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How I Quit My Day Job and Became a Blogger

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of March 2011 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

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.

How I Quit My Day Job and Became a 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 and LinkedIn.
  1. Indeed it is very difficult to take this decision of saying good-bye to your day job. Also, after a few months of blogging, perhaps everyone feels like “I’m too late” :)
    Also liked it when you say “The key is to start. Today”

    • People can take calculated risks and have a back-up plan if anything goes wrong.

    • It is never late as long as you start “today”, i agree. In two years from now, if you do nothing today, you will look back and say “if i had only started back in 2011, now i would had created a solid brand and make a living ” . Time is flying way too fast to realize it, few months seem far but it is not that far.

  2. Very Inspirational Post. Inspires me to keep Blogging with Passion :) Thank you for this wonderful post.

  3. A really nice empowering and feel good post. Thank you

  4. I had that feeling too of missing the whole bandwagon sometimes. It can be depressing but hey keep moving forward until you reach that goal!

  5. Great post (as usual). It can be frustrating at times, feeling like blogging is so saturated and there is no room for one more.

    I just celebrated my 10 month anniversary with my first blog and feel pretty good about what I have accomplished so far. I read through my monthly anniversary posts to remind myself that I have been building and there is progress.

    Patience, persistence, and keeping my day job is the key to success.

    I am on my way!

  6. Dude, I really looove your blogs!! I’m a photographer-to-be (or optimistic wanna-be) and I first found your dps.com blog and I LOOOOVED IT. I still do. Then I started my own blog and thank God came to this ProBlogger site, it has been so helpful. I don’t comment much but I really follow your blog (and over twitter) and have recommended it to some of my blogger friends. Thanks a lot, really.

  7. We didn’t start our site until April 2010. 15 years after newsarama. I knew we had a lot of work to do, but also knew we would never get anywhere if we didn’t get started. It’s never too late to get your blog rolling, especially if you go above and beyond to put out great content. Cheers!

  8. Hello Darren,

    I have question for you! You are one of the pioneers in blogging, and not much people were into blogging. How do you see the current situation as a newbie blogger? I also left my day job for blogging over a year now (and thankfully making more money than my job). However, there is still a fear for me because the income is not stable all the times and the competition is too tough! What do you suggest?

    Thank you

  9. Quitting the day job is not at all easy choice, but I guess, it depends up to you!

    @Darren: You have written a post, asking, ‘On what amount you would leave your Day Job’? Someone said $20K p.a.

    So it’s up to the blogger i guess, what say?

  10. Great Post Darren, You probably don’t remember me, I met you at Blogworld-Las Vegas, in 2008 and purchased one of your courses and book online. Great course and book. You had an offer back then, I think it was a 1-hr consultation if someone purchased your course. I was going to call you to get my free consultation after I got rolling. Shamefully I never called you to really got the ball rolling. After close to 3 years which was seems just like yesterday, I’m still not where I want to be. I think its a combination of fear, procrastination, and lack of personal accountability. I’m glad to say that I have finally started, and it looks like it will be many tiny steps before I can quit my full time job. As you say start, TODAY. I would add the word EVERYDAY and try to live to “TODAY EVERYDAY”. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. It is very difficult for people to leave day job to become a pro blogger like you. I admire the way you did it.

  12. Yep!.

    Remembers me of Rocky 3 movie where a dialogue ” There is no tomorrow ” is shouted!. Yes…Keep working on your blog consistently and who knows, you will have some space for yourself in the web of pro-bloggers.

  13. Taking action is definitely the key to starting a blog or any online business. Moreover, once you overcome the doubts that you are facing before starting, it’s easier than starting any offline project… Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Getting past the fear is the hardest part for me. I have been struggling for sometime with my fears of, what if I don’t make it or what if I am not good enough but your point of taking small steps makes a lot of sense.

    I haven’t been posting, on any of my blogs, as much as I did in the past because I fear that what I am writing is not good enough but I guess a small step would be for me to just post and get over it.

  15. Blogging helped me to become a better writer and gave me the confidence to do free lance writing for PAY! My dream is in the making. Your advice rocks. Thanks Darren.

  16. Hi Darren,

    Great post as usual.

    I also feel like Ahmad and would like to hear you take on that … in terms of building a solid business to avoid the ups and downs.



