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Blogging Full Time – The Target Number

I’m having a great blogging income month.  In fact, I’m having such a great month, that Mr. BFS and I had the serious when-can-I-quit-my-job talk.  Here is what we discussed about blogging full time and the target number we’ve worked out. 

Blogging Full Time Realizations

1.  When I am blogging full time, we will need to pay an additional $200 a month to have me added to Mr. BFS’s health plan.

2.  I will need to keep in mind that my blogging profits will be taxed.  It’s hard to forget since we’re doing this right now, lol.

3.  We will only be saving some gasoline for my commute.  All of our other expenses will pretty much stay the same since I don’t spend much at all on business clothes and I already bring my lunch.

4.  Our 2nd Roth IRA will become a necessity since I will no longer be able to contribute to my 401(k).  Mr. BFS wants to visit a financial planner to make sure that his pension, 2 Roth IRA’s, and my stagnant 401(k) will be enough to fund our early retirement dreams at age 52.

5.  After looking at our current budget and taking into account the above realizations, I will need to consistently make at least $2500 a month in order to pursue blogging full time without giving up our current lifestyle and savings goals.

So, the bare minimum magic target number for blogging full time is $2500 a month.  After taxes and the $200 a month I’ll need for healthcare, that will leave us just enough to cover all of our current expenses and save for all of our early retirement goals when combined with Mr. BFS’s income.

Here is what I’ve made blogging every month so far:

  • February – July 2010 combined – $704
  • August 2010 – $1803
  • September 2010 – $525
  • October 2010 – $1274
  • November 2010 – $838
  • December 2010 – $496
  • January 2011 – $895
  • February 2011 – $1082

This means that on average over the last 6 months, I am only consistently bringing in $850 – a third of the $2500 I will need. 

March is shaping up to be absolutely amazing since I’ve already brought in $1500 and have another $750 on the way, BUT this is NOT a normal month.  I’ve just happened to receive 3 large sums of money for advertising deals I started working on in January and February.  All of these deals are for 6-12 months, so I can’t expect the same results in April.  My only safe way of blogging full time is to continue following my daily blog to-do list.

I am estimating that I still have 12-18 months before I can honestly say I am making $2500 or more a month, every month, so I can start blogging full time.  I will take the plunge as soon as a consecutive 4 month average is at least $2500 and I am confident that it will continue. 

If you’re interested in how I got to this point at all, check out How I Make Money Blogging.  Thanks! 

Am I missing something?  Any blogging full time suggestions?

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69 comments to Blogging Full Time – The Target Number

  • Wow, looks like you are bringing in some nice numbers. I like how you broke out how your blogging income will need to replace aspects of your current income. I think a lot of people jump into blogging thinking they will be bucket loads without actually knowing what their numbers need to be.

    I hope you get to your magic number soon!

  • I’m not sure where you reside but being at home might increase your utility bills would it not? Electric and heat/cooling costs that may be lower if you were away from your residence? I know we use a programmable thermostat which makes it warmer/cooler during the day when we’re not at home and of course there are no lights, computer or appliances running during that time.

  • Very interesting. I would think you would save a lot more by not having to go to work but I guess not. Are you looking into any other sources of income that you would be able to do from home? I use to blog quite a bit for plenty of money until it all went bust. I never thought the good times would end but they did and now I’m working an actual job. You could say that I learned my lesson of diversification.

    -Ravi G.

  • Those numbers are just amazing. I’m sure you’re not satisfied, but it’s already quite an accomplishment.

  • AJ

    My husband is self-employed and works from home, so we know first hand about how CRAZY self-employment tax can be. I am sure you have accounted for that though :)

    Sustainable PF is right, living in the north and heating our house all day adds a bit to our bills. However, there are a lot of tax write offs that make up for it, like the home office deduction which also includes a percentage of your home utilities.

  • Great numbers, though I’ve followed your updates and am not surprised.

    I would also think of the risks of truly going all-in with blogging. By this I mean putting all eggs in one basket. Diversification of income streams can really help. If something goes haywire with one site, let’s say with search traffic drops suddenly, you at least have other blogs.

    Also, diversification of types of income streams can help as well – maybe different types of advertising, maybe you sell a product, etc.

    Overall, I don’t think you’re missing anything to answer your question, I just wanted to bring up the diversification aspect. I’m guessing you’ve thought about this for quite a while anyway :)

  • You’re doing an amazing job! Is there anyway you could work part-time at your current job and transition into blogging full-time over the next two years that way? Instead of just quitting one job and taking on blogging full-time? I’m just thinking of job security, or blog security – at anytime the blog is earning a little less, you’d have a back-up income. Good luck on your goals!

  • Have you thought about a side freelancing writing business? I know you focus on blog income, but can’t it be online home business income?

  • Fantastic work. I love watching your blogging goals become reality. I agree with Little House. Could you go part-time? I am guessing at some point before you reach $2500 a month you will have too much to do between your blogging and full-time job. A part-time job would be a great way to devote more time to your blogs while still bringing in a bit of money.

