This post has been in my drafts since May the 1st.
That was my first ‘official’ day (if we’re being technical here) of considering my blog as my full-time job.
Something I’d like to clear up from the start is my personal definition of a ‘full-time job’, in regards to blogging.
If I look back over the (almost) 3 years I’ve had this place on the internet, I could easily say I’ve been a full-time blogger for the most part. Even from day one, I’d spent hours working on posts, sharing daily antics, recipes, serious posts, lame posts- You get the gist.
There was, however, one key difference between my first two years and the last year in itself- Income.
To me, blogging as a full-time job meant that I made a full-time income from it. To be able to fulfill my own personal definition of a full-time blogger, I needed to make a few goals for myself. There were two overriding non-negotiable goals-
- I had to be matching my monthly salary, at minimum
- I had to sustain the same quality of life I had created for myself and was accustomed to.
Ever since I’ve been legally able to work, I’ve been self-sufficient. When I got my first job at 14 years and 9 months (the legal working age in Australia, at that time), my pocket money was cut off, and any extras like movies, day trips with brands or God forbid, NON-BRANDED CLOTHING (because people would totally hate me if I wore a T-shirt from Target instead of Topshop) needed to come from my earnings.
Fast forward a few years, and I had my first ‘suit and tie’ job and worked for Corporate Australia. I earned a salary, paid my taxes, insurance, bills and my apartment. I paid off my university debts and slowly, added a little bit each week to my savings account.
Point number two was that I also had to sustain the same lifestyle I had created for myself. I don’t live a lavish lifestyle or spend money on ridiculous or unnecessary things. I’m not into advanced technology and Jimmy Choo can be Jimmy Who. I can make my own snack bars, instead of mortgaging my house for those packaged kinds. I used my Discman up until it physically broke. However-
I love travelling.
I love brunch.
I love enjoying meals out with friends.
I prefer to have my own car/vehicle/broomstick.
This all needed to be taken into account.
To this day, I pride myself on the fact that I’d rather support myself 100% than rely on others. Ever. Not just that, but I’m a chicken with things like credit cards, and the only reason I am in possession of one is because some things ONLY accept that as a form of payment and/or legal proof.
This was the “fuel” to my fire. Whatever resulted from this- The onus was on me.
This is not to show disrespect on those who have a significant other, hobby blog full time, or have the financial support of their families- should their dream or passion not turn out. I truly respect that and pose no judgement. This is also not to shun others who have a different definition of what a full-time blogger is. I’m just sharing my own journey/experience/lessons learnt, and maybe there is someone out there who is/was in a similar position to me.
ONE- Maintain your blogging voice, even if/when you monetize.
There is an assumption that as your blog grows, you should be wary of who may be reading your work, and adjust accordingly. If you share recipes, you may feel inclined to strictly talk about the recipe only. If you share workouts and workout tips, God forbid you mention what you wore that day. If you are a fashion blogger, your post must link back to all the big brands out there so they may notice you.
Throughout these (almost) 3 years, I’ve made it a point to maintain my blogging voice and also keep my writing style consistent. I always share true life stories, past events, and random memories through ALL my posts (Yes, even recipe posts). Granted, I know over 90% of the time no one actually reads it, but I enjoy sharing those memories, regardless of whether it has anything to do with the vanilla cake or not.
TWO- Don’t be a one-hit wonder
That ice cream recipe that went viral? Let’s just share ice cream recipes forever and ever and ever and that will be a success. Post an upper body workout which was picked up by Fitness magazine? Let’s ignore our lower body from now on, it’s all about the arms and chest! Smoothie bowl get picked up by BuzzFeed? Smoothie bowls for ALL. THE. MEALS.
Well, from personal experience, wrong.
While a viral post is a great indication of what might be trendy or well appreciated by readers, don’t put all your creative eggs in one basket. Continue sharing an assortment of content, with similar or inspired ones from that ‘viral’ or ‘popular’ post. Don’t, however, expect replicas of the popular post to see the same success. (That is not to say that it won’t!!!)
THREE- Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery.
We are in such an age where for every idea you have, someone has already done it. However, there is a fine distinction between crediting your sources (recipe, outfit, workout), and then purely copying them verbatim and passing it off as their own. From copying the recipe out to the T, using the exact same styling, and even the same writing voice- It’s just wrong and people/readers aren’t oblivious to it. Oh yeah, and also copying their SPELLING GRAMMATICALICAL ERRORS TOO.
Not. Even. Kidding.
If you are inspired by a recipe or adapt one, credit them. Easy as (peanut butter) pie.
FOUR- Never publish a post without 100% commitment
There have been times where (like today’s post, actually!) I’ve decided to skip a planned posting day or change up a post I had in mind. The reason for this is because I didn’t feel 100% committed to the post, nor did I want to publish content for the sake of it. Usually, this was a sign that I needed to take a break from the computer screen or that I needed time away to refresh.
I believe readers/fellow bloggers can easily tell when a post has no substance behind it, or has been posted purely to have content go live on their sites. Unless you’ve got a contracted post in place (sponsored or pre-organised), you really should not feel obligated to have a post up. In fact, you’d probably find taking that extra day off from posting would make the next post/the post you had intended to publish even better.
FIVE- Quit the ‘tit for tat’ commenting
This is something I’ve spoken about on here multiple times, even back in my very early blogging days. I absolutely love receiving comments on my posts- It makes my day hearing feedback about a recipe, found a post humorous or agreed with me that my sister can be a
mole drama queen.
However, if you come here leaving comments on an anxiety post saying “that oatmeal recipe looks delicious!” or “I love coming here for workouts” on a recipe post…well, hope you got a good workout from typing that comment, goose.
The same goes for the expectation of comments- I don’t comment on blogs for the sake of it, nor do I comment on other blogs with the expectation for them to return and do the same. That might mean that people stop commenting here but c’est la vie.
SIX- Don’t feel you need to be confined to a specific niche and/or only interact with those authors/bloggers
Over the past few months, I know that I’ve been sharing more recipes over lifestyle/travel/random posts. Does that mean I consider myself a strict food blogger? Absolutely not.
The past few months, my foodie tendencies have taken over and I’ve really enjoyed sharing recipes. Saying that, I do intend to go back to sharing more lifestyle/random/travel posts, as evidenced by Monday’s post. It’s what this blog started off as and will continue to do so. You don’t need to fit a certain ‘niche’ to be successful or have a captivated audience.
Moreover, if you do see yourself or brand yourself under a certain niche, it doesn’t mean you need to or should only interact with those within them.
Some of my greatest blogging friends have the most opposite blogs to mine. For example, one of my favorite blogs is Dave’s, who shares some of the most delicious recipes I would literally eat for every meal. Then we have the epic Alison who is a ball of motivation, inspiration and has (unknown) Michelin star cooks as parents.
I had a reader/blogger email me a while back saying she loved my blog but felt bad commenting because she was a comfort food/savory food blogger. I had another reader/blogger state similar concerns, but they were a marathon/running blogger.
No one is chasing you with a kale bush or a pitch fork preventing you from interacting or building a community/friendships with other bloggers who may or may not be in your niche. There is so much advice out on the interwebs saying stick to your niche/tribe/same group but doing this…you’re missing out on so many gems out there.
Okay, so I’ve written a novel and have so much more so say- So Part 2 is coming up. In that post, we’ll discuss the ‘big blogger/little blogger mentality’, the acceptance of mistakes and self-worth, just to name a few. I’ve also got an exciting post in the works where I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers to give their best tips so stay tuned!