I know I talk about blogging A LOT. But there’s a reason for it, and that’s because blogging has been a lifeline for me.
You know how some people know what they want to do from a very young age? Yeah, that wasn’t me. I thought about being a teacher, flight attendant, artist, secretary, and model (really?) — but I didn’t have a strong pull in any one direction. Even when I got to high school, I was still clueless about what career path to take. All I knew for sure was that I’d attend college and hopefully earn at least $30K a year!
My College Years
I started my college journey off at Austin Community College, where I took my core classes and many sociology and psychology classes. When I transferred to the University of Texas, I planned on getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. But the universe had a different plan for me, as my application to the school of social work was rejected. I didn’t want to wait another year to apply, as I had already been in college for four years! So, I decided to major in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Sociology.
After graduation, I applied for some entry-level positions, but the pay was pitiful. I earned way more money waitressing, so I decided that was a better option. After some soul-searching and a two-month hiatus in Europe, I decided to apply to nursing school.
I initially thought I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse. But, after my L&D rotation in school and crying after each baby was born, I decided to do pediatrics instead. When I graduated from nursing school, I started working the graveyard shift as a medical/surgical and trauma nurse at the Children’s Hospital.
Working as a Nurse
During this time, I saw terrible cases of neglect and abuse. I cared for children with life-threatening diseases, and I had seven children almost die in my hands. Just writing this, I get teary-eyed.
To say it was stressful and emotionally challenging is an understatement. After a year of sleepless days and many panic attacks later, I decided to try another avenue within the nursing field.
I started working in the insurance industry on the Medicaid contract. This desk job was a welcome and much-needed break from the hospital. But, this position required me to be on the phone for the majority of the day, which was exhausting.
Providers and nurses would yell at me because I couldn’t approve their services. And the majority of the nurses that worked in this department were disgruntled and unhappy, which made for a very toxic work environment.
Within a couple of years, I was burnt out again.
Over the next few years, I tried my hand at medical record review and pharmaceutical research. But I was never fulfilled in my nursing career. I wanted to leave the field, but I had no clue what to do, and I didn’t want to go back to school.
The Birth of My Daughter
When my daughter was born, I knew that I wanted to spend every minute I could with her, so I happily quit my nursing job. I saved as much money as I could during my last nine months of employment. But sadly, what I thought would last me a couple of years was gone in eight short months. It was at this time I started looking for work-at-home jobs.
I had NO CLUE what to do; all I knew was I didn’t want to return to the nursing field, ever!
Freelancing From Home
I searched online every single day — but my searches only revealed scams, marketing schemes, and poorly done websites. So, I asked friends and past employers if there was any work that I could do for them from my home. My efforts eventually paid off, and I started working ten hours a week from home doing marketing research.
Even though I had money coming in, I was still thinking about the future of my career. You see, my husband and I agreed I’d take five years off to be at home with our daughter. But once she started school, I would need to start working full-time again.
Starting a Blog
It was a combination of my job search and my cluelessness of what to do with my life that gave me the idea for my blog. I started blogging in 2009, and I made my first my first sale two months later. My initial goal was to earn $500 to $700 a month with my blog. Each year my blogging income grew, but only by 20 to 30 percent. So, even though my blog was making money, I still had to work my part-time marketing gig.
When my daughter went off to kindergarten, I wanted to focus all my time and energy on my blog (because this is what I LOVED), but I had trouble gaining the traction that I needed to make it my full-time career. So, I started freelancing for more hours. Over the years, I read a lot of blogging books and courses, and I even hired a business coach and joined a writing group — but my blog continued to grow at a snail’s pace.
In early 2014, I purchased a blogging course that really helped grow my business. Even though the course was expensive, I signed up and made it my goal to earn enough from my blog to be able to quit my freelancing gig.
Within two months, I was able to increase my traffic by 66%. And from there, it kept going up and up. In one year, I was able to increase my blogging income by 150%, which allowed me to quit my freelance marketing job. For the last seven years, I’ve earned a full-time income from blogging.
I LOVE what I do, so much so that it never even seems like work! When I think back to my nursing days and how miserable I was, I feel like I need to pinch myself.
Spending money on your education and self-development is always a good investment. And the great thing is, you don’t have to spend a ton to get a lot of value. If you only have enough money for a book, by all means, start there. The more you consume, the more your mind expands, and the more you’ll grow.
Hey Please, can I get a copy of your Blogging E-book? Thanks in advance.
Holly Reisem Hanna
You can sign up here for it:
Hi. I need help, please. I read a lot number of blogs. I love writing but cannot able to decide the niche. I feel so confused about the topics.
I mean I am not an expert on exactly anything, as I was into job for 10 years in different profiles (Soft skill strainer for a CSR, Counselor).
However, I love reading on some topics like Relationships, health, food (and digital marketing of course).
Right now I am doing SEO for a website on a freelance basis. But I want to make my own blog or any way of earning at home (handling a joint family, husband, kid).
I know I wrote a lot here, but in case if you can suggest something, please.
Holly - The Work at Home Woman
Take a look at this post: https://www.theworkathomewoman.com/writing-niche/
Can I receive a copy of your Blogging E-book please.
Can I be completely blunt and ask what the average monthly pay is for a new blogger? I have a degree in public relations and marketing, but after realizing I was going to basically have to move to NYC or work for less than my current cost of living before getting a “break” in the industry, I decided to go back to school for nursing. Since then it has been a roller coaster of loving and hating my job all at once. The patients deserve my time…the hospital does not. I’m getting married soon and desperate to find something where I can make dinner at a normal time and not be so stressed that I cry into the spaghetti I just made. Blogging seems like a perfect fit…but I want to make sure I can actually make money with it…enough to live on at least. Thoughts?
Holly - The Work at Home Woman
When I started out, I was earning about $500 a month. But it took me a little over two months to make my first sale. This post explains more about that: https://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/resources-tutorials.html
My path to earning a full-time income was slower than most because of a couple of reasons. First, I treated my blog as a side gig because I was caring for my daughter full-time. Second, I was also working a freelance marketing gig — so that took up a good chunk of my time. Once my daughter started kindergarten and I dropped the freelance gig — I was quickly able to ramp up my income.
I think as long as you have the time to invest, and you’re strategic, both with your blogging activities and finances, I think you’ll be able to earn a full-time income within a year. These gals were able to make a full-time income within a year:
Good luck and keep me posted!
This is such an inspiring story! I can hardly imagine the turmoil of nursing, and I admire you for attempting other avenues before happening upon the beautiful world of blogging. I made a similar move leaving one stressful job for another before risking it all to blog haha! It’s incredible to see so many successful people coming out of Ruth’s course, and I’ve taken the plunge this year and hope to see even a fraction of your success. Keep up the great work and thanks for this! :)
Holly - The Work at Home Woman
That’s great and so exciting, Ashley! What is your blog about?
Oye, nursing was tough! I’m so glad that I found a way out!
Keep me posted on your progress =)