Life of a Blogger: Career

Life of a Blogger: Career

I adore Jessi’s Life of a Blogger feature and this week I decided to participate! For this theme we’re supposed to talk about careers: what we’ve wanted to do in the past, what we’re doing now, what we want to do in the future.. etc.

Careers I’ve thought about

Here’s a list of careers I’ve considered since I was like 12. Some of these I dreamed about for months/years, and others I just thought about for a few days/weeks.

  • Famous singer: It turns out I can’t sing worth shit, but I am/was pretty good at guitar! I ended up taking guitar lessons for like 10 years.
  • Photography: Water Drop Splash
    Photography: Reflected Depths
    Photographer: I’m not sure if I ever took this idea seriously, but for a short while I thought it would be cool to be a freelance photographer. I still love photography and it’s one of my hobbies!
  • Something with animals: I could never decide what that ‘something’ would be though. I knew I didn’t want to be a veterinarian because I hate blood and biology and other similar science subjects I’d have to take.. but I love animals and the idea of working with them always appealed to me.
  • Digital Painting: Attack at Twilight
    Digital Painting: Death from Above
    Video game concept artist: I went through a MAJOR digital painting phase. I drew a lot of pictures based on games I played. I think ultimately I lacked confidence in my own skills though. Probably because I never had any formal training and I always sucked at perspective and anatomy.
  • Video game community manager: For a long time I DESPERATELY wanted to be in the video game industry, so after letting go of the concept artist idea, my thoughts turned to community management. That’s probably not setting my sights that high because it’s an entry level position, but it’s something that I LOVED doing. I worked for a community manager on a game fan site for many years and absolutely adored it. I think my interest for this waned when I watched one of my favourite games kind of crumble (The game is still alive, but the company shifted from being a small, awesome, driven company, to one that’s more focused on money. That’s fair enough since it is a company and does need to be profitable, but the shift in the company’s attitude and policies was noticeable and discouraging.)

What I want to do once I graduate university

I want my own business

That’s purposely kind of vague, because that’s how I’m feeling right now. I think that as soon as I graduate university I will go into web design/development freelancing full time. But that’s honestly not entirely my dream.

I think my dream is kind of unrealistic. Well, it’s possible, but I think it’s extremely hard to do. I’d love to be able to make pre-made WordPress plugins and themes full time. I honestly love making pre-mades so much more than making custom work.. the reason being: I get to call the shots. Although I do love freelancing, sometimes it’s physically painful for me to have to make changes to a design that I don’t like, but the client does like. It makes me cringe, and if I don’t like the outcome (but the client does) then it also makes me not want to put it in my portfolio. Then you always get the clients that are hard to work with or unresponsive, etc.

But with pre-mades, I get to design however I want, and it’s so freeing! I even get a little kick out of responding to support tickets, fixing bugs, etc. I think that goes back to my days as a fan site community manager when I had to deal with support tickets there LOL!

Pre-mades make for good passive income, but I think it’s extremely hard to turn that into a full time gig.

So, right now the ideas going through my head are:

  • Freelance web design/development
  • Pre-made theme/plugin development
  • Making some kind of epic website that can magically make money (yeah that’s super vague, but I love the idea of creating some big, epic site that I made and I own and I manage.. it’s cool!)

What were some of your dream jobs when you were younger? Do you have a different dream job now?

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  1. Oh I had so many silly dreams when I was younger. I had a huge fashion designer faze. I still have some of the ‘designs’ I drew when I was like 10. Now, they just make me crack up. Ever since I was 3, I guess I’ve always had this part of me that has wanted to be a teacher. I’m not 100% because I’m still figuring it out but I definitely want to do something where I either get to teach or lead. Blogging has somewhat affected my opinions on what I want to do in the future. I don’t necessarily want to do it full time but I always want it to be in my life. πŸ˜€ I hope your dreams all work out! You definitely deserve it. I remember when you were stressing about it. I’m glad it’s working out! A quote I’ve always loved: “Never give up on the dreams you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

    Laura @ Music Plus Books recently posted: Stacking The Shelves #18: These Broken Stars
    1. Lol so cool that you still have some of the ‘designs’ you drew! πŸ˜€ I love looking through old drawings and stuff.

