Blogging – a real job

I often get asked what I do for a living. My answer depends on who asks. If it’s an older person that I don’t know I might just say that I’m a photographer. It’s easier to explain than the real answer. If people in my own generation can’t seem to grasp it, how I can expect the generation before me, who grew up without computers to understand it? So what do I do for a living? I’m a blogger.

The frustrating/strange/down right annoying thing is, I frequently hear things like “that’s not a real job”, “you can’t possibly make enough money doing that!”, “that’s only a temporary thing, right?” and “what are you going to do after this?” But what is a “real job”? I have thought so long and hard about this question. I still haven’t come to a conclusion. Maybe it means a doctor, or a lawyer or any number of careers that I have literally never even considered for myself. Is blogging not a real job because you can’t go to school for it or because you don’t need a resume to do it? Is it not a real job because you don’t need an interview to fill the position or because you don’t personally know anyone who does it? What makes something a “real job”?

Whatever your answer I assure you, blogging is a real job. I may not have to leave the house for days on end if I don’t want to (not that I recommend anyone ever does that, definitely not as fun as it sounds!) I can work in my PJs or without pants if I want, and no one cares if I come into work with morning breath. My co-workers may be two cats and a dog who enjoys sitting beside me and squeaking his tennis ball incessantly but this is a real job. I live alone and completely support myself. I pay all my own bills with the money I make blogging. There isn’t another job or person helping me out and I’m not living off credit cards. I’m no different than any other person with a conventional job.

The sad thing is that this bias of what is and isn’t a real job doesn’t stop at blogging. Many other millennials with unique careers experience the same thing. For example, Mickey travels the world teaching taxidermy. This girl is killing it. Did you see what I just said? TRAVELING. THE. WORLD.  Yet somehow, that’s not good enough to be considered a real job by some people either. She deals with the same questions.

It needs to be acknowledged that any way of supporting yourself even if it isn’t traditional, so long as you aren’t stealing or hurting anyone, is a real job. It seems awfully silly to criticize someone for making a living doing something they love and enjoy, doesn’t it? Blogging isn’t all that new of a career and despite what you may have heard, it isn’t going anywhere. There are tons of people out there making a living doing just this.

 Co-worker Klaus. Excels at distracting me.

This is part one of a new series that will hopefully help explain and clear the confusing fog about blogging as a career. I’ll share tips, answer questions, and generally just share more information about what being a blogger really means. On that note, if you have any questions, or specific things you’d like me to talk about I’m all ears. Shoot me an email or leave a comment!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I think a lot of the negativity towards blogging is jealousy in disguise. People think that blogging is easy and isn't as much hard work as a traditional job. What they don't see is all the work people put into their blogs. I blog as a hobby and I invest a lot into my blog, so I can only imagine the work that goes into running one full-time. I look forward to reading your series as I'll be honest and say the pipe dream is to be self employed and earn from a blog, mostly as my health is making work impossible for me at the moment. I would love to know your tips for growing an audience and at what stage did you decide to monetise and how you went about that. Thank you

  • Good for you!! People are doing amazing things these days that don't involve a degree or being a doctor or lawyer. My whole family is either small business owners or artists and we love it!! Thank you for providing a little beauty, humor and sometimes, information, to me every morning before I go to what I call a job!! Its art, and people don't always "get" art, but that doesn't make it less amazing.

  • I LOVE this post so much and I can not tell you how excited I am about this series πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I work full-time as a Pharmacy Technician and all day every day I dream about someday working for myself. Women like you and Mickey are incredibly inspiring. I'm not sure what people are thinking when they say blogging isn't a real job. If you're making money doing something-it's a job. And if you're doing something you love-you're living the dream! I think a big chunk of these "blogging isn't a real job" statements stem from not knowing the different ways bloggers make money.

    I'm so looking forward to this series and I can't wait to soak in any and all advice you've got πŸ™‚

  • Sorry but I did have to laugh a little at the thought of explaining a blog to an old person ;D Seriously though, if anyone gives you a hard time about it, they're probably just jealous. How is blogging not as real as a photographer, artist, writer, even a graphic designer? Plenty of people work for themselves doing a number of things and that's still a "real job."

  • Plus "real" jobs aren't even guaranteed forever. People get laid off all the time, even when they think they have a secure job. You actually probably have more control over that then the average person

  • I'm so curious for the rest of this series! I myself don't utilize my blog as my job, simply because that's not why I started mine! Someday, maybe, but right now I'm happy with my tiny personal corner of the web.I feel what constitutes a job can be such a subjective thing. As a stay at home mom, I generally have to list 'unemployed' on forms or applications for things which really steams my beans as I feel it gives off the wrong impression! I think it's great that your blog is what you're able to have as your job – definitely nothing wrong with that!

    • Holy smokes, "steams my beans" is the absolute cutest saying ever. I need to remember to use that. But I totally hear you, my mom was a stay at home mom and she worked SO HARD. To think that what she did for all those years for us kids was just considered as her being "unemployed" is a huge bummer.

      I hate this belief that if you're not a college graduate, working for someone, and making six figures that you're not making it because it's so untrue.

  • I know the hard job it is to be a blogger!
    If you earn enough money with it to live each day, so, like the others, I think you live a beautiful geek dream!
    Sadly, many are called but few are chosen.
    You have to be different of the others, speak about special things, be serious, regular, make beautiful photos…a big job that you execute splendidly!

  • Go you! This is a great post! As someone in the process of quitting a legal career in favour of being a blogger/writer, I completely understand. "Are you mad?" is a question I've had often. No. Not mad, just happy that I am at a place in my life where I can decide what I want to do with my time for my own sake, and not to please anyone else. I am genuinely excited about my own future for the first time in years, and loving what I do is a complete novelty to me!
    More of these posts would be greatly appreciated, and more of Klaus cos he's a cutie. Also, I'm interested in how you plan posts (looks like you've got some great system going in that top pic!), as well as how you monetized your blog (I know, I know, but a girl's gotta eat!).

