When I started LBQ in April 2010 I did so out of boredom and necessity; I needed a place to be creative and keep my juices flowing, discussing a category I felt passionate about and had lived and breathed for many years. I never believed that I'd give up a successful career in marketing to pursue the site full time, because even a few years ago that simply wasn't a realistic option. I spent years whittering on about nail polish and the benefit of thorough cleansing, never expecting anything more from the experience than the satisfaction of knowing someone enjoyed my words. Although it wasn't a quick or easy decision, leaving my full time job to run the site and work on a freelance basis in 2013 was the best I've ever made. However, with the growth of blogs and the number of 'full time' bloggers rapidly expanding, it's a great point to sit back and reflect on what it's *really* like to give up the day job and take the plunge into full time blogging...
It's All About The Money
Unlike a traditional 9-5 job, there's never going to be a paycheck at the end of every month. You have to work your backside off for often little or no reward, but every so often those long days slaving over a keyboard will be totally worth it. You start every week not knowing what work will come your way or what opportunities you'll be able to seize, so it's essential to have a significant financial nest to initially support you. I was lucky enough to have a sizable sum of money in my savings account that gave me six months grace to really attempt running the site full time; without that I simply couldn't have taken the plunge. If you're considering going full time with your site then you need to be certain that you can either make it a success, or set yourself a time limit and if it doesn't go as planned have the courage to return to work and simply say you tried.
You Have To Have Confidence In Your Value
When you're your own boss you need to understand your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - because nobody is going to give you an appraisal and point them out. You have to be confident in your own value, your sites value and your knowledge - because essentially that's what you're selling. It's impossible to be a successful full time blogger or freelancer without understanding your USP and communicating that well to brands, PRs and potential clients. As someone who doesn't have a regular income, you can't sit on your laurels and hope that great things fall into your lap: you have to make them happen yourself.
No Two Months Are Ever The Same
The one thing I really struggled with during the first year of my full time blogging journey, was the inconsistency month to month. One month I'd be absolutely laughing, having negotiated plenty of opportunities and collaborations - but the next month my work planner was a dry as the desert. You have to be prepared for busy periods (and never saying no!) as well as dry patches, which you can utilise to work on that ever expanding 'to do' list that's not been such a priority. Working for yourself is great, but with the good comes the bad... Something you have to be prepared for.
What's A 'Working Week'?
I ran this site in my spare time for over three years before taking it full time, so I'm well versed in juggling multiple commitments and making the most of every hour in the day. However, when you're the only person in the business it's incredibly hard to step away from the computer at 6pm - let alone keeping your distance at the weekends. Although I've now implemented a routine I can mostly stick to, if there's work to be done or I haven't been as productive as I'd like, then I simply have to crack on... Regardless of whether I want to watch X Factor or have an early night. Relationships may suffer in the short term (as friends and family often don't understand the concept of working for yourself,) but it's worth it in the long term when you start to see results.
Chameleon of Skills
As someone with their ear to the wall of social media, blogging and beauty, my knowledge is so vast I often forget how valuable it is to other people. Being exposed not only to everything going on in the beauty world, but social media and digital trends, makes me a metaphorical library of information. Although I initially started my site full time to collaborate with brands and offer social media advice, I've since been involved in everything from public speaking to future trend reports for some of the world's biggest brands. Capitalising on that knowledge and those skills has been the key to my success - nothing is too much for be to be part of and the key is to always saying 'yes'!
You'll Be A Spreadsheet Mastermind
I studied finance and accounting as part of my degree; it was my most hated subject out of the plethora I undertook as an undergraduate. However, when you're your own boss there's nobody else to check the finances or fill in your tax return. I've unexpectedly become an expert in what I can claim as an expense, how to track my income and even dealing with useless finance departments that have forgotten to pay me for the last six months. Although it's never fun, it's an essential part of running a business so it's important to swot up.
You Have To LOVE It
I hear a lot of bloggers saying "I'd really like to run the site full time eventually," but to do it effectively you have to live and breathe your site. It's hard work, it's never ending and there's no such thing as a day off - but if you really, truly, 100% love your site and what you do then you'll inevitably make a huge success of it. However, if you're doing it just to get a few extra hours in bed because you hate Mondays, then you won't get very far. Success comes with dedication, blood, sweat and often tears - but I wouldn't change it for anything.
Blogging full time is not as easy as you may think; the pressure is always on and looking at your site as a business is totally different to running it as a hobby. If you're considering giving up your full time job, or simply would like to run a site full time in the future, then the best piece of advice I can give is this: work hard, build up something great, be prepared for every scenario and the rest will follow. The rewards are endless, but you only ever get out what you put in.