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Today’s money maker interview is about how you can take the things you’re passionate about and find ways to build a business around them, which is what December has done. She’s managed to find ways to work from home centred around the things she loves – herbalism and bushcraft.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog
I’m December Fields-Bryant and I’m a stay-at-home-mom, wife, folk herbalist, and writer. My husband, Damon, and I run Bush Hippies, a website that focuses on helping families get back to nature and the footprints of their ancestors in their everyday life. We do this with herbalism and bushcraft information along with stories about how our little family does things.
What’s your ‘money maker’ and what does it involve?
Currently my main money maker is freelance writing and affiliate sales.
We are also launching our first online course.
For freelance writing, I reached out to my favorite websites, magazines, and blogs. I hunted down their guest blog or submission guidelines and pitched them some topics in my niche – being a mom trying to live naturally, herbalism, etc. This is something I’ve been doing for a few years and the bulk of my current monthly income.
It involves receiving a lot of “no thank you” emails, a lot of follow up on my part (the squeaky wheel gets the grease), and a lot of follow through with writing great content with the hopes that it will not only get me paid but maybe draw some traffic to my own site.
With affiliate sales, I slip links to books, products, and services we actually use and recommend all the time anyways. The big thing here is only recommend and link products you know are good – don’t try to sell things you know nothing about. Also make sure your disclosures and disclaimers are on the up and up – don’t try and trick people into buying things with your affiliate links. I just tell people, hey this is an affiliate link which means if you use it to buy the product I receive a small commission at no additional cost to them and then I thank them.
Lastly, with the course, I took a topic I tend to talk about a lot or answer questions about a lot and made a course about it. For Herb Emergency, our course that is all about creating natural first aid kits, it was based on all the questions Damon and I keep getting about the natural products we use for accidents, hiking, emergencies, etc for us and our little boy. This involved hunting down a good site platform, creating the course itself, writing blog posts and newsletters to market the course, and the current phase of launching it so people will be interested in it and know that it is available.
How long have you been doing it & why did you start?
I have never been all that great with the whole “normal job” thing. I tried working various 9-5 type jobs but nothing really worked out. I started selling homemade soaps, candles, and other products to friends and family when I was 19.
I also was trained in and started reading tarot cards professionally around the same time and for 6 years that was the bulk of my income – reading tarot cards privately with clients and at major events like Renaissance fairs. In the same realm of work I dabbled in Reiki healing, crystal work, other forms of divination, spiritual coaching, and more.
This exhausted me and I wasn’t able to work it out when I had my son so I had to step back and look at other options that I could do at home. That was when I discovered freelance writing and blogging could also make money.
I started and discarded a few blogs over the years as I tried to find my niche. During that time I worked odd jobs, read tarot when I could, even dabbled in writing erotic romance for easy cash.
Now, with Bush Hippies, I have discovered not only a place that I can share my passions but also one where I can genuinely help others and work with my partner.
How much money is it possible to make?
Well, according to coaches and teachers I’ve hired over the years to learn about blogging, marketing, etc – a blogger can make 6 figures. I’ve yet to see that but will state that my goal is to replace my husband’s full time income at his day job and I believe it is completely possible.
Currently I make enough to cover our son’s homeschooling expenses, my phone bill, put gas in the car, attend events and buy little things that we might otherwise put off for the sake of budgeting.
What’s your favourite thing about it?
Making money doing something I am passionate about and being able to stay at home and take care of/homeschool my kid is the best thing ever. What we do together as a family – making herbal remedies, hiking, bushcraft, cooking, etc – its just fun.
Besides that, I love it when someone tells me that an article or blog post really helped them with their own health or family life. Knowing that what I do not only has helped me and my family but has helped someone else has me on cloud 9 for days.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Self doubt is a huge one. I never feel like the “expert” or “authority” when I write. I am constantly questioning if what I do is worthwhile. It’s even worse when I have to invest money into what I do like paying for website hosting or buying a course to help me hone in my blogging or marketing or writing skills.
I keep a “brag” board in my desk space to remind me of why I do this, of when I have helped someone, and any other little tid-bit that tells me I’m worth it and what I do is totally worth it.
Poverty mindset is another. I have played jump rope with the poverty line for years and am always cringing any time I have to invest money in myself. I have buyers guilt when I have to buy new pants to go hiking in because my jeans are falling off of me.
When it comes to the $$$ I have to spend to build a better business, I am always gut-wrenchingly terrified but so far every investment has paid off either financially or personally and I can see where I am stronger for it.
Is there any advice you’d give to someone wanting to try it?
Focus on what you are passionate about and comfortable sharing all the time.
Invest in training – not only in your passion but also in business. I made the mistake of focusing on training in herbalism and tarot early on but not in business. Just like your passion takes time to learn and get comfortable with so does marketing, finance, etc.
Don’t expect miracles overnight. It takes time. Most of the overnight success stories are with people who already spent years building a foundation or networking connections. Breath and keep chugging along like the little train that could.
Work hard but remember to take a break. I mentioned I had other blogs over the years – 2 of those flopped because I burned myself out. I turned passion into obsession and like a kid eating too much candy I made myself sick of my own work.
Find your rhythm. I love the Rudolph Steiner recommendation for working with kids and I adapted it for myself – it’s all about the rhythm of in-breath, out-breath. Do something active then do something sedate. For your work that could be batching your blog/site photography then taking a break or working on something calmer like responding to your social media notifications followed by another active out-breath like cooking a
recipe for your blog.
Where can we find you?
You can find me at BushHippies.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,
and Pinterest @BushHippies.