Inside: The internet is full of people telling you it’s easy to make money with a blog. I call BS; here’s why blogging is a terrible side hustle for some people.
Hey! You! Do you want to make hundreds of thousands of dollars while staying at home in your footie PJs? No one even has to know about those holes covering your nether bits! If so, then try my five-minute guide to blogging!
Have you ever read any advertisements like this? I’ll be honest; I was lured in by wording like this too, and for other reasons that I’ll get to later in this post.
It seems like the internet is full of bloggers blogging about how to blog (sometimes even about how to teach others to blog).
Yep. I’ll let you wrap your head around that one for a minute.
Almost every successful blogger you see out there has a guide about how to start your own blog, whether they actually blog about My Little Ponies or Twilight fan fiction. Hell, who knows—maybe I’ll even come up with one of these guides someday.
If you’re not a blogger, let me explain the reason behind this weird phenomenon: those bloggers are getting paid big bucks to point you in the direction of website hosting providers. It’s called affiliate marketing and just about all moneymaking bloggers do it; myself included. It’s how you pay the bills.
If blogger X refers you to website hosting provider Y, they get a cut of the sales. A perennial favorite hosting providers for bloggers to recommend is Bluehost (not an affiliate link), and if you sign up through their affiliate link, they’ll get paid $65.
That’s just $7 shy of their most popular hosting plan. Plus, they suck as a hosting company. If you get to the point where you actually do make any money from your blog, you’ll need to go through the hassle of migrating your website to a hosting provider that’s worth a damn.
- 1 Why is blogging a terrible side hustle idea?
- 1.1 Reason #1: It’s more likely that you’ll fail than succeed at blogging
- 1.2 Reason #2: You probably won’t actually make any money
- 1.3 Reason #3: It’s easy to spend too much money on blogging
- 1.4 Reason #4: It will distract you from other, more promising side hustles
- 1.5 Reason #5: You will feel like a failure
- 1.6 So, is blogging really a terrible side hustle idea?
Why is blogging a terrible side hustle idea?
Regardless of what everyone else (who are sometimes getting paid huge sums to point you to a sub-par service) says, I don’t think blogging is the instant ticket to making your riches. I do think that it’s a good side hustle idea—for only a select few.
In fact, I’ll come out and say it: I think blogging is a terrible side hustle idea…for many people.
Reason #1: It’s more likely that you’ll fail than succeed at blogging
Fact: The internet is a graveyard of abandoned blogs. Like Knit Nerd Lab (my very first!).
When you first get the brain tickle to start a blog, you know that the odds aren’t good. There are still updates about some dude’s lunch from back in 1995, for Pete’s sake. He gave up in 1996.
But, you tell yourself that you’re different. You’ve got a message to spread to the world, and the go-get’em attitude to tell it. After all, you didn’t give up the middle school cross country team until you could earn at least one medal at a meet (even if it was a participation medal).
Here’s the thing, though: blogging requires a different kind of persistence. One that they didn’t teach people in school, that fewer people have learned so far in life, and that most people aren’t down with. More on that below.
Moral of the story: you may succeed. But 1,000 other people who started with you will fail.
Reason #2: You probably won’t actually make any money
Blogging is like planting a seed.
A seed inside of a petri dish that you engineer a robot to care for, and then ship it off to Mars with the hopes of establishing a new rainforest.
It takes a looooooong damn time to make any money of significance. I just started last year, and want to know my total revenue? $14.63.
Yes, there are those freak bloggers who make tons of money right out of the gate. To them, I say this: you need to meet up with Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye to form a brain trust and save the world. Seriously.
Most bloggers agree that it takes several years of building up a following before you ever make any real money from your blog.
And because it takes so long, most people quit far before then because they find out they can’t actually make hundreds of dollars next month while staying at home in their footie PJs. Thus, I’d wager my Uncle Bob that most people never actually earn enough to buy a month’s worth of Netflix.
Reason #3: It’s easy to spend too much money on blogging
The Interwebz are chock-full of frustrated bloggers trying to figure out something—anything—that they can do to finally make it big.
If you’re one of those bloggers, you know well that your Facebook feed is full of other bloggers touting products that will aide you in your quest. Every other damn post is an ad from a different blogger telling you that if you just buy their course for $1,200, you will finally unlock access to the Holy Grail.
Let’s also not forget about the endless myriad of tools that the real pros use. Email marketing systems, social media schedulers, plugins galore. Faster hosting, CDNs, website redesigns, VAs, stock photos, tech support…
Almost none of these products ever come with a guarantee that it’ll be the thing to make you one of the Chosen Few (for obvious reasons). If I were to pack up shop tomorrow and give up blogging today, I’d lose out on over a grand that I’ve invested into this blog so far.
Reason #4: It will distract you from other, more promising side hustles
Last year, I made $14.63 from my blog, and $10,331.57 from freelance writing.
I probably worked on my blog at least as much as my freelance writing business. How much more would I have now if I focused on actual paid work rather than my blog?
But I will say more.
If you need money pronto, then blogging is not the side hustle for you. You need to consider other side hustles if you’re still living in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle or haven’t saved up at least a small emergency fund.
You don’t have to give up your blogging dreams; just put them on the backburner while you move your way to a more stable situation. Then, use that experience as writing fodder for your blog and pen (type?) the shit out of it.
Reason #5: You will feel like a failure
People generally start blogs for a few reasons:
- To make money
- To make their voice heard
- To help others
- To post pictures of lunches
Except for that last one, all of these rely on other people coming to your blog.
By now, you know that most blogs fail. Why do they fail?
Spoiler alert: No one comes to their blog.
Most of your first year (or even years) of blogging will basically be shouting into an empty room. And if your goal is to share your personal genius with the world, that hurts. If your goal is to make money, that hurts.
It’s sort of like when you’re the last kid to the lunchroom, and there are no seats with your friends left. Or, you write a love letter to a secret crush that ends up in a flurry of embarrassment and disappointment.
You could spend hours writing something that quite honestly is genius, baring your soul to the world, and get a single comment on your blog: “What’s it take to become a sublime exoednupr of prose like yourself?” from the esteemed “Canadian-rx-meds” with a link to a spam website (this is an actual comment I picked up from my blog).
These feelings of failure are further compounded by the legions of seemingly successful bloggers. They could do it; why can’t you? Surely the dysfunction must be in you. That, or maybe they really can see the holes in your footie PJs.
Whispers of doubt starts to nag at you each day. You try to fend them off like stray bits of grass caught in a weed-whacker, but some stick.
Only the people who’ve cropped out or pushed past these nagging doubts ever become successful. And, I think, they still probably feel these doubts even still.
So, is blogging really a terrible side hustle idea?
For some people, absolutely. Most people, in fact, especially if you count the general public full of people who can’t even figure out how to log onto the dang-nabbit Google machine.
Blogging is one long Olympic-length marathon in persistence, adaptability, and conquering mindf@#ks.
But, for those who are able to stick with it, there are big rewards (or so the leprechaun told me). More on that in next week’s blog post… Make sure to sign up below to get on the newsletter so you don’t miss it!
What do you think? What reasons can you think of that blogging would be a terrible side hustle? Leave a comment below!