Jess Ann Kirby wears a bright one piece swimsuit in Tulum Mexico

The Truth Behind Making A Living as A Full-Time Blogger

This post is  pretty long overdue. But as I come up on my 4th year of blogging, I wanted to share today’s post to hopefully shed some light on blogging as a career. First, I want to answer the question I get asked all the time, “So what do you do all day?.” While we work hard to make it look easy because quite frankly, no one wants to watch us sit behind a computer all day, it’s not a realistic picture of what it takes to do this full time. It’s the glamorous aspects of the job that are appealing, but it’s a really small piece of the pie. I can’t tell you how many times someone has to said me “Geez I should start a blog” or “Oh that must be nice” in response to me saying what I do, as if it’s a job where you sit around all day drinking coffee and deciding what photo to post on Instagram. This profession is full of mystery, so I completely understand the curiosity.

Jess Ann Kirby shares what it's like to be a full time blogger

I don’t really know what other bloggers make, what they get paid and how they make a living, though I have a general idea. But for some reason people feel they have a right to know (or ask) how much money we make as bloggers. Quite frankly, it’s nobody’s business how much money we make (this is just a general life rule, don’t ask someone how much money they make). I can tell you right now, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. I make a living off of this blog but it’s not easy, and it took me about 3 years until I could survive off of the income from my blog alone. We live comfortably and were lucky enough to be able to buy our first home, but we saved every last penny we had to be able to do it, and we’ve done all the work on it ourselves. There are countless articles that talk about how much money bloggers make for seemingly little effort and paint a picture that is quite frankly far from reality. Anyone that owns their own business knows, it’s 24/7. So I wanted to share a bit about what it’s really like to be a full time blogger. Granted this is a bit different for everyone, and how I make a living isn’t going to be the same as someone else with a much bigger following, but there’s a lot of similarities across the board. It’s a profession that in many ways is deeply misunderstood. So here is my best attempt at sharing what life is like as a full-time blogger.

Stylist, Writer, Producer, Editor…

I think the best way to start is to explain what goes into a typical brand collaboration (a VERY small part of the full-time blogger puzzle honestly but a start). That begins either one of two ways, the brand pitching to the blogger or the other way around. Some brands have a high level idea of what they want out of the campaign, some have no idea at all. Many times the blogger will give the brand a “pitch” or “concept” that they think will resonate well with their audience and at the same time be relevant for the brand. After agreeing on a concept, the deliverables, the fee and the timeline, the blogger goes to work. Some bloggers have managers do some or most of this work, I have someone who helps me on an as-needed basis for bigger campaigns, but I do most of this myself.

After deciding on a concept, there’s styling, picking out product, getting props, location scouting, and shooting the look. If a brand were to hire a production company for a shoot there would be multiple people doing all of these tasks. As someone who modeled for a brief time as a teenager I saw what went into photoshoots: a lot of time, money and people. Bloggers are creating this kind of content often single-handedly with their photographer. After the shoot comes editing the imagery. Depending on the scope of the shoot and campaign this can be anywhere from 100-400 images (or more if it’s a lookbook or seasonal campaign).

 

Images are edited and now comes the blog post. This includes making sure the content is interesting enough for people to want to read, optimizing for SEO, using proper keywords, properly using ALT tags and meta descriptions for imagery, finding and linking to all the items in the post, creating appropriate widgets and then finally laying out the post in WordPress (or other content management system).

It’s important to note that a lot of the content we put out there is NOT sponsored. So the same effort that goes into a collaboration with a brand that is paid, goes into a post or video that we do for free, which is a large majority of content. Essentially the content that’s sponsored helps pay for all of the other content we create throughout the year, a lot of which comes at an expense to us (whether it’s purchasing product to test, clothes, props to style, etc.). We may make some commission from the use of affiliate links, we may not.

Jess Ann Kirby grabs a coffee at Bolt Coffee Co in Providence Rhode Island

Social Media Manager

Before creating content can even begin we come up with ideas and concepts which make up our editorial calendar each month. This is a combination of blog posts, email newsletters, videos and more. And once the content has been created, it has to be seen. Bloggers are also essentially social media managers, a job that many companies pay someone with a college degree a very generous salary to do. We manage creating and posting unique content for our social media channels, in addition to growing them (which if you’re still doing it organically and not buying followers has become increasingly difficult). From Instagram to Youtube to Pinterest to Facebook, each channel has it’s own unique needs, and an algorithm that’s constantly changing (and working against those that aren’t cheating the system with bots). We have to understand our unique audiences for each channel and create content that speaks to each one. And once we’ve created that content we have to connect with our readers and followers on those channels. That means responding to blog post comments, direct messages, tweets, Facebook messages, etc. On any given day I receive anywhere from 50-200 direct messages from Instagram alone (and I respond to every message which can some days take hours). Staying engaged with readers and followers is a crucial part of maintaining and growing the community we’ve created.