    • That's so awesome to hear. I'm glad you're in a good place!! πŸ™‚

      Post suggestions noted! Those are all great (including more Klaus because I do love sharing photos of that puppy!)

  • I love this! I've always admired that you've made this blog your living, and frankly I just hope eventually I can find any job ("real" or otherwise) that is as fulfilling to me as running this blog seems to be for you.

  • hey there! I think it's awsome that you can live out of bloggin! I must confess that I don't really know where the money comes from since I'm from another country, Argentina, were blogs aren't much of a big thing, and I don't think there are lots of people living out of their blogs. Does it come from publicity? I'm sorry I have cero clue!
    On an ABSOLUTELY different subject, this may sound a bit weird or really stupid, you choose hahah I was wondering, did you used to have dimples before having cheek piercings? Or you took them out and you were left with the nicest dimples?sorry if that's too much of a weird question, I'm just super intrigued!
    Greetings from Argentina! I love your blog!! And that beautiful dog of yours(drool)

    • Great question, definitely something I plan on covering!

      Haha, not a weird question at all. I didn't have dimples before the piercings. The dimples I have now are scars (which I absolutely LOVE!!!!)

  • You're absoluteky right, Kayylah. Amny people don't understand how much time and effort goes into blogging, just like a real job. In a sense, you have to have a bit of a business mindset as well. Being a full-time blogger is also my thing with plenty of hobbies on the side. πŸ™‚
    P.S: Your fur babies are just the cutest! I love when my Siamese baby keeps my legs warm while I type. Hahah

    Vegetarian Courtesy

  • I'm excited about this series. Yeah, I get asked the same questions and I've kind of just become immune to the criticism that immediately follows my response. It's kind of fascinating from a psychological background, though. The way people need to compartmentalize things intrigues me.

    • It sucks that you've had to come to the point where you're immune to criticism. It shouldn't have gotten that far, you know what I mean? I wish there were more questions and less criticism!

  • Unfortunately, I feel like most of the people who insist that blogging is "not a real job" don't even read blogs themselves. I think anyone who's a devoted reader of your blog knows just how much hard work and time goes into your posts – and thus how much of a "real job" this is. It's not like you just snap a few shots and throw them up on the web. Your posts are crafted and each reader hard earned. Blogging is not all fun and games, which is another part I think of what people mean when they say blogging isn't a "real job" – because jobs aren't supposed to be enjoyable, I think they in part mean.

    What used to frustrate me the most is that negative attitude some people had toward bloggers who made money off their blogs.But I'm happy to say I see that this attitude is no longer even remotely near prevalent the more I look around. I feel blog readers are starting to appreciate the fact that if you're not getting paid via your blog, you're not going to be able to spend as much time creating good content that they will love.

    Anyway, I'd love to see an article featuring a timeline of The Dainty Squid… how long you spent planning before you finally started your blog, the types of posts you tried, how long it took you to find your style of blogging. I think the story behind how your blog grew and developed would be really interesting to learn.

    • I hear ya on that first part. Maybe some of it is that so many people dread their jobs that someone else having a job that is actually fun sometimes makes it not a job in their minds.

      And those suggestions are great! I actually have "The story of The Dainty Squid – part 1" queued up for next week. It barely touches on blogging but it's definitely important!

  • Not only is blogging a "real job", it is also my "dream job"! Congrats on being a professional blogger! I dream of being the same, and perhaps starting my own line of retro clothing and accessories down the line. This is the age of the internet, so of course all sorts of new careers have sprung up in and around the tech. I am excited for this series, and I too would love to know more about growing your readership and knowing when to monetize.

  • This is so incredibly great to read and i'm really looking forward to seeing this series progress. Being an illustrator i've had so many people ask me (friends and family), sometimes joking, sometimes seriously not, if I am going to get a 'real job'. It is really frustrating sometimes, i'm not considered to be working and yet I bring the same income in as my husband but my office just happens to be in a studio and I don't wear a suit. I don't know if it is a generation thing or not sometimes I can't help but feel a little insulted by that comment. Did I babble on too much?! Does that make any sense?! Anyways, extremely looking forward to the series. πŸ˜‰ x

    • Not at all, and yes that totally makes sense. It's absolutely insulting when people ask when you're going to get a 'real job'. You do you, girl! πŸ™‚

  • Blogging is a new industry, I believe in 4 or 5 years people will be more familiar with the concept and job evolved, also the old people πŸ˜‰
    I would like to know how, where you make the money? Also how is your day, how do you organize yourself, before blogging as a living did you have any other job in mind?

    So many questions, probably moreto come. I'm actually in the process of changing from blogging as a hobby into a job. It's a loooong process so all your tips are very welcome =)

  • Yes, I hear you, this is a great post! Working for yourself is the best way to stay fluid and flexible. You can work for a company all your life and still get made redundant

  • My personal favorite is "blogging is cool and all but making a living off it is kind of stupid." I don't understand why people think having a job that's fun is not a job at all.

    Lovely post!

  • I guess the big question I have is what happens when you decide you dont want to do this anymore? Or when youre old and outfit posts arent as exciting? I am all about blogging. Just wondering!! πŸ™‚

    • Oh wow, I realize my comment came across totally wrong!! I more meant when you're tired of the type of posts you do… Obviously it can evolve, so I guess I answered my own question.

      What jobs do you think blogging would most naturally transition to?

      Also – I had never seen Advanced Style but I think I'm in love.

