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7 Signs Full-Time Blogging Isn’t For You

For some reason, 2015 seems to be the year of the full-time blogger, and over the past couple of months I’ve had quite a few people ask for advice about quitting their jobs and turning their blogs into full-time careers.

Back in January, I wrote about five questions to ask yourself before deciding to blog full-time, but today I thought I’d follow up on that with some warning signs that turning your blog into a business might not be the right decision for you. That might sound a bit negative, but while for me blogging is a dream job, and I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else, I definitely don’t think it’s for everyone: here are some signs that full-time blogging might not be the right career choice for you…

7 signs full-time blogging isn't for you

01. You need to be around other people in order to work effectively

As we’re constantly hearing, the blogging world has changed dramatically over the past few years, and it’s become much more mainstream. As a result of that, there are now tons of blogger events and meetups you can go to, and I know a lot of self-employed people like to work in cafes, or even rent desks in co-working spaces, just to get out of the house every now and then. While you don’t have to spend all your time stuck in the house, however, blogging is still essentially a fairly solitary occupation: I’m an introvert, so I prefer NOT to be surrounded by people all day, and don’t feel lonely because of it. One of the things I do sometimes find a little frustrating, however, is the fact that there’s no one to share the little joys and frustrations which make up your working day: your blog is YOURS, so no one cares quite as much as you do about its successes and failures, and there’s no one you can really vent to if you’re having a bad day – or celebrate with if you’re having a good one.

In a traditional job, you always have colleagues around who you can share those petty little annoyances with, without fear of being judged for it or told you have first world problems: they understand, because they’re doing the same job, and experiencing the same frustrations, and let’s face it, no matter how much you love your job, we all need to vent sometimes! As a blogger, you don’t really have that, which can be a little isolating, and make you feel like no one understands you, OMG!

02. You need everyone to like you

One of the hardest lessons you learn as a blogger is that not everyone is going to like you – and some of those who don’t are going to want to make sure you know it. Of course, there are always going to be people who don’t like you in “real life” too: the difference is that in real life most of them will keep their thoughts to themselves. I mean, sure, you’ll always encounter rude people from time to time, but for the most part, I find that in “real life”, people tend to stick to the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” philosophy, whereas on the internet they’re more likely to say, “If you put it out there, you have to expect criticism – and I’m the one who’s going to supply it”.

Throughout my life, I’ve had colleagues and acquaintances who I just haven’t gotten on with, and I’ve even had some who I suspect didn’t like me very much. Until I started blogging, however, I’d never had anyone tell me they actually HATED me, or wished ill on me, so when that happens, it comes as a huge shock and can be incredibly upsetting. Even the comments where people tell you they hate your outfit or whatever can really sting if you’re not used to blunt honesty – and a lot of us just aren’t, because as I said, “real life” doesn’t always prepare you for it. If you’re very thin-skinned, and need everyone to like you, blogging could be a real struggle for you.

03. You expect to get rich quick – or at all

A lot of newer bloggers seem to start their websites, and expect them to be instantly successful: they look at some of the “big” bloggers, and think they’re going to be able to replicate their success almost overnight. Blogging is a long game, though, and most of those bloggers took years to get where they are now. Sure, you’ll be able to find a few who seemed to find almost instant success, but they’re the exception rather than the rule, and the chances of being able to start a blog and be making a good living from it within a few short weeks are incredibly small.

Just to add to the disappointment, most full-time bloggers aren’t what you’d call “rich” – and the ones who are often started out that way, anyway. It IS possible to make a full-time living from blogging, but most of us do it by working the equivalent of a full-time job, and we’re not remotely “rich”. In fact, I can only speak for myself here, but for me, blogging for a living is mostly a lifestyle choice: I don’t do it because I expect it to make me rich, but because it allows me to earn a living doing something I love, and without most of the stress and unhappiness I experienced in traditional employment. That’s not to say I never feel stressed, obviously – no job is perfect at all times – but being able to work from home, set my own schedule and not have to sit and clock-watch all day was more important to me than earning a lot of money, and that’s the main reason I became self-employed.

