not my business, baby

This post is part of the Lifting the Veil on Making Money in Blogging series.

Monetize: to legalize as money; to give character of money to; to convert to currency.

The first time I ever heard this super blogging buzz word was when I set up Sluiter Nation for the very first time on Blogger.  There was a tab called “monetize” and it was all about adding adsense to your blog.  My first reaction was “yeah right.  Who clicks on those?  They are just ugly and annoying,” and so I passed.

That was almost five years ago.

Since then, I have moved my blog to, paid for my own hosting, url, blog design, etc., and I have realized that unless I want to shell out money from my pocket, I should at least try to have this blog produce some money.

Seeing friends do reviews…and get PAID…seemed like an AWESOME idea.

Until I tried it.

And realized I am not a product reviewer.  And I don’t want to get paid in product.  And I don’t want my blog to turn into a place where I have four posts a week about diapers, orange juice, storage containers, and apps for my phone.

That is not what this blog is about.

Would it be nice to occasionally review something from Whirlpool and get a free dishwasher out of it?  Oh my Lawd, yes!  But not many people start out with the big stuff.  And I just didn’t want to pay my dues with the little stuff.

Or send out email pitches “selling” myself.

It all felt very phony.  For me.  It just wasn’t ME.

Don’t get me wrong…I read quite a few blogs that do reviews and I have taken their advice on numerous occasions because I trust mom bloggers to tell me the truth (for the most part.  there are some who will give a great review to a dog turd for a buck. I don’t so much follow those blogs).

All I wanted was to make enough to cover the overhead of having this blog without turning this blog into anything other than what it was meant to be:  an online account of our lives.  My words for future generations of Sluiters.

And I really didn’t want the collection to include a bunch of sponsored posts about shopping at CVS or using lip gloss.

If you look through my archives, you’ll see I’ve done a few sponsored posts.  I tried to only choose things that seemed natural, but even those just didn’t ring true for me.  I always wondered at those bloggers who could make it fit so well…because I just couldn’t.

Currently, the only money I bring in on this blog are from the small biz shops in the right side bar (I TOTALLY support small businesses!  Some of them pay a monthly fee of $10 to be there, others have cut deals with me for goods/services that I have needed for some ad space here) and the BlogHer ad network ads you see running in the sidebar (the $$ I get from those is based on pageviews and whatnot.  It’s a VERY dinky amount).

Once in a while I will run a review or giveaway over on my sponsor page, but generally that is just for fun and I am not making any money from them.

And I have no desire to do any other monetizing.

I don’t want my blog to be my business.

I want Sluiter Nation to be a journal.  A chronicle of what life is like right now.

I feel like paid opportunities and working with brands isn’t what this blog is about.  I have had a few offers, but for the most part, I turn them down.

This opinion was always in the back of my head, but was solidified when I went to BlogHer this past August. I went in with the idea that I could find a way to make money with my blog that felt right.

Instead, I left feeling like maybe I didn’t need to go to another large blogging conference like that again.  EVERYTHING seemed like schmoozing…from the parties to the expo center to the constant barrage of brands.  I didn’t really feel special; I felt like “just another mom blogger.”

And I got on the plane home feeling sort of icky about it.

It took me months to distance myself from the experience enough so that I could look at it objectively.  It wasn’t the conference I hated.  In fact, I loved meeting people (although I think I came off like a deer in the headlights…which maybe translated into something negative to some people), and I loved the down time to just hang out and giggle with people who felt like old friends already.

It was all the push to make money that I hated.

And I realized that the biggest thing I learned was that I don’t want my blog to be my business.

Would I like to get paid to write?  Most definitely.

But not here.

Sluiter Nation is my hobby.  It’s my way to give something to my boys and their children and so on.

So many times I stare at the names in the family tree genealogies of my family and wonder about the stories.  The people.  The words they would have left behind.

Sluiter Nation is a collection of my words.

Sluiter Nation is not my brand.  It is not my business.


Even though making money isn’t my thing doesn’t mean it’s not your thing.  Read more about ways to make money via blogging by visiting these lovely ladies…

Alex at Late Enough: Writers Teach, Why Can’t Bloggers?