  • I'm an "old person" (late 40s) who grew up without computers, yet I can grasp blogging as a career. Probably because I have been mostly self-employed (buying/selling vintage, etc) for the last 15 years. After the economic crash around 2008, a lot of people turned to creative and non-traditional ways to make a living—and many of them realized that it was a lot better, despite some of the trade-offs, to work for yourself than for a boss or corporation.

    I do have to say I hate it when people ask me what I "do". I usually start the convo with "well, to pay the mortgage I…" But to me, I "do" so much more than that! I am "doing" things all of the time that have nothing to do with commerce. But people still want to persist in categorizing you right off the bat with how you make a living.

    • Oh, I definitely did not mean to sound insensitive about age, like once you get to a certain age computers (and anything you can do with them) doesn't make sense. I apologize if it sounded that way at all.

      I know, isn't that a bummer. I hate that that defines you. I love starting it with "well, to pay the mortgage I…", that's a really good way to shift the focus away from the whole idea that a job is an identity.

    • AMEN to the hating of the "what do you do?" question. i work a "real" job for a "real" company and still it bothers me when within two minutes of meeting someone they say, "so, what do you do?" i have started replying, "when?" the puzzled look i receive makes me laugh inside as i smile and say, "sorry, i do so much that i really wasn't sure what you were going for."
      p.s. sometimes i find myself asking "what type of work do you do for a living" and it drives me nuts because people are not defined by their jobs.

  • To be honest I've often wondered HOW you make an income but never doubted it as a career. I just don't know enough about the business side. I think it's AWESOME! Personally, and this may be a little deep but we've all had it crammed down our throats that we must go to a University and get a "real" job when that doesn't seem to work anymore. I'm lucky to have a career in my field but because I'm a freelance reality tv Online Editor people think I don't have a real job because it's freelance. Though I do work 8 months out of the year I don't get any kind of benefits. I think people think your job is only real if you get benefits from your employer. I think my extended family thinks I just play on computers all day! Most of my friends don't even realize that I've worked on national television shows.
    Again, I think it's awesome what you do and you're doing it on your own, your way.

  • On top of my "real job" I am a part time Pure Romance consultant (in home parties selling bath & beauty/relationship enhancement products) and I'm making enough doing it that I'm thinking about going full time. I definitely get the "but that's not a real job" comments often. And I assure them that if I can work 20 hours a week (most of that from home, other than the parties) instead of 40 in an office every day and make *more* money then yeah, that's a REAL job. A REALLY good job. People judge what they don't understand. πŸ™

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I love the saying "Don't explain yourself, your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe it", something like that. I always thought of blogs as an online magazine or newsletter. I don't know. I am someone who has a college degree, not making 6 figures but still paying off an upper 5 figure student loan! I chose to take the practical route rather than going for my true dreams. Basically, I have worked hard for over 20 years helping a lot of 6 figure type people stay in that class & I am still paying for it πŸ™‚ but I am not complaining here. It was my choice and I know I can change anytime I want. Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate you πŸ™‚
    I would like to know more about how you started. Did you actually work a "real job" in the beginning? Thanks again!

  • I've only recently realised (I'm 26!) that I can do what ever the hell I want for a job and it doesn't matter. I think half the time people struggle to find a career they love is they're not told to make what you love into a career!


  • This will be a great series Kaylah! I'd love to hear a few things: What you pay to keep a blog, How your advertisement spaces work, and I'd love (considering I'm a home body) to hear how you network with others! I sure love your blog. Keep it up lady! Mwah!

    Erika Wynn

  • This was a great post, thank you! I've often wondered if blogging was your full-time career and this helps a lot. I just started blogging almost a year ago and I love it so far. I have a full-time job outside of the home and I don't know if I see myself ever blogging for an income. I would love to see a post on how to drive traffic to a new blog. I've read lots of articles and I try to experiment with the suggestions, but it still doesn't seem to be doing much. And actually, not just how to get the traffic, but how to build up a following. I will always write about what I am passionate about and not necessarily what I think people want to read or what is trendy right now (I also think this is something that you do as your posts are always genuine). Anyway, thank you again!

  • I'm so excited for this series! You are seriously one of my favorite bloggers, so I'm really looking forward to your tips and tricks. I've always wanted to make my blog a career, but I'm plagued by insecurity and low self-confidence. I have a "regular job" that I like (I work at a non-profit), but my dream is to be able to work for myself and pursue my creative interests.

  • I am an artist and no one takes that serious either. I do free lance illustration and commissioned portrait work but people constantly ask me what my real job is. It gets frustration. I totally understand πŸ™‚

  • Yeah, you blog and you think that is a job. Fine, call it a job, but don't insult the majority of your readers by calling what you do work. Those of us who bust our butts working, we put up with managers, bosses, criticismcoworkers and have to deal with customers face to face on a daily basis. Don't you dare think what you do is anything close to it. You will never convince me or many others who don't kiss up to you that what you do is work. It is disgusting. You have mentioned many times how you get done with stuff in the morning. Again, you HAVE NO IDEA what a real job is. You are just trying to convince yourself & your minions that what you do is so worthwhile to society, yeah the millionth photo of your plants or bike is a positive contribution to society. When all you have done is further insult readers who work hard & go to jobs day after day while you prance around in your palladium boots & hipster garb. Gag. Never has a post of yours made me so angry & sick. For once, get a clue. And yeah, I'm over 40 and I know what blogging is. Farewell skittle head. As for the taxidermist, who freaking cares?? (How come so many of her classes were cancelled, HUH??) Just go away.

