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How I Quit My Day Job and Became a Blogger

I remember, in the early days of building a business around my blogs, being given the sage advice, “don’t give up your day job” when I told friends or family members about my dreams of becoming a full-time blogger.

Image by Adam Foster

It was advice that was well-meaning, and probably pretty wise on some levels—I mean, who had ever heard of a full-time blogger back in 2003?!

However, over the years I’ve come to be glad that I did give up my day job (actually, I had day jobs, plural) and transitioned to become a full time blogger.

It was not an overnight proposition, of course. The switch from day-jobber to ProBlogger took a number of years (I wrote about the process here) but it did happen, and the Before and After shots of my life then and now are remarkably different.

Today I caught up with a friend who reminded me of the “don’t give up your day job” advice that he’d given me way back then.

I don’t even remember him saying it, but he told me today that he thought of it often and regularly wondered what would have happened if, instead of saying “don’t give up your day job,” he’d asked, “how can I do it too?”

He told me that he’d regretted it for nine years.

There was a pause in the conversation at that point, as we both reflected on those nine years and the way things had played out. By no means has his life turned out badly (or has mine been a fairy tale) but there was a real sense of regret in his demeanor.

He went on to tell me that he wished he hadn’t “missed the boat” of getting into blogging. That he looked at what was happening on the Web today and how it had developed to a point where it was “too late to start and build anything substantial”

That’s where I felt like jumping up from the table and shaking him.

You see, I once had those same feelings.

Nine years ago, I was looking at my fledgeling first blog, and started comparing it to all those bloggers who’d already been at it for two years. I looked at the following that others had built, the influence that they had, and the skills that they’d accumulated as bloggers, and I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I’m too late.”

I suspect most bloggers have felt it at some point or other—we all tend to compare ourselves to others further along the same journey, and many of us have feelings of inadequacy when we do. It’s natural to have those feelings, but it’d be a shame to let them overwhelm you to the point of paralysis.

You see, I don’t think it’s too late at all. If anything, this revolution that is happening around us at the moment is only just beginning.

Sure, there are more and more people engaging in creating content for the web, but with that comes opportunity, and alongside it we see an expanded audience.

As one of my favorite social media practitioners, Gary Vaynerchuk (who’s new book, The Thank You Economy is well worth a read by the way), puts it “there’s a gold rush happening … where are you?”

Okay, he said it back in 2008, but I think it’s still a relevant message today.

I’m not saying that you should quit your day job today—that wouldn’t be responsible—but if that’s a dream for you, there are things that you can do about it today.

The key is to start. Today.

The key is to get over the fact that you’re not first, and start creating something that matters. Today.

The key is to start developing your voice, to start building community, to start putting your thoughts out there. Today.

The key is to move past the fear of not being good enough, or not having the skills needed and to take your first small steps. Today.

The key is to do something. Today.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Nice bit of motivation there.

  2. Blog Towkay says:

    Well said. I also think that Web 2.0 is just the beginning. Which is why despite the odds, I decided to embark on my working from home blog business, and hopefully I will be able to achieve what Problogger has achieved in the next few years. One thing for sure, earning money online is no walk in the park and it requires tremendous discipline, especially when many beginners like myself continue to hold day jobs which pay the bills.

  3. Seto says:

    So inspiring. thanks

  4. David says:

    This a very helpful article And it will increase my chances of giving up my day job

    The internet opportunities are there waiting for you if you have the staying power

  5. Nico Julius says:

    Sometimes I’m also wondering if I missed the train with blogging. After years of creating websites, WordPress has opened a whole new world to me. Sometimes I think “what if I discovered WordPress a bit earlier”… But it doesn’t matter. I stepped on the train and when something new will come out, I’ll be on that train too from the first moment. And for now? Well, my blog is getting more visitors every day so that’s good for me!

  6. zammax says:

    To choose between a daily job or blogging is, of course, very difficult but it is the life that sometime we have to choose which one we think the best for us. OR It might to do both for a while until we are really sure. For Darren, you are really inspiring me and show me that you can earn more than enough from blogging.

  7. Stephen says:

    The two most important words in your whole post are right at the very end – do something.

    I have a friend who has been trying to “do something” for three years now and has still not done a thing. Yet I, and many others, keep plugging away and slowly but surely we’re getting there.

    I can understand why people think they may have missed the boat. If I were to start again today I would feel totally intimidated by the technology, the processes and the size of the internet. I guess I felt that way back in the day when I discovered keywords, SEO and HTML. Now they’re second nature.

