The decision to “go pro” as a blogger isn’t something you can take too lightly. Like starting any small business, you’re putting your whole livelihood in your own two hands. It's risky, to say the least.
So, how do you know you’re ready? How do you know if you’re making the right choice and that things will work out? Well, of course you don’t! It's a decision that requires as much tactical planning (finances, budgeting, lifestyle) as it does unrelenting ambition.
The topic of “going pro” has been hotly discussed lately among industry insiders, magazine editors and bloggers alike. Mainstream media mostly quantifies “success” and “going pro” as reaching stratespheric heights like The Sartorialist, BryanBoy and The Man Repeller.
Successful vs. Famous
What's important to keep in mind though, is that just like in any creative field, in blogging, you don't have to be famous to be successful. Think about acting, music, art – you can make a living without being Emma Stone or Justin Bieber (but keep in mind he got his start on YouTube).
For example, bloggers like Kat Griffin of Corporette, Gary Pepper‘s Nicole Wayne, or Glitter Guide‘s Taylor Sterling are all full-time, professional bloggers and entrepreneurs, who are largely unknown outside of our community (and those who follow style blogs). (You can read about Kat and Taylor's experiences in our Professional Blogger Spotlight series.)
How do you know it's right?
For Kat, it was the right piece of press that showed her an opportunity she couldn't pass up. “there was a very flattering magazine article that called me “the go to site” for professional fashion, then listed my competitors,” said Kat. “I looked at the very short list of competitors, and decided I really did like my own site the best — and that if the field was so wide open, I had to seize this opportunity and devote the time the blog needed.”
“After finishing my book, I Spy DIY Style, I knew it was time to go pro,” said Jenni. “I wanted to put my all into the website and promoting the book. I also made the decision to start selling ads on my site, which helped with income while transitioning to a full time blogger.”
For Bri Emery, the Los Angeles-based blogger behind Design Love Fest (who is also a graphic designer), the decison to strike out on her own came about naturally. After launching her blog in 2009, she started DesignLoveFest Studio in January of 2011. She expanded her blog to include weekly contributors and freelances on numerous projects.
“What pushed me to freelance was my sanity,” Bri said about her decision to devote herself full-time to her business. “I had been working a full-time job and freelancing for over two years and it took a real toll on me. One day I wrote down on a piece of paper “QUIT YOUR DAY JOB” and I did that week. It was scary, but I couldn't be more pleased with my decision. I am finally able to explore my creativity and not be completely overwhelmed with juggling another job. Freedom!”
No one can answer for you when it's the right time for you to strike out, go pro and quit your day job. Whether you're up to your ears in potential projects, struggling to find a balance in your life or just plain driven – there's no expiration date on when you can make a change, and no rules about how you shape your business. The future of our industry belongs to those who break the mold.
[Image credit: Shuterstock]