Webinar. How to be a millionaire from your blog. Really.

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You would not know from my blog that I actually make money from it. The first reason you wouldn’t know is that there are no ads on the blog. The second reason you wouldn’t know is that I haven’t posted in a week.

In fact, though, blogging has made me tons of money. I could say millions. It’s sort of semantic though, the millions part, because even being the Big Mac guy at McDonald’s makes you millions if you add up salary from a forty-year career of burger flipping.

I tell you guys all the time to forget about making money from your blog. But I also tell you to post at least three times a week to have a blog that is useful. And look, I’m violating that rule. So I think I’ll just go ahead and violate my other rule, too: I’m going to do a webinar about how to make money from blogging without running ads. (It’s Wednesday, March 31 at 8 pm eastern. Sign up here. )

I guess that another thing about my webinar about making money from a blog will be that it takes a lot of self-discipline.

I think I have self-discipline, but honestly, I’m not sure. Because right now the only thing I’m doing on a daily basis is obsessing about what color to paint the dining room of the farmhouse that I want to treat as the historical building that it is, but I’m drawn to geographically inappropriate color schemes from French provincial life.

For an example of someone who is not messing up her blog via semi-systematic neglect, check out Maria Killam’s blog Colour Me Happy. I first started noticing her when she linked to me a bunch of times. Here’s a tidbit: I always check out people who link to me; blogging is not only a tool for gauging one’s self-discipline, but also gauging one’s self-absorption.

So anyway, late at night, when I “?m trying to procrastinate without stooping to watching Britain’s Got Talent reruns on You Tube. (Here’s one of my favorites.) I go to Maria’s blog and look at the photos. She’s so weird about the photos because they are beautiful but generally unrelated to the post, and somehow she makes that work.

I went there so many times that every time I found myself with a color problem — like being obsessed with pink for the bedroom even though the farmer has said no, definitely no — I think to myself, “What would Maria do?”

So I hired her as my color consultant. Well, she actually said she’d do it for free. But I would have paid her. And this will be part of my webinar: It’s not really blogging that makes you millions. It’s doing work for free that makes you millions. And I’ll tell how to decide what to do.

There. That was catchy and enticing. Great. Sign up here for the webinar.

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  1. LPC
    LPC says:

    I’m thinking, you’re my favorite blogger. Why don’t I link to you? Because you are like a secret perversion that I want to keep to myself. And hide my sense of recognition about what you say from the rest of the world.

  2. Beth Nerbonne
    Beth Nerbonne says:

    Please please please record the webinars. I love them and it makes me so sad when I can’t watch them. It sounds sort of like I’m a needy girlfriend, but I actually just tried to figure out if I could change my schedule tomorrow so I can watch it. (I can’t).
    Yeah, so that’s my needy girlfriend plea. (And I’ve looked at Colour Me Happy and just forwarded the link to my sister and my friend who both just bought houses and both are repainting.)

  3. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    Frankly, historically appropriate colors is a bunch of BS. Just like thinking “classical music” is more authentic than new music.

    The people of those time periods were doing something new and innovative with their color schemes, their music, their language, their fashion. They would think we’re utterly perverse for trying to replicate the original.

    So go boring farmhouse grey if you want, but realize that choosing to replicate an older color scheme is, in itself, a new trend.

    /steps off soapbox

    Also, I love the theme of your next webinar. Wish I could watch it.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is great commentary on color, Tzipporah. Thank.

      Great commentary on choosing a color, but also, on choosing a life. I mean, at some point every career scheme is just like every color scheme: Revolutionary and daring, and then regularly copied due to fear of missteps.


  4. Lissy Carr
    Lissy Carr says:

    Hello! Just a minor FYI, Wednesday is actually March 31…not March 30 (as you write in the post). In the “Thank You For Registering,” the date is right so it’s all good…but unforch, I can’t tune in on Weds which is a total bummer. I second Beth Nerbonne’s request!