    • "Mildred", I'm so sorry that you've chosen a career path that doesn't leave you feeling fulfilled or happy, and that you need to lash out at strangers to make yourself feel better. The good news is it's not too late to change things for the better. I wish you nothing but happiness. πŸ™‚

    • "Kaylah", I never said my job didn't make me happy. I am proud to work in the job I do, is it my dream job? No. I truly don't know what my dream job is. Probably to have enough money to not have to go to work. To have the freedom to take my dog for a walk whenever I want to. To have no schedule, so I can go off and photograph the sunrise or a special event whenever I feel like it. To not have to worry about missing a holiday get together because I have to work. Freedom is what I want. The things you do and call it blogging is what I do in my free time. I like to take pictures, and I'm pretty good at that. I also like to travel to different places, but it's hard when you have to work. When you have a real job, you give up so much of that freedom. Sure we have scheduled days off, but it's always hit & miss with weather, everyday issues & other responsibilities get in the way sometimes. And sometimes, I can't afford to go off somewhere on a whim. And sometimes I'm just too exhausted after working at my job. I'm not making excuses, it's the way the real world is. So that is why you & your blog make me so angry. I realize I came across quite angry, but that's how I felt. Does it make me feel better to lash out at you, a complete stranger. No. Because I know you truly don't care unless you're being complimented or kissed up to. Many of us have noticed how rude & crass you can and continue to be to your readers. I don't think you understand how this post comes across to those of us who put in the hours at work, dealing with our bosses, the criticism, authority, difficult customers and the problems they all bring to the table. I have spent over 20 years working in retail. It's a hard, stressful, tiring job. Yet, we who choose to work in retail know this and we pull together & work our butts off. And in the meantime we form bonds because of this. We become tougher because we know that not everyone is going to like or agree with us. We can't sugarcoat everything like bloggers do. Life isn't always fun and positive. Believe it or not I try to stay positive, but sometimes I'm not in the sunny side up frame of mind and something irks me so much that I type a rant about a stupid blog post from a complete stranger. No more, because nothing on your blog is worth getting upset over anymore. Not everyone is going to like you or agree with you. Understand? Anyway, I kind of feel sorry for you that you may never know what it feels like to work at a job outside of your own creation, to know what kind of dedication & strength it takes to stay with a job for years. You keep saying you have changed so much, but I don't see it. You seem to type the words over & over again as if you are trying to convince yourself that you've grown. Well, as I see it you are scared. So scared that you have to ask your readers for ideas for your blog. Scared, that one day you will have to go get one of those real jobs & the thought of it scares the crap out of you. Anyway, I felt the need to explain myself further and that is all. Peace.

    • I acknowledge the fact I am very privileged to live the life I do and that it's amazing I'm able to chase sunsets, set my own schedule, and do any of the other things I blog about and make my living that way.

      I'm not sugarcoating things, and I'm not pretending that life is all sunshine and kittens. I'm choosing to celebrate the fact there is more good in life than bad. I'm choosing to see the bright side, that the glass is half full, and that there are always things to be happy about. Yes, I struggle. Yes, I deal with people every single day who aren't pleasant, and I most certainly deal with criticism. I just choose not to focus on that.

      I understand that not everyone is going to agree with or like me, and that's totally fine. I normally don't respond because it's not worth it. 99.99% of the time it's just malicious things said to intentionally hurt me or bring me down.

      If you don't like something, it annoys you, makes you feel sick, pisses you off, or whatever – just don't look at it. It really is as simple as that. πŸ™‚

    • Daaaaaaang Mildred. Let's just look at this quote, shall we?
      ". I am proud to work in the job I do, is it my dream job? No. I truly don't know what my dream job is. Probably to have enough money to not have to go to work. To have the freedom to take my dog for a walk whenever I want to. To have no schedule, so I can go off and photograph the sunrise or a special event whenever I feel like it. To not have to worry about missing a holiday get together because I have to work. Freedom is what I want. "
      It sounds like your dream job is blogging, and it sounds like you're the one whose scared to have things your way. After 20 years of retail, I can understand the terror! It's hard to work a shitty job for shittier pay and feel like you're barely scraping by, and the thought of giving up that one thing that has kept you from falling over the edge is absolutely mortifying. I can see what that fear would make you want to lash out. Honestly, you're probably the one who needs this series the most! In order to see how it all works, and to understand that you CAN do it! You're never too old to make your life the one you want to live.
      As a person who works retail, and has to deal with customers JUST LIKE MILDRED All day, every day, I have to say you handled that faaaaar better than I would have. She clearly did not see that post a while back about your sewing business!

      That said, a look at the "dark side of blogging" would be pretty fascinating. What does the empty half of that glass look like? What are the things about blogging that you don't enjoy? What's the hard stuff that you struggle with? Were there times when you worried about rent money or groceries? Do you still worry sometimes, or have things gotten to a point where everything works now? Do you ever swear loudly at your kitties when they jump on your keyboard?

      I work full time at a consignment shop. It pays minimum wage, I'm on my feet all day, and I have to deal with "Mildreds" all day long. I also get the joy of meeting people like you! Creative types who live their dreams. I don't plan to do this forever. Kaylah, you are one of my biggest role models. I have a degree in theatrical costuming (Sewing things! I can literally make all of the things), and I make cosplays professionally. It's my goal in life to be a successful small business owner, and to spend all day making awesome clothes for people. I feel like blogging would also be a great way to actually explain to people what I actually DO! Prices on custom clothing is one of those things that people just don't get (because we have all this cheap stuff from China), and shedding some light on the processes helps people understand the knowledge, hard work, occasional injuries, and time that goes into every single piece.
      So, blogging business topics. How do your finances work? Do you have the Dainty Squid set up as a company that umbrellas over all your blogging, photography products, your old sewing business? How do your taxes work? I'm not joking, a really detailed post about how you do taxes would be the most helpful thing ever. What percent of your income comes from where? (blogging, selling prints/tote bags of your photos, do you still sell vintage stuff online?)

