The global pandemic has taught us all that having a job you can work from home is huge. Although my son’s school was shutdown, I was able to keep working as a blogger on Financial Samurai. The fact that I could keep my business open made me an even bigger believer that blogging is the best business in the world.
A successful business is one that has high profit margins, a defensible revenue stream, can be scaled, and is hopefully fun to operate. Blogging fits all these categories.
Making money is all about identifying opportunity and doing everything possible to succeed until that window of opportunity closes. But most people are too afraid to take any major risks. Why should we when we have the luxury of employment to keep us comfortably numb.
Opportunities And Taking Risks
The two most common people who take risks are: 1) those who start with little or nothing, and who therefore have little or nothing to lose, and 2) those who come from rich families and who also don’t have anything to lose. When your name is William Henry Gates III, you’re not exactly going to starve on the streets if you drop out of college.
For those of us in the middle class, we only make a change once we’re agitated enough to take action. For me, I decided I had enough of banking after 13 years. The correlation between reward and performance broke down after the financial crisis.
After 13+ years of writing online and 13 years of researching every single industry for my job in finance, This post identifies reasons why blogging is the best business in the world.
Anybody can start. The internet, after all, will be a lifelong trend. If you’re ready to start right now, signup with Bluehost today. They have the best pricing and make it super easy to get started.
Why Blogging Is The Best Business In The World
Let’s explore many reasons why blogging is the best business in the world. I’ve been making money online since 2009 and have found no better business for the average person to undertake.
1) Large structural decline in the establishment.
The blogging business involves writing interesting enough content to attract the most amount of visitors possible in order to earn advertising revenue. Therefore, our competition was newspapers, which have gone through a tremendous hollowing out since 2000 when the internet really started to take off.
But newspapers didn’t see bloggers as competition. Individuals writing about what we ate for breakfast or chronicling our feelings online didn’t matter.
Instead, newspapers saw Google and Facebook as the real competition. Now Facebook is the most profitably media company around. This is partly thanks to the tremendous amount of fake news advertising on their platform.
Newspapers were trying to defend themselves against getting beaten up by Google and Facebook’s respective monopolies in search and social media. Bloggers found an opportunity to take advantage of this disruption by siding with the emerging winners.
For example, roughly 70% of traffic to this site is through Google and Bing. The traffic is free (organic) and perpetual. I’ve got over 50,000 newsletter subscribers, also created for free. Let’s say each subscriber paid just $1/month. I could certainly afford to take care of a family of four in any expensive city in the world.
Blogging is the best business in the world due to leverage and scalability. Once your blog business gets going, your operating margins expand drastically.
2) Competition who doesn’t fully believe in themselves.
If you majored in English and then went on to journalism school for your Master’s degree, you probably have better technical writing skills and reporting skills than 95% of the bloggers out there.
But what I don’t understand is why don’t more qualified writers with incredible resumes focus on building their own brand and growing their own platform?
For example, instead of making The Huffington Post rich writing for peanuts (or for free), why not make yourself rich writing by writing on your own site? Arianna Huffington and her investors already got rich by selling to AOL for $315M!
Build Your Own Platform
It’s great to see more traditional journalists branch out to become freelance writers. That’s an entrepreneurial step in the right direction, whether out of necessity or courage. I’m always trying to challenge those blessed with writing skills to build their own platforms. But more often than not, I’m met with skepticism and resistance.
Check out this Twitter exchange I had responding to a salty freelance tech journalist. He wrote, “I begin to think that people who think they can make money from publishing original content on the internet are deluded.” He was responding to publishing platform, Medium, and its layoffs.
Charles is basically bagging on people like me, who’ve been doing just fine for the past 13 years. What’s incredible is that despite helping make The Guardian, a popular British newspaper, rich as their tech editor from 2009 – 2014, Charles still doesn’t believe independent publishing can be done!
Blogging is the best business, yet people still doubt blogging as a business!
As you can see from the exchange, even after all his years of experience, Charles still doesn’t believe it’s possible to make money as an independent publisher despite sending him this article full of examples of people who do.
Anybody can do a quick Google search to see examples of how much people are making from blogging. Yet, Charles refuses to believe. When you adopt a welfare mentality, you’ll never be able to make an extraordinary amount of money.
Many veteran journalists all think the publishing industry is broken. Only a few people have the courage to use their skills to make it on their own. One such person is Brian Lam, the founder of The Wirecutter, a tech/gadget review site.