  5. LPC
    LPC says:

    Oh, but despite my keeping you on the side like a mistress I still signed up for the webinar. Maybe I can ask another question that makes you laugh. And btw this is completely platonic love, just to be clear.

  6. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Would love to tune in, but 5PM pacific time is just not doable as a working mum with two small children. Of course, so is posting 3 times a week to my blog!

    Another push here for webinars that can be re-broadcast so I can watch them while on the exercise bike or cleaning the kitchen.

  7. Anita Junttila
    Anita Junttila says:

    Penelope, I just called my sister Maria, and told her she’s officially ‘arrived’. Marias’ work ethic is something I’ve always admired and you can see the results in her amazing blog. Kisses to you for your honest, tell it like it is, blog (you get ‘it’ and as a mom in the ‘burbs I relate to all your posts on parenting, relationships and well, just about everything else) and for your shout out to Maria. She is a gifted designer and your new home will be beautiful following your consultation with her! xo

  8. Jorge Lazaro Diaz
    Jorge Lazaro Diaz says:

    I listened in last week and thought you were OK. It struck me as many of the things you discussed on interviewing were sort of obvious. I guess I’ve been at my CareerJockey.org thing so long I was expecting more.

    I’d definitely listen in on this one, but my daughters are in town for Spring/Easter break and we’re having a big dinner for them. I’d really be nice if you could archive these for listening after the fact.

    • Sheryl Sabinski
      Sheryl Sabinski says:

      Keep in mind that by the time you reach the 40 year mark at McDonalds, you’ll probably have received 40 pay raises, so $1,000,000 would be the low end. Ok, I think we’ve offically kicked this (bad comment) dead dog enough times.

  9. Joe
    Joe says:

    Uh, check your math on the McDonalds guy. No way working 40 years as a grunt at McDonalds makes you even one million.

    The highest minimum wage in the US is in Washington, at $8.55/hr.

    $8.55 * 40 * 52 * 40 = $711,360

    Let’s not pretend we’re all millionaires just yet.

    • Beth Nerbonne
      Beth Nerbonne says:

      While that’s both interesting and mildly depressing, I think her point was more that she wasn’t saying “look at me, I blog and I’m a millionaire” because it’s been money made over time, and it’s all relative because some people who do not make a lot of money could say they made millions if they add it all up.

      However, I take your point. Our minimum wage is pathetic, even at its highest. Unemployment benefits are even worse. Something truly needs to be done.

    • Chuck
      Chuck says:

      With even modest assumptions about compound interest, that person would earn well over $1,000,000 in their lifetime.

      • Chuck
        Chuck says:

        But Penny’s point was about earnings FROM working at McDonald’s, so I think you’re probably right and I’m off-topic.

    • Jacqueline
      Jacqueline says:

      But the minimum wage continues to be increased over time. So realistically, someone working minimum wage for 40 years starting now probably will make a million dollars.

  10. Brent
    Brent says:

    Your shift to webinars is combining with your sharp decrease in number of blog posts to make me much less interested in this blog. Especially when the one post you make in a week is just a plug for the webinar. This blog doesn’t feel like much of a blog these days; but it used to be my favorite one. I miss that version of this blog.

    • Beth Nerbonne
      Beth Nerbonne says:

      I do have to concur with Brent on this one. I love love love your webinars, but miss your blog. I realize you have a life and it’s hard to balance everything, but you already know that your blog is suffering. Hence, the difficulty of maintaining a self-discipline.

  11. Chuck
    Chuck says:

    Webinar? What a strange term.

    Wouldn’t something like “live video chat” be a little less jargony?

  12. Beth Nerbonne
    Beth Nerbonne says:

    jargon–>vernacular–>accepted speech–>dictionary entry

    remember, the verb “unfriend” was the word of the year last year. for some reason.

    it’s like 6 degrees of kevin bacon, but for vocabularly

  13. GInger Rose
    GInger Rose says:

    Shame on you. You’re sounding like a skeevy late-night informercial hawker. There are no guarantees of web profitability, unless you’re posting excellent porn and/or poker.

