I started Carrots ‘N’ Cake to keep me on track with eating well and exercising in preparation for my upcoming wedding. It was a personal food and fitness journal, and I really had no intention of anyone ever reading it. I definitely didn’t think that it would become such a huge part of my life—let alone my job! But, it did, and I’m ever grateful for finding a career that I love so much.
With that said, here’s what helped me turn my little blog hobby into a career!
Pick a topic you are passionate about.
This is key. Be sure to pick a topic that you really enjoy—something you can see yourself still wanting to blog about many years down the road. There are so many blogs that go by the wayside when people lose interest and motivation, but when you care about something so much, you will constantly be inspired to write new blog posts. Plus, for the most part, the longer a blog is an existence, the larger readership it will have, which makes it more likely for you to do as a full-time job.
Frequently updating your blog is the first step to building your blog’s readership and getting you on your way to doing it as a career. (A substantial readership often means bigger and better opportunities!) You don’t need to blog three times a day, but you should have a fairly consistent schedule for when you post to keep your loyal readers interested and coming back for more. For instance, if you set a goal to blog three times per week, stick to it! Your readers are waiting to hear from you!
Give your blog a personality.
Blogging my meals everyday is somewhat interesting, but I think readers keep coming back because they get to know so much more about me than just what I eat. There are tons of blogs out there, so you want to make sure that yours is slightly different than the rest. What makes you unique? What makes you stand out among all of the other blogs? Photos and personal stories let your readers know there’s a human behind your blog, so have fun, give your readers a peak inside what makes you tick, and show them what makes you special.
Seek out and say YES to opportunities.
It’s sort of like what Ellie Krieger said about “planting seeds.” Every blog starts out the same way with a handful of readers, so you need to do some work to get things moving. Usually, it’s not with a big publication or company, so seek out smaller/local opportunities that make sense for you and your blog. No matter how small, say ‘yes’ to them. From there, develop those relationships and work on them. Eventually, you’ll grow as a better writer/blogger and so will the opportunities.
Get ready to put in some serious hours.
Some people think bloggers just slap up some text and photos and call it a day, but there’s a lot of work that goes into running a blog, especially if you do it full-time. I put in WAY more hours than I ever did working at Harvard or any other job, and blogging for me doesn’t stop at 5:00 PM on Friday for the weekend (or vacations). Of course, this is the style of blog that I choose to write. I love it and enjoy sharing my life, but it’s still a lot of hours and, sometimes, it’s all-consuming. With that said…
Set some boundaries.
I spend a lot of time blogging, but I’ve learned that I need to set some boundaries or otherwise it takes over my life. Back in the day, I used to blog morning, noon, and night, which meant I was always sitting at my computer working away. Since then, I’ve changed my schedule so that most of my blogging is done in the early morning and afternoon, so I can ‘unplug’ in the evening and spend some quality time with my favorite guys. I also blog less on the weekends as a way to separate work and life as much as possible.
I know a thing or two about blogging, but I definitely don’t know everything about it, so I asked some of my full-time blogger friends for their best advice for turning a hobby into a career. Check out what they had to say!
Advice from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers:
Create a blog you would want to read.
This is all about being yourself and writing content that you find exciting and fun.
I’ll be the first to admit that my blog doesn’t cover mind-blowing topics. My blog is light-hearted and my goal with my content is to make you smile, while creating a space where we can share ideas and experiences and simply have fun.
I want Peanut Butter Fingers to be a positive place on the internet and try to write content that reflects this. I love writing about the things I feature on this blog and figure that the people who read my blog likely have similar interests to me and might share similar experiences.
I would also say not to sit back and expect things to happen. I am being 100 percent honest when I say that I didn’t just sit behind the computer, blog and cross my fingers, hoping that my blog would grow organically. I put a lot of time and effort into putting it out there. Look into local media outlets. Utilize social media. Reach out to friends and family. Connect with other bloggers.
Advice from Kath at Kath Eats Real Food:
Go with your gut instinct when making business decisions surrounding your blog. People will try to tell you what to do or you might feel pressure to do what others are doing, but only you know what’s best for your blog.
Advice from SkinnyRunner:
Be prepared for some of your readers to not be quite as excited about your career move (switching to blogging full-time job) as you are.
Some people will instinctively think you’ve “sold out”, your blog will become more boring or for whatever reason, just not want you to turn your hobby into a profession. It’s ok: everyone’s entitled to their opinions and those opinions are fueled by different emotions and feelings so don’t let others get you down or doubt yourself.
Be prepared to put in the time (and more!) just like a “real” job.
Just because you are known in your little niche of the blog world and going to be a full-time blogger doesn’t necessarily mean every company in the world is going to be blowing up your email, dying to have your blog be a part of theirs. You will still have to send out proposals and emails and sell yourself daily. You might find yourself working more than ever! But again, it’s ok if it’s something you enjoy and you’re passionate about.
Be prepared to not make millions
Blogging is work; it’s generally not hard work but it’s still work. And most of the time, you’re not going to strike it rich. Budget well, be smart with the money you do make and be content with making enough from your passion project (your blog). It’s an amazing feeling knowing that someone/company values your hard work enough to pay you for it!
Advice from Meghann at Meals and Miles:
Take time for yourself during the day.
Schedule a few hours where you turn the computer off and just walk away. That time allows you to save your sanity!
Advice from Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat:
Don’t take your blog on your honeymoon unless you want a full time job but no husband.
Don’t try to be Pioneer Woman or Kath or Dooce. Find your own style and do your best impression of YOU. The readers will come.
Blogging for a living means you rely on ads for your income. This varies from quarter to quarter as the time of year (and holidays) have an impact on readership and how many ads are up. Be prepared for your check to be different every month. This isn’t a corporate job, so there are some aspects that are unstable.
If you’re looking for even more tips and advice about blogging, be sure to check out the Blogging page on CNC. There are tons of posts devoted to the topic!