Kristin at What She Said: I Want To Get Paid To Blog–Now What?

Gigi at Kludgy Mom: So You Want to be a Freelancer?  What You Need to Know.

Natalie at Mommy of a Monster and Twins: So You Wanna Make Money Blogging?  How to Get Sponsored Posts.

Tina at Life Without Pink: Tips for Building Successful Relationships with Brands and Scoring Paying Opportunities.

Devan at Accustomed Chaos: Monetizing Your Blog:  The Hows & Whys of Making Money.

Debi at The Truth About Motherhood: What to Charge for a Sponsored Post and Why you need a Media Kit

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. This captured some of my feelings exactly. I recently have committed to seeing if I could make money with my blog, but all the networking required has felt so forced that, like you, I sometimes feel “icky.” I just feel like another website in the mom blog niche– not special. I’ve decided to pull back from it all too and just let my thoughts and experiences drive my writing rather than trying to sell myself for money.

  2. Cool series. I’m interested to read the other posts, although I still think I’ll land where you are – sure it would be nice, but I don’t want to pay my dues with the little stuff to get to the big stuff. Plus I like that right now my blog isn’t something else I HAVE to do. There are enough plates in the air without me worring about posting something so my numbers can hit a certain point every month.

    • I spent WAY too much time last summer having my blog take over my free time and my life. And then BlogHer happened and…blah. I just realized it wasn’t all for me. Not on Sluiter Nation and not with a full-time job.

      And I NEVER look at my numbers anymore. That is totally freeing!

  3. Love your perspective. Have not read the other posts yet but I feel mostly like you. It would be nice to make a buck but I feel most comfortable writing for me. Plus I really don’t have much opportunity to sell myself and I am really not a good salesperson.

    • Oh I can be a GREAT cheerleader if I am telling you about something I love. But the problem comes if I just “don’t hate it” or if it’s a sponsored post about shopping at a store like CVS. I have no idea what to say about that. Then I just become a robot. No good. And not what I want to leave behind for my kids either.

  4. Love your honesty and I agree. My hubby keeps thinking we might one day get rich from my blog (HA!). I tell him as nice as that SOUNDS, I don’t want to have a brand. I just want to write what I want to write for my enjoyment. My job is my job, but my blog is all about pleasure.

  5. Oh my gosh and how much do I love this post?


    Thank YOU.

    I, too, had the BlogHer deer in the headlights look that was translated into whatever people put on it.

    AND monetizing? Never gonna happen. Each post I do takes between 3 and 4 hours. I barely do my columns and my own posts and I am already tired of sitting on my butt.

    Could never take on more…plus the glaring reality that I can’t write technical or product reviews.

    I am so bad at it.

    • Looking back to BlogHer, there were so many people who were like, “Katie? HI! I”m _____…you know me right?” And I so did. And I was so startled that they knew me. That I probably looked all snobby and disconnected just nodding.

      And then I got slapped in the face with brands and money and blah blah blah.

      And I was barfing my brains out being so early in my pregnancy.

      It was maybe a bad combo.

      I want to go again sometime knowing what I know now. And not be pregnant. And just relax and love on people.

  6. This is SO refreshing. Thank you! I’m making the rounds today and reading the whole series because the whole monetizing thing scares the bejeezus out of me. I have really mixed feelings about it, frankly. On the one hand, it makes sense to get paid to do what I love, which is BLOG! But on the other hand, I don’t want to compromise my principles or change my style to be more PR Friendly. Nice to know there are others out there making conscious choices to NOT go the big biz route.

    And now I’m totally afraid to go to BlogHer. Are you going back? If so, maybe we could sit together and cuddle in the fetal position?

    • Hold on. If there is cuddling involved, I want in on that.

    • I don’t know about this year (financially it is sort of a problem), but I would definitely go back. I know what to expect now and I know what to just ignore and I can be more laid back. I think it’s something you just have to go through…the newbie experience.

      It was FUN while I was there. It was just…a lot.

      And now that I am SURE of my place as a non-money making blog? I can just go through the expo eating free icecream and sausage samples without having to try to pimp myself.