Brian Lam was a contributing editor for Wired Magazine, and then became the lead editor at Gizmodo, a popular tech/gadget review site for a number of years.
He then left and started The Wirecutter in 2011. On October 24, 2016, Brian sold his bootstrapped company to The New York Times for ~$30M. Not every journalist will see the same results as Brian. But every journalist should at least try to leverage their knowledge and skills to make themselves rich instead.
3) Attractively low startup and operating costs.
The New York Times operating costs must be in the tens of millions a year. Jeff Bezos paid $250 million cash to buy The Washington Post in 2013. Good luck to any one of us for coming up with that type of cash to keep the lights on.
Blogging is the best business because the startup costs are so low. Not only that the operating costs are low as well.
When I decided to start blogging in 2009, I hired a guy for $350 off Craigslist. He helped me create a generic site using the now defunct Blogger platform owned by Google.
The site was called “RichBy30RetireBy40”. It could have been huge! After playing around with the inferior Blogger platform for several months, I decided to start over on WordPress.
I’m so glad I switched! WordPress is a much superior website platform that currently runs Financial Samurai today. I hired another guy off Craigslist for $1,000 to set up my WordPress site. Then, I paid another $200 for some custom design work. Further, I had to pay like $25/month for basic shared hosting.
New tech makes it fast and cheap to start a blog.
Now, creators have it so good thanks to technology and competition. You can easily set up your own site in 30 minutes by following my step-by-step guide.
Instead of spending $2,000 like I did, you can spend so much less. Your cost can be as little as $2.95/month for hosting and $15 a year for a domain name. I’m envious and happy for those people who are looking to build their own brand online today.
Nobody is going broke spending $50 a year operating a website. The people who do go broke are those with massive fixed overhead costs who are unable to pivot quickly enough.
Why do you think there is so much retail and restaurant turnover? Those operators sink in hundreds of thousands of dollars in remodeling costs. Then there’s a lot of payroll costs. Thus, the pressure is on to turn a profit immediately or else you’re toast.
Having a web business is the most cost efficient, low-risk way to be an entrepreneur. If you don’t succeed, all you lose is your time, not your entire life savings!
4) Unlimited scale.
“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world,” wrote Archimedes. Leverage is one of the biggest keys to wealth. There are over three billion people online and growing. Your website can instantly start competing with Yahoo or The New York Times for eyeballs, all at a cost of $50 a year.
Thanks to search engines like Google, Bing!, and Duck Duck Go, you can publish something and instantly get found for free. In the past, you’d have to spend a boatload on advertising to get attention. Now you don’t, especially since social media is also free.
Financial Samurai receives about 1,200,000 page views a month with ZERO advertising. Even though 1,200,000 pageviews a month sounds like a lot, there’s still BILLIONS more pageviews of upside! I really should start doing some online advertising, but I just can’t be bothered.
Check out this regional internet traffic growth chart by data network provider, Cisco. If you want to take advantage of the next phase of internet consumption growth, it may be best to have an Asian-themed website with English written content and multiple Asian language translations. Hmm, know of any sites with this type of combination?
5) Massive profit margins.
When you run a lifestyle business, you want to be as profitable as possible. You can’t afford to keep on operating at a loss for years because you probably don’t have any or many investors with unlimited sums of money. Besides, given the low startup and operating costs involved in being a blogger, the operating profit margins are huge compared to any other industry.
Take a look at this great example of the average fast-food restaurant profit margin. A $27,101 operating profit before paying taxes on $821,256 in annual revenue is absurdly small! Are you willing to earn just a 3.3% operating profit margin for all your hard work? I sure as hell ain’t.
I’d rather just spend six months writing a severance negotiation strategy book and earn ~$36,000 from it passively for the rest of my life. Even if my only source of income was my severance book, my profit margin on the book alone would still be well over 80%.
Blogging Profit Margin Example
Now let’s take a look at operating profit charts I created for a relatively young blogger. With $12,000 in annual revenue, this 26 year old blogger has an operating margin of 70%. Not bad!
Nancy loves to travel and decided to start a blog to chronicle her adventures and lower her costs. She’s built up a brand for herself and now earns a healthy $1,000 a month from her site. It’s not enough to live on. But it’s a great supplement to her $36,000 a year day job working at a retail clothing store.
