Thursday, 12 October 2017

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging | Not Dressed As Lamb

Over the four years that I've been blogging full-time I've been contacted by quite a few bloggers to ask how I managed to give up the day job and go full-time with my blog.

There's no secret formula - I'm as surprised as anyone that I'm managing to make a living out of this strange profession. 

The first thing to realise? There's no conventional way to do it. I'm sure all the pro bloggers/influencers out there will have a different story to tell.

Secondly - there's absolutely no such thing as a break in full-time blogging. Anyone who does this for a living will tell you that there's always more Instagramming, Facebooking, Tweeting, commenting, writing, emailing or editing you could be doing. Always, always.

So how did I do it?


Four years ago I left the security of a full-time job in sales and marketing (without another job to go to) after taking voluntary redundancy (the US equivalent is severance pay). Initially I had no intention of blogging full-time - I was one of those people who simply HAD to have the security of a 9-5. So I thought I'd probably look for social media manager jobs, as that was my area of expertise.

However, after enjoying a break for a few weeks to consider my future (what can I say, it was a nice summer!) - it dawned on me that blogging was what I really wanted to do, all the time. But I knew that the money I'd get from sponsored collaborations with brands wasn't going to be enough money to begin with. Therefore I decided to work freelance as well by providing social media coverage and writing blog posts for other companies at the same time as working on sponsored posts for my blog.

If you're considering blogging full-time, this is how I did it

There were quite a few monetary factors that contributed to my being able to even consider blogging full time:

  1. The redundancy money guaranteed me a financial buffer for a few months (this turned out to save me in my darkest hour).
  2. My husband works full time so the mortgage payments were reassuringly covered.
  3. We took a long, hard look at our finances and budgeted more severely than we had done for many years (and saved a ton of money in the process).
  4. The freelancing as a content writer and doing social media for an agency for a certain number of hours a week brought me some regular money I could rely on.

What I think is helping to make my blog a success

A lot of people - especially youngsters (oh, I've just realised how old that makes me sound!) - think that blogging is "easy". Nothing could be further from the truth. Okay, it may not be rocket science and you may not need a PhD in medicine to do it as a job, but by GOD do you need to be a lot of things. Being industrious, thick-skinned, creative, productive, patient, enthusiastic, a quick learner, open-minded, exciting, inspiring, able to work on no sleep, generous - these are all important qualities that you need in order to get somewhere. All of that, then a little luck somewhere along the line.

LUCK DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN ALL BY ITSELF WITHOUT HARD WORK - YOU HAVE TO MAKE LUCK HAPPEN. 

But luck doesn't just happen all by itself without hard work - you have to make luck happen.

For me personally this is what I think has helped me to make my blog my profession (and a success):

  1. I put in a LOT of hours. And I mean A LOT. All day, most evenings, and weekends. Travelling time on train journeys. Sheer hard work is the number 1 key to making a blog a success (you can't make it without it).
  2. I publish regularly - minimum three times a week, without fail, with particular "themes" on certain days of the week, with monthly and even yearly posts. My readers know roughly what to expect, and when.
  3. If I go on holiday I schedule posts for while I'm away so there is always content going out on my blog.
  4. I time-manage and schedule everything. My posts are scheduled up to three months in advance. My working day is planned out the night before, with a list of what I need to do and when. It has to be structured really carefully else I wouldn't be able to fit everything in.
  5. I make sure I deliver when it comes to working with brands. I don't produce cr*p - I put as much time and effort into blog posts that are sponsored as I do for the non-sponsored ones - everything I write I think "will my readers find this interesting? Would I be interested in reading this?"
  6. I read as much as I can about improving your blog - and put as much as I can into practice. I want to constantly learn new things and I keep on top of changes made by different platforms to make sure I'm constantly up to date with everything.

