There is a ton of content on the internet about how to blog for a living. It is possible to do. I have been a full time blogger for about three years now, though the first year I didn’t make the income of someone working full time (even at minimum wage). Now my yearly income is about that of someone earning $10 an hour, full time. While I have considered blogging my job for three years, I started blogging 8 years ago! So it has certainly taken me a long time to build up to that point.
Here in this blog (Frank Loves Beans) I make a little bit of income from the sidebar ads or affiliate links, but it’s quite minimal. When I talk about blogging for a living it’s in regard to my other blog – Emily Reviews.
When you seek out content about how to become a blogger, you’ll likely find a lot of articles talking about making six figures in your first year. I’m not going to say it’s impossible, because I can’t say that with certainty. What I do know is that among the bloggers who I network with, many are like me and have turned their blog into a job. Some do better than I do, and others worse – but I don’t know anyone who was making 6 figures in their first year. Blogging isn’t a get rich quick kind of a thing, at least unless you manage to hit the lottery in terms of luck, and I don’t even know what that would really look like for a blogger!
I have a lot of friends and family members tell me that they envy my “job”. I often feel like they fail to understand what is really involved. I understand why that is! I followed blogs for years before starting my own, and was shocked at how much goes into it that I didn’t previously consider. I thought I would share what does go into blogging to help others get some idea of whether or not blogging for a living is for you.
Blogging for a living is not…
A passive income. I spend 50+ hours a week on my blog. You can get lucky if a few posts “go viral” but it’s always smart to keep fresh content coming to keep your blog relevant.
Just writing blog posts. Promoting my content takes up more of my time than writing does. On top of using social media and other platforms to promote my content, I also have to try to keep my social media accounts fresh. You don’t wnat to just tweet about your blog posts, for example. Taking time to tweet or use Facebook and Instagram to share updates on your life important for connecting with your readers in a non-promotional way but it’s time consuming.
Blogging for a living requires…
An internet connection, and a device to use for accessing the internet.
Some level of competence with writing and grammar. In some ways, blogging can be a casual form of communication so you don’t necessarily need an English degree. However, if you want to work with brands or get sponsorship it’s important that your writing quality is of quality. Brands don’t usually want to associate with media sources that may not represent them well.
Some photography and design experience. I am always trying to improve my photography. I personally view this to be one of my weaker areas. While writing is important, it’s the images within a post that often grab attention first. You want to make the first impression a good one. To do well on social media you’ll want to get familiar with PicMonkey or some other program that will allow you to edit images to add text.
The ability to adapt. Since I’ve been blogging social media platforms have come in and out of ‘fashion’. I’ve had to adapt my posts, my style and my form of promotion to get traffic from various sources. I used to focus on StumbleUpon, but it lost a lot of users when Pinterest came in so now I try to cater my posts to do well on Pinterest. You also have to adapt to changes in FTC requirements, social media promotional guidelines, google webmaster guidelines, and so on.
Something to say. If you aren’t the type of person who wants to share your thoughts and feelings with the world, blogging will be difficult to maintain long term. I love blogging and sharing things that interest me or that I find important, but I still struggle to come up with fresh blog post ideas sometimes.
Some tech knowledge (or the willingness to hire out). In the average month I don’t need anything done to my blog in regards to tech or my layout. However, a few times per year (on average) something goes wrong. A couple months ago I had some sort of “bug” that had gotten into my Emily Reviews blog and was putting spam links in my blog posts! I had no idea how to get rid of it. Thankfully, my boyfriend is very tech-savvy and was able to fix it for me. However, many bloggers who don’t have that sort of skill themselves, or know someone who does, have to hire people to fix those sorts of issues for them.
Patience. For most bloggers it takes at least a few months before they make a profit. Building that profit up to an income can take months or even years.
Financial discipline. With contracted blogging work, my income can be sporadic. In 2016, my worst month of the year brought in just over 1/3 of the income that my best month brought in. I have to be disciplined in not spending the extra in “good months” to ensure that I can pay my bills on the rough months. There is also a self-employment tax, and taxes aren’t withheld from your income throughout the year so having the ability to set money aside for tax time is important.
More work (and possibly more money) for health care. If you are ditching a job that offers health insurance, finding replacement health insurance while self employed might prove to be more expensive because there won’t be an employer paying a portion of the expense like there is at most jobs that offer health insurance.
The desire to teach yourself or to seek out information. Some people may read a book or take a class on blogging. I’ve tried a few (free online) versions but I dint’ find any that were very in-depth. I’ve learned far more by networking with other bloggers directly. There are a lot of Facebook groups for bloggers that have taught me a lot. This is usually how I first find out about new changes in social media platforms, FTC requirements, etc.
If you blog for a living, or attempted it and decided it wasn’t for you feel free to chime in on the comments with advice for how to determine if blogging is right for you.