I Quit My Job to Become a Food Blogger
Here’s my story of how I Quit My Job to Become a Food Blogger. Something I have been dreaming about for years and is finally my reality!
I have thought about how it would feel to write this post MANY times over the last few years. And I am here to tell you, it is even more exciting than I imagined! I am so grateful to be able to follow my dream and pursue a career I am so passionate about.
But first, thank you…
And before I dive into the journey that got me here, I first have to send out a HUGE thank you to my TSV fam. You all are literally the best. You have gotten me here through your continued support of everything I do. Every time you make one of my recipes, leave a review, post a photo on Instagram, comment on Facebook, pin on Pinterest or like a video on YouTube, I see you. I see you, I thank you and I appreciate you. TSV is so much bigger than me and these recipes. It is a whole community of people that are absolutely amazing. So THANK YOU!!!
Now, that we got the most important part of this post (YOU) covered, let’s get into the details of how we got here.
Let’s take it back 10 years
In 2010, I graduated college and had zero job prospects, a very unclear vision of what I wanted to do with my life, and not a lot of money in my pocket. So, when I got offered a job at a crappy hotel, I took it. I needed to pay rent after all.
The shifts there were long. I spent many days working 12-15 hours, bouncing between my job at the front desk and my night shift at the convenience store next door. And while there were TONS of rude customers, long nights and time spent crying in the back office (this happened more than I’d like to admit), there was one positive to this job. I had a decent amount of down time during my shifts where I could browse the web and look through Pinterest. This is where I discovered the blog world and I was immediately hooked.
I loved looking at recipes, interior design and DIYs. And seeing that people were out there making a living off of doing this was so exciting to me. I wouldn’t do anything with this idea for another 4 years, but this is where a spark was lit in me.
I finally got a “real” job
Over the next 4 years, I would leave my crappy hotel job and get my first 9-5 position at a non-profit as an Office Manager. I was so excited to work there! Not only did I love their mission, it was also in the field I had always thought I would work in. I got my degree in Sociology and Public Service, so it seemed like the stars had aligned.
I quickly moved from Office Management to Operations and took on a little bit of everything. IT, construction management, facility management…basically if it had anything to do with the building, I was in charge of it. My retired supervisor took me under his wing and really wanted to mentor me into becoming a success in the San Diego facility management community. He directed me to courses I should take and connected me with possible job leads that were quite lucrative. And as a young female in an industry dominated by middle aged men, I had a lot of opportunities to pursue that path – and probably would have had a lot of success.
But, what no one knew was that I still had something in me that wanted to pursue blogging. I don’t know what it was about it, but I knew it was for me. I hadn’t even started a blog yet, but I knew! 😂
But I still wanted to be a blogger
So, in 2014 I purchased my first DSLR camera and bought a domain – eatstylecreate.com. Yep, TSV was not my first blog! That site no longer exists, but it was a “lifestyle blog”. AKA, I had zero direction and did a little bit of everything. DIYs, fashion round-ups and recipes. When people say that you should pick a niche when starting a blog, they are BEYOND correct!
It was so hard to come up with content every week that was balanced between the 3 categories. And I leaned heavily towards the recipe creation 😉 It was my favorite part of my blog.
I wrote this blog for 2 years. It never really took off (shocker, since it didn’t have a real direction) and I was still working my day job through it all. BUT, the positive part of spending the time to create this other blog is that I learned SO MUCH!
How to buy a domain, set up a host, work the backend of wordpress, take photos, edit photos, SEO, set-up an Instagram, Facebook page and Pinterest business account. Basically all of the crazy stuff that goes on behind the scenes that make a blog successful. And while this particular blog didn’t become a success, I was ready to start over. And a big lifestyle change made the idea for my new blog a no brainer.
I WENT VEGAN!
In the summer of 2016 I went vegan – my journey to becoming vegan is a whole other post, so we’ll leave those details for another day.
And like I mentioned, my favorite part of my old blog was the recipe creation. So it just made so much sense that I start a new blog that was strictly recipes…vegan recipes, of course.
So I set out to name my new blog and start from scratch. I landed on the name This Savory Vegan because I knew that there would be a heavy emphasis on savory vegan food. It is what I like to make, what I like to eat and what I wanted to share with people.
At that time, the vegan community was an interesting place. There was a huge emphasis on the HCLF (High Carb Low Fat) vegan diet. Where you could watch people on YouTube eat 30 bananas for breakfast and 10 pounds of potatoes for dinner.
Ok, everyone wasn’t that extreme, but it was still a fad diet within the vegan community.
I saw it as no sauce, no seasoning, no fun. And who wants to eat pounds and pounds of mangos and bananas everyday??? So strange.
Being vegan can be fun!