  • @Glen, thanks! I appreciate the support!

    @Sustainable PF, we live in Houston, TX and the only extra utilities I’ll be using is a little water (negligible) and electricity. I’m 99% sure that I’ll be saving in gas at least what we’ll be spending in electricity, so I’m considering it a wash. My husband is at home during the summers (a school librarian), and he plays video games most days. Based on that, it doesn’t seem to raise the electricity bill more than $20 a month.

    @Nicole, thanks!

    @Ravi, what happened for you?

    A chunk of my blogging income is actually from my staff writing and other freelance writing. I’m expanding that now too (I just signed on as a staff writer at 2 more blogs, so I’ll be a staff writer for 3 blogs total so far). I’m also looking into becoming a blog manager for people who just need someone else to handle the time-consuming daily tasks like scheduling the posts, doing the SEO, answering emails, etc. The rest will be mainly from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and my own sites, but I’m hoping to be very well diversified by the time I quit my day job – 50% income from my own blogs and 50% from freelance writing and blog management. Thanks for asking!

    @First Gen, thank you! I am very happy…in fact, if I liked my day job as much as you do, I probably would just try to stay where I am in the blogging arena. :-)

    @AJ, I know!!! I made almost $6000 blogging last year but after expenses and taxes, it only amounted to $3300. Grrr…But, I am taking that into account. :-) Living in the south, the only time I will be needing a lot of extra electricity (a/c) is during the months it would have been on anyway since my husband would be home for the summer too. :-)

    @Squirrelers, I completely agree. As I answered Ravi above, I am hoping that only 50% of my blogging income will be from my sites and the other 50% will be from freelance writing, staff writing, and managing other people’s blogs for them since I will have the time during the day to balance all of the above. :-)

    @Little House, my current day job is sort of like part-time work anyway since it comes in 1-2 hour waves twice a day. I guess you can say that I’m in the middle of transitioning right now, lol. Don’t worry though, I will not give up a regular paycheck until I am pretty dang sure that a single bad event, like a Google PR drop, won’t wipe away my blogging income. I’m in the midst of diversifying right now. I’ll write an update on it next month after finding my balance with staff writing for 3 other blogs every week. :-) Thanks for the good wishes!

  • @Evan, great minds think alike. :-) Please see my replies to Ravi and Squirrelers above, lol.

    @Melissa, that’s another good point. I could get a part-time job elsewhere and I will if I need to. In fact, I already have started making lists of the offices and businesses around my house that may need a receptionist or clerk in case I ever need to take that route. The cupcake store, tax office, and pizzeria are at the top of my list right now (I’ve worked for that tax office as a receptionist before and left on really good terms at the end of college as well…).

  • Good plan! You are on the way. Have you thought about how this may impact your future Social Security? Are you already paying self employment tax for social security?

  • @krantcents, in our retirement calculations, we never include social security and are on target anyway, but I hadn’t even thought about self-employment tax for social security. I had to pay some pretty big self-employment tax for blogging in 2010, does that include social security or is there another tax I’ll need to look at when I’m self-employed fully? I’ll have to look at our filing papers to see I guess…

  • Crystal–This is a bit personal, so don’t feel that you have to respond. I am looking to officially set up a business that will encompass my blogging and freelance writing. I still need to go speak to an account, but from what I understand, you aren’t taxed as heavily if you go the LLC route rather than sole proprietor. Have you looked into this?

  • @Melissa, that didn’t seem personal to me at all, so please feel free to always ask. I had not thought of any tax advantages of incorporating BFS, but I will now!

    I feel silly because when you mentioned it, I remembered I even had a guest post here about it from Control Your Cash, “Take This Tax Return and Shove It”, hahaha. Here’s the link: http://www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com/take-this-tax-return-and-shove-it/

    Looks like I will be incorporating BFS asap! I apparently hadn’t thought I’d be making much with this blogging thing last November…

  • Melissa asked the same question I was just about to… great minds! Right now I am wondering how necessary it is to set up an LLC. From a legal standpoint it is very smart as, if someone sues you, they can not get your personal possessions. And if it saves you money on taxes, all the better! You might want to look into it.

  • You’re amazing! Now that the ball is rolling, I think your blogging income will keep increasing and you’ll hit 2,500 in no time. It seems to me that the income will keep increasing once you hit that 2,500 anyway due to momentum. You’ll have to keep us updated.

  • Oh! Oh! Work for the cupcake people! Hahaha–I love cupcakes:).

    Great job–I love to see your updates!

  • Go for it!

    Conventional wisdom and the safety net of a job cast aside, there are plenty of people who after reaching middle age look back and think “Man, I wish I had really started X business when it came to me.” No one wants to be in that group!

  • Those are some awesome earnings, crystal! You’ll be blogging full time in no time! Good luck.

  • Don’t forget about all of the business deductions you can take come tax time! You can deduct stuff like Internet expenses (the amount used for the business) and a home office.

