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The Switch To Full Time Blogger – Does It Live Up To The Hype?

The Switch To Full Time Blogger – Does It Live Up To The Hype?

14 October, 201810Comments

I recently dedicated two months to working on my blog. No day job. Just me and my travel blog. I try not to blog about blogging, but I feel like I need to share this unique experience. If you’re not a blogger you may want to head back here to read something else.

How

Back in July Kit started nursery for three full days a week, but instead of going back to my day job as an Executive Assistant, I took the chance to use those three days to work on my blog. I was due to go back to work after nine months maternity leave, but instead extended it to take the full year off.

I didn’t receive any maternity pay for the last three months of leave (well, I did thanks to a mix up but that’s another story), but this extra time wasn’t about money. We’ve been fortunate that Jay earned some great bonuses this year and he’s been supportive in buffering my extra time off. Seems fair considering I grew, carried and pushed out two babies, right?!

Puglia Holidays, Raro Villas, Bookings For you, Family Travel Blog, Family Travel Vlog, Taylor Hearts Travel, Puglia, Family holidays in Italy, Puglia Villa, Alberobello

Why

I hadn’t planned to use my maternity leave this way, but one day the idea pinged into my head. I’ve always been envious of people who get to work full time on their blog and have always wondered ‘what if?’.

What if I could spend quality time on my blog? Would it make me infinitely happier? Would I be flooded with work offers; campaigns, press trips and event invites? Was it the missing jigsaw piece? Would my blog be as big as those others if I just gave it more time and attention? What if I could say yes to all the event invites, rather than no? What if I could be my own boss and fit my work around my little ones? What if I could write all those blog posts I’d been meaning to and to swap existing links to affiliate links and to update all those old cringey blog posts with my new SEO knowledge? The more I thought about it the more the what ifs doubled, tripled and quadrupled.

It seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore the what ifs. When else would I have the chance to have a good chunk of time away from a secure, well-paid job with the option of returning to it?

Cers, France, Family Travel

Trying to work and/or blog whilst looking after one, let alone two children, had already proved too tricky for me. I just find I end up feeling like a rubbish worker/blogger/mama when I’m trying to split myself, so it’s much more manageable (for me at least) to have dedicated time for various things.

And so, for two solid months I had three full days a week to blog. Both of my mini-explorers were at nursery on those days, so I knew they were having fun with their friends and getting lots of creative stimulation.

Has it been worth it?

So, were those two or three months life changing? Is the lure of full time blogging as exciting, magical and lucrative as they say? Was it worthwhile?

To put it simply, yes and no.

My blog traffic hasn’t suddenly increased tenfold, which to be honest is mega annoying because I’ve been doing all the things they tell me to do. They being the various ‘Grow Your Traffic’ Facebook groups and guides. Perhaps my posts need time to sit with Google, perhaps all their ideas are myths or perhaps my posts are rubbish. Who knows?

I had some of my best paid gigs during this stint, but whether that’s coincidence or not will remain untold. That said I didn’t earn my goal every single month. It seems blog income, at least for me, is quite erratic. One month I’m riding high, the next down low.

I enjoyed being able to do what I want without reporting in to anyone. In my day job I’m used to working on my own, so that wasn’t too much of a change. I loved not having to request annual leave for trips, but our anticipated house move meant that I wasn’t able to travel nearly half as much as I’d like.

I thought I’d be deliriously happy spending my days blogging, but if I’m really, really truthful – and it pains me to say this – it wasn’t as magical as I thought it might be. It was amazing, but not ah-may-zing. After a little while it soon felt like work. It was great spending my days absorbed in travel, but my days were more so about blogging, which meant techy stuff, SEO life, accounts and everything else.  The writing is fun, but the stuff that goes with it (which seems to increase the more I learn) soon felt like a chore. For it me, it seems there are always going to be parts of any job which aren’t as exciting as other parts.

Perhaps if the jump to full time blogging had meant double the income or opportunities I might feel differently. I might think all that stuff was part and parcel of an amazing job. Maybe.

