In my recent question box Nick from Put Things Off asked me a number of questions that I thought I’d answer together as a single post as they almost read like a mini-interview – with questions revolving around the legitimacy of blogging as a career, helping others to accept it (family especially) etc. These are questions I get a bit – so I hope this is helpful.
Have your partner, family and friends always accepted blogging as a serious full time profession?
Hell No! :-)
Actually they I’m surprised just how supportive they’ve been overall, but there was a time when I first started to talk about blogging as a potential job, business and career when I’m pretty sure that people thought that I might be having an early midlife crisis.
I totally understand their reaction because when I first began to realize the potential of blogging to become a money maker I had a lot of doubts and uncertainty myself. I almost pushed the ideas from my mind and got ‘real jobs’ on numerous occasions however for some reason I kept on track and managed to convince those around me that what I was doing had potential.
I’m often asked how a blogger should convince their partner about the potential of blogging….
I think the thing that convinced people the most was not my telling them how blogging could earn money but by showing them. I’m thinking particularly of my wife here who understandably had some doubts (remember 4 years ago no-one was really making a living from blogging – or they weren’t talking about it if they were – I couldn’t even point her to examples of anyone else doing it). What convinced her was that cheques gradually started to arrive in the mail and money started to trickle into our bank account. Over time this was the clincher.
The other thing I’d say that helped me convince V about blogging as a profession was that I really took it gradually and over time. Originally I worked numerous part time jobs while I blogged – I gradually increased my investment of time into blogging as the income that it was bringing in justified it. You can read more about his process here in my story of becoming a ProBlogger.
What work are you doing to change peoples’ perceptions of your profession?
I’m not sure that I’m doing much that is intentional to change people’s perceptions. In my personal relationships I obviously talk about blogging and people see and hear about some of the successes of what I do on the grapevine.
However in the bigger picture of helping the wider public to have a change in perception about blogging I think that this naturally happens over time as more and more people become familiar with blogging as a medium.
When I first started blogging five or so years ago it was a fairly uncommon thing to do (at least here in Australia) and I regularly had to explain what a blog was. Then over time more and more people understood what a blog was but I found myself explaining how a blog could make money. In more recent times I’m finding I need to explain how they make money more and more – people are gradually becoming more familiar with the concept over time.
Sure I still get raised eyebrows when I say what I do sometimes – but I think that that’s more because they’re surprised that a guy like me can do it (I’m fairly ‘ordinary’) rather than them being surprised that it’s possible.
In 2008, is “problogger” an acceptable job title?
I’m not really sure it’s unacceptable. I’ve heard some pretty wacky job titles over the last few years – I think ‘problogger’ is still going to get people having a second look when they see it on a resume or form, but it’s not too crazy…. is it? Of course I don’t use this term that much (read on).
What do you call yourself on professional forms like mortgage applications etc?
You can watch my video on this topic here. I don’t think I’ve ever used ‘blogger’ on a form in the occupation space – I tend to use web publisher.
If your kid/s told you they wanted to grow up to be probloggers just like Dad, what advice would you give them?
I’d tell them that they’re probably 20 years too late. While I’m sure blogging will last for years I’m also pretty sure that there will be plenty of other forms of communication arise in the next 20 years before my kids get to working age that they’ll probably want to explore first.
I think blogging will continue to grow but that those wanting to make serious money from it will need to become familiar with other mediums also. I’d rather encourage my kids to learn about principles of communication and become savvy with technology than to just focus upon becoming ‘bloggers’. Blogging might be a part of what they do but I think a broader perspective will set them up better.
It seems to me that there’s a long way to go before blogging is accepted as a serious career path, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’m not so sure that it really matters whether blogging is seen as an accepted career path when it comes to the wider population. There are plenty of very successful people out there following their dreams and doing unorthodox things very successfully that are not stopped by people saying it’s not a legitimate career path.
Of course I’m talking there about the big picture – it gets harder when the ones that you love and live with struggle to accept the dreams we have. I wrote more about this back in 2005 in a post called How to Tell Your Partner that You’re Going to Be a ProBlogger. I still stand by most of what I wrote there and hope it helps others who find themselves in this situation.
PS: The last thing that I’ll say on the topic of convincing others that you want to be a Professional Blogger is that at times it’s important to listen to them. While it is possible to go Pro as a blogger the reality is that not everyone makes it and sometimes those around us are the voice of reason. Help those around you to see the possibility but also give them permission to have a say and keep you living in reality. It’s a tricky balance sometimes but my concern is that I’ve seen a number of bloggers blaze ahead without listening to those around them – sometimes with some fairly drastic consequences. Tread carefully.