- Lisa Andrea launched The Financial Cookbook finance blog in February 2021.
- She has turned her blog into a profitable business with affiliate marketing and brand partnerships.
- Here’s how she scaled her side hustle to book $8,000 a month.
Lisa Andrea saw a gaping hole in financial education, particularly for women, while she worked in marketing at a Big Four financial institution. From investment opportunities to saving for a home, too many women aren’t taught the basics of financial planning in school, she said.
In February 2021, she launched The Financial Cookbook, a blog offering the “recipes for success” in finances, career, and life that Andrea taught herself. That includes lessons on investing, negotiating a salary, and writing a résumé, all of which contribute to a person’s financial stability.
“The Financial Cookbook is a guide for everything they should have taught us in school,” she said.
When Andrea launched her blog, she joined the more than 100 million Americans who run side hustles. Many people created side gigs as a way to fill their free time and earn ancillary income amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey of 510 entrepreneurs by the lending firm Clarify Capital.
Andrea booked $8,000 in revenue in May — a number that has grown month over month — through ads, affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, and product sales on her site, which Insider verified with documentation.
What’s more, Andrea built her brand to 14,000 newsletter subscribers, 4 million monthly Pinterest views, and 96,000 social-media followers across her platforms, she said.
Insider spoke with Andrea about her decision to launch a financial-advice platform, how to grow an online community, and the most effective social-media platform for businesses.
The following as-told-to interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Find your passion in a void
After graduating from college, we are ushered into the real world without understanding the simplest ways to manage our careers or advocate for ourselves. I created The Financial Cookbook as a blueprint of how to manage money and shape your career in your 20s. It’s something I wish I had when I was younger, which is why post-college women are my target audience.
I had the idea to start a financial guide for years, but it wasn’t until my company went remote amid the pandemic, I wasn’t traveling, and I had a leg injury that I had time to officially launch. My passion for helping others, combined with the engagement I see from my community, has made the long hours worth it.
Since the start of the year, I’ve invested more into the business and into myself: I attend courses on entrepreneurship, Google search-engine optimization, and blogging. I’ve also read books to help inform my business decisions. I recommend that all founders take advantage of these opportunities to continue learning as they grow.
Create multiple points of contact to attract new viewers
After launching the blog, I joined Instagram and Pinterest to promote the site. I didn’t know anything about social media before starting the company, but I watched YouTube videos by social-media coaches to learn the best type of content and the best time to post, as well as to understand algorithm changes.
Pinterest has been the most helpful tool in broadening my audience because it’s a search engine rather than a social-media platform. Instagram and TikTok can help you interact with a large audience, but Pinterest is designed to drive people to your website.
Consistently connecting with audience members on multiple platforms helps draw traction from different corners of the internet. This multiplatform approach is crucial for business growth.
Turn a blog into a profitable business
I generate income from paid ads, affiliate marketing, and brand partnerships. I work with nearly 50 companies on their affiliate-marketing programs.
Companies in all industries have affiliate programs, which I recommend other bloggers and digital founders take advantage of by applying to be part of them. But it’s important to stay authentic: Promote only companies’ information and products that align with your brand messaging.
I also offer items for purchase on my blog, including a résumé template for $15 and a habit-tracker challenge for $2.78.
I am a huge proponent of multiple streams of income, which is why I advise my readers on passive-income opportunities I’ve taken myself: I invest, have real estate, and make money through e-commerce sites like eBay, where I earn about $500 a month selling clothes and other household items.
I see financial freedom as having all of your life costs automated by passive income. I think that’s what all of us are trying to get to, and the core of The Financial Cookbook is to help others achieve that.