I QUIT MY DAY JOB!! (!!!)
What do steel cut oats have to do with this post? Absolutely nothing- but, it’s what I ate for breakfast today. So. Here’s a picture of it :)
Yep. I quit my job ???????????????????????????? You know what you can do when you work from home?? Dye your hair PURPLE and get a tattoo. Since I couldn’t get a tattoo appointment until March, I’ll have to settle for the purple hair for now. It’s not even really close to the shade of purple that I originally wanted BUT I learned that what I wanted is very difficult to achieve with my dark hair. So, I opted for a deeper purple color and I love it! It’s weird and it’s different and it’s fun which is ALL I was going for. Picture coming soon, promise!
If you’ve had a conversation with me over the past couple years lasting more 20 minutes, then you’ve probably heard about my dream/ ultimate goal of being able to quit my day job and work on my food blog/ photography/ videography full time. And I still kind of can’t believe that it’s a reality. BUT IT IS! BAM.
So, what exactly WILL I be doing for a job now that I quit my day job? I’ve learned that most people think my new full time job will be food photography. However, that’s actually only a very small part of it. Here are the main components of what I will be spending my time on (and what will be paying my bills!). This is based on a ~50-55 hour work week:
- Freelance Food Videography (about 50% of my job)
- THIS blog that you’re reading (about 30-40% of my job)
- Freelance writing and photography (the rest of it)
Let’s talk about each of those a bit more, shall we? :)
As I assume you know, I started creating videos about 8 months ago. I saw that it was becoming a vital part of the online food space and I saw many bloggers having great success with it. The bug was first planted in my ear last October when I attended a small food blogging conference in Cancun. Eric and Diana Johnson, from Eating Richly, gave a talk about video and I KNEW that in the coming year (2016), video was at the very top of my to-do list.
When I was really ready to dive into video, I joined the Blog Village which took my videos to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL! Seriously, if you’re at all interested in creating recipe videos, joining the Blog Village is the best investment you will make (besides buying a camera and a good lens maybe ;)). I took what I learned and started practicing by creating recipe videos for my own blog. The first few videos had mild success but then THIS video went semi viral, bringing in about 1,000 new facebook likes in only a few days. From there on out, I was officially OBSESSED with video. I started making it my focus deciding to even post fewer recipes per week so that I could get at least one recipe video out per week.
Then I thought “hey, I wonder if I could turn this new passion project of mine into a bit of a side hustle??”. So, I emailed a blogger who I greatly admire, who has a large following, and who had recently just hired someone to do her videos. I was curious to find out if 1) she thought other larger bloggers would be interested in hiring someone to help with video (I knew it needed to be slightly larger bloggers who could afford paying a videographer regularly) and 2) maybe by chance she could give me a few references. She was SO encouraging AND within a few days, had sent 3 bloggers to me all of whom I worked with AND who sent me MORE references. I got about 6 clients from sending that 1 email.
Fast forward to today and I have more inquiries for video work than I have time to complete. I’ve been able to pick just a few bloggers to work with regularly and the past couple months it has been working marvelously (with the exception that I was having to cram ALL of the video work into just 2 days on the weekend while I wasn’t at work).
HUGE thanks to Sara from the wonderful blog Cake Over Steak for emailing me one day to let me know that a super cool blogger was looking to hire a part time video production manager. That super cool blog= Ambitious Kitchen and I’m SO happy to be working with her. We seem to have very similar styles and creating videos for her has been SO much fun so far. You can follow along with her blog and see our new videos as they’re posted by following her blog HERE.
Another one of the lovely bloggers that I’ll be working with regularly is Jessica from JessicaGavin.com. We’re in a blogger mastermind group together and I’ve LOVED watching her blog grow. If you enjoy reading income reports, you should DEFINITELY check out the income reports that Jason, her husband, puts together for their blog. With much hard work, they saw incredible growth in 2016 and I’m excited to be working with them more in the new year!
So, to sum all of that up: about 50% of my time each week will be spent creating super fun recipes videos for fellow bloggers and occasionally for some brands as well.
