My Plan for Becoming a Successful Full-Time Blogger in 6 Months

full-time blogger plan

This post comes from writer Catherine, who’s documenting her journey to quitting her job and becoming self-employed in just 6 months. She shares more about her story on her blog,

Hi! I’m Cat. I’m a 26-year-old blogger and freelance writer who founded my blog, Budget Blonde, over three years ago.

Like many people who aspire to “go pro”, my blog started as just a hobby and has now grown into a legitimate business that has the potential to support me full time.

I say potential to support me full time because I’m not quite there yet! However, I am working hard to make it happen by January 1, 2014, and I’m going to document the whole process right here at Careful Cents over the next six months.

Why I decided to become a full-time blogger

The decision to become a full-time blogger came very organically. I spent several years working on a career in a completely different field, specifically in museums and in academia.

Yet, throughout all my career changes — and even moving to another country — one thing remained steady: my blog.

My blog is my happy place, somewhere I go to write, encourage people to make wise financial decisions, and interact with fellow bloggers.

Eventually I found myself daydreaming about blogging full time because I loved it so much, but as the breadwinner in my family (for now) it didn’t seem like a wise financial choice to quit my job.

Then, I made one business decision that changed everything.

The importance of rebranding

Honestly, I only made a few dollars with my blog in the first two years I had it. I could have bought a few cokes from a vending machine with the money I made, but that was about it!

It’s a good thing I wasn’t doing it for the money, because many other people would have easily gotten discouraged. Yet, when I did a complete redesign and re-branded last year, the ad offers finally started trickling in.

Having the professional blog appearance was exactly what I needed to not only increase my own ad sales, but to make it a better portfolio to secure staff writing jobs.

My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!

How I plan to increase my income

The main barrier standing in my way of becoming a full-time blogger is of course, my income. I’m working on increasing this by having multiple streams of it.

Right now, the largest chunk of my income is advertising. I’m also a staff writer for several other personal finance blogs, which brings in the next level of padding.

Then, I have the occasional non-steady client who needs to utilize my editing services or social media management skills. Those are not as regular as the first two categories, though.

As the months go on, I’m determined to carve out time to improve my site and implement more affiliate advertising and partnerships.

I’m confident that once I quit my full-time job, I can also start to manage other blogs and utilize my extensive writing background to bring in additional income.

Essentially it’s all a very fine balance between what I can handle right now and what I hope to achieve once I get 40 hours of my week back. My plan is to slowly and steadily add in additional income streams until I can finally call it quits and focus on the blog 100%.

How to become a full-time blogger

If you are actively thinking about becoming a full-time blogger, here are a few things that are very important for you to consider:

1. Assess your ability to work alone

Even though you can interact with tons of people all day as a blogger, it is not exactly the same as having coworkers. Try a few weekends sitting by yourself at the computer working, and see if it’s something you can actually handle.

It’s amazing how many bloggers and writers are introverts. While it’s not a requirement, it definitely helps!

2. Determine your current level of success

It’s important to be honest about the level of success your blog has currently. My blog definitely wasn’t ready to go full time last year, and I’m not even sure it would be ready to go full time today.

I’m glad I have 6 months to work through some kinks and clean up older posts, before my first official day as a full-time blogger.

Keep in mind that a redesign and re-brand of my website helped give me the push I needed to finally make an income from my site. If you think “re-brand” sounds like an expensive word, think again!

You can always barter services with a graphic designer and programmer or find someone just starting out who has lower rates. Websites can always be tweaked.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a rebrand. I think I only spent around $200.00 on mine, and I’m exceedingly happy with how it came out.

3. Prepare your financial situation

Taking a step to becoming a full-time blogger is a risky move. Just like any business, so many things can go wrong from your website crashing to Google downgrading your page rank for whatever reason.

You need to be ready to handle a financial blow or two. It might be shaky starting out, but knowing that you have an emergency fund to fall back on will give you great peace of mind.

I currently have a standard $2,000 emergency fund, but I’ll be beefing it up over the coming months to prepare for this next career move.

4. Make sure you have the right support

One thing every blogger needs is support. Joining a club like Carrie’s Careful Cents club is a great way to do that.

You can interact with fellow bloggers and freelancers, ask questions, and request some accountability. I don’t know where I’d be without the awesome support of the Careful Cents Club and my fellow bloggers around the web!

CLUB banner

Beware before quitting your job

Although it’s incredibly exciting that I am making the move to full time blogging, I think it’s important to note that I didn’t start my blog to make money. I started it because I love to write.

Like with any job, you have to really enjoy it to do it full time, and I’m not even one of those people who is miserable in their cube and looking for a way out! I actually really like my job, and I’ll be very sad to leave it!

The truth is that this whole journey is just born from a ridiculous passion for blogging. I love it so much that my husband says I get “sparkly” when I talk about it.

The idea to become full time didn’t happen overnight and neither did the success that my blog and freelance writing business are currently experiencing. It’s all been due to hard work, a lot of trial and error, and three years of blogging experience.

Ultimately, I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you over the next six months, and I hope both you and I learn something along the way!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below!

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  1. Sam Dogen says:

    Not sure if it’s possible for folks to achieve FT blogger status in 6 months, but more power to folks who make it happen!

