Before Build Your Own Blog I Once Worked in Mental Health. Here’s Why I Turned My Back on Becoming a Famous Therapist and Instead Became a Full Time Blogger

full time blogger

Sherri from the U.K. recently asked me about something I said on the About Me page…

full time blogger

“Eight years ago I left a career as a mental health therapist-in-training and returned to my first love—writing.”

She wants to know more about this part of my bio. Was leaving mental health a difficult decision?

NO! 🙂

(I’ll get to why this decision was the right choice for me in a moment.)

Sherry wants to know because she has a similar background in “hospital training” and has now “made a decision to go down a similar path.”

As I replied to her email, it occurred to me that my story could possibly help not just Sherry, but many others. You don’t have to be working in the medical field to relate to this story.

I get many emails from people wanting out of their current job. Is that you? Are you searching for an opportunity to make a change?

This is why I want to share my story. I’ll primarily address why I made the career change from therapist-in-training to blogger, and then touch on the how.

Keep in mind that your story might be much different (or will be much different) than mine. How you end up reaching your dreams and finding freedom is unique to your story, so don’t think you have to follow the exact path I did. My story should inspire more than just people working in mental health. You can remove “therapist” from this story, insert your current profession, and that story can lead to the same results.

What are the results I’m talking about ? Being your own boss. Freedom. Doing work you love. Less stress. Helping others. Earning great income. Making a difference.  

Here’s my goal for telling this story: If I can get a few people reading this to open up their mind to what’s possible for them, I’ll be happy.

Matthew’s Journey to Full Time Blogger

Back in 1996, most folks didn’t know anything about the internet. Only a few geeks and military personnel were using this thing called “the web” during those days Bill Clinton was campaigning for a second term.

Did you know President Clinton only sent two emails during his entire presidency?

Anyhow, at that point in life, I was a recent college graduate. My English and Communications diplomas hung on the wall as I struggled to find meaningful work that I enjoyed and paid the bills. This wasn’t easy even in the more robust economy of that time.

You see, at this point in my journey, I was a young English major who considered advertising to be a shady profession (I don’t now), while my ambivert personality didn’t like the idea of standing in front of a camera reporting news every day.

All I wanted to do was find a career doing something I was good at and somehow “make a difference.”

I liked to write, but technically wasn’t trained as a “journalist.” And back then, someone like me wanting to be an author still had to “be picked” by the establishment publishing industry. Self publishing wasn’t yet on the radar.

Writing for small, local print publications and doing a disc jockey gig at a small radio station didn’t satisfy my heart or my bank account.

My love for writing and all things related to “media” were apparent at a young age. These subjects back when I was in school were categorized under the “Language Arts” umbrella and they were always my favorite areas of study. I wrote for the high school newspaper all four years, and was the news editor my senior year. In college, I continued writing for the campus newspaper.

Choosing to major in English came naturally. For good measure, I picked up a second degree–Communications.

Back then students would joke about the lack of job prospects for both of those majors. The negative wisecracks didn’t sway me. I knew what I liked and that’s what I studied. Whatever came after that, I thought, so be it.

During college, I also explored my third favorite topic–psychology. At one point even declaring Psych as a second major, which required a class in Statistics. I took Statistics I then promptly dropped the whole psych major idea.

This was in 1991. By ’96, my latent psychology dreams bubbled back up to the surface of my consciousness when I began searching for a more promising career track.

One day while talking with a mentor, the idea of becoming a counselor came up.

Matthew the Counselor….hmmmm.

After thinking it over a few weeks, I concluded being a counselor was a great way to help people, make a difference and do something I found interesting. Further research revealed a Masters in Counseling required ZERO statistics classes.

Now this new adventure was  going to require significant student loans to accomplish, but hey, I was young and…excited.

That fateful meeting with the mentor wasn’t so much a singular moment of destiny like you see in movies, it was more like one decision out of a series of choices, each one like a step up a ladder…No dramatic soundtrack could be heard playing, yet my decision to become a therapist was filled with spiritual longings and ego-driven worldly desires.

[tweetthis]We are all climbing a ladder. Only the next rung is visible. The rest of the ladder disappears into a fog.[/tweetthis]

I Could Be Like Frasier Crane

My plan was in focus–I would combine my interests in media and human behavior with a radio show, where people call in with their problems and I provide them with answers.