  17. I agree witth you , I work part-time and can find a time for blogging and I think that is blogging one of way where you can expres your self :)

  18. Really uplifting post. Although not a new blogger, I recently started a new blog. It’s so easy to worry that I’m late to the game. I love Gary’s line about a “gold rush.” It’s true, this medium is going strong, and continues to do so. There’s no reason to think that it’s too late to be successful. Love your points about just needing to take action, TODAY! Thanks Darren.

  19. I am somewhat of a newby to the blogging industry, but have been a ghost writer, copywriter and general all-around everything writer and an illustrator for many years. Even though I could be called a seasoned writer, getting into blogging was hard. I found that, even though I knew that I could write well, each new blog was like pulling teeth. I really had to get myself wound up to even start. The recent downturn in the economy left me without a daily job to drive to and slave at, so I started to work harder at getting past the trip to the dentist and to take the blogging challenge full force. I have yet to make any ‘decent’ money at it, but the blogging has led me into other writing opportunities that I would not have thought I could accomplish. Now my days are filled with ink and my nights with research. It’s quite enjoyable. Someday though, I may be able to quit my day job that I no longer have.

    Thanks as always for your insightful and inspirational writing.

  20. Great post, Darren! I’ve started a couple of months ago and I’ve felt too late many times since. I didn’t let it stop me though. I decided to just do it and see where it would bring me. And now this post totally inspires me to keep going. Thank you!

  21. Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I’m a very new blogger, but it always makes me a little sad when I talk to other people like me who’ve been blogging for only a month of so and they’re all upset that they aren’t making any money on Adsense or getting attention from syndication sites. After a month.

    Better I think to just write and have fun with it and assume that the if you do it right, the rest will follow.

  22. yeah i agree with u Darren, very useful posting

  23. Some Good advice thanks, but i’m 7 months into my first blog and I won’t be giving up the day job just yet. Besides, my day job stops me from becoming a desperte blogger. My life doesn’t depend on my blog, but i’m hopeful i will become fulltime one day.
    Thanks for an inspirational post.

  24. Very well timed post… today is my last day of “real work” before I become a professional blogger :-D :-D :-D

  25. Never listen to the Nay sayers! So true, yes it is with good intent but other people never really know what you are capable of. Only you know what it is, and if you are committed and continue to persevere you will always be amazed what you can create. I thank you for sharing it is a great inspiration, as I am sure it will be for many to come.

  26. I love Gray Vaynerchuk and his book Crush It opened my eyes to blogging. I think on one hand, he makes it sound like anyone can do it, and I guess they could, but it is hard work. And he does say that in his book. And I know you have said it here. Not everyone will be a BIG blogger. Some of us just need to earn 10 or 20k a year. And I have started. I lost the job before I got started, but now I have begun, and I work at it everyday like a job, and I will be launching my first e-book mid-March. Will I make tons of money? I doubt it. But it is a start, a stepping stone to the next project and the next.
    Just do something. Today.
    4 ways to be like the energizer bunny

  27. This is just the encouragement that I needed to see today. It’s confirmation that while I’m not where I’d like to be, I am headed in the right direction.

  28. Hi Darren,

    It’s my first time commenting so i thought i might as well introduce myself,

    I’m a 14 Year Old Blogger from iPhoneFuze. I first started learning blogging in November 2010, then started one about iPhones, iPads and iPods on January 2011.

    I’ve been following your blog and reading it daily now and just wanted to ask when did you give up your day job? How many blogs did you run when you did? Should bloggers give up their day job on their first blog?

    By the way, @Martin lee, I wouldn’t rely on a full-time income from one blog. If your trying to, i suggest you make at least 2 or 3 blogs so you can rely on all of them rather than one. It’s better this way because if one blog ever gets shutdown for some reason or if the server goes down, you’ve always got another blog to rest upon. You’ve still got one that brings in income.

    As usual, thanks Darren for this Great Post!

  29. I needed this little ‘umph’. Thanks.

  30. This was a great article. I think we have all at some point felt that we might have missed the boat. It is never too late to start. If you don’t start today, in another 5 years you will look back and realize that you should’ve started. The web is only gaining momentum. These are just the building blocks for tomorrows opportunities.

  31. Too many people get discouraged too easily – I agree, get started. But also keep in mind – it takes a few years of hard work to become an overnight sensation!! Be patient and stick with it.

