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How Joyce Zahariadis’ Lifestyle Blog Uses SEO to Earn $5k+ Per Month From Ads and Printables 

Joyce was extremely happy at her day job and he knew what she wanted and needed most was to be able to dedicate herself to her family. So she buckled down, planned her exit strategy, and quit her job.

She started a blog called My Stay At Home Adventures

to share her recipes, gardening tips, budgeting and cleaning tips, and over the years she’s been able to grow it to $5k per month. 

She added additional income streams by creating a second site and selling printables, and she expects her income to continue to grow in 2024.

Keep reading to find out:

  • Why she quit her job
  • Why she started her blog
  • How she shifted the focus of her blog
  • What strategies she used initially to grow her site
  • Where her income comes from
  • Her thoughts on SEO
  • Her approach to keyword research
  • Her link building strategies
  • Her content creation process
  • How she grows her email list
  • Her go-to tools and resources
  • Her biggest challenge
  • Her main accomplishment
  • Her greatest mistake
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Joyce Zahariadis

Hi, I’m Joyce and I’m a married, Latina mom of four (adult daughter and 3 boys). What makes my family special is we are an autism family.

I’m a former retail manager for a big box company and an extreme introvert, but I moved my way up the company. I enjoyed the stressed level job but hated the amount of hours I had to work. My pregnancy was affected by the situation, so I decided to plan my exit strategy. 

I paid off all of my debt and quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom.

Why She Created Her Site

My blog started when I was writing down how we were saving money on food. 

It was on a lunch date with my friend, and I was telling her that I was so exhausted that I was holding a paper plate of rice and beans, and when I opened the microwave door, it hit the plate and I got smacked in my face with the food. My friend said, you should call your blog My Stay At Home Adventures, and that’s where it began. That was over 10 years ago.

My business is to help moms (“home adventurers”) to create a home life on a budget they can afford. When I first started, I focused on frugal living, budgeting, and gardening. It has now grown to recipes, budgeting, saving money, cleaning, and gardening.

I knew that I wanted to make at least $500 a month since I lost a small job I had at the time helping special needs adults due to budget cuts. But personally, I wanted to focus on my family first. 

My blog growth was strategically slow because I kept testing techniques and learning what I liked and didn’t like. So, my strategy was slow and steady. 

I always had a goal in mind where I wanted to be and the reason why I took this approach was because as our family grew, diagnoses were given. I focused on one thing at a time when I began my blog.

I focused on Pinterest (now, these were different times) and mastered as much as possible. Testing and figuring things out. Because of how my mind works, I invested in a course and followed it. And I started to see growth.

I also learned that SEO was important, and the only way I could do this for my main site was to create Latin-inspired recipes. And that took off.

Throughout my journey, I have created other sites, like Mom Autism Money and The Happy Home Life, a podcast, and e-books, I’ve sold printables, I started working as a VA, and I continue to grow.

The beauty of my success is that it is my success. It looks different from other people’s success. It’s not about the money; it’s about being able to have multiple streams of income that are continuing to grow. I earn a great income that allows me to care for and advocate for my children.

You can say that my boys have taught me a way to approach everything: with patience, grace, and honesty.

I look at data and track what’s working and what’s not. I always keep things simple and focus on my goals. I have my own progress chart.

How Much She’s Earning

Total income generated from My Stay At Home Adventures.

Last year’s ad revenue:

Keep in mind that this is what the site generated through December 31, and some of the money has not been paid out yet.

Sales of cash envelopes printables:

It’s worth noting that sales of cash envelope printables were declining but then started picking up again. They’re continuing to grow as cash budgeting is popular with Gen-Z. Knowing and seeing the data, this will be a goal to add to and invest in for 2024.

On Etsy:



VA work, small sites, and services

Ad revenue from small but growing site:

For my VA service:

In July I decided to start working as a VA and helping out with blog maintenance. Since then, I have received about $9050. This is another part of my business that has the potential to grow in 2024.

As for my blog traffic, it varies per season as spring and early summer are my busiest due to gardening posts.

I work on my business in the mornings, from 7 to 10 am, and if I have an IEP meeting or therapy, I don’t work. I plan ahead and for summer breaks. The business continues to grow without me working every day.

Joyce’s Top Marketing Strategy

When it comes to marketing strategies, it all depends on the season and niche. 

Since my main site is a lifestyle blog and its readers and followers are frugal, money savings readers, you have to engage with your emails. Email and honesty are key to success. 

I use the printables I sell. I budget with the spreadsheets. Be consistent with your email and build that trust.