I also knew that if I was going to overhaul my own food choices, I needed to incorporate ideas from my pre-vegan days in new and creative ways. And that’s what I wanted my blog to exude. Being vegan doesn’t have to be boring. Being vegan doesn’t have to be exclusive. And being vegan can be FUN!
(I’ve included some photos below of recipes I make at home. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see more of what I eat on a daily basis!)
I wanted to create a place where vegans AND non-vegans could come and find recipe inspo that was delicious and familiar. I didn’t want a place that outcasted people who weren’t perfect vegans. If you are just incorporating vegan food once a week, that sounds great to me. Shaming people into being vegan wasn’t (and still isn’t) my vibe. I’d rather show people delicious vegan food that they can integrate into their lives, whether they are vegan or not.
Starting this new blog from scratch was daunting BUT exciting. It was a topic I was so passionate about and so excited to share with people. But, it also meant giving up 2 years worth of content and followers from my previous blog. It was a risk I was willing to take, and let’s be honest I wasn’t making ANY money from my previous blog at this time.
This Savory Vegan came to life
So, I buried my head and got to work. After building up a few posts for my new site, I officially launched TSV on October 1, 2016.
The next year included shooting recipes on the weekends (since I could only get good lighting in the middle of the day – and during the week I was still at work), writing blog posts at night, sharing on social media as often as I could and trying to figure out ways to actually start making an income from this side hustle.
Be sure to scroll through my recipe section to see some of the older posts.
How I started making an income as a food blogger
One year in, and I finally had enough website traffic to apply to Mediavine – an advertising network. Advertising networks have specific traffic requirements to join, and hitting this milestone was huge for me! The way they work is they negotiate with advertisers, then place ads on your site. They take a commission off of your earnings and then you pocket the rest.
I know ads can be annoying, but what you have to remember is that bloggers are providing FREE content. So by placing ads on a blog, you are still able to provide that free content and actually get paid for it. It took me 3 years (2 years of my old blog and 1 with TSV) to start getting paid.
I’m not going to say what most bloggers say… “I never wanted to make a profit. It was just a fun hobby.” I wanted this to be my job from the get go. Again, something in me just knew this was the right career path for me. But, even though I knew what I wanted longterm from this passion project (a career), I didn’t expect a return overnight. I knew I was going to have to put in many, many, many unpaid hours. But it was worth it to me. I was in it for the long game.
Now that I was making some income, I just went ahead and quit my job…NOT! 😂
I actually went through a break-up right when I started making some money from blogging. So that income couldn’t have come at a better time. Going from a two income household to being on my own was expensive. Luckily, through this new income, and continuing to work at my day job, I was able to support myself 100%. And that was an amazing feeling. For the first time in my adult life I was completely self-sufficient.
Over the next 3 years I would continue to work at my day job and blog after hours. And, I FINALLY decided to tell people in my life about my blog. Up until that point, I had only told my immediate family and oldest friends. No one at my day job knew about it.
I didn’t tell many people because when you’re starting something like this, everyone wants to give you their opinion. And the last thing you want are naysayers. I knew what I wanted and where I thought I could go, and I didn’t need anyone telling me otherwise.
After spilling the beans, my boss was beyond supportive and gave me more flexibility in my schedule. This allowed me to take some time during the week to work offsite so that I could get some of my shooting done. Expanding my ability to shoot during the week (and not just on the weekend) was such a blessing 🙌
During this time, I also saw another jump in my website traffic, which allowed me to switch from Mediavine to AdThrive. AdThrive is another ad network, but they have stricter guidelines to join. You needed to have at least 100k page views per month to join. That switch alone helped me double my income! A total game changer.
Saying goodbye to fear…
Because of this, I started seriously considering leaving my job in late 2019.
I know what you’re thinking… “Well, here we are in late 2020, and you are just now leaving your job? Why?” There is a laundry list of reasons why it took me so long to take the leap. Financial, personal…but, most of all fear. It is scary to say goodbye to a job you’ve had for 8 years and be 100% self-employed.
That means I have to be a REAL grown up. I have to buy my own healthcare, set up a new retirement plan and ensure I am getting paid every month. The fear is real people!
But, you know what outweighs the fear? The excitement I have to do something I love every…single…day. And knowing that ALL of my attention can go to TSV and all of you. I have so many big ideas for where I want to take this blog and this brand. And now I have nothing holding me back from making them happen.
As you can see, this transition did not happen overnight (not by a long shot). But, I truly believe everything happens when it is supposed to happen. Through this journey I have grown as a woman, a photographer, a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a website designer, a dog mom, a social media “expert”, a food stylist…and in so many other ways.
Stick with it and you will see results!
This journey has been long, but it seriously feels like it went by in a blink of an eye. So, if you are an aspiring blogger, just know that it is not about becoming an overnight success. It is about enjoying each stage of the process, cultivating a community and honing your skills along the way. There is no perfect timeline, and you are right where you are supposed to be.