This would enable me to help lots of people…Become a respected member of society…Make more money…get semi famous…Frasier_Crane_Shrink_Wrap_radio_station_KACL

Sounds plausible, right?

[tweetthis]Sometimes our plans make our destiny giggle.[/tweetthis]

You Gotta Start Somewhere to Get Anywhere

Right away, I started working in not one but two psychiatric hospitals as a mental health tech. I started at the bottom, working directly with patients while earning an unimpressive paycheck. That summer I took a psychology class, then another in the fall. Then another the following spring.

I took three college courses that next year. In two years, I worked my way up to being a bachelor level case manager serving young people and troubled families.

There are many stories I could tell you from those years I worked in mental health and social work. My life was in danger many times. I was even stalked the final 7 months I was in the field.

That was the final straw.

Something else occurred during this time that also played a tremendous part in shaping who I am today…network marketing.

Network Marketing: My Four Year Degree in Sales & Business

Just a couple of years into my mental health work, someone sponsored me in a hugely well known network marketing business.

There’s a lot to share about this part of my personal journey, so I’m not going to cover much in this article. I do need to mention it here though, because my way of thinking was so radically changed by network marketing, it ultimately played a big role in my decision to let go of any plans to become a therapist.

I became completely immersed in this business for over 48 months and the whole experience was like getting another degree in sales with a minor in human relations.

My library is still filled with the books I read during this time. Here’s a list of the ones I would recommend for any new or aspiring blogger. Read these if you can:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger

Bringing Out the Best in People by Alan Loy McGinnis

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People by Les Giblin

You should read these books. They will teach you amazing things that will not only make you a better blogger, you will become an influential leader in your niche.

So during this time, I was working in mental health by day, and then would put on my sales hat while driving home and would work on my network marketing in the evenings and weekends.

As my mind expanded with all the teaching I was getting from millionaire sales reps and a constant flow of books, my ambition level rose along with my self confidence. I started to think more about money, and this played a huge part in me ultimately leaving MH.

Again, life is a climb up a ladder. Our careers are a process. A collection of events, surprises, and changes. Most of which are not pre-planned. As much as we like to talk about the importance of planning, nobody can plan out their life and fulfill it as originally planned.

My time in direct sales (network marketing) wasn’t something I foresaw in my future, yet it happened, and its influence was profound, ultimately leading me to these conclusions that prompted my exit from therapist-in-training to eventual blogger and internet marketer…

 

4 Reasons Why I Left Mental Health and Eventually Became a Pro Blogger

 

1. I needed to go back to my “first love.”

During my transition from mental health back to the media business, I was in a job interview with the CEO of my employer at the time, seeking a new communications position. As I shared my background, what I majored in, things that made me qualified for that position…suddenly, he smiled at me and said “Oh, you want to go back to your first love.”

He was exactly right. I not only wanted to go back to doing the work I enjoyed and was good at….I yearned for it. Like lost love.

What he said to me that day let me know I was heading in the right direction (even though I didn’t get that particular job.)

 

2. The Mental Health field has a high turnover rate–particularly in the direct care positions–because it’s understandably stressful.

I could tell you a lot of stories…Code Greens, Suicide Watches, On-Call Weekends, Restraining Orders, Stalking…I lasted longer than most. Those experiences made me stronger, and they also helped me change careers. 😉

 

3. Getting a masters degree in counseling would have included a $30,000 student loan debt.

Once I began learning about personal finances and money through my network marketing training, certain realities in my original plan started to get crystal clear and those realities were saying, “don’t do it.” For example, I started noticing how my coworkers who were already therapists were not any better off financially than I was. Then I did the math and realized if I did go $30,000 in debt, my raise in pay as a therapist would go to my student loan payments, thus keeping me at the same financial level.

That didn’t make financial sense to me, so I stopped taking classes right before the tuition would spike.

 

4. The internet offered tremendous opportunities.

Only a few sharp people in 1996 could see what was coming with the internet. Most folks didn’t have a clue. I know I didn’t.

By 1999, my eyes were wide open.

Many were already making tons of money thanks to the web.  Meanwhile, my network marketing business was going e-commerce. Hype about the internet’s potential by this point was off the charts. (Remember the dot com bubble of 2000?)

I was stoked.

There was no turning back. Although still employed, I knew my days in the mental health field were numbered.

I just needed my network marketing business earning five figures. Or find a new job back in “my first love” (Media work.)

