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How One Woman Quit Her Job To Blog Full-Time [Ep. 53]

Interested in full-time blogging?

Well, you’re in luck, as in this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast, we’ll be focusing on how to become a full-time blogger and earn a living doing what you love!

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand:

  • What strategies to focus on if you want to blog full-time
  • How to decide when it’s time to quit your job
  • How to monetize a travel blog (even as a small creator)
  • Tips for staying organized as a blogger
  • And more!

Our special guest for this episode is Anna Cook of Stuck on the Go who will be sharing all of the above and more.

Note: This episode on how to make a full-time income blogging contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Table of Contents

How One Woman Quit Her Job To Pursue Full-Time Blogging [Podcast Episode Audio]

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Free Travel Blogger Resource Library

To help you really jumpstart your blogging success, I’ve added 55+ blogging resources like printables, video tutorials, and workbooks into a FREE resource library for travel bloggers.

These resources are meant to help you grow your traffic, community, and income faster and with less overwhelm!

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Travel Blog Prosperity. My membership community aimed at helping travel bloggers grow their traffic, community & income. Inside, instantly snag over $2,800 worth of course content and more than $2,200 in course bonuses. My goal: to create one of the best online blogging courses and provide a true transformation for students.

SEO Roadmap Course. Scale your blog to 50,000 sessions with travel-specific SEO techniques. Even if your DA is below 30!

HeySummit (14-day free trial included). Create unlimited easy to run online events with all of the customization and flexibility you need to provide an exceptional experience for your audience.

Keysearch (get 30% off with code “jessieonajourney30”). This inexpensive tool allows you to kick your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) up a notch to more easily rank on Google’s first page and increase your traffic. We’ll be going over this tool in-depth as the course goes on.

Teachable. This is my favorite platform for creating profitable online courses. Their support is fantastic, too.

ConvertKit. A feature-rich yet user-friendly email marketing platform made by bloggers for bloggers. My affiliate link gets you a 30-day free trial — no credit card required!

Deadline Funnel. This powerful tool allows you to create real limited-time offers; as in, once the tripwire deadline is over there will be no way for a person to get back into the funnel to get it again.

Beaver Builder. I personally use both their theme and plugin. The plugin allows you to create beautiful landing pages using a user-friendly drag-and-drop page builder.

Interact Quiz Maker. This tool allows you to easily make beautiful and engaging quizzes that can engage your audience while growing your email list. In my opinion, quizzes are one of the best blog freebie ideas for increasing your subscriber count! This guide can help you understand how to create opt-in freebies for your blog if this concept is new to you.

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full-time blogging

How To Become A Full-Time Blogger [Episode Transcript]

*Note: This is the edited down and paraphrased version of the episode. For the full episode, listen to the audio version linked above.

One goal many bloggers have is monetizing their blog and turning it into a profitable business.

In my opinion, two crucial ingredients for making this a reality are a) believing that this goal is possible for you and b) having a strategy to make it happen.

To help with both, our special guest for this episode – Anna Cook of Stuck on the Go – will be sharing how she was able to quit her job and take her blog full-time.

Anna is actually a member of my Travel Blog Prosperity community, and I’ve been able to see first-hand how her dedication to staying focused, keeping organized, and being strategic has helped her steadily grow, and I’m super excited to have her on to share some blogging tips and tactics with you.

Free Resources For Content Creators

But first, before we dive into how to earn a full time blogger income, I want to direct your attention to the show notes, where I’ve shared a link to my free Travel Blogger Resource Library.

Inside you’ll snag access to 45+ resources from cheat sheets to workbooks to workshops to video tutorials that can help truly turn your blog into a profitable business.

I’m all about implementation and I really want to make sure you don’t just listen to the episode and forget about it, but that you actually use what I share to make your blogging life easier.

Feel free to even pause this episode to go grab those resources. You back? Then let’s dive in!

1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips! To start, can you tell us more about yourself and how you got into travel blogging?

I am a travel blogger and content creator based in North Carolina, and I help busy people incorporate more travel into their life and plan efficient itineraries with a focus on outdoor adventure and food and drink.

In college, I was always looking for ways to make money online. My parents had always worked for themselves, and so I saw that flexibility that they had and I knew that I wanted that.

