My Life as a Full-Time Blogger: Month 2
Ever wonder what it's like to be a full-time blogger? You've come to the right place. Follow me on month 2 of living the blogging dream.
I love blogging.
In fact, I love everything about it. From creating content, designing my websites, to figuring out how to leverage social media algorithms (slowly but surely I'm getting them) it's like a dream come true. Five years ago I would have never dreamt that I'd be where I am today. I now wake up excited to create, to learn, and to control my own destiny.
-> If you haven't tried blogging yet, I recommend that you do. I have an entire post dedicated on how to do it here, so be sure to check that out.
Now, it definitely hasn't been a "walk in the park". However, that's exactly why I quit my old job. I needed to focus on my new one.
Are you worried that you don't have the skills, education, or knowledge to make the jump to self-employment?
If you are, don't worry. I'm highly educated in everything but blogging and social media management.
I have a bachelor's in Atmospheric Science, and an almost finished (one course away) Masters of Natural Resource Management. I have years of experience in meteorological instrumentation and the sciences. I even got fly jets into clouds.
Although that all may sound super impressive, not one part of it relates to what I'm currently doing.
I've had to teach myself about website development, marketing, sales funnels, writing, self-employment, business strategies, management systems, and more, in only 2 months time.
Something that people go to school for 4 years or more to understand, I'm trying to do overnight. It's intimidating, but I know it IS doable, considering there are TONS of incredibly successful bloggers out there who don't even have a year of post-secondary education. That's a testimonial to the importance of being self-driven.
WHAT MY LIFE HAS BEEN LIKE IN THE LAST 2 MONTHS
I went full-time two months ago.
It has been a FAST two months. Between traveling (too much), and pursuing my passions, I've never experienced a more exhilarating and happy time in life.
I have been putting effort into blogging but putting, even more, effort into traveling. Of course, living like this is good for the soul but not for business.
However, after 20 years of school and 5 years of working (with school), it was a long time coming. I needed time to breath, and I definitely did that in the 2 months following my departure.
You can read more about that endeavor by clicking here.
Thankfully, my husband and I had saved up a respectable amount of money to support all of this. If I have one piece of advice for anyone thinking of quitting, it's being financially ready. It takes a lot of stress off the entire transition.
WHAT HAS INSPIRED ME TO GO FULL-TIME
Blogger's make money. Full-time bloggers, who put in real effort and invest in their business, make A LOT of money. For example, Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents makes over 100,000 A MONTH. If that isn't inspiring, then I don't know what is.
If her story interests you, you can read about it (and learn from her) by clicking here. I also have compiled a long list of bloggers who make over 10,000 a month, to prove to you it isn't rare. Making money blogging is a real thing.
Despite wanting money (let's be real, that's what we ALL want) there are other factors that make me a good candidate for blogging:
- I love writing
- I love creating
- I love sitting in front of my computer (for long periods of time)
- I'm self-driven
- I know, given time and effort, I can make money - confidence goes long ways when you don't see instant gratification
Losing my income has been the biggest challenge so far. Although I've started making money with my blog (and freelancing), I am nowhere near the comfortable lifestyle I was living at my old job.
However, I remind myself that I've only been at this for 2 months. That's it.
Most of the time has been spent learning, fixing old posts, and beefing up my Pinterest account. These are all important steps in achieving long-term success and they all take time.
2. TOO MANY NICHES
Finding my "niche" has been the most stressful part of all.
I was originally blogging about everything under the sun (after I rebranded 3 times).
I was blogging about blogging, productivity, and the outdoors. As you can tell, they don't mesh well. This wasn't only a problem for my readers, but also for me. It played a big part in my early organizational issues that I've since resolved.
So long story short, I ended up separating the niches and having multiple blogs. Best. Decision. Ever.
Although there are plenty of successful lifestyle niches out there, if you are like me and so confused about the direction you want to go, niching down will relieve a lot of stress!