So you can see that in order to keep up with all of this, there's practically no room for a break in full-time blogging. It just doesn't work. The nearest I got to a total break was our holiday in Cornwall last month - though I still kept on top of my Inbox and continued with Instagram... when there's no one else to do it but you it's the sacrifice you have to make.

Where I am now

Four years on, I can honestly say that it's all been absolutely worth it. It's hard to avoid getting stressed but I think there are ways to make a success of things without losing the plot. It's been more rewarding than any other job I've had - I may not be earning a fortune (though my earnings have gone up significantly since winning a major award), but I do receive a great many benefits that I'm incredibly grateful for that would otherwise cost me a lot of money.

I'll be honest and say that there are many, many days when I feel totally overwhelmed - but I wouldn't change what I'm doing for the world.

ARE YOU CONSIDERING BLOGGING FULL-TIME, OR IF YOU DO ALREADY HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO ACHIEVE IT? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Pin for later!

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging | Not Dressed As Lamb

This post was first written in June 2014 and updated for 2017.
SHARE:

46 comments

  1. Hi Catherine -- thanks for this post! Where do you read about improving your blog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of the blogs I follow publish posts about ways to improve your blog (like the ones I do, for example); IFB is your number one place for posts of this kind so sign up to their newsletter and/or follow them on Bloglovin; finally, look for blogging tips on Pinterest - all my Pins about improving your blog are on one board: http://www.pinterest.com/notlamb/blogging-tips/

      Hope all that helps!

      Delete
  2. Congrats on all your hard work paying off! Your blog is great!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Catherine, blogging takes a LOT of work I agree and you feel you have more to say and to do... It's my best job ever because it doesn't feel like work and I can do it from anywhere I am in the world.
    x Nina
    PS. Amazing Luisaviaroma.com $500 Gift Card Giveaway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I love the fact that it can be done anywhere in the world - but then in a way it's not so great because I'm on holiday right now and still working on my blog =oops=!

      Delete
  4. Great post!! I went full-time with my blogging and online businesses in January. It is awesome but so very time-consuming. I struggle with finding a balance between family and work, but I am learning. Like you said, I'm not making a fortune but I am matching what I made previously at my career in advertising. I can't complain since I am my own boss. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you Lauren - I'm glad it's going well for you! x

      Delete
  5. Good post, Catherine; it's helpful to hear how it's become a full-time job. All your hard work shows. xox

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your blog is pure excitement! Keep at it :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the sharing!
    XO
    Jeanne
    http://fashionmusingsdiary.blogspot.fr

    ReplyDelete
  8. Even I am not a full-time blogger in terms of making a living of it, I very often feel I am full-time blogging considering the time and effort I spend in front of my laptop ;-) The monetary factors you have listed are most important and as I don't have any of these, the salary from my regular full-time job is essential.

    You know I admire you and the blogwork you are doing and you have always been such an inspiration!
    Hugs,
    Annette | Lady of Style

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annette you're a sweetheart, thank you so much for the love and support x

      Delete
  9. I'm a full-time blogger too and sometimes I think to myself "I just want to leave it"... Sometimes I feel so burned out and so out of sync, I have serious issues with blogging. But then I remember that this is something I love and that I've met so many nice people in here, it shouldn't be so stressful and keep at it :)
    Thank you for this post Catherine, it's great! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. you can tell you work very hard, your blog is so wonderful x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christina that's so lovely of you to say - thank you!!

      Delete
  11. Like a lot of things, it looks easy to do, but it takes a great effort, lot of practise and hours. No pain no gain. When you watch a ballet dancer, you think "that looks easy, I bet I can do that too". Hahaha. No way. When you see a well groomed, slender lady looking effortlessly elegant in nice clothes.... forget the effortless.
    You know why you love it so much? Because it is your creation. Just yours. And everybody loves their own creations. It is in human beings. And no boss to tell you what to do.
    Keep up the good work Catherine.
    Greetje

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh yes I can relate to a lot of that! Blogging really is so rewarding though and I also try and keep improving what I do. What I've started to find is that I feel a bit isolated sometimes with working on my own, I could do with talking to more bloggers, I think I need to go to more blogging events probably!