      I think it would be cool to be a blogger full time. I think that’s extremely difficult to do though. πŸ™

  2. For the longest time I thought I wanted to be a doctor (I have a lot of uncles and aunts who are doctors), but all that went out the window when I took Comparative Anatomy in college. Hah. I also wanted to be a writer or a journalist. I was pretty “lost” in terms of career for a while even while I was already working. Then I jumped ship and became a freelance writer. πŸ˜€

    1. Haha! I can’t imagine being a doctor. I don’t think I’d be able to make it through all the schooling!

  3. First off, I want in on the massive website you create that makes a lot of money. So if you ever need employees, you know who to call! πŸ˜‰

    Second, I always wanted to ask, how did you get into making plugins? What do you need to learn to do so?

    Third, I love all the career options you had in your life. I loved the idea of working with animals too, for the longest time. I also went through a guitar phase, but that only lasted two years. I wanted to be a dancer too. I took Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, HipHop, and so on for over 10 years. Loved it. But couldn’t see a career in it. Then I got fat. lol.

    I always loved business in general but never had a defined direction. Now I am like you. I want to run my own business. My goal is running a blog tour website and web design website. I also want to focus on pre-mades. But I have a year or so of school to go before I can really do any of these things. So right now I feel on hold.

    Surprisingly, how I make money now is as a social media consultant. There are a lot of people who don’t know how to create and run these kinds of websites (Twitter, Facebook…), or even how to post for blogs and change up websites and they want me to take care of that stuff so they don’t have to worry about it. It’s a nice little way to make money as I go to school. Not surprisingly, most of my clientele is older or way to busy with multiple jobs.

    1. Haha yes ma’am! πŸ˜€ Let’s make the next Goodreads and sell it to Amazon for a few hundred mil—eh?

      Making plugins was a slow process for me. Basically you need to learn PHP very well. And a basic understanding of MySQL would be helpful (but with WordPress I’ve never actually had to use it, but it helps to have a basic understanding).

      Basically I woke up one day and decided to start using WordPress. I wanted to be able to make custom themes. So that’s how I started out. Turning a normal, static website into a WordPress theme is an excellent introduction into PHP because at first all you need to learn is how to ‘include’ files. And that’s as basic as it gets.

      So I started doing that, then sloooowly added on extra functionality. Like on my portfolio site, I just had a basic WordPress theme, but then I decided, “I want a more customized portfolio section.” So I set out on how to make that, which involves slightly more advanced PHP/WordPress. Then that process just repeated itself with every new features I wanted to add (both to Creative Whim, and eventually Nose Graze). With anything I didn’t know how to do, I went running to my boyfriend, who did it in 2 seconds and I just tried to understand it.

      Then last year I wanted to make the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. At that point, I already had most of the same functionality built into my own blog theme, but I had to come up with a way to translate that into a plugin that users could customize. So that’s a whole other ballgame. The UBB plugin was my first “real” plugin that wasn’t just a feature hard-coded into my own site.

      I’m still learning PHP even now because it’s a pretty massive and complex language. There are still many times I go running to my boyfriend for help. Like my latest project was:

      How to create dynamic images like Bloglovin has ( ) that I can use on (so that users can have them). But then I also need to work on caching so that it doesn’t query the database on EVERY SINGLE PAGE LOAD, but saves a copy for a certain amount of time.

      It’s actually quite easy to do, but the point is I had no idea how to do it and my boyfriend helped me do it in like 2 seconds lol. So I’m always still learning more.

      God I just wrote a whole lot lol! But I guess the short answer is: learn PHP. I recommend you “master” HTML/CSS first though. Get to the point where you can make an entire website without breaking a sweat. Then your next step should be: how do I turn this into a WordPress theme? And that will get you started on PHP.

      Working as a social media consultant is pretty cool! And it probably helps you form good relationships too. Maybe some of your current clients will eventually need a website, once you’re ready to start making them for pay!

