A key question I am asked by readers is how did I know what I wanted to do when I started working again. The short answer is I didn’t. For me the journey from hobby blogger to small business has taken seven years so far. The blog has created a platform for me which has enabled me to earn an income while working from home.
While you would mainly just see the work I do here on the blog, it is the basis for a small home business for me which incorporates:
- Sponsorship and partnerships with brands
- Freelance writing
- Conference organisation
- E-product creation
- Product creation
I have at other times dabbled in consulting and coaching but found these activities were too time intensive and often required me to leave the home, so didn’t really suit my needs.
When I started blogging in 2008 it was not with the intention for it to be a part time job. I had been out of the paid workforce for eight years and realised I needed to update my skills. My husband was studying an MBA so I was pretty home bound while he was undertaking his studies with our four young children.
I instantly loved blogging. I loved the instantness of the medium. I loved the ability to share what I had learnt, which would hopefully make life easier for another family. It wasn’t until nearly two years later, I came to the realisation if I wanted to continue blogging and spending the amount of time I was on it, I was going to have to start creating revenue streams.
It was then I first signed up with an agent and began working with brands. The book was then published, the blog grew further and I created products of my own to sell from the blog. This path wasn’t planned or designed but evolved in the initial years. If you have read the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell where he talks about timing being important, I think I was fortunate to start blogging when I did.
Blogging in 2008 was still in its infancy in Australia and it was really all about the blog. Now it is still about the blog, but there are all the social media networks attached which bloggers engage in. Blogging is a growing industry with many making full time incomes from doing so in Australia now.
The Problogger Training Event is held annually and is aimed at helping bloggers grow their blogs and learn new skills to create sustainable revenue streams. I curate the speakers for the event and am always blown away by the examples of people who have taken to blogging and turned it into an amazing business.
But how does my story help you decide what to do? I am not saying everyone should start a blog! But there are some things I have learnt over the last seven years that might help you think about what you might like to do:
- Do you really want to work, do you have to work or do you feel you should work? It is really important to work out the “why” element of your work life. For me there was an element of needing to return to work, but I also had reached the point where I wanted something outside of the family to work on.
- What did you want to do when you were younger? My first choice for a course at uni was a writing course, but I opted for a more practical business degree instead. Is there something you wanted to when you were younger but thought it wasn’t practical or sensible? It may be time to reassess that now.
- Where do you want to work? Do you want to work from home or do you want to be in a social work environment? I wanted to work from home to have the flexibility to help out at school, do coffee mornings etc. Working from home requires a different discipline and can be isolating so is not for everyone.
- What are your natural abilities? One of mine was turning pretty much everything into a spreadsheet. What do you do with ease, that others might find hard? Can you find something work wise that utilises this strength?
- Is there a financial necessity to returning to work? I knew eventually we would need a second income. Starting blogging before the financial necessity was immediately upon me, gave me time to learn and explore without financial pressure.
- What skills can you teach yourself at home online to see if you might like work in a certain field? It is super easy to start up a a free blog, do a free or low cost online courses, practice social media and do it from home to up skill. Is there a mini project you can dip your toes into first to test the waters?
- What makes you happy and gives you a sense of satisfaction? I love helping people, it makes me feel happy. I couldn’t sustain making an income from the blog if I didn’t think the tips on the blogs I shared were helping other families.
- Know it is okay to change your mind and fail. I started up a blog coaching arm, but after a very short time realised it wasn’t for me so shut it down. I loved creating the PWK calendar but for me to be able to do it again this year, I needed to go into a second print last year and that didn’t happen. This is all part of the process of finding what works for you and the time you have available for work.
Hopefully these questions will get you thinking if returning to work or changing work is something you are considering? If you have any questions along these lines, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. If there are a few, I will compile them and answer them all in another post.