No doubt about it, blogging is becoming mainstream, and the more blogging events pop up around town, the more I get asked about how to get to a stage where you’re actually blogging for a living.
The truth is there are several stages. Some of them are tough and some of them are a hell of a good time.
The “This is just a hobby” Stage
The first stage of blogging for a living is the hobby stage. Most people I encounter started blogging as a hobby. They have an area they are really passionate about and start talking about it online.
A few years ago, talking about your passion online mostly just looked like your own website and maybe Twitter and Facebook. Now, it looks like your own website and every social media channel you can get your hands on. Instagram, for example, is full of beginning bloggers.
You also likely have no concept of how online marketing actually works and that’s okay.
The “Oh snap! I can make money doing this?” Stage.
The second stage of blogging for a living is when you realize you can actually make money doing it.
Usually you stumble upon another blogger in your niche who is a little further along than you are and is earning money. Then you run into a blogger who quit their job full time. And, then you start hearing about stuff like freelancing, product sales, ad revenue and affiliate sales.
Before you know it, your mind is spinning with possibilities and you’re contemplating quitting your job. You start putting in a crazy amount of time learning everything you can about how to make money blogging and implementing as much of the knowledge as you can into your blogging efforts.
The “My day job is getting in the way!” Stage.
Once you start treating your blog as a second job, you quickly enter the third stage of blogging for a living. This is the stage where your day job is getting in the way of your dream job — or at least a job that may pay better, and the idea of striking out on your own – no matter how difficult it may be – is starting to look extremely appealing.
Eventually, you do end up quitting your day job and you will spend the next couple of years in the next stage.
The Hustling Stage
I’m not going to lie to you, the first couple of years of blogging for a living full-time can be rough. It’s just like any other business, in so far as you really have to grind it out before you get things off the ground.
How long this lasts depends on a lot of factors, but from my experience, I’ve seen that it takes a couple of years of hardcore hustling.
The Tipping Point Stage
Once you’ve been grinding it out for a few years, you’ll reach a tipping point. All those little actions you’ve been taking for so long amount to respect in your field, opportunities coming to you, and recognition.
The “Holy crap! I’m actually doing this!” Stage.
The last stage in blogging for a living is when you realize you’re actually doing it. Not only are you doing it, but it’s easier than ever. This doesn’t mean you can lounge, it doesn’t mean you can quit the hustle, it just means — as in anything — after you have put in your time and conquered the knowledge of the process, the process becomes more like second nature. The struggle is so very much less.
Truth be told, this is the stage I’m entering now and it’s a little weird. When you’ve been grinding hard for a long time, it’s easy to miss that you’re making a living doing what you wanted and what you love.
However, once you do realize that you have it down and you own it, then it becomes easier — much easier.