Emails, Invoicing, Web Design…

Everyday email maintenance, I get anywhere from 100-300 emails on an average day, ranging from reader questions to inquiries from brands and everyday correspondence with clients, PR companies, etc. We are graphic designers, novice web designers, customer service representatives (often answering readers questions about size, fit, quality, etc. when it comes to purchasing decisions). We keep track of finances and accounting from invoicing to paying sub-contractors, tracking down payments, running payroll, handling Quickbooks. There’s daily and weekly calls and meetings with brands, managers, developers, web designers, affiliate network account consultants to talk strategy and analytics, brand partnerships, web design and development, and more. We work hard to create and cultivate relationships with our readers and followers, and we do the same with brands. There’s events, countless events, as someone who doesn’t live in a major city I don’t attend most of these (which is a blessing and a curse). It’s crucial to attend as many as possible to network and stay relevant, but also very time consuming, and exhausting (especially for those of us that are introverts).

Jess Ann Kirby plans her finances at part of her 2018 resolutions at home in ripped jeans and a messy bun

Vacation

Paid time off and vacations. Oh wait, we don’t get those. When you own your own small business there is no such thing as paid vacation. Honestly for me, there’s no such thing as vacation at all. I know a lot of that is on me, I need to find a way to unplug, and I do find small ways to do it throughout the year (like for a day). But most of the time, we are on, 24/7. Any trip we take, we’re creating content. That drink I’m having at the pool? That was about 5 minutes, to get the shot and then move on to the next location. We have to fit as much as we possibly can into the timeframe we’re away to make sure we have enough content to share and write about afterwards. I hope this doesn’t come off like I’m complaining because I really don’t want it to. I LOVE my job. I am so thankful to be my own boss, to do what I love and to make a living doing it. I honestly never thought I could do what I’m doing right now. I never dreamed I’d have my own business. I don’t for a second miss my old job. My main goal here is to paint a realistic picture of what it takes to make a living from blogging. For me, it’s the best job in the world, and I hope I get to do this forever. But that’s also the scary thing, who knows? I’m sure anyone that owns their own business feels the same way at times, but I am constantly thinking about the future. Can I keep this going? Will I still be relevant? Are people still going to care what I think? Do people still read blogs? What will happen to Instagram? There are a lot of unknowns.

Writing this post made me start to wonder how some of my other blogger friends feel. A lot of us talk about being misunderstood or brushed off as vain or self-absorbed people that just sit around taking selfies and photos of food we aren’t going to eat. Yes, there are some bloggers that do this, but you can’t paint a picture that all bloggers are the same because of a few that act or behave a certain way. I asked some of my friends that are full-time bloggers their thoughts on doing this as a career. Here’s what they had to say:

“I think a lot of people believe that it is an easy out of the working world but in reality it is a more rigorous, time consuming and demanding job than anything I ever experienced working for a corporate company. It is beyond a full time job when you take into account social media, contracts, invoicing, content planning, accounting, production, etc. You never shut off.” – Liz Adams, SequinsandStripes.com 

“My biggest challenge is just wanting to take a break sometimes… social media never sleeps and it can be SO exhausting especially when you’re going through hard life moments or want to just spend time with people IRL. There’s this feeling of not wanting to fall behind and to keep up with the joneses. For me weekdays flow into weekends, 8ams are the same as 10pms… and although I would never go back to a 9-5, I envy people that can leave work and not think about it for a few hours of the day. I think about work every hour I’m awake.” – Ashley, EverydayPursuits.com 

“My biggest challenge is the accounting and quickbooks. And taxes. This is so time consuming and can make you wish for an old fashioned 9-5 where taxes come out of your paycheck every week, and your benefits are included in there! I would also say the events. As Jess mentioned, it’s important to network and go to these things but I think most bloggers (at least the old school ones) started their blogs as a way to escape/be a bit anti-social. We’re usually introverts who are happiest being behind the screen writing.” – Grace Atwood, TheStripe.com

“I think the most common misconception of being a full-time blogger is that we just get dressed up and take cute photos all day. Running a blog is 24/7 and finding work-life balance is challenging.” – Pam, TheGirlFromPanama.com

“One of the hardest parts for me is dealing with the negativity. I’m a sensitive person, and particularly when I became a mom reading things about how I wouldn’t be a good mother really hurt my feelings. I think the biggest misconception is that bloggers live these picture perfect lives and that’s just not realistic and sets an unfair example to young women. I’m really trying to change that through my Instagram stories and blog posts by showing that nobody’s life is perfect.” – Julia, LemonStripes.com

“One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to turn it ‘off’ and learning to balance life, relationships and business all at the same time. You pretty much manage everything and it can become extremely overwhelming for you and even those around you. Also invoicing and tracking down money. It’s odd because while that is one of the most important things, I tend to put that on the back burner and do what is more fun like producing content and negotiating upcoming projects.” – Cait, HowDoYouWearThat.com

What’s Next?

I got a direct message on Instagram last night from an old work colleague reminding me that it was 4 years ago I was sitting in her office telling her I wanted to be a fashion blogger. I look back on that and remember how scared I was, leaving a good job and a steady paycheck, a career I had worked hard to succeed in for 5 years to do something I knew almost nothing about. And yet here we are, 4 years later and this blog I started as a hobby has become my career, my own business. I hope that by being more transparent and sharing some insight into blogging as a career we can continue this dialogue not just about blogging but for anyone trying to be an entrepreneur or small business owner. I think many of us want the same things. To be recognized for our hard work, to pursue our passions, to carve our own paths, to create a sense of community with other women and to find a healthy work-life balance. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to do something I love. I hope this post has shed some light on a frequently misunderstood career. If you’ve enjoyed this post please let me know as I’d love to continue this conversation and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for future posts. As always thank you so much for your readership and support.

