?

The Modest Man IG profile as of February 5, 2020. It’s honestly not the most important platform for my business right now.

Yes, they should. But you don’t need to tackle all of these platforms right at the beginning.

Think about what you enjoy doing most, and go after that. If you hate writing, YouTube might be a better place to get started.

If you’re scared of the camera or don’t have time to learn the basics of video production right now, start with a blog.

Either way, I believe that you should have a website, even if YouTube is where the majority of your audience is.

To put it in perspective, my YouTube channel gets more views than my blog, but the blog earns more revenue, and it’s mostly passive.

So it’s not as exciting as YouTube. I’m not going to get famous from blogging. But it’s a much more important part of the business.

When to Go Full Time

I wish there was a “one size fits all” answer to this question, but just like with socks and gloves, the “one size” approach doesn’t work very well.

To decide when you can become a full time fashion blogger really depends on a few things:

  1. Your monthly financial needs
  2. Your long-term financial goals
  3. Your family situation
  4. Your risk tolerance

For most people, it makes sense to go full time when 70% of their blogging profits match or exceed their job income.

Note: I said “profits” not revenue. When you’re self-employed, you have to pay your expenses first, then set aside roughly 30% of the remainder for taxes (self-employment tax, federal income tax, and state taxes).

So if your blog is making $5k per month, you might only get to keep half of it (after expenses and taxes are paid).

If you don’t know what your total monthly expenses are, do some quick math:

Add up your regular monthly expenses. Then add up your major annual expenses (e.g., IRA contribution, vacation funds, etc.), divide by 12 and add to your monthly total.

Now that you have your total monthly expense number, you can estimate how much revenue you’ll need from blogging to cover everything.

Remember to subtract expenses (roughly 20%) and taxes (30%) from your total revenue.

For me, I left my full time blog when my blog was generating about $7k per month. Keep in mind, I was single with no kids and had just moved to a city with a very low cost of living (my rent was $600).

If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have quit my job, which provided a $90k salary.

It’s going to take a while…

But here’s the good news: you can absolutely build your blogging business on the side, while working your full time blog.

The income you’ll build is mostly passive, so it keeps on paying even when you can’t put a ton of time in, and it tends to build gradually over time, assuming you continue to publish great content on a regular basis.

But it’s totally worth it!

There’s a motto among the digital marketing / passive income crowd that I find really motivating:

If you’re willing to do what other people aren’t in the short term, you’ll be able to live like most people can’t in the long term.

After working in 9-to-5 office jobs for years, I’ve built profitable six figure website that pays me enough to live anywhere in the world comfortably – after expenses, taxes, etc.

I still contribute to my retirement account, pay my mortgage (I have a rental property) and put a lot of money back into my business.

I’m not a millionaire (yet), and I don’t have a yacht or a chest full of gold watches. But I do have more flexibility and freedom than most people my age.

So you don’t have to slave away for years. You can build “full time” income in as little as 18-36 months, if you know what you’re doing.

And that’s exactly what I’m here for – to help you get there faster.

Got questions? Leave a comment below!

1 reply on “How to Start a Fashion Blog and Make Money [2020 Guide]”

Brock,

This advice is awesome and has really helped me focus my roadmap for trying my own blog that isn’t even fashion-related. I’ve read this entire blog today, along with much of the advice you’ve shared on reddit. I so appreciate finding an honest source of advice, as many other guides to creating a blog are clearly targeting further revenue generation from their referrals over providing genuine recommendations. Congrats on your success!

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