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Monkey Bar Blogging

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I’d like to take a moment to make a ProBlogger Public Service Announcement.

Its actually something that I’ve been considering doing for a while now because I’ve had two worrying incidents happen in the past week that have left me somewhat concerned.

The latest of these incidents happened two days ago when I received an excited email from a new ProBlogger reader (I have his permission to share this with you without using his name) who was writing to tell me that he’d just ‘turned Professional’ as a blogger and quit his job to go full time with blogging.

His email was written in an excited tone and was full of grand visions of blogs that would make lots of money. Not only was he excited but his partner was also as they had been reading numerous stories of bloggers making their riches from the medium over the past week. They have two little kids and he was excited to be able to stay home with his family to write each day and be able to provide an income for his family.

The email left me with a sinking feeling in my guts as I considered the decision that this guy had made to quit his secure job to become a Professional blogger. You see he’d only started his first blog a week ago – the day he handed in his resignation.

ProBlogger Public Service Announcement

It takes time to build a profitable blog. You do not just become a Professional Blogger anymore than you just become a Professional Golfer. It is not a decision you make, it is something you work towards over time.

I’d invite you to glance over tot he poll I’m currently running this week on how much money Bloggers are currently making from their blogs from Adsense. Look at the figures – not just the ones at the bottom, but all of them.

Over a third of those who have responded make less than $30 each Month – less than $1 per day. Around half of those who responded earn less than $100 per month – less than $3 per day. Those are numbers to consider before you launch into ProBlogging without a back up plan.

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Monkey Bar Blogging

A wise man once gave me some good advice on business. He reminded me of when as a child I would play on the Monkey Bar Play Gym equipment. If you want to get across the monkey bars, from one end to the other, the safest way to do it is to grab hold of the first bar and swing to the next without letting go of the first until you have a firm grip of the second one. As you let go of the first you propel yourself to the third without letting go of the second until you have a strong grip of the next one.

The quickest way to fall off the monkey bar and break a bone (I broke my collar bone doing this) is to try and skip a bar, or to let go of the first one before you grip the next one.

Business (and Professional Blogging) is the same. There are times when you need to take risks in business – but there are also times when you have to be sensible and have some sort of a backup plan. Don’t try and skip steps without being sure you can survive on where you’re at.

My Blogging Journey

When I first started blogging I was working two jobs part time. I had no idea that blogging would become an income stream for me – it was purely a hobby.

Six or so months later when I started to earn an income from it I was tempted to quit my jobs and go full time but I decided to be careful – and I’m glad I did.

There came a time when I let go of one of those part time jobs – when it became realistic that I would be able to earn enough from my blogging to make up for the loss of that income – but I did keep hold of one of the jobs. Later on I was able to relinquish the second part time job and go full time with my blogging.

In actual fact I have recently taken on another part time job for six months while we get ourselves settled with a new mortgage – partly becuase the role is an exciting opportunity, but also partly to ensure a steady back up income for 6 months in our time of transition.

I’ve been blogging for 2.5 years now and only recently could afford to ‘go Pro’ (and still don’t). I work 6-10 hours 7 days per week (sometimes more) and am updating 18+ blogs daily. It is hard work. I love it and wouldn’t do anything else – but consider the cost before you launch in.

Yes you CAN make a lot of money from Blogging – read the stories that are going around on blogs of people making decent money from blogging – but also read about the hard work and time that it’s taken them and remember that for every success story you read there are plenty of others around who have tried and failed to make more than a few dollars from their blogs.

I’m not wanting to dampen the excitement and dreams of Pro Bloggers – in fact the whole point of this blog is to help them reach those dreams – but I think its the responsibility of those of us who are ‘talking up’ blogging to also keep giving reality checks. Otherwise we’re going to end up with a lot of Bloggers that look a little like this guy on the Monkey Bars – handing on for dear life!

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About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jim says:

    This is a good reality check post. Walk before you run and definitely don’t quit the day job unless your blog is generating serious cash. I hope things work out for him.

  2. Screen Rant says:

    I agree. People have visions of making money online with hardly any time or effort. It takes a lot of both.

    Vic

  3. Not only is quitting your day job a bit crazy before you have actually blogged for awhile but you have to actually see if that’s what you like to do day in, day out. I love writing The Rock and Roll Report but there are times when I just don’t feel up to writing, Adsense clicks and Sitemeter stats be damned. I just have to take a break. For some bloggers, this break can often extend to a permanent one once they realize that perhaps writing everyday is not the thing for them. Blog daily for six months while still working your day job and then see how you feel about the whole thing. From there on in you can make a more reasonable and let’s face it responsible decision.
    I would love to blog full-time but reality has a way of sometimes biting you in the a$$. It is a dream I hope to achieve but not the reason I got into blogging in the first place and something that I think all bloggers should keep in mind. Do it for the love and not for the cash and hopefully, with a lot of hard work, the two will meet.

  4. Jon says:

    I believe you when you say that you can make a difference by putting down a lot of work in blogging, but you have to come up with some sensible stuff to write in the post. I would have serious problems filling 18 posts a day with something meaningful without sounding like a madman.

  5. Glen says:

    I have also been seeing the ads for people looking for full time bloggers. I have been running my two blogs for 4 months now and if I didn’t have another income I would be in a world of hurt. Considering my target audience it will be a minute before I see a sizeable enough profit to call my self a pro at what I do.