I no longer have that curiosity and all those what ifs in my mind, which has been somewhat satisfying. I had an itch and I’ve scratched it.

What I did with my time…

I’ve satisfied previous niggles of wanting to update old cringey posts. Some of them I’ve changed to private because they don’t really offer anything. Some posts that I had planned to update with new links have now become shiny, new posts. My average post titled 7 Reasons to Love Northampton became a lengthy 30 Fun Things to Do in Northampton post, with a side post on 12 of The Best Restaurants in Northampton.

In my first week I used my Google Analytics to look at my top posts and set about improving them, whether that be adding affiliate links, updating broken links or outdated information, and adding pinnable images and links to related posts. I noticed a difference straight away with more hits on the article itself and the associated posts. It also gave me more confidence to reshare some of those posts on my social channels.

I also looked at my worst performing posts (based on Google Analytics) and made a note of any trends; what style of post it was, the length of words etc to ensure I didn’t bother wasting my time with that sort. I know you’re supposed to write for the love of it, but I haven’t got time to write everything I want to, so personally I’d rather write about things that others will benefit from or things that I specifically want to remember.

On my blogging days I’d drop my littles at nursery for 8am, head home and be at my laptop no later than 9am. I worked at a desk and pretty much stayed there until 4/4.30pm when I’d leave to get my kids. I adored that I could suit my work around them, that I could keep on top of life admin and chores more easily – sticking a wash on or hanging it on the line in between posts was easy – and working in my comfy clothes, often bare-faced suited me.

At the end of each day I wrote a to-do list for the next day. I also figured out regular tasks and programmed them into my planner. I felt like this gave me a purpose and I enjoyed the satisfaction of crossing things off. If I’m honest though, I think I may have got wrapped up in the admin side. As an Executive Assistant by day job, it’s comforting and what I’m used to, I guess.

I also read guides on SEO, revisited blogging articles to follow up on their suggested actions and basically tried to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I became methodical about promoting posts in various Facebook groups and pinning posts a minimum of three times. In simple terms, I tried to do all the stuff I didn’t have time for before and had wondered whether it had a direct impact on traffic.

I downloaded Keysearch – a tool that I’d heard loads of other bloggers recommend, with some of them saying their traffic tripled straight away. It didn’t have that effect on my blog, but perhaps those others bloggers weren’t doing anything at all before whereas I was already using Keyword Planner, so wasn’t starting from scratch. I did find all its features really interesting though, like the competition tracker and the targeted numbers.

I tried to publish a new blog post at least three times a week, as well as updating my weekly travel competition page with at least three new competitions.

Two months went really quickly. At first I was mega excited and full of anticipation, but as I got stuck into the repetitive tasks and wrapped up in admin, the novelty wore off. I was still super happy to be working on my own stuff and loved it, but it wasn’t the shiny Christmas Day kind of excitement, if that makes sense.

oh the places youll go postcard

What now?

So after two months I went back to my part-time day job. My mat leave had come to an end and our new mortgage is still being processed, so it was the natural path.

During my experiment, one month I made the most amount of money I’ve ever done through my blog and the last month I didn’t really make anything and my stats seemed to plateau. It was quite depressing to be honest, but I’ve since heard quite a few other bloggers in a similar niche say that time of year is normally quiet.

Since then another month has passed and my income for that month has actually surpassed that previous record I mentioned. It’s amazing, but who knows what the following month will bring – will it be an upward trend or will it be followed by another low one?

I already find myself reading less blogs and being absorbed in Insta Stories, so have wondered if perhaps I should have focused my energy there.

After two months of full time blogging a lot of what ifs have been answered, but a whole new set have appeared and perhaps that’s just what it’s like when you’re working for yourself and on something that you love.

Originally I said I’d use the two months as one last blast at the blog and then completely quit if I didn’t see what I wanted to, but those months have passed and my fingers are tapping at this familiar keyboard.

So, answers on a postcard please. It seems I’m not quite over this little love of mine.

Pin for later…

Read more…

The Death of Travel Blogging and the Way Out

Should I divorce him?

Travel Goodbyes

Will Travel and my Son Break my Heart?