    • Mag, the thing is I don't want to blog about those things. I don't want to concentrate or focus any attention on them. They're not important. I really do try to be super positive about things. Life is too short to dwell on temporary feelings of distress and sadness. I want this blog to be an escape for people, as well as journal for me to look back on and see how great things really are. Maybe someday I'll share more "empty half of the glass" stuff but I don't see it happening anytime soon.

      But yes, I definitely swear loudly at the cats for "helping" me type. Professor in particular LOVES to walk on my keyboard. πŸ˜›

      Honestly, I would hardly say I have tax stuff figured out. I just keep all my receipts (thrown in a big box. very unorganized – which I hate myself for every year) and hand it everything over to my accountant. She works the magic!

  • I've really been enjoying everything that you share! This gave me an insight to something that has intrigued me for a while. Awesome work/job!

    Just before I read this, I saw a post on the Huffington Post titled "6 Reason's You're Settling for a Lackluster Life" and #1 was:

    "We've been taught that work isn't supposed to be fun, that marriage is hard, and that life is about making the best of the cards you are dealt. Somehow we have created a society of settlers complaining about our lives and accepting that this is just how things are."

    It all seemed to connect. Everything is possible and I don't say that in that sort of clichΓ©'d sense. I mean that if you are putting all of your efforts and faith towards something, I believe there's no reason it can't become a reality other than the limits we decide to set for ourselves, so I really have the utmost respect for people who go out there and make whatever's in their intesterest happen. Your job is a legitimate and absolutely interesting one.

  • Hi! I recently found your blog through someone else. I started following you on instagram because your photos are gorgeous. I have made a feeble attempt to monetize my blog in the past, and i haven't generated more than a few cents. I signed up for affiliate programs, BlogHer, Google Adsense, etc and haven't seen much return. I would definitely appreciate details on how you manage to make more than 10 cents in 6 months, haha. Keep up the great work πŸ™‚

  • I love the idea of this mini series of posts and I think coming out of the gate with a disclaimer like this was really bold. Take the naysayers on! Also thanks for posting this I like that you're sharing your insight with us.

  • I am very curious as to how someone makes a living out of blogging as I'm just starting out so would very much appreciate any tips you have for beginners πŸ™‚

  • Great post, big thanks for sharing your thoughts. People tend to treat jobs such as blogger/vlogger like some sort of joke, especially in countries other than US. Maybe for our kids this wil be a normal job and who knows, maybe there will even be courses teaching how to have succesfull career as a blogger.
    From personal point of view – blogging is fun. We all crave sharing things we love and want to see what makes others happy. Thats totally normal.
    Oh and on the job note – I'm slowly trying to break into a game/animation industry as concept artist and it's so hard to explain to my mum what I want to do πŸ˜‰
    Take care
    ps. would it be okay to draw you in more cartoony style? If I remember correctly Loish did something like that ages ago.

    • Wouldn't that be crazy if it was something taught in school in the future?! Although it's not too far fetched. Times are changing, so many things depend on computers now it's surprising kids aren't taught even more about them now.

      And YES totally! Email me when you're done, I'd love to see!

  • Love this post! So many people I know (including my husband and myself) are steering away from normal jobs and people we know often comment about it in interesting ways… from the your so "lucky" to "that must be nice"… but in reality we work hard and pay our bills just the same as they do, be it in a less traditional way!

  • Hi Kaylah!
    First time commenting here, and I just wanted to say I adore your blog. As someone very interested in transitioning to full-time self-employment, I'd love to know some of the knitty gritty stuff. Such as: how do you do your healthcare? How difficult does self-employment make does taxes? Maybe that would make for a boring post….
    Anyhoo, good luck! Don't let the haters get you down.

  • more power to you!
    what i love about how you earn your living blogging is that you do it without the insane self promotion that so many other bloggers do. i hate that some sell their souls for a few free trinkets or some pennies and they have "real" jobs in addition to their blogging. somehow they way you promote yourself just feels natural.
    perhaps just call yourself a writer and a photographer. no need to use the word blogger unless you want. if someone asks where you write, a simple "mostly internet pieces" will shut folks up. or maybe say that you are an artist because you are (your words and your camera skills are art!).
    kaylah, you are such a smart, talented, funny, beautiful person. i hope that no one makes you feel less than. especially since i am pretty sure you are contributing more to this country in taxes than any of my coworkers because being "self employed" throws you into a crazy tax bracket, right?

  • I feel like anytime someone has a "fun" job or something they really enjoy, it is somehow considered not a real profession. I get the same sort of questions because I'm an animal trainer. I think this is going to be a great series!

    • Exactly. Work can't be fun apparently.

      Also – animal trainer? What kind of animals?! I'm very intrigued. Since your name is Otter I'm picturing someone teaches otters to be even cuter than they already are. πŸ˜›

    • Haha exactly πŸ˜‰ I'm a bird and mammal trainer! I work with lots of birds and a couple of different mammals like a white-nosed coati, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, and I used to work with our river otters before they were moved to a different part of the facility :'( But they were sooo cute!

  • What a great post! I've been blogging for about a year as a hobby but would love to get more into it. I'm still figuring everything out so any tips would be greatly appreciated. You do awesome work so keep being you!!

  • It's the best post that I have read for a long time. You are right that blogging IS a real job but people still just don't understand this. I can't imagine different work for myself and I'm so happy that my mom understands that I can support myself with blogging. Sje said that time changed and Internet (and also blogging as a part of the Internet) 10 years ago was nothing, was really small. Now it's the strongest media in the world and future is here.
    Amazing article and I just can't wait for more tips from you:)

  • Such a great post! I completely agree that the older generations wont really understand/agree that it is a real job! But it takes a lot of hard work, time and determination – I think that's what makes it a job.
    Congratulations on making your blog so fantastically awesome, and having blogging as a job. πŸ™‚
    Sarah xx

    • Thanks, Sarah but what makes it a job is that I'm getting paid. Something can be super easy and take no work or determination but still be a job – as long as you're getting paid.

