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How I Started Blogging Full-Time

If you want to be successful in business, you need to take risks.

Chocolate Covered Katie Vegan

A few years ago, I took a life-changing risk.

And today is the first time I’m finally writing about it on the blog.

When I started Chocolate Covered Katie, I never expected this to become my full-time job. My high school friends were all making blogs or Myspace pages back then, and we were doing it just for fun. When a company contacted me about putting ads on the site, I thought their email was spam and came very close to deleting it. My blog was getting around 700 visitors per day, which I thought was a ton.

Then suddenly, Pinterest took off and changed everything.

Readers began pinning my recipes like crazy—for example, this recipe has over 1 million repins!

Full Time Food Blog Job

I was in college and in way over my head. Traffic surges kept crashing the website, and hundreds of new reader questions and emails poured in each day. I spent nights and weekends reading up on CSS and PHP and devoted my days to mastering aperture, F stops, and shutter speed. I was suddenly interested in subjects I’d never even thought of exploring: photography, business, computer programming?!

Interest in my actual college classes took a back seat, and my college social life swiftly dropped to nonexistent.

At the time, blogging was not a “real” job. No one was a full-time blogger—at least, not anyone I knew. But I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that this could really turn into something fantastic. If I didn’t take the chance to explore the opportunity, I knew it wouldn’t exist forever.

chocolate

While I did initially tell readers I’d made a decision to blog full-time, there was a part I left out:

I dropped out of college to write a blog.

It sounded like such a crazy idea at the time, and there were definitely people in my real life who didn’t support my decision and were vocal about letting me know it. But when I decide to do something, there is no talking me out of it – I wrote about this once before.

Both of my parents were supportive when I told them about my decision, but they did worry about me not having a degree, especially with the future of blogging being such an unknown. Out of respect for them (because they seriously are the best), I went back and finished a year later online. Although I started college at Bryn Mawr and transferred to SMU in Dallas, my degree says I graduated from Penn State. Somehow, I never seem to do anything the traditional way.

So was the risk worth it?

Chocolate Covered Katie Food Blog Job

I love my job and get to eat chocolate every day. Definitely worth it!

Side note: If you want to read more about my college journey, you can do so here:

Chocolate Covered Katie – College Story Part 1

*For all who’ve been asking, here’s my simple tutorial for How To Start A Blog.

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Published on April 25, 2016

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day!

Learn more about Katie

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65 Comments

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  1. Judy Young says

    hey katie
    do you ever run into bloggers block and have difficulty coming up with something? i think that’s my biggest fear. running out of ideas
    thanks,
    Judy

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      Oh absolutely. But then there are days where I am feeling incredibly inspired, and I take advantage of those days by writing down all of my ideas, baking extra recipes, and just being extra productive in general. On days where I have no inspiration, I can pull from this stockpile of saved-up recipes and ideas 🙂

  2. Dominique Soeldner says

    Hi Katie!
    Loved reading this and am hooked on your site. It seems like I learn something new every time I visit and that’s awesome for a nerd like me. ? I had a couple questions about blogging and was wondering if you would mind answering them for me? I’m so interested in setting up my own blog mainly as an outlet for creativity. I love to write, but I have tons of hobbies that bring me immense pleasure. From cooking, baking, and gardening to crocheting and make up. Is it wrong to attempt a blog that could include aspects of all of those things or does it become too scatterbrained if you focus on so many things? I’m also wondering about the option to monetize a blog in the event I begin selling my crochet items? Is holding back on that option in order to see if the blog even has traffic a rookie mistake? I have so many questions but figured I’d start there. Hope you have a wonderful day and I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Kati says

    Today, individuals are faced with a vast array of easily accessible options.
    Every second of the day we are making choices; from the clothes worn each day to which gas station to fill-up at, from which bank to use to picking the right doctor. Choices are everywhere but when do we really choose what’s best for us? Don’t we often find ourselves following patterns outlined by society (i.e. wearing the newest seasoned clothing, downloading the biggest hit app, getting the next generation iPhone, going on another fad diet, etc.)?

    It seems that our thinking has been altered. Countless individuals have turned away from the growth that hardships often provides in order to live the example life of mediocrity and/or contentment that society established.