What Happens When Your Travel Dream Comes True?

10 Comments

  1. This is so interesting, thank you for writing about it! It’s something I’ve often wondered about, so it’s so nice to read an honest account of how you feel it went. It’s funny because sometimes I feel bogged down in the seemingly never-ending blog admin and I have to remind myself that this is something I began as a hobby to give myself the opportunity to write frequently, rather than practice my SEO and add links to posts! I’d love to know if all of your hard work makes a difference long-term though, I’m sure it will. And it’s also worth adding that I for one would be very sad if you gave up blogging as I love reading your posts and have found your blog so helpful since becoming a mum x

    1. And thanks for reading it! :)

      I totally hear you on that one. It always feels like there’s so much to do and more, but sometimes it’s good to get back to your roots and to just write. I think I might do an update in a few months time as a few have mentioned it would be interesting to see the progress (or lack of – ha!).

      Ah thank you, that’s so lovely to hear…and motivation for me to knuckle down and write some more! xx

  2. Amazing that you’ve had the opportunity to try something like this and I’ve really enjoyed reading about how you found it. There are certain things I know if want to do if I had a concentrated amount of time to focus my efforts on it without other distractions. Congratulations on the increase to your income – it would be great to hear an update later on to see just how much your hard work has paid off.

    1. Yeah, I’m so grateful for such an exciting and rare opportunity. Not many have that option or cushion, so I couldn’t resist trying it out.

      Really? What would you focus on? I’m always intrigued to hear other people’s plans and ideas!

      Thanks. A few have said that so I think I might do a 6 month update or something, when I’ve had a chance to process it all and to see what the pattern (if any) has been. Thanks for reading and for your support :)

  3. I love this post, and I love your honesty. There is so much glamorisation (is that a word? Does it need a ‘u’ in there?) of full-time blogging (and of course, I’m sure there are amazing things about it too) but not a lot about the realities, the frustrations, and the fact that it isn’t always dreamy. Still, I think it’s fab that you did this, and tried it out, and totally smashed it. Maybe not the way you expected, but you made more money than before, and you learned and improved…sounds like a win to me! Can’t wait to see what happens next…will you write an update in a few months’ time? I’d love to read that!

    1. Thanks so much, lovely! No idea, but I know what you mean!

      Thank you – that’s so kind and generous of you to say so. Yeah, I think I might do a follow up after 6 months or so to see what the movement has been. Things can change so drastically in such a short space of time, so it’d be good to reflect. X

  4. I recognize so much in what you’re saying here! I also struggled with a lot of ‘what ifs’ last year so when I had the opportunity to take a 4 month sabbatical I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to see if this whole full time blogging thing would be for me. I combined it with being a digital nomad as I was traveling for 3 out of those 4 months and that turned out to be the most challenging part. Exploring places to come up with content during the day and then spending all your time in the evening to turn it into blog and social media posts quickly became too exhausting. I also started to become frustrated when all this hard work didn’t result in significant more followers or readers.
    I must say though that now that I’ve started working for myself recently, I’m enjoying taking the blog more seriously and seeing what works / doesn’t work. I think in the end what would be ideal for me is maybe not be a full-time blogger, but a serious and successful part-time blogger :-)

    1. It’s so funny – your set up sounds like the dream to me – 4 months off to work and travel – but here you are saying it was challenging. Maybe it’s always hard no matter which way? Maybe there’s always a wonder and an itch to scratch or maybe that’s just me?! And I totally hear you about the results – when you put so much in and it affects so much of the rest of your life (health, sleep etc) it can be really tough when the stats don’t match the effort. Being your own boss is the best though – I love it!

      That’s good that you can realise what it is that you want and I have absolutely no doubt that you can smash that – your work is top notch! :) xx

  5. Well done meeting those income goals! Blogging is a total rollercoaster. Wish I could run the same experiment and take some time off to give it 110% and see what results I get.

    1. Thanks! If only I could make that rollercoaster keep climbing and climbing…magic wand, anyone?! I definitely feel very fortunate to have had such an exciting opportunity. Hope you manage to work a way round it one day soon too. X

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