Well, this month marks my first full tax year of full-time blogging. It was last March that I decided I wanted to try and blog full time to make enough cash so I didn’t have to return to work when my maternity ended.
Before telling work I wasn’t coming back. I spent a few months trying to get back into blogging properly after a bit of a lull over lockdown, pregnancy and having a baby. It was time to start earning again!
Preparing to blog full-time
As childcare is so expensive, I wanted to make the amount of money that I would earn with my job after childcare had been taken out. So basically around £1000 less than my take-home pay.
It was important to me to get that amount consistently for financial security. Anything above that was a bonus, as long as I didn’t get below that
I also wanted to get saving an emergency fund so if I had a bad month, I had something to fall back on.
My blog income before trying to blog full time
I’ve been earning money blogging for a few years now. The amount varied each month but as I wasn’t blogging much in 2019/2020 my income took a bit of a hit and I was only earning a few hundred pounds each month. I had earned a lot more before this so I was both worried and hopeful about my ability to increase my earnings.
When I filled my self-assessment tax return last May for the years 2020/2021, it was actually the lowest amount I’ve ever earned since registering this blog as a business. This isn’t surprising as I stopped blogging as frequently and went days between checking my emails. I do regret being a bit lazy, but I think I needed the break at the time.
I was just in a bit of a blogging funk due to getting a new job that I was focusing on, finishing my CIM qualification and then I got pregnant.
I kind of think that in 2017-2019, I was so focused on earning money to put towards our new home and when we bought that, I lost a bit of motivation to work on my blog on top of working full-time.
I was after a bit more work-life balance. Working two jobs was exhausting! I was once all about making every minute matter and being productive and busy all the time, but now I just want to enjoy life more and not spend all my time grinding and hustling. I’ve come to see that this is a quite toxic message that is spread on social media, the need to be working all the time and have side hustles. This is highly driven by the boss babe/MLM culture but that’s a topic for another day.
How I managed to increase my income
I increased my income from a few hundred pounds to thousands a month quite quickly. I would love to tell you there’s a magic way you can earn money blogging quickly, but it’s not that deep.
I’ve had this blog for 10 years, I’ve also had a few others blogs for over 6 years so the age of my domains helps my statistics such as DA (domain authority), DR (domain rating) and how much traffic I get from Google.
These aren’t things you can really do overnight. Well, you can fake your DA quickly but let’s park that debate for now. Basically, to get good website stats, you need to play the long game.
10 years of blogging
Please remember that I have spent a lot of time working on my blog with nothing to show for it. I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this website over the years and it isn’t a case of being lucky. It’s just consistent, hard work.
If you want to make money blogging, you have to be prepared to work hard for a while before you make an income. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money (I’d actually advise against it until you find your feet!), but time and effort are important.
As I’ve been blogging for 10 years, that’s 10 years I’ve been on people’s radars. 10 years I’ve built meaningful relationships with other bloggers who will discuss work and perhaps swap contacts with me. 10 years of working with brands such as Debenhams, Boots, Diet Coke, Adidas, Graze, House of Fraser, Asda.
Whenever I work with someone, I am professional, I’m polite, I communicate and stick to deadlines. People remember that and work with me again.
I’ve had 10 years of building my social media following to give me a bit of an audience I can tap back into quickly.
So as you can see, a lot of it is due to me already having the contacts in place and already being an experienced blogger. It’s not just starting a blog a year ago and making money straight away.
I already know about SEO, keyword research, how to write a blog post and all that
That’s not to say that you can’t make a profit from blogging quickly. I did start a Christmas blog last year and I already had a sponsored post after 4 weeks. Though they found the new blog through this one and asked to work with me on it. It’s highly unlikely you will be able to make a full-time income quickly unless you have an existing following elsewhere (Instagram, TikTok, YouTube) or you have some very niche idea or helpful blog that manages to rank in Google and get you traffic quickly.
How much time do I spend blogging?
It varies so much! Some days I can blog during naps and days I can’t, some days Leo doesn’t sleep until 10 pm, others I might get a solid 3 or 4 hours. I would say it averages about 2 hours a day on my laptop. But I am always switched on about work and on social media and checking email throughout the day. I will answer most emails throughout the day on my phone. It’s much less than my full-time job though.
I also obviously have to create content, so film videos and take photos – I do this during the day and try to do it in bulk. Again, this varies so much. I might spend 3 hours on Sunday creating content and then not need to do anything for a couple of weeks. It depends on what work I have in as some is more image/visual and some of my work is more about the actual writing.
What I’ve achieved in my first-year full-time blogging
Well, I’ve earned a full-time income. It’s not quite as much as the job I left, but it’s still a good amount and so much more than I would’ve got if I had to pay for childcare! I actually earned about 3 times as much as I needed to meet the goal of matching my wage after the cost of childcare.
There have been months that I have made more than my full-time job, but the nature of being a freelance blogger means this is variable. I can earn half as much the month after.
I’ve also made money from 6 different blogs! This website still remains most profitable but I’ve done fairly well on my fitness and money blog, too. The other blogs get bits here and there.
I’ve finally gotten some Instagram collaborations which is something I’ve never had before. I started working hard on my Instagram form last March and putting more effort into my photos. My following is now over 8k, I’d love to get 10k but Instagram is still a frustrating platform for me.
I’ve even earned a bit of money on Twitter, too. Some of my blog agreements include social shares but I’ve had three that are just on Twitter!
I’ve agreed to do some freelance copywriting for a company that I recently worked with. This isn’t loads of money but it’s a new income stream and I’d love to look into copywriting on a more regular basis when Leo is a bit older and I have more time. For now, I’m just doing one article a month and I’m quite excited about it as it’s a topic I’m interested in and can learn more about while I’m researching my articles.
Time with my baby
Of course, my biggest achievement is I get to spend every day with my son and watch him grow up. We go to baby classes, play, go for walks and TRY to keep on top of housework. He’s starting to understand the world now and playing with him is getting so much fun! I’m so excited to continue to play with him and start to teach him a few basic things such as letters, numbers, baking, writing and drawing before he starts school.
He is my whole reason for doing this and I often have to remind myself that when I’m frustrated about not having a lot of time to work. Sometimes I just need to forget about work and focus on what’s important. I’m just so glad I get to spend these early years with him as he is growing up so fast so I’m just soaking up every single moment and trying to give him the best start in life.
I feel it’s such a privilege to be able to do this and I’m so glad I spent years working so hard to build my business so I am now able to spend less time working and more time playing.
Here’s to the next year! My goal is to increase my income by 20% this year! Let’s go!