How I Make $84K/Year As A Beauty Blogger

Delilah Orpi
$8K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
2
Employees
The Holistic Ench...
from Winter Springs
started August 2017
$8,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
2
Employees
483K
alexa rank
17.5K
followers
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Delilah Orpi and I blog about curly hair and clean beauty at The Holistic Enchilada. I help people with naturally curly and wavy hair transition to wearing their natural texture.

I started my blog in 2017 and within a few months I had earned a few dollars from affiliate income and by the second year I had made it to Mediavine.

I earn money from selling digital products, display ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts. The Curly Product Handbook is my best-selling product because it’s geared toward those new to embracing their curls and solves their biggest problem at that stage.

My website currently averages $7,000 a month in revenue, though some months can be a lot higher or lower.

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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

In the summer of 2017, I came across an ad on Facebook to start a money-making blog and it got me thinking. It took me almost 2 months to decide to jump in and start a blog. I wanted to share my journey to a more clean lifestyle, using organic and natural products after having success switching to this lifestyle. I was a full-time teacher at that time so it was something I did on the side with the little extra time I had.

One of the articles I wrote about was my curly hair routine. It focused on embracing my natural curls after a lifetime of straightening, and this post took off. The success of that post led me to focus more on this niche. I had a solution to a problem lots of people had and very little competition.

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I decided to take things a little more seriously and took a few blogging courses to help with social media, SEO, email marketing, and creating digital products. I invested in things I could afford with the money I was making from affiliate marketing. I didn’t have a strategy but just wanted to learn as much as I could to increase my revenue.

I also decided to take an online training course to become a Curly Hair Coach. I wanted to focus on the curly hair niche since it was something I knew a lot about and had experience with, and at the time it was easy to rank for posts on this topic.

My blog continued to grow and I launched a curly hair care course and some smaller digital products in the spring of 2020. I was focused on diversifying my income to help with the sways of the different algorithms and seasons.

Take us through the process of designing your blog

I didn’t have money to spend so I had to DIY as much as I could. I bought my domain and hosting on BlueHost and installed a free theme. I watched a lot of video tutorials to help me format the blog. I created my logo and color palette in Canva.

It took a few months to get some traffic, mostly from Pinterest. As I learned SEO, I started getting more organic traffic. But that took over 2 years.

Most of my income comes from display ads and affiliate marketing. But my digital products are a close third.

I have 3 ebooks and 1 membership, which is the main course for learning how to care for curly and wavy hair. One of the ebooks is also a tripwire that is discounted from $29 to $9 for 15 minutes, with an order bump of $5 and an upsell of $9.

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I followed the templates and advice from Courntey Foster-Donahue to design and launch my digital products and funnels. I had no idea how to do any of this and her programs walked me step by step through everything. It took a few months but it was easy since I had a template to follow.

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I created the ebooks in Canvausing some templates I had purchased. I recorded the videos with my webcam and edited them in Filmora. I originally launched everything on Podia(pictured below) and used several platforms to market and deliver the products.

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I have since moved everything over to Kartra(pictured below) because it’s an all-in-one service. I dumped my email provider, course platform, and all the extra apps which saved me a lot of time and money.

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I also earn revenue from sponsored posts but those are pretty rare. I don’t focus on social media and few companies want to sponsor blog posts and YouTube videos.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I took that course I had seen on Facebook which taught me how to launch a blog. It’s no longer around but there are so many just like it now. I just followed the step-by-step tutorials to set everything up.

I wrote blog posts whenever I had the time, which was about once a month.

As I started earning some Amazon affiliate income, I spent it on things like a new camera, microphone, and apps to help improve the blog. I also invested in many courses. A Pinterest course I took helped my blog take off quickly. That course is no longer around but it was key to my initial success.

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I continued working part-time as a tutor until I was earning around $2,000 a month, which took about 2 years.

I took an email course, Email on Autopilot, which taught me how to set up my email marketing system without spending hours on it every week. After creating my Quickstart Guide To Mastering Your Curls, I offered that as my free option. I placed the option box twice on every blog post, on my home page, sidebar, and added it to the menu.

This proved to be the perfect option because I was gaining over 1,000 subscribers a month. My open rate was around 40% and my click rate was around 12%.

By the time I decided to launch digital products, I was able to leverage my large list of engaged readers. Email marketing was all I used to launch my products, and it’s still how I sell them.

I tried several different delivery options and price points. Every few months I changed things up until I found what converted best. The feedback I was getting was a full course was too pricey, but membership and smaller priced products were received well.

Readers are funneled in from the free guide, where they are offered a tripwire. From here, if they purchase the tripwire, they can add an order bump and an upsell. They are also added to an email sequence with an upgrade to the monthly membership. If they do not purchase the tripwire, they are sent straight to the quickstart guide sequence.

