Leaving a six-figure salary to start a full-time blog seems a bit risky and uncertain.
But in just two years, 34-year-old Michelle Madhok, a former America Online executive, says her shopping blog,
SheFinds.com, is headed to be an even more lucrative career choice. This year, it's forecast to rake in half a million dollars -- up from $70,000 in 2005.
"We scour the web for the best finds in fashion and beauty," says Madhok. "It's kind of like an online magazine, only you can interact with it. It's a great way to get something fresh up there every day."
The blog makes money by selling banner ads, but the bulk of revenue stems from the site's retail placements. Product reviews and articles always include where consumers can find mentioned items.
If readers actually go on to buy the items, SheFinds.com earns a commission, as much as 15%. "First the editorial is written, and the links are put in afterwards," Madhok stresses.
SheFinds.com's target audience is made of fashion-conscious, working women with disposable income and little time to search for the latest must-haves. "It's not about impressions," says Madhok. "It's about who you impress."
To help boost traffic to the site, Madhok tries to stir up
"juice," or give Google search words related to the site that aren't limited to its name or main content. A site with a lot of juice ranks high among Google search results.
So far, the site has impressed 21,000 subscribers -- triple the number from its first year.
To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take of today's segment, click here.
During the holidays, SheFinds.com was a big hit with moms searching for the last of the Tickle Me Elmos online. Fashionistas also had luck in the winter getting links from SheFinds.com to the near-extinct J. Brand skinny jeans.
Most recently, articles on the site led shoppers to buy more than $200,000 worth of Ugg boots. The site received 10% to 15% of all sales. "This, in a world where they said Uggs were dead!" laughs Madhok.
The site has secured partnerships with about 100 online retailers, including major department stores like
. The site also works with
And it's not just a destination for women.
On Guy Fridays, SheFinds.com caters to male shoppers with separate product reviews, items like hair balms, gadgets and daddy diaper bags. After all, says Madhok, "guys shop, too."
Farnoosh Torabi joined TheStreet.com TV in July 2006 as the site's first official video correspondent. Previously, Farnoosh was a business producer and on-air reporter for NY1 News, Time Warner's 24-hour news channel in New York City. Farnoosh is a regular columnist for AM New York and has written for Money, Time, New York Daily News and Newsday. Farnoosh is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, with a degree in Finance and International Business and holds a M.A. from the Columbia School of Journalism.