Today I am going to share how I turned my blog into a business and reflect on my journey so far; one month on. It’s a different journey than most: there are lots of blog posts out there shouting from the rooftops about going blogging full time- something we all love the sound off but can seem so far off for most of us. Plus it can be incredibly daunting at the thought of relying solely on blogging for your income because you know… mortgage and err food.
For me, I personally feel I need more stability but working full-time was not working for me at all. As some of you may know, I am a teacher. Any of you bloggers teaching full time and producing amazing content- I take my hat off to you! When I was full-time, I felt like I was constantly back-peddling and when I got home, I’d have a pile of tweets/emails to catch up on. Plus, as I also have health issues- that made things extra complicated. Just the sheer effort of trying to keep on top of juicing, exercise, healthy eating and medical appointments feels like a full-time job itself sometimes.
There are some fab ladies (e.g.the Prosecco Diaries) that have quit the teaching profession for blogging and are doing an AMAZING job at it. But I felt like I’d built up something for seven years and I didn’t feel I wanted to give it up (despite what you see on the news, teaching does have it’s great days too!) So after much umming and ahhing- I finally sat down and did the numbers and realised that as I go on and on about a ‘balanced’ life, then perhaps I should take a chance to try it. I was super lucky to find a part-time teaching job 3 days a week and decided I’d run my business the rest of the time. Today I am almost a month into this and I feel like I’m singing from the rooftops at all my friends encouraging them to do this too! It means I have a great mix of my teaching job, my writing, and downtime. We see so many people telling everyone to quit their job and work from home but it might not be for you. I feel going part-time and working from home part-time gives you the best of both worlds. A safety net and a place to do what you love without much pressure.
So if you’re thinking about making your blog a bit more of your job, here’s some of my top tips
1.Work out what you need to live off. If you cut down your hours at work (whether it’s to blog or just for a bit of self-care) things like pension, tax, student loans etc will adjust accordingly- so you might find less hours isn’t as drastic as you think. This can give you a buffer and make the unpredictableness of blogging less scary.
2.Figure out your expenses. If you are blogging part-time, the first thing I’d suggest is a chat to a good accountant. You’ll need to pay tax but there also a ton of things you can claim tax relief on, meaning a good chunk of your bill (depending on big your earnings obviously) could be written off as expenses: these include things like hosting fees, travel to events, electricity and mains gas (the goverment have a good guide to this here (I reckon most of us would come under at least 25-50 hours a month category; whether we only blog a few times a week) equipment like cameras and things you buy specifically for posts (like a
Primark Haul )
3. Make lists
If you’re working from home, then making the most of your time is really important. I use this list planner from Alexia Claire which I love! If you’re looking for more blog-centric planner, I recommend the Badass Blog Planner (this is more of a guided programme great when you are first transitioning from a blog to brand) or the Epic Blog (which has actual space to plan content-like an editorial planner and record stats.; especially useful if you do lots of seasonal stuff and plan ahead)
Also, make sure you think of the time involved before accepting an op. Although I’m about blogging about what you love, this can sometimes not be practical if you decide to monetise your blog- if a 3 hour post is done in exchange for a small item it might no longer be feesible for you. Always be upfront with brands and PRs- you’ll be surprised how often you can come to an agreement- whether it’s adding value or scaling down what you offer; I have always found them incredibly flexible once I explain it’s a part-time job. Round-ups can be a brilliant way to build relationships and save time- just make sure you give the PR a heads up.
4.Don’t just rely on your blog. As you’ve probably realised by now, blog income fluctuates drastically. The key is to diversify your income as widely as possible. For example, since going part-time I’ve….
–Finished my book which will be out in November.
–Blogged about nutrition for several brands’ websites (for payment not ‘exposure’)
–Taken on a regular copywriting role which I found on twitter.
–Looked into other online ways of making money using things like getting cashback on all my deals, signing up for Market Research etc. Emma Drew’s blog is brill for this.
–Started to explore Affiliate marketing- a tricky one for me as I don’t want to be shady so I’m only looking at deals that are genuinely beneficial for my readers.
For all these opportunities, I simply networked via twitter, joined facebook groups and responded to ops (let me know if you want a blog post on any of the specifics) If you have a specific skill or niche- in my case my nutrition knowledge- don’t be afraid to mention it; it can be extremely valuable to brands. If there’s a brand that’s bringing out a new product that’s perfect for your blog, don’t be afraid to drop then an email and tell them exactly what you can do together- whether it’s arranging an affiliate discount code or sponsored content; find a way to work together. And quick tip: if you blog for yourself, that makes you a perfect asset to blog for others too. Don’t be afraid to ask brands if they’re looking for freelance bloggers.
5. Outsource. No, I don’t mean hiring an employee (I’m not at that level yet!) but thinking of things that can save time. Do you need to take every photo? The photo from this post was from a free stock image bundle I found online today. Do you have a friend who could help you out with broken link checks? Is it worth paying a small fee to sites like Tailwind to save pinning? (I’m happy to do a seperate post if that helps)
6. Create a dedicated space to help you take it seriously. Here’s my little blog office; isn’t she a beaut?
I’d also recommend investing in something like Chromebook in the picture if you can’t quite afford a Mac (ultimate blogger goal) mine worked out about £150 but I’ve seen them for under a £100 . They’re so much lighter than a normal laptop!
So those are my top tips on blogging part-time from home. I’m not selling an ebook with a magic formula; instead I just want to raise awareness that it’s perfectly possible to make an income from your blog without quitting your job completely. These days work arrangements are often the most flexible they’ve ever been, so why not take advantage and give it a go? You may well love it or you may well hate it, but it’s much less risky and you always have a safety net to fall back on.
*This is a collaborative post*