93 Comments

Leave a Reply

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for being so honest and painting a realistic picture. I found this post fascinating.
    xo,
    Em
    http://www.organicallyemily.com

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Jess. You’re easily my favorite blogger, and I appreciate that you’re always authentic. XO

  3. Susannah Everlund says:

    Hi Jess,

    The article about real life as a blogger was super. Although I am not a blogger. My business is fashion and I am working now on defining my brand identity and customer vibe. So I am inspired by he lifestyle idea and your online presence. For me the authentic look and feel that you present is compelling.
    The transparency that you spoke of in the article is honest, refreshing and really a hope that everyone out there can find there dream job….not to think that what someone else does is an easy paycheck.

    Thank you also for the reminder that it takes courage to leap off into the world of owning your on business. The rewards are many though!!

    Your husbands photography and your styling really speak to me.

    Have a wonderful day,
    Susannah

  4. If you want to achieve anything in your life hard work, patient and humility is necessarily. Nothing comes for free.

  5. Kimberly says:

    So we’ll written & I completely agree with everything you stated. For me, being a full-time blogger & a mom of two has been really challenging. Finding that balance is so much harder when there are kids who you not only are working to support financially, but who also need you to be available & present. It’s a daily struggle and one that I’m not sure I’ll ever get just right.

  6. Thank you so much for writing this post my friend! I could not have said it better myself! xo

  7. Laurie says:

    Well written-great insights!

  8. Hi! I loved reading this post and everything you said truly resonates with me! Great post! ❤️✨❤️ Thanks Ashley Torres for sharing!

  9. Julia says:

    Great post Jess; I appreciate your insights and transparency here. There is always so much beneath the surface that people don’t realize with regard to careers, especially less conventional ones. I’m pondering and scheming to set out on my own new direction soon and can so relate to all the points in this post.
    You create so much impressive content and have a unique voice. Keep up the great work!
    Julia

  10. Jessica says:

    Nail on the head.

    For me and my blog, I’d actually say that the photography aspect (the part people see and judge the hardest about my day to day life) is truly the smallest portion of it. Which I don’t think many realize. I spend SO much more time behind the scenes or planning said shoot, than actually being in front of the camera. Thanks for shedding a light on what really goes on!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

  11. Liz Adams says:

    Such a well written, truthful post. Thanks for being YOU. xoxo

  12. Natalee says:

    I normally don’t read your blog but this piece caught my attention. I’ve been curious about what goes into a full time fashion blog and now I think I have a better understanding. Thanks 🙂

  13. Chelsea says:

    Jess – this is so well put. I started my blog back in 2011 but really have been on and off since 2013 due to the negative “vanity” stigma (which isn’t me at all either) and my own frustration in feeling I never had time to create my content. Blogging is 100% a 24/7 job and there are a lot of highs and lows. Getting through your own doubts it what will bring you to the next level – something I’m working through. I’m in the midst of revamping my blog and shifting gears, trying to bring it back to what it originally was that brought me to start my blog in the first place. Keep doing what your doing girl! – Chelsea

  14. Omg yes yes YES! I’m so glad you wrote this, the way you wrote this. Especially in the age of “insta-fame” and bots, it’s nice to hear someone break down what goes into everything a blogger has to handle every day!
    xo,
    Lauren | http://www.lakeshorelady.com/

  15. Mary says:

    I love this post so much! I always dream of writing my blog full time, but I could never give up teaching. Thanks for breaking it down for your fans!! I am so amazed by what you do!
    xxoo
    Mary
    http://www.BelleOnTrend.com

  16. Lulu says:

    I came across this blog via Carrie Bradshaw Lied. I only follow two fashion/lifestyle bloggers: hers & Damsel in Dior. I find the majority of them too precious & un-relatable. But I am interested in pursuing my dream of working as a freelance writer (possibly even writing content for fashion/lifestyle bloggers) & have always wondered about the day to day behind the scenes. You’ve outlined them really well. Thanks for your honesty. You’ve got a new follower.?

  17. Em says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s a thorough insight and I enjoy learning more and more about this industry. I am at the beginning/new at this and yes, it is so much work and even overwhelming at times. I would LOVE to read more about this subject, accounting/taxes parts are the ones that scare me the most – I’d love for you to share at least some high level info regarding this. Once again, thank you for being so open! Xoxo, Em

  18. Marisol says:

    Jess this post was so real. I’m still working at my day job and can taste my life as a full time blogger SO badly. I’ve been burned out for at least 5 years working in medicine, but I LOVE blogging. I hope someday be able to transition full time to my happy creative self and be confident that I can pay my mortgage lol. Thanks for this post. Keeping my fingers crossed this happens sooner than later!!

  19. Brian says:

    Hi Jess Ann,

    What a great article. My fiancé is a full time blogger and you pretty much hit the nail on the head in describing what she does for a living. I admire the passion and drive that goes into this. Thank you for putting into words what I see on a daily basis as an ‘Instagram Hubby’.