  8. Miss Rhei says:

    First thank you. I sure feel that way, I mean ‘am I too late’? But I can always give it a try. Besides, coming from the man behind Problogger saying, The Key Is To Start Today – then there’s nothing to fear. :)

  9. Yes Darren,

    I agree with most people think that blogging is difficult, you need to spend time and money and there is no guarantee, they associate all the negativity with their blogging and stop blogging completely even if they initially started.

    I didn’t earn a single cent from my blog for 6 months straight and till date after 2 months i haven’t received a single cent in my hand but that doesn’t mean i would quite blogging.

    My blog is a baby, it will grow to a fruitful adult one day, it would have its unique design, newsletter, even a magazine, who knows.

    I have dreams attached to my baby blog therefore i won’t stop blogging never.

  10. Russ says:

    Great Post! It is posts like these that make me continue on my journey of blogging. I often thought the same thing; too late to start blogging. In reality though, the Internet is still in it’s “infancy” stage and I think will be around for a very long time to come.

  11. Amy says:

    Darren! This post is right on. I don’t think there’s a blogger out there who hasn’t experienced self-doubt (not if they’ve been doing it long enough!!) Frankly, I don’t think there’s anyone with any solid ambition who hasn’t doubted himself/herself at some point or looked at others as so much ‘more’ — more successful, more special, more likely to succeed…

    This is just a great reminder for anyone who wants to do something or get somewhere to GO!

    To me, the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is not just a matter of trying though…it’s an unwillingness to fail…an attitude and a commitment that says I will not be denied.

    But it’s always nice to know that you are not alone on the journey.

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  12. Musa says:

    I’ve bookmarked your blog post for future reference. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life journey. You inspire me!

    Respectfuly,
    Musa

  13. Guy Hogan says:

    I took early retirement to be a full-time blogger. Win or lose, I have no regrets.

  14. Gave myself six months to make some money blogging. I quit!

  15. Awesome post. Your assumptions are so accurate relative to the self-doubt and various feelings bloggers go through.

    As far as I’m concerned, my blog is still in it’s infancy, but I’ve learned so much about blogging in general that I would feel terrible if I decided to quit now.

    Great inspiration. That’s what it’s all about!

  16. Adis says:

    Great article and thanks for the motivation!

  17. Gazzali says:

    I wish I can become a full time blogger one day like you Darren and then write a post something like this one. I think the important thing to become a successful blogger is to have great passion in what you’re doing. Even if you have a bit of traffic, you still has the ‘will’ to write on what you like. It is how you make the reader see the value in what you say rather than giving value. For value is subjective.

    • Chris Alta says:

      Gazzali!

      bro the thing is you can! If I were to give you any advice I would say bring your personality with you and focus on your natural strengths!

      If you’re a great writer than write, but also don’t be afraid to branch out to videos or podcasts to reach a new audience. Interact with communities (like you’re doing right now), submit guest posts, link to other bloggers and show them recognition because in the end that blog karma will come back around and will help you.

      Also build relationships and surround yourself with like minded people! you’ll be fine man just keep going!

      Look at it this way, every day that you keep blogging there’s someone out there that stopped. So the more consistent you are the more you’ll start to emerge. Everyone was once a newb, no one was born a guru the moment they made a blog, cheers!

      -Chris Alta

  18. Isn’t saying “I missed the boat” on blogging like someone saying they missed the boat on public motivational speaking or writing ten or twenty years ago? It was rampant then and it’s still rampant now.

    It’s not going to die. Certain techniques and mediums might change (like intellectual property dying or new tools entering the trade), but don’t negate your ability to teach and help others simply because others have been doing it a lot longer than you have.

    Excellent post.

  19. Kaushik says:

    Great post Darren. Just the kind of motivation everyone needs.

  20. Richard Pook says:

    Great post. I actually quit my real job and took the plunge in indulging my sailing obsession and now delivery yachts for people around the world. Ironically, I’m now about to start to get into blogging to help build the profile of my business and because I’ve got lots of stories to tell about my shipping adventures, so it’s full circle.

  21. so inspiring THANK YOU!

  22. Kelley says:

    This article shows that people can find jobs in whatever it is they’re passionate about. It doesn’t necessecarily have to be a traditional “job” or even what other would consider an occupation. It”s completely possible to have fun, make a living, and look forward to working as long as you’re not afraid of making that first jump and following whatever it is that motivates you. Great motivational article!

  23. Chris Alta says:

    DARREN ROWSE! GREAT POST YOU SUNUHVUHGUN!

    I personally don’t have a job because I chose not to. I actually got hired at an italian restaurant and quit the same day after my first shift!

    The reason being is because I truly believe that if you’re unhappy doing something then stop doing it. Now if you have a family then don’t be a dohdoh and quit your job haha..but in the mean time start figuring out a way to earn passive income via the internet!

