10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be a Pro Blogger

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.

woman's hand on laptop keyboard
Image via Pinterest

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!

54 comments

  1. As someone that runs a business as well as blog, it’s totally is true. It is literally the tip of the iceberg that must be making good money from blogging. The others are either just getting by or doing it for extra pocket money. This is totally understandable, as you broke it down in your post most sponsored posts don’t pay an awful lot, which means you’d have to be burning your way through keyboards to make any decent money.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Arash. I love this, so true: “…most sponsored posts don’t pay an awful lot, which means you’d have to be burning your way through keyboards to make any decent money.”

  2. I hope you don’t mind me chiming in with some thoughts on your list and will excuse me for being something of an optimist – my wife tells me that it’s one of my most annoying habits 😉

    Overall I agree with elements of all of your points. However I also think there is some hope and are some people who would do well to consider ‘going pro’.

    I was going to go through each of your points in turn but I guess my main reflection with many of your points is that they could well be applied to many things in life.

    Blogging is hard, there is pressure, it takes discipline, you’ll come up against people who tear you down for no reason, it can be costly, there are times where their are consequences on your real life or you feel a lack of inspiration/creativity… but I think most of those things could also be said about many aspects of life (or certainly could be said about starting any kind of business).

    What I think is important to communicate to people about making money from blogging is that it is possible but you should be realistic and understand that it isn’t easy money.

    I recently wrote a post on this with the 7 things I’ve learned about making money blogging and made these points:

    1. It is possible – there are a growing number of people who do make money blogging. Many don’t get to a full time living but there are an increasing number who make a significant amount – enough to add a second income to their family or supplement their main employment.

    2. there’s no one model for monetizing – here in Australia I can think of 20 or so full time bloggers who have spoken at our conference and they all have quite different models. Some work with brands, others sell eBooks, others have membership areas, some use their blogs to promote their offline businesses or sell their own services, others promote affiliate products and many do a combination of the above.

    3. There are no formulas – people often try to claim to know the secret formula (which they’ll sell to you for $XXX) but every full time blogger I’ve met has forged their own path.

    4. Many niches monetize – some say the only people making money blogging are the ones who teach others to make money blogging. Not true – I can think of bloggers in many niches that make good money. Fashion, technology, parenting, beauty, motor bikes, cartoons, health, DIY, finance, software, photography – to name just a few.

    5. Most bloggers don’t make a full time living – while there are plenty of examples of those who do – most don’t. We survey ProBlogger readers about their earnings regularly and over 75% make less than $500 per month. Having said that – last time we did the survey 9% made over $1000 a month and 4% said they make over $10,000 per month.

    6. it takes a lot of work – as you say – there’s nothing passive about making money blogging. It takes a lot of work.

    7. It takes time to build – not only does it take a lot of work, but a lot of work over many years. But again – that’s not reason to not consider it – it takes years to climb the corporate ladder, to build any business etc – just don’t expect overnight riches. Of the 4% who said they make over $10,000 a month in our survey – most said that they’d been blogging for a minimum of 3-4 years.

    I wrote more on all of that at http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/11/28/can-you-really-make-money-blogging-7-things-i-know-about-making-money-from-blogging/ but you get the gist.

    Again – I think your points are all valid – but I wouldn’t want someone with the potential to do well from blogging to give up the dream.

    For me the way forward is not to quit your job to go pro – but to transition it. Start blogging and in time experiment with monetizing if you want to give it a go. Most full time bloggers I know start small and it grows over time as they work ‘day jobs’.

    Hope this makes sense (it’s getting late here in Australia) – don’t want to hijack the conversation.

    1. Darren, I’ve been thinking about your response, as well as Vahni’s post, and there are a few issues that come to mind:

      I get the impression that Vahni comes at this truly from the perspective of blogging ALONE as the full-time profession. Darren, you say this, “Some work with brands, others sell eBooks, others have membership areas, some use their blogs to promote their offline businesses or sell their own services, others promote affiliate products and many do a combination of the above.”