So when I started my 9 to 5 job, I quickly realized it wasn’t the type of schedule that I wanted — especially with only two weeks of paid vacation.

While I had been researching ways to make money online, blogging was something that kept coming up over and over again. I love to travel and had thought about blogging before, so I just decided to start it as a hobby, do it for about a year, and if I stuck with it, to then fully dive in to pursue it as a business — which I did!

2. You quit your job in February 2022 to pursue travel blogging full-time. Can you share some of the steps you took to get there?

Here is how I became a full-time blogger:

The first thing I would say is that I learned as much as I could. I think Travel Blog Prosperity was probably the first big course that I invested in, and now I have been in the community for two years.

In addition to that, I’ve taken other courses, I listen to podcasts for bloggers, I read books, and I surround myself with other creators. These have been the major things that have allowed me to quit my 9-to-5 job to pursue full-time blogging.

Additionally, I had to improve my mindset. There were a lot of mindset shifts that I had to go through and a lot of personal development. When considering what it takes to be a blogger or build a business, people often don’t think about that, but I would say personal development is a huge part of entrepreneurship, especially as it can help you figure out how you work best.

During our Travel Blog Prosperity calls, one question that comes up often is “How do I build this business while working full-time?” To this, I would say you need to figure out when your most productive times of day are.

For me, I’ve learned I work best getting up early — which meant 5am when I was working my 9-to-5 job — and doing my creative projects, like creating content and creative storytelling. Then in the evening after work I would do admin tasks, like creating pins for Pinterest and uploading images.

And, of course, look at your financial situation. It’s going to look different for everyone. What do you want to have before you can quit your job to blog full-time?

Building on this, you can choose to have enough in your savings account to live off of for a set period of time, or get to a place where you are earning a sustainable full-time income blogging.

Oh, and pro tip:

Ask your employer if you can gradually cut back your hours!

I gradually cut back my hours at my engineering job. I actually put my two weeks in in October of 2022, which then turned into five months because they wanted me to stay on to train a replacement. So, I worked 30 hours a week instead of 40. Which then got cut back to 20 hours.

After about a year, I was only working one or two days per week. Then, in February 2022, I left completely to be a full-time blogger.

3. For many people the idea of quitting their full-time job to pursue their blog full-time is a scary thought. How did you know when you were ready to take the leap, and what was going through your mind at this time?

Going back to October of 2020 when I first put in my two weeks, I worked at a very small company an there was a lot of turmoil going on.

The head engineer was kind of phasing out and his son was coming in to take over. There were just a lot of shifts happening as well as some turnover.

As I was putting in all this work, I realized that I was working my butt off to build someone else’s company when I could be building my own.

At this point, I’d been blogging for just over a year and a half and was also a member of Travel Blog Prosperity. There was something you’d said about getting to the point where you know that you could do this and you could build this business; I 100% credit that mindset shift in myself to Travel Blog Prosperity because the people in the community are so supportive.

And that’s actually my next point: I surrounded myself with inspirational people. Along with Travel Blog Prosperity members, I followed people on Instagram who were just a step above me. Seeing their wins made me think “Okay, they’re doing this, this is possible for them, so why not me?”.

I also asked myself: what is the worst that can happen? Worst case, if this doesn’t work out in a year or two I’ll turn around and go back and get another job.

Finally, I’m a Christian, so I prayed. I said, “Okay, God, show me what you want me to do?” And these little signs kept popping up. For instance, I would get another ghost writing opportunity, or a bunch of affiliate sales would come in. It made me realize I would make this work.

Oh, and with the opportunities, one more thing I’ll add:

If you want to be a full-time blogger, it’s important to have an abundance mindset. Jessie, you talk about that all the time in Travel Blog Prosperity, but just knowing that there are so many ways you can make money travel blogging and so many opportunities out there, it shifts your whole view on things.

4. Thinking about your journey to full-time blogging, what strategies were the most effective in helping you reach this point?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Often, that is the #1 thing that that full-time bloggers say because it’s the truth. If you want to become a full-time blogger, SEO can seriously help you increase your blog traffic. It should really be part of any Blogging 101 research, including publishing new posts and updating old website content – two tasks that should definitely be a big part of your schedule as a blogger.