  4. My career dreams when I was little (well, little-er) ranged from ballerina to doctor to teacher (I was a pretty typical little kid, I guess). But now I want to write. Full-time, stuff. It’s what I love and it’s my passion. (Between that, I want to be, like, a famous blogger. Just, you know, fun stuff. πŸ˜‰

    1. It’s so great that you’ve found your passion! Good luck with the writing career. πŸ˜€

  5. Oooh! It’s funny because I posted my post for this today as well xD
    You play the guitar? Oh that’s super awesome because I do too πŸ˜€ Electric or Acoustic? πŸ™‚ I know the feeling about wanting to be a singer when you’re a kid πŸ˜› I wanted to be one too! And then I realized… I didn’t have the talent. But I hope your dream comes true to set up your own business! πŸ˜€ I’m sure with all the support from your followers, you’ll be able to do well πŸ˜‰ And I think everyone is pretty much dazzled by your talent for creating plugins and other nifty and useful WordPress goodies! πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing, Ashley! πŸ™‚

    Emily recently posted: Life Of A Blogger: Career!
    1. How cool that we both posted! I just commented on yours. πŸ™‚

      I’ve played both electric and acoustic guitar, but I prefer electric. πŸ™‚

  6. Hmmm age old question. I just want to stay home and raise my grandchildren. Well i only have one and I am no where near able to stay home so I work in accounts payable in a cubicle in a very loud and cold building. But I listen to books all day as I work. So its no so bad.

    JennRenee recently posted: Genre Definition and Recommendation #43
    1. Haha, of course you haven’t! Sometimes solving problems that customers encounter is like solving a puzzle. If it’s an actual glitch in the plugin/theme then I have to go on a little hunt to find out what it is.. that can be fun!

      (of course, if it takes ages to find then it can be extremely frustrating lol!)

  7. I first wanted to be a writer, but when I was 7 I decided I wanted to do something with microscopy & biology – and that is something I’m still doing (and loving) today! So I guess I didn’t went through many different phases or jobs, but I always love seeing what other people wanted to be πŸ˜€ I think we can do anything we want, as long as we have the passion for it πŸ™‚ Dreams are important!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Monthly wrap-up: November.
    1. So cool that you love what you’re doing! I think that’s a fabulous achievement. πŸ™‚

  8. One of the big business lessons I learned this year was that you need a solid foundation (of people) before you launch anything. You’ve got a pretty good base of people in the book blogging community, so you’re already ahead of the game.

    You usually want to have multiple income streams, so supplementing your pre-made themes with freelancing is smart. The more freelancing you do, the more you build your name/brand, and the more people will gravitate toward your pre-made themes. You could even develop courses or other (paid) tutorials to expand your passive income stream.

    I’m with you on the magical site. I actually want to create a paid writers’ community. Like a year-round NaNoWriMo on a much smaller scale.

  9. You took guitar lessons?! I’m so jealous!! I always wanted to learn guitar.
    If you want to work with animals, you could always volunteer once a week at a shelter. They’re always in need of help πŸ™‚
    That’s awesome that you worked with video games for a while! And I’m curious, what was the favorite game??

    That second paragraph is what I worry about going into web design. I tend to like things my way, and I have to learn to let go of the control so the design will be perfect in my client’s eyes, even if it’s not in mine. But what if I think it’s hideous, and when other people think the same, they judge my work off of that? I’m also worried about the difficult clients.

    “Making some kind of epic website that can magically make money”
    Haha vague or not, that’d be awesome! And I totally think you could do it, I mean look at Book Blogging! It may not earn money, but it’s epic and it’s a start!

    Thanks for participating, I loved reading this post <333

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  10. What little girl hasn’t dreamed the singer dream? Haha I have! I still love to sing, and would love to record music, even if not professionally. πŸ˜€ Gotta love music! I didn’t know you played the guitar! That is so awesome! I would love to learn. πŸ˜€

    Dang girl you’re such a web genius you could do anything. At least that’s my non-knowledgeable about anything HTML or so forth perspective. Haha. Also, I am gonna be enlisting your help in a WP move soon methinks. Once I figure out what the heck I want to do!

  11. I totally had the singer dream too, but I can’t sing. Like, at all. Or play any instruments…sometimes I pretended I was musical. It’s so cool that you can play guitar, though!
    I have no idea what I want to do when I go to college. Something with English, maybe?
    Great post! πŸ™‚

    Sophia recently posted: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
  12. Aww I remember I wanted to be a famous singer and now I kind of just want to be a Broadway singer or some kind of singer, although I don’t know if I’ll ever pursue it because it seems like I’ll NEVER get rid of my stage fright and whether or not I’ll be able to support myself on that dream but I’m working on it so far lol. We could make a little trio with Hinky up there and have a jam session one day!

