This content was sponsored by Stok. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the brands who make Diary of a Debutante possible!
Contrary to the typical fashion blogger formula, I have a degree in Actuarial Science. I always thought you go to college, you graduate with a degree, and you do that thing until you retire. Enter the millennial generation. After working as the Operations Manager at wealth management firm for five years, I never knew it was possible to be completely burnt out, both mentally and physically, at 25. 25 is too young to hate your job, y’all. Luckily, on a whim, I started my blog to document my year as a Miss America titleholder in 2012. Partially because it began as an embarrassingly personal LiveJournal and partially because I was obtuse to the money-making facets of blogging, I never dreamed my little corner of the internet could replace my full-time financial paycheck. Low and behold, five years later, it has.
If you’re considering taking the plunge and are curious how to make blogging a full time job, I hope this post will inspire you in all the right ways. So, what exactly does it take to turn a small side hustle into a main gig? From laying the proper foundation to staying energized with the best cold brew coffee, I’m sharing five steps to becoming a full time blogger in today’s post!
1. Get Motivated
The question of how to become a full time blogger starts with motivation. It may seem like an easy gig, but taking the full time blogging plunge requires a lot of mental energy. Think about it. You no longer need to be in the office at a given time, nobody checks your work, and you have self-set goals and deadlines. You also become your own boss, which sounds great but can also facilitate low quality output and doesn’t guarantee a steady income. That’s why it’s important to find your “why.” Whether you’re committed to helping women find fashion at affordable prices, promoting cruelty-free beauty, highlighting local businesses in your town, or promoting mental health awareness (my personal mission), draft a professional mission statement and display it proudly. I keep mine framed on my desk to give me a little boost whenever I’m feeling stuck or down on my luck.
Also, to help offset any professional inertia, reward yourself when you land an awesome collaboration, reach a big milestone, or wake up a few hours early in the morning to “eat the frog.” My deal with myself is that whenever I wake up early enough to tackle a big morning project, or “eat the frog” per say, I get to enjoy my new favorite bottle of cold brew coffee, Stok Un-Sweet Cold-Brew Iced Coffee. Stok Cold-Brew Coffee is brewed for ten hours with a higher ratio of coffee beans to water than typical coffee, so the flavor is bold, smooth, and everything good coffee should taste like.
A few weeks back, I finished designing a line of novelty tees for Amazon Merch, so I treated myself to an afternoon of Reddit and a few cases of Stok Un-Sweet Cold-Brew Iced Coffee and Stok Not Too Sweet Black Cold-Brew Iced Coffee, which has literally the perfect amount of sweetness for anyone who isn’t a fan of black coffee, at Walmart. Side Note: You can also snag Stok Yerba-Mate Cold Brew Tea at most Walmarts, although it’s not available in Columbia yet unfortunately. Anyways, that relatively modest reward inspired me to tackle another big project: my first self-produced video, which I couldn’t have been more proud to finally complete. I’m telling you– those little rewards often yield the highest productivity. Treat yourself!
2. Find Your Tribe
Finding your tribe in the blogging community is crucial. Blogging from home can feel very isolating, so having a supportive social outlet and referral network is instrumental to your professional growth. Create a solid group of 3-5 bloggers in your niche who you trust completely. Toss ideas around. Ask questions. Pitch group collaborations. Support each other. Link to each other’s posts. My personal blogging mastermind group meets once a week via Skype, and it’s my favorite call of the week.
Another member of my tribe is this little cutie! Her name is Nala, and she’s my assistant. I work from home, so she keeps me company, jumps on my lap (even though she’s almost 50 pounds), and provides sweet puppy kisses during the day.
3. Be Patient
Unless you get unrealistically lucky, blogs don’t grow overnight. However, once they’re up and running consistently, they can grow quickly. Before you start raking in sponsored contracts, you need to sell yourself. Make sure you have at least ten awesome posts to serve as a portfolio. These should show off the best of your photography and writing skills. Create a Media Kit and Pricing List and use these to marketing tools to sell yourself to brands. Good things will come… in due time!
As a reference point, “due time” for me was about two years after I started accepting sponsored collaborations. I’ve heard similar timeframes, if not longer, for other digital influencers, as well. You need to have a realistically similar timeline if you want to become a full time blogger and have money to pay your bills.
4. Seek Out Opportunities
Once you’ve cultivated a portfolio you’re proud of, sell yourself! One of the best things about becoming a full time blogger is that there’s no glass ceiling. There’s no limit to what you can earn, which is pretty awesome. That being said, earning takes effort, especially when you’re just starting out. One of the first steps towards becoming a full time blogger is to brainstorm 50-100 of your dream collaborations. This should serve as your professional “wish list.” Next, look up the public relations or media contacts for each brand. Then, draft up a solid pitching template and customize it for each opportunity. Be specific and purposeful in your pitches (click here for more tips on pitching brands). While you’re waiting for responses, join some media networks and apply for campaigns.
The key to getting drool-worthy collaborations (and a full time blogger income) is to be as proactive as you can. Based on a conversation in my blogging mastermind group, I’ve starting setting aside a few hours every Monday morning to apply for campaigns and pitch myself to new brands. Whatever method you decide to use, just keep at it consistently. Opportunities will come.
5. Stay Organized
Owning your own business always has challenges. Blogging is no different. You’ve got to recognize the logistics behind becoming a full time blogger. You will no longer have the resources of an established company. Until you can afford to hire a team, you’re responsible for your own bookkeeping, reporting, marketing, advertising, and content creation, among other things. In my experience, lack of organization is where it can all fall apart.
Don’t worry– wearing all these hats is totally doable! However, it takes a great deal of organization. My biggest tips? Keep an up-to-date digital calendar that you can access from anywhere. File all your business receipts promptly and routinely. Create a loose weekly schedule that ensures you’re not shirking any mandatory duties (Mondays are administrative days, Tuesdays are photography days, and so forth). They’re not all the most entertaining tasks, but like any big exciting project, you do what you need to do to stay inspired and keep your head above water simultaneously.
All that being said, becoming a full time blogger is an ambitious albeit uber rewarding undertaking. I know my whole life turned upside down when I took the plunge, but I’m so glad I did. Thanks to supportive friends, some good cold-brew coffee, and a little noise telling me “this isn’t for you” in my head, I’m happier and more inspired than I’ve ever been. If you have any specific questions about how to become a full time blogger, I’d be happy to answer them! Just leave a comment below!