Let’s take a look at Nancy’s potential future if she keeps grinding away. After six years of working on her side hustle, Nancy decided to leave her $55,000 a year job as a retail store manager and work on her travel site full-time because she’s now earning $100,000 in revenue.
She can now afford to boost her travel budget up from $1,500 to $5,000. In addition, she can increase her travel meal budget from $500 to $2,000. The best businesses have the highest profit margins.
High profit margins make blogging the best business you can work from home.
Despite her large travel and meal increase, her operating profit margin soars to 90% because all her other costs are relatively fixed. This is what we call “operating leverage.”
Yes, she had to increase her hosting cost from $120 a year to $360 a year due to the increase in traffic. But an extra $240 is nothing compared to her revenue, which has increased by $88,000!
Here’s a nice chart that gives you an idea of industry net profit margins (after tax). I wish I could find a similar chart that shows operating profit margins (after expenses, before tax) to have a more apples to apples comparison.
But even if you increase all the net profit margin numbers by 50% (Health Tech from 22% to 33%), no industry can compete with the blogging business at 70%+ operating profit margins.
6) No more annoying bosses.
One of the biggest reasons why I no longer wanted to work in Corporate America is because I couldn’t stand the constant micromanaging by new bosses.
I literally had six new bosses during the time I was at my old company. It was frustrating to deal with new management styles. Plus, I didn’t like dealing with very insecure people who had to prove to their bosses they were worthy.
I really couldn’t stand meetings about meetings. Who needs to meet and talk about what we should talk about in an upcoming meeting. Playing politics to get ahead is a soul-sucking endeavor that will burn out even the best ass kisser.
In the end, all anybody ever wants is to get rewarded commensurately with his or her performance. Blogging is the best business because you’re in control. With a blog, you either write and flourish. Or you come up with some excuse not to write and fail. There’s nobody else to blame or congratulate but yourself.
7) Much better hours with no commute.
It’s completely inefficient to have to commute to and from work every day. Not only do you waste time commuting, you increase your stress level. Plus you increase your chance of getting hurt. In addition, you spend more money on gas, maintenance, tickets, and fares, and potentially hurt someone else as well!
For those of you who leave home between the hours of 7am – 9:00am, I commend you for your bravery and patience. The same goes for those of you who leave work between the hours of 4:30pm – 7:00pm.
With blogging, all you’ve got to do is open your laptop at home and get to work. You can also work from anywhere in the world there’s internet access as well. No wonder why so many bloggers decide to incorporate travel as part of their blogging business.
Blogging is the best business because there’s no face time necessary either. Think about all the times when you stayed back at work, surfing Financial Samurai because your boss was still there.
All you wanted to do was get out of there so you could beat traffic, spend time with your partner, play with your kids, or get a cold brew. But no. Your workaholic boss kept you from living your life.
8) Exercise more of your skills.
Companies like Google are still able to hire the best and brightest kids because they have the most money to pay. Unfortunately, they hoard talent with their mega billions and underutilize a vast majority of their employees’ skill-sets.
Imagine going to a prestigious private university for $250,000. And then spend 60 hours a week trying to motivate your Uber drivers to continue working for peanuts by creating happy emoji faces in the app? How mind-numbing is that? If purpose didn’t matter, nobody would quit the Goldmans, Googles, and McKinsey’s of the world because they all pay so well.
Blogging is entrepreneurial.
One of the main reasons why I decided to go to business school was so I could explore entrepreneurship. I didn’t grow up rich (and wasn’t too good in higher level math).
As a result, I studied Economics and Mandarin in college to best help me get a job at the time. But after four years of work, I could afford to study new fields. I was lucky my employer paid for my MBA.
It feels truly wonderful to be able to utilize more of your skills in everyday business. For example, with Financial Samurai, I have fun writing about so many topics. For example, finance, negotiating business deals, marketing my site organically online, and practicing various forms of communication. The more you get to exercise your brain, the more fulfilled you will be.
Blogging is the best business because you get to choose what you write about. When you write about something you love, writing doesn’t feel like work.
Related: Why I Regret Selling My Blog For Millions Of Dollars
9) You don’t have to sell a thing.
If you hate selling, like so many of us do, then blogging is simply the best because you can create a revenue stream where your readers/customers never have to spend a penny. Revenue comes from click ads, banner ads, affiliate products, and your own products.
