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How to tell your Partner you’re going to be a ProBlogger

Chrish has posted an interesting post over at Quertyrash titled ‘How do you tell your better half you’re going to be a pro-blogger?‘ He writes:

‘Was just chatting to a friend and told her:

How do i tell my wife?!! “It’s okay dear, I’m just gunna play on the internet for a couple of years to see if i can make some money”

Somehow, I can’t see my wife going for that…’

I can speak a little from personal experience on this topic. My wonderful partner’s name is ‘V’ and she has been a massive part of my blogging journey in an indirect way. While ‘V’ has never had a blog and rarely reads any that I write – she has been incredibly supportive of me building up this business – particularly in the past 18 months. How did we get to this point? Well to be honest it’s been a bit of a journey and I would give the following advice:

• Take your time - if I’d come out and told ‘V’ two years ago that I was going to quit my job and become a professional blogger she would have thought I was a nutter. Come to think of it I would probably have agreed with her. Our journey towards generating a full time income from blogging has been a slow and gradual process which has evolved over time. I’ve always been up front with her about what I’d hoped my blogging would achieve – but at the same time have not gotten ahead of myself and become delusional about the process. Don’t hype blogging up to be bigger than it is but show its potential.

• Show results and Make Projections - in the early days of my pro-blogging when I was just earning a few dollars per day I tracked my monthly earnings in a spreadsheet and graphed it like the graph on this recent post. The early days were not much to write home about. I’ve written about it previously but instead of just tracking the actual total numbers I made a point of tracking the percentage increases in earnings from month to month. The first 9 or so months increased by these sorts of percentages:

1st to 2nd month – 126%
2nd to 3rd month- 93%
3rd to 4th month – 39%
4th to 5th month- 3.5%
5th to 6th month – 65%
6th to 7th month – 50%
7th to 8th month – 51%
8th to 9th month – 45%

The point is that while the numbers were small at the time I could see that if I could keep these sorts of increases in earnings up that in time the totals could be quite massive. This was the message i kept communicating to ‘V’ – showing the actual results and projections of where it could go.

• ‘Real Job’ – Ever since I started blogging I’ve had a ‘real job’ of some description – at times I’ve had two or three part time jobs. While in time the vision for becoming a full time blogger became more and more of a reality we took the approach that we wanted to be safe and responsible and that we’d gradually scale back my other work as the blogging brought in more income. When it proved itself and reached various milestones I cut back on other work. In fact in the next month I’ll finish up my last other ‘real job’ and go completely full time. I’ve held onto the other job not just for the money (although when I took it on it was good supplementary income) but because it was something I was passionate about and it also gave me something else outside of blogging to focus my time upon (sanity reasons).

• Time Limit/Deadlines – One of the things that ‘V’ and I did that was very helpful was to set some goals and to put deadlines asto when each should be achieved in order for things to progress. I remember at one stage we decided that I had six months to make it work or not. If at that point i wasn’t earning a certain amount from my blogging I would have to go out and get a proper full time job. The goal was sensible (as in it was enough to justify the time I was putting in) but it was also achievable and not impossible to reach.

This was good for us both because it gave us a point in time to work towards. It also meant I had to get very very serious about seeing my vision come into being. I worked harder in those six months than I’ve ever done before. It was good for ‘V’ also because it meant that she knew when this crazy obsession of mine would end if I didn’t make it work.

I also recommend this ‘deadline’ aspect because to be honest there are just times when blogging for money just won’t work and no amount of time and energy will make it do so. Deadlines are good in helping us to put to bed ideas that fit into this category so that we can move on with life and explore other options.

Involve Your Partner - While ‘V’ does not get involved in the day to day running of my blogs I do seek her advice on a number of different aspects of what I do and have a standing invitation to her to become more involved. I consult with her before spending money, on new blogs that I want to start, on design etc. This is not about getting permission (although I see her as my board of directors in a sense and want to be accountable to her) but also about getting another perspective from someone removed from the day to day of blogging. It also gives a sense of ownership to her which helps a lot.

I won’t pretend that this aspect of my blogging business is always easy sailing – there have been times where ‘V’ has thought I was out of my mind (she was right a few times and I was on others) but the key for us has been to keep the communication channels open (both ways). She has made some significant sacrifices in letting me follow my dreams (as have I) but together we’ve tried to work it out in a way that is both sensible but also gives freedom for some grand dreams to be realized.

I’m interested in others experience and advice. How have you worked through some of these issues? What advice would you give?

