Over the weekend, thanks to a feed refresh (again) in Bloglines of the Performancing.com feed, the owner of this very blog, David Krug wrote a post titled Becoming a Professional Blogger was Never as Easy as Today. Naturally before I start this editorial, I’m on the payroll here, from David, so there is a preexisting professional relationship. Lets hope I’m not about to destroy it…but having said that I know he’s got thick skin, unlike some others of late.
Becoming a Professional Blogger was never harder than today, except maybe 3-4 years ago when the revenue wasn’t there.
David’s argument in short is that the tools and knowledge are now freely available and hence everyone has the power to use them to become a professional blogger.
I’m reminded of an episode of the excellent BBC series Top Gear which I literally watched last night in Australia on SBS (we’re about 12 months behind the UK). Presenter Jeremy Clarkson took the challenge of finding out whether knowledge of a race track gained by (car) racing on a Playstation can be used on a real track, in this case California’s Laguna Seca. Suffice to say, despite numerous attempts at matching his time from the Playstation, Clarkson feel short…indeed by a considerable time difference. He concluded with words to the affect that knowledge of a track doesn’t relate to the fact that to actually achieve in real life using that knowledge, you must have an exception skill set, in this case the veracity and fearlessness of a professional racing car driver.
The same holds true in blogging. The knowledge is there, but using that knowledge doesn’t automatically give you the edge to be a professional blogger.
Having said that though, there has never been a better time to make money from blogging, but there is a line between making a decent part time/ extra income and actually blogging for a living.
I’m comfortable in saying that I could train any one to the point that they were making a reasonable part time income from blogging. I don’t however hold the recipe for the magic star dust that creates a professional blogger. Dare I suggest that dependent on your own beliefs, the secret recipe is either inherited in the genes, or bestowed by god.
But how many really professional bloggers are there? those that are actually making there income entirely from blogging? Take a quick sweep across the top of the blogosphere and find someone who actually makes a living from blogging alone. You’d be hard pressed, if you found someone at all. What you usually find is that top bloggers often act as editors, for example Peter Rojas at Engadget, not only blogging but managing other bloggers. Others used their knowledge gained from blogging to do other things, blog networks, ebooks, training, speaking gigs to name but a few.
And last but not least: the competition. Many people who made good money from blogging, even at times being a professional blogger, did so because they were either lucky or had good timing. If you started a niche topic blog 3-4 years ago you’d have a pretty good chance of having made a living from it. The problem today is that just about every single vertical you can think of is being blogged by someone, and chances are that many of them are trying to reach the level where they are blogging for a living. If, as David’s article suggests, the knowledge is freely available, everyone could and is using it. Competition today is more fierce than it has ever been. Again though, you can make money from blogging, good money, but there is a line between this and becoming a professional blogger.
If you are dreaming of becoming a professional blogger, dreams are good. Books such as Think Big and Grow Rich are true, if you don’t aim high you’ll never get there. I wish you all the luck in the world, but note that don’t be disappointed if you don’t get there, if you can make a decent part time income and most importantly of all, enjoy doing it, it can be far more rewarding than all the money in the world.