I have some exciting and scary news to share with you all. I am now a full-time blogger. Those of you that have read my previous income reports may not be surprised to hear this as I’ve been discussing that I’ve been considering the option for a few months.
Although I’ve only been seriously considering this since about February, it’s been something that I have been working towards for around 8 years.
What is a full-time blogger?
I guess the term full-time blogger can be a bit vague. I did to a poll on survery on Twitter to see what others classed as a full-time blogger and the results varied from:
- someone who blogs as their only source of income
- someone who makes a full-time wage blogging
- someone that spends a full-time hours blogging
There is no right or wrong answer, I guess. But for me, being a full-time blogger means being able to leave my salaried work to earn income only from my blogs. It doesn’t mean I’m earning thousands of pounds it means. It means I am earning enough to continue to support our lifestyle with my blog income, while leaving work to allow me to spend time at home raising our baby so we don’t have to send him to a nursery.
Anyway, this has been something that’s taken years of hard work, and many of those years gave me little or not reward. But I wanted to take today to tell you all how I came to this point.
The early years of my blog
I started this blog as a hobby in 2012, 9 years ago. After a few months of blogging, I started to realise that other bloggers were getting gifted items and making money from their blogs. I wanted in. I already loved blogging so being able to make an income from it sounded amazing! But it seemed like a very distant dream. I had previously tried to start a YouTube channel and most of my vlogs rarely got 100 views. I mean, I’m not very charismatic in front of the camera, I am MUCH better in written word than spoken. Because I’m just awkward and often stumble on my words and my jokes are usually executed very poorly.
7 months in, my first blog collaboration was with a fashion website that allowed you to do mood boards with outfits. They sent me a tote bag with their logo on it and a bracelet inside for exchange for a post. This seems insane now, as I would never accept that for a blog post these days! But back then, I was so proud. I was proud that someone had reached out to work with me and wanted to give ME something. For free!
The next couple of years would see me working for gifted items. I also did the occasional $10 post (I know!) and a few collaborations with rubbish websites that offered cheap clothes and jewellery from China. Like OASAP. Remember that website? Does it even still exist? It was full of cheap clothes that sometimes looked fab, sometimes looked crap, but were always too short.
This was around 2013 and 2014. Blogging has changed a lot since then. Bloggers are more aware of what collaborations to avoid, although new bloggers can often fall into the trap of accepting poor collaborations. It’s so easy to get flattered when someone tells you they love your site and want to work with you. But we soon learn that these types of collaborations usually reach out to any and every blogger. I even did a collaboration where I bought a product at a heavy discount.
But I grew and so did the blogging world. Influencer marketing was becoming more and more popular and by 2015, I was really knowing my worth.
Finding a niche, kind of
I was very passionate about blogging. I was curious about how everything worked. I was reading blog tips, learning SEO, social media marketing and anything I could get my hands on. I wanted to make this work for me and was detirmed to do everything on my power to make this my job. But that’s when I started writing blog posts to help other bloggers.
I was never good at makeup or photography and I’m not the typical beautiful blogger that is successful, looked up to and admired. although I loved dresses, I’m not exactly a style icon or up to date with the latest trends. I just like what I like. But blogging tips – this was something I was good at. Mostly because I’m very data driven so loved to see growth in the insights I had available to me. At this time I was a stock control manager and my job was all about numbers. Analytics is something that I’ve always loved. I like how you can see improvements and goals being hit there in black and white.
In 2015 I was at my peak for ‘popularity’ within the blogging community and this was reflected in my page views, which were mostly driven by my blog tip posts getting retweeted hundreds of times. I even went a bit viral on StumbleUpon a few times and was gutted when that rebranded into something different.
Other bloggers weren’t posting about blog tips, search engine optimisation, how to make money blogging or getting traffic to your blog. So I got all those lovely views! There were some websites around already at this time, but not really within the UK.
It became my niche. But now most bloggers write similar posts and there are loads of websites focused on sharing tips or offering some kind of blog course, coaching or another service. While I did consider doing something like that, I was never really confident in my ability and knowledge. Everything I’ve learned has been from other blogs and websites. I hadn’t studied marketing or SEO. When other people started posting similar content, I eased off a little bit as it meant my blog tip posts were not getting as much traffic as before.
2016 was probably the year I started making an income from blogging. Although it was only a part-time income and this peaked in around 2017 or 2018.
I was blogging daily, working hard and feeling positive that I was earning a lot. Though my pageviews were much less, my income increased.
I went through a bit of a crisis around 2018 and was really unhappy with work. I needed to get out. I wanted to work in digital marketing.
I applied for loads of jobs and was willing to take a pay cut but nobody would even give me an interview. At this time, I was still a manager in a supermarket. I was earning decent money as I had been a manager since around 2010 so was at the top end of the pay scale.
I was told plenty of times by recruiters that I needed to change my salary expectations. That was even after I had taken £5000 of my current salary. I was willing to take a pay cut to get into a job I loved and work my way back up.
I then decided to do a CIM Marketing qualification to help my chances. I did get 3 interviews while studying, but the feedback was the same. They all thought I seemed capable, interview well but they went with someone who had more experience in a professional setting.