Oh hi! That’s what you’re reading right now. If you read my income reports, then you know that in 2016, I worked hard to take my blog to the next level and to put it in a position to be a serious source of income for me. It was a particularly good month, but in December of this year, the income from my blog alone reached over $3300 (!!!!).
I have lots of goals for 2017 now that I’ll have more time to focus on it. In a nutshell I hope to:
- Post very consistently 3 times per week
- Stay on top of promoting ALL of my content (new and old)
- Continue creating at least one video for my own blog each week while sometimes producing 2 per week
- Reach 200k monthly pageviews by August 1, 2017. And 400k monthly by the end of the year (lofty goals!)
- Connect with more brands and hopefully nurture some long term sponsorships (would love to eventually have just 2-3 brands that I work with all throughout the year)
- Consistently use an editorial calendar to plan out ALL of my posts at least a month out
- Focus on growing my Instagram
I think it will vary each week but my goal is to spend roughly 40% of my work week on my blog.
Freelance Writing & Photography
This past year, I took a step back from writing for Thrillist Nashville and I’m not even doing much local photography either. I originally really wanted to do a lot more restaurant photography but that was one of those things that just didn’t come very easy for me. Meaning, I actually went out and tried to get some clients but seeing as I’m NO salesperson, I didn’t really do a great job. Which is okay. I do some of those shoots here and there and take photos regularly for a few local magazines and publications. Those are mostly nice just as a way to get me out of the house and meeting new people.
I also do very little family and wedding photography (although I think many people are under the impression that I do weddings all of the time for some reason). While I have ABSOLUTELY no desire to ever be a wedding photographer (I’m just not bossy enough for that job), I do enjoy second shooting weddings from time to time. That basically just means that I hang out in the background taking lots of detail shots of the rings, the clothes, the flowers, the guests, and help get shots from several different angles and view points during the ceremony. I enjoy second shooting quite a bit but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really pay a lot.
Something I have always really enjoyed is headshot photography. I have a whole lighting setup and several backdrops but I’ve never quite mastered the lights and how to manipulate them to properly highlight the subject. If for no other reason than because I like it, this is something that I really want to work on now that my hobby has become my job and I’ll (hopefully) have a little more free time on my hands.
Speaking of hobbies…
And speaking of hobbies. I’m SO excited to FINALLY have some free time to…live again. And do some of the things that normal people do such as clean my house on a regular basis and go out with friends on the weekends without feeling exhausted all of the time.
Now that I’m transitioning my hobby into my career, I’m looking forward to picking up some new (and old) hobbies including:
- LOTS more gardening. I’ve dabbled in gardening the past 5 years but I’m SO excited to really dedicate myself to it this year. I have huge plans for my 2017 spring garden and hope to start working on my butterfly garden in an empty part of our property. Basically I just want my whole house to be covered in garden roses, bees, and butterflies.
- Playing guitar. I’ve has a guitar for about 8 years. The first 2 years I played it ALL the time and even took a couple basic classes in college. So, I hope to pick it back up and play around a bit this year.
- Macramé perhaps? I don’t know. It’s just a thought. :)
- Walk my dogs every day. They need the exercise; I need the exercise.
- Do yoga more often. Now that I’m working from home and making my own schedule, I’ll really have NO excuses.
- Cook just for fun. The fun thing about being a food blogger is that I have lots of super awesome food blogger friends who constantly publish awesome new recipes. I can’t wait to try some of these JUST for fun and not because I need to test a recipe for my blog or cook something for a video.
Things I’m going to do now that I CAN…
- Get a tattoo
- Dye my hair purple! ✔︎
- Work from hip Nashville coffee shops
- Take random weekdays off just because I feel like it
- Sleep in a little more
- Have more confined work hours (aka more non-work hours)
- Have weekENDS again- SO excited to have even just one day off per week!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, my blog, and all of my dreams over the years. I wouldn’t be here without you and it means the world to me! I look forward to an exciting 2017!