  7. Well written, Katie. And I love that you included the links to visit the other perspectives. Thanks!

  8. I have BlogHer ads on my page and that’s enough for me (and only because I don’t really have to do anything).

    I’ve only ever accepted two product reviews – but before I did the review, I told the brand that I need to try the product first before I will agree to a review (they were a book and an iPad app), because I don’t want my readers to think I’m a review blogger, which I am not. I just want to share what I love.

    Good on you for standing up for your blog!

  9. I love your words. I have no doubt that if you decide to pursue writing as a “business”, you will do so well; your voice is just wonderfully honest. And I respect your decision not to do it here 🙂

  10. I agree, I actually just did a review for something on Valentine’s day and while I love the product, I was so sad that my VALENTINE’S Day post was for something else. I’d love to make money from my writing or even add a few little sponsors on my blog, but I’m never going to be comfortable with doing reviews etc. As you said, “it’s just not me, I’m no salesperson”

    I really loved the post Katie.

    • thanks, you. Nope…I will never be a Big Money Maker here on Sluiter Nation. And I am 100% cool with that. Now…if I could write somewhere ELSE for the bucks…that would ROCK!

  11. Yes yes yes! I have advertising, and I’d be very happy to make more money that way, but the content column is MINE. I’m a lousy salesperson and I have a hard enough time marketing my writing. No way I can sell someone else’s product!

    • I have ZERO desire to be a spokesperson for a product. Zero.

      Unless it is for a brand that will either give me a new car or a new house. Then we can talk.

  12. I really appreciate this post. I’ve struggled with exactly what I want my blog to be. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure (and admittedly some of it is the pressure I place on my self) to be “successful” at it. But what does that even mean? A ton of page views? Getting paid for it? Setting personal goals for how often I post and meeting those?

    I think the thing I have to realize is that it’s up to me and nobody else to decide what I really want and, if need be, to go after it. The hard part is when what you really want is for people to read your writing, and it feels like, to do that, you have to sort of sell out for a while.

    • I think sometimes it feels like you will stay small or be unsuccessful if you don’t have ads and brands that want to be on your site. But guess what…some of us DO have them WANT to be here. We just don’t want them here. Nothing wrong with that.

      But before you decide you’re unsuccessful…you need to decide what your definition of success is, ya know?

  13. Katie, you already know that I can relate to (and agree with) so much of what you said here. I, too, would love to get paid to write, but I questions whether my personal blog is the place I’d want to do it, since it’s, well… personal. A chronicle of my thoughts and experiences that I hope my daughter will one day want to read. And do I want her reading along about my emotions surrounding motherhood and suddenly stumble upon a post reviewing an online scrapbooking service? No. Not really. I take a lot of pride in my writing and, like you, those types of posts just don’t feel natural to me – and I think it would be glaringly obvious to my readers.

    That said, if the right opportunity came along in which I felt I could blend a product endorsement with my typical writing style, then sure, I’d tackle it. But I also feel that’s very difficult to do, and said as much in my own post on this subject.

    I’m more interested in the freelance side of blogging and using my personal blog as a platform for other paid writing opportunities elsewhere. Easier said that done, though, huh? 😉

    And everything you said about your experience at BlogHer is exactly why I’ve thus far hesitated to go to any blogging conference. Perhaps if the right sponsor opportunity came along, but I just can’t fathom shelling out THAT much money from my own pocket to spend the weekend feeling thoroughly intimidated.

    • I think my idea way to make money from my writing right NOW would be to write for some sort of site that pays. A blog or parenting or education site either in the form of weekly posts or columns.

      And I would go to BlogHer again, I think. But this time I know what to expect. I know the massiveness of it and that I don’t HAVE to do it ALL. I can just browse the expo for free tasty samples instead of trying to sell myself to products.

      • I agree with writing for a site that pays – my dad recently sent me an article about bloggers writing for a site called HubPages that I keep meaning to check out. I know there are various paying sites out there, it’s just a matter of weeding them out and then finding the time to develop the content.

  14. Great post, Katie. I really don’t want my blog to be my business either. I would rather be a freelance writer and do other online projects elsewhere. But I must admit, I do sponsored posts because it helps me pay down our debt, which is a huge goal of ours.

