My good friend Steven Hodson reflected today on his trek from solo blogger to profitable blogger today in a piece entitled “Guess what – being an income making blogger isn’t cut & dry.”
Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one thinking this: Does Steven even need to sign his posts anymore? I can pretty much spot them a mile off just based on the title. I’m just waiting for Mark Dykeman to parody his style like he’s done so many others.
But in his piece he describes all the methods for making money that are often trotted out for those of us who really want to make a go of it:
- Advertising for the blogosphere is broken, particularly for small-time bloggers or bloggers with less than large audiences. I’d tend to agree.
- You can make money because of your blogging is BS. It isn’t completely BS, in my opinion, but it isn’t the panacea it’s painted out to be. Most people want to blog about what they want to blog about when they want to blog about it. They want the blog to reflect them and their changing and evolving passions. It’s difficult to remain focused on a single topic the length of time it takes to become recognized enough to make money just for knowing a lot about it.
- Selling TShirts only works when you’re Chris Brogan or some species of Laughing Squid. Again, pretty correct. The only time I made money selling merch was when I was fairly high profile and running BlipMedia, my old podcast hosting company. For the record, my “Adam Curry is a Jerk” shirt was the best seller.
- Writing a Book. I’m trying this one now, so I’m not sure how much of a big money maker it is. I’ll get back to you on that, but I’m inclined to say that it isn’t going to be the best sole source of income.
- PayPal Donations – they probably work when you’re fairly prominent. As an up an comer, the only time this worked for me was when I was stuck in a crisis situation, and I needed some extra income to actually survive.
Steven’s ultimate solution is to keep hacking at it, and you’ll eventually graduate to some level of fiscal success. My route is a bit different.
I was blogging tech long before Michael Arrington ever thought of profiling a Valley startup. I’ve been blogging almost daily (with a few vacations) since I was about 16 years old, and there wasn’t such a thing as blogging software.
Just showing up and doing your best isn’t the be all end all, obviously (because I’m still blogging over here, and Mike is Mike. There are other elements involved somewhere). Here’s what finally put me over the edge: giving myself a deadline.
A few years ago, I decided that I was going to make a full-time living from freelance and internet journalism. I quit my job and my other contracts, and kept pursuing the dollars until I made enough money to support myself and my family.
Hunger is a powerful motivator, and I guess that’s my secret: commitment. You identify the possible ways to make it happen and profitable, and work tirelessly to make it happen.