Can you make a full-time income as a beauty blogger?

Recently, a reader by the name of Robyn sent me an email asking for some problogging advice. She wanted to know if it’s possible to make a full-time income through blogging. I’m not sure what niche she’s interested to blog but I think the questions she’d posed are probably at the back of the minds of some aspiring beauty bloggers’ too. Since I was planning to reply her, I thought I might as well address this on the blog too.

Here’s what Robyn had asked me in her email:

I have been researching blogs as I am planning to start my own, and I was very happy to see how successful you have been, and that you are based in Singapore—as am I.

It seems like you have done a great job to take your blog global, rather than focus on the local market, which is what I am also keen to do.

Would you mind if I ask a few questions related to this? You have been in the game for quite a while, so I would really value your perspective.

I work full-time, but I’d like to quit my job and do online marketing as a full-time gig (in addition to being a mother) How realistic do you think this is?

I read that you are still working full-time, and just doing the blog part-time. Is this because you like your work too much, or you need the salary from your job in addition to your Viva Woman income (I hope you don’t mind me asking this personal question)?

I just feel that if you are one of the top beauty blogs globally, and you can’t survive on your income, then there is not much chance for me.

Perhaps I’ll start out by saying that everyone can be a full-time blogger but full-time blogging is not for everyone. Confusing? Well, anyone can start a blog no? It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out how. And once you have some traffic, you can easily sell advertisement space. Or perhaps earn through affiliate marketing. And yes, you can make more than enough to buy yourself a few cups of coffee or tea. If your blog is good enough, you might even be paid to write advertorials on your blog. However, not everyone has what it takes to make a full-time income out of blogging. How much or how little you earn through your blog is dependent on a few factors and these include your traffic, the quality of your blog, your niche and your choice. I say choice because there are many ways to make money but not all the ways are commendable. Some may require you to lie and cheat to your readers.

Here are a few questions you want to ask before you consider going full-time:

Do you have a business model for your blog?
If you truly want to blog full-time, you’ve got to have a business model to generate your income. You can’t be haphazard and expect things to fall in place just because you have some readers who like to read what you write. I’ll be honest and tell you upfront that you cannot just rely on advertising or advertorials unless you are at the top in your niche. A more stable source of income might be to leverage on your blog to sell a service or a product.

Do you have patience and perseverance?
Unless you’re a guru in online marketing or an SEO expert, you’re going to find that things like growing traffic takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Even the probloggers tell you that. It took me at least a year or two before traffic started to grow exponentially. Even then, dynamics can change overnight in the online world and what you’ve painstakingly built over time is not neccessarily fail-proof.

Do you have other sources of financial support?
I wouldn’t recommend anyone to plunge headlong into beauty blogging full-time immediately. It might be wise to try it part-time and see if it works out before taking the full plunge—unless of course if you have a rich dad, a loaded spouse or just have very deep pockets to keep you afloat while you stick it out in blogging. Or maybe you’re already famous.

Do you want to work alone?
Beauty blogging can be a very lonely journey. Sure, there are tons of bloggers around but it may not be all so easy to figure out who is your friend in times of need. In addition, the community is not strong so most of the time, you’re left alone to negotiate your own terms and deals. It doesn’t help that there are agencies and companies out there who have no qualms about exploiting bloggers. Unlike some countries where beauty bloggers are paid pretty well, you may also want to know that most bloggers here in Singapore are very willing to blog just for freebies and that doesn’t leave you much room to negotiate for an advertorial fee.

Why don’t I blog full-time?
I can tell you that it has been my dream to make a decent online income since I dabbled with websites and whatnots in 1999. It’s still a dream which can be a reality if I put my heart to it. However, I’ve never ever wanted to be a full-time blogger, well, at least not in the beauty niche. Let’s just say there is a bigger world out there that engages my heart and mind so I am happier keeping what I do here as a hobby because it gives me space to blog what I like, as and when I like, without the pressure of having to conform just because my livelihood is dependent upon it.

Perhaps Robyn will be better off asking someone who does this full-time. Also, the definition of a full-time income isn’t established. To someone, $3000 a month is a full-time income while to another, it has to be $8000. But I’ll state that it is possible to make a good full-time income out of a blog although it’ll take some work. The first mindset to break is that blogging full-time is not a job, it is a business. Which means, you really need to be proactive rather than expecting things to fall on your lap. You need to be willing to network, meet people, hound people and pitch your gig. Oh another thing is, you’ll probably work much longer hours than before. Perhaps even 24/7.