    We make choices based on dozens of factors, but the top 4 most influential elements are:

    What Is The Easiest
    • i.e. not altering poor habits
    What Will Yield Rapid Results
    • i.e. hungry now–eat out
    What Saves The Most Time
    • i.e. fast food restaurants
    What Is The Cheapest
    • i.e. the dollar menu

    In all this lovely and plentiful chaos it is hard to balance our decisions, because by nature we are susceptible to outward influences–economically, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. It is not a matter of eliminating things (although that might not hurt) but a matter of taking back control of personal will. In a world of convenience, it is easy to lose our power of will, let alone ever think about consciously cultivating our willpower.

    When it comes to wellbeing, choosing a higher quality of life should be a no brainer.

    But humans have fallen prey to the easy way because then we don’t have to face friction.
    So much anymore we are conditioned to forfeit our free will; choosing a state of immediate satisfaction over reaping the rewards of delayed gratification. The case is not for everyone, but if you have lived for immediate satisfaction you probably didn’t have to work hard for it, never earning that healthy lifestyle you’ve always deserved and wanted. The power of choice has been with you during every single moment of life, so why not start today and choose to commit to yourself and the life you want! If you have lived for delayed gratification you have probably noticed some progress and faced your fair share of doubts, wondering if all your efforts have been for nothing; but the results will follow in time with continual consistency; don’t give up!

    No matter what conditions or uncertainties arise, know that it is possible to reach your desired state of wellbeing – others have done it, therefore it is achievable for all!

    The authority to decide personal desires and the ability to not be manipulated by differing agendas lies within the self.

    Let’s regain the power of free-will!

    • Kati says

      I’m so embarrassed about the above post…it was meant to be my first blog post and I have no idea why it transposed onto here.
      I did type a short but sweet message to you that didn’t send when I hit enter, but it seems ridiculous to continue on now.
      I am terribly sorry for the what seems to be outlandish comment.
      Such a fool.

  4. Julie Kohler says

    OMG I’m a Mawrter, too! Congrats on your successful blog–I really enjoy all your recipes and your writing style.

  5. Celeste O says

    I love your blog and have been reading it for several years now. Being a mom myself I can see why your parents worried about finishing school and I think that even though you are a full-time blogger you still went back and finished your degree. Keep posting and I’ll keep reading!

  6. Ray Turner says

    I am so pleased that your blog is successful Katie. Choosing the right niche helps. I can see that your fantastic recipes would work well on Pinterest. My blog is wide-ranging, so doesn’t work quite so well on that platform. Perhaps I need to focus and specialise…?

  7. [email protected] says

    Hey Katie how are you today? I am a regular reader of this blog and wow this post gave me goosebumps I too took the life changing decision to follow my real passion and create work online, thanks so much for this 🙂

  8. This site says

    Hi, SO amazing to hear this part of your story, Katie! Thank you for sharing ? You’re an inspiration and great role model to all!

  9. Sana A says

    Katie, good for you! I’m always creating my own healthy recipes and will eventually start my own blog soon. I’m a busy professional in the health care field but this type of work always interested me-especially healthy eating 🙂

  10. Amanda L West says

    I wondered your thoughts / recommendations on someone starting out … laptop and software (?)
    Trying to figure out what a good budget would be without blowing the bank.

  11. Waqas says

    Hi, SO amazing to hear this part of your story, Katie! Thank you for sharing ? You’re an inspiration and great role model to all!

    Thanks!

  12. Cindy says

    I have a question….do you ever age? 🙂 Probably not because of the daily chocolate eating, huh?!

    Just dropped by to say I love the new layout. And I LOVE that dress you’re wearing. The blue green glittery one. Can you tell us where you got it? Or is it a well-kept secret? 🙂

    Your friends must LOVE having you as a friend!! They know they’re getting a grand dessert every single time they see you 🙂

  13. Norma says

    Love the new website design, especially the section where recipes are organized by the type of diet you are on. Congratulations and thank you!

  14. Adriana says

    I wish there was a contact for general comments and not just under a particular recipe or article (like this one). I just wanted to suggest that more recent comments would show up before the old ones under your recipes. With older posts, I find the new comments more relevant. Just a suggestion….

  15. Tracy Fleming says

    Oh my goodness! I just discovered your blog and delicious recipes recently! Such amazing talent for creating exquisite and healthy food! I’m curious how you learned how to do all of this – how do you create the recipes? If you send 2 a week, then you’re constantly creating. Do you tweak other recipes? Start from scratch? I’m not a baker or chef at all and am amazed at the skill involved in doing this. Thanks for sharing your process 🙂

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