      I believe that it’s misleading to say, “You can make money as a professional full-time blogger” or “I am a professional full time blogger” if a majority of your income comes from ancillary income opportunities. Most smart bloggers DO do those, but I can count ONE blogger who makes all of her income solely through blogging alone. She does quite well, but she set into doing it full time from the beginning and has a very devoted following & specific niche that serves her well. In this instance, I feel that you and Vahni are talking about two different practices. A smart blogger will leverage other means of making their income.

      However, in the United States, particularly among fashion bloggers (which Vahni and I both are; we also both have the unique relationship of writing about blogging FOR and FROM the perspective of fashion bloggers), fashion blogging is seen as a fast way to make money, find prestige or fame, and find celebrity. That’s simply NOT the case in our niche, and particularly in our country. That’s a mindset that NEEDS to be broken. Blogging is hard work. It needs to be done because you’re passionate, not because you want to work with brands, get free clothes, sit on the front row at Fashion Week, and be featured in an ad campaign.

      And yet, in the 3.5 years I’ve been writing for Independent Fashion Bloggers (HeartIFB.com), I’ve seen hundreds of bloggers come through with the same complaints, gripes, and whining. They want those things, and the fact they have a blog isn’t giving it to them. They want Valentino and Celine, or even J.Crew, to come knocking on their door.

      For that, I applaud Vahni’s tough love attitude about the reality and hardships of becoming a full time blogger. American Fashion Bloggers specifically NEED to see that. I can’t speak for the work attitudes and blogger attitudes in other countries, only those that I have the most experience with.

      In my position at IFB, I try to encourage the dream. But I also try to be realistic about the reality of it.

      I’ve been blogging for over 6 years now. I’ve done that the whole time while maintaining a full time job. I now know, like Heather below, that my blog will never be a full time profession for me. I’m lucky because it leads to freelance opportunities that CAN turn into something, but the blog in and of itself will never be that means. I’m okay with that, but it’s taken a LONG time to come to grips with.

      So in the end, I want to say, I think you and Vahni both have valuable feedback and insights that need to be shared and addressed. I think both posts have merit and applicability outside of blogging and in our own lives.

      That also being said, it should be noted that Vahni’s post is also coming from a certain perspective and experience (and one I know very well): The American Fashion Blogging niche. And as someone who has been in it for over 6 years, I think starting out with the goal to be a pro-blogger then, and entering now, is a completely different world with less opportunities. So it’s useful to be mindful in saying, “You should question why you may not want to do this. If you can get through this list saying, ‘Fuck it’ to each of these points and still WANT to do it, then push through and pursue it.”

      1. Very well said Ashe especially the point about how differently the blogging world was years ago as opposed to now. I’ve been blogging for 4 years now and there has been a drastic change in the blogging environment and a big decrease in the number of brand opportunities.

      2. CO-SIGN 150%, babe! Thanks for elaborating on the current state of affairs in fashion blogging and giving the reasoning in my post some context!

    2. Darren, thanks for your comment. I do agree that people should follow their dreams, but as Ashe noted, things in the fashion blogging world have changed considerably since I started blogging back in 2006. She gave my post the context I neglected to include…I sometimes forget that bloggers who aren’t in the fashion genre read my posts.

      She wrote “…fashion blogging is seen as a fast way to make money, find prestige or fame, and find celebrity.” Sadly, this is true. In the beginning, fashion blogging was a way to be included in the print and runway world. It sort of leveled the playing field. But now, it is a reflection of the offline world: it’s mostly the skinny, pretty, well-off bloggers who get all the brand attention and perks. And newbie bloggers, especially, see bloggers with their gifted items and invitations, and want that, want the fame, and that is a motivation for blogging that rarely bears fruit.

      Anyway, I’m not going to repeat what Ashe wrote…will just co-sign her comment.

      Thanks again for the discourse and RT!

  3. I totally agree with Darren. I think your points are valid but growing up in a family where my parents ran a plumbing business, it was demanding on their time, cost money to start up and the fruits of their labour weren’t seen well until they had been in business for a few years. The same can be said for blogging. It will take years and a lot of hard work to get it making an income.
    I want to earn an income from my blog, but I understand it will take time and I’m in no rush. I work as a plumber and blog about what I do and anything plumbing related that can benefit my readers. It takes time to build trust and when readers trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you. I’m hoping to do the transition from being a plumber on the tools to a full time blogger by the time my kids are in school. I enjoy the challenge of hard work. It makes what you accomplish all the more sweeter.

