6 Signs You’re Ready to Quit Your “Day Job” and Blog Professionally

thoughtful womanThe decision to leave a steady paycheck for full-time blogger status is highly personal and depends on a variety of factors, including everything from the amount in your savings account to your experience in marketing, PR or sales. If you've been toying with the idea of quitting your job, or are interested in putting together a strategy to help you get from here to blog-as-business, the considerations below will help you to clarify if now is the time.

As a caveat, I believe that the biggest benefit your blog provides is the platform from which you can explore doing the work that is most meaningful to you. As a long-term strategy, a blog that supports you financially through advertising revenue alone may be a challenge, but as a living portfolio, it offers the opportunity to pursue work and create passive income far beyond what is available in the traditional corporate trajectory.

Consistent monthly profits that cover your basic expenses

The biggest reason we delay leaving our jobs is money. When I left my job I had saved up about a year's worth of income (assuming I went back to living like a broke college student!), and was consistently earning about 70% of my monthly expenses (mostly royalties from my book and advertising). Part of this is due to the fact that my rent is super reasonable, I own my car, and I don't have any credit card debt.  However, by quitting I also had to start paying for my own health insurance and had to make some significant investments in my site in order to get it to a place where it was suited to supporting me full-time. The key here is consistency – you could have a great month or a big sponsorship deal – but how much are you earning consistently month over month?

First Step: Get super clear about how much money is coming in, how much is going out, any investments you need to make, and perhaps most importantly, how much money do you need each month in order to not go into scary, scarcity freak-out mode.

An influx of opportunities, partnerships and events that you are unable to attend due to your 9-5

Are you getting all sorts of opportunities but aren't able to take advantage of them because your required to be in an office Monday through Friday? If you are having to turn down opportunities or unable to attend big industry events because of the inflexibility of your current profession, chances are pretty good that you will easily be able to transition to the life of an entrepreneur. You simply need to make some extra room and take advantage of more time to take meetings, join campaigns and attend events. Also, if your workplace doesn't see the value of your blogging efforts and doesn't encourage and allow you to pursue these opportunities, that's another sign you are in the wrong spot.

First Step: Make a list of opportunities you have had to turn down, or opportunities you wanted to take advantage of but weren't able to because of your job.

Spending the equivalent of 20-30 hours a week on your blog

If you are spending 4+ hours a day writing posts, managing your inbox, developing social media and blog content, etc, you're basically working two jobs. I did this for about six years and it became normal to spend my lunch hour blogging and managing everything into the wee hours. This is not sustainable, at least if you want to have any sort of a life! If your blog is taking up this much time, it's also a sign that with a bit of effort you could probably transform your blog into a full-time gig.

First Step: Begin to track the time you spend on your blog each week to get an accurate picture of how much time you are devoting to your passion project.

A plan for how to augment your blog income

As I mentioned above, relying solely on ad revenue is hard. Instead, ramp up your passive income and think about what other type of work you could do to increase your monthly profits. Perhaps you can offer some sort of consulting option or do some freelance graphic design work. Hell, maybe a few hours at Starbucks to cover your rent is exactly what you need to feel good about giving your blog some extra love. When I left my job I reached out to friends in the industry and let them know I was available to support on projects. I also scored a sweet speaking gig at Florida State University. In combination, these efforts helped ease my transition from a director-level salary to a much more modest income.

First Step: Identify 2-3 ways you can make money in addition to ad revenue. Are you willing to do freelance work or create a product offering?

You've created a marketing and PR plan to help you achieve your goals – and it's working

In order to have a full-time blog you need to have the traffic necessary to attract big brand advertisers and enough readers that are willing to become your customers. If your marketing and PR efforts are working, it's a sign that you are on the right track.

First Step: Take a look at current traffic and newsletter/RSS subscriber trends for the last year. What press have you landed in the past 6 months and what do you have in the pipeline. What's working? What could you improve upon? Psst: If you need help with a PR plan, you can get a free template when you subscribe to PR Couture emails (see what I did there?).

A willingness to experience the uncertainties of self-employment

Time for a little self-honesty. Are you interested in being an entrepreneur? Because that is what being a full-time blogger is. It is a willingness to stay level-headed in times of economic uncertainty. It is an enthusiasm for hard work, for taking on all the aspects of running a business from the fun stuff to the not so fun stuff. It's paying estimated taxes and being your own publicist. You will work harder than you ever have in your life – I still cannot believe that I went from essentially two jobs to one, and yet I am putting in immense hours into growing my business, fine-tuning the site and serving my audience.

First Step: Think back to a time in your life when you struggled financially. How did that feel? What did you learn about yourself through that experience that could help or hinder you this time around?

