Tuesday, May 9, 2017

BLOG WORK ahead....sorry for ALL the emails today!

by: Kel Amstutz
Blogging, Blog work, I'm SORRY, inbox mail

First and foremost, 


for all the EMAILS that I have caused you today! 

I am cleaning up the BLOG and realized that somehow...[operator error] I have unpublished like, more than half of my blog posts. 


So, after making this SHOCKING discovery, I got to work [busy me] getting everything re-proofed (like, seriously) and re-PUBLISHED, which then caused my own INBOX to go CRAZY with Life at Gray Gables notifications. 


My Bad...

So, I wanted to make sure that I let you all know that I AM SORRY!  

This is temporary and will not happen again 
[ lord help me ] 
and once I have it ALL loaded, that is it, 
it's a DONE deal! 


Hopefully, this will allow the links that are out there, still wandering helplessly around the internet world, to WORK! 

[can you even imagine how many people have clicked to find out the link is GONE....thinking FOREVER..but really, this girl here just accidentally tripped on the plug, ripping it from the wall- AGH!]

Anyways, I have been busy, working on this 
what's been going on 
and please FORGIVE ME!!!

Sunday Funday

It's a day of rest..ehh...kinda...

Taking a Day Off!

I am taking a "rest day" aka a "mental health day". I need to refocus and will be back tomorrow!
Happy Thursday All!!!

5 Tips for Stay at Home Moms

Being that my life is about to be a bit more flexible (details to come) - I am reaching out to all the stay at home Mommy's out there!  

20 Quotes For Challenging Times:

What is your BIGGEST Challenge with being a 
Stay at Home Mom? 

How do you handle the flexibility through the day?  

"In your morning prayers each day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children." - M Russell Ballard:
I am a list person and have put together five (5) things that I wanted to share on how I 'plan' on handling my new found freedom of being out of the brick and mortar. 
Maybe it can help other Moms who are as apprehensive about transitioning into the Stay at Home Mom field.

Tips for Stay at Home Moms

  1. Create a schedule.  - I am a very visual person and tend to list out everything that I wish to complete and feel accomplished when I am able to check something off the list as I go. I think that this could be handy when trying to design my day. 
  2. Be realistic about goals. - When I sit down to create my list, I always allow for some "flex" time for those things that come up unexpectedly.  I try to set goals for my day but I try to also stay in a frame of mind that it is OK to challenge some things but to think about what the day holds, i.e. I write down that we are going to the park from 11:30 - 12:00 and it rains - well we will not meet this goal today and that is alright! 
  3. Get inspired. - I am a crafty person. I love doing this and that and I think that it is important to get my kiddos involved, especially as they hold the same craftiness!  I also think that spending some time working on our alphabet, numbers, and writing our name is just as important- whether your inspiration for making this happen is a white board, chalk board or learning books!
  4. Make Mommy friends. - This is really important. When you are at the park and your kids are playing- that is a common ground with another Mom who has her little's playing as well. Strike up a friendship, make play dates and take time our for a little girls night here and there away from Hubby's and Kiddos. It can make a world of difference.
  5. Decide if you might want to try working from home. - I know, it sounds scary, but there are a ton of things that you can do working at home, and not all of them involve heavy customer service or being on the phones all day.  Many offer flexibility and a chance to find your inner entrepreneur! 

Check out my Social Media Manager kit e-Book available for Download NOW! 

It is Time to Monetize your Blog

How to Monetized your Blog
by: Kel // March 22, 2016

Monetizing your blog can be one that people need an explanation on the hows and why. The fact of the matter is that to monetize is NOT fast, NOT easy, and...well...not always reliable. 

You can make money blogging.  But, you better LOVE IT (find your passion and write!), because you are going to do it for FREE for...a very...long...time... before it will start paying off. 

Now, let's get into the nitty gritty...How to Monetize YOUR Blog! 

Can you make a lot of money?

If you go into the idea of starting a blog to get rich, well...that's fine.  Lot's of people blog and lots of people are very successful.  But it is important to remember that all the blogger books that claim they made $40,000 in their first year are in the majority.  There is a lot of money spent in start-up, hence the saying...'You have to spend money to make money.'
When you set up your blog, you will need to add in cost for self-hosting, since you can not monetize on a free WP blog and using Blogger (sorry!) does not allow you to own your content, which means that Google can shut you down...at any time...for any reason. 

It is the bloggers who made a lot of money really fast at start up that took professional photography classes, paid to participate in giveaways and link parties, hired experienced VA's to handle social media outlets, paid for designers to design their blogs/websites from the start and were able to utilize the conference scene to their disposal. 

It should be noted that I am not against throwing money into your blog.  If you can afford to do it and you KNOW that blogging is your thing, then more power to you. Your blog life will be easier in the long run.