    What do you think about doing what you love? I mean just as it’s not written in stone that if you go to school and get a degree that you’ll be successful in life, it also isn’t written that by doing what you love you’ll be successful ya know?

    You’ve got to fill the voids, needs, pains in other people’s lives, and sometimes doing what you love just won’t cut it. That’s how I feel about it anyways, what’s your take on that concept?

    Any who the key to start having success even if it’s micro is to just get up and do something! Anything! Talk to one blogger, build mini relationships and big relationships! I started my blog 2 months ago and in January I had 349 visitors, this February I had 1,049 views!

    Compared to ProBlogger that’s probably the first hour of views you get but to me that’s HUGE! This all happened because I just started engaging in other communities with meaning!

    Doesn’t it bother you that people think there’s some BIG SECRET to becoming successful and getting well known? It’s true, we should all stop looking at other bloggers numbers and also stop comparing ourselves.

    I’m sure at one point you were following other blogs where they had way more numbers than you did and were way more credible, but over time you’ll start to learn the ropes and will get somewhere!

    if that’s only $5,000 per month for the rest of your life then so be it! That’s a nice easy living where you really only commit time to your blog!

    Most of us can relate when you mentioned you and your friend having that moment of silence. My friend tried getting me into the blogosphere 3 months prior to my 2 months and if I would have gotten in then who knows where I’d be? I know I’d be 5 months in but maybe that 1,049 visitors would be 8,000 visitors you know?

    Everything happens for a reason though and it’s all about making the most of your opportunities. The internet boat is still around and will definitely be around for a LONG LONG TIME, it’s all about adjusting to the new changes it brings. Maybe someone will come along and revolutionize the internet (no not facebook) and make it way more cooler!

    Great post again yo, oh and I wrote a post about you! I tweeted it @ you I’m not sure if you got a chance to read it! Lol you’ll definitely get a laugh!

    http://chrisalta.com/darren-rowse-traffic

    cheers!

    -Chris Alta

  24. I choose to also believe the mindset that blogging is still relatively new and my opportunities are endless. I can’t compare myself to people who have been blogging longer than me. Awesome post!

  25. The last line is the biggest; “The key is to do something. Today.” I tell that to so many people who wish they could do this or that, including blogging, and I say to just set it up and get to it. Of course people have fears and the like, but as Michael Jordan says, one never makes any shots they don’t take. Nicely motivational.

  26. Dr. Cris says:

    Darren you inspire all of us neophyte bloggers who look forward to the day when this part time mission becomes our full time dream.

    Dr. Cris, the Dream Job Doctor

    http://thedreamjobdoctor.com
    http://thedreamjobdoctor.blogspot.com

  27. Avik Bhattacharya says:

    It is really inspiring. I am into writing however with zilch knowledge of making a site. Can I make money blogging in other people’s sites? Can someone plz answer.

  28. Michael says:

    You’re living the dream that we’re all dreaming about.

  29. Naomi says:

    “We all tend to compare ourselves to others further along the same journey, and many of us have feelings of inadequacy when we do. It’s natural to have those feelings, but it’d be a shame to let them overwhelm you to the point of paralysis.”
    Oh, this is SO true…not just of bloggers, of EVERYTHING and anything in life! Ah, but in the last year or so I have been challenged and encouraged to not let fear stop me from doing things. Fear of failure, fear of not doing something perfectly…I don’t want to not even try something just because I’m afraid I might fail! Jasmine Star’s blog has been inspiring, and she said at the beginning of this year that she wants her goals to scare her a bit.
    I want to be a little scared by my goals…not to the point of paralysis, but enough to know I’m dreaming big.

  30. Brad says:

    Just getting in that mind set of getting things done is all it takes. I found 7 effective habits of highly effective people and what are you waiting for? to be great and getting you to that mind set.

  31. Naomi makes a great comment. It takes a strong person to follow their dreams. For some its a fear , a fear of what if I fail or I can,t attitude. Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

  32. Cyberquill says:

    Sounds good, but where exactly is the money coming from?

  33. Dubai Dude says:

    By the way, its not just about blogging. With enough persistence and dedication one can make his/her mark in field. One of my favorite quote is, “If you can’t beat the rules, tilt the playing field,”.

    Very well written, as always.

  34. Karan says:

    Man, this is your first post that I actually read with all my focus and interest and I’m inspired…

    I too have had the same fear of things being already saturated but I still decided to join in…and I’m glad I did it….

    I was loosing hope, but you motivated me again.

  35. Stéphanie says:

    Love that post! Seriously, I quit my day job like 3 weeks ago for starting my own business online.
    I am totally freaking out but I’m still sure that was a good decision. I wasn’t happy where I was so…

    Thank you for that post again. :)
    Stephanie