    1. You are right: in any field, it DOES take years of hard work. What I am seeing in fashion blogging, specifically, is a want of material goods, wealth, and/or fame as the main intent for blogging. And wanting money or nice things is not a bad thing per se. It’s just that it’s especially difficult to set yourself apart as a content creator and be able to go the distance if your only motivation for blogging is money, and not passion, or a need to help or educate others.

      A get-rich-quick mentality generally does not provide the fuel necessary to keep the fire burning under a creative endeavor for the long haul.

  4. I agree with your points to a degree, but I think that blogging is just the start for many people of building a platform that eventually brings them to other things. If a person has a passion, they can use the blog to speak to their audience, and to gather a group for which she/he can launch products and services. It just depends how a person sees a blog. Good content is often a stepping stone to branching out and making a living in other areas. Blogging is, I think, a medium to reach people. Once you’ve reached people, you can build on that by adding value, and then create products to solve their problems. People are doing so many things, but of the on-line people I know, almost all of the ones really making good livings started as bloggers. Now they are writers, coaches, artists, mentors, you name it. Blogging helped formulate their springboards.

    1. Diana, I’m all for blogging as a springboard. It is great for that.

      But in the fashion blogging world, too many young/new bloggers are taking a stab at it with money, freebies, or notoriety as their sole motivation. You made a key point: “Good content is often a stepping stone to branching out and making a living in other areas.” That’s just the problem these days. Many, many bloggers don’t approach it from the point of good content, or passion, but simply a means to an end. Because of that, it rarely works for them.

  5. I tweeted your post that then started a bit of a conversation here and on Twitter, V. I’m in a fortunate position right now that I am a full time Problogger, earning an income way beyond my former career as a senior journalist. It’s 5+ years since I started my business and I agree that you have to be committed to putting in the work – now with a book deal plus my already full time blog work I’m working longer hours than ever before … but it’s worth it as it’s something I’ve built from nothing wnd the energy in is all for my return.

    1. Nikki, you’re an example of one of the rare ones who has made this work…and also support my point that most pro bloggers have other revenue streams as well. As you noted, however, it takes incredible dedication. I also am pretty sure you probably did NOT get into blogging with fame and freebies as your motivating factor, a key difference in many new and young fashion bloggers today. More often than not, it’s NOT passion and love of a fashion or blogging that motivates them. It’s money. And this post is aimed directly at them.

  6. or for $30,000 a year which is huge paycheck for your country,
    do 3- 4 posts a day 300 days a year and still get 65 days off a year with pay if you know how to budget
    and put money aside for a break.
    2. Build a budget with Dave Ramsey
    3. Learn how to blog and write essays (it does take planning and work)
    4. Organize your own medical coverage
    5. The blog does not have to be about your personal life
    6. That is an average of $25 an hour not bad for a place with $7 unskilled minimum wage
    7. Blogging is a skill, learn it
    8. Things are easier when treated in a professional manner
    9. I have made it in a very competitive environment and it is all about discipline, like budgeting.
    10. Budgeting and blogging are skills, don’t make it personal make it professional.

    1. Vahni said $25 a post, NOT an hour. That should be noted, as it’s dramatically different. I can guarantee you that the posts Vahni writes, or that I write, take far more than one hour to write. Especially when you add in the necessary tools to promote that post, so that it brings in traffic. A post can easily move into the 2-3 or more hour range.

      As fashion bloggers, it could even turn into 4 or 5 once you consider taking photos, styling, editing, etc. By that point, you’re LUCKY if that post is worth $25 an hour. You can easily become paid $5-12.50 an hour depending on how long it truly takes.

      And $5 an hour is far below that $7 unskilled minimum wage you mention.

      1. Hi Ashe,
        I worked out an average per article or post would take an hour.
        That is how long it takes me.
        Sometimes 10 minutes BUT I have been writing since early high school and won an essay at 7.
        I did a short course at the beginning of high school and have given some private tuition for 10 minutes and people go from barely passing to high credits because they refined a skill.
        I do photo shoots twice a month at 4 hours each time which is 8 hours a month.
        Sorry I won’t share my skill in public but there are places out there that will.