    ReplyDelete
  13. So there aren't any more hours in the day when you blog full-time, dearest Catherine?! Darn it!! I'm already feeling that - between my blog and my full-time job - I really get no "breaks!!" Oh well...when you love what you do, it's not such a big deal anyways!! Fingers crossed that my opportunity will come one day, too (and happy to hear that I'm not missing out on some secret formula!!) ;)

    www.StyleIsMyPudding.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is SO true - there is no such thing as a break. Even before I was full-time as a blogger, it didn't stop. The hours were - and still are - huge but it's seriously the best job I've ever had and I wouldn't do it differently (first time visitor from Australia - found you via G+ - but I'll be back!)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I´m no fulltime-blogger but I invest a lot of time in my blog. My husband has a fulltime-job and I have only a "half-time-job". If I would say to my husband I will get a fulltime-blogger he would say: OK, try it!
    But time is no guarantee for a successfull blog, when you have no support and no cooperation requests. Without cooperations (and without a job) you can not finance such a blog. Without the latest fashionable trendy outfits and photos interest in the blog would fade quickly.

    Dana
    http://danalovesfashionandmusic.blogspot.de/

    ReplyDelete
  16. Interesting to read about the factors that have played a part in your choice, really nice to find out the 'reality'. My OH is self-employed in the arts, so alas, I'm the one that has to stay employed to cover the mortgage! Even though our joint income is about what the average UK salary for one person is, we have a fantastic quality of life. I work 4 days, so we get to spend long weekends together, and he's taught me to stop wasting money (well, I still have the shopping habit, but it's toned down a lot!). I do dream of one day being self-employed, but maybe that's something further down the road, once the OH has struck it big in the music industry!! Until then, I can dream and I can also work on improving my blog - I've already learnt such a lot from you, thank you for sharing all of your wonderful tips! You're doing a fab job, and it's great to hear that you're not jaded but do truly love what you do! P x

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'll definitely have a look at your blogging tips pinterest board. It's always good to try and improve yourself and the things you do.
    Rubi x
    The Den

    ReplyDelete
  18. I remember your post about you quitting your job and going into blogging full time. That's a year ago?! Time sure flew by so quickly. I can see that your blog definitely had grown and you've shared so much with us. In fact, I find that I'm learning so much from you these days. I'm starting to go into blogging full time and yes, what you said is true. There's no break as a full-time blogger but it sure is worth it. At times I do get frustrated with things that didn't turn out the way I wanted it but overall, it's all good =) What I do at times when things get a little challenging, I would take a break and just go for a short holiday. I'm surprise at what I came back with. Filled with fresh ideas.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pointers with us.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I agree, full time blogging takes a lot of work and tenacity but I love being my own boss and earning a great living doing something I love. Well done to you too, your blog (and you) are beautiful x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki thank you!!! I agree about being your own boss... I couldn't have it any other way :D

      Delete
  20. Thanks for this post Catherine. When our mining industry took a serious nose dive last year I took became redundant. Sadly, with our political problems and past, its been difficult as a white women to find employment and strangely too, the over 40's have an even harder time. I have made a little money over the past two months but have decided (between this and my photography) to really get to grips and improve my blog.

    Your suggestions and positive approach is comforting.

    Always enjoy your posts so much.

    Hugs
    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is such a fantastic post- and blog!
    Many thanks for sharing
    Lottie

    http://beautysciencemagic.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think this is the part that my husband doesn't like so much---I am always on my phone for one reason or another. And it is a lot of work which is not necessarily a bad thing. But I do believe I need to find some balance. Mental health is so important, and constant work is tough on the emotions!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, Jodie!! The lucky thing for me is that a lot of the work I have to do (photo shoots, etc.) can be done as a couple as Keith does my photography. So I'm lucky in that a lot of work is stuff I'd want to do anyway as a hobby.... such is the beauty of blogging!