I don’t think I’ve ever really spoken about this before, but I was in a really bad way mentally. I was miserable at work, I had a bad relationship with my store manager and I dreaded going to work. I remember my personal trainer once asking me if I was okay as she saw a big difference in me. I was not okay. My manager at work pulled me aside to say he was worried about me. I was just stuck in a rut.
I had applied for 100’s of jobs, heard back from only a few and only had 3 interviews. I started with so much hope, but by the end of it, I felt utterly trapped. I’ve only ever worked for this supermarket. Apart from working in a restaurant when I was 15. I started working at the supermarket in 2003 on the checkouts and worked my way up.
I worked there throughout the university, was fast-tracked onto the management program when I graduated and did really well, I’ve worked at 6 stores and had many different management roles. I loved it at first and the pay was good for my age in my early 20’s. But that wore off and I wanted more. After failing at getting a job in marketing, or even an HR/Admin type job (even though my job description was Stock & Admin Manager at the time!) I felt worthless and stuck.
I often sat in meetings and imagined myself getting up and walking out. I lived for my days off and the thought of going to work suffocated me. Due to structure changes, my job had merged with others to give me quite an intense role that I was at first excited about but then frustrated as there was never enough time. There was always someone on holiday, a duty manager shift to cover, people off sick and I was miserable there.
I had to stop looking for jobs simply because it was having a terrible impact on my mental health. It once gave me hope, but I soon realised I would not get a job in marketing,. The starting wage was terrible and they wanted too much.
All the marketing jobs wanted you to be an expert in social media, SEO, web design, marketing, know all about Adwords, be able to plan and track campaigns and use all the Adobe software. Plus have 2 years experience and start at £20k a year.
So I stopped looking and decided to just do my qualification and then come back to job hunting at a later date.
I completed my CIM Professional Marketing qualification with a distinction.
Just before submitting my final assignment, I applied for a job within my company and got it. But this job wasn’t in a store. It was a coaching roll around stock loss prevention, security, food waste and a few other things and it was brilliant. I was in control of my diary and driving around visiting different shops.
My blog took a step back and I was hardly posting or earning. Then I’m not really sure what happened, I think I was just happy in my role at work for the first time in ages, so I didn’t feel that urge to come home and try and make money blogging so I could quit. But six months later I was pregnant, in lockdown and feeling like I was going to throw up all the time.
I was to work from home due to being pregnant and in all honesty, I didn’t have much work to do. I was doing a lot of data type of work and spent a lot of time in bed trying not to be sick.
My biggest regret here is that I lost focus on my blog. I was probably posting about once a week and barely doing any paid work with it.
Becoming a full-time blogger
I had my baby in November and spent the first few weeks in my newborn bubble.
Then February came around and it hit me that one day I’d have to go back to work and leave my baby at nursery five days a week. The thought made me want to cry and one day, I jokingly said to my partner about making money blogging instead and he kind of agreed.
Then I decided to make it my mission to increase my blog income and start earning some good money again so I could leave work and blog. It made complete sense. I could blog when I was able to and look after my son. I could watch him grow up and I didn’t have to pay around £1000 a month for someone to bring up my child.
In March, I had somehow managed to make over £1000 with my blog. I was doing it!
I’ve been able to keep making money since then through various methods so we made the decision that it’s better for everyone if I didn’t go back to work.
I would stay home and look after my baby, take him to baby groups. I wouldn’t be stuck at work during the Christmas holidays so we can spend time together as a family.
I quit my job
I have now told work that I am not returning so it’s official. My manager was great about it. Which I knew he would be. He’s very reasonable and understands that you need to do what is best for you and is a big advocate for work/life balance.
I am so happy I continued with my blog. It’s taken 9 years of working on my website, learning about blogging and SEO. Making connections with PR’s, brands and marketers so I’m able to have repeat, regular work.
When I imagined myself becoming a full-time blogger – which is something I’ve always wanted to be so bad, I imagined that I would do something like coaching other bloggers. Selling a course or ebook. Or teaching them about SEO. But really, I don’t want to do any of that. I just want to blog and be a blogger that does the blogging. Maybe in the future, I could look into doing something else like a service, but I don’t feel the need right now, now do. have any particularly secrets or nuggets of wisdom to share with others. All my tips are on this blog. You’ve just got to do it!
I do think I’ll continue to write content about blogging to help other bloggers. Even though there are already lots of blog tip posts out there, it is the type of content I love writing about and the research I do for those posts always teaches me new things.
So that’s my story of becoming a full-time blogger.
What’ next for me?
So, I’ve been working on some other websites. I’ve got 5 blogs now!
I’m hoping to start earning some money with the money and Christmas blogs. I already earn a small amount of my fitness blog and the tech blog is been dead for years The ultimate goal would be to make some regular income on all the blogs through affiliate marketing and sponsored posts, but it’s all work in progress for now and setting the foundations for when Leo is older and starts nusery. Then I can have more time to fcous on things like that!
I’ve also been working hard on my Instagram. If you scroll back, you will see that from the end of February, my content changed. fromwhat was mostly videos of me in the gym, to more lifestyle/parenting with more edited photos. I’ve grown my Instagram following by about 1200 since then and hope to continue growing it so it will eventually give me another income stream. Although I’m not sure how successful I’ll be with that as Instagram is hard to grown on!