  14. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I love love love your writing and wish wish wish you gave a little more notice for your webinars. I know your mind is on paint colours and I am jealous of your relationship with the farmer and the farmhouse AND it would be cool if you sent out even a one liner to give a head’s up on the webinar even if you follow with a full post later.

  15. Christina
    Christina says:

    I won’t be able to watch as I have a class this evening. Is there any way to receive the information at another time? Will the info be available online after tonights webinar?

  16. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    Here’s another vote for recorded webinars. I’ve got company in town and it would be rude to ignore them to watch this.

  17. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    This blog has definitely jumped the shark. I was holding on hoping things would turn around but I think I am done.

  18. p
    p says:

    By not recording the webinars (or live video chats), you are failing to capitalize on one of the most useful aspects of the internet – its offering of, if not permanence, at least a slightly longer lifespan to formerly ephemeral media. Radio shows are no longer broadcast once and slowly forgotten; they’re podcasts. TV shows aren’t bound by strict schedules. Newspaper archives are fully searchable by the public.

    But your webinars are no different in essence from a Carter Family broadcast from the 1920s – gone in a flash. For someone with a social/professional networking company, this is very odd!

    You have people begging you to take up more of their time, with the small caveat that they choose when. Listen!

    • Jonha
      Jonha says:

      Perhaps Pen wants us to miss her, always eager to listen to her and the only way to do that is not to give everything, not to share everything just as Microsoft holds back some of their ideas for future versions of their operating systems. The game is not about making it big one time but really keeping it big.

  19. Jonha
    Jonha says:

    I love watching Britain’s Got Talent more than American Idol and glad you are “enjoying” it too. I never thought you would love pink because it’s too usual for girls to love it. But then you’re just another girl with just exceptional intellect. Wish I could take part of the webinar but I got a work to do, bummer.

  20. Work From Home Guy
    Work From Home Guy says:

    It’s funny … when I started my blog, I thought that the ads were going to be my main monetization. I’ve since canned all but 1, and by concentrating on creating good content that provides real value the money part has naturally taken care of itself. I guess when all is said and done the universe pays you what you’re worth.


  21. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    Penelope, I love your blog. I am disappointed that you are posting less. I can’t view your webinars.

    But I am most disappointed about your lack of transparency over paid sponsorships and endorsements. Ever since the post you wrote (last year) where you denied the need to be transparent, I have been suspicious of the ‘plugs’ in your posts. Here it seems Maria is giving you free colour advice in return for promotion. Even if she isn’t, you have failed to be clear on the relationship. (I don’t see why you can’t add a box at the side of your blog which declares your interests.)

    There’s no point ignoring it and hoping it will go away. Change is coming. This Federal Tade Commission article (http://ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm) from May 2009 says, among other things,
    “the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.” and..
    “the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – €“ or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers.”

    Lack of disclosure destroys your credibility Penelope, and makes you just a fun, wacky read – not a legitimate business blog.

    I’ll keep reading, in hope.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Sandy – you don’t need to figure out if I have a conflict of interest when I say that I like Maria’s blog. Or anything, for that matter. Just go to her blog yourself and figure out if you like it. If I tell you I like stuff that you hate, whether or not there’s a conflict of interest, you’ll stop reading. And if I get paid to tell you that I like stuff, and you like that stuff, you’ll keep reading for the recommendations, because you get value from it.

      I think you need to pay more attention to the value you’re getting instead of the value I’m getting.


  22. Christina Brown
    Christina Brown says:

    I am so excited. I will be there! I think it will help me boost my self-esteem! If you had read my newest blog post called “Confessions of a Socially, Irrelevant Person: Part One” on my blog, you will understand that I am willing to try new things to help expand my brand, the RIGHT way! See you 2night!

    Christina Brown

    http://lightcameradrama.blogspot.com (Blog)

    • Christina Brown
      Christina Brown says:

      thank you for reading my post. It was probably one of my most mature things that I have written. I am still learning about social media though, even with my faults.

  23. Mako
    Mako says:

    What caught my attention was doing things free to make millions! How that is achieved, i really can’t comprehend. For this reaon i may want to register for the webnar to see your ideas about it.