Of course, SEO is important, but for me, that’s a long-term game. Email should be a priority.

Her Thoughts on SEO

SEO has been important for my business, and my strategy is to keep it simple. Do not complicate it. 

That being said, and this might be unpopular, but follow the guidelines of what Google wants and adapt to the changes.

Keyword Research

I started using Long Tail Pro a few years ago, but started creating posts for the site based on Google Search Console. 

Once you’re doing this for a long time, you kind of know what your site can and can’t rank for.

This is why my niche sites are growing faster than my main sites.

Link Building

Link building is important; it doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is about it. 

The moment people started linking to my recipes, the blogs grew. I create content that others want to link to and I join link building groups. 

Linking to other reputable sources and other bloggers has also helped increase our smaller sites’ domains.

Joyce’s Content Creation Process

We look at keywords and Google Search Console and start from there. 

I create notes on the topic and we outsource to our VA. We have increased the number of articles we write and now publish daily. On the other sites, we’re doing 2 to 3 articles per week.

We create new content and update old content as well.

Her Email List

I have an email list and I grow it by allowing access to a subscriber library. I send two emails per week: on Tuesdays, a freebie, and on Saturdays, a recipe.

The Tuesday email may contain a printable related to the topic of the email that leads to an article or several articles.

For example, if we’re talking about the importance of creating a meal plan, the freebie is about meal planning and the link is the resource to learn about the process.

Her Favorite Resources

As far as recommendations, my advice is to find what works for you and your work style. 

I follow Income School, Niche Pursuits, and Builderpreneur.

Her Go-To Tools

When starting niche sites, for me, Google Search Console is very important, as is Google Search itself.

I use this to see what’s out there and what questions haven’t been answered. I also use AI chat (paid subscription). 

For my older sites, I use a keyword app like SurferSEO as well as Link Whisper and Pinterest. I’m a simple gal!

Her Greatest Challenge

Myself! I am my biggest challenge!

I can be hyper-focused and introverted and stubborn in my ways. I can’t follow too many directions or new trends or I get overwhelmed. 

I also like to learn and accomplish and test something before moving on. To overcome this, I get together with other bloggers at least once a year and go over my goals and accountability.

I do this by meeting with people who truly have the same mindset and are open with one another to meet up, away from family and kids, where you can focus on your business. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

You get to work, eat, laugh, and have a fun time while planning your business and learning from one another. It’s the best thing I recommend you do if you’re an introvert like me.

Her Greatest Accomplishment

My greatest accomplishment is creating a system that allows me to be home and take care of and advocate for my special needs children. That I don’t have to worry about requesting time off or fear losing my job because I have built my business to function while I’m away. 

For me, this is big, because it’s a privilege that as a family with multiple special needs children I can do that when many can’t. That we are able to pay for extra therapy and other sessions because of my business. For me, that’s an important accomplishment.

I believe that slow and steady wins the race, or builds the business in this case, but this doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. It means you work on what’s important and valuable to you.

For me, having a unique family has taught me to grow my business in a different way. And that my success is completely different than everyone else’s. 

You see, I’m growing a business that allows me to be with the people that are important to me, my family, in an honest way. No gimmicks. No get-rich-quick schemes.

And what I’m most proud of is that I know that I will grow this business income significantly in 2024, doing it my way.

What She Wishes She Knew when She Started

No blogging business is alike. 

There’s an idea that in order to grow your business and be successful you have to do it one way or you have to make a certain amount of money in a short period of time to “make it.”

I would have not spent so much money on courses and following the wrong “experts.” I would have started with a plan of what my goals and accomplishments were and what success looked to me and what it meant for me.

Joyce’s Main Mistake

It’s hard to say what my biggest mistake has been because mistakes are part of the journey. I feel that I needed to make mistakes to learn from them. I mentioned paying for courses was a mistake, but that was one of many mistakes that turned out to be a lesson.

That being said, if there’s a mistake I made, it was not to hire sooner. Like many, I was so afraid to hand over tasks to “strangers,” but once I did, it didn’t affect my business. In fact, it helped it grow and it was so good for my mental health. 

Being a mom and wife is stressful enough, and trying to run your business alone is a disaster waiting to happen.

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

Create a plan, invest back into your business, and write your own success story. If running a business that allows you to live the life you want is what you want, then do it.

Don’t complicate things, don’t follow trends that sound too good to be true, and stick to a plan that allows you to grow your business but also to grow yourself as an entrepreneur.{ margin-top: 80px;
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