From Well-Paying Day Job To Risky Full-Time Side Hustle – Why I Made The Switch

Just a few years ago, numerous people called me crazy for leaving my day job as a financial analyst in order to pursue my blogging side hustle full-time. At that point, many people saw my side hustle as just a hobby, not a real business. Plus, some people thought that it wasn’t secure enough, that…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Just a few years ago, numerous people called me crazy for leaving my day job as a financial analyst in order to pursue my blogging side hustle full-time. At that point, many people saw my side hustle as just a hobby, not a real business. Plus, some people thought that it wasn’t secure enough, that I was nuts for leaving my stable job that I went to college for, along with many other reasons.

Six years ago, I left my day job to pursue my side hustle full-time. Learning how to make money online through a blog was never my goal, but I'm so glad I gave it a shot! #sidehustle #howtomakemoney #howtomakemoneyonline #waystomakeextramoneyAnd, for the most part, I completely understood why people thought I was crazy.

It’s not like the average person knows a full-time blogger or exactly what a blogger is. Just the thought of someone earning a living online, just a few years ago, blew people’s mind and led to lots of confusion and questions. It’s a very unusual career choice that can be mind boggling for the average person to hear about.

Due to this, we received many money lectures from coworkers and bosses, people who thought we were giving up and trying to find an “easy” way to work, and more.

I had a great day job that paid well. It had benefits, paid a plentiful bonus at the end of each year, and I could have worked there forever if I wanted to.

But, it just wasn’t for me.

Behind the scenes, it felt like my day job was killing me. I know that many people aren’t absolutely in love with their job, but I could barely stand going in each day and dreaded nearly every bit of it.

Today’s blog post isn’t me telling everyone that they should become a blogger. No, instead, it is about how you should work towards improving your life if you are feeling unhappy, stuck, lost, etc. I felt so unhappy, and at times I felt extremely stuck, stressed, and miserable. I thought this was just how life was supposed to be, and that I was the odd one for hating my day job so much.

Turns out, life didn’t have to be that way!

Related content:

Here’s how I knew I should leave my good day job to pursue my side hustle full-time.

 

I believed in my side hustle business.

I created Making Sense of Cents almost six years ago, and since then, I have earned over $2,000,000 with my blog and over $1,000,000 just in 2017.

But, it wasn’t always that way.

I created my blog on a whim after reading about a personal finance website in a magazine. At first, it was just a hobby to track my own personal finance progress, and I had no intention whatsoever of learning how to make money online. And, when I started in 2011, I honestly didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!

My interest in blogging quickly grew, but like I said it was all just a hobby. I wanted a space to write about my personal finance situation, have a support group, keep track of how I was doing, and more. I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money blogging.

A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser, and I earned $100 from that advertisement deal. That was the start of learning how to make extra money online.

By the summer of 2012, just one year after I started my blog, I was earning around $1,000 a month, and I was making around $10,000 monthly by the following summer.

And, that’s around when I quit my job to blog full-time. Sure, $10,000 seems like a lot to make each month. But don’t forget that I have business expenses, a high tax rate, and more on top of that.

Plus, being a business owner isn’t for the faint-hearted. It can be extremely unpredictable, and you never really know what’s in store for your future.

And, it was a brand new business for me and something I didn’t go to college for.

However, I believed in my side hustle, and I knew it could only grow.

I believed that this was the best decision for myself, and I still 1,000% feel that way.

Related: How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog

 

My side hustle income eventually grew higher than my day job salary.

Once my side income was higher than my day job income, it was very hard to stay motivated at my day job. I knew that if my side hustle grew any further, that sacrificing my happiness was not worth it to be working in an industry that I did not enjoy.

Yes, I probably could have continued to work full-time as a financial analyst at my day job, as well as working on my side hustle. However, that would have been draining to do for too much longer, as I was working over 100 hours a week between the two.

So, eventually, I made the decision that I had to pick one or the other. And, I picked Making Sense of Cents!

Related: How To Quit Your Job And Become Self-Employed

 

I enjoyed my side hustle.

Before I started my blogging side hustle, I never gave blogging a single thought. Like I said, I didn’t even know that blogs existed, let alone that it would be fun.