    I try to choose the ones that are a good fit (someone wanted me to review plastic sandwich bags and I was like, ummmm, no. Just no). And if I do choose to do one I try to make it more organic than just “hey! buy this product because I said so!”

  15. I’m right with you — I’d love to come up with some way to ensue that my blog was self-sustaining. I have a pretty cheap hosting agreement, but if I broke-even from the blog, I’d be happy. But, I don’t ever see myself making money from my blog, at all. I’ve turned down a fair number of sponsored post offers (you’d be surprised who will come out & look for the guy among the sea of women), because they really didn’t “feel right.” And, I’m pretty sure that I’d just snark on any product review, anyway.

    But, I’d love to be a paid writer . . . but you’d have to, like, pay to read that stuff in a book . . . not on my blog. That’s about dick jokes, my fascination with boobs & horror films, and my kids.

    • breaking even. that is my goal.

      and any giveaway or review for a small biz I do is usually because it’s a friend doing something I believe in. And my blog is my way to help.

      You keep with your bewb and wang jokes, John. That is why I keep coming back to your blog! 🙂

  16. Great post! I feel the same way as you. My blog is my little haven & I use it more as a stepping stone.

  17. Thanks for being so honest about this.
    I am the opposite. While I want my blog to chronicle my life and advocate for mental illness, I also would like to make enough money to pay for hosting.
    The extra cash that I receive through sponsored posts goes a long way when you’re not working. $50 here $25 there all adds up…that could be a haircut for my son…that could be shoes for my husband…that’s food.
    We all have to do what we have to do in order to survive.
    I want to stay at home with Chunky until he starts school in September so I need the dough…ya know?

    • Hey, I see ZERO problem with that. And you choose products that match your personality and life. AND? You can make even a damn product review funny. You have the gift, yo. I cannot do that.

  18. Now I’m re-thinking my decision to monetize! 😉

    This was awesome, Katie – you made some great points. I’m so glad you joined us on the discussion! Also? I still have never gotten to review a Whirlpool either 😉

    • You better not rethink it! You’re AWESOME at working with brands! I wish I had your salesmanship skills, yo!

      I have a couple blogging friends who have gotten beds, dishwashers, fridges, ovens….so jealous.

  19. I love, LOVE this post (and the others in the series). I am with you. The sponsored posts are not natural to me at all. Does not flow from my brain on to the screen at all. Also, at the risk of being unpopular, I don’t really read sponsored posts either. I read blogs for entertainment. But please promise me if you ever DO get an offer to write about a dog turd you’ll do it just so we can read it, OK?

    • Ali, if someone says “will you review this turd?” You KNOW I will. And I will VLOG that turd.

      (and pssst…I usually skip the sponsored posts in my reader too. shhhh.)

  20. I love that you said “dinky” *giggle*

    I’m finding more & more that I’m in your camp too. I went to Blogher on a sponsorship with a brand that I did support. They were great to work with. Luckily, they approached me. I’m not very good at pitching. When I do a review now, they are far & few and mostly local small biz that I support.

  21. This is it. Exactly.


  22. great post Katie – & i have the same feeling about Blogher — last year wasn’t that great (the year before was good!) i sadly didnt learn much there last year.

    Thanks for joining the discussion!

    • I think now that I know about BlogHer, I would go again and just have fun. I’m also more secure in who I am as a blogger, so I am not trying to try EVERYTHING out.

      And next time? I will not be in my first trimester of pregnancy with all the barfing. ew.

  23. I love you so much.

    I’ve done some giveaways and guess what? They can be a pain in the butt. I have found I have to constantly hunt sponsors down to make sure they actually are delivering the product that I just pimped for them.

    For free.

    So I’m done, too.

    Right after I do one more for my FRIEND who I KNOW and who has already given me THE ACTUAL PRODUCT so it is in my house. (Somewhere.)

    I’m a teacher and a writer. And hopefully, one day, a published author of a book that might actually land on a real shelf and not just a digital one.

    So thank you for saying this.

    For all of us who have dipped our toes into the pool and decided we’d prefer not to swim.

  24. Genie @rungenierunblog says

    Thank you for this post…I’m fairly new to blogging and a lot of it can seem a bit overwhelming.

