Entrepreneurship, running a startup or freelancing are the new in-thing and several youngsters are taking this path, ditching otherwise sought after corporate careers. Many of them are lured by the huge potential of being independent and the opportunity to follow one’s passion.
In the space of blogging, many bloggers have said good bye to their salaried jobs and have taken blogging full time. They review products/services, attend events, undertake paid blogging, earn from advertising and are able to happily make a living off blogging.
Many people asked me why I am not taking up blogging full time. I had that thought couple of times, but the downside of it forced me against it. Here’re some reason why I didn’t consider taking up blogging full time.
· Blogging has its value as long as it is treated at par with journalism. When companies invite journalists for an event, journalists are not paid to cover the event. (Company may take care of Journalist’s travel & stay expenses, may give some gifts etc, but no hard cash is given). This way journalist and his/editor will have the liberty to write a fair story. When cash is paid, there’ll be an expectation for an all positive and overhyped publicity, which will not be in the interest of readers. Similarly when a blogger is free to write as per his/her thoughts, readers will appreciate it. When it becomes paid, content will be highly favorable to the sponsor, hence readers’ interest will be compromised. Unlike journalists who work for a magazine/media house and get paid by their employer and not those who invite them for events, full time bloggers may need some money to cover their expenses and time. But after paying money will the sponsoring company let the blogger write freely? In most of the cases expectation will be very high and blog post will sound like an advertisement.
· When one blogs for money, lot of obligations come with it. When I attend an event or review a product without financial angle to it, I will be free to write about my experience. When money come in to play, organizers will be demanding a lot. Writing all positive note just to please the sponsor spoils the fun of blogging and readers will soon lose interest in the blog. Companies do not like to see even a single negative comment, they may not like you writing about competition, be available at their beck and call.. All these are not in right spirit of blogging.
· Art of Negotiating: There’s no fixed financial terms in Social Media. It all depends on your bargaining power and value of your work as perceived by those who are willing to pay. Effort spent in negotiating, invoicing and dealing with such after effects may not be worth it
· Can you do it for free: Bloggers get lot of invites to attend events. If I say “you need to cover my travel and stay expenses”, some of them back out, while others try to convey “Allowing you to attend this event for free is the opportunity you’re getting, so don’t ask for more”. If additional payments are to be sought on top of travel and stay expenses, the number would come further. To make a living out of it would mean one has to sell himself to organizers, follow up on payments, meet their expectations and so on. All these will dilute the primary focus- the blog
· No blog reader likes to be flooded with marketing materials.
· When you rely on your blog for a living, there’ll be constant pressure to increase reader base, page views, links, comments and so on. My belief is that a blogger should focus on quality content and rest would follow suit. But not all will have the patience to grow their blog organically over a period of time. Then there are uncertainty- will blogging survive for another 3-4 years? What if blogging dies a death like Orkut? What are the backup plans? Call yourself as a social media expert and offer consultancy on increasing fans on facebook pages? Go back to corporate life?
As of now I am happy to continue with my full time job and pursue blogging as a hobby in the free time. I might miss some opportunities because of this, but it is fine.