  • TDS is the only blog I keep reading on an almost daily base, it's absolutely my favorite blog ever! The quality of your content and photos show that you put time and effort in your posts. I'm so happy for you (and me and all other readers πŸ˜‰ ) that you can make a living out of it because it's totally worth it!

    I only started blogging in january so I'm looking forward to this series, as your tips and tricks can help me find my own way without having to make my own mistakes first πŸ˜‰
    I also wonder "where the money comes from". In Belgium, where I live, we have ads but they don't pay the bills. Maybe because most blogs are written in our own language so there aren't that much readers, even with the popular ones?

    I also must say that I admire you, you seem like such a positive and interesting person. And you're also a source of inspiration to me as we have a lot of interests in common and I like your (blogging) style a lot.

    So, this was my first english reply to a blogpost ever, I hope you completely understood the things I've said ;-). Keep up the good work Kaylah, you're doing it great!
    Love, Daphne

    • Oh my goodness, Daphne, thank you so much!! πŸ™‚

      Hmm, that's an interesting thought about not many readers in other languages. I've never really thought about monetization being more difficult for blogs in a language other than English.

      Ps. Your English was perfect!

  • Super excited about this series! I'd love to hear your daily schedule, how long it takes to edit photos/posts weekly, how you organize social media and how you're able to write so much content every week.

  • Definitely interested to hear more! Maybe it's because I live in a relatively high cost of living area (Boston), but I never understand how ad revenue makes enough to pay the rent and bills. On the average blogger size blog that is. But I think it's great for whoever can make it work! Why not?! Do what you love!

  • I work from home also (internet retail) and the thing is that people think "work from home" means work part time. They really just can not fathom that I work constantly. That is MY trade-off. I work all day and night but I get to do it from home.

    • That, exactly! I basically work around the clock. I might take some time off to go on a bike ride, or to explore an abandoned building or whatever but when I come home I have to get back to work. It's very hard to clock out when you're self employed.

  • THANK YOU. I can totally relate. I do my etsy store full time as my job, and it's so tiring to hear people knock what I do for my bread and butter as if it's not a real living. Looking forward to more bizness lady posts like this!

  • Blogging would be an ideal career for me. I've been blogging for about 3 years because I love it. It also combines my passions of graphic design, photography, and (as a beauty blogger) makeup. I am a year out of school for Graphic Design and my ideal career for me is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. My parents don't get it but I'm working hard to make it a possibility for me! I've been following and admiring your blog for a couple of years now and I can't wait to read more posts about your blogging experience!

    lauren / lipstick & lacquer

  • I feel you on that stigma, I'm a photography student and I always get people telling me what are you going to do with that? How are you going to make a living doing that? I don't think people realize those questions are very invasive and can really hurt. Especially when those people are close to you. I can't wait to learn more from this series about blogging as a career!

    • I agree, that's totally invasive. I understand that the questions are necessarily coming from a bad place but people need to realize what they're asking isn't appropriate.

  • Kaylah, I really love this post! I think this should definitely be addressed. I'm a blogger too though I haven't had enough readers to make a living out of it. But I'm intrigued to try. I'd love to hear tips or stories on how you started out and how you're handling it thus far. Aside from that, I'd really love to see a photo of the hour thing to see what your daily schedule as a blogger looks like.

    Alive as Always

  • I don't mean this to sound snarky, but how do you make enough money from blogging to afford your lifestyle? Aside from the just regular costs of living (rent, health insurance, car insurance, utilities, etc) your hobbies and interests seem to be very pricey. Do you really make enough off blogging to afford that expensive bike, all your tattoos and hair dye, all your photography equipment, along with the multitude of things you like to collect. I know that blogging is a real job, I don't doubt that, but are you really generating that much? Also, how do you deal with taxes if you make above a certain amount? I am genuinely curious by HOW you do it.

    • I understand that you're not trying to sound snarky, but questions like that are exactly what I'm talking about in the post. It's very invasive to ask someone how they afford something that they do.

      I'm also not sure what kind of answer you're expecting. I simply save money until I can afford the expensive things I want, just like everyone else.

    • If I may, I think what Lucille is getting at is, how have you made this a full time job that supports everything that you want to do? Probably, the blunter (ruder, which you don't have to answer at all) question that she didn't ask here was, "DUDE, like, how much do you -actually- make?"
      I won't lie and say I'm not curious about that, because if it's better than what I make at my day job, it'll just be that much more incentive for me to try harder to do what I love. Student loans aren't gonna pay themselves!

      As much as we're trained in society to find direct financial questions rude, one of the many reasons why people don't consider blogging a real job is that they have no realistic sense of what successful bloggers actually make. I remember in high school math, when we had to take our "dream job", use this federal website thing to figure out what the average person makes doing it, and then take that money and "buy" a car and house to come up with mortgage, payments, and then still figure out a monthly grocery budget. I also remember having to settle for something that wasn't my "dream job" because cartoonist and costume designer weren't on the stupid website, and my teacher kept telling me that I needed to have a "real job". BLECH. Blogging is such a new, and such a varied thing, there aren't real hard numbers on it! You're kind of a pioneer.

    • I understand but the thing is knowing how much someone makes doesn't really matter because everyone lives SO differently. Cost of living from state to state, shoot even city to city, varies drastically. What people consider necessities also dictates how much they need in order to survive. Also it's not like blogging has one set amount you can make. There is no minimum wage here. Me sharing my numbers doesn't mean that's what someone else would make too.

