blogging as a career

To young people who want to be bloggers when they grow up

So, according to a recent survey by, the youth of the UK has spoken, and the youth of the UK all want to be bloggers when they grow up. Well, 24% of them do, anyway. 

They polled 2,348 people (which isn’t a whole lot really, but whatever, let’s just go with this…) aged between 18-25, and asked them what they saw as the ideal career. Surprisingly to some, blogging came out as the top choice, with Look magazine, who published the survey, seizing the opportunity to talk a bit about Zoella and Alfie, who “prove that bloggers can earn big bucks”, apparently.

So, look, I think it’s pretty obvious that this survey wasn’t exactly a representative sample of young people in the UK (pretty good opportunity for Look magazine to get some extra clicks, though, so good for them), but it’s also been obvious to me for a while now that – to some people, at least – blogging has become something of an “It” job. I keep seeing my fellow bloggers complaining about all of the blog tips articles out there, but the fact is, those articles exist because there’s a demand for them. Blogging has never been more popular, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s always fascinating to hear what other people’s perception of your industry and career is, so I was most interested in reading the reasons those surveyed gave for wanting to be professional bloggers. Here they are:

Why people want to be bloggers:


[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Bloggers don’t have to do much work – 26%

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Getting good money – 22%

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Being admired by other people – 19%

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  It’s easy – 19%

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Bloggers get free stuff – 11%

So, no surprises there then: blogging is easy, you get tons of freebies, and before you know it, you’re living in a mansion, just like Zoella, OMG!

Just for fun, then, here’s my response to these perceptions of blogging as a carer…

want to be a full-time blogger?

01. Bloggers don’t have to do much work

I’m guessing from this one that the people who took part in this poll weren’t actually bloggers, huh? Pretty much everyone I know who’s tried to start a blog has been amazed by how much work goes into it, and how time-consuming it is. I think the issue here is probably that people don’t view writing, or photography, as “work”, really. They think it’s just a fun hobby, and sure: blogging IS a fun hobby, and if you want it to remain a fun hobby, then no, you don’t have to do much work. (Although even hobby bloggers will often end up putting a lot of hours into it.)  If you want it  to become a career, though, sorry to break it to you, but yeah, you’ll have to do some work. Quite a lot actually. Writing and photography is just the tip of the iceberg, you see: it’s what other people see as the end result of the work you do. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot more to it than that, though, and that’s without even getting into all of the accounting, tax and other admin that comes with any kind of self-employment.

02. Getting good money

Some bloggers get good money, sure. Most of us don’t, though: most of us only get good enough money, and even that takes years to build up to the point where you’re able to actually live off it. The fact is that the vast majority of people who start a blog in 2015 will never make enough money from it to turn it into a full-time career. Yes, I totally just made that up off the top of my head. It’s probably true, though. Even if you do make whatever you consider to be “good money”, there’s a lot of financial uncertainty to deal with: you can make “good money” one month, and then really, really bad money the next. A lot of people can’t deal with that kind of uncertainty, no matter how “good” the money might be. (And just in case I wasn’t clear enough: it probably won’t be that good, unless you’re prepared to work really, really hard. Which takes us back to point one…)

03. Being admired by other people

You know, I think this is probably one of the main reasons a lot of people get into blogging, even although they might not want to admit it. It’s like, you might not ever get to be the popular kid in high school, but you COULD be popular on the internet, where you can carefully construct an image, and make sure you never say or do anything that could damage it. Well you could, couldn’t you?

The thing about blogging, though, is that you MIGHT be admired by other people, but you also might not. In fact, no matter how hard you try to never say anything controversial, and never do anything to annoy people, there will always be people who DON’T admire you. Who actively HATE you, in fact. And who will tell you that, over and over again, sometimes even making up different names and email addresses, just so they can keep on telling you just how much they don’t admire you. The more popular you get, the more of these people you’ll attract: rude people, mean people, downright cruel people. They’re all on the internet too, you see. It’s not all just headpats and people saying, “OMG, I LOVE UR DRESS!” There’s a flip side, and honestly, it’s a pretty dark one: and some days it won’t matter how many people “admire” you, all you’ll be able to think about is the ones who don’t, and who will dedicate their lives to making sure you know it.


