This is a guest post by Chris Guthrie from Make Money on the Internet.
Blogging is very hard work, and anyone that says otherwise isn’t telling the truth.
I know this because for the past five years, I’ve been blogging, building websites and forums etc. on a part-time basis trying to earn enough money to one day quit my job. It wasn’t until nine months ago that those efforts finally paid off, when I surpassed my day job income with my online earnings. Six months later, I lost my day job (long story). So after a couple weeks spent looking for jobs I decided that this was the gentle kick in the pants telling me it was time to voyage out on my own.
In the six months that have since followed, I’ve learned three crucial lessons I wish I would have known before I was thrust into the world of self-employment.
Develop a work schedule and stick to it.
The day after you quit or lose your job it’s important to map out your day and stick to a schedule that works best for you.
After months of trial and error I’ve recently found what works best for me is to get up each morning like I’m still working my old job. So I eat breakfast, get dressed, and instead of heading out the door I turn down the hallway and walk into my office to start working. I take a “lunch break” at noon and then get back to work, and I stop at 5:00 PM.
I’ve found that just because you CAN set your own hours doesn’t mean you should set them to something other than a “normal schedule”. I’ve found it’s better to work when everyone else does because that way when all of your friends get off work at 5:00 PM, you’re done with your work too and can go have fun and socialize without the nagging feeling that you haven’t done enough work that day. Pick a time when work begins and when it ends and stick with it.
Find ways to spend more time with people.
At first it’s very exciting to be done with your day job and working for yourself. I still remember the feeling of liberation; however, this feeling of liberation can eventually turn towards loneliness, or even worse – depression.
I know everyone is different, but I never anticipated how much I enjoyed the time spent with my coworkers while on the job. The transition from an office environment with plenty of friends to one of complete solitude is so drastic, which is partly why I suggested above to try and work a normal work schedule so that you’re done with work when everyone else is.
Another alternative is to work at a coffee shop for a few hours or to work a few days a week in a coworking space. I’m based in Seattle so there are plenty of options to choose from. These coworking spaces are becoming more popular simply because people need social interaction. Find ways to break up the monotony now that you’re working alone.
Set goals beyond “quit my day job”.
If you’ve made it this far then you’ve probably already learned the value of treating your blog like a business. Goal-setting is one component of treating your blog like a business and in my experience, it’s been the most important key to my success.
If you’ve already succeeded in turning blogging into a full-time job, then where do you take it from here? Decide what you want your business to look like one year after you quit your day job, three years, five years etc. and make sure your daily work aligns with these goals.
The road to full-time blogging can be very fulfilling, but once you’ve “made it” don’t let the drastic lifestyle change cause you to stumble. Be ready for the change.