  1. Eco Beauty says:

    Hubby is actually an experienced online marketer so when I started my blog, he asked me that question — what is your business model? Of course, we weren’t exactly on the same page but because I was slightly clueless, I listened to him halfway while doing other things my way. That didn’t exactly work out properly, haha. First, I chose a blog name that’s SEO friendly but not necessarily a blog name that I wanted (I regret it but I feel it’s too troublesome to change now). I was confused, I didn’t know whether I HAD to make money to warrant keeping a blog and spending time on it (he owns several blogs that earn income on their own) so I messed up many times because I didn’t really know why I was keeping a blog. I knew in my heart that a big part of it was simply because I wanted to write but I felt pressured because Hubby’s understanding was that I started it because I wanted to earn extra income. Anyway, we sort of had that cleared out along the way so I don’t feel as pressured anymore.

    Like you, my Hubby kept blogs that earned money but he didn’t quit his job. There were times that he was tempted to do it or to ask me to do it (about 3 years ago, it’s much more straight forward to ‘sell’ things online) but I guess at this point, I’m not cut out for it. I’m even too lazy to do proper SEO for my own blog which I’m emotionally attached to *I’m rolling my eyes*.

    Bottom line is, earning from a blog, like what you said doesn’t just happen. It requires hardwork, preparation and a lot of ‘risk’ if one decides to quit everything else to pursue it. Building the traffic alone is a 24/7 job at least for the first 6 months and most likely, it will come with some monetary investment.
    Eco Beauty last post is: Eco Beauty Wears | Flying with Etrican’s Feather-Printed Dress Top

  2. Eco Beauty says:

    No sure whether my comment went through? I didn’t see the “Wait for moderation” message after I clicked “Post Comment” :S

  3. Paris B says:

    I will tend to agree with you Sesame. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how feasible beauty blogging really is, as the only source of income. Most successful bloggers that I see (locally) are in the personal/lifestyle niche and have expanded into doing other things, not just blogging. I know I could never do it. I’d get bored and the pressure will really kill me ? So I’m happy to keep it as a side “job” but never my primary one.
    Paris B last post is: Get Fall ready with the plum-red Estee Lauder Pure Color Vivid Shine Mirrored Orchid

  4. Sesame says:

    Oh your hubby is into online marketing. Wow, that’s interesting to know. At least you have someone to get advice if you ever want to do more with your blog. At one point, I ran 4 blogs but even though I still have some of them, this is the only one I maintain frequently. I’m also emotionally attached to the blog…haha…and that’s why I was unwilling to part it for cash.

    But running this as a hobby takes the pressure off to want to increase traffic and increase readership. It’s also a creative outlet for me. My biggest regret is not having bigger pictures in the earlier days and now, some of my old posts are kinda messed up. Oh well…

  5. Sesame says:

    I think beauty blogging by itself is not viable as a career or business. But it can be a platform to launch many related products/services if one is keen to go that direction. I see the lifestyle bloggers here using blogging to sustain their lifestyles. Only the big ones make money. The others seem happy getting freebies and attending events most of the time.

  6. Audris says:

    I enjoyed reading this heartfelt article, especially with the resonating para below ?

    “Let’s just say there is a bigger world out there that engages my heart and mind so I am happier keeping what I do here as a hobby because it gives me space to blog what I like, as and when I like, without the pressure of having to conform just because my livelihood is dependent upon it.”

    I always think it’s pretty clear which are blogs written out of passion and real interest (such as yours), as opposed to those that are more on a commercial basis or are there to solicit more sponsors. Nothing irks me more than surfing onto a blog to get some review, only to find photos galore and *rave* and *cutesy poses* but no substance to them. Usually accompanied by the most atrocious grammar and spelling errors everywhere. Urgh!

  7. Peiqing says:

    So tempted to comment on this, especially since recently I commented to Paris B about blogging with a real passion vs blogging for benefits. I just feel that blogging originates as a platform for anyone to publish their thought online, like a diary. Then, just by luck and trending, this sort of online community grew over the years and form some kind of profits by advertising and sponsorships, such that some people, like M Phan etc, are able to establish her personal brand from it. I find it hard to appreciate a post as being real and approachable when a blogger blogs under commission. And I really wonder how can the blogger enjoy blogging in the long term under such circumstances when there is the constant worry about writing with others’ feelings in mind, rather than her personal true feelings? Blogging should be fun, and relieve your tension, as it was meant to be. Social media is so evolved nowadays, that people can also make a living from being an active vlogger. I think if we can make money from Instagram and Twitter, we might have more professional, full-time Instagramist and Twitterist! LoL!!