What I am saying is if you decide to grow your blog organically, without spending money on gaining traffic or followers, do not compare your stats and progress to other bloggers because they probably did not do it the same way.  

Your progress will probably be slow and you will have to work hard in order to even get your blog seen, but this, by no means, doesn't mean you can't and won't be successful. 

When you choose to Spend money on your Blog, Where do you Start?

When people think of blogging as a career, they think it is easy, or that anyone can do it.  Well, sure, anyone can write blog posts, but the majority of a bloggers work day does not even involve writing or taking pictures. 

Typically, 6-8 hours a day consists of running background stuff that the readers never really see.  It requires a lot of the social media tasks (because without it, your blog WILL FAIL) and dealing with the technical maintenance.  It is important that you understand HTML and some CSS, which you can easily research and use tutorials online. Coding is important in blogging, even in small doses, and paying someone to do this duty for you can be costly to a non-existent budget. 

A great reference book to check out is HTML & CSS. You can learn from it and use it for a quick reference guide along the way. You will not need any previous experience to learn from this book. 

When is a good time to Monetize?

Before you monetize, it is recommended that you have 20,000 page views per month, usually because there are some programs that will not accept you if you have less than that. (If you use Amazon, they will revoke your privileges if you do not make a sale in a six month time period)

That is what is recommended. I don't follow the rules, so I monetized as soon as I was able. This gave me the upper hand in being able to manipulate my ads and figure out how they work with my theme and niche, and to be frank, allowed me to be able to screw things up before I had a ton of followers watching. 

How to Monetize.
The easiest way to start is to join ad programs. 

Some of the best programs that I stay true to are: Google AdSense, Amazon Affiliates, and ShareASale.

How should I monetize?

The easiest way is to join ad programs.
The best ones for me have been Google AdSense (read How to Get Approved for Google AdSense), Amazon Affiliates (read How to Insert Amazon Ads Within a Text Post), and ShareASale (read Bloggers Make Money with ShareASale).
Media.net is easy to work with and not very restrictive. But they don’t earn as much as the others.
BlogHer is very competitive and out-earned Google AdSense in the first month I worked with them (after 11 months of working with AdSense, btw). However, they are INCREDIBLY restrictive. They earn a lot, though, so that’s a huge bonus. But now that they’ve been bought by SheKnows, I get paid each month, rather than having to wait until I hit $100, like with other programs.
They also don’t allow you to put any other ads above-the-fold (that area before your readers have to scroll down). Since other programs like AdSense require an above-the-fold ad, you’ll have trouble working with both. Unfortunately, you have to sign a 1-year contract with them. So you can’t just start using them and then stop when you decide it’s not working for you, like you can with other programs.
A lot of bloggers also recommend writing ebooks. It’s something I’ve considered doing, but only on a topic I really know and want to write about. The problem with this advice is that now every blogger on the planet is trying to write an ebook, whether they’re qualified to give out advice or not (there are millions of blogs out there. Can you imagine if every one of them wrote a book?). That said, if you develop a large enough following, then you’re clearly doing something right and writing an ebook wouldn’t be a bad idea.

How I Monetized My Blog

Here’s a screencap of my income sheet (which I keep track of in Excel):

 Click the image to view a larger version.
The total going down the right-side of the page is the total for that merchant. Some don’t pay you until you reach a minimum amount–usually it’s $100. Amazon pays once you reach $10 if you’re doing gift cards or direct deposit, $100 if you do checks. They also take out a processing fee for checks. ShareASale pays once you hit $50. (Everyone else is $100, I believe.)
The total going across the bottom of the page is the total for that month.
I keep Etsy below my ad total because it’s not an affiliate program, but there’s a separate section for how much ads + Etsy gained. As you can see, my Etsy shop doesn’t do that well. I also only have one regular product in it. However, my plan was to add more after the holidays, which I’ll be working on this weekend (by testing products, I mean. I have NO idea when I’ll actually make them available in my shop).
As for the colors–the red and the black should be obvious (red means I earned nothing and black means I earned something), but grey means that the account wasn’t open yet. As you can see, there is a lot of red and grey.
The biggest reason for this is that I had NO clue what I was doing and I was too empty-headed (and stubborn) to go looking for answers. I figured I could figure it out on  my own. Turns out, I could. But it was much slower that way. I would have done myself a lot of favors by seeking out help and using Google to find articles on how to improve my Google AdSense earnings, for example.
As you can see, Amazon Associates and ShareASale greatly out-earn all of my other programs. That’s because of how I use them and how they fit into my niche. (They’re also affiliate networks, not ad networks.)

How do I make my ads work for me?