Now that I’ve been blogging for over six years, I can’t imagine not blogging, and I am so very thankful that I turned my little hobby blog into a side hustle all those years ago.

I enjoy helping others improve their financial situation, reading blog posts from others, finding new people to talk to, working on my blog, and especially writing.

I love waking up each morning to work, and I no longer dread work like I did when I had my day job. Blogging is both challenging and rewarding, as there is always something new to learn, and you can reach so many people through your blog.

This is a big reason for why I decided to pursue my side hustle full-time. I didn’t enjoy my day job one bit, and here I was having a lot of fun and enjoying pretty much every moment that I spent on my side hustle.

To me, it was a no brainer – I was earning more through blogging and actually enjoying myself.

 

I am able to help others.

Even though I didn’t realize it would happen when I first started my blogging side hustle, as it has grown over the years, I have helped many people – including myself!

Yes, it did teach me how to make extra money and more, but it also helped me help others in numerous ways.

My blog helps readers by showing them new ideas, help them improve their finances, manage their life better, and more.

I have received many emails over the years from readers who I have helped, and it makes it all worthwhile. Helping readers is the best!

 

I am my own boss.

I never thought that I’d be my own boss when I first started my blogging side hustle.

I can decide what type of business I run, my schedule, my goals, and more.

With my day job, I did not feel in control, at all. Even though I was a good worker, I still felt like I was constantly tiptoeing around.

I knew I would never lose my job, but I also didn’t know what was in store for my future.

Now, I feel way more in control since I am my own boss. I can dictate what I want to do, what I don’t want to do, and when I want to do it all. I can create a flexible schedule that works best for me, and I can grow my business in the ways that I desire.

Related: How To Quit Your Job And Become A Full-Time Blogger

 

My business allows me travel full-time.

At my day job, I received a fair amount of vacation time. It was somewhere around 2-3 weeks a year.

However, being on vacation didn’t mean I was actually able to really leave work for those 2-3 weeks each year.

The work would just pile up on my desk until the day I came back, and I would have to work outside of my normal 8a.m. to 5:30 p.m. hours to catch up after a vacation. Also, the days leading up to a vacation were just as stressful because of all the work that had to be done before I left.

Those 2-3 weeks also included any sicknesses, family emergencies and more, so you can easily see how quickly it all added up whenever things came up in life.

While 2-3 weeks is something I was grateful to receive, it just wasn’t for me, especially, since I didn’t enjoy my job. Working around 50 weeks a year just to enjoy two weeks off seemed crazy to me.

Now, I travel full-time and can go on vacation whenever I want. While I am working much more than I did at my day job, I am in full control and have a much better work life balance.

 

I saw others around me hating their jobs.

After landing my first “professional” job after college, I started noticing more and more how others perceived their jobs. I saw how much others genuinely hated their jobs and what they did, and I could see it completely controlling them.

I knew I did not want that. I saw the opportunity that my blogging side hustle gave me, and I jumped on that. I wanted to do something different, with the hope and dream that it would all work out, because anything was better than my current situation.

 

It wasn’t fair to the company I worked for.

My heart wasn’t in my work, and it wouldn’t have been fair to the company for me to continue to work there. The people I worked with were kind people, but the job made me miserable. It was stressful, the work wasn’t enjoyable, it could be quite repetitive at times, I definitely was not improving the world in any way (I dealt with wealthy clients and wasn’t changing the world in any way), and so on.

As the days went on, I realized that I couldn’t do the job forever. So, by quitting, the company would be able to sooner find the right person for the position, since they were grooming me to take on a key role in the company.

My heart just wasn’t in the work that I did.

The job I had may be for some, but I still can’t believe I got myself into that mess.

I knew I couldn’t waste any more of their time since I knew I wasn’t in it for the long haul. I was wasting both their time and mine by continuing to work there.

 

I absolutely dreaded Sundays and Mondays.

Sundays were horrible because I knew that I had work the next day. Mondays were horrible because I actually had to go to a job that was so incredibly boring. It was also so stressful that I didn’t even know what to do with myself.

I also had no one to talk to because I worked independently, and even when I met with clients, they were all older businessmen (and I was a very early 20’s female). So, not only was the work horrible, but there was also no social life at the company or in the industry.