        Hope that helps,

          1. Michelle, I’m not sure of the length of your posts , but no piece of writing I’ve every produced that is longer than three sentences takes 10 minutes or less. And I am a professional writer by trade with a Master’s in English, and a concentration in technical and professional writing. I’ve done numerous freelance jobs as well…even some of the one-liners can take 10 minutes alone, due to the need to select words that are succinct and profound.

            But hats off to you for being able to crank out paid content that fast. You are most definitely in the minority.

          2. Hi V,
            I have tutored a friend who was failing her masters and now gets high credits and high distinctions.
            I think it is because I got the skill done at a young age.
            I can put a 1000-1500 word paper together in an hour and get 89%+ (I’m still studying part-time my 2nd degree because I enjoy it).
            Maybe I just got a great break and had great teachers to begin with.
            Thanks for your response. Michelle

  7. Oh vahni I so totally agree with you. I know there are people making money blogging, but after bringing my my blog up to a place I consider fairly successful and hoping all the while that I would one day make money at it, I now know I never will. My blog simply cannot make the kind of money I make with my freelance business, all it can do is bring in a little extra change. At this point I have given up trying to monetize my blog, instead I will use it as a creative outlet and for publicity. It seems to work great in those arenas.

    1. Hey, Heather, thanks for your comment, especially since it supports my points in this post. It really IS hard to make blogging a full-time thing! There are so many factors that come into play: content, location, age, appearance, resources, connections, etc. I truly believe the top tier in fashion has a lot in common in terms of these factors. In addition, fashion blogging, in particular, is a saturated market. I just don’t see the hype or opportunity there once was.

  8. Agree, agree, agree!! As someone who has left the day job to take care of my daughter and freelance from home, I learned very quickly that you can’t make it on blogging alone. While my plan wasn’t to make money off my blog (it’s more of my portfolio) just making money blogging period is very hard to do. Even blogging for other people, it’s hard to find a decent wage. I have more luck doing things where I can put what I learned from blogging to work (social media management is the big thing for me nowadays).

    I think you should look at your blog as a jumping board for other careers – social media, PR, personal styling, freelance writing, etc.

    1. MJ…THIS: “I think you should look at your blog as a jumping board for other careers – social media, PR, personal styling, freelance writing, etc.”

      So true, so smart. That’s what G&G offers me, aside from a place to share my thoughts. Blogging is a wonderful tool for learning about social media, social media technologies, PR, and more.

  9. Although there are many days where I wish my day job was more creative, more exciting, and a little less “stiff”, I am fully aware that I will always need the day job. I am just grateful to have a creative outlet for my passion for cooking (and the requisite fitness). Great post!

    1. Thank you, April! I think blogging as a creative outlet is extremely helpful, and educational as well. I rather like the balance of the security of a full-time job, and the freedom and opportunities provided via blogging. I wrote this below as well: it’s the best of both worlds!

  10. SUCH a great post Vahni. It’s really funny… I’ve been doing this for 3.5 years and never really thought of all the things I’m actually doing… I just do them, because I love my site and am passionate about it / want it to be the best it can be. I often forget the sacrifices and the late nights and lack of time off because I truly love it. But man – you reminded me – blogging is really, realy hard! Ha.

    Anyway, I do think of my blog as a pro blog, but have kept my day job for some of the very reasons you suggest. I like the security, the benefits, the stabilty. It’s so true — blog popularity comes and goes, I’d just be too nervous to leave a stable job to run my site full time.

    But yeah… the late nights, the events, the social media, the feeling like you always have to be on… it’s a lot. Though I’d say that the good 100% totally outweighs the bad!

    1. Thank you, Grace! Yes, you and I both know it IS hard work. Certainly, the good outweighs the bad, or I wouldn’t still be blogging either. G&G has been a great catalyst for opportunity for me, but I’m still reluctant to go full-time, because as you said, I prefer the security, benefits, and perks of full-time employment. I think part-time pro blogging + a full-time gig you like is the best of both worlds!

  11. Amazing post! Thank you for sharing! Never though about fashion blogs’ aims being the same as print magazines- to create a desire for, to sell something, be it a blouse, or a lifestyle. Thanks again.