And if you are reading this as a TSV fan – from my Grandma who liked every Facebook post since day one, to someone who just stumbled on my site today – THANK YOU! I continue to show up because YOU continue to show up. This is a community that I am so proud of and I can’t wait to continue this journey with you!!!
Rene – Founder, This Savory Vegan
According to Value Market Research, the latest technology trends and global market opportunity analysis in the Vegan Food Market industry growing with a high CAGR in the upcoming year. Our report has categorized the market based on technology, service, development, vertical and region. https://www.valuemarketresearch.com/report/vegan-food-market
Dear Rene, I’ve clicked the link to this article when I googled “how vegan cooking hobby can become a job”. I’m in a deep crises with my job (finished Law University in Croatia and work at Insurance Company) for some time, I also have a blog (for now only in Croatian language) which I started a year ago. I also learned everything by myself and think I must learn so much more. Because of the daily job I don’t have enough time to write and take a good photo of everything what I cook. It is because I’m also a trail runner and have every day one or two training and weekend full time training which can take 10 hours. 🙂 I admire your courage and wish you all the best. Also hope someday I’ll get to the spot where are you now while I love to read recipes, make them, cook, take photos, wright blog. Kind regards, Petra
Bless you Renee for sharing your Testimony! I’ve been a Vegan for seven years & Vegetarian for 15 years, and TSV has been a life changer.
Keep following your true north & creating these unique and delicious recipes!
Thanks so much!!!
This is awesome! Congratulations to you!!! 🙂
Thanks so much!!!
Congrats! My daughter and I love your recipes! Always beyond yummy! Best of luck to you and thank you for your inspo each week!
Thank you so much Jennifer!
You are awesome. I love your site. I have been working on my own granola business and the road has been long. You have just inspired me to keep pushing to work harder.
Congrats on your blogging full time.
Yay! Keep at it! And thanks for the kind words!
You are an inspiration! I love hearing the voice and story behind the blog I love so much. Thank you, and congratulations on where your journey has led you!
Thanks so much Kelsey!!!
Congrats on your new full time venture. I found your blog the very 1st day I went Vegan only two month’s ago. You saved me. I didn’t think I could do it. But you proved me wrong. So at 68 it’s not too late. My BP numbers are way down and my diabetes numbers are in the high 80’s.
If I hadn’t found the Spicy Noodles that day it might not have turned out as well. Keep inspiring all of us to eat & live better.c
Thanks so much for the kind words Christine. And I’m so glad this diet change is making a difference in your health!
Congratulations Rene! I stumbled across your blog a few years ago when I was an omnivore pretending to be Vegan. Your blog saved me! You gave me real recipes for real food and not only that, a menu that overlapped ingredients that often, I had difficulty finding up here in rural, small-town Northern Michigan. So being able to use an ingredient in 3 different recipes saved me time and money. Your recipes are simple and delicious. I love how you repeat recipes and include them more than once. I have recommended your site to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. I am no longer living a vegan lifestyle, but I still visit your site and incorporate your recipes into a healthy lifestyle. Bravo to you and keep up the great work! You are incredibly talented!
Thanks so much! And so glad I can give you some meatless options that are accessible 🤗
Thanks so much for this article! I also have a vegan cooking blog. I am in year 3 and I haven’t made any money yet! Of course, I haven’t turned on ads yet and I don’t have a paid product, so no wonder! I’m getting there though….. It’s just really nice to hear a success story like yours, especially that it took you several years to get where you are. I hope that my little blog starts making money soon!
You can do it! Just keep chugging along…it will happen 🤗
amazing testimony thanks so much I am encouraged. Also, in your videos you never show yourself just want to say that you are absolutely beautiful.
Thanks so much 🤗
Good for you! You’re inspiring!
Way to go!
Thanks Dad ❤️️
Congratulations! And thank you for your hard work!
Love the honesty about your journey. You worked hard to get to this point and it’s so exciting and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations!
Thank you so much!!!
Congratulations. Your posts are fabulous and some of the best presented quite apart from the delicious content. Thanks for sharing your journey. We love your work 😊
Fabulous account of your journey! I am excited for you! You knew what yo wanted and you went after it … BRAVO!
Yup, big risks .. but you are now reaping big rewards … and you’re happy! Hooray!
Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing your journey! I’d love to hear more about why/how/your thoughts on becoming a vegan. My husband and I made the switch shortly after you did. We’re so happy we did and I love finding new recipes on your blog. There are a ton of great ones!!
