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Happy HUMP, yo! This post has been a long time coming, namely cos it started with one or two notes inspired by specific happenings where I thought to myself, DANG, this is SO RELEVANT as a full time blogger. Many are relevant as a blogger in general and just exacerbated since taking the full time leap. And since I know so many of ya would lovelovelove to blog full time someday – and since this month marks my one year full time blogger -versary! – 1750+ words later and here we are… 😉
One of the #1 Q’s I get asked is for tips on monetizing a blog + maybe going full time. Y’all are an ambitious bunch! (And I lovelovelove it). A lot in blog world is nowhere near transparent, I think, and ya never really seem to know how someone is able to do what they do. In a world dominated by filters and photoshop, it can be hella hard to tell heads from tails and figure out where money is coming from – heck, if money is even coming in! – and/or how to actually make it happen yourself. If you’ve been around these rosy parts awhile, hopefully yannno by now that I’m totally cool with transparency (I mean, I’ve published suuuuper detailed income reports on the internet), so I’m all for sharing some lessons learned as a full time blogger thus far. Here are:
20 LESSONS LEARNED AS A FULL TIME BLOGGER
- Surround yo’self with mantras + motivation for when you start to doubt yourself. Cos you WILL doubt yourself at some point or another. But that doesn’t mean that the doubts are true. Get a pep squad (ie, besties who believe in you) and start believing everything out there that tells you that you’re enough + capable. I recommend having a few key peeps that you know you can count on when times are tougher for a real dose of reality. And make sure you do the same for them! Have those ones you can text in a pinch for a reminder that you’re actually a #boss and you should keep going with grace + gumption.
- No project is “too small” for a contract. Contract EVERYTHING and its mother. Don’t be afraid of getting a lawyer on retainer, either. I’ve been blatantly screwed over by that one…don’t underestimate it! Also, know that company-made contracts (especially ones drafted by a big ol’ legal team) are almost *always* designed with the company entirely in mind. At the end of the day, make sure that YOU are protected as a full time blogger, influencer and collaborator, too.
- Stick up for yourself. You are your own best advocate, always.
- No matter how much you grow, someone will always be there to ask you to work for free. Respond to them with this.
- Some people just don’t get it, and they never will. They’ll think you’re just sitting around at home hanging out on Facebook mindlessly, or that you’re casually taking pictures of your food and desk all day long. Send them the above link, too. 😉
- There will never be enough coffee. Ever.
- Invest in a few kickass pieces for important meetings, events, etc that perfectly speak to your personal style. My own is a mix of girly + edgy (+ sometimes preppy), so a leather jacket is always clutch. If you can find pieces that somewhere speak to your brand – even better! Example: If your blog name has “Stripes” in the title, always rock something striped to anything where you’re representing yo’self.
- Stop undervaluing yourself. If you ever want to be able to make substantial income off of your blog, you HAVE to get comfortable knowing + communicating your actual worth. (BossPitch can help ya do just that…)
- Don’t take things personally. People will unfollow, unsubscribe, and unlike. That’s okay. People will also follow, subscribe, and like. Don’t focus on the negatives – they’ll always be there. But the good stuff will always be there, too. Keep perspective on that, and just keep swimming.
- Always be kind. Always always always. Ya never know who knows who, so as if being kind for the sake of being kind isn’t enough reason (it should be), know that mean words can always be screenshot + shared. Choose words carefully.
- Time is money. Really tho. In a world where paychecks aren’t necessarily guaranteed and/or ya just don’t know where the next is coming from, every second is worth something to you. If you’re not writing blog content, you could be working an inbox with potential collaborators, hopping on calls to build relationships, or creating monetizable products from your own education + experience. Time is money! If you don’t guard your time fiercely, you’ll find yo’self on Burnout Drive working waaaaaay too many hours and barely making rent (#BeenThereDontThat). And understand that charging for your time does NOT make you a bad person and/or bad blogger! I know for me personally, I would loooooovelovelove to grab coffee and help out every single sweet person that pops in my inbox wanting to “pick my brain,” but if I did that, I’d be working 24/7 and making zero dollars for it. No bueno! Know how much your time is worth, and charge accordingly.
- Balance is a unicorn. Work/life balance is harder than Wharton. It takes intentionality + discipline that I do not yet have fully. It’s also an ongoing process. Strive for moments of balance, and appreciate them.
