Usually, when I tell people I’m a full-time travel blogger, they get this slightly weirded out look on their face and I can pretty much see the words, “But, how?” pop up in a thought bubble above their heads. Trust me, it still kind of boggles my mind that’s a career option for anyone in the world, let alone me. But the thing is, it really is possible.
If you’ve got yourself an existing blog with a hope for it to be your full-time love one day or if you’re just starting out and have the same long-term goal, this is the blog post for you. Even if your blog isn’t about travel, this post may be able to help you with a bit of insight and guidance on how to take your hobby-blog and turn it into your job.
As always, I love sharing this insight with you so if you have any questions for me, don’t be too shy to ask and I’ll do my best to turn it into a blog post for you. Be sure to read my other posts For Bloggers too.
When did Little Grey Box become my full-time job?
In November 2013 I started listening to my inner voice and knew I wanted to put everything I had into LGB to make it grow. I also knew I wanted to leave my job and do it full-time. That was a terrifying realisation, but also an awesome one. A few months later I told my boss I was thinking about leaving later in the year and he was incredibly supportive, mentoring me with my writing and helping me improve.
In June 2014 I took long-service leave from my job, giving myself until it ran out it October 2014 to see if I loved what I was doing and if it would even be financially viable. I was earning very, very little from my blog. I’d be lucky to have earned $500 a month from it, so it’s not like the money was rolling in and it made sense to leave my job. I took a HUGE, depressing pay-cut and had to make a lot of changes to my lifestyle to make it work.
I did, however, have help in the form of my husband. We relied on his income to pay our household bills, but we still had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it work. He left his job a year ago too so we both do this full-time now. It’s a big lifestyle change, but it’s the best decision we’ve ever made.
To succeed, you’ve got to work really hard
As you’ve probably guessed, things didn’t blow up in my face and I didn’t have to go crawling back to my old job once my long-service leave ran out. Thank goodness. It took me months to get into a routine with my blog, I had to work really hard to stay focused and put enough time and energy into it. I had to learn a LOT, like how to run a business and understand what people want from my blog. It was hard!
Once I started to understand the business of blogging better and got a good handle on what my blog is and what I create, I had to work really hard on building my blog. As I’ve said in other posts, the key to earning an income from your blog is having an audience brands want to access. The best way to grow your audience is, to be honest, genuine and share content they enjoy on the regular.
So, you’ve got to put your head down, lock yourself in the house and work really, really, really hard to do that.
When should a blog become your full-time job?
There’s no right answer for this. You could wake up tomorrow, quit your job and start your blog and hey-presto, it’s your full-time job! It’s one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’ questions.
Your blog will become your full-time job when you allow it to. It’s that simple. If you’re terrified about money and failure and all these other things, it won’t become your full-time job until you’re ready for it to be. Truth be told, guys, you won’t ever have no fears about it. There’s always something to be afraid of, the key is to accept those fears and move forward anyway. It’s exhilarating and liberating, trust me, you feel like a total crazy badass. It’s great.
Prepare for it to be mentally tough on you
I have so many days where I wake up and think, “Oh man, my blog is shit. There are so many other people out there with much better blogs than me, I’m never going to reach my goals cos I suck.” This is usually followed by a marathon Netflix-session while I eat blocks of dark chocolate and yell curse words at the TV. True story.
These mental breakdowns are normal, or at least my court-ordered therapist says they are. I joke, I joke! But, seriously, every blogger I’ve ever spoken to has said they feel the same way periodically. It just happens. The cool thing about that is those feelings are what push us to be better, try harder, learn more and improve our craft. No artist is ever satisfied (that’s a Martha Graham quote and it’s the most real thing on the internet). If you did something and loved it, you’d just keep doing it and never grow. Growth is the best thing imaginable and it comes, usually, out of adversity. Own the crap out of your struggle.
Define your boundaries early
If I could give you one piece of advice that you probably haven’t heard before, it’s to define your boundaries. At the start of my blogging career, I made some silly decisions, like not knowing what my blog was about, accepting money for just about anything and not being aware of what a healthy working relationship with brands should look like. It took a lot of learning, which is why I share these guides with you guys, so you don’t have to go through the same crap.
So, my advice to you would be to set your boundaries early. What will you absolutely NOT do for money? How do YOU want to work with brands? How do you want to earn money? How much do you want to be paid? Who do you want your audience to be? What do you want your blog to look like? If you think about the end result first, then you can work backwards from there to do what you need to get there. It’s a more targeted approach, you see.
I also firmly believe that this kind of thinking sets you up right, cosmically. You’re manifesting what you want to happen, you’re visualising it and working toward it, attracting the same through the power of your miiiiiiiiiiiind insert sitar music hear
The hard truth about being a full-time blogger
Unless you’re the blogging elite of this universe, blogging can be a rough gig. You’ll get a lot of knock-backs, be paid little, have a few dodgy brands want to take advantage of you from time-to-time, be spammed with emails by idiots, deal with trolls and all this other stuff that’s really draining at times. BUT if you love it, it’s totally worth it, because it’s awesome and it’s your passion!!
You’ve got to be prepared to be the long game here, it can take many years for a blog to grow and reach the audience you want it to. If you get a good break. it can be a lot quicker than that. I honestly believe, with blogging, you reap what you sow. So, if you’re hardworking, honest, open and collaborative, things will grow organically for you. The sooner you can lock-down your niche, define your boundaries and just start putting it in, the better your blog will grow.
Whatever doubts and fears come up, don’t let them control you. Just accept them, take a deep breath in and then breath them right back out and keep moving forward. It IS possible to be a full-time travel blogger. Look at me! I’m doing it and I’m just some random from Brisbane!
So, what’s the real secret to becoming a full-time travel blogger? Mate… you just bloody do it.
A few tips and tricks for anyone thinking of becoming a full-time travel blogger:
- Invest in good quality gear (if/when you can), a really good laptop and camera are absolutely essential
- Learn to manage your time well and develop strategies for balancing your everyday life, frequent travel and continually producing new blog content
- Get tech savvy and look for great apps, websites and programs that can improve your outputs (I use CoSchedules Headline Analyzer a lot, for example, to help me with my blog post titles)
- See your blog as your business right from the start! Treat it as a business
Need some more tips? Watch this…
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.