I would venture to guess that 99.9% of you have never given me any money. And that’s just fine by me! I like pounding away at the keyboard because it’s fun. I enjoy highlighting financials products that are free to use or may save or generate money for everyone.
It’s much more rewarding to make money off corporations whose products can help individuals, rather than make money off individuals themselves.
I love the fact that anybody, rich or poor, young or old, can come to Financial Samurai to find an answer to one of their vexing financial problems for free.
Positive reader feedback is another reason blogging is the best business.
They can leave a comment to ask a question or interact with other readers to learn more as well. The best reward is hearing from readers over the years about how an article on Financial Samurai has helped improve their lives for the better. One might even say blogging is like a “passive giving machine” once the search engines index your articles.
Here’s the other thing, parents are paying exorbitant amounts of money for grade school and university because they believe education is the most valuable gift a parent can give their child.
Therefore, how awesome is it to give away real world education to the very parents who pay those enormous sums of money for tuition? Right on!
Here’s a nice comment I recently got from a reader on my historical 401k contribution limits post. The post doesn’t just highlight what the limits are. It tries to illuminate the value of your employer’s potential match and to question the employer’s commitment to their employees.
10) Anybody can create.
With blogging, you don’t need a lot of capital to start or operate as I’ve pointed out. Further, you don’t need to have a pedigree from UC Berkeley either.
All you need is the ability to regularly come up with helpful topics to write about. If you can speak forever, you can write forever because ideas just come naturally.
There’s no need to write amazing prose because you aren’t writing a New York Times bestseller nor are you writing for the New York Times!
There are people who started with no clue about the topics they are now experts writing about who’ve made huge sums of money.
For example, Dr. Phil, who is obese, wrote two best-selling weight-loss books, and he’s still obese. Dr. Phil didn’t give a crap about what other people thought about him and his expertise. He created something from nothing, influenced millions of people, and got rich anyway.
Now imagine what you can do with a little bit of expertise in your field. You could make a killing! This is why it continues to perplex me why journalists with all the skills and pedigree in the world can’t go on to make it big on their own.
Blogging also gave me an opportunity to write a bestselling personal finance book that is also affordable. Now I will make royalty income for the rest of my life. I hope you pick up a copy!
11) The ability to create positive change.
The world is a wonderfully messed up place. Despite tremendous progress on the social and economic front, there’s still plenty of issues to address. I’d like to think that we all want equality for our children, even if we do prefer a competitive advantage.
A blogger has the ability to support great organizations, point out flaws in suspect organizations, and share stories about important issues so that nobody ever has to feel alone.
The greatest reward a blogger can receive is knowing s/he has made a positive change in someone’s life. This is one of the main reasons why I accepted the job as an assistant varsity boy tennis coach at a nearby high school.
After a while, making more money starts feeling very empty. Knowing that you’re helping someone for free is an awesome feeling.
12) A blog can’t be shut down!
Who would have thought that in 2020, we’d be hit with a coronavirus pandemic and have to shut down most of our economy? Blogging is the best business because blogging can’t be shut down. There is no need for face-to-face interaction. A blog can be run from anywhere there is internet access.
Blogging operating margins are huge because costs are so low. You won’t make as much during a pandemic because search traffic and advertising dollars will be cut. However, you’re still going to make good money and not lose money like many other businesses.
It is my belief that defensive business like blogging will see an increase in valuations. When you can’t shut a business down, its income stream become much more valuable.
Related: Reflections On Making Money Online Since 2009
Blogging Is The Best Business
Getting rejected by so many tech companies since I left finance in 2012 was a bummer. But each rejection gave me a “power up” to try harder and make it on my own. Never would I have imagined during college or even just 10 years ago that having a simple website would allow me to be 100% free.
All any rational person ever wants is to see a correlation with effort and reward. Being an entrepreneur gives you the most pure correlation possible. And if you choose blogging as your business, you just might stumble upon the most rewarding, most profitable, and most fun entrepreneurial activity around.
Let me leave you with one final real life blogging income statement that generates $1M+ in revenue a year while working 25 hours a week. Not bad right? Think bigger and you’ll amaze yourself.
Learn how to start a profitable blog with my step-by-step tutorial in 30 minutes or less. It cost me $1,500 to start Financial Samurai back in 2009 because I had to hire someone to build it over three days.
