The Business Of Blogging

More than a few eyes rolled when I told them that I am involved the business of blogging. I like to think that some of it was due to the chaos surrounding us. After all we were at a party for a six year-old and the soon to be unemployed Chuckles The Clown was doing a stellar job of mishandling magic tricks. I almost felt bad for Chuckles. It is one thing to not be able to fool a room full of adults and quite another to not fool a room full of six year-olds.

I suppose that you could say that I was holding court. I was standing next to an ice chest full of beer and surrounded by a group of fathers who were absentmindedly watching Chuckles muff his performance. Our hostess probably would have been less than pleased to know that I was taking bets as to how long it would take before the kids turned into an angry mob. I am sure that she would have been less pleased to hear me wonder out loud if the kids would tar and feather the poor guy. Blame it on the removal of the filter that used to guard my mouth.

There were a half dozen men standing there and the conversation had already touched upon kids, school, movies, sports, kids and finally work. I hadn’t intended to mention a thing about blogging but one of the guys thought that show and tell time meant talk about Jack’s blog. Mind you he hasn’t ever read it. He just knows that I have one and had heard that I might be making money from it. He also knew that one of the other dads wants to start a blog and thought that it might be useful to ask for my help.

Except his method of asking was to tell Tom that we should exchange numbers because he was certain that I knew enough to help him become a successful blogger. Really it was an obnoxious way of trying to twist my arm to get something for free that other people pay for. That something being, my time and expertise.

I was irritated by the whole exchange. Maybe I am to blame for part of it. Maybe karma bit me in the butt for screwing around, I don’t know. Truth is that I don’t care. What I do know is that when I am asked nicely I am always happy to lend a helping hand. But that helping hand has limitations because my time is worth something. I don’t say that to be obnoxious, arrogant or flippant.

My time and expertise is worth something. I have skills and experience that people pay to use. It happens on a regular basis. I have clients that hire me to write for them. I have clients that hire me to consult with them regarding marketing plans. I have clients that hire me to talk about social media plans. They pay me for my time. I leverage my skills and experience so that I can put food on the table and support my family.

The doctors and lawyers that were among those standing next to me don’t work for free. I know this not just because it is obvious but because I brought it up in conversation. You see when the eye rolls came I made a point of giving a 2 minute talk about blogging and how I have used it to make money. I wanted it to be understood that I am a professional whose skills are in demand. I wanted it to be understood that I am available for hire. You never know who needs help and I figured that it couldn’t hurt to do some soft networking.

Jim could have used a softer approach to ask me to help Tom. I  would have been glad to talk to him and offer some professional guidance. Instead I had my arm twisted and found myself as the recipient of a two thousand word post and a half dozen emails asking for advice. I handled the situation politely and professionally. I gave Tom some quick and easy pointers. I talked to him about what platforms he can use and why he should create a Twitter account. When he asked me if I would take a look at his blog when he set it up I said sure.

And then I told him that I was sorry to cut things short, but I had to go because a client had hired me to build a blog for him. That part was a lie but I was trying to politely let him know that I get paid for my time. I suppose that I could have just come out and said it, but this worked for me.

The experience reminded me that people who haven’t run their own business or worked in a capacity where they had to bill their own hours don’t always appreciate that time really is money. And when it comes to the business of blogging that always holds true. I just wish that more bloggers understood that or appreciated that when they work for free they are hurting others and not just themselves.

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Comments

  1. Jack, I hear you and I don’t mind helping my fellow bloggers because frankly, they pay it forward by promoting me. If you’re not promoting me, and you’re not paying me, than exactly what am I getting for my time investment?

    oops, almost forgot to mention the eye rolling thing. I bumped into a linkedin contact the other day and he says to me, “I see your Linkedin profile lists your position as a blogger for some sexy site”
    I’m confused. what the heck? turns out he remembers the name had the word bedtime in it. so i explain what the site is. he rolls his eyes and says oooh, i thought you had a real job for a porn site at the very least.
    :-/
    I stood there, pulled out my android and while he went on about his new job, i signed into linkedin and removed him as a connection. yes i’m mean. a real job? sheesh. blogging is so easy . . . .

    • @vsplace:disqus It is so much easier when people feel like they’re working/helping with a genuine person. Nobody wants to feel like they are being used.

  2. Jack, I hear you and I don’t mind helping my fellow bloggers because frankly, they pay it forward by promoting me. If you’re not promoting me, and you’re not paying me, than exactly what am I getting for my time investment?

    • @vsplace:disqus It is so much easier when people feel like they’re working/helping with a genuine person. Nobody wants to feel like they are being used.