Most bloggers who are successful with ads say two things:
  1. Putting ads within your content earns more than letting them sit in your sidebar, and
  2. Using text ads within your post is better than just using image ads. 
The second one is because what you have to say about a product means more to readers than an image you’ve said nothing about. If you’ve built a trusting relationship with your readers (meaning you let them know if a product sucks), they’re more likely to take your word for it if a product is great. I’ve written some negative reviews, but mostly on social media. I try to be completely honest about my experiences, though.
Holidays also help boost revenue. You can see my income jumped a lot from November to December. With people buying things online, gift guides really helped with that.
It’s not all about selling a product, though. Amazon tracks your cookies for 30 days after someone clicks a link from your blog. So if you click on a link to a book, close the tab, wait two weeks, and then buy a Jacuzzi tub from Amazon, I get commission for that tub. (No extra cost to you, of course. And I have heard of someone buying a tub after clicking on an affiliate link. The blogger made about $1000 off that sale. I can’t even imagine….)
The BEST way to earn money, though, is to concentrate on growing your page views enough so you can join something like The Blogger Network. This is actually my goal for 2015. The Blogger Network will take over ads and, instead of paying them, they just take a percentage of what your ad revenue is. Which gives them a lot of incentive to make sure your blog is profitable. A lot of people who have used them say their ad revenue doubled and even tripled. The drawback is that you need a minimum of $80k page views per month (through Google Analytics) to join.

Resources That Helped Me Earn More from Ads

I mentioned earlier that I should have sought help on making my ads work harder for me. I started doing that in November (another reason for the large jump). Instead of making you go out on your own and hope you stumble on something helpful, here are a few videos and blog posts that helped me figure it out.
First, I joined Learn to Blog on Facebook. I’ve learned a lot reading other people’s questions and asking some of my own. That led me to discover the Learn to Blog Hangouts. This is the one that REALLY helped me:

They explain how to set up custom channels, which is also huge in helping you figure out how much ad space on your site is actually worth. That way, if you want to start selling ad space independently, you know what to charge.
I also read a book called How I Made $40k My First Year of Blogging (affiliate). The author basically did everything I mentioned in the introduction to this post (spending lots of money to get started), but she also has some advice if you don’t want to do that. She’s how I discovered The Blogger Network. She has a lot to say about photography, since she’s a food blogger (so if you’re a food blogger, definitely read this book! If you’re not, it will still be helpful to you). That really motivated me to work harder on my photography.
Ruth Soukup’s book How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul (affiliate) was the first and best blogging book I have ever read. Bonus: she skips all the crap about how to start a blog. I hate when I buy an ebook and they spend the first 30+ pages talking about how to set up Twitter. That’s something I can Google for free. This is something that happened in How I Made $40k My First Year of Blogging and it REALLY made me mad. Fortunately, the rest of the book was helpful. Ruth runs Living Well, Spending Less, by the way. Her blog is wonderful and I recommend following her.
Blog posts that I’ve found helpful are:
There are SO many more resources out there. The problem is finding them. Pinterest has been a huge help to me, as well as Facebook groups.
The thing about blogging, though, is that just when you think you have it all figured out, you learn something new. Sometimes that something contradicts what you thought you already knew, which can make things kind of confusing and frustrating. So we’ll see what I learn in 2015! Hopefully this time next year I’ll be coming to you with much better numbers. :)
Just when you think you have blogging figured out, you learn something new. Click To Tweet Edit: The amount of people whining about my “Blogger is a mistake” comments are increasing. Here’s the thing. I am not here to coddle you or tell you that every uninformed decision you’ve ever made will be OK. (Though I am also not here to be mean–I WANT to help, which is why I posted that link about Blogger to begin with.) I’m here to give you a REALISTIC idea of what it’s like to monetize and lay down some facts so you can learn from my mistakes and fix any you’ve made as soon as possible. (Google how to transfer from Blogger to WordPress. It’s possible. People do it all the time.)
If something I said has made you feel bad about the choices you’ve made, then be a professional about it–either it bothers you enough to fix it (in which case, stop wasting your time whining and just go fix it) or it doesn’t bother you at all (in which case, stop wasting MY time). And now you know to do research before jumping into something.

[Personal Post] I'm going to SEE the WORLD

Life happens on a blink of an eye
By: Kel Amstutz   May 23, 2016

They always tell you to enjoy the little things, don't get lost in the mundane things in life...or my fav, I can always clean later, the now is for making memories.

Then...your baby graduates from Pre-School and you blink back the tears as you remember those sleepless nights...rocking her in the dark, trying to make her feel safe, calm to sleep.
Yes  she still whines  (constantly) and sometimes she needs help getting her shirts off without ripping her very girly earrings out if her head...or help with the start off on the swings... but the rocking days are long gone... the days of independence are taking over.