Since switching to my freelancing business full-time, I actually look forward to each and every single day. I look forward to any new leads, and to also work for my current clients. I really enjoy everything I do! And, even though I work from home, I have a much better social life than I did when I had my day job – I talk to other freelancers, friends, and family all the time.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons for why I made the decision to leave my day job. It’s been around four years since I made the switch, and I honestly cannot even see myself still working at my old day job. Blogging is definitely for me, and it’s one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

Sure, not everyone should become a blogger, but the point of today’s post is to find what you love to do if you are feeling stuck, unhappy, and more.

Do you have a side hustle? Do you enjoy your career?

How To Start A Blog Free Email Course

Want to see how I built a $5,000,000 blog?

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

Powered by ConvertKit

Filed under:

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

Like this article?

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

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

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! It inspires me again and again! Blogging has been my favorite hobby for more than seven years now, but it is a hobby. I love my profession (I am a middle and high school teacher), but I don’t always love my job πŸ™‚

  2. That’s a truly inspiring life story.
    I’ve been following your blog for about a year now.
    Keep it up with the excellent work.

    Big fan from Portugal!

  3. You made the obvious right choice Michelle in ditching the day job, and your reasons were clear. If I could get one of my side hustles to be more profitable then I’d fully ditch my W2 job which is now part time. I’m working on it, but it’s clear that I need to do a lot more work.

  4. Patty

    I can relate to how you felt working fulltime in a job you didn’t enjoy. Also, I still face people’s reactions when I tell them I quit work to blog. These people are sticking it out in their jobs until retirement and they will have security in doing that. I agree with you that it’s not worth it to me if I’m unhappy every day of my life because of the job. I blogged and worked the first year of blogging and the hope of that turning into a business was what got me through the day! Even my family will say I’m retired early because they don’t understand how much work it is to be a blogger. My life is so much better now. I still get up early and work a lot but I love helping people get more out of their life and getting to know other bloggers. It’s an excellent career choice!

  5. Andrew

    I left a full-time office job about 5 years ago to become a freelance consultant. That was a good step, but I now find that I am starting to dread my freelance gig. I know I need to take a next step to find work that keeps me more engaged, but I wonder if I can find a way to monetize things that I find engaging. Thanks for sharing how you did it.

  6. Caitlin

    Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been trying to leave my job for several years, and feel like I am FINALLY making enough progress on my side hustle where I can see leaving my job in the next year or so.

    I’ve found that the MENTAL part was the hardest – feeling worth it, feeling guilty for wanting more, feeling guilty about being miserable at my job when I know I’m lucky to have one . . .so I’m glad I’m not alone!

  7. Yes, that’s a big reason for why I had to leave my day job. When had to be stopped in order for the other to really be successful.

  8. Erica

    Thanks for the reminder Michelle. I’d lost that push to create a side hustle that could take over my day job and this reinvigorated it. It’s taken me a lot of time to figure out what I really want to do and what would bring me joy. Now I need to just focus and do.

    I really appreciate your blog and it very inspiring. It’s what showed me that I could really make money online πŸ™‚ Thanks for all that you do!

    1. Erica

      Also the “It wasn’t fair to the company I worked for” section really hit home for me. It’s so true

  9. Elona Karafin

    Wow this spoke RIGHT to me! I just resigned from my job as a financial analyst to work full time on my blog (www.elonatheexplorer.com) and my jewelry business (nulajewelry.com) – I was reading this and it felt like you were in front of me talking directly to me. Thanks so much for this post!

  10. I love how you show readers what’s possible! It took courage but you did it, and others can too. Keep up the great work, Michelle!

  11. Michelle, I really enjoy reading your blog and this post was particularly inspiring. Thanks for all you do!

  12. Hi Michelle!

    You are always an inspiration to me.It was very interesting to read about your struggle and to see how you were able to handle it without losing yourself.
    Congratulations for your perseverance and for everything you achieved!

  13. I always love learning and reading more about your story. It’s sooooo inspiring. If only everyone could lead a life that they truly enjoyed and found fulfillment in. There would probably fewer stressed out drivers, calmer people at the grocery store, and more enjoying of nature, friends and family. The 9-5 rat race grind is something I hope I never have to do again. Amazingly I’m making enough with voiceover, freelance writing, and a tiny bit of blogging income so far to sustain myself πŸ™‚ Congrats on all you’ve accomplished!

