I’ve been wanting to share my story of how I became a full-time blogger for a while now. With the official launch of my second business, Gwen Lane, I figured it was probably time. As some of you may know, I started The LA Girl in 2015 as a creative writing outlet. I wanted a platform to write and share my experiences as a millennial woman in LA.
It started growing rapidly within the first six months. I started to get requests to cover events in LA and even got invited to go to Vermont by Ben & Jerry’s. I was gifted products and would get free reservations at restaurants. It was really fun because I had a full-time job and didn’t have to worry about making any money from it. I figured I wasn’t doing much work and was getting a lot of stuff in return.
Working with Brands
Brands started offering sponsorships. Basically what this means is that brands would pay me a fee to create content for my audience. It was just like my usual blog post, but it would include a mention of the brand – just like an ad or an endorsement.
Sometimes this would be more of a product review but most were more like lists and tips. I did these only for brands that I love and for products and services that I would personally recommend. I wanted to make sure that I maintained the integrity of my blog, brand and my word.
I was familiar with working with influencers, having worked for 12+ years in advertising and marketing in the entertainment industry. In my previous position before taking the big leap to work for myself full-time, I had known of young, teenage YouTubers and influencers that were paid six-figures for one brand campaign alone.
The Evolution of Entertainment
With the world of entertainment and technology changing, brands know that they shouldn’t be spending money on ads on television anymore. Most people are getting entertained online now, through YouTube and on social channels. Buying products recommended by people you follow on Instagram or from your favorite YouTuber is the new form of word-of-mouth. It’s like sharing something you love on Facebook but instead of sharing it to your network of a hundred or so people, some have an audience of thousands or millions.
I started taking my blog seriously after about a year of starting it. I started blogging consistently at least once or twice a week and building my audience on social media. It was then that I started to work with top brands and receive a small, but steady, side income.
Diversifying Revenue Streams
I also started doing some affiliate marketing. This is where you are promoting someone else’s products or services and you earn a commission on each sale. For example, if I write about fitness and I recommend some shoes, I can put in a link that directs you to Amazon. When someone buys the shoes or anything else while they’re on Amazon, I would receive a commission on the purchase. It’s similar to the concept of a referral.
It was right around that time when I committed to build my blog into a full-time business. I had always been an entrepreneur-at-heart since I was a little girl. I was always selling stuff at school to make extra money and there was also a time where I sold handmade jewelry and designer clothing online. I always wanted to be my own boss and now I had the opportunity to do so.
Turning the Side Hustle into a Full-Time Business
I knew that in order to do make my blog my full-time gig, I would have to manage my time wisely and step up my blogging game. I would get up really early in the morning, sometimes as early as 5am, to work on my blog. Then I would go into work and then work on it again afterwards until it was time to go to bed. There were times where I would get invited to events and missed out because I had to work.
I didn’t hate my job, in fact, I really loved it – for a job. I worked in entertainment which was fun and I also worked at a cool company which was changing the world of media. My co-workers and my boss knew about my blog and was very supportive of what I was doing on the side, and also when I decided to be a full-time blogger. The company was full of creative people who had their side hustles and were screenwriting, doing freelance production and some were also influencers.
When the blog’s revenue started to exceed my monthly income from my job, I knew I had a decision to make. I was starting to feel very exhausted with always running around to-and-from events, juggling both things which were now full-time and it was starting to get really difficult to manage both and to do well. There were multiple opportunities that I had to pass on because of my commitment to my job and I already knew what I had to do.
The “A-ha!” Moment
In addition to working at my full-time job and managing the blog, I started teaching. As an instructor for the YouTube Business Building Workshop, I taught content creators how to monetize their channels and turn their passion into a business. I had worked a a teacher before at a trade school and at a computer applications center, and it was something I really enjoyed.
When I started teaching marketing, social media, and business development, I knew that I had found something amazing. I really felt like I was making an impact on someone’s life. I was teaching creatives how to make money and build a business so that they can continue to support what they love to do.
This inspired me to create my second business to teach other bloggers, content creators and entrepreneurs how to monetize their blog and social channels so that they can turn their platform into a full-time business.
It was then that I realized that my purpose in life is to teach people what I learned from my experience of creating The LA Girl and working in digital marketing. I want to empower other bloggers, content creators and entrepreneurs to build their empires, so that they too can create a positive impact in the world.
What’s next as a full-time blogger?
After quitting my job last October, I continue to run my two businesses and try to teach as much as I can. In addition to being a full-time blogger, I’ve become a best-selling author, have been featured on several sites including The Huffington Post (and also became a contributor!), and continue my mission to empower others.
I have a lot planned for this year including the launch of my digital courses so that people from all over the world can benefit from my teachings, and not just those in LA. I will continue to teach live workshops because I enjoy them so much, and hope to have more speaking opportunities to spread my message and inspire more people.
I recently returned from a press trip to the Philippines along side other bloggers, vloggers and social media influencers. I was also went on a trip to Napa and San Francisco with a major auto brand and the opportunities keep coming every day!
I’m so grateful to be able to partake in these experiences, though it’s not all fun and games all the time. Now that I’m back from the trips, I have to do write-ups and pull all the content together as part of the sponsorship. I also have to catch up on all the emails and all the content for the upcoming weeks. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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