Probloggers Despise This Question
“What’s the easiest and fastest way to make money blogging?” As a professional blogger, I am asked this incessantly, and I shake my head. The person asking is obviously naïve because any problogger will tell you the question is nonsensical. Irrational assumptions and ignorance frame the question.
I am usually polite and supportive when people oversimplify the complex, but sometimes I am pissed off.
A grumpy old man once asked me “yeah, but what’s your real job?” when I told him about blogging. The statement has some truth behind it, which makes the jab painful. Easy methods of money blogging are all scams. You line the pockets of the wealthy when you purchase their get rich superfast system.
The answer to the questions above: making big bucks blogging is rare and difficult. You take on the roles of writer, entrepreneur, marketer, advertiser, bookkeeper, and all C-level positions. Setting out to earn money blogging is starting up a new small business. And running a business is tough.
Problogging Reality – A Brief Rant
Bloggers who earn their living writing online, generally scrape by, getting by on a few dollars a day (hyperbole), but continue writing because they love language and communication. A select few make good money, and about one percent make it big. All successful probloggers are passionate about what they do.
I chose blogging as my venue for free speech, learning, teaching, and creativity, not as my career. The idea of earning a living by starting a blog never crossed my mind until I was years into the project. I had no idea blogging for a living was a thing, and I was as ignorant as the people looking for the short route to a fortune.
In fact, when I tried to earn a living blogging, I wrote myself into the gutter of poverty at several points. I focused intensely on my passion for blogging and thinking and paid little attention to my bottom line. I’ve had to borrow money from my wife and father to pay the bills for my domain hosting and social media tools.
The Role of Failure in Success
Other honest probloggers will tell you similar stories of hardship and ends that failed to meet. But if you believe the self-help gurus and coaches on the web, the more you fail the better. Among professional bloggers, failure is the well known first bitter lesson, and despite the blindly optimistic business coaches out there, failure does not ensure future success.
For mature, professional writers, that is just bullshit.
I am disappointed by vultures who target the dreams of bloggers and exploit them. In problogging, failure is a certainty, and you can’t buy your way to success with the products and services offered by the scavengers.
No, life and business coaches are feeding you a line that losers use to justify and ease the pain of failure. “Each time you fail, you are a step closer to success,” honestly? Total crap and don’t believe a word of it.
Failure crushes and debilitates bloggers, and those who tell you different are trying to sell you something. Poverty runs rampant with writers. And, the blogging world is thick with cannibals, who feed off the carcasses of the barely living and the dead, making profit off poor bloggers who are desperate to succeed.
These stalkers attract poor bloggers with trinkets and promises of success. This is what really happens: failed bloggers learn the weak spots of average individuals and exploit them for their own gain. They earn money by selling empty dreams to people near collapse.
Right now, some blogger with $30 in his bank account is transferring the entire amount to a coach who says he will earn $500 a day within the first week. Criminal!
In this post, I pursue a resolution to the difficult problem of problogging and attempt to paint a realistic picture of the profession. Above all, I hope to be honest and candid about my experience and that you will learn from the wisdom I have suffered.
The Initial Question and Assumptions Are Stupid
Google the terms “money” and “blog” together, and you will find a slew of articles full of half truths about blogging success. Usually, the authors of these articles make money off the flattering lies they feed bloggers. “Spend just $25 and receive the best selling marketing funnel ever.” “Just $49 will buy the training you need to make millions blogging.”
Yes, I have spent money on scams too, and I’ve had failures. In the process, I have found that I love most bloggers. I will never surrender my love and respect for bloggers and writers, and I will not sell out and become a cannibal.
The question above that I hear so frequently is stupid and misguided. It is built on speculations and assumptions. The question assumes that there are many easy ways to make money blogging and asks for the shortest route to success.
The question also assumes that I make large sums of money and that I don’t have to work very hard to get it. And, I am such a generous person that I will hand over the secrets to my success, absolutely free. I give away loads of free information and free blog coaching, but success in blogging is an individual journey.
So how do you find answers and help? First, don’t pay for it. With enough searching on your part, all of the tools are available for free. Second, steer clear of “easy” solutions. Third, ask many smart questions that position you toward success.
If I were to start over I would interview every problogger who would accept the invitation and ask these salient questions:
- What is blogging?
- What motivates you to blog? Is money one of your motives?
- What do you gain from blogging? What does blogging cost you?
- How do you define success in blogging? Have you achieved success?
- What one piece of advice would you give to a newbie?
- How long have you been blogging?
- What skills and experiences did you have when you started blogging?
- What are you passionate about?
- How did you find your blogging niche?
- Are you a happy blogger?
This list, plus other questions you might think of, will pull useful information from probloggers because they have to think about and support their answers to novel questions that are not just about money.
The Real Answer to the Stupid Question
Blogging is a strange profession. You can’t think about it as a traditional job with an employer. You can’t expect things like regular paychecks, consistent wages, benefits, or a single stream of income.
Often probloggers don’t earn money for publishing an article. It might be a guest post or an article on your own blog. Sure, once you have a name and reputation, your situation will dramatically improve, but you have to earn that authority.
So assuming that most bloggers often don’t get paid per post, how do we make money? Part of the answer is that you shouldn’t blog for money alone. The work is too hard for that and does not pay enough. Only become a problogger if you simply feel deep within that you must.
Probloggers make money in multiple revenue streams, meaning that they do more than just write an article for $100. Successful bloggers diversify their income, compiling money from various sources simultaneously.
The Art of the Probloggers’ Side Hustles
In problogging, a side hustle is a revenue stream that does not come directly from payment for a blog post. Successful bloggers have multiple side hustles that keep them afloat financially and can be quite profitable.
Probloggers collect revenue streams from every direction they can. In the following list, I include some side hustles that may help you transition to a problogger. These are top secret, so only share this with fellow bloggers:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Ghost Writing
- Ebook Writing and Consulting
- Drafting White Papers
- Crafting Presentations
- Content Marketing
- Coaching and Consulting
- Teaching Online Courses
- Placing Links in Publications
- Writing web content
- Conducting Workshops
- Delivering Webinars
- Selling Your Own Writing
- Picking Up Jobs from Freelancing Companies
- Networking and collaborating with Probloggers
While these jobs all center around writing in some form, many bloggers consider other side hustles not so closely related.
For example, Nick Loper from Side Hustler Nation describes 80 popular flexible jobs that might work with problogging. I include his slide presentation below, but for more detail head to his site.
Problogger Pep Talk
If you read this far, you deserve a pep talk. In the first part of this article, I tried to shatter harmful illusions and assumptions about problogging because I wanted you to have the straight truth, even if it hurt.
I said not to focus on failure, but center yourself as a positive learner. You avoid failure, but are prepared for it. You prepare for success, but you earn it with time and work. You pinpoint your strengths and master them, but you pick up other skills outside of blogging. You take risks, but you measure the pros and cons. You innovate in creating revenue streams, but you realize that you will have to adapt.
You can do this. You can be a problogger, but rid yourself of illusions and delusions first. Remember that becoming a problogger means that you are an entrepreneur and small business owner, not just a writer. You are a problogger, so embrace it and make it work. Best of luck to you.
I would love to hear your stories of blogging successes and failures. I think we all would benefit from stories of side hustles as well. Please share with us in the comments below, and we can help each other be successful.