Recently someone asked in a Facebook group whether they should quit their full-time job to blog full time when they still hadn’t reached their income goal of $100/day to replace their current income. They wanted to hear success stories of people who did it.
Naturally, this is one of those classic questions where the answer is “It depends, maybe, but maybe not, everybody defines success differently”.
I started to answer it but then basically wrote a blog post…so here’s a detailed view on my own experience blogging full-time since 2007 + some thoughts about the current blogging market in hopes it will help you decide whether or not to quit your job to blog full time – no matter what your own unique personal situation might be!
TLDR: Yes, You Should Always Pursue Some Kind of Passive Income Source Full-Time Over Traditional Income. Here’s Why:
In January of 2012 I was in the hospital for 3 weeks after being diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder during a manic episode.
Having a manic episode when you have Bipolar I is literally like being blackout drunk for 6 weeks with a 6 month hangover afterward. It really sucks, and unlike drinking yourself into oblivion, you have zero way to control what will cause it or when it happens or even to prevent it.
As you might imagine, this threw a wrench into our life in a big way. My husband was not able to work like he normally would, because he was now thrust into the chaos of juggling 3 kids at home alone with an insane wife, so his income from his service based business definitely took a big hit.
He also had to work less just because he had to pick up the slack on stuff I would have usually done but for a while couldn’t, like cooking dinner, cleaning the house, laundry, driving kids to school, etc., etc.
Many people would have been in financial ruin through that, but we actually never had to worry about money that entire time. We actually made money in all that chaos, because prior to losing my marbles I had built a bunch of websites in the previous 5 years.
I literally made $2k just while I was in the psych ward. That income was generated all on auto-pilot. There was no need for anybody to really run the business or update any of the websites or anything like that because it ran itself.
Since then, I realized that the whole “earn a passive income so you can retire on the beach as a millionaire” will likely never happen for 95% of bloggers (including myself!) – but it sure as heck can cover you in times of crisis + calamity in a way that a traditional job + income never could.
Imagine if you had to suddenly tell your boss you’d probably be late, and you might have to leave early, and you are calling off 2-3 days a week on short notice + the entire time you are showing up at work you have to field phone calls to doctors + hospitals + people watching your kids – you’d be fired in no time, right?
Not too many jobs have 6 months of paid sick leave (especially when you’re not the one who is sick!) – and even fewer employers pay you severance when you get fired.
Also – that’s just the first manic episode. I had another in 2017 – and another one most recently in 2020 during the midst of a pandemic.
Again, in both those cases I was completely checked out + incapacitated while earning an income. During the pandemic, my husband couldn’t even run his business at all because of everything else that happened that year + stuff being shut down.
In other words, we would have really been entirely SOL if it weren’t for my websites.
So yes, you should definitely pursue some type of passive income source full-time over any other kind of job/income just because it was what kept us financially afloat in times of major crisis.
Also, You Have the Exact Same Risks Whether You Have a “Real Job” or Blogging
It’s a common misconception that jobs are stable + steady – this sense of security is mostly only an illusion.
There’s risk to everything – even a full-time job can lay you off for no reason.
As I write this, the layoff tracker reports there are 288 tech companies w/ layoffs in 2023 with 87,749 employees laid off. Um, it’s only February 4th!
While a good chunk of those are big names in tech that would make you think the blogging industry is on the verge of collapse (Google, Facebook, etc.), a lot of those companies are in the retail, manufacturing, finance, real estate and healthcare industries.
We also have to remember in the U.S. we have what’s known as “at-will” employment, which means it’s not surprising that this report from Mother Jones shows 69% of people who were fired in 2022 lost their jobs for no good reason or an unfair reason.
In other words, your “stable job” income could disappear with pretty much no notice, warning and even happen for any reason.
And then, of course, we can go back to my example where you can easily get sidelined by illness/injury leaving you unable to work + with no source of income for 3-6-12 months.
As my cousin Jenny who works in the insurance industry would say, they are called accidents for a reason – nobody plans or expects them to happen!
When you work hourly or on a salary – you are only able to make money while you are actually working. You don’t make money if you don’t go to work.
A lot of people keep their “stable dependable jobs” because they need health care, or they think about the 401k contributions towards their retirement + low risk investments their job provides.
But here’s the thing: you don’t have any kind of asset from your work for another company. Even your 401k is in jeopardy when the economy sucks. A lot of people right now are watching theirs disappear!
Meanwhile, if you have your own business – you can always sell it. My portfolio of blogs is easily worth over $1 million. Even if I didn’t want to sell them all – I certainly could sell off one or two here or there. Honestly, I get offers to buy them daily – I don’t want to, but it’s nice to know that opportunity at least exists.
There’s also a weird spot when you’re right in between the different income brackets where it’s almost better to make less money, not more, because the “more” costs you just as much, if not more –– and not just on paper. It can cost you in your health, stress, happiness level, benefits you might have otherwise qualified for, taxes, etc.
(Side Note: a great book on figuring out how much money you actually would even want/need + how to “live well living cheap” is How to Retire the Cheapskate Way by Jeff Yeager. As an Amazon associate I may earn commission if you buy it using my link, and that 12 cents will go towards paying my kids to go to college – but honestly, you should be a real cheapskate + don’t buy it – get it from your library!)