    I do wonder about a redesign as I’ve had the same thing for 4 years. But growth has been consistent and I don’t want to break anything since nothing is broken anyway. Thoughts? I wrote a post on about design being good enough, and focusing on the content.


      • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde says:

        Hey Sam!! Your design is GREAT! No need to change it. I legit had headers that I made in Paint Shop, haha. It realllly needed help! And Thanks Sean – You are too sweet! 😀

    • Elise Xavier says:

      I agree on this front. Took me ages longer than a mere 6 months to become a successful full time blogger. That being said, it was well worth the wait and effort.

      Great tips, though! Especially those on making sure you have the right support and preparing yourself financially. You do need to be ready to deal with a blow or two.

  2. Catherine says:

    Great post Cat! I’ve loved your blog from the very beginning. You’re doing so well and I hope eveything works out for January. I’ve just redesigned my site in hopes of making it more enticing too. I’ve followed your success and hope to emulate it someday!!

  3. “Assess your ability to work alone” – so important! This is actually a reason why I love working from home and love blogging as a side hustle – I never have to meet with anyone in person and have pretty much never even talked to anyone on the phone. I love email and working by myself.

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde says:

      I think we might have talked about this before, David – maybe in a comment on your blog about how I love working in the quiet and hate interruptions? I think you and I have similar work personalities!

  4. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Spot on Cat! I agree with all your points, though I think that the financial situation and support are so key. As we deal with the whims of G, anything can change in a second and you need to be prepared for that. Beyond that, like Sam said, content is so vital – and yours is great!

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde says:

      Aww thanks John! Seriously, y’all are too sweet. Yes, dealing with the whims of G is always a concern. I’m going to really amp up the savings and try to diversify a bit more!

  5. Alicia Jay says:

    I am so excited to follow your switch to full time! Thanks for writing up the process, from your posts on staff writing and guest posting to how you’re preparing to go full time. It’s helpful to read about all the steps along the way.

  6. Sarah Li Cain says:

    I know you can do it Cat! I’m thinking about doing a redesign on my site as well, but I want to do it myself as I’m kind of obsessed with photoshop lol

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde says:

      Thanks Sarah!! If you can do it yourself, more power to you girl! I bow at your feet, you with your awesome photoshop skillz!

  7. E.M. says:

    I’m excited to read about how you will be making the switch to blogging full-time! Stories like this are so inspiring, and you have great advice here. I really like your writing style as well – I’m sure you’ll be successful! I agree that having a decent amount saved up just in case, and being able to work alone are key. I love working in a quiet setting with no interruptions, plus you’d be able to work from anywhere (like in that picture!) which is an awesome bonus.

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde says:

      Thanks so much E.M. That is so sweet!! My goal now is to duplicate that picture with me in it. I already told Carrie that, haha!

  8. Jessica says:

    These are great tips. I’m not sure I’ll ever be a full time blogger but I’d like to increase my revenue. My number 1 goal is to post more (slacked off during grad school). Number 2 is a real design. My newest header is from Fiverr. It’s ok but the rest of the site is shite. I am saving, slowly for a better design. I hope to have it in the coming months.

    Good luck to you Cat.

  9. Tahnya Kristina says:

    Oh how nice to see you here Cat. Carrie – this is a great idea. I can wait to see what happens next in Cat’s journey to full time blogger. I am thinking about rebranding MyDiaryEntry as I get ready to launch my professional site and this post might have just convinced me to do so 🙂 Love you ladies. Have a great night.

  10. Nick @ says:

    Thanks for the tips Cat! My six month blogiversary is coming up soon. I’m not sure if I’m a successful blogger yet, but i’m trying! 🙂

  11. CandidBelle says:

    I am strongly considering a similar journey so reading this post really resonates with me. I have a personal blog (candidbelle) and another site I started called JustDiva. I am definitely going to follow your journey so I can learn more. I’m wishing you the very best!!

  12. Mike Guarino says:

    All great points, Catherine. I especially like the one about assessing your ability to work alone. Many people think that working at home by yourself is a dream, but it definitely isn’t for everyone. I find that being in a working environment puts you in the working mood consistently, but when you’re at home you don’t really have that environmental “switch” to automatically get you in the working zone.

  13. Xihla says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It has been a dream of mine to quit my job, and work on my blogging full time, but for now, its just not practical.

    I am working hard on my blog during weekends, and when I am not tired after work, and I will continue to work hard. This article gives me hope, because it means that if I just stick it out, it will happen one day.

    I am hoping that one day this time, I will have a ton of quality content, lots of traffic to my website, and making a full time income form it.

    thanks again for sharing this.

  14. LB Thapa says:

    Dear Catherine
    I am really very glad to read about your blogging experience. I too have intense interest in writing. That energy made me to begin my new blog I have mentioned above. Presently, I am teaching and writing for magazines and newspapers to support my family. Now, my only dream is to become a full time writer and writing for my own blogspot. Thanks, I am inspired by your writing as it has enlightened me to a great deal. Once again, thanks for such a nice advice for the bloggers.Could you please manage a bit of time to go through my blog and give me an advice or two to make it much better and more appealing?
    Kind regards
    LB Thapa

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