- Some people are asshats. They’ll tell you to your face that you’re “never going to make it” and still expect you to spill anything + everything you know about an industry to them, because they’re too lazy to #werk themselves. They’re admittedly insecure and too threatened by your success to even begin to comprehend that there’s room for everyone. Give NO cares about these people. They’re along the ride to throw lemons from the sidelines; go ahead and make the best damn lemonade.
- Your brand is important. Stick up for it, and stick up for yourself. Imitation may be the biggest form of flattery, but actual copying is never cool. Always look out for the integrity of your brand and call out anything that’s on the border.
- Give things away, but also know when to charge. ALWAYS be providing value. Giving free value – giving away things that are useful + helpful for readers – is absolutely *essential* if ya wanna succeed at blogging. Otherwise…you’re just wasting everyone’s time. Every single blog post should do something to make your reader’s life happier/smarter/brighter/better.
- Have fabulous comfy clothes for rainy days. Cos sometimes, ain’t nobody got time for the full shebang. Also, anyone else get REALLY productive the second a good storm hits? *raises hand wildly* This brand’s sweatshirts are the bombdotcom (+ actually worth it), and this brand’s fun + legit yoga pants are in the running for my favorite pants ever (like, EVER).
- Some companies are actually just terrible. They’ll write sketchy contracts that pin you in a hole when they try to get out of paying you what they owe you. Resort back to point numero dos about having kickass contracts, and don’t even get involved with companies who seem at all disrespectful of you and/or what you do. You’ll end up wasting time that you could’ve spent creating even better content for better companies.
- Be aware of what constitutes “work.” As a full time blogger, I could easily be on Instagram for two hours straight (follow along @ericaligenza). This is hard, cos for non-bloggers, Instagram might just be a fun social media platform to check up on friends + share fun family pics. Bloggers know best, tho – we’re constantly analyzing data, researching algorithm changes, engaging with others’ content strategically, and planning out our own content to create this cohesive, curated experience for followers. It might not feel like work all the time, but it adds up!
- PITCH YO’SELF. You won’t succeed unless you take success into your own hands. Point blank period. The internet is a hella crowded place. The content market is hella saturated. There’s just no way at all that you’re getting everything you’re capable of getting by just sitting back playing receiver all day long! If you’re ready to kick yo’ blog up a notch and are serious about standing out to brands and booking deals, I’d recommend BossPitch: Pitching & (Politely) Persisting the Ultimate Brand Partnerships. My #1 tip to bloggers is to always invest in yo’self, whether that means educationally, mentally, technologically, etc. Invest in yo’self if you want others to invest in YOU. I’ve spent *thousands* of dollars over the years in course after course in the hopes of achieving my goals quicker, and I can honestly say that NO course taught me what BossPitch does – and that’s why I created the course! After everything I had invested in, I was still missing insanely important pieces of the puzzle, so BossPitch was years’ worth of labor + knowledge to fill in the blanks and give fellow bloggers what they ACTUALLY need to grow their blogs into booming businesses, working with brands and doing what ya lovelovelove every single day. For new bloggers, it helps you get in the right headspace and hit the ground running with brand partnerships as soon as you’re ready to monetize. For more experienced bloggers (whom I actually recommend the course for!), it’s designed to help you go from hobby blogger to fulltime income status. It’s a tool meant to help you re-evaluate your entire brand partnership process to ensure you’re creating the most mutually beneficial, dependable collaborations. Past BossPitch students have doubled rates, tripled income, pitched themselves onto tropical Caribbean vacations, quit their 9-to-5 jobs, and made the small course investment back after one or two deals – something that cannot be said for any other blogging course that doesn’t actually teach you how to monetize better, FYI. SO, I’d recommend it. 😉 The price jumps up TONIGHT, never to be this low again (ever). And if you’re on the fence, sign up here to get access to a LIVE Q&A that I’ll be hosting with some BossPitch students today at 4 pm EST. So if ya have Q’s for peeps who’ve #BeenThereDoneThat to see “if it’s worth it,” if it’ll work for you, etc., ask them directly! (A replay of the Q&A will also be sent out so you can get over the fence before course doors close).
- You can do it. You really can. Don’t forget that. (Sometimes ya just need the reminder, yannno?)
Would you ever wanna be a full time blogger?
If you ARE already, drop some wisdom in the comments below wouldja?? What’ve you learned on yo’ own journey thus far?
P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win $700 CASH – cos why the heck not?!