In fact, being self-employed isn’t for everyone, but the title is aimed at blogging as I see so many people question why their blogs aren’t making much money and I feel some other bloggers don’t realise the reality of making a blog a full time living. In this blog post I’ll explore three reasons why being a full time blogger is not the dream (for everyone).
Sure, I’ve also seen those bloggers with income reports of $100,000 per month in America. Isn’t that amazing?! I’ve no idea if it’s possible here in the UK, from a blog platform only, but possibly. Perhaps there are some who are making this, but I expect they have some serious viewer numbers in the hundreds of thousands or even millions per month. Well I’m nowhere near that. I average 14000 page views per month, with the help of some giveaways, but I still manage to make myself a decent full time living from my blog. I should really say blogs as I now run three profitable blogs. I bet those bloggers have spent hours and hours on their business too, building it up from scratch and being obsessed at all hours with every part of it.
Blogging full time certainly is the dream for many and those of us who do it are seen as so lucky.
But let me tell you this….
It’s far from easy.
I absolutely love what I do, but it isn’t without its stresses, hard work, determination, dedication, pressures, consistency and basically being on it Every. Single. Day.
For me it suits me down to the ground. I am very self-motivated and hardworking when it comes to work. I get obsessed and addicted to things so for me my current addiction is my blogs. I’m also an introvert and work well by myself, meaning I can work from dusk to dawn on my blogs by myself quite happily, most of the time.
I want to be honest though and share the highs and the lows! It’s not always a dreamy job role.
Here are three reasons why being a full time blogger is not the dream for everyone:
1. No time to switch off
Photo by rawpixel
Running your own business from home leaves little time to switch off. Not only can you always be working as your work is always with you, but there’s no one to cover should you be sick or go on holiday. Yep, my laptop comes on holiday with me! That’s the reality. On my last holiday I got sent eight pieces of work with a tight deadline on the first day, so I was up until the early hours each day typing away!
Sure, I could have said I can’t do them as I was on holiday but then do you think that client would come back to me in the future when they had some urgent work? No. I have fear of missing out when it comes to blog work and in particular a fear of missing out on a recurring well-paying client if I set my emails to out-of-office for the duration of a holiday.
Plus if I don’t do the work, I don’t get paid. There’s no holiday pay. The same goes for sick pay. Luckily I rarely get sick, like not even once in the past year, which I put down to my vegan and very low added sugar diet, so it’s not something I worry about. But if you get sick regularly, then you may still have to work if you’re self-employed and that could be quite hard to deal with.
I’m always working. It’s the only way I can stay on top of it. I get hundreds of emails a day. They come in at all hours through the night. Obviously I turn my phone on do-not-disturb whilst I sleep, but they have all piled in by the time it’s morning. So the first thing I do in the morning is check my emails in bed for twenty minutes to clear some. Luckily I have some copy and paste replied for the same sorts of queries saved both on my phone notes and on my laptop so this saves vast amounts of time and effort!
Then I work once the kids are at school, then again once they are in bed. Sometimes I start working as soon as Ben is back from work if I’m particularly busy, which is quite a lot, so that will be from 4.30pm right through to my bedtime at 10.30pm. I do stay up to midnight a few times a month to catch up on everything.
For me there is no leaving work at 5pm and forgetting about it until the next morning.
I work and think about work from the minute I wake and minute I go to bed. It’s probably 80% of my conversation topic with Ben. The other 20% being my other obsession – healthy living and plant based diets!
I told Ben yesterday I need a secretary as it’s the emails that take so long! Plus a lot of it is time wasted as it’s not opportunities I want to take part in, or you spend ages negotiating with a brand only to discover they want you to do all the work for free… So I try to make it clear I only accept paid opportunities from the offset to save a lot of hassle and disappointment down the email thread.
Always being switched on and available when you run your own business, by yourself, is just a part of it, but it can be very stressful at times, even for those of us who usually get a buzz from the pressure!