04. It’s easy

I’ll say to this one what I always say to people who reckon blogging is easy: if you REALLY think it’s that easy, then go and start a blog, and come back to me once it’s earning “good money”.  Or, in other words, if it was really that easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? The fact is, blogging IS easy in comparison to many other jobs I could mention. I’d much rather be a blogger than do any of the other jobs I’ve had, for instance, so in some respects it IS “easy”. And, I mean, writing a blog post is easy, right? Taking a quick photo? Also easy. What’s NOT so easy, however, is writing a blog post that thousands and thousands of people will want to read. That brands will want to pay to be mentioned in. And then doing it again the next day, and the day after that, and so on and so forth, through weekends and holidays, and a whole lot of other days when you’d rather be doing something else. That isn’t “easy”: in fact, it’s pretty hard, and that’s why there are probably millions of blogs out there now, but only a small percentage of them making a real living from it. The mechanics of blogging might be “easy”, but anyone who thinks that making money from a blog is easy has obviously never tried to do it.

(If you have tried to do it and you genuinely found it easy, please tell me your secret!)

05. Bloggers get free stuff

Actually, no, they don’t. Yeah, bloggers get sent items to review, and to feature on their blogs, but they’re not really “free” if you have to work for them, are they? And you do have to work for those so-called “freebies”, by the way: you don’t get to just take that “free” dress, put it in your closet, and think, “Gee, that was so nice of that brand to send me a totally free dress, just out of the goodness of their hearts!” No, you’ll have to do something in return for that dress – or that lipstick, or tube of toothpaste, or whatever it is you think you just got for “free”. It’s only once you’ve spend a few hours taking photos, editing them, writing a blog post and publicizing it – all in exchange for a bottle of shampoo which you could easily have bought yourself – that you realize you didn’t get it for “free” at all. You paid for that bottle of shampoo – and you probably paid a whole lot more than it was worth to you, once you factor in the amount of time you spent on blogging about it.

Freebies seem great to start with – and they ARE great, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not actually “free”, and as soon as you realise that, you’ll start to see that £5 lipstick that’s going to cost you several hours work, in a whole different light…

 So, now that I’ve just comprehensively ruined everyone’s dreams of what it would be like to blog as a career, I should probably add that it’s not all doom and gloom. Honestly, I think blogging is the best job in the world: if I didn’t, I’d be doing something else by now. I also don’t really blame the “young people” in this survey for thinking it’s easy, and a great way to get freebies: how would they know otherwise, after all? I mean, when I was that age, I wanted to be a book editor, because I thought it would just involve sitting around in cafes all day, reading books and getting paid for it. To this day, I have friends with impressive-sounding job titles, and I honestly have NO IDEA what they actually do all day. None whatsoever. The fact is, until you actually try doing a job, you have no way of knowing what it’s really like – which is the whole point of this post, basically.
to people who want to be bloggers
With all of that said, I don’t want to leave you with the idea that blogging ISN’T an awesome career choice, because for those who enjoy it, it most definitely is. I, for instance, consider myself to be the luckiest person alive to be able to do this full-time: I just really, really enjoy it, and that’s not something I said about any of my previous jobs, which says it all, really.   So if you want to have a career as a blogger because you love it – or even because you think you have what it takes to make a decent living from it – I say go for it. It can be a tremendously rewarding way to make a living, and a whole lot of fun into the bargain. If you want to get into it because you think it’ll be easy, and that within a few weeks you’ll be drowning in free stuff, and having people admire you, then sorry to break it to you, but I think that’s reality TV you’re thinking of. And that’s probably not all that easy either…
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  • Hi Amber, I really enjoyed reading this. I think a lot of young people see blogging as an easy option to the world of ‘work’, they often day-dream of working in their PJ’s and getting tons of money. It really doesn’t work like that at all. xx

    October 18, 2015
  • I’m kind of new to blogging. Or at least to taking it seriously. But I already know that I love it and that I one day want to make a living out of it. Although I’m not that young and therefor should be a bit less naiv, I really thing I will be able to do it one day.
    I know it will be hard work, and for almost no money at all for a long time. But me and my family have know how it is to get by with not to much money, so it’s okay. And even without the money thing, it’s something I love doing and will keep doing no matter how hard it is and how frustrated it sometimes gets me. Because like I said I love it.
    So thank you for writing this. It’s a good reminder to what need to be done. And an amazing read to anyone who thinks it’s all fun and new clothes everyday./love Ida