  32. It’s funny because lately I’ve been wondering if I doing something worthwhile for my future by putting energy into my blog. I’ve found that my mind has been wandering and considering other projects taking me away from my blog and my original plan. Thanks for bringing me back. There are a lot of bloggers out there, but also a lot of opportunity.

    Thanks again.

  33. What an inspirational post. “The key is to do something. Today.” This is something I’ll be referring to, to progress my blog further in the future.

    Thanks Darren.

  34. Thank you so much for the inspiration and the kick in the pants. :) I just read your book last week and am convinced this is something I can do with the help of resources like yours. Thanks again, the info you provide is so helpful!

  35. I read about you through your ebook long back but I didn’t start blogging then. I started it after sometime but I also thought the same way as your friend “where would I be now if I started it then itself” but didn’t compare to others. I don’t think that blogging will be saturated. It all depends on how frequently we blog. Even if there are well established blogs in the same niche that I choose, but if I am unique, I can beat them in number of readers. What do you say?

  36. Darren,
    I just love this article! “Gold Rush!” LOVE IT!
    But you and @garyvee are absolutely right. The Internet, world wide web, ecommerce, social media, blogging etc is all still so new.
    Can you imagine the likes of BMW, Honda, Lexus, Aston Martin thinking they had all missed the market 8 or 9 years after Henry Ford created his Model A, S and N Ford motor cars?!!!
    You are a past master and it’s so great to hear you tell us that it’s still not too late.
    And how exciting to think we are ALL in the middle of a gold rush!!
    I do a lot of business networking locally and nationally around the UK and I speak to business owners every week who haven’t got a blog and nearly all of them say they know they should start. It’s actually a great area to be in and I put them in touch with a couple of WordPress people who work in th area.
    I tell them the same as you – just start and get writing something.
    I also tell them to keep a note on their iPhone or a notebook about new ideas for blog articles. It’s amazing how the ideas flow once you start blogging.
    I’m off to do something! Yep, you guessed; write my next article!
    Thanks Darren.

  37. Thats the key, do something today!

  38. I heard the same things back in the 90’s and ‘silly me’ let them discourage me from moving forward and I can kick myself now.

    But I finally started a blog that I’m posting to daily, just over two months ago. I’ve gotten over my fears of publishing and I’m having a great time.

    I never thought people would want to read what I write but I’m having the time of my life and have been on a roller coaster ride the past couple of weeks with the success of my blog. :-)

  39. Great post / site – inspired to write a blog called how my day job quit me and I became a blogger.

  40. How inspiring for those feeling “late to the game”. I think your spoke what many people are thinking. If it wasn’t for social networks to allow more avenues for sharing original and great stories, then yes it may or might have been the case.

  41. Michelle says: 03/01/2011 at 9:59 am

    I still have the umbilical cord attached is how new I am to blogging. I am inspired by posts like these and I lost my job in September only to barely find part time work. I truly need to be nurtured and encouraged by pros. I feel like I’m in the wilderness right now.

  42. I liked you tied everything into a quick message. Do something.

    There is something especially wise in those words and not just in the context of blogging. It hit home, especially today…

  43. “I’m too late” is totally something I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I mean, why would anyone come to my blog when there are thousands and thousands of people doing exactly the same thing. But by working hard and thinking creatively I will give them a reason. Thanks for this post. I’m a pretty new blogger and stories like this really motivate me to succeed.

  44. It is really exciting to work as a full-time blogger and always be in the comforts of your home while working. Thanks for sharing your story here. It serves as a great inspiration. Thanks a lot.

  45. You are 100% right that now is the right time to start. If the huffington post had looked at the new York times and said “ah it’s too late” where would they be now?

  46. This is my first time commenting, but something about this post spoke to me today. I can’t tell you how many times the thought, “I’m getting into this too late” has crossed my mind. Thank you for inspiring me and reminding me that I can do whatever I set my mind to as long as I start.

  47. Giving advice is the simplest thing in the world.

  48. Do not let the congestion of the market, the scams surrounding the industry, and innocence defer your way towards success.

  49. Now most of the people are taking blogging profession as a part time one.

  50. Thank you so much for this inspiring and encouraging post.
    “The key is to start. Today.” – “The key is to do something. Today.” very right! Thanks Darren. :)

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