Be prepared for your business to become your baby and to find it difficult to switch off! I now, at least, work my butt off Monday to Friday and take the weekends off nearly every week so I don’t lose my sanity! But there’s still some email checking and ideas discussing…
Things I sacrifice to be a freelance blogger
5 tips to stay healthy if you work from home
How to survive the half term when you work from home
Manage your time effectively working at home
Why I publish income reports (and how much I really work on my blog)
2. No guaranteed pay
Photo by Christian Dubovan
The other pressure and why I am probably working all the time as much as I can is that there is no guaranteed pay. Most brands only want to work with a blogger once so it’s a lot of one-off, ad-hoc work. I get work as and when it comes and I complete it quickly. I never have work planned far in advance, maybe the odd post two weeks in the future sometimes, but I usually get work and complete it within a couple of days, then I move onto the next opportunity, so my income comes in as the work comes in. I can never plan ahead or know how much I will earn in one month.
This means I could earn nothing in one month if no one wants to work with me! Luckily that’s not happened yet and I do get some sort of regular work from various agencies and PRs who come back to me each time they have a new suitable client, but although they come back regularly it’s not consistent and it’s never guaranteed.
As I mentioned there is no sick pay or holiday pay.
I’m not sure everyone can deal with the pressures of not having a guaranteed income, especially when you rely on it for rent/mortgage payments, bills and food. The security of an employed job and regular income can certainly be appealing at times!
Photo by Anthony Tran
It can be incredibly lonely. Just as parenting can be lonely, choosing to then work from home, on your own, is even more so. I actually touched on the subject in this blog post and said one of the best and worst things about being a full time blogger is being able to work from home. It’s amazing to not have to commute and be in the comfort of your own home, but it also means you are by yourself all day long, every day. That can start to feel very isolating.
Thankfully with the internet it’s possible to network and interact with other people in the same field, which helps enormously. But I guess it’s not the same as real life interaction. Working from Wi-Fi spots such as cafes is also an option, but not always ideal. A few times I’ve done this and had important work to concentrate on with the loudest customers putting me off at times! So as much as it’s nice to get out of the house and work somewhere different, I’m not always as productive as when I’m in a quiet environment where I can concentrate fully.
There are also no other staff to make friends with, no staff parties, no Christmas parties or any of the usual stuff you may get when you have lots of work colleagues. So if you’re a social bee or extrovert then working all day by yourself might not suit you.
Ben, my husband, is a little afraid I’m going to become a recluse!
I do feel like a lot of people don’t realise how many hours are put into making a blog a full time living. Plus, it’s not all fun and games even when you are full time. I love to write, but I spend very little of my working time doing this. I spend hours applying for blog work checking different websites, networking groups, scrolling through hashtag feeds to filter the real opportunities from the junk. I also spend hours replying to emails and negotiating fees, wasting precious hours every week on time wasters and freeloaders. I have to do all my accounts, marketing, schedule social medias, remove broken links from my website, tweak my website and fix technical issues and do all the other boring mundane stuff too. If only it were as simple as simply writing each day to get paid!
BUT it’s also amazing. If you can take the bad, boring and stressful parts and totally outweigh them with all the good parts that you love then it’s a very satisfying self-employed career. For me the good still outweighs the bad so that’s what I try to focus on when things get tough or overwhelming or I’m having a rude idiot email me and insult my blog!! Oh yes that happens too and you just have to learn to deal with it. There’s a lot of learning to deal with things and grow a thicker skin when it comes to blogging, putting yourself out there and running your own business.
I just wanted to make the point that it’s not all dreamy being a full time blogger as many imagine it is. It’s a business at the end of the day when you go full time and with that comes a lot of negatives as with any job you do.
But, if you do love it and want to make money from it, read these for advice and inspiration:
The top 3 ways I made money from home in 2017
4 ways to make money from your blog without Google ads
4 ways to find paid blog opportunities
How I save hours every week scheduling tweets with Social Oomph
4 ways to improve your domain authority (DA)
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