The truth about blogging as a career.

 One of the questions I get all the time is from people who would like some advice on how to start a blog of their own.  I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on the subject but, since I keep getting questions I’ll address the subject from my own perspective and experiences.  
Writing a blog from your home, in your pajamas, sipping hot cocoa while having a gazillion adoring readers hanging off your every last word (and getting paid) is alluring.  That is probably why there are hundreds of thousands (maybe even million?) of blogs out there. The number of bloggers who are actually making a living (or even half a living) are tiny in comparison to the number of blogs in existence. There is a definite misconception that you can start a blog and instantly start making money at it.  A handful of people have done it but they are an exception to the norm.
My story:
My husband started this blog back in 2008 as a means to keep long distance family and friends updated on the events happening in our lives.  At the time I didn’t even know what a blog was.  After I watched him tinker around with the blog I started posting.  In August 2008 I posted our striped hallway project which went viral. 

 We gained quite a following after that but it wasn’t until 2010 that I realized I could actually make money off my blog.  I received my first $100. check and I thought I had won the jackpot.  The point I’m making is that it took me two years of blogging before I made any money and if you put a rate on my time I was making something like $.00001/hr.  After I realized I might be able to make money at blogging I began to treat it more as a business instead of a hobby.  (You may have noticed more advertising and sponsored posts on my blog…yep, gotta make a living).

Fast forward to today and I would say that I make a decent wage running my blog.  I also run another business out of my home preparing contracts for real estate agents which is my main income.  My goal is for my blogging income to replace my real estate income so I can simplify my life and take more time to smell the roses. Between being a wife, mom of three young boys, running a business, running a blog, trying to maintain a home, etc. I am spread thin.  My real life isn’t half as glamorous as the impression my blog portrays.  In fact, the thing that I find it hardest to find time to do is take a shower.  Yep…THAT busy. 
Getting started:
Hopefully I haven’t burst anyone’s bubble who had dreams about quitting their dead end job next week.  If you still want to try your hand at blogging I’d say go for it! Money or no money, blogging gives me such a sense of creative satisfaction and challenge. 
If you’re still on the fence you may want to write a blog post based on some cool project or great recipe you’ve done.  Submit it to a few of your favorite blogs and see if they’d be interested in using it as content on their blog, crediting you as the author.  (Make sure to submit it to only one at a time.  You’ll really make a blog author mad if they see your same article popping up all over blog land).  If they agree see what kind of feedback you get.  That will help determine if you really have a knack for it or not.
Resources
There has been some fantastic content written about everything blogging you can imagine.  Here are some of my favorite resources…
Altitude Design Summit has location retreats in Salt Lake City, UT and NYC, NY.  If you can’t make it they also offer online classes that are superb (here).
Six Sisters’ have a couple of great e-books for under $5.00 on how to grow your blog (here).
Small and unflattering photographs is one of the biggest mistakes new bloggers (and many seasoned bloggers) make.  I’ve taken a lot of photography classes in my day and this one was the easiest to understand and helped me the most (here).
Shoot Fly Shoot

Title says it all (here).

John and Sherry at Young House Love share their blogging faq’s (here).

 This is a great read on blogging (here).

10 quick tips about blogging from Everything Etsy (here).

Great tips on several blogging topics (here).

If you have a blog I’d love to know your story about how you got started, what you love about blogging and what your blogging goals are!  Any tips you can share that helped you achieved success?
   

Comments

  1. I started my blog as a journal of sorts, but it evolved and became a great outlet for me. I love to write and writing about all the zany experiences in my life has been cheap therapy.
    When my mom was losing her battle with cancer it became the best place to share my feelings and I received so many comments and emails it helped me get through that time. Right now I’m in the works of securing a book deal that will go into details about my nutty dad. I would love for my blog to be my main job, but right now it’s just for fun!
    Feel free to check it out at http://www.qwendykay.com and I’m in the middle of doing my “Faux-Prah’s(tm) favorite things giveaway” where you can enter to win this years favorites.

  2. Michelle, Thanks for sharing. I love learning about how other bloggers got their start. Thankfully the realism in your post is not deterring me…this week is my last week at work. Yes, I quit my day job. I make some money from my blog, but most of my new income has come indirectly from blogging. I offer custom mood boards and the income from that service is allowing me to take the leap out of the corporate rat race to pursue my creative endeavors. I am super excited and super nervous all at the same time. My blog started as a creative outlet and has led to a complete career change. I have been blogging 5 days a week for the past 1.5 years to get to this point. My blog and design work are only going to replace about one third of my previous income, but I am hopeful with more time and focus that will continue to grow.