    -kim

  12. I love my job.
    I did the starving artist thing once before already so I’m more than happy to get my monthly pay cheque. Wait for Valentino and Celine to come knocking? Pah! I’ll buy my bloody own.
    Do you know who plagerised my blog sometime last year? – the Times Online of India, a senior sub editor at that – I even went as far as getting a lawyer to look at it. When I realised how much it would cost to pursue it with no guarantee of any success I bought a pair of shoes instead. I would have had to fight the case in India with Indian lawyers and I had a friend working next to the head honcho for international intellectual property in Dehli – he couldn’t even advise how the law would work. It made me really mad to see someone claiming my writing as theirs, especially as they were supposed to be a professional journalist, but all up the additional stress, cost and time didn’t feel like it would be worth the hassle. I can’t imagine how any pro blogger could attend to every plagarism case concerning their blog.
    Blogging has to be put into perspective sometimes. Thank you honey for telling it like it is!

    1. Amen, lady. Thanks for your comment. Yes, plagiarism SUCKS and the fact that it costs the VICTIM not only their intellectual property, but financially as well makes it even worse. But I like your approach. Instead of spending the money on a drawn out legal battle and the stress of it, why not invest in a lovely pair of shoes that remind you that YOUR STUFF WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO STEAL!

  13. I read this post Friday and came back today to see the comments. Wow! I love it when the comments are as much fun as the post! It’s a talent to write In a way that incites such participation. I get what you’re saying….somewhere along the way fashion blogging became a means to an end. A vehicle by which to transport oneself to fame and fancy handbags! But the reality is that the big name successful bloggers mostly had an in to begin with. And there’s nothing wrong with that…..but seriously lets keep it real. Most of us will never be approached by Coach to design a bag no matter how hard we work. That’s just life. If the “whoever works hardest gets most” mantra were true, then the guys building homes and cutting grass where I live would be living in mansions….because I KNOW they are working harder than most of us! You can work as hard as you can and still never “make it” blogging. It is what it is. But the cool thing is that that knowledge is liberating. Take the pressure off ourselves and just have fun! Great discussion here!! Serene

  14. This is a great post Vahni. To often we hear of the successes of bloggers which gives people a false expectation of what they can really do.
    Speaking as a partner of a blogger (Street Style Photographer Lee Oliveira), I see first hand on how hard it is. You are basically running a business and as such have to treat it like a business.
    Lee started his blog in 2010 and a year later decided to go full time, dedicating himself to it. I have followed him around on occasions during the Fashion Weeks he attends and I could tell you so many stories about bloggers pretending and making out they earn lots of money but I can say that there a very few that do make a decent amount. Sitting front row doesn’t mean you are earning a six figure income from blogging. If you think about some of those huge fashion bloggers out there right now, there is a large proportion that have been blessed with having financial help from family to get there. Unfortunately Lee wasn’t one of them coming from a very humble family. He had to use what little money he did have to keep it going. As a street style photographer, don’t think getting your photos published in any Vogue or Harpers Bazaar magazine is going to give you financial freedom. The reality is, some of these big magazines really don’t pay that well. The other hurdle that Lee quickly came up against is that a lot of street style photographers do things for free thinking they are some how going to became famous or earn lots of money later. If you waited for that to happen, you would be living on the streets. Lee never did this as he always thought that if he had the reputation of doing things for free, that’s what he would always be known for. That’s why over the years at fashion week some have disappeared and there are always new ones thinking it will give them financial freedom. Luckily for Lee, he picked up on this quickly and diversified into other things that is related to what he does and this is where a large amount of his blogging income comes from. The blog has been and will continue to be a stepping stone. You really have to be smart to always have your fingers in all pies and focus on things that can generate cash rather than fame. Fame doesn’t necessarily mean dollars. I remember the first blogger conference Lee went to and hearing what people had to say, it really gave a false impression. Not to say blogger conferences are bad, you just don’t hear that many real stories about how they actually did it. We constantly see things only about these big bloggers and what they are doing and you always wonder, how did they get there? Famous by association doesn’t mean you are earning the big bucks. In regards to the fashion industry, there is still a perception I think with some brands etc (not all) that giving away a free outfit is enough to get you to do a blog post or talk about there brand on social media. Perhaps the reason is, so many bloggers do this and it brings the value of the fashion blogger industry down. Running a blog and the social media that surrounds it takes a lot of time. I take my hat off to all those fashion bloggers that do outfit posts. I think about how time consuming it must be pull enough looks together to constantly create content for their blogs. Content is king and you always need it to be regular to keep the visitors coming back.
    Thankfully I can now say that Lee does earn a decent income now to sustain it as being full time from all the things he does associated with his blog and social media and the knowledge that he has gained. He did work hard though to get to this point. Man… if he wasn’t, I would have made him quit a long time ago…. lol