I also used my analytics to figure out what was working and then double down on that — because when you’re working full-time you only have so much time in a day. You cannot focus on a ton of different things.

When I started out I tried to be everywhere; but then when I did a deep dive into my analytics, I decided to give Instagram a break for multiple months because it was not bringing in any traffic.

Also, if you want to become a blogger that earns an income, look at the analytics for your affiliate marketing strategy. Who is earning you the most? What can you do to increase that?

Furthermore, in-person events and travel blogger conferences have been huge for me. I found a niche conference called Southern Travelers Explore related to southern travel, which is what I cover. This past February was the second year that I have attended that conference and the opportunities that I’ve gotten from that are just invaluable.

Finally, pitch yourself – but do your research first. You can start with a brand pitch template, but then personalize it so that your brand collaboration proposal is tailored.

5. Now on the other side of that, what do you wish you’d spent less time on – or maybe even nixed altogether?

Social media. That being said, I do feel like when you’re a new blogger you have to try everything before you realize what works for you.

If I had started this blog with the intention of it being a business, instead of doing it as a hobby for about a year, then I would have focused solely on writing SEO-friendly blog posts and just cut out social media altogether.

This is because my blogging goals include making money through passive income streams. So, my sort of business plan is to use Facebook Ads and promote my affiliate links. I want that to be my primary income.

As a newer blogger, you often think that you have to be everywhere and so you know I just got the ball rolling with that.

Finally, I wish that I had really thought about how blogging as a long game. Instead of looking for those quick wins for growing your blog fast, I wish that I had just invested the time to grow my blog traffic through SEO.

6. During the Q&A calls in Travel Blog Prosperity I’ve learned a lot about the different projects you’ve taken on. One strategy you’ve really mastered is working with brands. Can you share a bit about what has worked for you when it comes to pitching brands and negotiating collaborations?

Meeting people in person. Almost of my collaborations this summer have been people that I met at conferences.

This is not always your golden ticket, but for those curious how to become a blogger full-time, you would be surprised at how often this works – especially because my social media numbers are still very small.

I try to focus mainly on SEO and increasing my blog traffic. So, yes, while growing my social media numbers is a goal, it’s not my primary goal. Luckily, it really helps when you want to work with tourism boards and land paid press trips if you meet them in person and they can see how excited to work with them you are.

As stated above, you also want to research a brand or destination before you pitch them. Personally, I’ll explain to them what type of audience I have (travelers in the southern USA) and what type of content does best (outdoor adventure content) and try to find alignment between our brands.

In terms of charging as a small creator, inside Travel Blog Prosperity, you always give us these creative ways for getting paid for brand collaborations — like selling our photography or creating a unique style of video.

But, I always thought my photography wasn’t good enough. So, I decided to improve my photography skills so that I could charge brands for it, which I now do.

My advice:

Even if you don’t have a skill now, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn one and then charge for it. If you don’t have a skillset, just go out there and learn it – which will make you more valuable when working with brands, pitching collaborations, and applying for opportunities.

When pitching brands, I actually I use the rate sheet you provide in Travel Blog Prosperity to create packages. These each include different price points for different amounts of blog and social coverage. This has been another way I’ve gotten paid for brand campaigns.

And, this summer, I may have some upcoming opportunities to do newsletter creation for a local tourism board as well as creating reels and doing social media takeovers. So definitely get creative in how you can work with brands and destinations.

7. Something else you do really well is stay organized – particularly when it comes to creating a content plan. Can you share a bit about how you organize your content plan and the various other projects you have going on within your blogging business?

My content plan and strategy has changed a little bit over the years.

Previously, I would take my content pillars and then brainstorm all the different topics that I could write about under those pillars. So, for outdoor adventure that might be kayaking, hiking, and white water rafting.

Then, I would narrow it down by choosing the topics that I knew best and that I felt like I could write about the fastest.

From there, I would brainstorm the individual blog post ideas and do the keyword research related to each one of those.

Now, I’ve shifted the strategy a bit. Nina, who is also a Travel Blog Prosperity member, recently launched her SEO Roadmap course.

Before she launched the product, she was looking for beta testers. Since I knew Nina from the Travel Blog Prosperity group calls, I decided to volunteer.

