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by Demetria Irwin

The dream is to do what you love and figure out how to make money doing it. For bloggers, that idea seems more distant than most.  Making millions from a blog is something only Perez Hilton and a handful of others have figured out. Most bloggers earn nothing beyond the occasional smartly worded comment or a spot on a coveted blog roll.  In between those two realities, there exists a space for bloggers to build their brand and create careers.

The Atlanta Post caught up with four New York-based bloggers who are doing just that.  Their specialty is technological alchemy—turning online clicks and comments into real life opportunities.  These bloggers are not uninterested in making blog money via the usual channels of banners and pay-per-click ads, but they are more interested in using their blogs as dynamic, evolving, shape-shifting resumes.

Name: Jamilah Lemieux aka Sister Toldja

Blog: A Beautiful Struggler

Plans for the Future: “Full time freelancer would be good. I want to be a media personality. I want to be the person people turn to for comments when something is going on in black relationships. I have a few book ideas for non-fiction and fiction too.”

In a way, Jamilah Lemieux has a typical blogger story. She started blogging in 2005 (The Beautiful Struggler was born in 2006) as a way to release her uncensored thoughts on everything from relationships to pop culture.  She has kept a regular 9 to 5 job the whole time.   “Boughetto” is a word she uses to describe herself in the About Me section of her blog, which gives you a hint of the sarcasm and wit that pervades her writing style.

At least two of her blog posts have appeared in popular national media. An essay of hers  about Reggie Bush and interracial dating graced the pages of Essence magazine and her open letter to Tyler Perry was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

She has been a panelist for discussions on race, culture and relationships at various universities and is a contributor to an upcoming anthology about African-American women and fatherhood. Lemieux recently joined the Fresh Xpress, which she describes as a young, black Huffington Post. “I joined Twitter to promote my blog and it helped me further brand myself as a social media personality,” she said “I’ve started making some connections.  I’ve been very grateful for social media. I’m really humbled that some people want to read my opinions.”

She admits that she would rather concentrate on the quality of her work than delve into the ins and outs of ad revenue and other business related details. “The same person who redesigned my site set up my ad space,” she said. “I don’t make a whole lot of money off of that yet, but I’m looking to grow. I have done a couple giveaways, but I’m picky about that. I have a lot of black women in my readership, so the giveaways have to be things we can actually use.”

The number of unique views is one thing advertisers look at to determine whether or not to do business with a blogger. Lemieux was not willing to part with her exact viewership statistics, but her Twitter following is almost 4,500 strong and her blog posts typically garner dozens of comments each, not including those made on the various social networking sites.

Beyond trying to entice outside advertisers, Lemieux also uses her blog to advertise her own business.  A long-time baking enthusiast, Lemieux turned her passion into dollars by starting the home-based Sweethoney Desserts. She offers a wide range of treats, some with fun names like Winter Boo Bread Pudding.  Orders are taken via the blog and Lemieux has been pleasantly surprised at the response she has received.  Orders have been placed from as far away as Texas.  “It’s amazing to me that people who don’t know me personally are willing to pay me to do something I love.” That goes for baking and writing.

NEXT: Jozen Cummings

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