If you’re ready to start right now, signup with Bluehost. They have the best pricing and make it super easy to get started. Today, you can spend less than $3 a month and start your blog yourself!
Updated for 2022 and beyond. Not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for starting FS in 2009. Blogging gives me something meaningful to do every day post corporate America. Blogging also provides me a medium to record my thoughts for my children. Further, blogging got me a book deal with Penguin Random House.
The book is entitled Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. I’m positive it will be a bestseller and one of the best personal finance books ever. Blogging truly is the best business in the world!
Michael Whitener says
Sam – this is just a hat tip to you for prompting me to start my own blog, launched today: http://www.crossborderprivacy.com.
I’m a law firm partner, and so the point of the blog is just to promote myself as a “thought leader” in the field of international data protection. Nothing to sell – but if the blog helps me retain current clients and attract new clients, it will be well worth the time investment. Already I’m getting a number of responses from a simple LinkedIn post this morning announcing the blog.
And you’ll note I’ve used one of your recommended promotional gambits by mentioning my blog in commenting on your blog. ;-)
Asim Sheikh says
Long time reader and this is a great article! Any courses that you would recommend that can help in starting a blogging site. I did a quick search and although there are a few common names that I have come across on multiple sites, I would be curious to get your take based on your experience, since I have read that it’s not as simple as just starting on Bluehost. Thanks in advance!
Hey Sam – can you expand upon your blog publishing schedule? You’ve mentioned publishing 3days/week, but what is your thinking/process around new content creation vs updating old articles?
Is it simply a master spreadsheet with all your posts and you go back and update content every 6 months (example of how I’m thinking).
I have several blogs I started a few years ago (before kids) that kick off passive income, but my biggest risk is not keeping content fresh (especially content that already ranks well in SERPs).
Thank you for all your work!
Financial Samurai says
Hi Ben – I just public usually M, W, F and a newsletter on Sunday. There is so much to talk about, I could write more. But I tend to throttle my writing so I don’t burn out.
As for updating old posts, I didn’t do so for years until the pandemic actually. I figured, if I was going to get locked down, I might as well do some updating and business development.
From now on, I’m going to update my top 200 posts based on traffic once a year. Some will not need much updating, some will. I just updated this post b/c I realized I didn’t put a nofollow tag on my affiliate link.
Chasing Whereabouts says
That’s just what I needed to continue out my blogging journey, even though it can be slow and boring and hard to find time to do so with so much else going out. I loved what you said about finding purpose and every reason that you listed so much resonates with where I am right now. I would love to be able to work independently in a few years, once my blog has grown sufficiently. Thanks for the positivity much needed!
I started working on my blog mid last year, and I lost focus along the way. By then I had only written like 13 blog posts. By the end of march this year I came across this blog and I got the needed motivation to keep moving.
I started looking for materials to read more about blogging and other related aspects. Right now I am motivated, and I think I am moving in the right direction since I know what I am doing now.
I came to realize it is more about passion; finding that niche that you like, and you are comfortable providing information.
As from mid April, I started putting in the work. I made my first conversion this week. It feels so good. I am looking forward to the journey ahead as a blogger.
It’s posts like these across many successful bloggers that inspired me in January of this year to get started blogging finally.
While I have confidence in my own ability to one day be a successful blogger making a full-time income, I sometimes worry about the impact that these types of posts have on a vulnerable population.
Oftentimes, there are blogging courses that sell the dream to people who don’t truly understand how much work goes into blogging in the early stages (specifically the first 1-2 years before you hit the tipping point). These people are sold on the “You will never work a day in your life, and your husband/wife can quit their job, and you and your kids will have the best life” mentality.
Sure, a successful blogger can surely do all that, but so many bloggers fail because they go into blogging specifically because they’re sold on the “make millions” mindset and don’t actually have a passion for learning how to be a better writer, expanding their knowledge, and sharing a platform that readers flock to and read every week.
That said, I surely plan to keep it up until I make it – and I think everyone does have the chance to do great things, but I don’t think blogging is for everyone, and I don’t think everyone can do it.
Perhaps I’m a cynic who is too early in my journey to have an opinion though :)
As always, great article and I always look forward to reading these types of topics!
Vygintas Varnas says
Epic post. I started my blog 10 months ago, but still no traffic, maybe I’m just writing garbage.
I like helping people.
My blog is about life and so much more.
Get like 20 visits a day. But I checked my stats at Google webmasters I see that the blog is growing. I just need a little bit more patience.