      Delete
  23. A really good, informative post, thanks for sharing this. x Jacqui mummabstylish

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you so much for a great "study" for this student to keep! I've decided to go full-time in blogging and have no idea what the fuck I am doing except to write, write, write, write. I have worked with a few skin care companies and when I do a review, I do a very detailed review that takes a while to write--but I'm also transparent. I will use a product over time before I review it. I'm not a one-trick pony. To me, the hardest thing is to market myself. That's the hardest. I attended a kinda-sorta network-ish meeting last week, but nothing transpired, to be honest. One of my favorite bloggers was there and I met a couple of other bloggers and everybody was nice, but as far as networking--I need to seek out true network opportunities and workshops. Keep writing posts like this. They are inspirational, educational and it's great to read what you have been through. I almost feel that I'm on the right track.
    Thank you very much for sharing your trials and tribulations and successes!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catherine it's my pleasure to share this with you! I wish I had posts like this to read when I was starting out. Just keep writing writing (as you're doing) and being honest and consistent (consistency is VERY important) then you're on the right track :D

      Delete
  25. I respect full time bloggers who make a living out of it. It must be very very very hard work. And to give up a day job takes currage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I look back I'm amazed I ever really did it, Nancy...!

      Delete
  26. I love this - a dose of reality along with practical tips and the proof that if you put the work in, it can happen for you. I'm in the position you were in four years ago - trying to decide whether to go for another proper job or if it might be possible to build up my blog to bring in an income. You've given me the inspiration, and the reality check, I really needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does take a LONG time to build up, Belle, I won't lie - but hard work, consistency and honesty are the key ingredients. Confidence in your ability too will get you everywhere! I wish you the best of luck x

      Delete
  27. One of the things that I most love about being a full-time blogger is that I CAN schedule posts in advance and take off for... Ireland? Paris? for a long period of time and pretty much leave things on auto-pilot for a few days. (I sometimes travel to place where internet connectivity is iffy!) And it's delightful to walk away from my desk in the middle of the day to go to the gym, or take a nap, or have a long lunch with a friend. Yes, I have to work into the evening to make up the time, but that flexibility is glorious!
    I salute you for making it work - we're rare but special birds!
    hugs,
    Janice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flexibility IS glorious, Janice - I quite agree!!! x

      Delete
  28. I am in awe of you, Catherine. I find your story fascinating and enjoy reading how you make it work, scheduling out your posts and such. I wish I could be even half that organized! I'm lucky if I can bang out a post a week. And it usually takes me two working days to get one done! So I can really appreciate how many hours you need to put in to do it full time and do it so well.

    Theresa
    www.vintagestylefiles.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Theresa thank you! Yes the hours are lonnnnnnng but it's always enjoyable :)

      Delete
  29. Really interesting post Catherine. I don't earn any money from my blog. It is a hobby and I really enjoy it. I have a stable 9-5 job to pay the mortgage and sort out my pension. Sometimes I wish I could spend more time and make a little money out of my blog, but I am a single mum and I have no safety blanket. Thanks for this post Catherine. I found it really helpful. Pen x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very lucky to have my husband's salary as the safety blanket for a regular income and to make sure the mortgage always got paid, Pen... I think most advice for becoming self-employed says that you should never do it without a certain amount of capital behind you. But there's no reason why you won't start to make a hefty bit of pocket money, plus many people who've done that have gone onto work part time and blog part time.

      So if you have a goal to be able to do that, Pen - don't let anyone say you can't!! I wish you the best of luck x

      Delete

Thank you so much for leaving me a comment! I love reading what you have to say and I'll always do my best to reply. If you have a question why not tweet me @notlamb?

(Please note any working links left that don't redirect to blogs will be deleted as spam...!)

Blogger Template Created by pipdig