I am a full-time blogger with my own website on Tumblr. My Tumblr blog is a collection of my amateur landscape photography and integrates FotoMoto technology to sell my artwork. I have been a blogger full time for the past year and a half.
As a blogger, my work involves more than just the computer. I spend about 15 hours a week hiking and taking pictures for my blog. Then, I use editing software to fix any composition issues and to watermark my photos. I then go to my Tumblr page and post them. Finally, it is promotion time. I like my photography blog to have very little text and words and have the art speak for itself. So, I have to “speak for it” in other ways: through e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. These lead my followers back to my Tumblr site.
The biggest misunderstanding about what I do is that it is an isolating job. I am out in the field taking pictures and often have friends with me when I hike. Also, WiFi allows me to work remotely at coffee shops, libraries, and even outside in the town square.
My job satisfaction is a 10 out of 10. During the start-up my satisfaction was less. Becoming financially successful took time, word of mouth, and pounding of the pavement to get my “voice” out there and to become relevant. Anyone can be a blogger, so I had to find my own unique niche so that my voice was not lost in the crowd.
I have a career that speaks to my soul. I have always had a love of photography. My blog also ignited a new passion that I was unaware that I had: social networking. I enjoy reading up on trends and utilizing the latest technology to attract people to my site.
My partner was the sole financial supporter of our household while I pursued my blogging career. It became evident that it would take time to turn a profit. I was, gratefully, in a position where my family did not have to be reliant on my income for a period of time.
When I became pregnant with my son, I was placed on bed rest for the final two months of my pregnancy. During this time, I started cataloguing the out-of-order photos on my computer. Going through my photos was the inspiration to pursue a career as a blogger.
The hardest lesson learned is that not everyone is going to be a fan of my blog. My blog allows anonymous comments. Four months in to the start of my blog, I received my first negative comment. The comment was not constructive. Rather it was a “dislike” based on personal taste. It stung to have a bit of “myself” criticized.
I have a Master's degree and value my education. I previously worked for a nonprofit where part of my job was to serve as a photographer. This is where my passion for photography began to evolve. This passion is the single driving force for my success as a blogger. Outside of school, my real world experiences have been the biggest life lesson learned.
The strangest thing that has ever happened is seeing my artwork displayed in a local coffee shop. At the shop, I saw one of my prints on the wall. It was humbling to meet one of my followers and see my artwork hanging up in their place of business.
Interacting with my followers is the biggest reason why I continue to blog. I enjoy talking with people from all over the world. It makes me feel accomplished to have my blog touch other's lives.
There is one challenge that really makes me want to pull out my hair. I hate it when my computer crashes! I find computer crashes, along with Internet outages, to be frustrating. Despite my obsessive use of the "save button," I still experience the frustration of losing unsaved work.
My biggest stress is coming up with new content. I am constantly having to research new places to photograph. It is very important to me that my blog does not have redundant-looking pictures. However, I do maintain a healthy work-life balance. I have found a way to continue to be a stay-at-home parent while making income as a blogger.
After a year and a half as a blogger, I make roughly $21,000 per year. As a self-employed person, I am responsible for taking out my own taxes. I am lucky to have the benefit of being able to be covered by my partner’s health insurance.
I can set my own hours, so I take ample vacation time throughout the year. I tend to take photos for my blog when I travel, though, and like to keep my blog active on a daily basis. So, I rarely take a vacation without posting to my blog.
I think that anyone can be a blogger if they have self-determination. I do not think a college education is necessary for a blogger. Rather, for me, it has been more important to stay on top of social media trends, phone apps, and other media marketing tools.
My advice for a friend seeking this type of employment would be to “test the waters” first. I think it is important to see if your voice is unique enough to make it a financially successful venture. That is why I think that a new blogger needs to build up their followers and audience before quitting their "day job".
In five years, I would like to have my blog grow to support more than just my artwork. I would eventually like my blog to be more about the “local art scene” in my community, rather than just featuring my own work. It is my hope to become the voice in my community for up and coming photographers and artists.