I was a full-time blogger for a year and a half, and now I’m back working a full-time 9-5pm! Below, I’m sharing how I started blogging in the first place, how I became a full-time blogger, and why I quit blogging full-time to go back to the corporate world.
How I Became a Full-Time Blogger
I’ve always had a blog. Since I knew what they were in high school, I created a website, they’ve had different names and purposes, but each had a common theme of documenting my style.
A few years ago, in 2014 after college, I moved to Dallas on my own. I had a blog taking mirror selfies in my target $10 mirror to document my work outfits and talk about my day. The next year, I moved my blog to WordPress, started learning more about photography and taking photos on my tripod. The main goal though was to track my marathon training progress. After a few months that was over, but I wanted to continue the blog. I decided to convert fully to a fashion blog and finally, my series of blogs became what it is today: Running in Heels LLC.
As I converted to Running in Heels, I was looking for a job. Since I had my website established and a social media presence, I created a portfolio right on my website and submitted it with my applications. That portfolio helped me land my position as a Social Media Manager with an agency. I continued blogging and posting on Instagram and I started growing there and in the agency where I worked. I worked my way up in the agency and blogged for two years until I received a job offer that I couldn’t refuse. As it turned out, it was too good to be true and I was miserable. I decided to leave after only six weeks.
At the time I had been blogging for over two years. The year prior had been extremely profitable, and from what I could tell, my partnerships, following, and profits were only growing. The math worked out, and I decided to not look for a new position and give blogging full-time a try. I didn’t plan it, I didn’t save the recommended 3-6 months of expenses, but at the time the stars aligned and allowed me to take the leap.
The Truth About Full-Time Blogging
So many jobs seem glamorous from the outside, and blogging is definitely one of them. While there are serious perks, it’s a lot of time alone. A ton of staring at the computer screen, and mass amounts of admin work. It started out great, I loved having the days to myself and so much time to create content, but eventually, things got hard. Blogging, like many other positions in entertainment/sales/self-employment, blogging runs in waves. When I quit my job I was at my peak. I was killing it and I rode my wave well.
For an entire year, things were great. Partnerships were consistently rolling in, my growth eventually slowed, but I was over 50k on Instagram, so I was happy and so were my clients and partners. When things slowed down, though, I panicked. When my following began backsliding and my partnerships slowed down, instead of thriving under the pressure like I usually do, I froze.
6 Reasons Why I’m Going Back to the Corporate World
From the last sentence above I’m sure you can guess a few of the reasons I went back to work full-time. I’m sure a few will surprise you, too! It’s the hard truth no one tells you and no one shares, except me.
First and foremost, let me be completely honest here, the number one reason I went back to work full-time, was for the money. Working for myself, I had several streams of income but once my collaborations slowed down, it wasn’t enough to keep me feeling like I wasn’t drowning.
Each month I played Tetris with my money moving it from account to account to pay bills, and it was stressful. I had panic attacks at the end of the month trying to figure out if I had enough money in each account to pay bills before my next payments came in.
It never did go that far. To be honest, it wasn’t even that close, but I was no longer living my life as I wanted. I was saying no to dinners out and happy hours to save money. I stopped shopping and buying new things, even though it was essentially my job to share new clothes and products. I was just not living the way I wanted to, and that wasn’t ok with me.
Regular Payments/On-Time Payments
Now, working full-time and having money just show up in my bank account on a bi-weekly basis feels like a luxury. To have it there when it’s supposed to be is the biggest relief.
For bloggers, there are very regularly net-60 or net-90 payment terms. This means that after I perform the work and submit my agreed upon posts, I have to wait 60 or 90 days for payments to process and reach me. Not only that, but sometimes they don’t come on time or even at all, so it’s a process and an effort even after performing the work. This is an issue regardless of whether I’m a full-time blogger or doing it on the side, but it’s a lot less stressful when I am not relying on missing payments to pay my bills.
I have no problem staying “hungry” or motivated to perform, but I did feel lost when my growth stalled and fewer brands were knocking on my door. I lost track of my “why”, questioned my branding, and my confidence in my brand plummeted.
I maintain that I’m not defined by the numbers that my Instagram shows, but they had an effect on my confidence. I’d obsess over each unfollow, track likes, and try to evaluate my photos against girls doing well to see what I had to change. These were things I didn’t do when I had a full-time job because, honestly, I didn’t have the time.
You’d think that working full-time and blogging on the side would be more stressful than doing just one, but I typically thrive with more responsibility. With less time, I have to prioritize and focus on money-making activities, and/or the activities that I enjoy the most.
The stress of getting brand collaborations is gone. I can choose my brand partners regardless of pay. I don’t have to worry about an oversaturated marketing cannibalizing my brand, I don’t have to worry about the Influencer bubble bursting, or Instagram’s algorithm and constant changes affecting my income. Of course, I’d like to continue making money with my Instagram and blog, but I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t think I would have to pull back.
As my stats dipped lower and lower, at some point I passed the point of passion and I became more apathetic about Instagram in general. I started to focus on my blog and writing better posts which has been great. I started a Youtube channel and really enjoyed editing and creating videos. However, most of the time, these things were not what was bringing in the money. Though I was passionate about them, I should have been focusing more on making sure I was posting consistently on Instagram, engaging with others, and growth tactics since Instagram were my largest platform and the one where most brands were hiring me for posts.
Going back to work allows me to experiment, learn, and enjoy blogging and posting again.
Finally, it may come as a surprise, but I never intended to be a full-time blogger. It always sounded cool, but it was never in my plan, just kind of a “that would be cool” but never took steps to make it happen.
When I left college, I wanted to be a CMO then maybe even a CEO of a major retail corporation, so full-time blogging seemed small-scale in comparison. However I started working at really small companies and I lost track of that vision a bit.
When I left my full-time job, it seemed like the perfect time to give blogging full-time a shot. I wanted to try it out to see if I could do it, understand if I liked it, and whether or not it was something that was viable long-term.
Some bloggers create an empire with their brands through clothing lines or products. Every time I thought about creating a product or a course with my name on it, it never felt right. I wanted to be on the business side of things, not have my name on a product to sell.
Is Quitting Full-Time Blogging Failing?
I asked myself this question a lot. Ultimately, I lasted a year and a half as a full-time blogger. It was a big deal when I hit the one-year mark, and that in itself constitutes success in my book. I do not think I failed. I supported myself the entire time, paid my bills, and realized when it was time to explore another option. In the end, it was a measly salary, but it still paid the bills. Honestly, I could still probably be floating along, but I’m so much happier with my decision.
I didn’t enjoy blogging full-time as much as I thought I would. Of course, the unlimited travel days were great, but they meant nothing when I no longer had the money to book flights. Blogging and working full-time is tough, but I’d rather run my blog on my terms rather than be driven by a paycheck.
Ultimately, I have different career goals in mind than blogging full-time. It took me testing it out though, to realize them. If I hadn’t tried it now, I may have always wondered. At the time I left my job to blog full-time, it was truly the best time to try it, and I am so happy that I did.
I could have stayed blogging full-time, budgeted better, cut back in other places until I figured out the perfect pitch, gained more followers, or got another email from a big brand, but I realized that I was just not interested in doing so. That was the most important revelation because I was yet again, in a job that I didn’t want to be my longterm career.
One thing is certain though: I am thankful for my experience and so happy I gave it a shot. I LOVE blogging and do not plan to stop, and now, I never have to look back and wish I gave blogging full-time a try. I know for sure how I feel about it and the direction I want to go in.