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. I would say : if I opened a store, I would likely get a 2% return on capital for a 12-hour day. And the initial outlay for inventory, rent, advertising would be very large. Blogging, in contrast, has little outlay apart from a broadband connection, half-decent computer, a few dollars for a domain name and hosting. Incredibly small really. Time is the major investment, but if you’re not of a journalistic mentality ~ i.e. prepared to do a lot of research and spew out a great many words on a regular basis, it’s not worth the candle. But if you are, you stand a chance … just. :-)

  2. maruthi says:

    Hmmm, this is an interesting topic. I dont have experience in this as i am not yet married :). But i think many of the points said in this post also apply to parents (and other members of the family) if the aspiring problogger is staying with his/her parents.

  3. LcF says:

    my friend, not a problogger but earning from Adsense, let his wife knows how much he is earning fron Internet, the potential revenues in the future and the free time for family… at the end, his wife urge him to quit, instead. ;-)

  4. Wow… I have to wonder — if your marriage/partnership is based on mutual respect and trust, then is all this necessary? It seems like the above approach is based on the expectation of a fear reaction from the partner.

    I guess this approach would be more commonly used in families where starting a new business is perceived as scary or risky. But if the relationship has a bit more courage in its blood to begin with, then the reaction you’d get for suggesting a new business venture would more likely be excitement rather than fear. You’d be met with encouragement rather than resistance.

    If I found myself in a relationship with someone whose first reaction to my business ideas was fear, I’d find myself a new relationship. Naysayers are good for running your ideas past them to look for holes in your thinking, but I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with one.

    So if telling your partner is such a big concern, then maybe you should be more concerned about the quality of the relationship itself.

  5. Mathew says:

    Wow… I have to wonder — if your marriage/partnership is based on mutual respect and trust, then is all this necessary?

    Partnerships based on mutual respect and trust tend to stay that way if you show respect to your partner by involving them in potentially life changing decisions…not just telling them.

    It’s not about getting permission, it’s about giving your partner the opportunity to be part of the decision. Or to use a horrible business phrase ‘getting buy-in’. Nicely put, Darren.

  6. Jon says:

    I just showed my wife your 6-figures article and the 15k a month.
    She handcuffed me to my desk and she brings me fresh coffee every couple hours :)

  7. HART says:

    Heck. I don’t want to be a problogger, I just want to support an annual vacation from blogging. I think I need about 2-3 hours per day to do that, although over the summer it has been about 4-8 hours per day easy. My wife wants nothing of this blogging notion. I’ve given up trying to bring her into my world. I am self-employed. Gawd only knows if I mention what a normal day might be, say trying to meet a deadline, trying to collect from a client who is over 60 days, doing non-billable work and shopping for supplies, etc – the type of support I receive .. is “Told You. You should quit your business and get a full-time job – then you wouldn’t have to do all of that” …

    So, my advise is to share the glory but, don’t bother talking about the down days and even the good days and every little thing … if you were working at a company, would you do the same thing?

    It’s worked out much better for me. What she doesn’t know, won’t hurt me. She knows when it’s a REALLY good day because I say it is, and she is happy for me. If she really wanted to know what’s going on in my business elsewhere,
    - she can see all the bills and see if they are being paid
    - she can watch my pile of work either grow or shrink in my “To Do” box
    - all my blogs are online, she can read them herself or even post an occasional comment to boost my moral
    - etc etc

    I have been at this for 3 full months now. At first my wife started to accuse me of ‘blogging all of the time’ … (some days it was true, most of the times it was not) ..Regardless, whether or not it’s true it’s a blow to self-esteem i.m.h.o.

    So, now I replace all my verbs with the term blogging… See my article here.. http://1800hart.com/blog/2005/08/hart-are-you-blogging-all-friggin-day/

  8. Ray says:

    Hee Hee! I found the resistance from my wife melted away when she saw my cheque first cheque from Google.

  9. tom says:

    if these women don’t support you then boot them out!!

    a woman should support a man and his dreams no matter what, otherwise she is not worth the time!

    dont be a slave!

    get some balls and go for your dreams…

  10. Stuart says:

    I’ve just got to comment on what Steve Pavlina said because it sounds so wrong.

    A marriage is a partnership – a joint enterprise – a couple seeking a common goal. So why someone wouldn’t want to discuss things with his wife – as Darren does with ‘V’ sure beats me.

