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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!
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!