    Biz

  20. Meghan says:

    This was so insightful! As someone who has read blogs for YEARS, I just started one myself a few months ago. I give so much credit for bloggers who have been doing it for so long. I never knew how much time and effort actually goes into creating content and putting it out there. And while I hope to be as successful as a lot of bloggers are I know it doesn’t happen overnight. I want to continue working hard because that’s where I want to be. Thank you for this post! I enjoyed reading it!

  21. Diana says:

    Awesome read for those non bloggers like. It was very insightful ?

  22. Lyasia says:

    Thank you for sharing this! As a fairly new blogger (one year in) I’ve been extremely blessed to have had great opportunities some to me rather quickly. I agree with how challenging it can be constantly trying to juggle it all. I sit and wonder, I don’t know how bigger bloggers do it because they have so many more emails coming in, meetings to go to, etc. So many people on the outside looking in, love to give comments like “oh that sounds fun” or “must be nice”. They have no idea how much time and hard work goes into it. I also hate getting the horrifying questions like “well how do you get paid?”, “how much do you make?” I find it to be extremely rude as I would never ask someone what there salary was. But I guess it comes with the territory. People are curious and often times ignorant to how we make it all happen. This post was great with shedding light on a day in a life of a blogger.

    • Anna Spooner says:

      So I’m super late to this party, but I think getting asked “how much do you make” is legit for a profession that spends so much time bragging about working and making money from home!

      Not that you, or the writer, does this and thus deserves the question. But it’s an industry rife with people vastly over-portraying their income and under-portraying the effort. That’s going to bring those questions.

  23. Michelle says:

    I appreciate the honesty here. I’ll admit to being one of those people who look at blogging and think, “why aren’t I doing that?! I have friends who buy what I recommend and wear often!” Your post really opened my eyes to the behind-the-scenes and how much work is truly involved.

    That said, one of the most interesting things I find about most bloggers is the double-standard. How hard it is to make everything look and seem so “perfect” when in reality, it may not be. You’re (not you specifically but bloggers in general) selling this notion to readers…including moms, teens, etc. perfect outfits, perfect homes, perfectly dressed children. It all seems so unattainable yet readers look at this content and many think about how they must be doing something wrong because it is just so unattainable. This business of blogging is built on making people feel inadequate in my humblest of opinions. It’s touching on that little bit of insecurity (or big part depending on where someone is in life) that says if I bought *this* or *that*, my life could look like theirs. In many ways it’s a lot like magazine or TV ads used to be except the reader or viewer could separate that from reality. Bloggers work hard to come across like a “friend” and to build that trust. Many even say “hey sweet friends!” Or “trust me friend, you NEED this…”

    Sorry for the lengthy ramble here. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m grateful I came of age long before Instagram. As a mom of a pre-teen daughter, I am very pensive about these issues.

    I can see why people envy the lifestyle. I look at lifestyle bloggers a lot and think how great it would be to have someone come in and decorate my home and comp beautiful furniture as we are decorating room by room. And then I read that you had to spend five minutes by the pool with your drink getting that perfect shot and I think “nah, I like my life! I get to just drink my drink and enjoy my vacation without having to plot and plan every moment to make it look like it’s something aspirational.”

    This is a great post though! And I commend you for opening up the dialogue about this topic.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for your comment Michelle. Honestly I’m with you. I often think about if, and how I am contributing to people (women in particular) feeling inadequate because of the way we portray our life/lifestyles. It’s a fine line, I do work very hard to be transparent and honest with my readers about the idea of Instagram vs Reality. Truthfully, I struggle a lot with the “you need this” and “you have to buy this” mentality as a blogger, I try to find a middle ground. Honestly as a 32 year old woman, I am so glad I didn’t grow up with Instagram or Facebook. I just got to be a silly, goofy kid and I feel for kids, and parents especially, who have to navigate this new world driven by social media and oversharing. Really appreciate you contributing to the discussion.

      My best,
      Jess

      • Michelle says:

        One little thing I’ve been thinking about since reading your post is that it’s no one’s business what a blogger makes. This really isn’t true of any profession where average salaries are easy to find or figure out. You can get a range for just about any profession, whether it’s salaried or hourly. I honestly think the reason bloggers are so opposed to disclosing their earnings is because they don’t want readers to realize that every time they click, a blogger earns money. That cookies stay on computers for a month and a blogger can earn money when a consumer buys something the blogger didn’t even recommend. And that while a consumer is buying all of the things a blogger is recommending, the blogger likely got it for free, gets paid to promote it and can get paid every time that link gets clicked. I also think there may be some tax reasons why bloggers don’t want to disclose. I guess if the point of the post is to be candid, then let’s be really candid. I’ve done a little research about how income is generated and was shocked at some of my findings. I get that it’s not a get rich quick scheme and it’s hard work, but it seems to be pretty lucrative.

