Notepads that say "Don't Just Stand There" on a table, social image for article about Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents
Heroes

Michelle Schroeder on Sense & Cents

In 2015, Michelle made $320,000 through blogging, and her goal is to double that for 2016.

Welcome to March’s online income report where I show you how I made money online last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and track how I did.

So begins the March income report from Michelle Schroeder, aka the entrepreneur behind the wildly popular personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. You might expect to see a couple thousand dollars, but the number on Michelle’s latest income report will surprise you:

$72,196.

And yes, that’s just for the month of March.

Every month on Making Sense of Cents, Michelle reveals her monthly income in order to encourage others to “side hustle” and to hold herself accountable for her mistakes. Not only that, but she breaks down exactly how she made money: which affiliates are paying her (and how much), as well as how much she made via sponsored posts or guest writing. Michelle has always been a master of how to make more money on the side.

Her fans certainly seem to enjoy reading what she puts out.

One commenter on Making Sense of Cents quipped, Your blog posts are truly inspirational. So interesting to see where you generate income.

Another said, Wow. This is amazing. Thanks for always be[ing] so transparent… you give me hope.

Michelle responds to her commenters personally, often with more kind words and ideas to help them with their own entrepreneurial journeys.

***

The Making Sense of Cents tagline is “Earn more. Save more. Live More,” and that’s exactly what Michelle has been doing for the last few years. She racked up a total of $38,000 in debt after she’d completed her Finance MBA in 2012. Even though she graduated college early (in 2.5 years) with honors, we all know that accolades unfortunately can’t ease debt.

So Michelle started her personal finance blog to track her voyage toward financial freedom. In addition to blogging, she began working as a financial analyst, freelancer, and entrepreneur.

Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents with a kayak

Courtesy of Michelle Schroeder

For Michelle, the decision to become a finance blogger came naturally. She says, “I think I had a fairly traditional start to finance blogging. Most financial bloggers start due to some sort of financial situation that they are dealing with, and that’s the same way I started.”

It turns out the decision to start a personal finance blog would pay incredible dividends. Michelle was able to pay off her loans in only seven months.

What’s especially interesting to see is how much side hustle money Michelle made when she first started her blog: $672 in May 2012. $672 isn’t a paltry number, but it’s hardly high enough to quit a full time job. By September 2012, that $672 had more than tripled, and generally continued to rise over the next four years to the hefty number it is today.

Courtesy of Michelle Schroeder

Courtesy of Michelle Schroeder

In 2015, she made $320,000 through blogging, and her goal is to double that for 2016. When you’re generating that much income through your side hustle, your side hustle becomes your full time job. Michelle quit her full time job in 2013 and turned her attention solely toward her own ventures.

Her background in finance turns the posts in Making Sense of Cents actionable. Michelle says, “I’m definitely a finance gal. To get started with personal finance, I would recommend reading finance books and blogs. Money is all around you and it can impact you in so many ways.”

Although Michelle invested a little bit while she was paying off her student loans, she’s begun investing more now that those are paid off. She says that, “Many young people are afraid to invest. My top tip would be to just start. Even if you only have $100, that is better than nothing.

I think everyone should invest. You can start with very little and it can help get you used to investing. If you have high interest rate debt, though, then you may want to think about paying off your debt first because you could be costing yourself a lot of money in the long run.”

Despite the central theme of financial literacy, Making Sense of Cents isn’t just about finance. It’s also about self-improvement and the kindness Michelle always shows her readers.

I absolutely LOVE what I do,” Michelle says. “I love blogging, I love helping readers, I love learning about ways to improve my blog. It’s so funny that I just stumbled across this one day. I never once thought I would be a full-time blogger, or that I would even help others with their financial situation. Everything just clicked, though, and I am so happy that I am where I am today.”

In a literal sense, it’s hard to pin down exactly where Michelle is. Being financially stable and he ability to work online has allowed her and her husband to road-trip across America in an RV. With their two dogs, no less.

Courtesy of Michelle Schroeder

Courtesy of Michelle Schroeder

“Since my husband and I work online, we are location independent and can work from wherever. It was pretty much a no brainer as to whether or not we should travel full-time, so we decided to take the leap and do it.”

The adventure doesn’t end there. Michelle’s next plan? Sailing full time.

I think everyone should invest. You can start with very little and it can help get you used to investing.
— Michelle Schroeder

Now that she’s a full time personal finance blogger, there’s no typical day for Michelle. But her daily schedule might look like this:

  • Wake up and answer emails from bed
  • Take the dogs for a walk
  • Eat breakfast and answer more emails
  • Promote blog on social media
  • Help her readers start a blog
  • Reply to comments on her blog posts
  • Do research for an ebook, course, blog post, etc.
  • And then everything repeats over and over from there.

Sounds like a pretty sweet life!

While Michelle’s journey is definitely awesome, it’s not necessarily out of reach for the rest of us. Don’t forget: she was strapped with a large amount of debt when she left school. Her story is an excellent example of how hustling, financial savvy, and taking advantage of your own creativity can lead you toward becoming financially stable.

“If you want to follow your passion, my top tip is to start making that happen,” Michelle encourages. “Whether you start passion on the side of your full-time job or if you drop everything to follow your dreams, do it! But, do it responsibly and realistically.

The last sentence is key. Michelle didn’t randomly quit her job. She paid off her debts, kept track of her earnings, and invested. Likewise, make sure your financial health is in order as you follow your dreams – the two actions aren’t mutually exclusive! Address your debts and start investing sooner rather than later.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you’ll do.

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Aliza Kellerman Aliza Kellerman is the Manager of Content Strategy at WiseBanyan. When she's not writing about the life and times of the IRA, she's hanging out with her pug.