Plans were made, and destiny giggled. My ladder had a few unforeseen rungs to climb before I would reach the start of Build Your Own Blog.

If I Can Transition to Full Time Blogger, So Can You

Your ladder is going to be different than mine. Your’s might have fewer rungs or more rungs to climb. Some ladders are wooden while others are metal.

You know what I mean.

If you will just keep a vivid picture in your mind of what the top of the ladder looks like for you, and focus on climbing only the next rung before you, eventually you will reach the top!

I’m not the only one who’s done this. If you need more convincing, here are a few people who inspired me. These are regular people who transitioned careers, going from “meh job” to a “pro blog” that earns them income and brings them career satisfaction. Be sure to check out their blogs!

John Morrow

1. Jon Morrow

No other blogger can “dis” this guy. He’s more “abled” as a blogger than practically anyone else out there. He eliminates all your excuses. Check out some of his popular posts. You won’t be sorry.

 

Demian

2. Demian Farnworth

I learn tons about web writing from Demian. He started out working in various writing jobs for years until 2011, when he transitioned to self employment. Two years later he got his dream job with Copyblogger Media. Guess what? He still gets to work from home! Learn more with a subscription to his blog.

 

adrienne

3. Adrienne Smith

She’s the queen of online engagement. If you haven’t met her yet, give it time, you will! Read her story how she left a disappointing corporate career and has found success as a full time blogger.

 

Stories are Powerful

Where are you at in your blogging story?

If you’re at the beginning, cool. Every story starts there. 🙂

Go ahead and grab your domain nameSet up your blog. Start writing your own thriller about your quest to reach your dreams through your own website.

That’s the first rung of the ladder. Plant your foot on it and go up.

If you have already started blogging, where are you at in your journey? Still working a day job while blogging at night?

Wherever your story is at now, today is the day to pick up where you left off and continue.

And if you liked this personal story of mine, let me know, and I’ll post what happened next on my way to Build Your Own Blog.

Author Bio:

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter

33 comments

  1. Adrienne   •  

    Hey Matthew,

    Wow, thanks for sharing your story and I know plenty of people who have been through similar things. It wasn’t until I came online myself that I realized the full potential of what people could actually do in order to not only make a full-time income but most of the time it surpassed what they had been doing back in corporate America. Now that’s the really cool part along with being able to work at home.

    The funny thing about working online is that in the beginning you’re going to work a LOT of hours but it’s fun. To me it was at least because I loved learning something new and I was in charge of my own destiny. Put those two things together and boy do you have a wonderful combination right!

    I can totally see you as a type of counselor. That’s actually what I had wanted to do with my life but school was hard for me, I didn’t absorb the information very well or at least not the way it was taught back when I was attending so I bypassed that and ended up in the secretarial field. I did okay but let’s face it, it wasn’t my passion.

    Thank you so much for mentioning me, how very flattering and I can definitely see Jon and Demian as inspirations. Hey, anything is possible if you’re willing to take chances. Heck, I think everyone should myself.

    Enjoyed the post and I would love to know what happened next if you care to share. I look forward to reading more of your story.

    You have a wonderful weekend.

    ~Adrienne

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Adrienne,

      I totally agree with your statement “you’re going to work a LOT of hours but it’s fun.” Love this work! All of it. Learning from great people like yourself is another perk. 🙂
      That’s interesting how you also had an interest in being a counselor at one time. Our friend Mitch Mitchell also shared he once considered working in the MH field….now, in a way, we are all using similar skills to help people. Pretty cool how that’s played out. I’m really happy for you that you were able to leave a career that really wasn’t your passion and find one here that IS your passion. I hope many of my readers will check out your blog for more inspiration. I know a lot of BYOB readers would be a natural fit for your content. If you’re reading this and you’re not Adrienne, check out her blog! 🙂 Adrienne’s story could be the tipping point for you to take the blogging plunge.
      Cheers to a great week, Adrienne!
      Matt

  2. Mitch Mitchell   •  

    Interesting story. I fully understand it also, as a friend of mine is going through something similar in the mental health field, and I sometimes go through it on the health care finance side. That $30,000 decision probably would have been the biggest driver for me because mental health can be daunting; I’ve always been glad that I didn’t fully pursue my initial interest in psychology.

    Good luck with the full time blogging thing!