        • Jessica says:

          It can be lucrative Michelle, but most of what you read about “What Bloggers Make” is talking about the top 1-5% who are making a lot more than the rest of us. To be honest, most of what I post are items I purchased myself with about 25% coming as gifted from brands. And as I mentioned in my post, most of the content I post is not sponsored, so for every one sponsored post, there are 5 that aren’t (and I know this is true for many of my fellow bloggers). Every blogger I know pays their fair share of taxes, we fill out W-9s just like everyone else and have to report any income we earn from any paid collaboration (and pay taxes on it). And while I agree that for most professions you can figure out a range of what someone makes, I still don’t think it’s anyone’s business to ask what I make for a living as I would never do that to anyone else. Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way. I think most consumers are aware at this point that bloggers are making money off of affiliate links if they click through their site to buy something. Essentially it’s a way of getting paid for the work we do on the other side of it. Often times, as I mentioned, providing detailed feedback to readers about size, fit, shipping, how to style and other customer service related information that goes far beyond the scope of what you might find on a retailer’s website. A typical commission for an average priced item is a few dollars (and only IF there’s a sale. Pay per click is different and typically is about 5 cents per click. Not the type of earnings the majority of bloggers could live off of.

          • Michelle says:

            And I think therein lies the problem. Most people are only hearing about that top 1% and even if you scale that way back, it still seems quite lucrative. I wasn’t implying that we were entitled to know your salary, just that it is natural for people to be curious. Lastly, I think when you see bloggers who once had jobs (Happily Grey, The a Teacher Diva, and Carrie Bradshaw Lied come to mind) quit those jobs to blog full-time, the conclusion is that the living must be as good if not better than their chosen professions. Also, and last point, I promise, as a tax professional myself, I am glad to hear you are paying your fair share. The FTC recently issued warnings on this very subject as it applies to bloggers, instagrammers, etc. and they are definitely paying closer attention. That was the only reason I mentioned it. It is a pervasive issue. Happy to hear it isn’t a concern for you and those in Uluru blogging circle.

  24. Ashley says:

    Thanks so much for your article. Maybe I️ have more of an open mind then most but I️ do see what it takes to be a blogger and relevant in social media. But isn’t this just like all aspects of life and career? All jobs have positives and negatives and you have taken on more of the responsibility because you own your business, like most business owners do. Just like most things in life it takes hard work and longevity for long term success. I think it’s human nature to just see the end product. We see the attorney in court, the musician on stage the athlete on the court. We don’t see the hard work that is put into most things.

    Blogging seems to really perpetuate the business of life. Did you feel it was difficult for you to take time off when you worked a more traditional job? I️ just wonder, where does the fear come from for taking time off? If you really unplugged for a week would your readership and following suffer that much?

    Thanks again for the article, very thought provoking!!

  25. Michelle Evans says:

    I found this post a really interesting look behind the curtain. The problem is you all make it look so dang glamorous and easy! I think if people are often asking about how much money you make, it’s likely because they are pondering a move themselves and wondering if they could make it work.

    • Michelle says:

      Yes, agreed. And instastories has really propagated this because many bloggers spend a good part of their day there drinking coffee, opening up multiple PR packages (I want to know what you all do with ALL THAT STUFF!), shopping, etc. I guess the grunt work isn’t glamorous and worthy of being filmed, but it really does seem like there’s a lot of free time.

      As far as the “how much do you make?” question, I think it’s a natural question to ask, albeit rude. If I were considering a career on law, I’d want to know what my potential earnings might be. There is so much secrecy behind a blogger’s earnings because many don’t want to acknowledge that they are getting paid to tell us how much they love this or that.

    • Ashley says:

      Agreed. I️ wish there was more transparency with salaries everywhere. Maybe we could close the wage gap.

  26. Jessica K says:

    Hi Jess,

    Long time follower here, but I don’t comment a lot. I can’t tell you how much this article resonated with. Thank you for having written something with so much humility, candor, and heart. I am a fellow blogger, someone who wants to be like you one day…. as I developed all the skills that a well-rounded blogger needs to have. But even as a half-way-there blogger I get asked questions like “how do you just get free products” or “why is your Instagram growing so much, why can’t I do the same with mine??” – these questions coming from non-bloggers or people that aren’t trying to build an online presence often infuriates me. Because the assumption behind these questions that anyone can do this, that it doesn’t take hard work and preparation, and that it’s easy.
    your article proves all of them wrong. Thank you Jess for sharing these post. I loved reading it 🙂

    Jessica || Cubicle Chic

  27. Alyson Haley says:

    Preach, girl! Preach.

    This post is so well written. You did a fabulous job painting the real life behind-the-scenes of our lives for those of us who do this for a living and I, personally, appreciate the fact that you mentioned the struggles and insecurities we are going through right now within our industry.

    Wishing you continued success,
    Haley

  28. Jill says:

    From a mom watching her daughter work so hard to build her blogging business, You article is spot on.

    I couldn’t be prouder of what she is creating. She still works a daytime job, so hasn’t made the jump yet, but hopefully she will be able to soon.

  29. Jazz says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m a part-time blogger with a full-time corporate job and it’s dofficult to articulate what it is that I do to others.

  30. I love this post. It’s so realistic, yet it lights a fire for those of us who are trying to succeed doing what we love. Did you have a lot of skeptics at first? How did you manage to overcome that criticism, if any?