In the course, she taught us how to do competitor research to find niche keywords. Now, I have a spreadsheet of keywords that I can rank for using competitor research. To choose my travel blog post topics, I just go down the spreadsheet, using the easiest keywords with the highest volume traffic first.

To stay organized, I use the goal planing workbook that we use in our monthly Goal Setting Workshop in Travel Blog Prosperity.

I’ve figured out which sections of the workbook work best for me. Using the workbook, I pinpoint the big items that I should be working on for a given month.

From there, I break those down into smaller weekly tasks – and daily to-dos – that I put in my paper planner.

Finally, I use Asana to schedule my various deadlines.

By the way, here is a strategy for creating an annual blog content plan in 1 week.

8. For anyone thinking “I’d love to get the point where I can quit my full-time job to pursue my travel blog,” what advice would you give them?

Figure out how you want to monetize your travel blog and let that drive your actions. This is vital if you’re interested in becoming a full-time blogger.

For example, we discussed getting into Mediavine. If that is your goal, focus on writing SEO-optimized content. Or, if you want to be an influencer and get a lot of brand deals, go all in on Instagram or TikTok.

Decide what you want your life to look like, and then let that drive what you do.

Additionally, create a business plan. You need to remember that your blog is a business. How are you making money to sustain your lifestyle as a full-time blogger? Do you sell digital products? What do your sales funnels or tripwire funnels look like? Have you thought about your profit and loss? These are just a few topics to think about with your blogging business plan.

You should also network with as many people as possible in this industry – whether that is online or in person. And as you network, don’t be afraid to promote yourself. You can also do regular blogger outreach to land mutually-beneficial collaborations.

Finally, realize that becoming a blogger and making money takes persistence. You’re going to do a lot of the same things day in and day out, and those actions build on each other. So map that out, and realize that if you are driven and persistent, one day you’ll succeed and will earn a full-time blogger income.

9. Now I did want to talk briefly about Travel Blog Prosperity since you are a member and the program is relaunching very soon (so, everyone, make sure you’re on my email list to be notified as I’ve got a great deal coming up with some special bonuses!). But anyway, can you share a bit about what led you to initially join the program, and what your experience inside Travel Blog Prosperity has been?

I did a ton of research before I purchased Travel Blog Prosperity. I looked at all the different courses, but I knew that I wanted something travel-related, which helped narrow things down.

You seemed very approachable from your social media channels and email list. And as I kept up with your content I realized I liked you and your teaching style.

Then when you did promotion where people could join for $9 for their first month, I went ahead and joined. The next month, I went ahead and paid for my yearly membership.

Now, I’ve been in the community for two years and it has totally been the reason behind any success that I’ve had and the reason I’ve been able to quit my job to pursue travel blogging full-time.

And it’s not just the course modules. Travel Blog Prosperity is made up of so many different things – the courses, the member discounts, the monthly coaching calls – but, in my opinion, the community is the best part.

Plus, if you come to the monthly calls – which I try to do at least once per month, if not more – you can get actionable tips on what you’re working on right then. It’s a game changer!

10. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! Before we sign off, can you let everyone know where they can find you?

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you feel inspired and empowered to take your blog full-time.

Don’t forget to grab access to the free 4-day Profitable Travel Blog Makeover course that I’ve linked in the show notes, as it can help you monetize your blogging business faster and with less overwhelm.

I’d also like to thank our sponsor, Travelpayouts, for helping to make this episode possible. Remember, you can click here to join their affiliate network and get $25 on top of your first payout so you can start monetizing right away.

And of course, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes sharing these bite-sized strategies for bloggers who want to turn their blogs into profitable full-time businesses.

Happy blogging!

Become A Full-Time Travel Blogger With These Helpful Past Episodes:

How To See Success With Affiliate Marketing For Travel Bloggers

How To Reach Your Blogging Goals Faster With Outreach Days

How To Find Niche Keywords That Drive Traffic With Competitor Research

How To Presell Your Online Course

10 Ways To Monetize A Travel Blog

How Niching Down Can Help You Grow & Monetize Your Blog

13 Clever Ways To Grow Your Travel Blogging Income

Monetize Your Email List With 4 Smart Strategies

Content Marketing 101: How To Create & Monetize A Blog Series

How To Create A Profitable Blog Brand

Grow Your Blog Fast: 12 Quick Wins For More Traffic & Income


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