      Anyway, my point is I'm not rich. I don't think blogging will ever make me rich. But it works. My bills get paid, I eat healthy (lololol, I mean, for the most part), and I'm able to save a little bit of money for fun things. Life, for me at least, isn't about accumulating lots of money. As long as my needs are being met I'm super stoked, especially because I have my dream job!

  • Kudos to you for this! I came from a tiny town that didn't exactly thrive in the creative department, so I still get awkward responses when telling people I'm a wedding photographer, and because I'm fairly new, I feel like I have to justify myself. All. The. Time. It's hard to get over the fact that some people will never understand, but you're enjoying what you do and amazing at it, so you're the real winner.xx

  • Look at youtubers! Zoella just bought a home for 1.4 million dollars and she just started by making beauty videos. And there are so many bloggers making a really good living from their blog. I think people think that its just too easy, they don't deserve money because they're not really working or they're not making a contribution to society or something – which is a load of bull. The internet is massive, and important nowadays – and if you are making something that helps, inspires, or makes people happy then you deserve every cent and then some.

    People are dicks!

  • Hi! πŸ™‚ Thanks for that insight.
    Yeah, being a blogger or trying to make it as a photographer/illustrator WITH blogging is definitely not easy. I'm an old visitor here, I started following you when… phew… Like… 2008/9? Something like that. I had my pauses but i regularly come back.
    Since I know this blog so long, I should be able to pinpoint what it was, that made you so succesful. Was it the scheduled blogging? Or the sponsors? I remember your first outfit post, to get you out of these pj's. It was a little bit of all I think. But I'd love to hear (or read) what it was specifically that did the deed. At which point did you recognise that blogging could actually work for you as a fulltime job?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Haha, so crazy you've been around that long! Thanks for sticking around. Good thing I wanted to stop wearing pjs all the time. πŸ˜›

      Those are great questions. I don't really think there was one specific thing that was the key to success.

  • i loved this post. i hate that people feel the need to judge you based on how you make your money, like they can tell you what you are. i mean, i am a writer, anyone who knows me would call me that, i've been writing since i was a child and it is truly my core identity, but since i don't make too much money off of it people look at me like i'm crazy when i answer that question with "a writer!" instead of "a social worker!" (which is what pays my bills but not what i really, truly, AM.
    i think it's so rad that you've found a way to make money off of your photography, style, and art. (i apologize if the next sentence is an overstepping of bounds/offensive) i'm a long-time reader & have noticed that you have mentioned that you are shy/socially anxious, and i think it's super rad that you are able to work in a way that is suited to yr strengths! like, i've seen so many super-smart introverted people (myself included) get overlooked, ignored and discredited in more traditional work environments, and chattier, stupider people get promoted, praised, etc. so kudos to you for bypassing all that.

    • Good for you for telling people you're a writer! I hope someday you'll be able to make that your bread and butter. πŸ™‚

      Right? That's one reason I REALLY love blogging. This last year I've really come out of my shell, and am a thousand times less anxious in social situations but working for myself at home has given me so many better opportunities than I most likely would have had in a more traditional work environment.

  • I have recently just left my full time job to pursue blogging full time. Right now, it doesn't pay any of my bills but that's okay because I know that this is what I want to do and if I work hard enough, it will. I loved this post because I've already been faced with questions like this and I find myself looking for other answers when faced with the question "what do you do". I love that you face it head on but also know exactly what I'm going through. So many bloggers do it as a hobby that people don't really understand that it's can be a real job too.

    Thank you for making me happy today.


  • Hi Kaylah – I have read your blog off and on for a few years now. I am just a few years older than you, and definitely not as adventurous with fashion and likely don't have a ton of things in common with you, other than being from Cleveland. In any event, I think these kinds of posts and blogs in general invite people to be curious about authors' lives, and they make people wonder how they make it work. I think it's wonderful that you are living life your way and making this your career. I hope this lasts a long time for you. Maybe you could explain your job as you are slowly writing your autobiography? While I find your lifestyle and habits intriguing, I might like to know a bit more about what makes you tick, what makes you happy, what worries you, about your relationships, about what makes you real…that's ultimately what would make me keep reading.

    • Hey there,
      I feel like I already share enough of those things. I'm not comfortable sharing any more about my relationships or anything personal. Sorry! I'm sure there are lots of other blogs, that maybe you'd have more in common with, that do share more those of things.

  • I'm so excited to read these posts! As someone who blogs as a hobby, I know how much time that consumes. Blogging as a career is obviously so many levels above that and I have no doubt that it is seriously hard work. I can't wait to read all about it. I think for a lot of people who say that they don't think it is a 'real' job are just upset that they aren't doing something that they love as a job.

  • This is such an empowering and inspirational post! I've gone through loads of jobs in my lifetime (and a BSc) and have heard many ridicule some of my employment positions as "just a temporary thing before you get a real job right?" It can be so frustrating! After some serious chronic health set backs I'm now working towards making money as a home based crafter and once again facing a whole lot of negativity from the outside world. Hey – if I can pay my bills doing something I love to bits and leaves me super happy why not?

  • What a beautiful dog!

    And I'm jealous…I am too lazy and not imaginative enough and too cantankerous to make money at blogging, so may you make huge gobs of money at it and succeed, succeed, succeed!

  • I have a blog that is a hobby. I love writing, but blogging full-time isn't in the cards right now. (I work at a university and my husband and kids get free college tuition, can't beat that with a stick). On my blog for fun I can easily spend 2 hours a day just to write a single post. I can totally see how blogging could be an 8 to 10 hour a day job writing, editing, photographing, planning stories, networking…. I think folks just don't realize how intense it can be. I wonder if dudes get the same incredulity?