  31. Thank you for taking the time to write this. There is so much that goes on with being a blogger. I put almost full time hours into it but it’s not my full time income yet so I still work my 50 hour+ office job. We are always creators every single day so it’s demanding but very rewarding to build something from the ground up. Your blog is your brand and that takes time and money and energy to do. I never realized how much work goes into blogging before I started but my eyes are opened more and more each day. Thank you again for writing this!

  32. Thanks for such an insightful post! It is so wonderful to hear the opinion of someone willing to be so transparent about the world of full-time bloggers.

    Natasha

  33. This is so accurate. Though I am eleven months into blogging full time, it’s definitely a 24/7 lifestyle. I am trying to get better about the way I batch content so I can keep things running smoothly in my downtime, but creating content is never far from my mind. I also wonder about the future and relevancy, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Thanks for this post!

  34. Mandy says:

    Thanks so much for the absolutely word-for-word perfect article. As a new blogger, I see how true this is, and thought I know people make careers out of it, and I really don’t at this point… it’s always so nice to hear how someone didn’t make a living from it for a while and now they do. Couldn’t have explained a single thing better. Thanks for being open and honest and giving others a real look into blogging!!

  35. Erin says:

    This is on of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. I found it through another blogger and am so happy I did. Definitely an amazing insight! Will be following/reading your blog now!

  36. Laura says:

    Nicely done and helpful to us who have blogger relations (me, my daughter-in-law). I have always known she works really hard but when folks ask me about her work I now have some great ways to educate.

  37. I️ would love to know how to go to the next step or what the next step is. I️ blog and insta and instastory regularily but I’m not sure what’s next or how to go further. I️ would love for you to expand on that. And I️ don’t know why my I️ are turning I️ to exclamation marks. Lol.

  38. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! My parents don’t seem to understand that blogging is a job. It’s seriously so much work. Also, I hate when people by bots. I know this one blogger who is buying her engagement and followers(she personally told me she pays $200/month) and I get to frustrated with it. Here I am and all these other bloggers who are working so hard for our engagement and she’s just buying it. I had to unfollow her because it was making me so upset!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

  39. Thanks for writing this post.

    I really appreciate you being so open and honest. I started my blog a few months ago after contemplating it for years… I’m quickly seeing how much work it is and I still have a full time job. I have a relatively small following and I could work from sun up to sun down creating content, enagaging with followers and still need more so I can only imagine how demanding it can become. I am loving it so far, however, when people say “gosh bloggers have it made just going to events and wearing cute clothes”… that’s just not the reality. As we mainly sit behind our phones or computers.

    Gosh that was a long comment. But thanks so much for writing this post!!! 🙂

  40. needed to hear this! As a working mama, I’m dying to be able to blog full-time to allow me to be home more. Reading this is eye-opening. I believe it would beat working 50hr weeks with work I’m not interested in, but it’s nice to hear the reality firsthand, before taking the plunge! Thanks for being so honest!!

  41. Julia says:

    Such an amazing post, Jess. I’m proud of you for writing it and proud to call you my friend xo

  42. Jessica says:

    I loved reading this. I think a lot of the curiosity behind the “how much money do you make” is because people (including myself) are wondering if it’s a viable option in their own lives. I have a background in fashion and textiles, and have wondered how to transition this into a full time gig! Blogging is still somewhat mysterious, but articles like yours help demystify it a bit.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Jessica

  43. Jess Walker says:

    This was an incredible post! Coming from a gal who is literally starting at the bottom and wanting to arrive at this place! One of my biggest questions is, how does a person go from starting out to connecting with brands? What’s the actual connection between starting and arriving? The building phases? Thanks so much for any feed back!

  44. Leah says:

    Such a great post! You really articulated all the little details so well! Thanks for sharing!

    xx Leah / http://www.eatpraywearlove.com

  45. Oksana says:

    Hi! This is an awesome post. Just what I needed to read as I started my new blog 1 week ago! I do have a full time corporate job, but some days I’m so drained of looking at spreadsheets! I started my blog to share about my travels, and basically relive them as I post about them and go back to work the next day. I’m wondering if it’s possible to grow a blog into a career while keeping a full time job? I know it takes time for blogging to bring in income, if it even gets to that point.

  46. Kylie Kendall says:

    I really enjoyed this article, it was a great insight into what it really means to be a full time blogger. Thank you for posting this!

  47. Monica says:

    Great post. It was real, honest, and encouraging. I started my blog one year ago and due to the overwhelming responsibilities of my job (which I hate), I have not been able to put it in the work necessary to turn it into anything worthwhile. But I still love doing it. Perhaps one day I too will have the courage to walk away from a job that leaves me feeling empty and take the leap… until then, I look forward to following your blog and will share with others.

  48. Tracy Ftacek says:

    I have owned several small companies since 2011 & I can completely related to the 24/7 aspect. It’s exhausting and fulling all at the same time. I don’t complain much because also wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thank You for your honesty & truth! ???

  49. Paige says:

    Thanks for the interesting read! I’m not a blogger, but I love to follow fashion blogs. It’s like having my own team of personal stylists!