    And it seems strange to suggest that Steve and tom have a lot in common but it sure seems that way.

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Steve: you wrote – ‘I have to wonder — if your marriage/partnership is based on mutual respect and trust, then is all this necessary? It seems like the above approach is based on the expectation of a fear reaction from the partner.’

    I’m not sure about you – but if my partner were to come to me and say they wanted to do a complete change of job into an untested market in which they had no experience I’d have an element of fear. I’d also expect that they would do some of the things that we did above.

    Perhaps I should have also mentioned the encouragement and excitement that the process I’ve outlined was peppered with. V was and continues to be extremely encouraging.

    The way I/we approached this was out of our mutual respect and trust for one another – in direct contrast to ‘Tom’s’ approach (comment 9).

    I’d also suggest that ‘Naysayers’ may not be the best place to take your initial ideas but that they have an important part to play in any new business. I go out of my way to find people who can be critical about ideas to run my plans past – I figure if I can get them past them they can survive anything. Of course you don’t want to take baby unformed ideas to them – but I see a place for it in the process somewhere. If all you do is surround yourself with ‘yes people’ who only ever encourage and affirm then you might just be running with an idea that has no real legs – you’d be deluding yourself.

    In actual fact part of the reason I wrote this post is because I see a lot of bloggers deluding themselves and in the process are leading themselves (and in some cases their families) up the garden path. I just don’t think its responsible to do this.

    Tom: time to stop living in the 50′s dude.

  12. ChrisH says:

    Having read Steve’s bio on his website, I can fully understand where he’s coming from. He does demonstrate excellent success in achieving his goals. He is certainly the sort of person who when he decides to do something, you can expect he will succeed.

    I certainly don’t fall into that category. I tend to be the opposite in fact, attempt many things and move on at the slightest difficulties. So how do I convince my wife this will be any different?

    We have a reasonably strong relationship of 11 years and four children so it’s not enough to “boot them out” just because she’s dubious.

    Unless you’re a Steve, any partner is going to be concerned about a venture like problogging. It’s only natural.

    For me, the only way I can bring her onside is to show her “runs on the board”. Both in content and cheques.

    The real answer to this question “How do I tell my partner?” is unique to each of us.

    - For Tom it’s “Support me or you’re out of here”
    - For Steve it’s just “Hi honey, I’m going to be a pro-blogger.” because his wife knows his record of success
    - For Darren, it’s “I’m looking at this problogging and think I can really make it work. What’s your thoughts?”
    - For me it’s just some gentle nudging until I get my first decent cheque

  13. ChrisH says:

    BTW I’m not picking on Steve – his blog is a must read. Here’s my favorite quote I’ve found on it thus far:

    “Many people only seem to set goals that they’ve already figured out how to achieve, like the people on the freeway who only signal they want to change lanes when they already see an opening. But the biggest, hairiest, most audacious goals require that you first commit yourself, even when you can’t see the path to success. Only after you’re fully committed do you then attract the resources, knowledge, and skills you need.”

    That is so spot on. Thanks Steve.

  14. Darren Rowse says:

    Well said Chris. I was going to add a comment about personality types and different styles of relationships also but I think you’ve summed it up well.

    btw – I like Steve’s blog too.

  15. Andy Merrett says:

    I’ve talked about blogging with my wife, and after a few months of not really understanding what I’d been messing about with for the previous year or so, she now does ‘get it’ – to the extent that she is writing her own blog on the subject of stress.

    As I currently work full-time we have agreed to times that I can spend exclusively blogging. I report back the fairly paltry earnings thus far with AdSense etc. – Darren I like your idea about the % increases – I set that up on a spreadsheet last night and it’s a good idea.

    We haven’t set any deadline, per se, but will monitor how things are going. It looks like this could be part of a bigger picture as we are both looking into doing new things, freeing up more time, etc. – because of this I don’t feel like my activities are in isolation from where we’re going as a couple.

    If it all starts to look shaky, and merely stays as a ‘hobby’ then I guess we’ll look into other avenues.

  16. ChrisH says:

    How long does it take to become proficient in a musical instrument if you’ve never played before? How long before you could make a living from it?

  17. Short Quotes says:

    i’ve heard it said that the first time you get some real money – say an adsense cheque – to take it out, let your partner see the real money (without making a big deal about it), and spend it on a dinner at a nice restaurant for the both of you.

    this makes the money real – and it helps to ground it into your everyday experiences together. it’s also a nice way of saying “thanks for the support”