This weeping feeling came over me as my big girl climbed the stage last Thursday night, with her classmates, to sing her heart out about things under the sea. This sadness caught me as her name was called and she grabbed her diploma and shook her teachers hands, tassel hanging proudly on her sailor hat.

We have passed another milestone in the game of life. We are on the right path. Summer is HERE and we are talking a lot about Kindergarten. It has become our excitement, our thrill of things to come, of big kid school.

Yes, I am over the moon excited, both my babies will be in school, riding the bus to and fro, learning and creating, making new friends. But, my baby will be in school, full time.

This girl is so different from my soon-to-be 2nd grader. I love that fact. She is creative. She is imaginative. She is fun and happy. But, she is tiny. She is tough, but oh so tiny.

Kit Kat, we are SOO proud of you. You did it! You are ready for Kindergarten, no doubt about it. Life just keeps moving.

Then, Hubby had a birthday! It is so hard to believe we have been together since hubby was 22 years old. That fact doesn't even seem real. He acted as if he really didn't want to make a BIG deal about it... silly boy!

Of course we had cake and ice cream. We had presents and even a balloon! (Thanks Mom)
It is a big deal. My hubby had a birthday!

Happy Birthday baby, we love you so much and appreciate all you do for us.

Life moves on...it always keeps moving... forward and faster as each year grows cold.

Prayer Request:
I am asking for some prayers today My Uncle (45) had his appendix burst almost 2 weeks ago and is riddled with infection. He has a long road ahead of him, as his colon was affected with infection and an extremely large section of  was removed... beyond this, he spiked a high fever on Saturday and continued to have a low grade fever yesterday. I am asking for prayers for him, as well as a special prayer for my Grandma, who is 81 and is not in great health herself after a car accident.  She will need to help care for him, which he was previously helping care for her. Our family is doing all we can, but could use a few more prayers to help my Uncle through his battle.

Life continues...life goes on...

I'm leaving now, to go see the world... not literally, of course, but figuratively, the greener grass could do us all some wonder today!


~Kel Amstutz

Monday, May 8, 2017


By: Kel Amstutz
Keywords: today is the day, Stop Wishing and Start Living, Live the life you dream of, Desire, Financial Freedom, Begin now, Today is the day to start

 Today is the day.

You have all heard that before.

There is no better time like the present.

These are the rules to live by in our lives.

Wishing for things to happen, dreaming bigger than we could ever really imagine.

But, most of the time these wishes and dreams...well, they simply DON'T HAPPEN.

Wishing for a better lifestyle, maybe a business that is fluid and self contained and allows you to have freedom, real freedom from being tied down to a desk, a 9-5, a boss, much less having to use your hard-earned vacation days when you just need to take some time off for yourself or for your family.

So, you wish, dream, hope, maybe you even pray for these things, this freedom. 

I want to ask you all:


Do you keep on wishing? 

Well, what if I told you that financial freedom is not far away?

What if I told you that there is a way to transform this simple wish, these far away dreams into a desire

A real desire. 

You probably wouldn't believe me, right! 

Well, let's be frank here.

There are different ways to make this happen. True Story.

Your subconscious mind has to be convinced that your desire is already existing, it is already the TRUTH.

I know, this sounds to good to be true, but just listen. 

If you believe that this can happen, that this WILL happen, truly, honestly, believe, there is the truth.

Makes complete sense, right.

Now, this is where amazing things happen.

All the universe does at this point, 
when you truly believe
is opens up for YOU and provides

I know, sounds so weird, right.

Well, I like to think that your mind is more OPEN to 
see the opportunities that are there

When you only wish for a chance, you know deep down inside, that nothing will happen.

Most people fear to lose what they have and not what they don't have. 

So, point being, 
if you want something different

Nope! I can't wait to be done with school in two weeks and then off to my dream job! Haters approval not needed! I have found something I love to do! It makes me happy to see I'm such an inspiration to all my haters :):
If you found this post interesting, I bet you’ll love checking out my other most popular posts:


Here is my most popular eBook! 

I strongly recommend my eBook, The Social Media Manager Kit by Kel (w/ bonus) in order to get you started. It will include templates for emailing potential clients or those you landed a completed job with, it will allow you to focus and challenge you to keep moving forward. 

This life, working at home, being financial free and with my family, is something that I used to dream about. 

  • I am living it. 
  • I am loving it. 
  • I am making it my life! 

Need More Help?  

Check out my eBook, Make your Dream a Reality in 30 Days or Less! - a jump start guide with templates to get you ready, set and ROCKING this Social Media Manager gig! 



Affliliate Links :  

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