  14. Melody @ LA Vida Color

    Thank you Michelle, you are actually one of the reasons I decided to finally start a blog! I also took your Affiliate Marketing course and am trying to integrate new affiliate strategies into my blog. I admire your guts, you are very inspiring!

    I wish I had done this sooner, but it’s okay, I’m starting now. I spent 8 years in school, and 6 years working, trying to convince myself I was okay with my job. Not even happy with it, just “okay”. But I realized I was fooling myself!

    I feel the same stress and misery you described, I dread waking up everyday for work. I still work full time, but on my off days, I wake up with ideas in my head and scramble to get out of bed so I can start work on my blog. I’ve never looked forward to doing work like this before!

    It is stressful but so refreshing at the same time, being a new blogger. I can only hope that one day I might be able to quit my job too, or at least cut back to part time!

    Thanks again!

  15. I have been in education for almost 20 years. I love teaching, the diversity of my role, and the job stability. However I have also been writing for almost that amount of time – novels and now my blog. With the latter, I’ve found my passion and I am going to keep working until I can retire the day job and do this full time. I had kids young so my relatively recent empty nest gives me the freedom to take some risks I couldn’t do when I had a family to support. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration.

    1. I’m glad you found your passion!

  16. Congrats on starting a blog!

  17. I am so glad you pursued your dream and followed the heart. It takes courage and extreme focus. Thank you for sharing this personal story. It’s a great inspiration for all of us.

  18. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    I’m in a strange limbo where I actually enjoy the work I do, but I’ve hated all the companies I’ve worked for. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not built to work the 9-to-5 grind working for the man.

    My side hustle is freelance writing, which has been surprisingly profitable. I’ve had to specifically carve out time in my schedule (5 am!) to make time every day to work on my hustle.

    1. Do you plan on switching to your side hustle ever?

  19. I love this post, Michelle. I feel like I’ve had a very experience just last year, but transitioning to a freelance business rather than only blogging.

    The freedom and happiness I feel now is incomparable, and I’m so happy I made this change. Glad to see you’re enjoying it even several years in πŸ™‚

  20. Marie Jackson

    Good for you for sticking with your passion and doing what you love. They always say the money comes if you are doing what you love. Most people don’t have a clue how much work goes into a blog. It sounds so simple which is why so many start and fail. Congrats on your continued success!

  21. Taylor

    This post was awesome Michelle, you’ve seriously been a big inspiration to me since I started my blog early last year and seeing how well everything worked out for you quitting your job only puts a light under my butt to work even harder to see where this can take me!

  22. Elizabeth Sovinski

    I could not relate more to your story! I mean, word for word I felt the exact same way at my “9-5” job that I left recently. I had been working in the healthcare industry since I graduated college about 4 years ago. Not as a healthcare provider, but doing project implementation/supply chain type work. I hated it. I hated that someone way up high in the company decided how much money I was going to make. I hated that I had to be sitting in an office for x amount of hours every single day even if that didn’t increase my productivity. And that my every movement was being monitored by someone. I hated that I couldn’t take the time off I wanted. I knew there was more for me out there.
    I went and got my real estate license, something I have been wanting to do for years! I absolutely love it! I work for myself, and my income reflects my productivity which is controlled by ….. ME!
    I also started a side hustle being a proofreader for court reporters through an online course “Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice”. I believe I even found this opportunity through your blog.
    I completely work for myself. I can take the time off I want. I make my own schedule every single day. I am so happy I made the change I needed! So glad to hear you are enjoying the changes you made too πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! Glad you’re enjoying yourself as well.

  23. Melissa

    I love this post Michelle. I do not have a college degree, but I have been attending for a long time. Over the years I have changed my major and still do not know what I want to do. I am working full-time, but I dream of being able to travel and pursue things I really enjoy. I found your blog a few months ago and you are a huge inspiration!

  24. DNN

    Hey Michelle,

    Hope your new year is off to a good start. I must say that the rewards of having a side hustle far outweigh staying on a cushy day job and suffering financially. I’m glad to hear that people thought you were crazy a few years ago when he made the wonderful decision to quit your cushy day job as a financial analyst and pursue your side hustle blog and career. Michelle, you are truly a blogging inspiration to thousands of people across the web, whether they comment on your blog or not. I started blogging back in 2005 after stumbling across a link in the footer of the Walmart.com website that said join our affiliate program. Not having a clue what affiliate marketing, that was the moment of humility when I chose to explore what blog.

