I won’t make you scroll until the end of this post to provide an answer to “Why I Quit My Six-Figure Corporate Job to Blog Full Time.” The answer is because I make six-figures blogging.
In two years I have written a published cookbook, produced content for some of my favorite brands, and I have grown my blog to half a million page views per month. It was time to leave my day job.
I launched Stay Snatched exactly two years ago in November 2016. I had no idea what I was in for and I had no plans to take ever take the blog full time. In fact, I was interviewed on the Chopped Podcast by Marly of Namely Marly in February of this year. Be sure to check out the episode here.
During the interview, she asked if I had plans to take my blog full time. I answered no. It was the truth. Even though Stay Snatched was producing income at the time, I was content with my work at my corporate job and the steady paycheck it brought in.
When I Decided I Wanted to Leave the Corporate World
I started contemplating the idea of leaving my job late summer. By this time my cookbook, The Easy Air Fryer Cookbook (shameless plug), was finished. Some would think that after writing a cookbook one would think about quitting their 9-5 job. I didn’t. Not immediately. I was still fine with working both jobs.
I have never been shy about hard work. I have worked hard all of my life. I got my first job at Burger King when I was 14 years old. When payday came around, I was proud of the work I was doing working as a cashier. I loved being able to pay for all of the things a teenager “thought” they needed.
In college, I worked 3 jobs AND took 18 credit hours each semester. I took 18 credit hours because I was on a full academic scholarship and was also an accounting major with plans to sit for the CPA exam upon graduation. In order to apply for a CPA license (in most states) 150 credit hours are required. We only needed 128 for an undergraduate degree.
Most CPA candidates get an MBA and go a fifth year to meet the 150 hours requirement. I didn’t want to do that simply because I did not want to pay or take out loans for grad school. So I milked my free scholarship and busted my butt by taking additional hours.
Launching Stay Snatched while holding down my main gig wasn’t very difficult for me because I am used to juggling, especially when it comes to work and jobs. I have done it my whole life and the ability to multi-task and take on a lot at once comes naturally to me.
However, burnout is REAL. I finished writing my cookbook several months ago, during the early months’ of summer. I was TIRED. I had been writing recipes, testing them, and answering questions from 3 different editors all while still trying to continue to post weekly recipes to Stay Snatched. It was exhausting. Luckily, I had 3 international vacations lined up for the summer. I boarded a flight to Greece days after my cookbook had gone through final review.
My cookbook was released late summer. I spent most of the summer traveling, which likely also contributed some to my burnout. I planned a party to celebrate the cookbook release (this was also very stressful and exhausting, in case you haven’t sensed a theme). The party was amazing. It was everything I wanted it to be. Though it was stressful, I wouldn’t trade that moment for the world.
After the party, I felt like I could finally breathe some, all of my major To Do’s were done. But I didn’t stop to breathe, I dove right back into work, primarily focusing on Q4 recipes (Q4 is the height of the year for most bloggers). I had a huge Excel list of recipes that I wanted to test and develop. The list continued to grow and no matter how many recipes I created and published, I never felt like I was chipping away at the list.
This became DEPRESSING. I also started to get a lot of ideas about new forms of content I wanted to introduce on the blog. Those went on the Excel list, too. This should have felt exciting! I felt miserable and frustrated because for at least 8 hours of every weekday I was away from my kitchen. There was no feasible way for me to even make a dent in my list of ideas.
This is when I started to wonder why I was so determined to keep my corporate job. My income from Stay Snatched started to exceed my corporate salary, but I was still indifferent about leaving. WHY?! I loved the security blanket. I loved that my job didn’t require many late nights or extra hours. Most days, I worked out in the corporate gym for lunch. I was paid very reasonably and the benefits were amazing.
Every day, the passion for my corporate work started to decrease. As I mentioned previously, I’m a CPA. I worked in Finance in a financial planning and analysis role. I LOVE analyzing data. My data analyst skills have come in handy for Stay Snatched.
I fell out of love with the corporate finance work I was doing. I also wasn’t a huge fan of my work environment. My team had gone through some pretty ugly situations in the last year. So I kept asking myself why I felt like I needed to hang on to that job. When I no longer had an answer, I knew it was time to go. I immediately started planning. I had fully made up my mind about 6 weeks prior to when I gave notice to my job.
Planning for Self Employment
My corporate exit planning included a LOT of spreadsheets. I modified my standing personal budget spreadsheet to exclude my corporate income. I then forecasted my income and expenses for Stay Snatched for the next 12 months. I used actual income and expenses incurred in 2018 as a guide.
For my income estimate, I reduced my forecasted income by 35%. I wanted to try to be as conservative with my estimates as possible. I also increased my budgeted expenses, because again….conservative. I put together a mock tax return, with calculations for estimated tax payments.
I researched the costs of health, dental, and vision benefits. I also looked into how I could obtain a solo 401k (self-employed 401k). I wanted my self-employed benefits to mirror my corporate benefits as much as possible.
Thank goodness for blogger Facebook Groups. For health insurance, I selected Christian Healthcare Ministries thanks to a recommendation from another blogger in a Facebook Group. Their rates are very affordable and the coverage is in line with what I need. For my 401k, I selected Fidelity, whom I have used in corporate for years.
Once I was comfortable with the financial planning, I started building out my office. The third bedroom in my home has always been set up as an office, but I only used it when I needed to iron clothes. I made some changes and purchased this desk from Amazon. They will even install it if you pay them extra!
Previously, I worked in my dining room or on my couch. That needed to change!
How I Make Money Blogging
I have three main sources of revenue.
Mediavine handles the ad placements on my website. They are an amazing group of people and I feel so lucky to have them. Their team is knowledgeable and they are always offering up their help and expertise. Mediavine requires 25,000 sessions per month to your website before you qualify to apply with their network.
What do ad placements do? Every time someone visits my website, ads load from brands. The ads are embedded within my content (text and photos). As users, scroll past these ads, I make money. The more page views and traffic I get, the more money I make in ad revenue. This is why increasing my traffic from 500k page views a month to 1.3million views a month is a HUGE deal. My income shot up.
Brand Partnerships and Sponsored Work
I have gotten to partner with some really great brands. The goal of sponsored work is to create a story surrounding the use of a brand’s product that I love and trust.
I only work with brands and products that I use and trust. Affiliate marketing helps drive sales of a product. I earn commission on the sale.
What’s Next For Stay Snatched and Me
I am looking forward to getting more quality sleep. Sleep is something I have never compromised on in my life, up until 2 months ago. Even in my college days (while working 3 jobs), I always went to bed at a decent hour. If needed, I would wake up early the next morning to finish tasks. Things have gotten so hectic for the blog, I have been going to sleep later and later each night while working on various tasks.
I am excited for 2019. I have a lot of ideas that I can’t wait to get started on. Throughout 2018 I have been working really hard to build a tribe and an engaged following. I feel like I have broken the surface and I can’t wait to dive in and continue growing my readership.
I’m elated to have a career where I have direct control of my next steps. If I continue to work hard, my blog will grow. If I let go of consistency, my business will likely flounder. The ball is in my court and I call the shots. I am my own boss and best of all, I get to do it all, while showcasing my authentic self.
I have always shown my audience who I really am. I listen to hip hop music, sip tea while reading celebrity gossip, and indulge in bottomless mimosas when I attend brunch.
Stay Snatched is my small world and I’m blessed that I can share it.