(Of course, if money is your motivation, the good thing about blogging is that there’s no real limit on what you can potentially earn from it. I’ve said that very few bloggers are able to hit the big numbers, but hey – someone has to do it!)

blogging for a living: why full-time blogging might not be the right career for you

04. You expect it to be easy

The thing about blogging is that when it’s done well, it looks effortless. You see some bloggers swanning around in their expensive designer outfits (which they’re sometimes even being paid to wear), and you don’t see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, or the years those bloggers spent struggling to get anyone to even read their posts, let alone pay them to write them. If you think blogging is going to be the easy option, all Starbucks cups and sunlit photos, and typing out a few short paragraphs from the comfort of your perfectly Instagrammable bed, before shutting down your laptop for the day, you’re in for a shock. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to sign up for a blog (You can have one up and running in a few minutes on a site like Blogspot  – totally free, too!), and come back to me once you start earning a full-time wage from it: if it’s really that easy, anyone should be able to do it!

05. You find it hard to motivate yourself

One of the things people seem to forget about blogging is that it’s a business, and it’s a business you’ll be running yourself. As with any form of self-employment, running a business takes dedication and motivation: you have to be able not only to blog, but also to deal with advertising, accounting, marketing – the list goes on. You’re your own boss, and while that might be perfect for some, for others it can be hugely challenging. If you’re used to having someone else managing your time and telling you what to do every day, it can be difficult to find the motivation to do it all yourself: I love working from home, and don’t have a problem motivating myself, but some people are the exact opposite, and struggle to motivate themselves without the structure provided by an office environment.

06. You worry about privacy and don’t like the idea of strangers knowing your business

It’s totally possible to blog anonymously, and obviously not all blogs are personal ones – there are plenty of sites which focus on a specific topic, and tell you little to nothing about the person behind it. While it IS possible to do this, however, in the case of anonymous blogging, I’d imagine it must be quite stressful having to constantly cover your tracks, and worry about being “found out”, and even if your blog isn’t “personal”, that doesn’t mean people won’t be interested in you, or feel that they have a right to know more about you. Even on blogs like The Fashion Police, where I don’t write anything personal at all (and actually write as a persona, rather than as myself), I’ve sometimes been surprised by the questions people will ask, or the lengths they will go to in order to try and find out private information.

On this blog, meanwhile, I often see phrases come up in the search referrers which tell me that people have been trying to find out information I haven’t made public, and I’ve had my fair share of emails or comments that have felt intrusive and honestly a bit creepy. It doesn’t happen often, and it’s not something I really think about most of the time, but it IS part of the territory when you have a public blog, and if you’re a very private person, it could be a bit much to deal with.

07. You don’t enjoy writing or creating content

I hesitated to include this one, because I don’t subscribe to the idea that blogging should only ever be done “for the love of it”, and I think starting a blog to make money is as good a reason as any (Yes, really: Becky Bedbug wrote a fantastic post about this last month, and you should all go and read it right now, before you go any further. It’s OK, I’ll wait here for you…). I know this might be a controversial opinion, because I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve read the words, “If you’re blogging just to make money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons!”, but, well, we don’t tell people who work in call centres that they should be answering phones primarily for “the love of it”, so I’ve never really understood why people who work in creative fields have that expectation placed upon them all time.

(I’m not just randomly picking on call centre workers here, by the way – I worked in one myself for years, and hated every second of it. I did it anyway, because, well, money. To my knowledge, no one ever accused me of being a “sellout” for doing it purely for the money, and no one was surprised to find that I didn’t answer phones in my spare time, as a hobby. Not everyone loves their job: it doesn’t mean they can’t be good at it, or that they should be viewed as evil mercenaries who’ll do anything for a quick buck. People have to eat, after all…)

With that said, while I don’t believe there are “wrong” reasons to get into blogging (I mean, not unless you’re doing it to rip people off, or for some other reason that is actually “wrong” or illegal. Don’t do that.), I also believe that if you don’t enjoy creating content, you’ll really struggle with blogging as a career: not because you won’t be able to do it well, but simply because it can take such a long time to see results from it that if you don’t enjoy it, you’ll burn out fast.