    You can also open up a SEP-IRA, giving you more options to save.

  • @Denise, I will. :-)

    @retireby40, I will definitely keep all of you updated. I really hope you are right about that momentum thing!

    @Amanda, LOL, cupcakes it is then. :-)

    @JT, I am definitely not a fan of regrets. I will make sure I don’t have many big ones, thanks!

    @Jeff, thanks!

    @Ryan, I will definitely be keeping all possible deductions in mind. I will look into a SEP-IRA now too, thanks!

  • wow, congrats. Let me get this straight… You have only been blogging since last February?

  • @Jeff, yes, my first post went live on Budgeting in the Fun Stuff on February 20, 2010.

    I only discovered personal finance blogs in October 2009 (Frugal Confessions and My Open Wallet followed closely by Free Money Finance). By January, I realized I would have fun with my own but it took me a month and a half to talk myself into the plunge, lol.

  • It amazes me that you have only been blogging for a year and already done this well. Im going on 6 weeks and have made $0.47 lol. Its not all about money for me, nor do I think it is for you either…but Id say if anyone can reach that $2500 goal its you…your blog really has done amazing in a short amount of time.

    I dont think Ill ever make enough to quite my job and blog full time, but as an added revenue stream it would be nice.

  • Fig

    Fascinating. You are definitely on your way!

  • Wow! I would love to bring in 850 a month from my blog. Where did your first income boost come from?

  • Wow, you’re doing a great job! I think you’ll reach your income target faster than you expect because online income often grows exponentially rather than in a linear fashion. You could actually probably add a few hundred a month just by changing the layout of your websites and some of the ads you’re using. There are always better ways to optimize.

  • That’s awesome news Crystal! You give hope to us all!

    You really are a great person with a huge heart. You deserve this awesome month you’ve been having. :)

  • @MoneyIsTheRoot, most people make way more than I do with their day jobs and have advancement opportunities, so it would be much harder to replace a bigger income with blogging. I guess settling right out of college may actually end up being a good thing for me, lol. :-)

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, I made $0.27 from Adsense in my first 8 weeks…it starts to pick up as your stats get better. Right now, concentrate on making friends with your readers, because money can come or go away in a heartbeat, but the community feeling is what blogging is all about (to me).

    @Fig, thanks!

    @LaTisha, about 2 months after I started, I was approached with 2 homepage ads and we settled on $400 for 6 months. That was the beginning and I’ve been closing a deal or two every month since then at least. Feel free to email me with any questions – I really don’t mind sharing!

    @Will, thank you! I really hope you are right. :-) I’m actually in the process of integrating in some affiliate advertising that I don’t think anyone will mind that will hopefully help diversify my income stream. Do you notice any layout changes that would help? Please let me know if any suggestions come to mind. :-)

    @LifeAndMyFinances, you really are too kind. Thank you for the HUGE smile you just gave me!!!

  • The numbers you are lookng at are pretty incredible to me. Like most of the posters on this board I have trouble thinking of anything over $300 or so a month. I am jealous!

    Thanks for the tips and motivation!

  • ODWO

    Nice!

    Our hobbies do not make us money in the sense of “right now.”

    Dancing (health benefits .. over time)
    Poster Stamp, Revenue Stamp and other such postal history (they will with time), otherwise, I do it because I like it. Some of the history behind some of them is pretty amazing but unless one “gets it” … it will only be a specialized type of thing that those who do it will always “pay the money” to get it.

    Normally, a hobby does not make money. but, if you can make it earn for you … even turn into a business …. that’s always a bonus. Plus, you never know where it will lead you … or who you’ll meet (in person or online). Sometimes it’s just finding your niche. And 1 or 3 who pay handsomely.

    WTG Crystal! You’ve come a long way! >:~

  • Consider setting up an S-corporation. It has some significant tax advantages, and the tax accounting is relatively simple. Check with your tax accountant or lawyer about the different types of corporations and how they can benefit your or increase the hassle factor in your life.

  • Awesome Crystal! You are an inspiration to every blogger!

  • Great job Crystal. I know you will do it, and you will also help others along the way!

  • Nice job! It’ll be interesting to see if once you’re just blogging and doing other online activities if the money doesn’t even come in faster! Maybe in 2013, you’ll be up in the $3,000 a month range! That would be awesome!

    Amazing job!!!

  • Also – if you go full time with blogging, you can create your own company (LLC, etc) and open up your own SEP IRA, which will allow you to contribute more money with tax deferred growth.

  • Stick to it and you’ll get it done, I’ve been a full time blogger for many years now and the hard work does pay off, it just takes time.

  • Looks like the trend is your friend Crystal! Hope the economy also naturally increases our income flow.

    Best, Sam

  • Very cool! 6 months later and you are making 3 times what you needed, to be doing this full time! Set your goals much higher.. success just multiples from now on

  • Sorry

    **Success just multiplies from now on! You’ll see ;)

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