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Mitch,
      Interesting to hear how you also considered MH, like me and our friend Adrienne Smith…what is it about us blogger types. 🙂 I suppose we enjoy teaching and like to help out and serve people.
      I’m sure if I had gone that route I would have definitely worked for myself at some point, probably to make more money to pay off that loan! That would have definitely been a driver for me too.
      Glad you dropped by, Mitch!

  3. Edwin Torres   •  

    I gotta admit man…when the blogging bug bites it bites HARD! Haha I used to be so into blogging back in the day. Writing a new blog post every single day. Promoting my site to just about anyone. Those were the days. Now I’m in love with making video content because of how easy it is. I’ve always been planning to read Think and Grow Rich…is it just mindset stuff or does it have actionable information in it?

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Edwin,

      Think and Grow Rich was published in 1960, so there isn’t any practical internet or blogging advice, obviously. It’s totally a “mindset” book, but unlike most of what’s out there. Give it a read and tell me what you think. That’s cool you’re getting into video heavily…are you doing all the production yourself? What’s your secret to making videos so “easy”? 🙂 Maybe you have blog content on this already?
      Great to meet you, Edwin! Say hello again sometime.

      • Edwin Torres   •  

        Honestly man I keep it simple. I use a program like Camtasia Studio (you can use CamStudio if you’re on a budget) and just record my screen. In the videos I just teach and show them cool stuff.

        Way easier than having a whole film crew involved just to put out a video 🙂

        • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

          I use Camtasia Studio myself. 🙂 Good tool for solopreneurs.

  4. Luna Darcy   •  

    Hi Matthew,

    Being your own boss.
    Freedom.
    Doing work you love.
    Less stress.
    Helping others.
    Earning great income.
    Making a difference.

    All of these I want for myself and I am so happy you shared your personal story and you cited really awesome people we can all learn lessons from. I work an 8-5 job and I’ve been here since I was 18, going 7 years but like you and many others here, writing is my first love. I have started a blog just this month and I am looking forward to being my own boss soon. I hope I become successful like you. But I know I should not just hope, but work hard, too.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Will be coming back for more.

    Luna

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Luna!

      Your blog is looking fabulous. Congrats!
      I know you can do it. Stay in touch!

      • Luna Darcy   •  

        Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out Matthew! Yes I can and yes I will. I appreciate your support and I am looking forward to your next word of wisdom! 🙂

        • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

          My pleasure, Luna. See ya around the comments. 🙂

  5. Sherry   •  

    Hi Matthew, its Sherry from the UK!

    Thank you so much for elaborating on your journey and for sharing your story! Yes -I was intrigued by the mention of your therapist background – and it really resonated with me and my journey through life. So I emailed you wanting to know more… and I’m so glad I did! Your journey has really given me the inspiration and hope that I needed, to see that the possibility of transitioning to become a successful blogger is possible.

    Over here in the UK I was researching how to make this transition, and I feel blessed for finding your website and for your support, even though I am thousands of miles away across the Atlantic Ocean!

    I can truly relate to the journey you have shared, and it has inspired me to follow through on my plans to become a successful blogger. Thank you for sharing the links to other sites which we can draw inspiration from, and also the books you recommend, which I shall be reading!

    The words you have – ”Our careers are a process. A collection of events, surprises and changes. Most of which are not pre-planned…As much as we talk about the importance of planning, nobody can plan out their life and fulfil it as originally planned” – these words have given me hope to move forward with spirit!

    Thank you Matt – and thank you for all of your support and encouragement

    Sherry

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Sherry!

      Thank you for inspiring this blog post. Keep me posted on how your story plays out, okay? I’d like to tell YOUR story one day.

      • Sherry   •  

        Thank you Matt! I will definitely keep you posted! Also – i absolutely love the 60 second blog reports that you upload – so I will also be regularly checking for those! Thank you again!

        Sherry

  6. Edwin   •  

    Love the inspiration and tips. I am looking forward to turning my book’s blog into a source of revenue and speaking gigs.

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Sounds like an awesome plan, Edwin! Keep me posted on the progress!

  7. Dr. Rin Porter   •  

    Matt, thanks so much for sharing more of your story. I had to laugh about the part where you took Statistics and then dropped out of your psych major, because the exact same thing happened to me. I got a D in Statistics, and then another D in Physiological Psych. My advisor told me that no one was allowed to get two Ds in the major, so I had to leave it. But that meant I majored in mass communication instead, and it brought me to where I am today. You just never know where a particular step will lead you.

