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:
- The redundancy money guaranteed me a financial buffer for a few months (this turned out to save me in my darkest hour).
- My husband works full time so the mortgage payments were reassuringly covered.
- 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).
- 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.
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):
- 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).
- 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.
- If I go on holiday I schedule posts for while I’m away so there is always content going out on my blog.
- 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.
- 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?”
- 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!
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This post was first written in June 2014 and updated for 2017.