  50. Great article! Have you ever thought about batching, scaling or outsourcing any of your blog tasks? The work never slows down as you stated so well, but when I made that mindset and priority switch it completely transformed my blog and business, and allowed me to get out of that “high performer” mode and more to a leadership CEO space where I could really empower myself and those around me to take on responsibilities to scale the blog into a larger business (not to mention the financial freedom). You could finally get that vacation too 🙂 keep up the great work! Xoxo

  51. I am speechless. You just said exactly what I needed to know, blogging is much more than perfect lives through the lens. I have 3 years trying to launch my blog properly and as you said is scary and challenging.
    Thank you for sharing and hopefully you can write more about it.

    Alo Karenina

  52. Sydney grimm says:

    I’m so glad someone posted something like this. I have a blog myself. It’s nothing compared to most fashion bloggers but fashion is my dream and I hope to one day be successful with my blogging but for now it’s just a fun way to share my fashion advice. Sometimes it gets overwhelming and scary because I worry I don’t have good pictures or I stress because I need to take more pictures.

    Thanks again for sharing, I love seeing women with their own businesses they have started from scratch! ♥️

  53. julie says:

    Another reason you’re my favorite fashion blogger – your energy and commitment to bringing valuable content to your readers other than just posting a couple of photos with links to product and zero content like so many other blogger do. I truly appreciate your hard work. As someone who runs her own business and finds little free time, yet loves what I do, I can completely relate to your days. Thanks of sharing Jess.

  54. Oksana says:

    Hey there ! I️ really enjoyed reading your post, one suggestion l would make is to hire an accountant ! I️ pay about $60 a month for my small businsss (a coffee cart) and it takes a huge burden off my shoulders. My accountant is also my tax lady so there is no stress during tax season. This way you can focus on what you are good at. Also, the book “the E myth” might help you, it’s helped me tremendously ! Even though a blog is a little different than a coffee cart l can relate to many of the things you posted here. It’s easy to burnout owning your own business, so take care of yourself. Best Wishes !

  55. Jay Cooney says:

    This was a great post Jess, discovered you because one of your fans remarked what a great breakdown this was. Im especially interested in what the pitch and pricing process looks like, but I know this is a very personal thing. I ran social for a big brand and saw a lot of pitches, but mostly just for freebies. Curious if you can share anything about how you price without my being too invasive? Even general advice. Really enjoyed finding you. Jay

  56. Sara says:

    I absolutely love reading your blog, following you on insta and of course keeping up with the pups! Thank you for sharing the hard work and commitment you out into your blog for all of us to enjoy and get tons of great ideas from. I too sorta own my own business. I’m a real estate agent in LA and often people try to tell me realtors just wait around for the next buyer to show up and then get paid a ton of commission for nothing. But there is so so so much more that goes into it and honestly getting the buyer is the hardest part. Making a presences to people both online and in our community so they feel comfortable enough to make the largest purchase of their life with you, its hard work! I’ve gone back and forth with the blogging idea but have been very scared to take the first step. Reading this only proves to me that if you’re passionate about it then go for it, do what you love!!
    Thank you again and keep it coming 🙂
    PS- my brother lives right outside of Newport and I love it there so much! I’ll be there the first week of December 🙂

  57. This is so inspiring! I just started out and really appreciate the real and raw writing of this post. Thank you thank you thank you!!

    Love always,
    Bri

  58. Angie says:

    Love it Jess! So good to know I’m not alone is this crazy process. I love what I do, but you’re right, it never ends. Thanks for the honest and insight.

  59. Jen Kessler says:

    Hey Jess! As someone who loves exploring photography and fantasizes about being a full time creative of some sort – I love this! I echo the statement that IG is getting WAAAAYYY harder to organically grow. It took me a long time just to get 1000 followers but now I can see it has been even more difficult. I’m convinced the best or most effective way seems to be having relative accounts regard your images (but what do I really know, it just seems that way). I did discover you from the Veuve Cliquot partnership you did :). I try to be sensitive whenever sending a blogger/grammer a DM because I know it is time consuming for you all to read and/or comment but I am so thankful that you do and it definitely makes me feel more connected to your blog and content because I can actually interact with you – so thank you, thank you (from Seattle)!

  60. Lisa says:

    Love, what you’re doing. You inspire me pretty much everyday. Love your mix of style, lifestyle AND personal thoughts about important topics in this world.

    XO from Austria!

  61. You really well said 🙂 Like you wrote words which revolve in our blogging occupied brains. This is really hard to explain to general people about blogging and earning but you did a really great job 🙂

  62. YES! So many people ask me how much I make or comment about how they should just have a blog and make easy money. It is not like that at all! I’m all about people following their dreams but it is funny how many people think blogging is easy work! Love your honesty! I can totally relate!

  63. Dominique says:

    I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. <3

  64. Leanne says:

    Thank you for sharing this! In June I left my career after working there for 20 years to run my blog full time. I work more now than I did at my job, since my blog has turned into a business, publishing eBooks every 3 months, blogging about capsule wardrobes, and everygthing that goes along with it!

    Leanne,
    http://classyyettrendy.com

  65. Vanessa says:

    I freaking LOVED this post! Everything about it was everything we’ve been wanting to hear/learn about blogging. It was clear, concise, and you didn’t hold anything back.

