Working for a living shouldn't be a huge sacrifice for everyone right? While others love their profession, the typical day job, there are also some people who swear to leave and escape the 9-5 life.
Some work hard from 9 to 5 not because they love doing it, but they have to – they must earn money, pay their rents or mortgage and feed their family.
But thanks to side-hustling, freelancing and blogging, it is now possible to earn money online without attending the most dreaded day job (at least for some).
I have the honour to interview one of my fellow bloggers who have finally achieved to escape the 9-5 life and her account is one of the unique and inspirational stories you should know if you are also aspiring to work from home full-time.
Stay with us and discover how Sarah managed to escape the 9-5 life and be a full-time blogger
Tell us about you and your blog. When did you start blogging and did you purposely blog to make it a business in the future?
Sarah: My name is Sarah, and I started blogging back in 2017-2018 but didn't seriously go for it until 2019. I was always fascinated by the idea that you could make money online, and I enjoyed writing, so finding out about blogging was the perfect thing.
I knew I wanted to run some sort of creative business, but I never expected blogging to be the job. August of 2019 I started Business Women Thrive, which changed to Sarah Marie just a year later. It was the 2nd blog I had started.
I blog about productivity, mindset, social media, and blogging primarily. I also run a YouTube channel, mostly about Pinterest, that is still named Business Women Thrive.
How did you start with this venture? Do/Did you have a strategy that you were finally able to work from home or it just happened?
Sarah: Working from home was always the goal once I seriously started blogging. I had a strategy, but it was extremely hard to implement with my full-time job draining me of time and energy. In my first year with Sarah Marie, I made around $184. My second year was when everything changed.
The pandemic hit and I left my job, what I thought would be temporary, in March of 2020 to stay safe. By April of 2020, I got the call that my job would not be re-opening. I was horrified because my husband also worked with me. 100% of our income was now gone.
I knew I had a choice. Make this work or go back to the 9-5. And now that I had the time, I was able to make it work.
How was leaving/escaping 9-5 like at first? Are there moments that you think, ”this is surreal and this may not be happening”?
Sarah: My “Leaving the 9-5” story is obviously not typical, so yeah it was terrifying. I obviously didn’t make the choice to leave permanently. But with the pandemic still going, and the fact that I knew if I went back to a 9-5 life I would have to leave my business behind, I think I made the right choice in pursuing what I knew I wanted anyway.
I knew I wanted the fast-food job I had to be the last 9-5 place I ever worked at, but I didn’t think it would happen when it did. It felt like being pushed off a cliff, time to sink or swim. But, in the end, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I knew I needed to leave in order to pursue the business long before I was forced to leave, but I never would have been able to do it on my own!
What are the biggest challenges while working from home and how do you manage those?
Sarah: I would say focusing and work-life balance.
You need to be focused on your tasks. When my husband is home, it’s easy to want to relax with him, but there is work to be done. You have to be disciplined as well. When you’re home by yourself, who is there to see you watching TV for hours and getting no work done? You have to be able to get yourself to work.
I like using to-do lists to keep everything organized. Finding whatever organizational method that works for you is the best option. And I use the Pomodoro Technique to keep me on track! I have an app on my phone that has been a lifesaver! (If you’re interested in adding a link for your readers, I wrote about this here on my blog: https://www.sarahmarie.blog/pomodoro-technique-productivity-method/ )
And work-life balance. I am obsessed with my business. Working on the next thing, learning how to improve my craft etc… So taking days off for me is hard. But, it’s needed. There was a period where I’d work for 3 months straight and get burned out. Then, I’d take a few days off… and ended up taking a month off, unable to get myself back to work. So, taking frequent breaks so you don’t burn out is essential! I usually take my days off when my husband is home, so I can spend time with him.
Weren't you hesitant at first to work from home, blog full-time and leave your job or decide not to work outside?
