It’s 2020, you’re on Pinterest, and everywhere you look someone is telling you how to make money online. There are so many options now that there have never been before – you can now have a thriving career freelance writing, selling services as a virtual assistant, dropshipping, consulting, coaching, or marketing – and of course, blogging.
Not that long ago I was looking for a way to make money online and weighing my options. I knew I didn’t want an astronomical start up cost, so ecommerce was out. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I had to rely on other businesses, so dropshipping was out. I didn’t want to have to wait on jobs to come in in order to work, so most of my other options were out too.
Blogging was the shiny option, the really attractive option, and for that reason alone I was wary of it. I did a lot of research. I read every blog I could find, every income report, scrolled through countless social media accounts for behind the scenes content, and asked myself over and over, “Should I start a blog?”
For me, the answer was yes, and girl, am I glad I did.
But I know blogging wouldn’t be the right choice for everyone, so I’ve decided to put together a little guide to help you make up your mind if you’re deliberating on whether or not to start a blog.
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You Should Start A Blog If:
You’re inquisitive and passionate
Have you ever fallen down the Wikipedia rabbit hole? You look up one thing, then see an interesting link and click to read about something else. The next thing you know, it’s been two hours and you’re practically an expert on Russian folklore. Maybe one day you didn’t know a certain hobby even existed, and the next day you’re ankle deep in information and how-tos, utterly fascinated. Or maybe there’s a subject you’re really passionate about and you devour every bit of information you can find on it.
Blogging can be a great way to make money, but first and foremost it’s a passion project. If you’re naturally curious and love getting into the why and how, blogging can be an excellent outlet to share what you learn with a wider audience.
You love to write
This is where I bring out one my favourite writing quotes, where Dorothy Parker was claimed to have said, “I hate writing. I love having written”. People who write are often found saying that they don’t love writing but are compelled to do it. Regardless, if you’re the type of person who writes for recreation, whether you gleefully smash the keyboard or agonize over every word, blogging is a great way to write about the things you want to write about and maybe even get paid to do it.
Blogging is a lot of work. Even a hobby blog, one you keep for pleasure instead of profit, requires a lot more than just sitting down and typing out some posts, and if you want to blog for money, you have to be prepared to do the boring stuff even when you don’t want to do the boring stuff.
If you’re a self-motivated person, who can keep their eyes on the endgame and power through even the slodgiest (I made up that word, but it works) of tasks in order to keep a blog running, you’ll find the fun parts of running a blog all that more rewarding.
You want to work for yourself
You hate your job. Or maybe you don’t hate your job, but you hate your commute. Maybe you’re on maternity leave and realizing how much you’d rather stay at home with your kids than return to work when your time is up. OR, maybe you’re a creative butterfly with big plans and big ideas for whom the thought of being “managed” by someone else is unbearably stifling (hi!).
Blogging is like a dream come true for a lot of people because they can be the masters of their own production, set their own schedules, and retain full creative control of the things they produce. Show me a job working for someone else that provides those benefits!
You want to share with people and help them
This is a BIG one. The concept of blogging as “putting your diary online for strangers to read” is beyond outdated. In our hyper-connected world, we use technology to connect with other people and to better our own lives. If you’re in it for the praise and admiration, and just want to talk about your own day and your own life, choose a dog over a blog.
But if you want to help people, to teach people something, or offer value to people that they can use in their day to day lives, blogging is hands-down the best way to see that accomplished. Whether it’s about managing finances (personal finance blogs are big!), stay-at-home parenting, starting a small business, anything you use the internet to learn how to do better are things that your potential audience is using the internet to learn how to do better, too. Why not start a blog and share what you’re learning with your own spin on it and help other people in the process?
You Should NOT Start a Blog if:
Like everything else in life, blogging can’t be right for everyone. And while I do think that blogging is a great choice for almost everyone, there are three things that I think are a big indicator that blogging might not be right for you:
You need to be managed
Some people just work best when they have someone else telling them what needs to be done. There’s no shame in that – and honestly, if that’s true for you there is no shortage to courses and classes you can take as a blogger that will give you step-by-step instructions for your blog. But if you just can’t work independently, if you need someone else to set deadlines with repercussions, or if you’d rather not be the one taking up the charge and deciding the way forward, blogging might not be the best fit for you – there’s a lot of decision-making here, and it will only increase as your success grows.
You’re in it for quick money
Okay, I’ll make myself really unpopular here: Regardless of what those “$10k in my first month!” income reports tell you, blogging is not quick money. It takes time to build a framework, publish content, and grow a readership. Rare exceptions notwithstanding, people who made life-changing, income-replacing money in their first month blogging either aren’t first-time bloggers, aren’t being honest about what they count as “the first month”, or are fudging their numbers maybe just a little bit.
The first couple months of blogging are a lot of hard work for not a lot of pay. It takes time to build your audience, content, and monetization strategy, and while it’s not unheard of for people to be making a few hundred dollars while that happens, if you look at how much work goes into an early blog vs. the payout of an early blog, it’s a pretty shitty per hour wage. If you’re looking at starting from zero and having $50,000 in your bank account by the end of the week, you’re better off buying a lottery ticket.
(That being said, you only need to look at the income reports of people who have been blogging for a few years to see if it’s a good long-term investment for your time!)
You can’t swallow your pride
There’s no definitive guide to how to blog the right way and get nothing wrong ever. And even if you adopt templates for every single process in your journey, there’s still an element of creativity that you’re going to be wondering if you got it “right”. As I’m writing this post, this blog is in the early stages of its life, and already I’ve been proven wrong on things I thought I was sure about, multiple times.
Even just setting up my blog, I had to turn to my hosting provider’s customer service department for help. (If you’re looking for hosting for your brand-new blog, by the way, I highly recommend Siteground – and can personally testify that their customer service is top-notch!)
If you can’t take the hit to your ego and ask for help on something, blogging might not be right for you.
If you can’t admit you don’t know as much as you thought about something, even just to google it, blogging might not be right for you.
If you can’t stomach the thought of asking for (and receiving!) constructive criticism or getting feedback from a reader, well… you could certainly avoid those things, if you wanted. But your blog will be much, much stronger if you are open to those things. Trust me.
Thinking about starting a blog? Check out my step-by-step guide on getting your blog up and running, PLUS – my favourite FREE tools for new bloggers!