  8. Peiqing says:

    totally totally agree… u can spot the typical poses and phrases!

  9. Sesame says:

    @Audris: Glad you enjoyed reading it. I am sure you can understanding because I see you’re blogging for the same reasons too rather than trying to conform to the herd mentality. ?

  10. Sesame says:

    @Peiqing: To be fair, I’ll say some of them do have interesting blogs even though many of their posts are sponsored. I think it’s the wannabes who are the eye sore. I suppose different bloggers are motivated differently. I’m for them running it full-time if they can make it. In fact, I know for a fact some twitters make quite a bit of income but of course, they need to have many followers too.

  11. Seppo says:

    Sage advice for new bloggers. Having had done this for about 6 years now I can stress on the need for patience. Unless you have money to spend on buying traffic, it’s going to take at least a year or two before your blog starts to get sufficient traffic from search engines or other blogs.

    You also need to be able to pick yourself up from failure after failure. Because 90% of the things you try aren’t going to work. So get used to failing and trying something else ?

    Finally, I’d say that many blogging niches are getting crowded. To succeed you need to figure out, before writing your first post, what your blog will be about. You need to get clear on how people are going to benefit from your blog – as opposed to reading the existing blogs.

    In my case, I branded my current blog to offer science-based natural acne advice. As opposed to many other natural acne treatment sites that offer advice that’s more ‘natural’ and perhaps less reliable.

    It’s hard work, but for me it’s also very rewarding and I get to do what I enjoy.

  12. Sesame says:

    Good advice! I agree that the niches are getting crowded but it’s still possible to make some money if you have the drive and interest. I’m going to check out your blog soon!

  13. Seppo says:

    Yes, for sure it’s possible. It’s just easier to establish yourself if your blog has a clear purpose and message. Once you are established, it’s always possible to broaden your topics. Anyway, keep up the good work ?
    Seppo last post is: Skincare Marketing BS Example

  14. kat liwanag says:

    *deep breath*
    i can relate to your post deeply. as much as i would like to get out of my day job and blog full tine, it really wont give me the same financial stability and we all know we cannot blog forever and living off it
    kat liwanag last post is: Stylish and Functional Travel Accessories from ANMA Lifestyle + GIVEAWAY

  15. Sesame Chew says:

    I think it’s better to blog as a hobby and any income that comes from it as extra. That way, the disappointments won’t be too bad.

  16. Julieane Hernandez says:

    Hi Sesame! I really this post! Yes, we can make a full time income in blogging alone. I really learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing it.

  17. Sesame says:

    You’re welcome!

  18. swati says:

    hey Sesame…whoa…much needed article for me right now! i have quit my job in july for blogging full time but honestly i can concur with eveything you say because since then its literally peanuts i have seen! well, quitting job had a lot to with other decisions of course but yes it is definitely not enough for a regular lifestyle we are used unless we count the spouses salary!!
    swati last post is: 5 Healthy Takeaways from “Perfect Digestion” by Deepak Chopra {Five Series}

  19. Sesame says:

    Thanks Swati! Oh wow, you went full-time? That’s very brave! Maybe peanuts for now but it doesn’t mean it can’t grow. Please persevere. Anyway, these things are pretty fluid so don’t be discouraged.

  20. Leena Bijou says:

    Its a great way to earn money in spite of being a busy blogger. I am a fashion blogger and I know how difficult it is to have maximum users and views on a blog just to have popularity.

  21. Maria says:

    Yes agree start blogging about beauty product review etc can make income from home. like i do writing about beauty review for
    Maria last post is: Studio Makeup Review: Velour Lipstick vs Rich Hydration Lipstick

  22. Anvitha says:

    It was an Informative post, looking forward to more such posts.

  23. Levi Cin says:

    I think you’ll make more income if we like invest on something more. I mean, it does apply on every field, right? Here, in this industry, I think these are very helpful! More on this actually, I think innovating or keeping up with what people want are important too. Like before, everything is in black and white, printed and all. Now it’s the age of multimedia wherein we can make videos and advertise on line and people like it better that way.

  24. tehranskin says:

    in my country (IRAN) making money with beauty blogging is possible but with some hard work for few months!

    Thanks for sharing

  25. مشاوره تحصیلی says:

    Thank you ever so for you article post.Really looking forward to read more.
    pls see my site

  26. illumination consulting says:

    I think you can make more money with the best marketing. If you want to learn own self then you can concern with a marketing expert. as we know marketing consultant.

Leave a Reply