  24. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    Hey there, Penelope,

    I’m only just now finding out about your site, but I dig what I’m seeing so far. I run a pretty popular Microsoft blog (I won’t shamelessly plug, lol) which I’ve been trying to monetize for I don’t know how long now. Sometimes I hit that ever-elusive $100 mark in a month, and other times it takes 3-5. I guess you could say my crowd (the highly-technical crowd) isn’t the ad-clicking type.

    Anyway, your webinar interests me. I never believe the “become a millionaire from blogging” lines anymore… well, not in the sense of obtaining it even within a 5-year time frame, but I’m always open to new perspectives! Looking forward to hearing what you have to say. =)


  25. Josiah
    Josiah says:

    I’ve been blogging only fairly recently. You are the only one that I came across (so far) that is able to earn money without having any ads on your website. Will you do an article on that?

  26. Jonathan
    Jonathan says:

    Please post the video to this Webinar. I’d love to watch tonight, but I have plans tonight that I can’t get out of. Thanks!

  27. Carly
    Carly says:

    Just adding another request that you record webinars and make them available to the Brazen community, or at least to people who can RSVP for the event beforehand. I love the floating time, but every so often, a great session (like this one) comes in at a time when I’m already scheduled.

  28. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Okay. The first thing is that I know this blog cannot be just webinars. I get it. Brent, Jessica, everyone who does not want to have only webinars: me, too. I just need a couple of weeks to pull things together.

    I couldn’t be better timing that 50 people sent me this link to the recent NYT op-ed about happiness: that being married is much more important to happiness than your career.


    And, for all of you who tell me to do recordings. I actually have recordings. It’s taking Ryan a while to get them up on the Internet. I don’t really know why. But there will be a bunch there in a few weeks.

    In the meantime we should all contemplate that the two biggest complaints in this comment string are:
    1. People don’t want webinars, they want posts.
    2. People want webinars, why aren’t they recorded.

    Thank you for caring so much. Everyone.


    • Therese
      Therese says:

      I take issue with the idea that as long as you have a happy marriage, you’re other life setbacks are incidental. As for myself, I know that I will not be truly happy until I have a fulfilling career. The fact that I am married will not effect that. I have to have both a fulfilling personal AND professional life.

      For an alternative opinion on these matters, check out this blog: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201003/david-brooks-sandra-bullock-matrimania

    • Margaret G.
      Margaret G. says:

      I had just clicked on the NY Times link and was reading it, when a guest arrived to check in at the hotel. His name is David Brooks. How weird is that? He was not as delighted by the coincidence, though. He had also read the column already.
      Anyhow. Good link. And I agree that seeing the webinars would be great. As for you posting more, I miss reading your wisdom but I imagine you’ll be back soon enough. Enjoy the break!

  29. Beth Nerbonne
    Beth Nerbonne says:

    yay! so excited that the webinars will be online. thank you:) and i’m very happy that you’re focusing on your happiness in the right way, or at least the way you feel you need to. i mean, you owe us nothing.

    you’re getting married! that’s incredibly important. building a sturdy and transparent foundation with my partner was the most important thing i ever did. i moved to a new state, started a new job, planned my wedding and got married, all in 2 months. i’m pretty sure i didn’t blog at that point. everyone whines about everything.

    looking forward to more blogging AND more webinars.

  30. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    How many posts (i.e. how long should you be writing a blog) before you start promoting/advertising it?

  31. Marsha Keeffer
    Marsha Keeffer says:

    Really looking forward to the recorded webinars…thanks to you and to Ryan for doing that…hope they’re sponsored for revenue.

    Post when you can – I’ll def read it.

    I like that you’re trying new things.

  32. Chelsea
    Chelsea says:

    Being based in the UK I have to second some of the requests above for recordings of the webinars. I would love to hear your views on blogging and business but the time difference meens I need to stay up into the middle of the night to listen to them. So come on Penelope how about letting some us get some sleep!!

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