Blogging has been my full-time job for well over two years now. I think it’s fair to say that people still don’t fully get it though. This is fair enough. It has to be one of the newest vocations out there and new things can take a while for us to get our heads around.
As a result, I get asked a lot of questions about how this works. The intentions are always good and, usually, it results in an interesting discussion. I have to admit, though, that some things people say are starting to grate.
Yes, I’m lucky to do something I enjoy for a living and there’s no disputing the fact that I’ve had some amazing experiences as a result of it. That’s not to say that it’s an easy existence though. Because it isn’t. There is a misconception, however, that it is fairly cushy and this is at the root of many of said questions.
So to do my little bit to contribute to perceptions changing, here are six things not to say to a professional blogger.
There’s no such thing as a professional blogger, surely?
There’s definitely a stigma around the concept of being a professional blogger and, sadly, I’ve seen people troll others for it on social media. I’m the family’s only earner and, although I make much less than I did in my last job, it’s enough to provide for us all. I use the same skills that I gained professionally too. So, to my mind, there’s no question. I’m a professional blogger.
You’re a blogger? That’s cool, but what’s your real job?
This is usually accompanied by a look which expresses the sentiment “Hang on in there, sunshine.” Obviously, the first response is to politely repeat the answer in different words as it is my real job! I also remind them of the way people reacted to the first social media manager jobs being created in the mid noughties. Nobody’s knocking that as a career choice now.
I can’t believe companies pay you to write about them!
Well they pay for publicity in traditional media and some studies have shown that people trust bloggers more, so why wouldn’t they? Plus, on the flip side, why on earth would I work for free?
I should start a blog. It would be great to get loads of free stuff!
Remember the adage “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Yeah, that. Products for review are a means to an end. How can you share your opinions on something without having it in front of you? There’s a lot of work that goes into producing and promoting reviews too. I often spend up to a day on posts like this and am not usually paid for them.
How much do you claim in benefits?
Yes, someone genuinely phoned a radio station to ask this after I did an interview about work-life balance. I like that they assumed I was a scrounger and the only question related to the extent to which I was a burden on taxpayers! Apart from family allowance – which anyone responsible for a child under 16 gets anyway – we claim nothing. I have a job which provides for my family so there’s no need to claim anything.
You’ve got an easy job compared to me.
Someone actually said this to my face. First things first, it’s pretty much impossible to quantify this. Secondly, there’s much more to blogging than the end product. The analogy of a swan in water rings true here. Beneath the metaphorical surface, I’m ‘paddling’ furiously through numerous tasks every day.
Proofreading, image editing, SEO optimising, fact checking and video editing take large amounts of my time. As do planning blog and social media content, email tennis, negotiating rates, going through contracts, managing finances and chasing overdue invoices. Then there’s the pressure of meeting the monthly earnings targets I set myself. I rarely achieve everything I aim to on any given day. So, no. It’s not easy.
If you make an income out of blogging, what are the questions that annoy you the most?