Sam, I know you’re a proponent of “stealth wealth” (as am I), so does blogging and having people know your personal thoughts and perspectives feel less stealthy? I’m considering blogging about my young interior design business, both the design dilemmas along with the business dilemmas, but that seems to open up scrutiny which I generally would not enjoy.
This is just what I needed to continue my blogging journey even if can be slow and tedious and hard to find time for with so much other stuff going on. I loved what you said about finding purpose and each and every reason you listed resonates so much with where I am right now. I’d love to be able to also work independently in a few year’s time once my blog has grown enough. Thanks for the much needed positivity!
Rob aka the Property Guy Germany says
A year and about 5000€ into starting my own online business and just now starting to making money I have a somewhat different perspective
1)You can’t make money blogging unless you the 100th of 1% of bloggers but
2) A blog can support a business and
3) You can make a good living as a sole online entrepreneur but
4) You need a good niche and
5) A reasonably well thought out business plan but remember
6) If you build they won’t come come SEO matters. Finally
7) Ask yourself a question, how will I make money, after all this is why you’re doing this
Finally a few thoughts on web development, while it’s true you can build a website in 30 mins or less but unless you’re a web designer it will probably look like crap. Hire someone to do it for you, shouldn’t be more than 500 bucks.
Also here are loads of free online website SEO checkers. This is a great way to start before spending a lot of money. Also getting SEO quotes was also a great way to get feed back on the site, but be warned prices vary insanely, from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars! All for the same work. Also don’t forget it takes time to get traction
Remember top keep it customer focused. I just contacted my web gal to update my front page because it wasn’t clear what I was offering. I put the about me “above the fold, rather than my book which is the whole reason started a website. I want to sell my book. Change should be live in a week or so.
Finally monetizing a website is a ton of hard work but it can be done!
Afterthought: the closest analogy to this would be self publishing. Other than the cost of an editor, it cost nothing to publish these days and if you get the formula right you can make a lot of money!
Financial Samurai says
$5,000 is a lot. What did you spend it on?
The key is to keep on going NO MATTER what. Never quit. Eventually, you will catch your lucky break. I just finished my 9th year.
About half of that was spent on producing the my books, things like editing, formatting, having a cover designed etc. It was money well spent!
The rest was spent on web design. I didn’t feel comfortable building my own website so I out sourced it. Fiver maybe cheap but it adds up really fast!. Secondly I partnered with someone to do marketing and he never really delivered.
In spite of all these starting pains I am getting traffic and selling books and it will only get better as time goes on.
Quick question. Do you do much in the way of SEO, google analytics, keyword search etc?
PS I did ask this on another thread so feel free to ignore it.
Financial Samurai says
I don’t do much SEO, just the basics like having a logical title, filling out the meta description, and linking back to pillar posts.
Roughly 70% of my traffic comes from organic search. I focus on the content.
Mr. Thrifty says
No need to worry about whether Dr. Phil is going to have you on any time soon!
I really enjoy the detail in your posts and am inspired by the way you keeping pursuing what you want until you get it.
Sam – I kind of agree with Charles Arthur’s original tweet about not being able to make money on the internet as an original publisher. The only problem is a few words were somehow deleted. The tweet should have read: “I begin to think that people who think they can make money from publishing original content on the internet and who exhibit a breathtaking arrogance and operate out of a sense of entitlement are deluded.” We can all get behind that, right?
Financial Samurai says
Yes, we are free to make anything up to agree with whatever we make up. We’re always going to be biased for our boys and read into what people say. It’s just human nature.
Have you tried making money online before? If so, showing us your experience as to why it was so difficult.
I should have been clearer. The tech writer is displaying a level of arrogance that is standard for journalism – specifically, that you owe him everything, and anything less than their verifiable names makes you “noise”. When you offered him several examples of real people based on your experience, he dismissed it because you didn’t offer their real names. But if he had taken a few minutes to read and (crucially) think about what he was reading, he would have seen that one of those examples on your post is only very thinly disguised. He could have also looked into the components of a bloggers’ income statements and done some minimal due diligence to verify that they are in the right ballpark. Then he would have learned something for his own good, even if it didn’t meet the journalistic standard of being a verifiable source. For him, it was easier to dismiss the real information you were offering him than it was to do some hard thinking and reconsider his first statement. With a dismissive attitude like that, is it any surprise that he doesn’t see a pathway to make money on his writing?