    1. Thanks, Jamie. I know you have so much perspective, and because I know you and Lee, I know what he has achieved has been the result of blood, sweat, tears, a lot of flying, determination, and a lot of sleepless nights. For both of you, really.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment here. You made so many excellent observations. I know others will see your comment and hopefully, it will be enlightening for them, too.

      Hope you are well! xoxo

  15. Although this post might sound like a mean dream crusher right off the bat, it’s more of a reality check to save one blogger’s butt. Thank you. I did get significantly less creative and lame (or at least my representation of me through my blog) after I started making money through ads. I lost a great deal of readership and ranking on search engines after all that. It’s definitely not worth having a blog full of ads for chump change. I need an overhaul, but I’ve already lost credibility because I let my blog go. You seem like a fine expert at what you do, and it would be wonderful to learn from you!

    1. Rachel, thanks for your comment, and for realizing the intention of this post! No, it’s NOT intended to be a dream crusher, just a reality check, as you noted.

  16. While this post is extremely discouraging to someone starting out it is the honest truth. I am fortunate enough to work with a group of women called Pushing Lovely that offers support in many capacities because we all understand how much work is involved if we want to be labeled as a professional blogger. #10 really is the only way to replace a “full time” income.

    Thanks for keeping it real!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Arelis. It IS the honest truth, and that is the point. We all have dreams, but not all dreams can be realized, and that’s OK. In fact, that’s life. People mistakenly think it is so easy to start a blog a catapult to the top. Once upon a time, it might have been a little like that. But now in the fashion blogging world, it is so so competitive and saturated it is virtually impossible.

  17. V, I absolutely love this post because I have come to face almost all of these realities myself over the past few years. Especially this: “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.” I really lost a lot of passion for blogging after I was just churning out content for sidebar sponsors and more views (and none of it really added up anyway). That’s why I stopped blogging for a whole month earlier this year.

    Now that I’m blogging “just for fun” again I’ve actually been getting MORE views and, more importantly, more FAITHFUL readers and friends. The best thing of all? I’m proud of my work for what it is, not for how much I’m making from it. I’ve really come to fall back in love with my blog and treating it as my passion project instead of a business. I don’t think I’ll ever want to make it a business again, because who wants to turn their play into work? I work to make money, and I play to have fun. Mixing the two kinda sucks, to be honest, at least for me! Leaving work just to come home and work AGAIN was exhausting.

    I’ll admit that I still put up the occasional AdSense ad and I still use affiliate links, because those are quick and easy and I don’t feel the pressure that ‘sponsors’ put on me. I also do still accept items for review but very sparingly (remember that dress company that was super controlling on us?). A lot of c/o items I wear now are from the old days…

    It’s true, blogging is completely different now than when we started and even before that. Most of the “big” blogs having been around since 2005 when it wasn’t as popular and they had parents or husbands helping them out financially. It’s more difficult doing it solo. And actually, a friend and I have been having an email convo about how certain bloggers become popular and why. It’s funny that this post came up because it really provoked a lot of thoughts about the same subject. I’ll probably be writing a post myself about all of this soon…

    I didn’t edit this at all, so I hope it made sense! Love you V, it’s been a ride and I’m happy we’re still standing! There are so many blogger buds that have fallen off…

    1. Hey sweets, thanks for your thoughtful comment and kind words. I’m glad you’ve found a happy medium with your blog. And yeah, a LOT have bitten the dust, right?! It takes real dedication to blog long-term, and that ONLY comes from passion, as you have discovered.

      Getting close to September 1st and Whole30. Excited for you! I’ll be continuing past August myself, not as strictly, but I just feel so much better. More details about that later. So holler if you need me!

