Today is my blog’s second birthday! Since it’s the two year anniversary of My Heart Beets, I thought I’d write a personal post giving you an update on what has been happening behind-the-scenes of my blog. My hope is that it’ll inspire you to start a blog of your own.
How did I become a full-time blogger?
The short version: I said a prayer. Then, I handed in my two weeks notice.
I can’t believe my job title is now: FULL-TIME Blogger. It still feels pretty surreal.
I want to preface this post by saying that I don’t think I’m some big successful blogger (ha, not even close.). But I do think that “success” means different things to different people. For me – in this moment – it means being able to work for myself.
In this post, I’m going to tell you how I became a full-time blogger and why you should start a blog.
In less than two years, I’ve been able to turn my blog into a business – despite knowing nothing about blogging. It’s something that I’m really proud of because I know how hard I’ve worked for it. I would spend my mornings, evenings and weekends testing recipes, struggling to take halfway decent photographs and writing blog posts. I also made time to create an eBook (and a sales page with a video introduction) with 100+ Paleo Indian Recipes. I basically spent every minute of my free time learning how to blog and working on my blog.
And my reward for doing all of this? Now, two years later, I’m doing what I love and hopefully helping people in the process. I get to connect with so many readers which is easily my favorite part of the job. Happy emails and comments totally make my day (likewise, nasty comments hurt… a lot). As a bonus, I also have a really short commute. I get to roll out of bed in the morning and walk downstairs to my home office. My dress code: barefoot and pajamas. The boss: ME.
It sounds great right? It is. It really is. But it’s also scary. Really scary.
There’s no guaranteed paycheck. My part-time blogging brought in part-time income and so I’m honestly working off the assumption that if I blog full-time, I’ll be able to make what I was making before. The truth is, I’m not sure I’ll be able to earn a full-time income. But, I also know that the potential is there – to make even more. More than money, I feel like I’m actually making a difference in other peoples lives. I’m helping people with food allergies enjoy some of their favorite foods again and knowing that makes my heart so happy.
And despite my brief moments of panic/doubt – I’m overall much happier. I’m not stuck sitting at a desk 40+ hours a week and I’m no longer zoning out during pointless meetings. Ever since I started my blog, I’ve been on this path of constant learning. I’ve been challenged – in every possible way. I’ve learned and am learning new skills every single day: copywriting, web design, search engine optimization, social media, photography (and photography-related tech), and so much more. Sometimes when I’m really struggling to learn something new, I have to remind myself that I’m lucky to have the time to be able to figure it out. I’m not bored these days. And that feels good.
You should start a blog, and I’ll tell you why.
You should start a blog because you’re passionate about something. Working on something you are passionate about will make you happy.
It doesn’t matter what the topic is. Fashion. Video Games. Art. Food. Jewelry. History. Star Wars. Fishing. Whatever.
The reason you should blog is because it’s fulfilling.
You’re an expert at something, whether you realize it or not. You should share your knowledge with others. I never thought I was a “good cook” – only that I enjoyed cooking. You might not think you’re an expert in your field, but I’m sure there are people out there who would love to know what you do.
Plus, there’s little investment. You’re not buying a store-front, you’re buying space on the web, which is thankfully pretty cheap. I get several hundred thousand views a month and I’ve somehow managed to get away with paying just $3 a month with Bluehost (something my other blogging friends are always surprised about. I’m hoping Bluehost doesn’t read this… heh). That is cheap. You should not start a blog expecting to make big bucks. In order to earn any sort of REAL income from a website, you must be willing to put in a lot of time and effort. That said, when you’re passionate about something I believe that you will want to put in the time and effort. And if you’re going to be spending so much of your life working on a hobby, it should make some money, right? Right. (update: as of early 2016, I’ve had to increase my hosting by um, a lot – to ensure that my website remains super fast. But, I did manage to get away with $3 hosting for almost 2.5 years).
Why invest your free time in a blog? Here are three more reasons (not in any specific order):
- Building a Brand/Platform: it doesn’t matter what your profession is – even if you want to continue working for someone else – starting a blog will help you build your brand. Having a blog means having an audience. Loyal virtual friends who will follow your advice and listen to your recommendations.
- Job Security: if you lose your job, you have something to fall back on.
- Endless Potential: that job you’re in now likely has a salary cap. Sure the chances of creating an insanely popular blog are slim but you never know. I’m shooting for the stars.
Have I convinced you yet? After you read through my post, check out my step-by-step tutorial of How to Start a Blog.
Then, read my post called How to Create a “Successful” Blog in One Year.
How Do You Make Money Blogging?
Anytime I tell someone that I’m a full-time blogger, they almost always ask me how I make money. It’s kind of an awkward question but I guess blogging isn’t your everyday profession. Here’s the thing, there are many different ways to make money as a blogger.
- Advertising: I know ads can be annoying, but they really do help us bloggers keep blogging.
- Sponsored Posts: This is when a company provides you with a product they want you do endorse as well as compensation ($) for an endorsement. You won’t see many of these on my blog because I’m very selective. Most of the time I suggest things that I personally use and love and sometimes companies will find me and then we’ll work together. For example, no one paid me to write this post about avocado oil. But a few months after I wrote the post, one of the brands that I recommended contacted me and we worked together on another post.
- eBooks: this one is pretty obvious. I have a Paleo Indian eBook (that you should totally get) and hope to work on more in the future. Even if you don’t have your own eBook, you can always be an affiliate (see below) for another blogger’s eBook.
- Affiliates: Some companies will offer you a small portion of sales in exchange for helping them promote their product. For example, a lot of people ask me where they can find grassfed meat. I always suggest first trying to buy local, but if that’s not possible, then I suggest US Wellness Meats because I’ve tried and really like what they have to offer. There are a lot of companies out there who offer this type of program. If there’s one you like, I suggest reaching out to them to see if they do.
- Consulting/Speaking engagements: Blogging can open doors to different consulting opportunities. For food bloggers this can mean recipe development, product development, photography, menu planning, social media and/or marketing consulting.
Are You Ready to Blog? No? Good. Start anyway.
If you want to know the actual steps involved with choosing a domain, hosting and installing WordPress, then you’ll want to check out my post: “how to start a blog.”
If you already have a blog, check out my tips/marketing advice in my post, “how to create a successful blog in one year.”
And if you do decide to start a blog, let me know Good luck!