Can you really make money blogging?
The quick answer is yes! Next question, is it easy? No, but nothing worthwhile is. Blogging for income can be very lucrative and it certainly has its pluses.
- You are your own boss. That can be a good thing if you have the self discipline to set a schedule and keep to it. It can be a complete disaster if you are easily distracted or tend to procrastinate. If you are going to try making a living from blogging, be brutally honest with yourself. Being one’s own boss is a heady experience and requires focus and determination. You will need to be organized. You will need to make sacrifices. You will need to meet deadlines, either self-imposed or possibly set by others when you get to the point of monetizing your blog.
- You can work in your pajamas! You will be able to set your own dress code. You will be able to set your own schedule. But you must treat it like a real job! If you are to be successful at blogging, be prepared to work harder than you ever have before, particularity in the beginning. Bloggers rarely have overnight success and it can be discouraging at times but you must keep on plugging away at it.
- You can make really decent money. Will your blog make you a millionaire? Probably not, but there are bloggers who make 7-figure annual incomes. They did not get to that income level by luck though. They got there by hard work. Particularly in the beginning, you must put in long hours working all on your own. But with time and dedication it will pay off. And as you build your reputation, your content, and your writing skills, you will gradually see your opportunities to make money from your blog turn from a trickle to an open flood gate. In my beginning days I would desperately work for a free bag of coffee, and now I can pick and choose who I work with and turn away sponsored work worth thousands of dollars because it’s not the right fit with my blog. But understand I have been doing this for almost 7 years. Persevere! If you do, it will happen for you.
- You can be creative! If you love to create, blogging is a great outlet for that creativity. Over the years, I have worked some pretty boring jobs. My college degree was in Business Administration, with a major in Accounting. I worked for years in Accounting and it was agony. Accounting is continually the same – numbers, numbers, numbers. But since I was a child I always had a talent for art and creative things. When I was at work doing accounting, all I thought about was getting home and doing creative things but when I was at home doing art, crafts and other creative endeavors, I never thought about accounting. The only thing that my accounting job fulfilled was my bank account. Blogging allows me to be creative and do the things I love. I’m a lifestyle blogger so I can focus my blog on things that I really enjoy – food (I love to cook and create recipes), crafts ( a life long passion for me), gardening and my pets.
- You can stay home with your kids. If you’re a working parent, and the grind of rushing to get the kids ready for school and daycare is wearing you down, blogging could be a solution for you to work at home. With the high cost of daycare, commuting to and from work, and acceptable wardrobe for the workplace, there often is very little extra money actually brought in by the second working parent. Blogging doesn’t demand a stylish wardrobe. There is no commute to your blog as it is done from home. And you have the luxury of being home with your kids. Work on your blog can be done early in the morning before everyone wakes up, during nap time and in the evening after bedtime. It can be the perfect “work at home” solution for a parent.
- You do not have to be a tech geek! You do not need the ability to write code, program a computer, or use complicated software like Photoshop. There is very easy, intuitive software and websites that will help you through the whole process. WordPress, the most used blogging platform, is very easy to use and has numerous easy to use “plug-ins” that can be added that help you with some of the tougher jobs.
That’s the good news about Blogging! Now its time for a reality check!
There are a lot of positive things about blogging as a career but there is a downside to every good point.
- Building a successful blog takes time. Don’t quit your day job. There is no overnight success in the world of blogging. It will take you a while to build up a significant amount of content and traffic to make blogging pay. In the beginning you will have to invest time and money without seeing a significant return for a long time ( possibly a year or two). If you are a person who needs a quick success to stay with a project, blogging is not for you. In the beginning it needs to be a “side hustle” but eventually if you produce good content and effectively promote it, it can become a full time job. It is definitely for the Tortoises of the world, not the Hares!
- You have to have some ability to write. You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway or even Stephen King, but you do have to have fairly good grammar and the ability to tell a story. There are things like spellcheck and Grammarly that can help you with some of the technical aspects of writing your blog. But the ability to tell a story, even conversationally, is important. Can you learn to write better? Yes, there are many things that you can do to increase your writing skill. Read a lot! Reading well-written prose will help train your mind to organize your thoughts and increase your vocabulary. Take a creative writing course at your local community college. But most of all, write! The more you write the better you will become at it.
- Setting up a blog will take some money to get started. Starting your blog will involve an monetary investment on your part. You can keep the cash outlay to a minimum but registering your domain name, blog hosting fees, and possibly the purchase of some software and services does cost money. You don’t need all the bells and whistles in the beginning. There are ways to keep the costs down in the beginning to under $150. But over the first year you should expect to spend about $500 (not all at once).
- You have to have dogged determination to succeed. If you are the type of person who gets easily discouraged when the going gets tough, blogging may not be for you. Blogging as a career is an emotional rollercoaster. You will have days with highs so wonderful that you will think you have finally made it! And then the next day, a huge disappointment can send you into a tailspin. To be a professional blogger, you have to be able to weather the bad times along with the good. In the beginning blogging will be exciting and there will be a certain satisfaction as you build the blog. But after a while when there seems to be no measurable success for weeks on end, it is easy to get discouraged and think about giving it all up. It is at that moment you need to reach deep inside yourself and have the determination to stay the course and put as much of an effort into your blog as you did in those early days.
- You need to be organized. If your the type of person whose life is chaos, you may not be the best blogger material. There is more to blogging than just putting up a post every week. When you have a blog, you wear many hats, especially when the blog begins to make money. First of all there is the creative side which includes designing the look of you blog (creating your brand), writing posts, taking photographs and creating graphics to illustrate the posts. There will be promotion of your blog on numerous social media platforms. When you monetize your blog, there will be salesmanship involved to get sponsors and advertising. You will be pitching brands with your ideas for sponsored content. And once the monetization begins to work you will need to do the accounting necessary to keep the blog running. Particularly in the beginning when you are running things on a shoestring economy, you will need to do all these things on your own. As your income increases you will be able to hire some help, but in the beginning if you are not organized you will quickly get into a state of overwhelm. Right from the start you will need to set up schedules and keep to them if you want your blog to be successful.
- You need some basic equipment. You will need some basic equipment to get started. Once you start making money, you will be able to upgrade but you will need the following equipment –
- Internet access – In theory you could access the internet at a local Wi-Fi hotspot but if you are doing this as a side hustle from home it is so much easier to have a basic broadband internet connection. The good news is that you will be able to deduct the cost of this from your income as a business expense.
- Computer – Your computer doesn’t have to be the biggest or the best. A laptop is great for blogging because of its portability but you can even blog from a tablet.
- Smartphone – When I started blogging 6 years ago, I didn’t have a Smartphone but soon learned that I would need one to utilize Instagram (a social platform that brands love for sponsored content). Now I can’t live without my phone.
- Digital Camera – I started my blogging career on a real shoestring with a small point and shoot Canon camera. Fortunately my background in art gave me the right instincts to shoot and edit my pictures so they looked pretty darn good. As soon as I could afford it I upgraded to a digital DSLR gradually adding in specialized lenses when I could afford them. Practice, practice, practice with what you have now so you can get the best possible photos.
- More Stuff – Yes, there are lots of things that you will eventually want and need but to get started you can get by with these minimum items.
So if you think that blogging is something that you would like to try, then let me guide you on your journey! I have more posts on blogging that break it down step by step.