  3. What a perfectly timed blog post for me to read! Thanks for all the great resources. I’ve been blogging on my current blog since 2009, but actually started blogging way back in 2002! It has purely been used as an outlet and way to keep up with family. But I’ve been thinking about growing my blog. Now I have some research to do! Thanks again :-)

  4. Thanks for all the great resources! I’ve been blogging since 2002, and on my current blog since 2009. It’s been a creative outlet as well as a way to connect with friends and family, but I’ve been thinking about growing my blog. Looks like I have research to do! Thanks again.

  5. Hi Michelle,
    I have to thank you so much for this personal view into the life of a successful blogger as well as your generosity in sharing these great resources. I am so excited to meet with Isaac tomorrow and discuss further plans to pursue blogging, so your information is timely. Congratulations on your success and I look forward to staying in touch! Thanks a million,
    Michelle

  6. maybe when i get uber super talented like you
    ;)

    annnnnd have cool crafts. its amazing what word of mouth has to do with it all too :) my photography blog doesnt have a lot of followers at all but i have still been able to carry on a pretty great business (for a stay at home mom). one day.. :) love all these tips for sure :)

  7. I have been blogging for a couple of years now & am constantly looking for great ideas on how to make it better! Thanks for the great links and ideas!! (And I LOVE your striped hall…amazing!!!)

  8. What a great post! Iloved reading how you initially started in this blogging world, Michelle.

    I started my family blog back in 2008 as well. Recently, I applied for a side job in Japan and they required a style blog as part if th application process. I whipped one up in August and started blogging about food and style regularly. My intention was simply to show my potential employer my creative side. With pinterest and other social media, much to my surprise I started getting lots is traffic. Now I feel even more conscious of the things I post. I don’t think I will purse blogging as a full-time job, but now my hope is to have my blog lead me into something that i love to do… I guess it’s a means to an end. In the meantime, I really found myself loving blogging for the time being and loving the people I’ve met virtually so far!

  9. I started my blog to stay connected with family too, particularly my grandmother (who at 83 is savvy enough to go online and read it!!). Now it’s evolved into about 3-4 posts a week of DIY stuff around the house, it’s a fun hobby and a nice way to keep track of how far we’ve come since moving in! :)

  10. Michelle, thank you so much for sharing these resources! It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve just recently started a blog, mostly to keep people who know me updated on my projects, but from the beginning I’ve had the idea that I could grow it and make it a real business. I absolutely love the sense of support in the blog community, and I’m excited to be a part of it!
    Thanks again,
    Sarah

  11. Thanks for the insight! I’ve never been very good at thinking in monetary terms… that’s definitely more my husband’s cup of tea. But the resources you shared seem really helpful, and I’ll be giving them a try!

  12. great post! it may sound awful, but it is SO nice to hear that others are “spread thin” too. blogging is great, and making money from blogging is even better, but when running a home, another business, and trying to keep up with all of the other things that creep into our lives, things can become quite challenging. it is nice to hear someone “keep it real”. great resources, by the way! thanks for those…i need to read them ALL…but first, the laundry. :)

  13. Thanks for the great insight and resources as well. i appreciated your honest input about your own experience. Thanks for all you share, you have a very inspiring blog!

  14. Thanks so much for featuring my New Blogger Series… I noticed a traffic increase from your site and had to come over and check it out! You’ve got some fantastic resources here!!

  15. MarieRoxanne says:

    I am going to start blogging in the new year because everything is new for me, new home, new hairdo, new life.
    Hope I can keep up the daily task of blogging that will keep readers coming back for more!

  16. Thanks for this post Michelle! I have recently been thinking about expanding my blog but wasn’t sure how to do it.

    I started my blog, http://www.meandmotherhood.com almost 2 years ago when my son was born. I started it as a way to write to him and document all his milestones and my thoughts and feelings on motherhood. It has been a wonderful way to express myself and give family and friends a glimpse into our lives. Now that we have another little one on the way my goal is to continue to blog about my journey as a wife and mother and do it consistently.

    Thanks for the great info!

  17. Thank you so much for this post! I started my blog originally in 2010 when i went on a trip to zimbabwe and wanted a convenient way to journal about my adventures for friends and family to read. then, i realized it was a great creative outlet for me and began posting about my upcoming wedding and my attempts at cooking and staying fit. i would blog for a while and then i’d get busy, stop blogging, only to come back to it later. until about november, i didn’t have much time to really research better ways to blog and didn’t even have the time for projects. but now that i’m mostly finished grad school and working on making the new apartment my husband and i just moved to more of a home, i’ve got plenty to write about.

    thank you for all of your tips! it’s great to hear from those who are clearly successful. i appreciate reading your blog! thanks again and feel free to check out the very beginnings of my blog. http://vitadibella.blogspot.com/

    brittany

  18. II have been writing now for many years and have never been able to sell articles or books well, so I believe blogging and learning the correct skills to work alongside google I can earn with marketing…thanks

  19. Love this post! I am adding you to my blog list :) happy Wednesday!

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