I used to want to be a journalist. As I got some experience in the profession, I kept running into people who had a chip on their shoulder about business and economics. In my experience, most mainstream journalists outside the business press (but also some inside it) resent and look down on successful businesses and business people. So many believe they are doing noble work, protected and enshrined in the First Amendment, serving the public good, holding the powerful to account, giving voice to the weak, and doing so for a meager salary (a badge of honor) — all the while, the C students from school are getting high-paying jobs in business and kids in sweatshirts are making ridiculous money coding time-wasting apps. Add to that the shallow clickbait, listicles, and slideshows on the web and it can be really frustrating to be a quality journalist at a mainstream publication. His original tweet was simply a little of this resentment bubbling to the surface. It’s not entirely wrong to have that attitude (I hate listicles as much as the next guy), but it is entirely self-defeating.
You are showing, both through yourself and the other bloggers whose income statements you shared, that it doesn’t have to be an either / or proposition; that you can be all the good things a journalist can be, and just apply a little bit of good business knowledge and sense, and make a good living. I wish more good writers would see that because it would mean better content for the world and a better life for the people who produce it.
Still, being on your own is not right for everyone. And some types of journalism do require the resources of a larger organization. I am optimistic that there will be a Spotify or Netflix of journalism, which will breathe more life back into the profession. I just hope the good writers out there are able to see it and embrace it when the time comes.
Financial Samurai says
Ah, thanks for clarifying! Wasn’t sure exactly what you meant.
It’s weird because I know so many people making healthy living on mine right now. And that numbers is just going to grow as people build their credibility in their brand over time.
Long time reader…first comment. I just want to thank you for inspiring me to think outside the box and start the first step of registering my own personal finance blog today. I’d tinkered with the idea but never really started because my current job was so demanding.
Our safety net is in place and I’m now ready to go out on my own and start my own business helping people who need guidance in a very confusing financial world.
I’d been in finance for 25 years and been at a couple of fortune 50 entertainment companies at a level where I not only got paid very well, but also have a good amount of autonomy. I just turned 50 and was thinking about what I’d do next. The pull of Corporate America and staying in the rat race making really good money is really enticing, but not that fulfilling.
My current job involved outsourcing and allowed me to travel the world and make huge improvements to my teams work, but I didn’t get that excited about what I was doing since I felt like I wasn’t helping our American workforce. I’d accomplished what I set out to do professionally but got bored. Plus I hated the thought of outsourcing jobs to other countries and all the corporate politicking!
As luck would have it, I just got laid off along with several hundred colleagues and got a decent severance! Who needs a high-paying job if you’re bored and don’t see the benefit you’re providing to society?! The severance will provide for my next two years of living expenses. And I didn’t even have to negotiate my own severance.
Not all my deferred comp is vesting upon severance and I’m not sure if I can push for a stronger package because we’re now owned by major telecom company that’s absolutely not flexible…thoughts?
Now it’s on to the next phase…
Financial Samurai says
Exciting times! Congrats forgetting a nice severance package and I hope you really taking this moment. Good luck!
Jake @ LoneyDreamz.com says
Thanks Sam. For sure! I’m super excited and just wrote down ideas for 150 blogs between last night and today… I’ll have a years worth of posts in relatively short order! Now it’s time to grind it out!!!
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
It seems that forming a community is one of the things you’d done but I’d love to know more of your thoughts on how to get over the hump where many seem to lose steam.
Financial Samurai says
1) Focus on the long game. You’ll earn little-to-nothing the first year or two
2) Build a community
3) Try and help others first
4) Stay humble
5) Know that every bit counts
6) Write about what you love and enjoy
I’m more than 11 years in and still answering e-mails and questions. It is sometimes difficult to wake up at 5am and see tons of questions from people asking for help, but I do what I can.
Sooner or later, good things will happen if you keep on helping.
Ben Smith says
Hi Sam! Now that it’s 2017, would you consider a Squarespace site if you were trying to get up and running quickly? Seems even easier than WordPress.
Financial Samurai says
Hmmm, I don’t have experience with Squarespace, but I do know that WP is the #1 leader BY FAR. This means more options, more plugins, more developers, more flexibility, function, etc. So I would still use WP, but I’m sure as each day passes, the site builders are converging in quality.
The key is your content and design.