Yes! I definitely plan to share more posts about “vegan life” in addition to recipes. Stay tuned 😉
I became a vegan on June 1st because I was working from home during COVID and now had more time to put into cooking. TSV was one of the first vegan blogs I found that I so quickly and easily fell in love with. It really made all the difference for me in my transition to vegan and I’m thrilled to hear you can now move to do this full time. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Thank you so much! And what a great time to switch to a plant based diet. Lots of good recipes to come 😉
Your wonderful recipes make being vegan easy! Thank you for all you do for the vegan community!
So impressed Rene!! I remember your first blog, and while I loved that one, you have come so far! Xoxo
Thanks Bessie! ❤️️❤️️❤️️
Congratulations. This is such an inspiration and gives me extra hope. Perseverance and focus are key.
You did great! Rock on.
Thanks so much!!!
We are so proud of you! You are a beautiful, intelligent woman. Way to go!
Thank you Rebecca!!! ❤️️
Good job Girl Boss!! Love your recipes, keep at it!
Thanks so much!!!
Congratulations! I’m so happy for you.
Fantastic news! I’m so happy for you (and for me, as a longtime fan!) You are my absolute favorite food blogger, no lie, and I’ve shared recipes and prepared dishes with several friends who have become fans. I hope this means you’ll eventually have a book deal because I collect cookbooks and run a lending library in my neighborhood. I’d SO welcome a physical TSV cookbook! But for now, A HUGE HOORAY on this milestone!! 🎉
Thank you so much for your continued support. And 🤞 for that cookbook!!!
Congratulations Rene, this is a huge step in your life and I believe it will lead to even greater opportunities and successes. I found TSV early in my WFPB journey and have made and shared so many of your recipes with friends and family and on social media.
For health reasons I am no SOS, but your recipes adapt so well and are always flavorful. My wife is always asking why I take so much time preparing meals, she eats to fill her tummy, and if it tastes good that’s even better…my philosophy is, if it doesn’t taste good, why bother eating.
You’re right, the communities of plant based eaters are generally very caring and supportive and generous with their ideas. There is so much support out there, and right here especially, that is there for people just starting on this path. Thanks for all your hard work, it is appreciated more than you know.
Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m so glad you’ve been able to find inspiration for your meals!!!
Congratulations!! Thank you for sharing your story—it is nice to get to know the you behind the blog! I started following you awhile back, and I can tell you that your week plans were quite the lure to draw in new followers!! I love your fresh and appealing recipes! Keep up the good work and bask in your success—you earned it!!
Thank you so much!!!
Congratulations! I love your recipes! Cooking these for my non-vegan family is so easy, and they never feel like they are missing something. To your continued success!
Thank you! 🤗
So proud of you!!! Love when people follow their hearts, work really hard, and keep working hard! I love your food, and you have made a huge impact with my favorite recipes that I love to cook. Keep Girl Bossin!! Keep rockin!!
Thank you so much!!!
Congrats Renee!!! You are such an inspiration! I am just like you in the fact that every downtime minute I get I’m perusing the internet for vegan recipes, or just recipes in general that I can veganize. I love how real you are in this post about “this” not happening overnight. I often wonder about other bloggers who brag about how “fast and easy” it was of a transition from quitting your “adult” job to becoming an entrepreneur and supporting yourself (insurance,retirement,etc.). Thank you for being honest and THANK YOU for always sharing your BOMBASS recipes with this community!!! YOU ROCK sista <3
P.S. my family (hubby-carnivore, daughter-vegetarian) and of course myself, love love love your recipes!!! Much love and success for the future <3 <3 <3
Thank you so much for the kind words! It definitely was a process, but I’m so happy to be where I am. Much love to you and your family!
Congratulations on becoming your own boss! I always Feel guilty for saying that I want to make an income from blogging because the people that use it as a hobby take off and are super successful. After reading this I don’t feel so bad. This is so inspiring!
OMG – don’t feel bad. I feel like there are lots of bloggers out there who want to make an income from their creative work, but maybe feel too embarrassed to say it. NOT ME. 😂 Get it girl!
Congratulations!!! Thank you for sharing your journey. You deserve all your success.
Thank you so much!!!
Good luck! Hope you have lots of fun and that this new adventure will make you very happy 🙂
Thank you so much! 🤗
Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your story. Love the recipes and look forward to your continue success in life and more recipes. 🙂
Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you and look forward to many more delicious recipes. You’re my favorite vegan blogger!
Thank you so much!!!
Congratulations! Leaving a job or a job change of any kind can be daunting… but… it is an exhilarating experience!! Have faith in yourself!
I really enjoy your blog and I am thrilled when someone steps out of their comfort zone and makes a go of something new and exciting. GOOD for you!!
Thank you so much. A big jump, but I definitely feel ready!
Rene, very inspirational. Congratulations!
Thank you ❤️️
Many congrats on all your hard work and learnings. Here’s to many more brave endeavors and wonderful adventures. 🙌🏽
Thank you so much 😊