How Blogging Changed my Life with opportunities I never thought possible, from writing a book to creating my dream job. I want everyone to start a blog!
Today I have no recipe for you. Today I’m doing something a little different.
We’re getting a little close and personal today because I want to share my story with you, more specifically my blogging story. The term “blogging” isn’t very pretty or even a respected word as it has become attached with a kind of rolling of the eyes. That’s fine. Those people can do their own thing. I’ll be over here living my dream and with a job that doesn’t remotely feel like work.
In all seriousness, my blog has changed my life. That casual decision I had all the way back in 2009 to start one of those food blog things has led to opportunities I would have never thought possible (more on that in a second).
I was 18 and about to start college when I started my Handle the Heat. I had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life, even the idea of having to choose a college major was crippling. Finding a creative outlet for a new passion was something I did to procrastinate from making life decisions (and when I say “new passion” I mean new – I only started to become interested in cooking/baking at the end of high school).
I enjoyed blogging when I started, and it was purely a hobby. I had no idea you could make actual money from it. In fact, part of me thought I didn’t even deserve to have a blog because I suffered from imposter syndrome. I felt like no one would want to listen to some 18-year-old girl who had no actual credentials or expertise write about cooking, baking, and recipes. So I avoided talking about my age and details of my personal life so no one would find me out and reveal the girl behind the curtain.
Looking back, that was so silly. There’s never been a moment in time where I regretted being myself. Luckily, once people did inevitably learn about my age and background I was welcomed, not rejected. Other bloggers were so incredibly nice and encouraging, as well as the few readers I had at the time. And looking back now I’m so glad I overcame that fear of rejection, because funnily enough my blog and now my blog’s business has put me ahead in life by years.
Blogging became more and more enjoyable, and one month that winter a whole 3,000 people visited my blog. 3,000! Imagine if I filled a room with that many people! That blew my mind, and I had no clue that one day I would grow to see nearly 10 times that amount per DAY. I started to realize that this newfound love of being in the kitchen could not continue to be dismissed as a “hobby” while I tried to find out what I could do for a career. I had to find a way to interweave it into the most important aspects of my life.
So after two years of college, two years of feeling lost and confused, I decided to enroll in culinary school. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, especially because I knew I didn’t want to work in a kitchen. I wanted to help other people find joy in their kitchens. I felt like I was taking a HUGE risk and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do culinary school and earn my bachelor’s degree from university. In the end, I was able to do both AND graduate a semester early.
Want to know the craziest part of all?
During this whole period I was emailed by a cookbook agent asking me if I’d be interested in writing a cookbook.
HA!! I thought. That’s a creative spam email. Delete.
Yeah… that’s not a joke. That was my actual reaction because the idea was so far out of the realm of possibility in my head. Who would think I was capable of writing a book? Luckily she emailed again and I realized she was legitimate. We worked hard together to create a book proposal and it was sold at auction to a publisher in 2012. The following year was the craziest of my life. I managed to earn a bachelor’s degree, a culinary degree, maintain a part-time job, maintain my blog, and write a cookbook. There was lots of hair pulling, a few tearful breakdowns, and countless moments of self-doubt but somehow I came out the other side.
If I hadn’t felt such intense passion for what I was trying to do, I don’t think I would have been motivated to work so hard and remain so disciplined.
I hope I haven’t bored you to tears yet. Let’s fast forward to today, 2014.
I recently celebrated my first anniversary of blogging full-time. Soon after finishing my schooling I began looking for a “real” full-time job because I thought that was what I ought to do, all the while I had a little secret dream deep inside to pursue my passions full-time and become the entrepreneur I’ve always wanted to be. Nothing was panning out (benefits of graduating in a post-recession economy) so I kept working at my part-time college job and working at the blog. Eventually my blog began to earn more money than my part-time job and I realized there truly was potential to turn it into an actual business and full-time job. I worked hard for about 3 months to save money and to harness my blog’s earning potential so that I could quit my part-time job and pursue full-time blogging on a trial basis. The trial ended and I realized I had created a career for myself.
So, here I am. 23 years old and self-employed with my dream job. I get to wake up every day and chat with you guys online, create and share scrumptious recipes, and work with some amazing people and brands. I get to work from home on my own schedule and travel whenever I want. I worked hard to get here, but a lot of people helped me along the way. The support of my readers, of the blogging community, and of my family made this all possible.
I’m not saying this all to brag by any means. I’m saying it because I hope my story can help anyone who’s reading (and if you’ve read this far – wow!!) realize that the our world is full of possibilities, as cheesy as it sounds. You don’t have to be the best, you don’t have to be an expert, and you certainly don’t have to be perfect to turn your dreams into reality. In fact, there will never be the perfect time to follow your dreams, you just have to DO IT. Following your passions will make you want to work as hard as possible and be the best you can be. Even if you can’t see it at the start, everything else (including money) will eventually fall into place. Hell, if I can do it, you can.
I know a lot of people think starting a blog has become a cliché.
Maybe it has a little. Who cares? As you can see, starting a blog and following your calling (even if you’re not 100% sure what that is exactly) can and will change your life. Sharing your passion and yourself with the world makes it just that much better of a place, and will lead to opportunities you never thought possible.
I know I sound a bit fanatical, but it’s only because I’ve been lucky enough to find happiness and a touch of success that I want to share it with as many people as possible. I feel kind of like a blogging missionary, I want to show you that the internet is a powerful place filled with limitless opportunity. It’s insane. And if you don’t take advantage of the fact that you live in this day and age, you’re wasting that opportunity.
If you’ve always wanted to start a blog, but have let insecurity, fear, or a list of excuses stop you, I want you to change that today. I’ve written an article on How to Start a Food Blog, but really it can be applied to just about any blog. With 5 steps and about 15 minutes, you can create your own path in this world, a path that’s one step closer to your dreams. I hope you’ll give it a go, starting a blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There’s no better time to start than now, you owe yourself at least an attempt.
And if you’ve already started a blog, keep at it. Aim to make it a little better everyday because by the end of a year you may have something amazing.
You may be wondering why I’m an advocate for blogging when it seems like every blog that’s created may compete with mine. There are 3 billion people online across the world. There’s more than enough room for all of us, and we all have something unique to offer. Plus, I’m a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats.
If you have any questions about my journey or about blogging in general, let me know below.
I’ll try my best to answer because I want to help as many people as possible. I desperately wished I had someone to turn to when I was starting out because I know how overwhelming it can all be.
Did you find this interesting?
If so, you’ll probably love the new project I’m working on called Food Blog Academy. Feel free to signup just below to receive more blogging articles, tips, tricks, and tutorials straight to your inbox. If you want to go a step further and enroll to receive exclusive training on how to transform your blog into your dream job, be sure to check it out here. Happy blogging!