Sarah: YES, 100%! It was probably the most terrifying thing I’ve done. If my “Work from home” story didn’t go the way it did, with me being unable to work because of the pandemic and being at a high risk of getting sick, I’d probably still be at that 9-5.
Taking risks isn’t easy for me, and making enough money blogging while working a 9-5 just wasn’t in the cards for me. So while it was scary, I’m glad it happened the way it did.
What are your goals as an online business owner? How do you see yourself in 5 years, in 10 years?
Sarah: I have two main missions, one for my audience and one for me. My mission statement for what I want my audience to get from my content is “To help you take back the life you love”.
My goal is to help, primarily women, build a business that they can profit from, leave their 9-5 and not only take back their life but make it one they LOVE as well. As for me, I really just want a simple goal. To make enough money to support my family, and others when I can. I do not care if my business ever makes 6 figures, I don’t need tons of money or material things. I want just enough money to be able to raise a family, in a cozy house and, if I can, be able to donate and help out the less fortunate.
I also want to be able to build a business that works for me, not one that I work for. So, in terms of automation. If I step back to spend time with family, my business can keep running.
In 5 years, ideally, I’d like to be well off enough that I can support a family. I want to be a mother, and on top of that, one that is able to be present with her kids. That was another big reason I started the business, so I could spend time with my future children and not have to send them to daycare or something while I worked.
In 10 years, I honestly probably will have a business that makes 6 figures. I’ll probably still be doing some form of video and writing, maybe have created an online course or two, and likely have written at least one book.
Who knows what will happen, but one thing is for sure, my morals will stay the same. I don’t need expensive things, even if I can run a business to support that lifestyle. So once my family is taken care of, I’ll be donating and giving everything extra to anyone who needs help.
What advice can you give to aspiring full-time bloggers?
Sarah: 1. Don’t get discouraged when it seems it isn’t working out. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your online business be. I know it can be easy to stop and get discouraged and give up, but giving up will not help you achieve your dreams.
2. Don’t be afraid to re-direct. I’ve redirected my business quite a few times. Changed niches, changed website providers, hosting companies, blog names- you name it, I’ve done it. Change can be scary but follow your heart. And eventually, you will carve out your corner of the web that you’re happy with!
3. Get on video! I know, seems like weird advice, but seriously. Video is the FASTEST growing industry, and growing faster every day. It’s honestly easier to get noticed on YouTube than your own blog because YouTube already has an audience and will push your content out for you.
Whereas, with your blog, you are doing most or all of the promotion. I’ve gotten clients from my YouTube channel, and it has helped grow my business as a whole. If you want resources on where to start, my holy grail of YouTube information comes from Cathrin Manning (Links, if you’d like to include: https://www.youtube.com/c/CathrinManning) and Think Media/Sean Cannell (https://www.youtube.com/user/THiNKmediaTV) who have multiple channels to teach you on!
What was the moment that you told yourself, ”I want to work from home”? And how you felt about it?
Sarah: It kind of built up over time. Back in high school was the first time I heard about YouTubers posting videos and making money. My husband, then-boyfriend, told me about gaming YouTubers he watched that made money playing videos games. And I was like…. WHAT?! That’s a thing?! I was fascinated by it and started uploading videos myself- videos where I didn’t talk and they just were video gameplay because I was too scared to speak.
I got discouraged many times and stopped, but remained fascinated by the idea and kept coming back to making money online. In college came the moment I knew I wanted to work from home I think. I was in school for architecture and interior design, this is the business I thought I would run- fixing up houses.
Once I realized this wasn’t the job for me, I dropped out in about 2019 and eventually made my way back to blogging, yet again. I was terrified of the response to wanting to work from home by my family. But after dropping out of college and not knowing what I’d even want to do with my life, I knew being miserable at a 9-5 just wasn’t it. And blogging and YouTube were the places I kept ending back up at.
How can you not get ”too cosy” working from home and finally get on business? Do you have a working space where you finally get the mood to work?
