So you think you can blog. For money.
Er, you might want to think again, because…
1. Blogging is hard work.
It’s time-consuming. It requires you to be the boss, editor, photographer, videographer, PR, accountant, and marketer. You have to be disciplined, and not be afraid to cold-call, email, and deal with rejection. You’ve got to run it like a business. Have a plan, be on top of everything, all the time. On top of that, shooting photos, editing, and writing some posts can take hours or even days to complete.
2. There’s a lot of pressure.
So you’ve secured an advertiser or four. Great. Now that you have advertisers, you have to post regularly, keep your content fresh, maintain your numbers, or you could lose them. That’s easy to do when you’re inspired. But when life throws you a curveball or you’ve got writer’s block, not quite so easily done. And trust me, if you blog for years, you WILL hit the wall, life will eventually interrupt.
3. There are haters and plagiarists.
At some point, you will get some hate mail or comments. Can you handle that? Do you have thick skin? Because people can be really, really nasty, and if you are sensitive or have self-esteem issues, it can seriously affect your mental and physical health.
And the plagiarists…that’s a more irritating and difficult possibility. I was the victim of plagiarism last year, along with other bloggers. Because the plagiarist was fairly well-known in the young adult book world, some of her followers just couldn’t believe it, and they actually attacked us online.
That’s right. Not only did we have to go to bat to have the plagiarized content removed from her site, we were maligned via social media. That is a rare occurrence, but the plagiarism, that is not. Happens much more often than you may think, and it makes you angry and you feel so violated.
4. Blogging is hard on relationships.
Social media is a 24 x 7 x 365 endeavor. Blogging and social media promotion/interaction bleeds into your days, your nights, your dinners, your social events, your everything. It is a beast that just keeps coming back for more. It can take its toll on partners who are sick of taking photos of you, tired of seeing you with your phone in-hand at dinner, tired of going to sleep alone while you blog way past your bedtime. Become pro, and your need to always “be on” is even more profound.
5. It’s expensive.
You know how they say you have to spend money to make money? Its true.
You will need a domain name and domain privacy, probably for multiple domains (not just .com, but possibly the .net, .biz, etc., versions of your name). You’ll need a blog host, because a self-hosted, customized blog sets you apart from others, and provides more backend control. If you aren’t a graphic designer, it costs BIG bucks to have a custom blog template built from scratch. You’ll need business cards and maybe a media kit created by a pro. You need money for travel and hotels for blog conferences. Add your Internet and mobile phone service, hardware, software, cameras, tripods, and the like, and costs just go up and up. And that’s before you spend money on any of the things you feature on your blog.
6. It requires major organization and self-discipline.
If you are not a total Type A go-getter, going pro is even harder. As I mentioned above, you have to manage everything, from collecting payments, to content, to social media accounts you use in conjunction, to time devoted to correspondence and promotion. And all that has to be balanced with the needs of the people in your life, possibly another job as you grow, social obligations, and more.
7. Sharing (and over-sharing) online can have real-life consequences.
Every photo, word, tweet, status update, and post can be seen by anyone…current or future employers, current or future spouses, friends, neighbors, children (your own and others), the government, everyone. And once it’s online, it cannot be retrieved, sometimes, even when you delete it. If you keep a pretty clean blog, that is probably not an issue.
But even if you aren’t crude or controversial, you can still run into problems. I accidentally offended my best friend with a post once, though it was never aimed at her or about her! I understood why it bothered her, and I felt bad. It caused some momentary awkwardness that we’d never experienced in our 20-year friendship, that I didn’t like. No fun.
8. It can stifle your creativity.
Yeah, I know, you started blogging as an outlet for your creativity. But a funny thing happens on the way to the bank. The more you crank out content under pressure, the more difficult it often is to feel creative and inspired to create. Especially when a million other bloggers are creating content that is similar.
9. There are no medical benefits or paid time off.
There’s something to be said for employer-provided benefits. Having paid for my own, non-group insurance in the past, it is never as good a deal, or as inexpensive as group. You might be able to turn a vacation into a working vacation and a tax deduction if you blog about it, but when you blog full-time, the last thing you (or your beloved) will want to do/see on vacation is you. Blogging. Instagrammming. And not being truly present.
10. Blogging will probably never generate the money your day job does.
It’s true. It’s extremely difficult to make the kind of cash a regular 40-hour-a-week job and paycheck provide. Trust me, you will nickel-and-dime yourself to death. Pro bloggers have more than one revenue stream; the rare few that accomplish it usually do consultant work with brands, publish a book, offer styling, etc., in addition to blogging.
I found this excerpt from by Lorelle VanFossen’s post, Blogging Jobs: How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog?, especially thought-provoking:
At $25 a post, you’d need to write 2,400 blog posts to earn $60,000 a year. How long would that take you? Do you have 2,400 original blog posts within you?
In Bloggers Share Their Income, six bloggers revealed what they actually make. Five of the six averaged a $1,000 to $2,000 monthly, which I assume is pre-tax earnings. Folks, that is $12,000 to $24,000 a year, pre-tax. That might be OK if you have a spouse helping you pay the bills, but in a household of two, that’s only about $8,490 above federal poverty level. So again, you’re not likely to become rich and famous through blogging alone.
So, keep blogging for fun, y’all. And keep that day job!