IS BLOGGING HARD?
Is blogging hard? That’s often a question I’m asked by people thinking about starting a blog.
Monthly blog income reports show up on my newsfeed often, and I love to read them. I love to see blogger’s killing it and their hard work paying off. I was inspired and I started writing my own income reports, and I often get private messages and emails asking questions or providing feedback. They can be a lot of fun. That being said, there’s a lot you don’t see with blogger’s income reports.
I love what I do! Blogging is an incredible line of work to get involved in. Yes, there is a lot of hard work involved and days where I’m so frustrated I’m using Baileys instead of coffee cream (kidding, kind of) but I love it. However I want to be real with the new bloggers out there, so here we go.
I’ve been blogging since 2009 and it wasn’t until the last 6-7 months that I started to make really good money. Almost enough money (after deductions and taxes) that I could support myself if I ever needed to. I have never been financially independent before, so this is a big deal to me. So much of a big deal, it’s on my 30 before 30 list. It’s been a lot of years, a lot of time invested, and a lot of emotion. There have been so many times I have almost stopped and just quit, but I always told myself “one more month” then it became “you have a contract to uphold”. Pushing through the tough times, got me to where I am. So with that being said, I decided to share with you the real deal behind blogger’s income reports.
No rainbows and sparkles.
It’s time to get real and raw.
If you’re a blogger and have something to add, please do so in the comments!
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU START A BLOG
THERE IS MORE TIME INVESTED IN BLOGGING THEN A NORMAL 9-5.
Even as I write this, it’s 6:44 pm and I’ve been doing this since 7 am (with a few breaks to make dinner – with my computer on my island of course). If I were to guess, I would say I spend 8-10 hours a day working on my blog (that includes, taking photos, editing, video, social media promotions, etc). In addition to that, I work weekends. Am I always being the computer? No, but there is work to be done outside of it too.
What takes so much time: Planning out a post, SEO research, shooting, editing, writing, cooking (if applicable), staging, social media. That’s just for one post.
I can’t speak for all bloggers, but for example when I do a sponsored recipe:
- Emails with the client – Anywhere from a simple 10 minutes of total time with a straightforward contract – 60 minutes of contract negotiations.
- Reading the brief – 10 minutes to ensure you have what the client wants.
- Plan out what I’m going to do – if I’m inspired and instantly have ideas this can only take 15 minutes.
- Cooking – anywhere from 60 minutes.
- Shooting – 30 – 45 minutes
- Editing photos – 60 minutes
- Writing the post – 60 minutes (minimum, some posts take me longer – travel, DIY)
- Submitting drafts and editing – 40 minutes, includes back and forths.
- Promoting on social media – 30 minutes.
- Reporting back to the client – 30 minutes.
That’s roughly 6.83 hours per sponsored recipe. I say sponsored because when I do non-sponsored posts, they usually take less time as I write them for me and don’t put too much pressure on myself. This does not include video development – add another two hours to that.
DIY can take longer, especially if you take into consideration the work you did. Example if it took you two days to paint a room that you’re sponsored to write about – you add those two days to your workload.
Then there is still all the behind the scenes plus backend work on WordPress.
When you work the crazy hours, blogger burnout happens. Every few months, I’ll take a trip or a few days off but to prepare for those few days I have to schedule social ahead of time, make sure my VA’s have everything they need and keep up with my daily tasks. My workload doubles so I can have a few days off, don’t get me wrong I love getting away from the digital side of my life from time to time but it seems silly to work twice as hard leading up to it. My last few trips were to Disneyland and although I was taking a break from my blog (I even left my cell phone at the hotel once!) my body was sore and very tired after 10 hours at the park. So I had to recover when I got home too.
WE OFTEN DON’T GET PAID ON TIME.
If I had a dollar for every late invoice, well – you know the saying. Many bloggers (myself included) rely on prompt payments, and it most of the time it doesn’t happen.
WE HAVE BILLS TO PAY
Hosting, domains, virtual assistants, Pinterest managers, contributors all these little costs add up big time. My last income report had over $1000 just in assistant work. I don’t like being late with invoices. The moment I get them, I pay them, however, when I’m not paid on time that can make it tricky.
In addition to that, there are still everyday bills. Money management is a great skill to have when blogging, I’m still working on that.
TAXES TAXES TAXES
Yes, we pay income tax on our blog income. I sock away 30% of the majority of my invoices to save for tax time, I’ve been lucky so far with the fact that I usually save too much and have some extra money to invest in my blog come April but I’m waiting for the day I get a loose with my savings and mess that up. Not to mention, I made over 30k so I have to charge GST/HST to all Canadian invoices (However, that’s not that big of a deal, it’s not coming out of my income it’s an extra charge to the client and I’m more of the middle man holding it for the government until payment is due. At least, that’s how I see it.).
WE SHED TEARS
I have cried over my blog many times. Somedays it was because I messed with the coding a little too much and wrecked it, others it was because people were just mean. Please remember that we are real people behind these screens and what you say weighs more on us than we care to admit. I still remember things that have been said to me/said about me from years ago, and it still stings.
IT’S TOUGH TO MAKE MONEY
A lot of people start blogging because they assume it’s a quick way to make a buck. If you’re wanting to get involved for that reason, stop right there and listen.
It’s not that easy.
It took me years to make money. Yes, I have heard of the bloggers who started killing it in the early days too but they either had a post go viral or were just lucky. When you start out you have no readership, other than your mom. It takes time to get traction on Google and Pinterest so you’re kind of in a weird limbo for the first while. The ad networks that are going to be worth your while having prerequisites from anywhere from 30,000 visitors – 100,000 visitors a month. You may be able to get sponsored post opportunities but with a limited audience, they won’t be paying too much. Barely enough to pay your hosting bill that month after you take taxes into consideration.
IT TAKES EDUCATION AND INVESTMENT
Unless you come into it with awesome photography and editing skills, you’re probably going to want to learn new talents. Whether it’s a free blogging photography course or paid course on social media, it takes an investment of time and money to build your skills. Not only the obvious courses but self-education on basic blog design, blog ethics, and the all important SEO.
It takes time, it takes relationships to build with clients and it takes a lot of motivation to be a blogger.
IS BLOGGING HARD WORK?
Short answer: yes, but it’s a labor of love.
This post is not to discourage anyone, I want you to start a blog if you really want to. I just wanted to be real and show what happens behind the scenes. So go buy some tissues for those tears and get started.