I also mention my digital products in several blog posts and emails where they are relevant.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Learning SEO and focusing on my email list have been key.

I took Stupid Simple SEO in 2019 and my traffic shot up a few months after implementing what I learned. I noticed that organic traffic was converting better so I wanted to work on growing my organic reach.

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I took Email on Autopilot in 2020 and that has helped the most with retaining readers and increasing digital product sales. With all the great organic traffic I had, I could convert them into email subscribers and send weekly emails to keep them engaged.

In 2020 I gained 10,000 subscribers from one option, my free Quickstart Guide To Mastering Your Curls. This continues to be my best option and the tripwire also performs well.

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I typically send 2-3 emails per week (1-2 broadcasts and 1 sequence) and this has been the best frequency. Originally I was afraid to send so many emails but the truth is that the more I send, the higher my revenue. And as long as I am sending helpful content, people don’t complain. They thank me all the time.

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I sell my digital products mostly through email evergreen funnels. They all start with the free option and move through the funnels depending on what they purchase.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

My traffic and income dropped in 2021 and have stayed around the same since. I am not worried about it because I have seen it happen before so I just push along.

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Currently, my revenue fluctuates between $5,000 and $8,000 a month. My expenses are around $1,500 a month so my profit is usually between $4,000 and $6,000.

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So far for 2022, 49% of my income is from display ads, 28% is affiliate income, and 22% is digital products. The rest is a mix of sponsored posts and articles for other platforms.

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I have a Virtual Assistant who works about 5 hours per week. She answers emails, creates pins, and helps with SEO, and any other administrative tasks I need to be done.

I found my virtual assistant by emailing my list and asking if anyone had experience and was interested. I created a job listing page on my site with all the details and linked to that page.

I work about 15-20 hours per week on the blog and hope to cut them down soon. My goal is to grow my organic traffic and revenue so writing SEO blog posts and nailing down email marketing is my focus.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I wasted a lot of time on social media. I wish I would not have even started those platforms because they just take up so much time for very little reward.

I wish I would have started collecting emails from the start, and sending subscribers emails regularly. I didn’t start doing that until 2020 and it made such a big difference in my traffic and revenue.

The best thing you can do is to just start, even if you don’t think the blog looks perfect. I see bloggers stressing about their logo, home page design, and color palette when those things don’t matter.

I also learned that paying for the right advice and help is so important. I did lots of research before buying any courses so I don’t have any regrets about them. And I love my virtual assistant. She has taken too much off my plate so I can focus on what matters.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

These are my favorite tools for running my blog:

Wordpress - This is the only platform to use if you want to monetize your blog.

Kartra - I love that this includes everything I need to email, market, and sell digital products. It’s very powerful and I don’t even use it to its fullest potential.

Asana - I have tried several productivity software programs and this one has worked the best. It keeps me organized and makes working on tasks with my VA much easier.

BigScoots - I upgrade from Bluehost to Bigscoots and it made a huge difference in my site speed. Plus, their customer service is amazing. They help me with all kinds of technical stuff too.

iMark Interactive - This is a WordPress support service that I use to help manage the technical part of blogging. Any time I need something technical done, like adding code or a plugin, they do it for me.

ShortPixel - Since I use so many images across my blog, I need a good image compressor. This one has worked the best and it is always recommended.

Akismet - When I first started my blog I dealt with so many spam comments. I eventually installed the plugin and they have mostly disappeared.

WP Rocket - I don't’ really understand what this does but it makes my blog fast and Google happy.

Link Whisper - This auto-linking plugin has helped make interlinking between posts much easier.

Filmora - This is the software I use to edit all my YouTube videos.

Canva - I use Canva to create all the graphics I use.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Building a StoryBrand and Profit First are the most helpful books I have read. StoryBrand helped me clarify my offer and helps me structure everything from my website to my paid products.

Profit First helped me get control over the finances, which were a mess for years. I never understood how to pay myself, or how much I should be spending and putting away. This book made it easy to implement a strategy that helps me keep track of all the money.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I see many new bloggers suffer from analysis paralysis from all the information that’s out there and all the decisions that need to be made.

The best thing you can do is to just start, even if you don’t think the blog looks perfect. I see bloggers stressing about their logo, home page design, and color palette when those things don’t matter.

Find another successful blogger that teaches you how to blog, follow their advice, and get started.

And be sure to choose a topic that will meet your needs. If you want to make money, find a niche where you can make money from ads, affiliate marketing, or your products. There are many topics you can write about that would be hard to monetize.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Delilah Orpi, Founder of The Holistic Enchilada
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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