What is the ultimate payoff for you if you quit your job? For me, it ultimately became a decision between staying with what was comfortable, and a desire to explore a different experience. I just wanted to see if I could do it – and what would happen. For you it could be to land the cover of a fashion magazine or to segue into getting a regular column, or to create your own magazine. It could be to learn the technical side of blogging, to successfully grow a fabulous online community, or to create and sell a business by your 30th birthday. If you decide that not only end result, but the process of pursuing your vision is entirely worth doing, it just might be time to quit that job!

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19 Responses

  1. Renee | Beauty Fool

    Great post! I made the full-time leap in January 2012 and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I too would say all the points you mentioned above to another hoping to go full-time, and constantly remind them that it is a “freelancers life” and therefore expect some great months (financially) but also some really bad months. So make sure you have a good amount of savings first!

    x Renee

  2. Matthew Pike

    It’s all pointing to be doing it full time, I do want to do it. Sound advice.

  3. LauraLS

    Have a long way to go with this but in my case, I already have a small business and need supplemental income (mainly because our health insurance is so high and business is up and down). Is there a different approach to take if you are not relying on this as your only income, but dont want to treat it like a hobby either?

  4. mystilettolife

    This is a great article. I recently made the transition from full-time work to full-time blogger and it’s scary! I do feel liberated however. My blogging volume has gone way up and I am giving so much to what I’m passionate about. Either way-it’s a risk but risks are the only way you get anywhere in life, right?


  5. Oh K

    I’m getting to that point of blogging during lunch! It’s the blogger diet, I guess. In love with the blog community, I guess <3

  6. The Fashion Panda

    Great post ! It is a hard decision but I think it is so worth it :p
    Hope one day to do the same


  7. Barbara

    Shame on me Crosby, I only found your blog yesterday (can’t believe that it never occured to me all the time I have been on IFB) and even though I am a beauty blogger, I have learnt so much from the posts I read yesterday.

    I work a full time job, spend sometimes half days on my blog, have a thriving reputation as a makeup artist, beauty blogger and beauty writer. However, I am unable to leave my job yet for it full time because the economy over here is vastly different and can’t yet accomodate professional blogging. Besides, I love my job (I work in Advertising) and having it has set me a cut above most other bloggers.

    I have wanted to leave my 9 – 5 before and when I do have the immense urge to do it again, you can be sure this is the first article I will be referencing.
    Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  8. Nasreen

    the whole income part of blogging and advertising makes me nervous haha it’s such a scary thing to go in to.


  9. MsAidyl

    This article is practically speaking my mind right now. Not only do I identify with the points stated above but I am miserable as hell! all i think about when i am at my desk is what topics to write on next, how to target audiences etc my mind is reeling with ideas and i just cant wait to get home and write. and yes I do blog during my lunches. is this a sign?
    I feel stuck in the wrong job:(
    Hopefully i am bold enough to make the big quit soon…

  10. Kassi

    This article could not come at a better time! I am actually doing my last few hours in my day job and I am looking to try full time blogging for the next 2-3 months to see how that will go. I am very scared but also very excited!
    I hope I taking the right decision for now, thanks again for the tips!

  11. Olivia

    This is a great article. Something for everyone to think about when following their dreams.

    I love my job just as my as I love blogging! Hope one day to find more time in the day or hire a part time intern.


  12. Nicole Williams

    Great post.
    I started my blog as a way to help solidify myself as an expert in my industry. Now it is very much a big part of my freelance practice, and looking into getting an intern who can possible grow with me.

  13. choolee

    i hope that sometimes i can blog fulltime and do it professionally as a job. my life changed that much (after these 6 month) i cant think about stopping all the blogging stuff. and i am so thankful for what i have now. i am not a big blogger – i have 400+ followers and i love them. and i know by now that all my readers are real (no ghost readers and “follow for follow”) readers. so after 6 month thats a quite good result :)) blogging can be so wonderful you just need the right attitude ♥


  14. U.

    I subscribe to your newsletters, but I have never come across your free PR template? Where do I find it?

  15. Sharan

    This is a great post to those who are debating between leaving their jobs to blog full tine or to atay with their current job. The difficulty I find in trying to blog around my work schedule is trying to find time and to then also be able to have a social life an spend time with my love ones. I loe the idea of tracking hours to see how many hours a week I am spending where my hours are going and which days I blog the most!

  16. Zakia

    Very helpful post. I’m new to blogging but this is what I started it for. Beyond happy I came across this…thanks!!!

  17. Ysmay

    I found this post too late as I quit my job on a lark last week, but I wish I did see it sooner! I’m a big supporter of people blogging full-time if they can sustain themselves, but all too often people forget that part of the equation.

  18. Mon

    I’m already saving money for me to quit my day job and be a full-time blogger. Thanks for this post, it gave me more idea before i decide to leave my job.