    I think one of the major reasons why people assume bloggers/vloggers make loads of money is because blogging is quite a materialistic industry. I mean, just look at the sheer number of hauls that are being uploaded daily! I think audiences – especially young tweens and teens – see all those hauls and shiny pretty photographs and just assume that everyone’s rolling around in banknotes. Meanwhile, it’s not like that at all. There is SO MUCH hard work that goes into blogging.

    I’d love for you to continue this conversation — please consider posting more articles like this one 🙂 xx

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much Vanessa. Totally agree, the industry is shrouded in mystery which I think lends to the assumption that a) bloggers all make a ton of money and b) bloggers don’t have to work that hard to make money. There’s so many click-bait articles about how you can “Quit Your Job & Make Money Blogging” but it’s so much more complicated than that, not to say it’s not possible, but it’s not easy either! Definitely going to do more posts like this as it clearly resonated with a lot of people. Thanks as always for your engagement and support!

  66. Jamie says:

    So well written, I very much enjoyed reading it. I can very much relate to the part of events being exhausting especially as an introvert but a much needed part of this industry or really any industry for that matter.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Jamie

    http://jamieonthings.com/

  67. Betsy says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful article. Your hard work has really paid off and your content is the best! From pets to table settings, recipes, and a pile of chunky sweaters (all of which are must-haves ☺️), to home improvement and Netfix binges, EVERYthing is authentic, entertaining and engaging. I’m so glad I found your blog. Have a great Thanksgiving! Cheers to you!

    • Jessica says:

      You’re so sweet Betsy. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kind words and support. Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving! xx

  68. Anna says:

    Loved this post! Honestly it’s really difficult to truly understand any career that’s not your own, much less one that wasn’t a career 10 years ago. I don’t have a lot of use for the how-to-start-a-blog posts that seem to dominate the behind the scenes posts on many blogs, but I love to learn so this was really cool to read.

  69. Katie says:

    As a recruiter, I spend my days asking people what they do for a living. I’ve never interviewed a blogger or really understood blogging as a business, but this was a thoughtful insight into the profession and all of the hard work involved. Thanks for putting it out there!

  70. Leslie R says:

    Thank you for this! As a fellow blogger (hoping to be full-time shortly) this just really hits home with myself. I will be sharing with my friends who I think sometimes don’t understand how much work I put into my blog and work a 9-5 still.

    Leslie
    https://www.alifewellconsumed.com

    • Jessica says:

      I remember the challenge of working a 9-5 and blogging at the same time very well. It’s not easy, keep at it! Wishing you the best. xx

  71. Great post. I am finishing up year 2 as a blogger. I had a friend remark in a group recently, “don’t you wish we could all NOT WORK like Cathy? GRRRRR…….

  72. This is a fabulous post! I am just starting out and it has been a love of labor to just grow to 50 newsletter subscribers. I truly see effort in and results out every day. People always ask me what my days look like, and it is always so hard to explain because “answering emails”, “styling” and “sending emails” sounds to trivial, but it is all very time consuming. Most people just don’t understand.
    X
    Samantha
    http://www.thenewyorkblonde

  73. Laura says:

    Wonderful and insightful article. Kudos for the openness and honesty. I look forward to following you. Wishing you continued success.

  74. Celia says:

    As a photographer who owns her own biz, I can relate to so much of this but I’m also grateful for this information because it helps me understand what full-time bloggers do and how they need support. I love that you keep it real but also provide great content — and was totally floored at the number of messages you get every day! Dang, girl! Thank you for this and sending good vibes from Philly!

  75. Annabelle says:

    This is so amazing. Even as someone not doing this full time, it’s an immense amount of work. I hope to someday do this full time and I know it’s going to be hard. Loved this post so much, as even I get a lot of questions and comments about how easy it seems to be.

    xx
    annabelle | http://www.mixed-hues.com

  76. Anna Spooner says:

    So I’m entirely too late to this party, but this is a great blog!

    Keep in mind that bloggers create the problem they hate. They brag about making income from home – then get mad when asked how much they make. They show the easy breezy pictures and photos lounging by the pool, and wonder why others think their life is easy.

    If you’re not going to be honest on your blog, don’t expect others to understand you! We need more posts like this.

  77. Ari says:

    Thank you for writing this post. I have long wanted to start a blog of my own but have yet to make that first leap. I have been following you on various sites since the proseccoandplaid days and have always loved your site/content. It is really refreshing to see this honesty in a world that, to many outsiders, seems perfectly glossed so that we can’t get a real glimpse in. This helps a lot, and I will definitely use it for my own blog if/when I start it….

    love from Tennessee! XO

  78. Nicole Flores says:

    Thank you!!! xx

  79. Jennifer Calvert says:

    Hi Jessica. I came across your post when I searched “Elite Blog Academy compared to Blog with a Full Time Job”. I am considering taking one of the courses to become a full-time blogger. They do make seem like a cash cow. Do you have any words of wisdom regarding these courses? Thank so much.

    Jennifer

    • Jessica says:

      I wouldn’t spend your money on that. There’s plenty of information out there on blogging. If you want to work on a skill like photo editing and photoshop, maybe enroll in a course. But I can’t imagine paying for some sort of classes on blogging.