The main problem with blogging for a living, you see, is that it’s just so relentless. It’s not the kind of job where you can just close down your laptop at 5pm and then forget about it until 9am the next morning: it’s the kind of job that occupies your mind 24/7. You can spend hours working on a post: coming up with a great idea, carefully crafting the text, taking the best photos you can, promoting it tirelessly… and then as soon as it’s published, you have to start all over again with the next post, and then the next one, and the one after that. And it never ends. It’s not like writing a book, or working on another kind of project, where you one day get to type “The End” and then sit back and relax. You just have to keep going, day after day, week after week, month after… you get my point, I’m sure.

You can do this, of course. You don’t have to love blogging to be able to blog, but while that might make you some money, it won’t make you happy – in fact, it’ll make you pretty damn miserable if you’re spending all your time doing something you hate. Trust one who knows. When I published my post on the reasons  I blog last week, I was half expecting someone to comment and say, “Er, don’t you blog for the money?” And it’s true: I DO blog for money. But if I didn’t genuinely love it, I wouldn’t have chosen blogging as my career, for the simple fact that I don’t want to spend my time doing something I hate: been there, done that, got 101 tearful journal entries to prove it.

*  *  *

Phew! That ended up being a lot longer, and a lot more negative that I expected it to be! Just in case anyone’s reading this as a list of complaints, I just want to stress that it’s really not supposed to be: as I said, I LOVE blogging – it’s my dream job, and I definitely didn’t write this in order to make it sound awful, or to put anyone off. I’m a member of a few blogging groups on Facebook, though, and I’m often surprised by the ideas and expectations a lot of newer bloggers seem to have. I see a lot of people sign up for a free Blogger account with the idea that they’ll be able to quit their jobs in a few month’s time: they inevitably end up disappointed and frustrated when it turns out to be a lot more work, for much less money than they’d been led to believe, so I just wanted to write a bit about what it’s really like to blog full-time, and what kind of challenges you might face in the process. What I’d also say is that if you read this list and didn’t put you off, what are you waiting for – go start a blog already!

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17 Comments
  • Louise
    June 7, 2015

    I know for sure it wouldn’t suit me. I’m glad you do it though as I really enjoy your blog!

  • Ken Courtice
    June 7, 2015

    A very honest piece of work. I don’t Blog, and I stumbled into yours by chance , but if I wanted to Blog yours gives me all the info I’d need to start in a nice easy readable form. Your writing makes me feel like we are old friends , and you are giving me some honest advice. You always have something informative to say. Well done , I’m a fan.

  • Annabelle
    June 7, 2015

    Hello Amber,

    No, this post doesn’t look like a list of complaints at all. Like all your posts on this subject it is very interesting because of your transparency. Being lucid as you are is not pessimism in my eye.

    And this series is very interesting also for people like me, a sensitive extrovert, absolutely in need of the contact of my pupils and my colleagues, who prefers not to be exposed to strangers as I make already enough (too much) confessions to people I know. Such a talkative one… And being very different from you doesn’t mean not being able to feel deeply what you share (reference to your former “Why I blog” post). Because being an extrovert doesn’t mean you can’t feel awkward, or sense that people are making fun of your tendency to try to bond with everyone… Just to share the other part point of view. But in fact, if I read well your blog, Terry offers you a lot about it. (I’m married to an introvert…)

    About blogging: I don’t have a skin hard enough to get along with criticisms from “malevolent” people (or maybe just persons lacking of the minimal empathy) thinking everyone needs to know what opinion is crossing their mind no matter the consequences.
    Bloggers must be very brave to face this part of the comments.

