Making Blogging a Full Time Job

I have been blogging for four and a half years although I only started taking it seriously, and thinking about it as a potential career, when I went self hosted in August 2013. Since then I have been building on this blog’s foundations and trying to make it have as much longevity as possible to one day be my sole income.

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Last year I left a job I had been in for nearly 14 years with the hope of moving across to being solely self employed, to relying on this blog as my only income and it had literally taken the last three years to get to that point. I know there are people who make a regular income a lot quicker than that but, before I left my day job, I wanted to make sure I was consistently earning at the same level. I didn’t want to be worried about money or regretting my decision a couple of months down the line.

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Happy Birthday What the Redhead said – Two Today!

Oh wow. What a couple of years it has been. I was blogging for about eighteen months before What the Redhead said was launched and I silently hoped What the Redhead said would be my blogging future.

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I hoped What the Redhead said would be able to grow with me, that it could cover any kind of content and that it could still follow our lives as the children got older – staying close to it’s family routes but expanding into more than just another parent blog.

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Here’s Why You Don’t Need a Tribe, Pod or Anything Else

A while ago there was a lot of talk in the blogging community about blogging tribes and how it was the next must-have thing in the world of blogging. But lately there has been less talk of tribes and more of pods. A general pod or ones across social media – Instagram pods, Facebook pods. Pods for anything blogging related that you would like to improve. But, whether you call it a tribe or a pod it’s essentially the same thing – a group who help and support each other to inflate activity on their blogs and/or social media, to like, share, comment and generally engage with content.

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The Creepy Side of Blogging

You might read the title of this and think that, surely, there isn’t a creepy side to blogging. That blogging is all pretty pictures, nice stories about days out and families doing things together, sharing beautiful snippets of life across social media. But, a recent news report showed how creepy blogging can actually be.

Now, not many of us will have someone create a social media account and then follow our movements, dressing like us and taking photos in exactly the same places as us. But, most bloggers will at some point or another have felt a little on edge or even violated whilst blogging.

We share so much of our lives online and there are times when readers get quite attached to us, our families and this social media bubble that we create. It’s like a real life soap opera and even the most mundane of bloggers’ lives can be interesting to someone standing on the sidelines looking in. I love sharing little bits of our lives, days out and the ordinary moments – as do many bloggers, it’s now very much a part of my life and daily routine.

But there are times when other people will reply to literally everything you post online. They’ll comment on every single blog post and it may only be one or two words but it shows that they are there, watching your life constantly as it unfolds on your blog and social media.

There are also people that will tweet or share something on Facebook, responding to your social shares or even your blog posts. But not tagging you in them, not making you part of the conversation – just a passive, aggressive response, usually at your expense. Bloggers will find themselves the butt of jokes or the topic of conversation in Twitter threads, Facebook groups, other blog posts and even offline too. What starts off as someone having a bit of a dig can slowly turn into obsession, verging on harassment, with no real logic or reason.

Plenty of bloggers have had photos stolen, blog posts duplicated or ideas stolen and well meaning strangers hanging on their every word. But, being on the receiving end of this attention can make you feel differently about blogging. It can make you worry about the things you post online, it can make you feel vulnerable and it can make you question whether blogging is the right thing to be doing at all.

If you’re a blogger and this sounds familiar then don’t get disheartened. Don’t stop writing and doing this thing you love. Just see it as flattery – your photos must be lovely to be stolen, your blog posts must be pretty good to be copied and if you’re often a topic of conversation then it means you are obviously something worth talking about!

But, if you’re a reader, reading this and thinking ‘woah, I comment on literally everything someone does on social media but I’m just bored, I like reading it, it’s like real life Eastenders!’ – then don’t worry, I’m sure we all know you mean well. Just don’t dress the same as us and go around taking photos at places we have recently been to – now, that would be creepy!

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A Huge Leap of Faith

Four and a half years ago I started a blog. I wrote an introduction, started documenting LP’s weaning journey and wrote about whatever was on my mind at the time. It was cathartic and it turned into such a lovely hobby.

Just over a year later, when Little Man was tiny, I decided to go self hosted with the aim of making my blog into something. I stopped hiding my blog and instead started shouting about it, letting real life and the blog merge for the first time. It felt good to be out in the open with it and I started what was to become a labour of love over the next few years.

Three and a bit years on from going self hosted and I have decided that something’s got to give. Anyone that knows me knows how busy I am. How busy we are as a family and how constant our lives are. I work 19 hours a week across three days, two of these days my lovely in laws have the children and the third day is always Hubby’s day off. We mostly work opposite each other to save on childcare costs and because of this we are often like ships passing in the night.

On top of this we have a house, two young children and now school and preschool drop off and pick up each day. And then there’s this blog. So you can see, something really has to give.

I have spent the last three years working 19 hours a week, putting over forty hours a week into this blog and running a home, sorting out the children and spending as much time as possible planning adventures to fill the rare occasions where we do get time together as a family, booking annual leave to try and extend that family time and trying to hang on to the times where all four of us are in the same place, at the same time for more than a few minutes. We have been living for those times where we are all together.

And now, after three years, something is going to give.

Last week I gave in my notice at work. My notice period takes us to the start of November where I can enjoy the build up to Christmas and the school holidays with the children. The timing means that next year we can start afresh. Next year is a brand new start for all of us.

Next year sees me going from being a part time working parent to being a work from home parent – with me being fully self employed. It will be the first time since I was 14 that I haven’t been employed and it will be the first time I have worked purely for myself. It will also be the first time I haven’t had a guaranteed monthly income.

But, a good friend of mine said to me a couple of months ago that giving up my day job wouldn’t be giving up that guaranteed income, it would in fact be investing that money into a better work/life balance for our family, more time to invest into moving this blog forward and more free time on the calendar to go on more adventures as a family too.

I am looking forward to the New Year and the start of a whole new life for all of us. I am looking forward to full weekends with the children, whole school holidays with them and investing those 19 hours a week into making memories with the people that I love the most.

This is a huge change for us but it may well be the biggest adventure yet. I’m not going to say that this decision has been easy to make – but I am proud of myself for getting us to the point where we had options to choose from. Richard Yates once said “If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want”.

I didn’t want to be working every weekend, I have always wanted to be at home with my children but the last three years have been about building foundations to make that life, and dream, a reality. Who knows what the future will bring? But we have all been working hard to lead the life we want – and I am starting to think that we are pretty close to that life already.

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