You’re a Full-Time Blogger, Now What?

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.

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.

About the Author: @ChrisGuthrie is a full-time internet entrepreneur and blogger. He shares his experiences with earning a living from websites on his blog: Make Money on the Internet.

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Responses

  1. Great article, Chris, only one who have gone through it will be able to describe. As I can only write when inspired (modus operandi similar to an artist), I know I'm not able to set the kind of hours and hence, I decided to keep the day job…
    But for David, Chris and the commentators above who have managed to do it full time, some for so many years, I really salute you 🙂

  2. David, isn't it funny how so many people want to be able to set their own hours, but what they really mean is exactly the opposite? They want to be able to goof off more! If you are going to set your own hours, then SET them!

  3. I've been self-employed for twelve years, and I've worked out of my home off and on for various reasons. I completely agree with setting “office hours”, but I've also found that I'm much more productive if I plan activities outside my house during the week. Whether it's an on-site visit to a client, a morning to write at a coffee shop, or time during the week to go to the gym. I have to make sure I get out of the house and interact with people. Otherwise, I find that I'm actually LESS productive. From laundry to groceries to the tv, there's always something at home to distract me. Plus, when work is just upstairs, I can easily fall into the trap of working all the time, or, worse, putting things off until “later”. So, by keeping things in my schedule that can't be moved and that I have to leave the house for, I'm forced to get things done when they need to get done, and still have a life!

  4. I concur with the regular schedule: it's vital.

    Getting out and being with people is vital as well, and that can be just as difficult!

  5. I couldn't agree more regarding the solitude of working alone. I have been my own boss for the better part of 4 out of the past 5 years. I think that not only does it get lonely, but you must have a high level of accountability. If you are not disciplined, chances are you probably won't cut it. Harsh, but true. It's funny. Most people think the secrets are the silver bullets courses “make $20K per day with ppc”, “flip 3 houses per day”, etc. The results come from having the discipline to take action on the passions that put your life in a better place. And that folks, is the stuff ALREADY in your head. If you don't have that part figured out, save your money.

  6. Time management is always a good topic for anyone that works on a computer all day from a home office.

    “Make Money on The Internet” is the quintessential link text that you see on spam blog comments and articles all day long and was surprised when DR linked using that link text.

    It was refreshing to see that your domain name was makemoneyontheinternet.com and David had not in fact lost his mind. Nice domain name Chris.

    My question/frustration I guess refers back to DR's post from March http://www.davidrisley.com/2010/03/03/making-mo… . “Talking About Making Money Online In Order To Make Money Online” I admit that I might just be following the wrong people. I also might have “tunnel vision” as David called it, but where are all the people that are successful on the Internet and have not started a blog about “making money on the Internet”. The ones that have real examples and stories outside of the “making money” box.

    No offense to Chris or David, but.. (and you knew the “but” was coming when I start off by saying “no offense”), since this is a blog about making money and I can expect to read about that topic, I would be really like to see more examples from pcmech, or sites that actually make money on the Internet without pushing the “make money on the Internet” concept.

    I guess I should have just emailed you privately you and asked “Hey David, could you please give us more real life examples of how you make money on PCMech.com instead of more about how you make money off people's desire to make money on the Internet?

    I hope this doesn't sound as bad as I think it does.. But I think it does.

  7. I have issues with time management that I can hardly cope. Lesson number one is an advice I really needed and you made it very simple for anyone to understand.

    “just because you CAN set your own hours doesn’t mean you should set them to something other than a “normal schedule”” is something that I agree with now.

    Thank you, Chris.

  8. I personally make it a habit to go out with my friends whenever our available times match each other. This helps me avoid the feeling of loneliness from working at home. Friday or Saturday night is what we often prefer. Plus during those times I always try to meet new people.

  9. Yeah, setting yourself a daily schedule is essential – otherwise you just squander your precious, free time ! ANd even better, you should set yourself ridiculous time limits, in order to get that blood pumping in your veins !

  10. The more involved and excited I get with my blogging the more time I spend in front of computer screens. That has been something real I've noticed. So the point about spending more time with people has def hit home with me. I'm not really close to a place where, financially, I could consider doing this full time but it is my dream to. So until then I will just keep plugging away trying to develop the best online presence I can and working on a better schedule to get me there.

  11. I've worked at home full time for a few years now and setting goals is how I was able to transition to a work-at-home lifestyle and continue to grow. I don't follow a set schedule, but my goals and action steps keep me accountable so the work gets done.

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