I don’t want to be a full time blogger.

It feels like there’s an increasingly common assumption that the ultimate goal for bloggers is to become a full time blogger. To have the chance to throw in the towel on your day job and blog for a living. It’s become a reality for some people, and they do it well. There are some of them who you’ll find in my blog roll at the bottom of this page who I think are bloody brilliant pro-bloggers. But, after lots of deliberating, e-courses, conferences, conversations, and huge amounts of procrastination, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not for me.

There are a few main reasons for this, one of which has actually come as a bit of a surprise…

I’m a single mum.

Now, this alone clearly isn’t a deterrent – but, as long term readers will know, I’m also temporarily homeless (in that I’m living with my parents) so I’m not exactly in the right place, financially, to be taking more risks. Although it could be argued that I’ve got little to lose, I don’t feel as though I can turn this blog into enough of a money-making enterprise to allow me to move into a home of my own, with no-one else to help pay the bills, in the time-frame that I need to make that happen. Which, given my finances, would need to be instantly. No building up a profile, no partner’s salary to rely on until the money comes in, no way I can afford to earn less than I do now.

And I need to put my children first; a regular salary supports us all.

Side hustles are good.

I love a side hustle, a portfolio career, a mix of income streams. I love the idea of putting most of my time into one area of work (my day job) and then having creative projects of my own. It keeps passion in a project that I think, with my personality, would be lost if I turned it into my full time job. I honestly think I’d get easily bored of blogging if was my main work. At the moment, one of my side projects is Lark Skincare. I doubt it will ever be more than one little part of my income, but that doesn’t remotely matter. (Actually, the business model is to give some of any profit made to charity anyway, not make me rich!) What matters is the decision that if I’m going to concentrate on making income from something, it will be that project. Which leads me to my next point …

I can write what I like.

The blog posts that are bringing the most readers to my site these days are my personal ones. The ones that would probably be of no value to a company at all. In fact, as my reader numbers are going up and level of engagement is increasing, the number of approaches from brands is going down. I find that really interesting…

But, if blogging is always going to be my hobby, one of my side-hustles, then I can write what I like! I can move back and forth between my favourite subjects on a whim. I can invite people to come and write guest posts here. I can ignore Google Analytics and concentrate on building a proper connection with people, instead of selling stuff for brands. And then, when I do review stuff, I can just talk about the companies that I really love – like Essence + Alchemy or an upcoming post I’ve got about Gather Outdoors, safe in the knowledge that I’m doing it for all the right reasons. Because I genuinely like what they’re selling or doing; not because I need to pay the bills.

I don’t have to have a blogging schedule. 

Only this week, I was thinking about quitting blogging (again). I’ve been down this road before. A full time job, two young children, a bunch of other commitments and things that I want to do with my time, often leave me with little time or energy for blogging. Sometimes, when I ‘should’ be writing, I want to lie down in a darkened room. As my wise friend Ewan pointed out, naps are more important than blogs. And as another lovely friend Bushra, pointed out, I am lucky in that I can choose to take a break, do what I like, blog when I want. No self-imposed timetable of blogging to meet. So if I’m more in the mood for binge-watching Netflix, spending time with friends, climbing a mountain, reading a novel, working on my allotment or having that nap, I can…

I doubt I’ll ever–on my death-bed–wish that I’d spent more time blogging. And so, keeping it as a hobby stops me from taking it too seriously at the expense of other ways I want to spend my time. And, as an aside, given that I think about quitting blogging at least every six months, it’s clearly not something I want to do all the time!

I really like my day job.

Now, this one has come as a bit of a surprise to me. I rarely talk about my day job. In fact, this may be the first time I’ve ever done so, as I like to keep the two worlds apart.  I work for an organisation that exists to protect the natural environment in England. Yes, it can be stressful and it’s always a challenge. Yes, it’s subject to the whims and vagaries of government, shifting priorities, changes in finances and all the usual issues. But, if I’m going to have a legacy, then I want it to be this. I want it to be that I did my bit to try and protect our planet. The one that is really struggling with climate change, reduction in biodiversity, so many demands on it, so Somewhat reluctantly and with a bit of a grumble, I know that my work matters to me an awful lot. It’s the planet my children will grow up in. Perhaps your children too. And so, it’s really bloody important. More than this blog will ever be.