  6. Duncan says:

    The best advice I’ve read in a long time, we all dream of going pro, but particularly with kids you need to be careful, it’s why I still consider blogging my part time job/ or extremely fun and rewarding hobby and still continue to work f/t: firstly the mortgage doesn’t pay itself and putting the family at risk with no guarantees of riches is lunacy, but none the less I know we all respect the fact that you’ve managed to do Darren what many of us would like to (and no, Im not suggesting you were a lunatic :-) )

  7. Darren says:

    hehe – its been suggested many times Duncan. I suspect there is some lunacy in my approach – however I’m lucky enough to be married to a pretty switched on kinda woman who gives me a good dose of reality check every now and again.

    I guess its a kind of ‘controlled lunacy’

  8. Ella says:

    Now I won’t go and quit college!

  9. Wai Pyo says:

    Me too! Ella
    I’ll have to finish college first

  10. Portalia says:

    I know this one very well. As much as I like to tell everyone that starting in 2006 I’ll be a blogger and that I’m going to throw away my alarm clock, I do still have a consulting income for which I am in control of the tap.

    As the blog revenues rise, assuming they ever do, then I can close off the tap by not giving my time to other efforts.

    Currently, based on some non-blog properties that I’m starting to take an interest in, I’m raking in the big bucks indeed, totalling less than $30 per month. However, with a bit of work prior to going “full time” I have been raising the average income rate, so hopefully it is only a matter of time.

  11. Nicholas says:

    Excellent advice…. You always need advance planning as with any endeavor. Your life shouldn’t be a game of chance, but of sound strategy and planning. Success is always the goal, but the journey is often overlooked.

    God Bless.

  12. Ash Haque says:

    Great article guy

  13. Simon Pask says:

    I have to say that in the wealth of valuable information that you give on this site, that this is among the most sensible and topical thing here. I am in the stages of setting up 6-10 blogs on topics that I will refine (Blogs are born and Blogs die it’s all fluid) and I would like it to be a hobby that pays some compensation for my time invested. Like any blogger I dream of being in the position of being paid a full time wage to wax typographical.

    That is something that I believe comes with concentrating on excellent content and ad placement as a serious HOBBY. Do something you love for the enjoyment and treat the money as a bonus. If you are doing the right thing the money will come. If it covers buying a bottle of wine to drink while you type your next article you should be happy. If it covers your Mortgage and pays your bills down the road that’s great too. As stated here it is a long hard road ahead. But travel down the road taking in the wonder of it all instead of charging down the highway with only the destination in mind.

    You ever travelled somewhere that was going to take hours and found that it seemed like minutes because you found enjoyment on the way?

    Ever have to drive 15 minutes and it seemed like hours because you only had the destination in mind?

    Same thing here. Stop and smell the flowers. You have to make the journey you may as well enjoy it.

    Thanks again Darren.

  14. Bar Advice says:

    I must agree that the line you state…..

    It takes time to build a profitable blog. You do not just become a Professional Blogger anymore than you just become a Professional Golfer. It is not a decision you make, it is something you work towards over time.

    This is so true. I just think that people still must add their own thoughts to whatever

  15. I just started a new blog, and my problem is keeping it going. I usually lose interest fast, so I know I wont be quitting anytime soon.

  16. SilverDK says:

    I completely agree with the post.. It does indeed take hard work, dedication and time to build up a audience and presence to a point where you can start to each money with your blog..

    I think that many of us are attracted to the “Easy Money” way and some think that blogging provides it, but it very rarely (if ever) does.. I have read up on many different blogs and they all say the same thing: “It’s hard work to live off your blog”..

    Though many of us, in my opinion, is very attracted to the easy way to riches, which is prolly also why some of us fall into the traps of scams, that provide easy money for next to no work..

    Thanks for the post, i really enjoyed reading it.

  17. John Panico says:

    Great post!

    As the founder of the local real estate investment group, I have gone through the same scenario with my real estate investing. Internally, it would break my heart to see someone get into real estate investing after hearing stories of the riches that can be made up and quit their job and decide they were going to be a “flipper”

    While I never want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, I am also realistic enough to understand that had I not had a full time job, I couldn’t have acheived what I did with my real estate portfolio.

    I am looking at blogging about real estate investing in the same manner. Go slow, do alot of research and if I make money in the interim, great. If I don’t, I still have my job (which I still haven’t quit after 17 houses) to fall back on.

    At the very least, I will grow in the process and hopefully make some more friends.

  18. Sarah says:

    Hi Darren, Can I ask how many hours a week you end up putting into blogging now?

  19. seth says:

    It is a long process. I like that you are making sure that people understand what pro means… You wouldn’t become a lawyer without putting in the blood and sweat of law school, its the same with blogging. Thanks

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  7. [...] I’ve written about this before at Monkey Bar Blogging (a public service announcement that I wrote for bloggers a few months back) – it’s a post that I’d highly recommend anyone considering ‘Going Pro’ has a read of and that I’m going to add to the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog series because I think its so important. [...]

  8. [...] I’ve had a number of emails from readers in the last few days who are disillusioned with their earnings with Adsense. I can perhaps take some of the blame for their mood having posted my reality check post last week and by publishing the poll that we have running that highlights that the majority of bloggers using Adsense are only making a dollar (or three) per day. [...]

  9. [...] I’ve written on numerous occasions about the e-mails I regularly get from people telling me that they are quitting their job to become a full time blogger without much thought to how they’ll pay their bills in the year or three that it might take to build up their blogging to pay a reasonable wage. [...]

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