Wondering How I Quit My Job + Became a Full Time Food Blogger? I’m outlining it all here, sharing my tips, tricks + how I make money (along with thanking all of YOU for making it possible!)
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I can’t believe I’m writing this post right now. It feels SURREAL. I also can’t tell you how many of these posts I have read from other bloggers and thought – DAMN I can’t wait to write one of these for myself.
I have basically known what I wanted to say and dreaming of this moment for quite some time (in the midst of working my tail off).
So here we are. It’s January of 2018, and I’m currently sitting on my couch NOT at ‘work’ because this IS my new work. My tiny apartment is my new office and Ziti is my one and only coworker.. How did we get here?
Well…. I worked for it.
This is not the tale that you might hear from other bloggers. As I mentioned before – I have read enough of these stories to know that there are some people out there who just happened to start a website, share some recipes and ta-da!
The magic food-blogging fairy god mother worked her magic and now they make 6 figures in a day while sitting on their couch talking about overnight oats.
I didn’t have that fairy god mother, but if you happen to know where to find her – LMK. I’ve got some big goals for 2018 and wouldn’t mind a little extra help.
Anyways -It’s a bit of a long story, but let’s start from the beginning… It’s 2012. I feel like crap, and decide maybe I should try this ‘clean eating’ thing and go to the gym for the first time in my life. Instagram also becomes popular and I decide I’ll chronicle my journey to eating better with it.
A few months go by and I realize it would probably be easier to put all my recipes on a website – so I create a free wordpress site and fill it with poorly written posts and cringe-worthy photography.
It’s ok because the only people reading it are my mom and dad – and they love me no matter what. I’m kidding.. I think a few people from Instagram might have read it.. no more than 10 people a day.
It’s fine, because I’m having fun, my Insta followers are growing and people are starting to send me free stuff (yay!).
2013-2015 are pretty much a blur, and not exactly note worthy. I change my blog name from Clean Eating & Focused Training (don’t ask me what that even meant), see that there is a potential for turning this into a real business – but, ya know.. I spent all that time and energy on the whole college thing – so I join the corporate world.
Here’s where things pick up…2016 is the year I decided I could actually do something with this. Brands are actually PAYING ME to do things and reaching out because they like my work…
I decide I’ll start taking this seriously, because it’s paying off my student loans + car payment every month… and I like cooking way better than sitting at a desk answering tweets about poorly made sandwiches (Yes, that was my first job outta college. We won’t get into it.)
Starting July of 2016, I decide it’s time to start to hustle so I can make this a real thing. Steps I take: Get self hosted with Bluehost, have my friend Madison at Grace & Vine Studios create me a swanky new website, buy a fancy camera (this is the exact bundle I purchased), and start posting consistently 2x a week. I also left my FT job to go to another FT job where I make more money, to bulk up my savings. (Read more about how I saved money here)
2017 comes and lights a fire under me. Here is what I do:
–I literally work from the time I get up until the time I go to sleep. This is not an exaggeration. For the past year, I have set my alarm clock to 5AM every. damn. day. (except for Saturday & Sunday… but even then I only sleep until 7). When that alarm clock goes off, I get up. There is no hitting snooze, because I put a reminder in the alarm name.
Some are quotes.. some are simple things like ‘HUSTLE’. My last one is ‘GET UP SO YOU CAN QUIT YOUR JOB AND FOLLOW YOUR DREAM’. Let me tell you – you don’t hit snooze when you are slapped in the face with that.
I work from 5-7:45 AM on the blog, go to my job, come home, and work on the blog from around 7-9:30PM, every single week day. Any free second I have I spend on it.
On weekends – I usually work all day. I pass up days at the beach, time with friends and family, getting a manicure… etc because Saturdays & Sundays are for recipes.
My time on weekends was usually spent making + photographing 5-7 dishes, because it’s too dark out to take the photos before and after work and it’s just easier to do it all at once.
I want to make it crystal clear: I’m not saying this is the best way to go about chasing your dreams.. but there really wasn’t any other option for me. I wanted to get rid of a significant chunk of my debt before leaving my job, and working full time while working on my blog was the only way to do it.
2017 was in no way, shape or form a ‘balanced’ year – but it was the best year of my life for so many reasons. I regret nothing, and I’m sure that if you truly love something and work for it – you will feel the same way. I will also say that it was so so very nice to sleep in a little today. ’cause I love to sleep.
Going to the workshop was incredibly inspiring + proved to me that I actually can take great photos. It gave me confidence to use my camera + own my food photography.
I’m currently enrolled in Broma Bakery’s Food Photography School and loving what I’m learning there too. My photos are no where near where I want them to be – but they’re a good start.
(my favorite photo from the Pinch of Yum Workshop)
-I listen to ALL the podcasts. I listen + look forward to the Gary Vee Audio Experience everyday because I freaking love that guy. I find him to be incredibly inspiring and love his no BS attitude on life + entrepreneurship.
Some of the other ones I listen to are: The Food Blogger Pro Podcast (my fav!), So Money, The Smart Passive Income Podcast, The Side Hustle Show, The Chopped Podcast. I like to listen to these in the car, while walking the dog, while getting ready – etc. It makes me feel like I’m constantly learning!
-I make connections– Connecting with bloggers who are at the same level in their business that I am was extremely helpful. I can bounce ideas off of them, and ask them questions that I can’t ask my ‘regular’ friends…
I mean most people don’t understand the frustration of getting a good ‘cheese pull’ photo or trying to find the best light. Connecting with brands is also huge. Over this past year – I have connected with many of the brands that I wanted to work with via social media, and in person.
If you have local events or trade shows (Expo East and Fancy Food Show were amazing for me!) GO TO THEM! And talk to anyone and everyone. I mean it!
(my friend Sam of The Sunshine Foodie & I at Expo East. We walked around for hours connecting with brands + meeting awesome, like minded people.)
-I have a good social strategy- As I mentioned before, my background is in marketing. I like to think that I inherently understand it better than many people do. It comes naturally to me – but social media marketing has been crucial to building my business.
(Which has allowed me to join Mediavine and pitch myself to brands to make money.)
– I have confidence in myself. The question that ran through my head almost every day was ‘why not me?’. I saw so many people who I knew worked half as hard as me, and weren’t as driven as I am crushing it.
I looked back on the work that I did and I started to tell myself you can do this. You’re just as good as everyone else and there’s no reason why you should doubt yourself.
Whether it’s making delicious recipes, taking food photos, knowing how to engage with your audience.. whatever your strengths are, OWN THEM.
That’s really it…it’s not that complicated – I just WORKED. And I don’t plan to stop. You shouldn’t either. If you are passionate for something – you should go ALL in on it.
If you want to see what a day in the life is like – click here to read a post I wrote about my day to day activities..
While I was in the thick of it (late nights, weekends spent working, feeling like it wasn’t paying off) I can tell you it wasn’t always glamorous. But right now – I can tell you it is 100% worth it.
If you have read all the way to here… thank you. If you’ve ever made a recipe… thank you. If you’ve ever shared one of my posts with a friend… thank you.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU a million times. There is no way I can express my gratitude for you sharing in this journey and allowing me to do what I do. It means more than you will EVER know.
P.S. I wrote a follow up to this post a year into my self employment journey. Click here to read it.
If you have a food blogger in your life and want to give them an awesome gift – check out this Food Blogger Gift Guide!