And more than that, the people I work with matter to me. I work with the most passionate, dedicated bunch of tree-huggers you could ever want to know. They care about their work. I see it every single day. And many of them are like family to me. They’ve been my bridesmaids. We’ve been around the world together. Lived through highs and lows, births, marriages, divorces and death. They are amazing. And so I want to be part of that team. Fighting the good fight, every time we go to work. So, I’d rather keep that as my job, if I’m honest with myself…

So, blogging will remain a hobby. Just for fun. One that I can keep in perspective and not allow to take over my life at the expense of other things that I want to do too. I have a couple of posts that I’d like to write this week and then I’m taking a break until January, when I’ll be back with the traditional intention-setting for the year post! 2016 will bring lots of new things to write about, I’m sure…




8 Responses to I don’t want to be a full time blogger.

  1. Sam says:

    Interesting post, and very sound thought process. I too think that writing full time would be a terrific way to make a living, the practical, and cerebral part of me knows that would be more risk than I would feel comfortable doing. Add that to the matter of decent content, and well, I think I would need to reach your same conclusion. I’d just like it for now to at least perhaps keep me in coffee and internet costs-I’d consider that a successful blogging career.
    Sam recently posted…Let the Z’s Have ItMy Profile

  2. Annie says:

    Shhh don’t tell anyone but I have a second interview for a proper job on Friday…

    I was once asked about taking the plunge to becoming a full time blogger by a friend who is a single mum and the one thing I stand by if that it’s not a reliable source of income, you don’t know what will come in and when.

    Love to yoooooo x
    Annie recently posted…I’m Breaking Up With A Simple LifeMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      This is so exciting! And yes – I think that my single parenthood means that the rollercoaster of blogging income will never be right for me. I need a salary. I can take my risks in other ways!

      Good luck on Friday love. Whoever it is, whatever it’s for, they’d be lucky to have you xx

  3. Kathryn says:

    I think you’ve made exactly the right decision given your current circumstances Elizabeth and your job sounds like it should be your main priority for the reasons you’ve cited. Well done on making a decision and a plan – that’s half the battle!
    It does seem strange to me that blogging is now my main ‘job’ although I’m aware I couldn’t support myself and my kids on the money I earn from it. But still, it’s the only job I’ve found that I genuinely love and have stuck at for more than 5 years now so I think it’s the right one for me, for now. As with most jobs there are times when it can lose its appeal (this December has been a bit manic) and I would like to take the pressure off. But that’s life I guess.

    Here’s to a fresh start in January – happy Christmas lovely xx
    Kathryn recently posted…Healthy eating (in the run up to Christmas)My Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello, I’m glad that I’ve finally decided after such a lot of dithering about it! And you’re someone who I think is such a great pro-blogger – your warmth and passion for what you do comes through in your work. I hope you get to have a lovely Christmas break – I can imagine that it’s a really busy time! xxx

  4. Interesting, although this line puzzles me – “I can ignore Google Analytics and concentrate on building a proper connection with people, instead of selling stuff for brands”. Are you saying that the two are mutually exclusive? I’d have thought that the talent in writing a good commercial blog was in making sure you did both of those things at once?
    Slummy single mummy recently posted…What I wore on whatever day it wasMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! Thank you for commenting. No, I don’t think that the two are mutually exclusive. I think it’s a poorly worded sentence on my part. I really just meant that I can happily ignore statistics instead of worrying about them. I don’t need to think about whether I’m ‘big’ enough to work with a company. I don’t need to spend any time analysing data and audience growth etc… I can just enjoy writing for myself and for the people who read my blog without worrying about any of that. I’m a big fan of many pro-bloggers, as I mentioned earlier in the post and they’re the ones who maintain that great connection with their readers as well as working with companies.

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