    And of course it’s a lot of work: again for a comparison, most of the people think that teaching time is the only activity on a teacher’s agenda. In fact you have to research, to prepare the time with pupils, to organise technically, to talk about the kids with colleagues, to solve problems, technical and human, to correct the productions of your pupils. And staying nice and pleasant, to show an enormous amount of patience whereas you don’t have any in your personal life (???) which is kind of exhausting at the end of the day.
    I was a bit long on the subject, sorry…

    Back to the former subject “blogging”: in fact, you’re confirming all my doubts about creating a blog about my outfits for instance.
    Not discouraging, confirming, I insist…

    I am also very curious about other people’s job, because being a teacher is basically never quitting school from your childhood, and I like to open my mind and be able to counsel pupils about the reality of their dreamed jobs. So you are giving here first hand advice. Precious!

    Long comment, erratic, sorry: plenty of time today. Have a nice sunday (hoping it will be sunny for you this time).

  • Yasmin Qureshi
    June 7, 2015

    This a great post for warning people of what they can actually expect, and I have to say these points hardly bother me at all! ;p I love the fact that I can eventually run my own business with my blog and photography, working for myself is something that I’m really looking forward to doing once I’ve finished uni. I’m already promoting myself as a blogger and a photographer to make people aware of my work.

    http://www.yasminqureshi.co

  • Kirsty
    June 7, 2015

    I always love these types of posts Amber – it’s so interesting to hear about both the positives and negatives from someone who’s been through it all! My blog is currently pretty small and I’m nowhere near making money from it but I’d love to be able to move to working part time within the next few years, although I’m well aware that may never happen!

    I know myself that I wouldn’t be comfortable blogging full time (although I love the idea of it!) because I’d stress without the stability of a regular paycheck. I think that, along with the other points you’ve made, is so important to consider honestly if full time blogging is something you’re thinking of.

    Oh, and I also loved Becky’s post on the ‘wrong’ reasons to blog!

  • Stella Kashmoney
    June 7, 2015

    Great post Amber. I love reading posts in this series. I worked in a call center for years too and I hated it with a passion but did it for the Kash. I prefer blogging thank you.

  • Stacey
    June 7, 2015

    Great post! And no, I didn’t think it came across as negative, just realistic and giving the other side of the coin so people don’t think it’s all sunshine and roses. I don’t even blog as my business and even I still find it is A LOT of work. But I love doing it so it is fun work for me. Sometimes though I do get a little stressed about getting posts up, especially before a vacation, and then my boyfriend reminds me that it’s a hobby so stop trying to be superwoman and do it all. 🙂

    And I totally agree with you that if you want to blog for money, go for it! It is a career choice yet it does seem to be the one where people criticize others the most for “doing it for the money” yet would never say that about being a teacher or a lawyer etc. Maybe it’s just because it is a fairly new career option and people really aren’t used to it yet, or they are expressing their feelings of envy and that’s how it comes out. Either way, as you said as long as you aren’t doing anything illegal or scamming people, I say have at it and enjoy the ride.

  • L
    June 7, 2015

    I think it’s great that you put these out there. I don’t think you sound negative at all, and I do think the ease of just starting a blog is deceptive in that sometimes people think it will be correspondingly easy to run one that would make money.

    I also wanted to comment on the issue of sharing and being anonymous, which is a big issue that doesn’t get talked about much, except in terms of people who share inappropriate or very personal things (so props to you for putting it on your list). I used to have a pretty successful anonymous blog. I enjoyed it and it opened up a lot of opportunities, but I am glad I did it anonymously. It wasn’t a personal blog and there is nothing on it that I would be embarrassed to put my name to, but I didn’t like the idea that from an online perspective I would not be a blank slate. Now that chapter in my life is over, I’m really grateful that I knew that about myself before I started the blog.

    Also, as you pointed out, it isn’t easy to stay anonymous. There are all the logistical issues of course (and people will dig pretty far to figure out who you are), but it’s also tough personally. Readers usually want to get to know the person behind the blog at least a little bit. It’s tough to walk the line between being oblique enough to stay in your comfort zone but open enough not to feel like you’re giving the readers nothing. At the end of the day, I didn’t think I owed readers anything beyond putting up accurate, useful, and hopefully interesting content, but it was hard to maintain that mindset in the face of questions and comments from readers who were really nice people, but wanted to engage on a more personal level.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment, but I just wanted to add my two cents to your good list!