    October 18, 2015
  • This was an excellent post, Amber. I read the Look Magazine article and (once I’d gotten over all the flaws in the survey method) couldn’t help thinking that perhaps people still don’t quite understand what goes on behind a blog. Mine is purely a hobby, but there are genuinely days that I find blogging harder than training to be a doctor! I’m impressed by professional bloggers and I guess you can’t really judge whether someone’s job is ‘easy’ unless you’ve tried it yourself.
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    October 18, 2015
  • I love you and this post its so true! people get into blogging for all the wrong reasons and the whole free stuff youre totally right we have to work for it and not to mention blogging is not easy at all its probably the hardest thing ive done so far because you have to put so much effort and time into it

    October 18, 2015
  • Brilliant post! I blog purely as a hobby, but I’ve already spent about 4 hours today photographing, editing and writing for a couple of “quick” posts! It’s definitely not easy and it’s not a quick thing to do! x

    October 18, 2015
  • Great post which I am going to share with my nephews – though they don’t want to be bloggers, they want to be ‘YouTubers’ which I didn’t even know was a thing…. lol

    October 18, 2015
    • Hahaha, Louise… My son wants to be a “youtuber” too! Make videos playing games (banging music and commentary added), get millions of “hits”, buy a sports car, get hot girls….that is the goal.

      October 18, 2015
  • Thank you SO much for writing this and addressing these points! I only blog as a hobby and find it time-consuming enough I got so angry at reading this poll! I have no issue with “youngsters” wanting to be bloggers, but really hoped it would be to work independently (sometimes!), to be creative, to share their opinions, or even through an interest in content or coding, but the actual reasons made me so sad.

    x Síle

    October 18, 2015
  • This made me smile Amber, I am a “hobby blogger”. And I spend HOURS on my blog.
    I work part-time as a Biomedical Scientist which is reasonably “good money” but I spend much longer hours on my blog, photos, editing, research, more editing, choosing outfits, accessorising, researching more outfits, reading other blogs and networking.
    I must spend about 30 hours a week….maybe more if you include instagram and twitter!?
    Oh dear that sounds bad doesn’t it?
    Especially as I have made no money or got any “free stuff”.
    My house desperately needs a good clean, the dog hasn’t been walked for months (this is a joke by the way) and my children are running riot, unsupervised (not so much of a joke, if I am honest).
    I was really interested in your section on being admired.
    I am not sure I want to be admired, my goal is maybe just to show people (like me) that if I can wear it, then anyone can!
    I always feel sad when I read about “Haters”. These sad individuals trying to erode your (and other people’s) success through envy and bitterness. I feel pity for them but can see how they can be really upsetting.
    I am a microscopic blogger so I am not enough of a success to be noticed and I am not sure how I would handle negativity.
    How do you handle these comments?
    Do you just delete and block?
    I really feel that it has taken me so long to build a solid confidence, that any flaws pointed back out to me would just make me say:
    “Well, yeah…tell me something I don’t know”.
    Luckily, everyone I have encountered so far has been positive and supportive….and perhaps just politely not commenting if they don’t like something? Which suits me fine.
    Thank you for this great article.

    October 18, 2015
  • Fantastic post!! I have been blogging for 4 years now, I didn’t make a single penny until I was about 1.5 years in to it. When people ask what I do as a job and I say ‘ blogging’ they think I sit at my computer for about 10 minutes, put a post up and that’s it. I have the rest of the day to do whatever I like. Wrong! I work everyday! More hours than I can count. It takes up a LOT of time, but I really enjoy it.

    October 18, 2015
  • I think it’s very hard to imagine what people do in most jobs. My husband teaches “Career Exploration” classes and requires students to interview people in jobs they are interested in. Most are REALLY surprised by what they find out people really do day to day…. So I guess it isn’t surprising that people have wrong ideas about bloggers…

    I have been a hobby blogger since 2009, and I know a few bloggers personally who have succeeded in making blogging a career. Most started about a year or two before me (but two started at exactly the same time I did). I have to say that they are all extremely hardworking, dedicated, smart, willing to adjust what they are doing based on their research – the list goes on!

    October 19, 2015
  • This is a BRILLIANT post. I’m a ‘hobby blogger’ and you’re right, I spend hours working on my blog or networking/promoting it so god only knows how full time bloggers manage! It’s definitely not easy and it does require a lot of work. Basically, I just agree with everything you’ve said! xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

    October 25, 2015
  • I feel this even extends to offline peeps! Lots of family members think blogging is easy, even when I did the usual/casual hobby blogging. I have two blogs, and have been at this for six years…it takes loads of dedication, patience, and trial and error. There is no one-size-fits-all advice, either. It’s so different for each and every blogger, even more so because we all have our own strengths.

    February 15, 2016