For many bloggers, the goal is to quit their jobs and start blogging full time. The question is when to start blogging full time. How do you know you are ready?
I built up my personal website for 3 1/2 years before I left my 9-5 job. I became self employed 2 1/2 years ago and I absolutely love working for myself.
Working for yourself isn’t as easy as you might think. There are some big things to consider before you quit your day job. I think you are ready to become a full time self employed blogger if you have planned for all of the considerations below:
Consider if Self Employment if Right for You
You need to be incredibly focused and self motivated to be a blogger. You have to create plans and strategies for content and set your own deadlines. You need to be ok with spending your days working alone.
What I am trying to say is that some people are cut out for this type of job and others aren’t.
Another big thing is that you need to be able to pitch your work and negotiate. You can’t be scared or timid. You need to be able to value your work and negotiate to receive the payment you deserve.
This should go without saying, but if you don’t love blogging, don’t make it your job.
Track Your Blogging Income and Expenses
If you are thinking about becoming a full time blogger, you need to pay attention to your money. Track all of your spending, see what you can cut back, and start to save more. Most importantly, you need to track how much money you are making from your blog. Do you have a busy season and a slow season? How much are you making per month? Are you receiving monthly payments from an ad server or another source?
Tracking incomes and expenses is the first step to determining if you are financially ready to quit your job to blog full time.
While you might get a steady monthly check from an ad server, your freelance blogging gigs might be slow to pay you. One of the biggest brands in the world once took over 180 days to pay me (even though they said it would take 30 days). You absolutely need to save up money so you can pay rent, buy groceries, etc because you won’t be getting a steady paycheck. You also need to realize that there are busy seasons and slow seasons for bloggers. Lots of bloggers make much more during the holiday season than summer.
I would suggest having enough money to live off of for 3-6 months before you quit your job to blog full time. And you always want to have at least a $2,000 – $3,000 in savings for an emergency.
Buy a Home
Ok, so you don’t have to buy a home before you can embark on a career as a blogger, but it’s a little trickier to get a home loan if you are self employed. When you get a home loan you need to show the bank how much money you make. If you are work for someone else you can show your pay stubs and have your employer verify your employment status and salary.
If you work for yourself, the lender will want to see two years of tax returns. You might also need to gather a profit and loss statement, a list of debts, and a list of assets. So in a nutshell, it would be tough to start working for yourself, and to then buy a home a year later. Depending on your priorities, you might want to buy a home first and quit your 9-5 job later.
My husband and I prioritized buying a home over me quitting my job. This meant we were able to list two salaried jobs on our paperwork when we applied for a home loan. It also meant that we were already living in a home with a home office when I quit my job.
Saving for Retirement
Saving for your retirement in your 20s is really important. Make sure you do it. There is a massive difference in your retirement fund if you start saving at 25 vs. 35 because of how compound interest works. It is even better to start saving before you are even 25. Don’t put saving for retirement off, go into self employment with a retirement savings plan. I recommend getting professional advice to create a plan that works for you.
Get Health Insurance
You need this. As someone who had a freak dental problem, I also sing the praises of dental insurance. Do your research and see how much health insurance will cost you. See if you can go on your parents’ or husband’s plan. I hate to admit it, but it is easier to deal with the retirement plan and health insurance plan details if you are married. I went on my husband’s medical and dental plans, and we added more to his retirement to account.
Invest In Your Business
Consider any big business investments you need to make for your blog, and make them before you quit your job. These expenses might include a website redesign, a new laptop, new camera equipment, a printer/scanner (an absolute essential for signing and scanning contracts), or office furniture. Make these purchases with a separate business account.
Set Up Your Business
Get an LLC or a DBA. Register for an EIN. Once you do that you can set up a business checking account. Separating business and personal expenses is really important – especially when tax time comes around.
Consider a Side Gig
It’s important to realize that while some people refer to themselves as “full time bloggers” they might have another revenue source. Some bloggers are also photographers or web designers or yoga instructors. Lots of people have a part time gig that brings in a steady income and potentially health insurance.
Have A Plan B
I was 31 and had several years of work experience when I starting blogging full time. I knew that the worst case scenario would be for me to find another job if blogging didn’t work out. I know lots of people want want to become full time bloggers are younger, so I would advise to have at least two solid years of work experience at one company, and some great references before you quit your job. If you don’t have work experience or references it will be hard to find a job if you need one.
Don’t Rush It
Be ready, don’t rush into things. You might be excited to start self employment but if you make the leap before you are ready you could be setting yourself up for disaster.
Realize That You Will Work Even More
When I was working a 9-5 job and writing The Kittchen and running WCBC I would dream of how much time I would have once I quit my job. Haha! Not the case. I work even harder now.
Use the comment section and let me know when you knew it was time to quit your day job, or if your blog is still your side hustle.