Sarah: It honestly all depends on personal preference. I do have an office that I work in, probably about 40% of the time. But, to be honest, I work mostly from my couch.
Where I focus best can shift day-to-day. Sometimes I can work just fine on my couch, other days my office is the place where I can work better.
I think it depends on the environment you work best in. I do not work well in clutter. So when my office was disorganized, I couldn’t work there. Once it got re-arranged, I can do some of my best work in there! It’s a place that inspires me to work.
But, if you find yourself drifting off to watch TV or getting distracted, the couch may not be the best place for you, and you may have to find an office or workspace. I think either way you should still have an office space to change up your environment a bit and have a focused area dedicated to work. Once you find what works best for you, stick to that!
Did you regret leaving 9-5 life, at least once after making that huge decision?
Sarah: Easily the answer to this one is no. I don't regret leaving at all. The only thing I would say I miss, is knowing exactly how much money you are going to make at the end of the month. With blogging, income fluctuates so much that you just never know. But other than that, no I don't regret it one bit.
What's the hardest part of working from home that you didn't encounter in working 9-5?
Sarah: Discipline, and knowing what to do. At a 9-5, you get told what to do, when, and how. When running your own business, you’re the boss. So you may have no clue what to do sometimes! You could try something out and it fails, or you could try something out and it ends up growing your business! You just never really know.
Do you follow a routine every day so you won't get lazy and be productive while working from home?
Sarah: For the most part, yes. But routines tend to bore me and I fall off them. I have a few tasks I set a day each week for. When a blog post or video goes out, and when client work needs to be done.
But for me, it’s easy to not get lazy because I am obsessed with the business and always want to be working on it! Plus, I enjoy the freedom of doing what I want, when I want. It allows for my creativity to flow better!
How do people in business or in general benefit from the services and products that you offer?
Sarah: I offer a few different things. I have an Etsy shop with some products for bloggers. Content calendars and ways to get organized. I also offer a pin creation service where I create a set number of pins for your Pinterest account.
My most popular service is my Pinterest Management, where I create pins each week, do keyword research for your account and blog posts, and pin to your account. I offer this as a monthly service.
Here are links if you’d like to include:
Pinterest Management: https://www.sarahmarie.blog/pinterest-management-services/
Pin Creation: https://www.sarahmarie.blog/pinterest-creation-services/
How was the experience of having the first client? Did you pitch your services or did somebody just ask you if you could do this and that?
Sarah: It was kind of scary honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing. Thankfully, my first management client was a good friend of mine. So I was able to get some experience in managing someone's account without too much worry.
I had only done pin creation services up till this point, so I roughly knew what I was doing. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with someone else’s account though!
I was pitching my services for a bit before I got my first client. I was just texting her, as was normal, and I brought up my pin management services. She said she was interested, and so she hired me to help her!
What are your plans for your business and blog? (It's okay if you don't answer it, some people don't want to share their plans.)
Sarah: My plans right now are pretty simple, keep trying to grow my passive income streams! I want to work on SEO and affiliate marketing, growing my YouTube and hopefully making income more passively in the future. I do enjoy client work, but one day it's a service I'd like to get rid of!
How do people reach you? (website, social media accounts and email address)
Sarah: You can find me on my website at: https://www.sarahmarie.blog/
Anything you want to add?
Sarah: Thank you for the interview! I had a blast answering the questions, and sorry for the long answers! There's just so much information to give on blogging full-time!!
I would say we have a lot of learnings to get from Sarah's story and experience on how she managed to work from home full-time and leave the 9 to 5 life.
Working from home is not for everyone and I could say the same thing with day jobs – thus we have work from home women or moms – but before we get into this venture, we should know the risks and consequences of leaving the day job.
Again, thank you Sarah for giving me the opportunity to feature you on my blog and to have this interview with you. Now we have a much clearer picture of blogging full-time from home.
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