But do know, if you are struggling with picking niches, blog titles, and having a business plan, you aren't alone. It comes with the territory. Here are a few tips that I recommend:
- At first, keep all niches together and just blog
- Simply start somewhere. After a few weeks, see which topics you like writing about the most.
- Watch your analytics
- See which topics your readers want. This can really help you niche down and develop a business plan around them.
- Think about Pinterest
- One of the quickest ways to gain traffic (Google takes a lot of time).
- Think about monetization
- Is this a topic you can easily make money in? Although most topics can be monetized in some way, certain topics are easier than others.
3. SPONSORSHIP STRESS
My Instagram: @nicolestoneoutdoors account has received a lot of attention and sponsorships lately. Something that I had once dreamt about has turned into a headache.
I feel like I've been taken advantage of and treated poorly by companies that I should owe nothing to.
When starting an online business, try at all costs to avoid this.
My advice? As fun as it is to have companies "want" to work with you, it can be bad for you, your business, and your following if you aren't wise about who you partner with. Don't make the same mistakes I did.
I had over 5 sponsorships and I am going to cut it down to 2. Why? There are really only 2 companies I want to represent (including DSG hunting which is pictured in the photo above - love them, ladies!). The others only make my account look spammy (I do get tired of seeing constant advertisements for brands). Let's face it, too much advertising can be a turn off for your followers.
Therefore, think twice before you accept any sponsorship.
In fact, this has been such as issue for me lately that I've put together a set of tips for influencers to think about before accepting sponsorships:
- Be patient and pick wisely: make sure to not take the first sponsorship offered to you
- If they aren't providing much physical value, ask for monetary payment
- Have a contract with their expectations laid out
- See who else is on the team
- Don't agree if they want you to post more then once or twice a month (it looks spammy otherwise)
- Make sure they value YOU
4. TIME MANAGEMENT
This truly comes down to not knowing how to say the word "NO".
I have never struggled with time management, until now. Being your own boss calls for an entirely different time management strategy. My life is no longer about planning around an 8-hour work day. It's now about a growing to-do list and handling people who don't think I am actually working.
Since my office is now "home", everyone expects that I should able to just stop what I'm doing and do whatever it is that they want.
But you can't run a business like that. If you work for someone, you can't just get up and leave at 1 PM when someone thinks you should do them a favor.
Saying the word "no" is difficult, but it's something every business owner has to establish.
If you are struggling with working from home, something I'm learning to do (and you should do from the get-go if you can) is to set out 8 hours and treat it like a workday. It doesn't matter what part (or parts) of the day you choose, it just matters how you treat those 8 hours. No distractions. You are YOUR OWN BOSS, don't let yourself just get up and leave when the job isn't done.
Despite some frustrating times, the benefits of self-employment far out-way any negatives.
For one, I have freedom. Freedom to do what I think is best, to work out when I think is best, and to plan the business the way I WANT.
I don't have to waste time in traffic, pointless meetings, or running errands after work when stores are packed. I can optimize everything. I LOVE that.
I can take better care of myself. I get more sleep, spend more time at the gym, and can work around my schedule much easier. Since I've changed careers, my skin has improved, my attitude has improved, and I smile more.
I never hated my other job, but I did hate the way it made me feel. Feeling unappreciated, limited, "dumb", young, and not good enough can take a toll on a person's self-esteem.
Although I think this sums up what we all feel at times, it's something you don't want to dominate your life. So the more I started feeling it, the more I realized I had to get out.
The stress I have now is entirely different then the stress I had before. I'm happier.
4. PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Finally, it's more family friendly. My old job wasn't going to be the best with a child (being on the road and working with chemicals). Having kids is something that my husband and I both want, so being able to prepare for that time in life, and having a career to support it, is worth the risk and financial sacrifice we might face now.
Are any of you planning on making the switch? Are there any questions I can answer or advice I can give? Be sure to reach out!
Other posts that might be beneficial:
- How to Start the Ultimate Money Making Blog
- Why I Quit My Career to Chase a Dream
- Blogging on a Budget: Ultimate List of FREE & Affordable Blogging Courses