Aloha ladies and gentlemen! So today's post is both a Tip Tuesday as well as a bit of a personal anecdote. Last week during the FBL chat there was a load of talk about how to make it as a full-time blogging - and by make it, I'm talking money.
So first up let me just tackle this entire thing head on: blogging is my hobby, and I really, really love it, but I'm also lucky enough to say it's become my full-time job that pays the bills and keeps me going every month. I'm in no way jetting off to Cannes every other week (or ever, if I'm honest) but it helps me pay my bills and live fairly comfortably for a girl my age. Okay, that's the painful bit over.
Rewind back to a few years ago when I was very unhappily working as a counter manager in a department store. I'll be honest, I've never been good with holding down a job, purely because I get so bored, so very quickly, so finding another suitable job at that time was high on my to-do list.
I began blogging properly (I was on Tumblr for ages) just over two years ago. I started it for fun - just like we all do - and after my first few months of tapping away I got my first paid opportunity. £20 for a sidebar ad. I'm rich! Was pretty much my first thought. I mean, the idea of being paid even a penny for blogging was my idea of a good time, so - even though the proposed amount wasn't even going to cover a weeks food shop - £20 sounded pretty great to me.
With that came a lot of curiosity. How were bloggers being paid? How could I do it myself? It wasn't as straight forward as I first hoped. After weeks of looking into it, as if by chance I got offered a 3-month advertising contract with a company that offered me £150 a month for a sidebar. Remember how excited I got over the £20? This was like winning the lottery.
I got talking to this PR guy for a while - just general chit chat - and after telling him about my hate for my job, and how I was hoping to venture into monetising my blog, he kindly passed my link around to a few of his friends working in different sectors. In fact, that one random guy that barely even knew me was probably the push that got this entire 'blogging career' (lol) started. So thank you, if you just so happen to be reading this!
Anyway, after a few weeks of working my ass off on monetising different parts of my blog, I finally managed to hit an amount that came fairly close to my monthly earnings from my actual job (it wasn't a highly paid job, FYI). It was at that time that it finally dawned on me that maybe, just maybe (and it was huge bloody maybe) I could earn a similar amount from my blog than my other 'real life' job. At this point it's probably a good time to mention that I still lived at home with my Ma, so rent was a little cheaper than it is now.
Now this is probably the most important part of this entire story (and well done if you're still reading). I've always been the sort of girl that likes to save rather than spend, so I had a little bit of money in the bank put away for a 'rainy day', or rather a day-when-i-decide-to-quit-my-job-for-the-internet day. It had gotten to the point where I was really, really hating retail - as I'm sure some of you can relate, so one evening I decided to just work out how long I could survive without work, in terms of finances. The verdict? Four months, give or take.
So here's me thinking about throwing this job away (that I worked pretty hard to get!) all for the sake of blogging. It was just an idea. But then, ohhhhh then, it was a week before my 20th birthday - which I had booked off work - when my manager decided to tell me I was going to have to work that day. I've never been overly fussed about birthdays, and to be honest I wouldn't normally care about that sort of thing, but for some reason this day was different, and so after work that day I drove home and began typing out my resignation letter. Gulp.
So there I was one week later, working on my birthday, and instead of thinking about cake (my usual birthday thoughts) I was shaking with nerves due to the fact that I was thinking about resigning from my job - my crappy, but oh so secure job - that same day. After a while, the thought kinda passed, but then another individual that I have to oddly thank walked in. The customer from HELL! In short, she was the person that gave me the final push to run upstairs and have 'the talk' with my boss. Ten minutes later, it was official - due to the beauty of owed holiday my 20th birthday would forever be known as the day I went full-time.
I won't lie. Money did become a worry. I know that I was lucky to still be living with my Mum, but sometimes it did get to the stage where I was worried I wouldn't be able to pay her the rent. I sold (a lot) of things on eBay, did a lot of random one-off jobs here and there, went without all of those takeaways and cinema tickets we take for granted, and somehow within those two years I still haven't had a 'real job' to this day.
Well, it feels pretty damn weird having typed out a chunk of my life like that, and I feel a little lame for admitting it but hey, I'm actually pretty proud of myself come to think of it. I won't lie and say it was a magical process - in fact, sometimes it really kind of sucked - but when it came down to it I guess it helped me realise exactly what mattered more to be: having money or doing what I love. I know what I'd rather be doing..
Hope this has helped some of you in some shape or form! To save you from re-reading this over and over again, here are most of the tips in a nutshell:
Community, not numbers
So we all know the more followers you have, the more you're likely to make money from your blog, but that doesn't mean it's the only way to make money. I started out with a very small following that kept coming back for more (engagement, for all you techies) which brands seemed to love. It's still the same way now. There are more of you, sure, but it's the fact that you're all real people and not robots that makes brands interested in working with me. Same goes for you guys!
It's not just about blogging
Remember when I said I did paid guest posts for other people/companies? They never once made their way to my site. Even now I'll do a lot of outside work that never really gets shown on my blog. In fact, probably around half of my payments come from doing freelance.
Keep it relative
This is actually a post I'm planning on doing next week (so stay tuned!) but one thing I can't stress enough is to keep your work relative to what you do. I could easily accept a £30 sponsored post from a company trying to promote dentures, but I'm not sure that's something you guys want to see, so I don't. It's so much better to wait for the good opportunities, rather than just taking anything that comes your way. Let me know what you think on this though!
Be financially stable
This isn't a must, but I think it's really smart to make sure you have a back up incase - whether that's a bit of money in the bank or just someone you can count on incase you fall on your face. I chose to go full-time when my blog wasn't financially stable, so I made sure the rest of my life was in the mean time!
This probably goes without saying, but if you're like me when you're just starting out (i.e. you don't already have $$$$ coming into the bank) then you're going to need to be prepared to work a lot. It sounds silly when internet people say that, doesn't it? But trust me, a lot of emailing, liaising and emailing can be really mentally draining, so make sure you're ready! If you're determined enough, it can be done.
I've not come from a rich family, and I've never been super well-off (I'm still not now), so if I managed to do this then I really don't see why some of your can't too. If your birthdays coming up soon, and you hate your job like I hated mine, you know what to do. (I'm kidding..I think).