    Like yourself, it started out as something I had no clue or previous education about. I started experimenting with this stuff and lo and behold, ironed my first $70 plus commission as a Walmart affiliate posting Walmart affiliate links to a blogger.com blog without knowing what the heck. From that point, I knew I had to take this more seriously then just something to do with the computer when I’m bored. Like yourself, I wanted to take it from a hobby to a million-dollar online business though no one held my hand online to show me how to do this or how to do that.

    Like yourself Michelle, I had not a clue blocking was something that could earn a 100% living online. I thought it was just something to do on the side where as you could earn a few dollars per month comma with the mindset that you must keep a day job in order to keep your head above water financially. As years went by, I read articles even there how people were going from unemployed and broke to online millionaires in less than 5 years. And I actually met one of the people online who used to be broke and now and online millionaire. His name is Jeremy Palmer and he wrote the internet e-book called quit your day job. He explained in his book how he went from being a broke it professional to being an online millionaire in under 5 years using affiliate marketing. For some reason. Besides, I spent over $50 for his book. I was hoping he was telling. And sure he was.

    It’s good to know that you believe enough in yourself to take this internet stuff seriously. Besides, working online and going from a side hustle to a million-dollar full-time internet business has no pension nor a healthcare plan. And we have to pay our own independent contractor taxes. So with that said, we have to take on a lot more responsibilities working online as Internet marketers and side hustlers because it’s much more to it than writing and publishing content and making money online. I commend you for being an honorable side hustle and blocking role model for aspiring internet entrepreneurs and hoping to learn more from you Michelle and years to come. Thank you for just being you! πŸ™‚

    1. I really love blogging πŸ™‚

      1. So do I.

        Bloggers and internet marketers are silent rockstars, because we’re just as big as U.S. politicans! πŸ™‚

  25. Amazing post. I believe you did so many things right like setting it up while having the security of the day job. To me, it is a little surprising that people still questioned your decision of doing it full time. Also, most of the other people prefer being in their comfort zone once they find it.

    It takes a lot to make the extra effort, find a side hustle, try it out and build it up to a sustainable level. Rather, it is easier to be a naysayer or an ostrich with the head in the sand when it comes to other people rather than try and take the risk yourself.

    Your story is inspiring and I am really glad that it has worked out so well for you. Make you keep motivating others to not feel forced to do a job just to get the paycheck every month, and forge their own path.

  26. I haven’t had a day job since I left to take care of my kids 9 years ago, but since then I’ve been working an online business. It’s not a great fit anymore and I’ve decided to leave it- I’m working on myself to find what truly makes me happy, and I do hope that blogging will lead me to it.

  27. Verolian Opiyo

    your story is a great inspiration, Michelle. l met you just one month ago and your stories have really changed who I am.

    though I have few concerns, can you please include archives column on your blog so that I can start reading your articles from 2011-2018. I know it`s kinder tiresome but this is a challenge I`m giving myself not to miss any word (details, ideas) from you.

    you are my favorite.

    1. Thank you! If you scroll to the bottom of my blog page – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/blog – you’ll see page numbers and that’s a way to scroll back and read from the beginning.

  28. JJ

    Hi Michelle. An inspiring article. The internet has really opened up so many new opportunities for people to be their own boss…although, as you know, it’s not always easy πŸ™‚

    A question for you…At what point did you feel like your blog really had a solid following of readers? Early on in your blogging journey did you have any idea of the number of people that were reading your content (e.g. stat trackers) or did you just know people were engaged based on their comments.

    Thanks

  29. Income Master

    Love this article. I was in the same position last year absolutely dreading coming into work every day. It’s so important to work hard to do something you enjoy, even if it means working your full-time job and then working on your side hustle for a few hours late at night. All that work builds up and the pay off is amazing when you become your own boss, can travel when you want and do something that you’re passionate about..

  30. Side hustles are definitely the way to go. Job security 100%. Thanks for keeping me inspired Michelle! πŸ™‚