I’ve noticed on some blogs that they have buttons saying, “Help keep my blog AdSense free by donating from time to time.” I’m not one of those blogs, nor do I have plans to become one. (Although, I am half tempted to put up a donation button to test if anyone would donate to a Jaunt Fund.)
Seriously though, some bloggers are ad-adverse. That’s cool. I totally get it. They are strictly doing it for the love. More power to them.
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO
I have ulterior motives. I love to write, I love ghosts, I love to travel, and I put them all together to follow my passion instead of denying or hiding it. (Lesson learned thanks to my lymphoma.)
However, I’ve read the stories of other people who did the same thing –turned their passion into a blog– but who also made money from it. I studied their stories and learned how they did it. Basically, it was through Affiliate Programs of every variety. The more the merrier!
As I got my blog up and running, I decided, “Hey, maybe I could make money from it? Then I wouldn’t have to go look for a job when my hair comes back!”
Something I’ve been dreading because at 38–or, I was 38 at that time–I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve been an Office Manager, Accounts Payable Manager, Paralegal…hated all those jobs and knew I was wasting my life instead of doing something that I both loved and felt mattered.
However, since then I’ve discovered that paranormal tourism is an industry. One that has jobs which employ people! If I do have to go back to working a “real” job, I have every intention of pursuing this avenue.
But until then, I have my blog. Which, as you may have noticed, is far from ad-adverse. In addition to AdSense, I display Project Wonderful ads. And I’ve got affiliate accounts with Travelocity and Amazon. (With perhaps others even to come!)
I have made pennies (literally) with a few of them. However, I plan to not only keep being aggressive about promoting my blog, I plan to get even worse. I have confidence perhaps I will start earning actual money some day.
THAT UNEASY FEELING
But you want to hear something weird? I don’t feel entirely comfortable with that. I want it, don’t get me wrong. Heaven knows hanging around checking out Google Alerts, following other people’s blogs and commenting there, playing on Twitter (Holy Guacamole have I become addicted to that!)…while making money I could actually live on doing what I love? I’m no dummy! I’d much rather be creating my own destiny than working for someone else!
But the reason I’m doing Haunt Jaunts at all, and the reason I’m being totally out of character for me (being socially active, seeking out other bloggers to follow, and Tweeting my head off instead of being shy and quiet like I normally would) is because I survived 2008: one of the most catastrophic years of my life. (To date, and I hope never to experience a repeat!)
Getting cancer aside, I also:
- Had to move my mom in with me when she got lung cancer and the doctors determined her dementia had progressed to a point she could no longer care for herself.
- Complicating matters, my sister (older by 14 years which therefore should make her more mature) decided that rather than working with me on how to care for our mother (I lived out of state), that I should move there to care for her. (Which wouldn’t have been bad, except I have a husband, had a semi-job then, and have three animals. She’s single, no kids, no pets, just a job. Which is a lot, but she lived in Denver, 10 minutes from my mom…not a two-hour plane ride away! She refused to work with me on a plan that would work for both of us. She’s also not the caring, nurturing type so…I brought my mom here.)
- A couple weeks after we got home, I was watching the news and saw a picture of a guy I know. Someone I played volleyball with. Turns out this guy I always thought was so nice had been arrested for being the Wooded Rapist, a serial rapist who preyed on Nashville women for like 13 years! (And DNA proved it was him! He’s now in jail for the rest of his life!)
- I got in a car accident. Minor, luckily. Still, insurance companies had to be involved. It was a hassle.
- My mom suffered a TIA, which exacerbated her dementia. She had no idea who I was, got SUPER combative (especially every day around 4 p.m.), and could no longer be left alone. I had no help, so 24/7 I had to keep an eye on my mom. (Oh, she also wandered at night so we had to keep alert that she wouldn’t escape from the house entirely. Which she did like trying to do.)
- I lost the diamond from my wedding ring. (Which is a tragedy because if you only understood all the drama —years of drama– that went into getting Wayne to propose, you’d get why this was particularly devastating.)
- I found out my sister had coerced my mom into writing the will in her favor. And knowing that, she still not only tried to get me to shoulder the burden of caring for our mom during her dying days, but expected and succeeded in getting me to do it!
- My mom died.
- I told my sister she was dead to me.
- We went on vacation and left Murph at a doggie resort where he busted his paw and needed a $3,000 surgery (which cost WAY more than the darn vacation!) to repair it with 6 months minimum recuperation time. It meant no walks for him except out to the yard to do his duty. Murph is a stellar dog. He’s amazing. And he LOVES walking with his mama on his Bunny Quests. It absolutely broke my heart to see his world turned upside down for so long and not be able to explain why to him.
- Then I got sick…
One of those experiences would have been enough for one year, but all in one year? Well, I’m still recovering from it all. It was maybe even more traumatic than I realize since here I am pouring it all out again in attempt to make peace with it.
PART OF THE RECOVERY PLAN
Which brings me back to getting in touch with my giving side.
IF Haunt Jaunts one day booms into a viable, money-making blog where I earn actual dollars which result in affiliate payment checks, I decided there’s a way to combat my uneasy feeling. It’s called giving back.
I came across a lot of great organizations because of all I dealt with last year. Helping them would not only honor their work and show my gratitude, but it would help with my healing process. So here’s what I decided to do:
- 10% of all money earned from Amazon sales (be it from purchases made in the Emporium or click-throughs from the feeds now appearing at the bottom of my posts) will be donated to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. (Without the research, I wouldn’t have benefited from the treatments that make it possible for me to be here today!)
- 10% of all money earned from Project Wonderful will be donated to the LUNGevity Foundation. In addition to my mom, I’ve watched three other friends’ loved ones battle lung cancer this past year. Like my mom, not all were smokers. Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer, in part because it’s the least funded, which means less research and lack of treatments. Hopefully that’ll change one day!
- 10% of all money earned from AdSense will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. My grandma suffered from it, my mom had it, my husband’s grandpa was recently diagnosed with it, and we’re watching a dear neighbor struggle with it as his wife deteriorates a little more each day because of it. The dementia made dealing with my mom and her cancer 1,000 times worse. My mom’s cancer would have been much easier to handle had she been in her right mind. This is a horrible disease which destroys more than the person stricken with it. It destroys their loved ones too.
There. It’s working. I already feel better!