My last day at the job and the transition to being a full time blogger. I was surprised by the emotions I felt in leaving my job and blogging full-time.
I was sick in the stomach. On a day I imagined myself enjoying the freedoms of self-employment and celebrating all the blog has achieved, I wanted to throw up.
I was wrapping up my last day at work, a job I’ve had for over 10 years, many with the same people. They had been interviewing to fill my spot that day, and as much as I was curious about the people they were meeting, I realized, Oh my god, they’re already replacing me. I’m not going to work here any more! Someone else is going to sit here now!
Not exactly the same excitement about being a full time blogger I originally had. But let’s back track…
I’ve been blogging for over six years, all while working full time. But for the first five years, the blog was a hobby. The little monetizing I did included a few Google AdSense banners along the side and Amazon affiliate links. The earnings were petty—I remember getting giddy the day the ads earned a whopping 25 cents (instead of the usual six or seven).
But then this time last year—April 2015—I was desperate. We were just not making enough money to cover child care costs and rising living expenses, despite our frugal lifestyle. We were dipping into savings to pay for the twins’ nanny. We were selling things on Craigslist. We hadn’t eaten in a restaurant in five months.
I already knew bloggers who were combining their passion for blogging with their income. Folks who were able to quit their jobs and do exactly what I was doing, but getting paid for it. I got hopeful, wondering if I could also monetize the blog while still sticking to my mission of helping other moms.
At that point, the blog was earning about $10 a month from Amazon affiliates and the Google AdSense banners combined. I may not be able to make a full-time income from it, I thought, but maybe the blog can earn a little bit more than $10. I set my goals high: for the blog to earn $100-$200 a month. I just wanted to be able to eat at a restaurant or take the kids to a museum. To have some cushion so I wouldn’t have to deliberate over every expense. With only having earned $10 a month, I imagined a long journey to get to that $100 mark.
But within a month, the blog already earned $197.52. And I knew then this had potential, perhaps something I hadn’t seen in all those years. I poured myself into the site and worked hard. I put my design and marketing skills to use. I dedicated every spare moment I had to listening to readers and making the site as helpful as possible.
A year later, that $197.52 grew and I’m now able to leave my day job to blog full time. I never set out to replace my job—I just wanted an extra $100 a month. But now I’m able to do exactly what I want to do, something I enjoy so much I would do it for free (because that’s what I did for five years).
So I was genuinely surprised to find myself feeling deflated on my last day at the job. I cried with my coworkers, so much I couldn’t even talk. And I wanted to say much more to say to my boss and mentor other than “I feel so sad” and “Thanks for everything,” but couldn’t through the tears and hugs.
Part of the whirl of emotions is the permanence of saying goodbye to a part of your life you can’t replay or rewind to. The passion and desire to blog don’t erase the void of something you’re letting go. I’m admitting it: I’ll miss working at my old job.
Another part is the doubt that starts to creep in. What in the world am I doing? Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life? Owning a business comes with insane potential for growth, but my cautious side feels safer with the stable paycheck that came in every two weeks. As much as friends, family and coworkers rallied behind me to pursue this full time, I’m a tiny fish released into a deep and scary ocean. Can I do this? What if I fail?
During the weeks and months leading up to my decision to leave, I reached out to big bloggers for support. I specifically sought the advice and stories of those who also left a typical 9-to-5 job to blog full time. They shared the same fears and doubts, and I now keep them in mind, especially when I see how ridiculously successful they are today.
I’m also allowing myself to simply feel… sad. This whole day has felt so heavy, but I’m not trying to rush through it. I’m riding the wave until the next one washes in. As life would have it, my friend called me right as I was feeling down. She was also leaving a job (to go to another one) and felt the same wave of sadness and anxiety as she said her goodbyes. And she reminded me that the sadness just means we had something good to say goodbye to.
Most importantly, I reminded myself of my “why’s.” Leaving a familiar path is difficult, but I also needed to remember why I even decided to do this. I’m remembering the many times I wished I had more hours to write. How I look forward to blogging in the morning and end the day feeling so accomplished for my hard work. How I wanted to set my own schedule and earn money in ways I never could in a traditional job.
I was still crying while I drove to pick my eldest up from school. I was tired, sunglasses hiding my mascara-stained face. I got to his classroom, and he walked out, took my hand, and whispered his first words to me that day: “I love you.”
I suddenly remembered the many times my three-year-old would ask each night, “You going to work?” because I wouldn’t see them until 4pm the next day. Or when I would push aside the desire to buy a house with a yard because no way could I afford it. And how much easier our days would flow with the ultimate flexible schedule in my hands.
And with that one simple greeting—I love you—my stomach felt a little less queasy. I had remembered my biggest “why.”
SSBE readers, it’s thanks to you I’m able to pursue this new path. I appreciate you so much. Wish me luck on this next big step!
p.s. Interested in blogging? These are my top resources to get started:
- BlueHost: Domain and hosting service provider.
- ConvertKit: An email service provider. An email list is a must!
- Elite Blog Academy: The 12-unit course that turned my blog into a business. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made for this blog!
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