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22.9.14

SO YOU WANNA BE A FULL TIME BLOGGER? HERE'S WHAT IT'S REALLY LIKE...

Much is said about the new generation of celebrities, internet stars and influencers that have changed the way we digest information. Ten years ago it was unfathomable that a girl writing about lipstick from her bedroom could turn that hobby into a serious income source, and potentially even a career. With the rapid downfall of magazines and traditional media has come the growth of digital media and blogs (or was it a direct result of?) simply because we like to feel connected to the person writing, vlogging or talking to us. We love to get recommendations from people we can relate to, who have had real life experiences that are similar to our own. Reality television has seeped into our daily lives, rather than just hitting us at 9pm on a Sunday, with millions of viewers across the globe tuning in to watch a random girl with great hair show us her Primark haul. The world is changing, and with that change comes the birth of a generation that is carving a career path that doesn't involve sitting in a drab office for eight hours a day.


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.
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31 comments

  1. That's such a good post I'm printing it out to go on my wardrobe door so I see it and remind my self that the future with hard work can be great - best post I've read for ages
    Thank you !!

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    1. Haha, love it! You're so welcome - keep reaching for your dreams.

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  2. I'm not a fulltime blogger but I can imagine there's a lot of pressure. I do think that you shouldn't complain (I'm not saying that you're complaining) but it really is something that soooo many people dream of doing so you should definitely feel grateful! x

    WOMANOUK (beauty and portrait drawings)

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    1. Yeah absolutely, but what a lot of people forget is that success comes with hard work and determination - it's not a gift, but something you work for.

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  3. Awesome tips, and you're right, you really have to love it :)

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  4. I think that you're right that you have to live and breathe the blog and treat it like a business in order to make things a success. I applaud you for all the hard work that you put into LBQ - I love the site!
    Ting x

    www.thetingthing.com

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  5. This was actually quite helpful. The money issue is always the biggest, but being self-employed is my goal for the next year!

    Blog: Holly Sparkle | Shop: Sparkle Motion

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  6. LOVED this post! Thank you so much… some great pointers here, and perfect timing as I just started working from home as a blogger and in social media and PR clients.

    http://forthebeautyofit.co.za

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  7. love the post, i really want my life to be like this

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  8. Anonymous23.9.14

    Great post! I loved every paragraph.

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  9. This is my goal in life to be a full time blogger! love this post thank you so much <3! x

    BerrieBlogs {beauty blog}

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  10. Great post doll very informative =] xx.

    www.beautyandlouise.com

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  11. Great post! I'm a part-time blogger, but also self-employed so I can definitely vouch for everything you said :) No two months are ever the same, which is amazing and terrifying at the same time. I started out using spreadsheets (ineffectively) but have since switched to basic accounting software, and it's been a total life saver.

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    1. Gotta love spreadsheets!

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  12. Thank you so much for this post, I used to want to be a full time blogger but I didn't realise how tough it would be until I began looking into it seriously - eep! Maybe in the future when I am older but atm I'm too young and lazy to self motivate myself haha :D

    Danniella x
    www.famousinjapan.co.uk

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    1. Yeah it's really hard and not everyone can do it - you definitely have to have the right attitude and be the sort of person that motivates themselves! But if you put a plan into place you never know what you could achieve.

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  13. Really appreciate this post as it's realistic. I do think there's people out there who think it would be easy to make the transition from blogging as a hobby to doing it as a job. I currently work full time, and I blog daily - making sure I put everything into my blog to produce quality content. I'd love to be in a position to do it full time eventually, but I know it won't be a breeze. I think you're totally right that you need to have drive and be able to self-motivate to get anywhere, I just hope I have what it takes!
    rebecca-louise, autumnleaves-x.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I agree, people think it's easy to make the transition - but it's totally different running it as a hobby than as a business.

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  14. This is a fantastic post. Thanks for the valuable information and advice. http://leatherandlipstickkv.blogspot.com/

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  15. I think with anything you really have to love it. Thanks for sharing this insight though. I have always thought blogging takes a lot of work so I can only imagine!

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  16. This line is absolutely key: "looking at your site as a business is totally different to running it as a hobby". You reminded me that I wouldn't want to run my site as a business; it's my escape! Knowing the difference in your heart is critical. Thanks for flagging it so eloquently.

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    1. You're so welcome. I'm glad you found it helpful.

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  17. What a great post! Very helpful to someone fresh in. Thanks for sharing the wisdom.

    www.inhautepursuit.com

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  18. You have so many great thoughts in this post. Not only do they apply to beauty blogs, but any blog. I write a healthy living blog and these make a lot of sense for me too.

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  19. This post hit the nail on the head for me on so many levels. I started my blog (seriously) about 6 months ago and needed a hobby, needed a platform to put all of my information and creativity to use on. I couldn't be more thrilled to stumble on this post in a time in my life and blog where I needed to hear these things the most :) Thank you!

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    1. You're so welcome. Good luck with the site. x

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  20. Agree on so many levels. Like you said, running a blog as a business is totally different to running it as a hobby. And I think many who dream of blogging for a living are under the impression that it'll be rose-tinted afternoon teas and artfully placed accessories. But the truth of it is totally different. There are so many other tasks added to blogging when it's your business. So great to see you sharing this with your readers.
    x

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  21. Anonymous12.10.14

    I am sure you know this already but please don't be under any illusions, these "useless finance departments" have not forgotten to pay you. They have chosen not to. Keep on top of them, call them a week before you have a payment due to confirm they have it on their next payment run. If you let them away with not paying you until a month or two after your payment's due that's when you'll get paid every time, if you're lucky.

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  22. Mmm, informative post. How have you collaborated with other people, or sponsors?

    http://itsjpei.wordpress.com/

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