  3. This post is great in the fact that it is sobering and insightful.  I am away from the U.S. right now, and return in less than two months to my home.  Home is where my wife and two sons have been begging me to get back to for quite some time.  I decided a few months back that I’d use my skills and experience to create a blog, in hopes that around the time I get home, I can turn it into a small, but growing income stream while doing something I enjoy.

    I have some experience with blogs in the past…  with one reaching around 15,000 visitors per month.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that my time was money, and found out much too late that others will ask for something for free and use it to make money for themselves.  You are forgotten when that happens, of course.  

    I still have a heart of gold and I am willing to help when called upon, but you are right… time is money.

    • @twitter-303634574:disqus Darn, I thought that I had responded to this but apparently I didn’t. My apologies. 15,000 a month is quite respectable. I hope that this time around you are able to exceed that and make that blog into something special.

  4. This post is great in the fact that it is sobering and insightful.  I am away from the U.S. right now, and return in less than two months to my home.  Home is where my wife and two sons have been begging me to get back to for quite some time.  I decided a few months back that I’d use my skills and experience to create a blog, in hopes that around the time I get home, I can turn it into a small, but growing income stream while doing something I enjoy.

    I have some experience with blogs in the past…  with one reaching around 15,000 visitors per month.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that my time was money, and found out much too late that others will ask for something for free and use it to make money for themselves.  You are forgotten when that happens, of course.  

    I still have a heart of gold and I am willing to help when called upon, but you are right… time is money.

    • @twitter-303634574:disqus Darn, I thought that I had responded to this but apparently I didn’t. My apologies. 15,000 a month is quite respectable. I hope that this time around you are able to exceed that and make that blog into something special.

  5. So you won’t help fix my blog up for free? Don’t you have all kinds of extra time, seeing as you just write stuff all day? 😉

    I’m not a professional blogger (unfortunately) and I’m not a doctor (fortunately, for all those would-be patients), but I am a professional writer/editor and have people ask me all the time to fix their resumes, write PR-type things for them, etc. “in my spare time.” I do not ask chefs to run into the kitchen and bring me back a five-course meal on the house and I don’t ask my dentist friend to give me a cleaning “in his spare time” for free.

    Of course I help out those I’m close to, but It can be hard to politely convey to certain people that what I do is my profession and not a hobby. I might not be creating extravagently overpriced meals, but I am creating powerful publishings that influence not only my own life, but the lives of others every day. I love the written word and blog for free, but my professional time is money, just like anyone elses.

    Now about helping me fix my blog up in your spare time…;)

    • @eb70a25664e8cf627c97ba0fe4a64cb0:disqus People are a never ending source of amusement and blog fodder for me. I am consistently amused/bemused and confused by them.

      I only wish that I had all sorts of free time in which I could screw around and do nothing. It would make me quite happy.

      What sort of help are you looking for on your blog?

      • I was kidding about the free blog help, of course, but I’m rather stupid technologically (different than technically stupid) and I’m sure there are things that could greatly improve the functionality and appearance. I suppose it’s trial and error :) 

        • @eb70a25664e8cf627c97ba0fe4a64cb0:disqus I always ask the same set of questions. Do you know why you blog and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

  6. So you won’t help fix my blog up for free? Don’t you have all kinds of extra time, seeing as you just write stuff all day? 😉

    I’m not a professional blogger (unfortunately) and I’m not a doctor (fortunately, for all those would-be patients), but I am a professional writer/editor and have people ask me all the time to fix their resumes, write PR-type things for them, etc. “in my spare time.” I do not ask chefs to run into the kitchen and bring me back a five-course meal on the house and I don’t ask my dentist friend to give me a cleaning “in his spare time” for free.

    Of course I help out those I’m close to, but It can be hard to politely convey to certain people that what I do is my profession and not a hobby. I might not be creating extravagently overpriced meals, but I am creating powerful publishings that influence not only my own life, but the lives of others every day. I love the written word and blog for free, but my professional time is money, just like anyone elses.

    Now about helping me fix my blog up in your spare time…;)

    • @eb70a25664e8cf627c97ba0fe4a64cb0:disqus People are a never ending source of amusement and blog fodder for me. I am consistently amused/bemused and confused by them.

      I only wish that I had all sorts of free time in which I could screw around and do nothing. It would make me quite happy.

      What sort of help are you looking for on your blog?

      • I was kidding about the free blog help, of course, but I’m rather stupid technologically (different than technically stupid) and I’m sure there are things that could greatly improve the functionality and appearance. I suppose it’s trial and error :) 

        • @eb70a25664e8cf627c97ba0fe4a64cb0:disqus I always ask the same set of questions. Do you know why you blog and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

  7. I can see how it would be really hard for the “doctors and lawyers” crowd to not understand your profession. They chose highly traditional, highly standardized/certified professions that tend to be a lot less about creativity and a lot more about “the way things have always been done.” Even in the medical field, full of research, the people don’t quite get how other jobs work. Sure, there are your regular 9 to 5 jobs, but a lot of people this day and age have to make money a different way. 