    But your digital paintings are awesome I could never do something like that! Also, I think you could totally do great at the web development thing. Making pre-made designs DOES sound really freeing from the way you described it, and especially if working with a client can be difficult sometimes.

    Thanks for sharing, Ashley πŸ™‚ <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry Tour Stop
    1. That would be so cool! You should definitely try to make it as a Broadway singer. I would hate to see that not happen because of stage fright! Maybe it’s something you can get over with practice (or at least tone down a bit).

  13. Do you still play video games??? I love them. I review them on my blog along with my book reviews. I don’t know how people feel about that but some people do comment. I think it would be neat to be in that industry but I am no artist nor can I think of games. Just look at the art in Skyrim. AMAZING!

    Angie recently posted: Bookish Gifts for the Holidays
    1. Yes I do still play video games! Honestly not as much though. I’m the kind of girl who gets addicted to ONE game, then maybe moves onto a different game a few years later. I don’t really play a wide variety.

      It’s so cool that you review games! But yeah some of the game art out there is absolutely stunning.

  14. I’m in my early 30s, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, lol.

    When I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer, then a forensic scientist, and then forensic accountant, and then a tax auditor. Such exciting choices, lol. But they all require so much schooling, and I just can’t see going back to a classroom. So for now I’m doing accounting work for an insurance company, while trying to decide what my next career will be.

    Sarah recently posted: Iron & Velvet
  15. I think if someone can create an epic website to make money it’s you! Hey that Facebook dude did it! Can you imagine though? Creating something like that! Holy crap!! Photographer would be really fun but it’s very hard to get good business – at least around here since there are SO many of them and not enough people willing to pay what’s it’s worth. I wanted to be lame things like a teacher (which is what I would never EVER want to be now haha). I actually love where I am right now. I mean, reading has always been my biggest hobby since I was very little so having a job promoting books is kind of my dream!

    1. Haha, thanks! πŸ˜€ I think teaching web development might actually be pretty cool. I doubt I’d ever do that though!

      You do have a pretty awesome job right now. πŸ™‚

  16. When I was six, I told my mother I wanted to be a bus driver because they helped me get to school. I was a big old nerd. I also wanted to work in politics, which I ended up doing immediately after college. D.C. is a terrific place to live, and I found the work challenging, but not interesting enough to see myself doing for the rest of my life. Working as a writer now I am very lucky, it was a dream job I never thought possible.

    Andrew L recently posted: Turning Our Pages
  17. Oh man, I wanted to be: an archeologist, a geologist, a teacher, and a writer. It’s taken me a LONG time, but while I’m working part time, I’m also getting ready to self-publish my first book in 2014. It may be a success and it may not, but I’ll never know until I try!

    Best of luck with figuring out your career, Ashley. I say if you’re passionate about freelancing and premades and other things and you CAN do it? Do it. πŸ™‚

  18. When I was REALLY little, I wanted to be a ballerina(we don’t talk about that phase now.). Then, I wanted to be a doctor, but it became evident I didn’t have the stomach for that. You know those people who can’t stand the sight of blood? Well, that’s not ME exactly, since I don’t mind my own blood, but I hate seeing OTHER people’s blood. I’m not sure why. Then, I wanted to be a scientist(I even asked and received a ‘beginners scientist kit’ for Christmas one year). But for most of my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. That’s taken different forms over the years–author, reporter, grant and technical writer, etc, and that’s still where I am. I’d love to be able to work as a freelance or even technical writer to support my creative writing habit, and then one day be a full-time author. But I think I’d be okay if I never got to that point as long as my “day” job involved a lot of writing as well–even if not creative writing!

  19. This is a great post, Ashley, and very interesting to see that you still want something that is a little bit similar to what you wanted to do when you were younger.

    When I was younger, I really wanted to be a teacher. I ended up in accounting, somehow, though, and worked at various international companies and organizations for 18 years. Three and a half years ago, I quit my job and went back to Uni, and soon, I will be a teacher πŸ™‚ So, yeah, those dreams would never leave me completely.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: Merry Christmas #Giveaway

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