  • Marina
    June 8, 2015

    Fabulous post – I’m so happy I found you! (You Look Fab raved about your blog, in case you’re interested in where your Followers come from).

    Every point you list is a very accurate depiction of the challenges a blogger faces when it becomes a full time gig. Not negative, just very realistic.

    Your topics are ridiculously relevant and interesting. Thank you!

  • Trudy
    June 8, 2015

    I have wondered for a long time about starting my own blog, but have struggled with questions of what to actually blog about, and would anyone be interested in reading anything I wrote! All your points confirm me that it would be my dream job as well – I am an introvert with fairly thick skin who loves to write full soul confessions and who only needs very occasional contact with ‘real’ people (in fact my dose of people for the day can come from popping in to the supermarket for ten minutes, even if the only person I talk to is the checkout operator). So, now I have it confirmed that I would enjoy blogging. Next step – find something to blog about!

  • Anca
    June 8, 2015

    I know full time blogging is not for me for another reason: I love my job 🙂
    It’s puzzling why some people spend time reading things they don’t like and comment on, don’t they have better things to do?

  • Poppy
    June 8, 2015

    Great post! In the six months I have been blogging I’ve found it more difficult than I’d ever imagined it to be – you’re exactly right when you say that the best bloggers make it look effortless, but there’s so much thought and time that goes into every single post.

    I would love for my blog to be at least a part of my career one day, as I enjoy it so much but don’t have enough time to dedicate to it as I would like, being a full-time student.Thank you for your excellent advice.

    http://poppyallanorma.com

  • Erika
    June 9, 2015

    I would love to turn my blog into something more than it is, and I completely get the time and involvement it would take. Just having one for fun takes plenty, but I’m very happy to put the time in. Expanding my blog to more than a hobby is on my to do list… One of these days.
    You’ve given some great points here. I really enjoy these posts. Thanks!

  • Becky
    June 9, 2015

    I didn’t see this post because blooming Bloglovin’ is playing up and not showing me all my unread posts. A couple of people this week have said they found my blog through you & my referrals show your link so I was REALLY confused! Thank you so much for including my link- I’m so glad you liked the post. I was a bit nervous about publishing it but I was so fired up about it haha!

    Anyway… great post as always! In theory, I’d LOVE to blog full time but the security worries me. At the moment, I get the same amount at the end of the month, every month, and I have a pension (for when I retire at the age of 89 or whatever the retirement age will be by that point!). The motivation, the isolation, the constant work… I can deal with all that. Not knowing when I’ll be paid or how much I’ll get each week freaks me out! I’m going part time in the day job to spend more time blogging as a career but I’d have to be earning a LOT before I’d blog full time.

  • Elizabeth Rose
    June 10, 2015

    My husband worked in call centers for years… no one loves it, hah. On a more serious note, I definitely wouldn’t want to make blogging my career unless it was for an actual company where I have to get out… I’m just too social and being home too often makes me quite irritable! Oh well, the world needs all sorts of people to make it go round.

    BTW, I simply can’t believe the horrible things people will say to strangers online. Getting thick skin is important, but it shouldn’t have to be.

  • Robin
    June 11, 2015

    Very helpful and interesting. This keeps new bloggers with both feet on the ground and realistic. Thank you

  • Destiny
    November 9, 2016

    At first I clicked on this post feeling full of anxiety…then as I began to read further I thought “THIS IS DEFINITELY FOR ME” lol. I’m blogging about being an introverted artist, I love pushing myself and not being micromanaged by a boss, I love working long hours at home (used to work in costuming, which has a similar schedule) and I love to write. Thanks for posting this. I’m coming to find out more and more that blogging is truly a sum of things I love to do already, but in one platform. I love learning about color schemes and marketing and html. It all feels so comfortable to me. Thank you again for posting this and bringing a much needed candid clarity to the world of blogging. Definitely glad I stumbled upon this on pinterest! =)

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