    As a professor, I ended up counseling many students. So after being booted out of clinical psychology as an undergraduate, I turned out to be an informal counselor anyway as part of my teaching job.

    I know your story will help many people who have tried different careers and jobs, but not found the job that they’d do anyway even if they didn’t get paid, because they love it. It will encourage them to do what they love and somehow find a way to make it work financially.

    Rin

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Statistics was insane! Even with a tutor, I earned a D. Today, I could probably pull off a C, but who needs it. 🙂 I share this to give everyone reading some hope! Ha ha That’s funny Rin how you went through the same thing…I’ll bet Statistics has changed the plans of many a Psych major.

  8. Eyeland Gurl   •  

    Matt your story is quite similar to mine. While growing up my twin sister and I both wanted to have careers in psychology. However my parents encouraged us to go into something more lucrative like business. So that is what we did. We both ended up in the finance field. While my passion for psychology waned, my sister never lost her passion and she went on to pursue a Masters in psychology. Me on the other hand went into blogging full time after losing my job due to a merger. Your whole story resonates strongly with me. Thanks for sharing it and I hope that one day I will achieve the success that you have been able to achieve. Heres to many more happy years!

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Keesha (a.k.a. Eyeland Gurl),

      Interesting! It seems many bloggers are interested in psychology. Makes sense, really. I think that’s why we gravitate to writing. Copywriting and content writing–we’re fascinated at the way people are influenced by media (written and visual.) Glad you commented here, Keesha. As you said, cheers to many more happy years (and more blog engagement between us.)

  9. Jana   •  

    It seems like all the inspirational posts about starting your own successful blog are the same. The author is a successful blogger and his subject is, of course, blogging. The examples of other successful bloggers given are also successful bloggers who blog about becoming a successful blogger. I wish someone like you would give examples of successful bloggers that cover a different topic.

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Jana,
      Did you see the recent issue of the Blogger Success Bulletin? Check it out because I list 6 different bloggers, each one in a different niche and finding success. The next issue of the BSB will be coming out soon with more examples, and those featured will share their biggest obstacle and what they’ve done to overcome it.
      Thanks for asking!

  10. Jane Wathome   •  

    Mathew- you are generous. I have a folder full of your inspirational content. Thanks for sharing this aspect of your life. You continue to challenge many of us. I am transitioning and just about to post my first content.

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hi Jane,

      Great meeting you for the first time! I’m humbled by your feedback. Glad to know you’re getting inspired and challenged here. 🙂
      Keep me posted on how the blogging goes!

  11. Chiu-An Lo   •  

    Thank you for sharing your adventure, Matthew the blogger.

    The whole article speak well to my need. I especially like the advice you gave “If you will just keep a vivid picture in your mind of what the top of the ladder looks like for you, and focus on climbing only the next rung before you, eventually you will reach the top!”

    Indeed, life is just like an adventure and we all have a dream to pursue no matter it is big or small. The most difficult step is the beginning. Often we are scared to take action because we feel we are too far away from the end. But all we need is actually a clear goal and plan plus good determination.

    There is an expression in French I found it interesting to share:
    “petit a petit l’oiseau fait son nid (“little by little bird make its nest”)
    If we could have good commitment and tenacity, we could do it slowly but surely and eventually get to the top of mountain. I just started my blogging, it’s very demanding but full of fun. Hopefully one day I can be sharing my success stories with others.

    Take care.

    • Matthew Loomis   •     Author

      Hello Chiu-An! How are things in Taiwan? 🙂
      I love that French expression! Keep in touch! Let me know how your blog is coming along.

  12. John   •  

    Great post. Thanks for sharing a nice post with us

  13. Trenton   •  

    This I what call transformation and to make things more accurate he is rocking in his new profession. Thanks for sharing a story with us.

  14. Merry Bentley   •  

    Hi Matthew, I live in Australia and at this moment in time attempting to control my cancer, I use the word ‘my’ because it belongs to me, my body created it, perverse as that sounds.
    i hate the term battling cancer it is used incessantly, my aim is to start a blog to inspire and help others who are in a similar position to me.
    I tend to be optimistic in my outlook, due to my name and a blood group of B+
    I do not want destiny to giggle by planning something I cannot complete.
    Any advice and encouragement would very much appreciated.
    Thanks for developing this site.
    Merry

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