  25. I love this post. I have noticed a lot of my once favorite blogs have turned only to selling stuff. It has made me sad because I feel like I’ve lost friends. Even when they aren’t selling stuff, the magic is gone. I can appreciate where the desire to make a dime on the blog comes from, but it is a big turn off for me. I appreciate your honesty.

    • To be totally honest, I have stopped reading blogs because there are just WAY too many things that are part of money-making. Brand stuff, sponsored stuff, campaign stuff. The few “real” posts seem rushed and thrown together.

      I just don’t want that to be me.

      I would rather NOT post a day than have something that feels like anything but my voice.

  26. I feel the exact same way.

    Thanks for this validation!

  27. i like your blog the way it is, a few sponsored posts here and there are not a big deal, but i get bored with blogs that are CONSTANTLY doing sponsored posts.

  28. I like earning money off my blog, but I haven’t done it through sponsored posts and I HATE pitching. On Late Enough, I have done three giveaways (2 sponsored, 1 for my BlogHer ticket rather than sell it). I just don’t like doing it on Late Enough because it’s my place to write and be with my readers and I wanted to stay that way much like you feel about Sluiter Nation.
    But I do like writing helpful reviews and running fun giveaways on I guess because that site is exactly what it says it is, and lets be real, I like having a place I can complain as much as promote.

    • And Makes Fun of Stuff is one I follow because I KNOW it’s reviews and things. It’s not a personal blog and I know that going in. Plus besides some pretty funny stuff, you all have some really great product reviews there too.

      I think teaching blogging as a summer gig and/or writing FOR a site that does reviews or has a column for me or something would be my ideal “money maker” as far as being a blogger/writer.

  29. I know exactly what you mean! I didn’t even have mine public at first. It was just for family, mostly just for me. Then I went public, and the idea of making money at it was appealing, but I didn’t want to mess with it. It was for me. But getting laid off a couple of weeks ago, I signed up for Blogvertise to help offset things. I hate it. I feel like a sleazy used car salesman. A couple of things have turned out to be something I’m actually interested in. I feel guilty for doing the posts about stuff that’s clearly advertising that I’m trying to finesse into being a regular post. So I do a genuine post that I run immediately after the ad. Sigh. This series is giving me some other options to consider. So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

  30. It’s like you are in my head. Every time I think, “it would be nice to make a little cash from the blog,” I think about what I’d have to do in order to do so and I don’t like it. I don’t have a problem with people who do use their blog as a source of income but I know the minute it becomes a job for me, I won’t enjoy it.

    Great post!

  31. I love your perspective! I get why the focus of many bloggers is on making something of their blogs that translates into money, but I can’t, I realize, be one of those bloggers. I hate stress and feeling like I am writing for any other reason but to write because I love it. I do run BlogHer ads and have accepted 2 sponsored post opps, but, and like you, I do those things just to cover the costs of running my self-hosted blog.

  32. yes! I can’t do it either. Right now though, I’m struggling. I know my blog is for me, mainly. For my crappy memory and my bad reasoning skills. I need to see my life on paper. But…right now, I can’t visit everyone’s blog, nor respond to very many comments, and I feel selfish blogging for my self (go figure). So I’ve stopped. I feel like I’m turning into all take and no give. How can I keep writing and stop being rude? Perhaps I need to find some paper and a pencil. Ugh.

  33. I didn’t monetize for a very long time and I am still very selective about the brands that I align myself with.My blog is not a commercial, my integrity can not be bought and FINALLY I am getting paid for my writing on other sites and that makes me elated. Do what feels right for your blog.Great post!

  34. I LOVE this “lifting the veil” thing you gals are doing. What a blessing for so many! Thank you for doing this.

  35. This clicked with me and it’s something I think of often. I come from a background of writing poetry and fiction which I love, and also marketing communications. I don’t love that so much. I love writing. It’s that simple sometimes. This post gave me a bit of needed courage to publish a bit of my story tonight. I love that blogging is raw and honest. I am thrilled there is some money to be made out there– but again, I love the stories; I love the writing. Great job with this!