  18. Hey Vahni,

    As someone who started a blog a few weeks ago, I decided my motivations were simply to have a space to write, to connect with others on fashion & arts, and explore my feelings of living as an expat in Australia. Do I have a niche? Maybe? But right now it’s just me and my corner of the Internet, which I’ve dutifully paid Bluehost for, over the next two years and I’ll see where my writing/photography flows to. Honestly, I’m so new that I don’t know the difference between Ad-sense, and an Affiliate Link.

    This post strongly reminds me of my own time working as a sales registrar at a dramatic arts academy. Of course, both these mediums (blogging/acting) strongly attract a degree of people who are there for the fame and perks of celebrity. Our courses provided blossoming thespians a practical path to becoming a working actor, if they could persevere. Our stats were much the same as many other businesses and probably blogs too – the old 80/20 rule.

    80% drop off when people were not willing to take the time to improve their craft and deal with enduring bouts of rejection – generally those who felt that their unique “Cult of Personality” was strong enough to carry them through and received a rude awakening. And 20% of those who stayed committed to the industry, and who were able to pursue a career as a working actor in commercials and bit parts. That same 20% would have been energized whether they were acting at a community theater, or being paid in third overtime-union rate on the set of Breaking Bad. They loved to make art. We had one outlier in the group – a young lady who is acting in a lead role on an internationally distributed TV series. Her “overnight success” was over 15 years in the making, and refreshingly – she wasn’t the Hollywood ideal.

    But the personalities one encounters and the wants seem very similar to the blogosphere. Which like Hollywood, no matter how practical and studied a path one takes, sometimes simply rewards those who have that “Je Ne Ce Quoi” factor…

    I don’t find your post in any way pessimistic. I find it refreshingly practical and authentic. One of the first pieces of advice we gave actors was to be aware that they may have to “find a way to finance their passion,” which could be a little of the same, here.

    And that brings me to my second thought…

    Conflictingly, whenever I see a site or blog, chock-a-block with ads, and contest banners? Gross – bounce! Like fast. A few ads, a sponsored post here or there – I don’t mind that. Maybe it’s a Gen X thing…but too many ads? Well, I feel like I’m a number being sold to without permission. Same with people who pursue you on Twitter or Linked In, cornering you without anything meaningful to converse about. Not into it, dude! Reminds me of Amway!

    I do, however believe that like acting, music or art – blogging and creating content that is thoughtful, unique and passionately created is valuable for the reader…I think that Lee’s partner is spot on where it’s mentioned that he uses the blog as a promotional aspect, but sells his services and doesn’t compromise. At then end of the day, the folks who have the highest return on investment to their endeavors – sell something. A product that people want and find valuable.

    My thoughts to you…and they have been the same for a long time, ever since I started reading your blog, is this: I say with all the encouragement in the world that you deserve a book deal and should be pursuing a publisher. Whether you write about fashion at 40, a glossy lifestyle coffee table book, or as (my thoughts entirely) the way you present your views on certain subjects – you come across as one of the more poignant and rational feminist voices of our generation (the grit in the glamour). Book Deal. You don’t need tacky ads. But if you put out a book, irrespective of the subject matter – the strength of your writing is so strong that I would absolutely support your craft financially and from reading your blog, I would be easily intrigued enough to buy it.

    So there you go, my friend. Great post! Those are my unfiltered thoughts… XO, Di

    1. Oh, Di. This is one amazing comment! You are just so eloquent, my lady, that I think YOU need the book deal, not me! But that said, thank you so much for your sweet words. I think you need to be my agent! I’m not opposed to a book. I have the discipline. I just haven’t figured out what I want to write about yet.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience in the arts academy. I’m not at all surprised by your revelations. And the 15-years-in-the-making starlet is typical, in any industry, really. Sure, there are some overnight successes, but most, absolutely the majority, are the result of many years of honing one’s craft, of learning the ropes, of paying one’s dues. And it’s worth every second in the long run.

  19. Hi! I think this article is great, but I started blogging 2 weeks ago. It’s fun, but I don’t know if I’m doing well. I would really appreciate if you could have a look at it and comment for any suggestions!

    misssweetiegoescheeky.blogspot.be

    Marte

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