    It’s too bad they don’t really understand the word “professional”.

    • @google-ce6b1f8ea80af2ee7554d4638a53329c:disqus With some of my friends I sometimes find that the bigger challenge is that they sometimes forget that they are in a different tax bracket than most people. I don’t go out to eat with some of them because the bills are just ridiculous.

      I don’t mind that they earn what they do, but I don’t need to worry about who eats what either.

  8. I can see how it would be really hard for the “doctors and lawyers” crowd to not understand your profession. They chose highly traditional, highly standardized/certified professions that tend to be a lot less about creativity and a lot more about “the way things have always been done.” Even in the medical field, full of research, the people don’t quite get how other jobs work. Sure, there are your regular 9 to 5 jobs, but a lot of people this day and age have to make money a different way. 

    It’s too bad they don’t really understand the word “professional”.

    • @google-ce6b1f8ea80af2ee7554d4638a53329c:disqus With some of my friends I sometimes find that the bigger challenge is that they sometimes forget that they are in a different tax bracket than most people. I don’t go out to eat with some of them because the bills are just ridiculous.

      I don’t mind that they earn what they do, but I don’t need to worry about who eats what either.

  9. Good for you for sticking to your guns. if your services are paid services, they shouldn’t be taken for free.  People don’t really understand blogging. It’s such a new thing still.  I was anticipating my summer vacation with the cousins when they say “What’s new?” and I tell them I’m blogging. They’re not going to “get it:” – How can you talk ABOUT this experience?  Meeting these amazing people, learning so much, having a laugh, sharing your life. LOL I think I’ll just say, “Nothing much.” and leave it at that.

    • @twitter-228904159:disqus I have a difference of opinion regarding blogging. I don’t see it as being new. Perhaps it is because I have been doing it for so long now.

      But specific to this situation, Jim knows what I do. Our kids are quite friendly so that is really part of what set me off. Part of the joy of being a curmudgeon, I guess. 😉

      I think you might be surprised by how many people are familiar with blogging and social media in general. I have “discovered” that quite a few people I know are doing it but had all been quiet about it.

  10. Good for you for sticking to your guns. if your services are paid services, they shouldn’t be taken for free.  People don’t really understand blogging. It’s such a new thing still.  I was anticipating my summer vacation with the cousins when they say “What’s new?” and I tell them I’m blogging. They’re not going to “get it:” – How can you talk ABOUT this experience?  Meeting these amazing people, learning so much, having a laugh, sharing your life. LOL I think I’ll just say, “Nothing much.” and leave it at that.

    • @twitter-228904159:disqus I have a difference of opinion regarding blogging. I don’t see it as being new. Perhaps it is because I have been doing it for so long now.

      But specific to this situation, Jim knows what I do. Our kids are quite friendly so that is really part of what set me off. Part of the joy of being a curmudgeon, I guess. 😉

      I think you might be surprised by how many people are familiar with blogging and social media in general. I have “discovered” that quite a few people I know are doing it but had all been quiet about it.

  11. So now you have the same problems facing doctors & lawyers. That’s a good probkem to have! Btw, won’t Tom see this post and find out you lied? I guess that’s the point, eh? 😉

    • @c6aa4dbae7c2de4ecbbbe2f55e49af89:disqus I really don’t mind talking about this nor do I have some of the liability issues that the docs/lawyers have.I don’t provide a disclaimer before speaking. 😉

      But like them I do have skills and knowledge that people want and more importantly pay for. 

      Yesterday I received several pitches that consisted of “Dear Jack, would you mind promoting XYZ on your blog?”

      I like helping charities and worthy causes and will do what I can to help there. But if a for profit business approaches me I expect to be compensated.

      It is not unreasonable to ask or expect. They don’t give their products/services away for free and neither do I.

  12. Absenceofalternatives says:

    So now you have the same problems facing doctors & lawyers. That’s a good probkem to have! Btw, won’t Tom see this post and find out you lied? I guess that’s the point, eh? 😉

    • @c6aa4dbae7c2de4ecbbbe2f55e49af89:disqus I really don’t mind talking about this nor do I have some of the liability issues that the docs/lawyers have.I don’t provide a disclaimer before speaking. 😉

      But like them I do have skills and knowledge that people want and more importantly pay for. 

      Yesterday I received several pitches that consisted of “Dear Jack, would you mind promoting XYZ on your blog?”

      I like helping charities and worthy causes and will do what I can to help there. But if a for profit business approaches me I expect to be compensated.

      It is not unreasonable to ask or expect. They don’t give their products/services away for free and neither do I.

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