  36. It’s like you were in my head… except you put the words together much nicer than I ever would! My blog is my space, my thoughts, and my journey. I don’t want to turn it into a money making machine and somehow lose my voice in brands. That’s not me. I write honestly, from my heart, and I want it to stay that way. Plus? I could never pitch a brand. I just don’t have those sales skills!

  37. I appreciate your perspective 100%, but on the flip side, I’ve really enjoyed and have loved working with a few particular brands.

    I feel I’ve only aligned with brands that “get” me, and understand my writing style.

    Plus, freelance writing has afforded me to stay at home with the kids, and provided me an outlet to be creative (and a reason to justify my time spent).

    Heck, because of working with companies and brands, my family has been invited to do so many amazing activities and events within the city we live in. We would have never been able to afford it otherwise.

    I really believe you can work with brands, make money, and not lose your creativity or voice. If you approach it carefully and thoughtfully.

    • I agree with you. You and Casey both have such a gift for it.

      I just haven’t had luck making it natural…or maybe I haven’t found the right brand.

      Ideally, I would write for sites other than Sluiter Nation…freelance style. I do love doing that more than I love product reviews here.

  38. This is so refreshing to read. I have been reading a few things on growing my blog lately and it all seems so forced and manipulative. I will have to come back. Thanks!

  39. i feel the same way! My blog is my journal and that’s it. Although I do wish I could have a few sponsors to cover my monthly hosting fee…. but I haven’t really figured that out yet – and probably never will – ha!
    love that you talked about this.

  40. This was such a refreshing post to read! I started my blog last year and was putting so much money into it – buying my own hosting, name, etc, etc, web design. So I became obsessed with trying to learn how to monetize my site…next thing I know…my writing started to suck b/c I was wasting so much time watching tutorials or reading others blogs about making money that I was starting to get stressed about writing. Thank you for this! I see now that I’m not the only person who would like to make money from my blog but just not that way…

  41. Wonderful post and your honesty is amazing! I feel exactly like you about reviews. I’ve been to one conference and it wasn’t large. I’m hesitant to go to a big one because all the talk and Twitter feed seems like a bunch of bull. Thanks again.

  42. This is such a cool series 🙂 The first time I got an email from a PR company asking me to try a product for them, I was a bit taken aback. I’d never really thought about it! I blog mostly about my life, travel, and baking, so I don’t mind doing occasional sponsored posts if they’re things I can fit into my life easily. But I certainly don’t make a living!

  43. Thank you for sharing your unique perspective on blogging for money.

    I am very much like you, and any offers for sponsorship haven’t felt right for me or my blog. I’m not opposed to the idea, of course, but most of the time the methods of generating income from my blog are at odds with my goals and intentions.

    I’m headed to the BlissDom conference next week and have been contacted by a few of the sponsors requesting meetings. My goals for attending BlissDom is to have fun, network with other bloggers, have fun, learn new skills to make my blog great, have fun, make friends, and have fun. I am not entirely opposed to meeting with a sponsor or two to feel out potential opportunities, but mostly I feel sponsorship is not the way to go for me.

    Have a grateful day!


  44. Love this! I feel exactly the same way about my blog. Well said, Katie!

  45. I hate that so much of the blogging world is about making money.

    I despise paid reviews by bloggers. And when I read a piece that is not disclaimed at the top, but rather the bottom, that REALLY leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    So many mommy blogs have ads and links and network badges all over their site, I can’t stand it. Plus I never even click on ads, so it’s a waste of space!

    I’m glad you’re doing your thing without worrying about money.

  46. Well said. Keep following your heart and staying true to yourself.

  47. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been trying to figure out if monetization is a direction I want to go in after years of blogging for fun and it’s been an absolute minefield. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of people who are able to support themselves via blogging, but I don’t like the idea of my blog becoming a giant, advertising sound board.

    But for me, it came down to how do I DEFINE success as a blogger. Is success a lot of page views? Free stuff? Is it giving small business owners a chance to get their voices and opinions out there? Is it making new friends and participating in a community? Is it sharing what I love with others? And to be honest, I’m STILL trying to figure out what that means.


  1. […] I’ve written before about how I don’t run this blog in order to make money. […]

  2. […] No, this space was not for profit. […]

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