  • Thank you so much for this article ! I was wondering what you're doing for a living, since you stopped doing your cute handmade clutches a few years ago (edit : …well except for your limited edition from today ;)). But I didn't want to be too nosy.
    I'm dealing with similar questions because I'm self-employed. For many people – and even myself sometimes ! – not earning money the same amount each month with salary slip and all is just too scary/immature/definitely not possible.
    And even if I graduated at art school, I wasn't prepared at all to what was going after, be my own boss and all.
    With experience – and I guess a little more wisdom, I could say that if you love what you're doing and if you can live an happy life doing it, what more could you expect ? πŸ™‚

  • I'd love to hear about why you chose Blogger over WordPress. I love Blogger, so much more than WordPress or others, but every professional opinion I hear about blogs is quite the opposite. (aside from your blog and a few others of course) What do you say to the opinion that 'Wordpress is for serious bloggers and Blogger is for hobbyists' ?

    • I really don't have a good answer for that. I've just always used blogger. I've never heard anything SO special about WordPress that made me want to switch.

  • Can't wait for this little series! I've blogged off and on since 2011 and could never find my 'thing' to blog about. I'm trying a new look and new content soon and am really interested in making my money this way as health issues keep me from getting a "real" job.

    • Thank you!

      What type of tips? I'm definitely down to share that type of post but really have no idea what types of things specifically people are interested in hearing about.

  • I've always been so curious about what it's like to make a living from blogging, so I loved reading this post and am definitely looking forward to more! It's just a hobby for me right now but I would love to turn it into a job one day. When I was between jobs last summer I got a taste of what it would be like to blog full time and I LOVED it. What I am interested in is kind of how it all got started (if you're comfortable sharing that!!!) Like did you know you wanted to make a living from blogging or did it just sort of start happening and you went with it? And how did you learn how to start earning money from blogging? Trial and error? Reading guides? A bit of both? That's the part I am still a bit foggy about, myself. Anyway, your blog has always been one of my faves and I am so glad you are able to make it your dream job! πŸ˜€

  • You are awesome! I have enjoyed your blog and creative endeavors since 2011. I love the new pouches, I am glad you started selling your photographs they are sooo good…. I wished I could have grabbed one of the pouches. Hopefully you can have another pre order soon. Either way lady I have a major crush for everything you do… definite inspiration for being original and unique! You have such a strong following that will back you in anything and everything. πŸ™‚ KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK YOU DO because I know it is a lot of work… hard work, dedication and true passion! Sending tons of love you way!

  • This is so true! I feel the same when people ask me what I do for a living I often find myself saying graphic designer, stylist, photographer. A lot of people still don't understand how you can make money from it and don't take it seriously.

  • BlackIn BloomMarch 24, 2015 at 3:34 PM
    I would love to hear more about the early stages of your blogging career and how you got so successful! You're such an inspiration and I love reading your blog. Itd be an honor to hear from you your success tips!

  • Living on the east coast i went through such scrutiny. People didn't believe i made a full living off art. I've even encountered people asking me for proof, my credentials. Now i could easily point to a bookstore or a popular art website.

    But i still don't know how to explain to older people the kind of art i create. An older man said, "Like Frida Kahlo?" I just nodded because i didn't know what else to say. Haha. I need to go back to blogging but i'm not sure what to talk about!

  • I seriously can't wait for more blogging tips from you! I actually am planning on sending you an email about something so I guess this comment is like a little heads up for you haha πŸ™‚

  • Everyone is judged by certain people no matter what! It takes an extremely determined, gifted, strong willed and self-motivated person to work for themselves at home, you're amazing and don't let anyone tell you any different!!

  • I think it's amazing that you're able to make a living by doing what you love. That should be celebrated! And it obviously it takes a lot of self motivation and planning to make things work. There are obviously people out there who will judge you no matter what. But traditional jobs are way overrated.

    I'm excited to hear what else you have do say. πŸ™‚

  • I've been following you since the days of Flickr and I've always wondered, how did you get your start in blogging? Is there a lot of competition due to the numerous amount of blogs out there? I'm sure it's been asked but what tips or recommendations do you have for those who want to begin blogging but don't know where to start.


  • You've probably heard this a million times in your comments already but anyone who claims that's not a "real job" is rude and jealous.You've got the coolest job, and you kick ass doing it, which is why it does so well that you can support yourself(which is rad in and of itself and I've been envious and inspired for years by you now c:)! You don't owe an explanation to anyone, its your life.

  • I'm so glad that you're writing about this! I've been following your blog for years and recently started my own. I can't wait to see what you have to say!

  • I meant to comment on this ages ago and I just stumbled across it again. I think it's awesome that you're able to support yourself doing something that you obviously love to do. I find it inspiring, to tell you the truth. As someone in her mid-20s who hasn't got a clue in the world what she wants to do career-wise, it's refreshing to know that my life doesn't have to be constrained to a cubicle or an otherwise "boring office job". Sure, I do that here and there right now while I'm school, but I gotta pay the bills somehow! I wonder every single day what I'll end up doing after I graduate. And then 10 years after that, and even 20 years after! It's exciting, overwhelming, and a little daunting. But knowing that other individuals like yourself can find an exciting career in an interesting way is sometimes all that gets me through it. Thanks for sharing your world with us all! πŸ™‚

  • loved reading this post, and all of the comments underneath it.
    there are so many aspects of blogging that could be classed as a job within themselves!
    i kind of think you are some sort of super-human to manage it all.. and make a living from it.
    excited to find out more πŸ˜€
    D-rama xo

  • I love this post! I've been blogging for four years, and recently made the decision to close my little nail shop in Canton to focus on blogging full-time. I just found your blog (thanks to Instagram) and am so excited to read about your Northeast Ohio adventures πŸ™‚