Obviously, I believe it’s silly to have a full-time job instead of your own business (especially a passive income business!) – but should that passive income source be blogging? Aha, this is where the answer REALLY depends.
Would I Recommend Blogging as a Passive Income Source?
The blogging + related tech industries are getting turned on their head right now. It’s terrifying for most bloggers, but for me, who’s been doing this since 2007 – I think it’s super exciting!
Here’s some stuff that makes it crazy + really risky to jump aboard blogging alone –– basically it just means you will probably have to think a little bit differently about blogging here on out:
Big Companies Shaking Up: In addition to record-setting layoffs, Google is being sued by the DoJ for being a monopoly, Elon Musk bought Twitter (old news, but we’re seeing more effects of this now) – Amazon reported its first loss since 2014 – that’s just some of it!
Web 3.0 + Blockchain: Web 3.0 is another thing I don’t know enough or understand completely about – but it’s definitely something to consider. I was lucky enough to be one of the bloggers who started at the dawn of Web 2.0 – which means this could be an opportunity or some type of major shake up all in itself. Namecheap attempts to explain it pretty well but it’s still confusing even to me.
TikTok: I don’t even understand what the heck is going on with TikTok (or the appeal + why people like it, for that matter), but I definitely agree it’s bad for many reasons.
It’s also important to remember that Gen-Z uses TikTok over searching or any other social media. Tik Tok is a huge threat to conventional bloggers, much in the way many people see AI generated content also a threat – but I’ll have to save that rant for another post in the future.
And, also – this is a question I’m answering from Facebook. The original poster certainly could have gone on google and searched, but they went to Facebook because it’s there you get more personalized answers + information.
Do I think blogging is doomed? Of course not!
These things just mean you have to think differently about what blogging looks like – and what passive income looks like also.
If your idea is to make money blogging the traditional “write search optimized content/ad-revenue” model right now, I don’t know that it’s going to work or even be sustainable long-term, especially with all of these shake-ups happening.
My RPMs are at historic lows. Even my sales on various products + classes aren’t great. Also, the cost of everything has skyrocketed. The MIT cost of living calculator is great at telling you whether or not you are making a living wage. Currently, based on my 2022 Q4 + early Q1 earnings – I am nowhere close. And that’s based on my Q4 earnings!
That being said – EVERY business pretty much should have a blog + passive income source. No matter what your business is – you’d want a blog because it’s great marketing for whatever you’re selling. And, no matter what your niche/business is – you can find a passive income source from it, whether selling a digital product or classes or something else entirely.
Even if blogging doesn’t work out –– let’s say RPMs continue to drop, you can’t get any traffic because everybody is letting a robot answer their questions –– most likely you certainly have gained some skills that can be applied to any kind of business or gig or even another job in a different industry altogether.
Blogging skills are important for any industry: I know a person who spent an insane amount to get a degree in communications at a prestigious private college, only to get a job where the main task is to post crap on Facebook + craft blog posts. I think they designed a banner or something once too. I’m not even kidding. I could have taught them all of that for free –– and they’d be making probably at least 2x whatever that “steady job” is paying them.
You can always hustle + moonlight –– whether that’s a part time job or picking up some freelance work. Somebody always needs someone to run errands or do stuff for them. You can always sell old junk or stuff you don’t really need. My husband’s junk removal business was proof to us people will even pay you to take their junk!
You Can Always Keep a Steady Traditional Part-Time Job: While I say you should pursue a passive income full-time, who says you have to quit your job completely just yet? Maybe you could see if there are part-time positions available. That way you still have some somewhat reliable income coming in before jumping into the deep end. All-or-nothing thinking is not a good mindset to have!
The “Should I Become a Full-Time Blogger?” is a Good Question Because It Can Be Answered With More Questions
All good questions can be answered with more questions. I find myself having questions just trying to answer this one.
Why Aren’t You Already Making $100 a Day?
Assuming you have at least 25k visitors coming to your website a month – why aren’t you making $100/day yet right now? Is your content fully optimized for affiliate sales commissions and the best possible ad revenue?
If you’re already making some money from blogging, you just have to figure out what’s going to help you make enough.
Chances are, there’s a product or a service or a class or a book or anything really that you can do RIGHT NOW that will help you reach that financial goal very quickly.
Look at your current top posts + traffic sources + everything else that’s gotten you at least this far with your blog. What do your readers need? Why are they visiting your website? Where did they come from + how did they learn about you? Most importantly, what will they gladly pay for or hire you for that solves a problem?
Do that! Write about that! Write the stuff nobody else is writing! Think about what kind of content the world needs – what is going to help the most people? What can you create or provide that makes their lives easier or better in some way?
Would You Blog For Free?
If I’m being completely honest, I’m quite tempted nearly every day to sell all of my websites, leave the internet + go live in the middle of nowhere in the woods tending goats (or maybe to the beach to open up a used bookstore!)…but I think I’d still probably end up blogging about that even if I did.
Maybe that’s the real way to answer this question: is blogging something you’d do for free anyways? Do you love it so much you couldn’t imagine NOT doing it? If you weren’t making money and had no traffic, would you still blog?
If the answer is yes, then certainly, it makes sense to work on blogging to be your full-time passive income source – you’re already doing it anyways!