Suspend disbelief for a moment and picture yourself “slaving” over your latest dollar per word blog article that was commissioned by some high-paying online publication as you sip on a refreshing mango-rum concoction in some distant white sand paradise. While getting an early morning tan and an even earlier than usual buzz, you wrap up the article’s closing sentence, hit your word processor’s Save button, then sit back and relax as you take in the sights and sounds of what would seem like another perfect morning in your “hectic work day.”
Sounds dreamy? You bet it is! But unless you’re the heir to Stephen King’s throne or as crafty a writer as J.K. Rowling (do they even like the beach?), you probably wouldn’t see yourself in the situation above anytime soon (or at all, for that matter). But don’t fret: letting go of your 9-5 to blog full time is indeed a real possibility. You may not be basking in the glamour of the Bahamas while you write, but you could forget about waking up at crazy morning hours and working under the brunt of last night’s hangover crushing what grey matter’s left inside your head. Getting rid of all those “impracticability” to your creative self seems to be a vacation in itself, so what’s holding you back?
The single biggest threat to any hopes of you leaving your job and working on a blog full time is (surprise, surprise) financial security. Indeed, how are you supposed to keep the lights on to help keep that snazzy new Mac with that Apple Cinema Display you bought specifically for your blogging career up and running if you can’t even pay your monthly overhead?
The solution is to begin blogging while you’re still in your current day job. While it sounds the single most obvious thing in the world, convincing yourself to blog for the stormy days ahead that await you once you leave that day job is radically different than convincing yourself to blog today “just because it’s a blog and I have to put something up anyway.” Submitting articles to Helium and other content hosting sites also serve as great long-term investments for your career that may only earn you a few cents a day in the beginning, but when you’ve got thousands of articles earning you those red pennies everyday in perpetuity, then you’ve got a very respectable vehicle for what’s called Residual Income which allows you to laugh gleefully all the way to the bank (or your PayPal account). Think of it as a life insurance plan that gets you small, immediate benefits without you having to die to reap them as a result.
Another way to get some cash coming in is to get a part time job that allows you to work from home. Since blogging would be your “full time” job, applying for something that fills up your free time away from your job might be a good way to keep a steady flow of cash. There are a lot of freelance writing jobs available online, as well as contests that you could participate in such as the ones offered by Helium that allow you to have cash flow spikes which you could use to treat yourself to a delicious six-pack after work or a round for you and your buddies over at the local pub!
Finally, the single most surefire way to obtain financial security as a full time blogger, apart from possessing the uncanny ability to predict the future and, hence, predict that your blog would actually earn you enough money to keep you sane, is to make yourself financially independent through maintaining a sizeable savings account and keeping a lucrative investment portfolio. Financial independence allows you to do what you want without having to worry about working for money: according to Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, money should be working for you!
Working in a Non-Working Environment
For some, leaving your day job to blog means leaving the confines of a stuffy, run-down, asbestos riddled office to work in a more pleasant location, such as your ultra-comfortable, post-adolescence bedroom. But working from home presents itself an entirely new series of challenges you never thought existed!
Let’s face it: work isn’t exactly the first thing you think about once you get in your house or apartment, and so the first logical problem you’d have to tackle is bringing yourself to type in front of your computer. With all the distractions you’re bound to have around you such as your video game consoles, TiVo, significant other/s, leftover pizza (not to mention last night’s hangover!), getting your self-employed butt over to your writing chair might be a bit of a struggle.
Try to set a normal working schedule that you could strictly adhere to. The best thing about being self-employed is that you get to keep your own hours, which is an advantage for creative types: if you find yourself to be more productive during the afternoon instead of having just woken up (hopefully not beside someone you don’t know), then set aside some time during that period for you to concentrate on writing and nothing else. Also, get into the habit of really writing as much variety as possible: more writing opportunities present themselves as you become more prolific in other areas too.
Surround yourself with work and blog related material such as your business phone, fax machine, references, etc. instead of your Nintendo DS. Doing so will decrease the likelihood that you’d get lazy and indulge in another one of your “Mario Kart online noob-pwning” marathons. It’s recommended that you designate an area in your home specifically for working, keeping you away from material distraction nuisances as well as nuisance friends and family who are just dying to distract you because they think you have all the time in the world since you’re “working for yourself anyway.” Have your work necessities at hand in this area so you won’t have to keep walking around and going in and out just because you left something beside your bed. If you don’t, you’ll be snoozing away before you know it.
In closing, quitting your day job to pursue a blogging career is a reality: it’s been done, and it can be done, but your chances for success are really slim. It’s your duty, once you’ve convinced yourself to follow your passion for blogging, to make the necessary preparations for that particular future. It may seem totally more Hollywood to just take a nose-dive into full time blogging while giving your former employers the finger as you walk away, but when your career and financial future is on the line, you’ve got to protect yourself in any way that you can while feeling your way through. Innuendos aside, penetrating the online writing market and being a career blogger could possibly be the single most satisfying activity for most writers out there.