It really depends on whom you’re asking… your super supportive aunt? Well, then it’s a great career choice. If you’re asking your school guidance counselor or your conservative parents, it probably won’t go over too well. Blogging certainly has the potential to be a viable career choice, but when will it be accepted by the general public as a career choice?
There are really 3 issues
1. Perceived minimal barriers to entry.
2. Most people don’t truly understand blogs and how they can be monetized.
3. The success rate of making a decent living isn’t very good.
Anyone can be a blogger. While it’s not easy to earn a living as a blogger, it’s easy to become a blogger. What do you really need? A free or very inexpensive website and the application of your time. Any career that has minimal barriers to entry is not going to be accepted by those that are more conservative. Their belief is that you should have to go to school, receive training, and at least do something to earn the right or the experience/knowledge needed to become a blogger. Blogging is a relatively new field. School and colleges are usually ten years behind the real world in terms of determining what training is vital to the workforce. Many colleges only recently began offering degrees in Web Design. I work at a high school in New York. I have yet to see any teacher complete or attempt any lesson plans related to blogging.
The truth is, most successful bloggers are far more sophisticated in their blogging activities than those that fail. While some folks are superb writers and luck into the right niche, the successful bloggers I know are constantly testing, reviewing, and planning how to best construct their blogs. The blog is treated as a business at all times. Anyone can start a business, not many are successful.
Typically, people don’t pay for access to read a blog; the blog is free. While blogging is certainly similar to being an author in many ways, authors are normally paid for their writing. Bloggers are normally paid through marketing. If your school guidance counselor realized that blogging is largely about effective marketing, she might be a little more accepting.
A blog has a lot in common with a television show. You don’t have to send MTV a couple of dollars every time you watch Jersey Shore. A reader doesn’t have to pay to read a blog. MTV earns money by charging advertisers for commercial time. A blogger can earn money through a variety of means including: selling ad space, Google adsense, reviewing or recommending products that are part of an affiliate program, monetizing their e-mail list directly or through list swaps, etc. In many ways, a blog is similar to a television show that has minimal production costs. The blog simply serves to attract people that are then exposed to the blogger’s marketing efforts.
How big can this dream be? Occasionally, a blogger might hit it big and do seminars, or get a movie made about her life, or be offered a contract to write a novel. Conducting seminars is not out of the question, if the blog material is conducive to that. The movie and novel are highly unlikely, but not 100% out of the question.
The other limiting factor to blogging being accepted as a career is the poor success rate. Depending on whom you ask, there are approximately 165 million blogs and over 60,000 new blogs being created every 24 hours. It’s true that many people have more than a single blog, but clearly there isn’t enough room in the world for all bloggers to make $40k+ yearly. While being a successful blogger isn’t as unlikely as becoming a movie star, the numbers don’t lie. Many people will never be accepting of a career choice with such poor odds. So be it. Someone has to be a movie star, astronaut, bestselling author, or NFL quarterback. It could be you, but you’re going to have to expect that you won’t be well supported by everyone; highly successful people rarely are.
So when will blogging be accepted as career choice? The short answer: Some people are already accepting, some are not. Most of those that are not accepting will not be accepting until the above issues are addressed. The really short answer: Who cares? People that have never been successful as bloggers don’t have an informed opinion. Choosing something unusual as a career choice will never be entirely popular. Just be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into from the beginning.
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