The Realities of Blogging For A Living – What Is It Really Like?

An inside look (and video) of the realities of blogging for a living – from a 20-year veteran of full-time online business. Both the good… and the bad.

Hello! David here and I want to talk to you a little bit in this episode about the realities of blogging for a living.

Now, I talked about in the last episode how the general plan moving forward with this podcast is going to be a true beginning to end walk through of building up a blog and starting an online business around that. And we are going to be going through the 7 Stages of Building An Online Business which was something that have been documented with an Infographic over at And if you haven’t seen that, you’ll see the link to it in the show notes for this particular episode.

But I thought it would be useful, before we jump in with some of the actual work involved with all these; is to set some of the foundations, some of the mindset things for going in. Because, I find that when I talk to a lot of people, there’s definitely some mindset things that need to be overcome in order to have a chance of success at this. And one of them really truly understands what the realities of blogging for a living truly are.

The Mindset

Now, if you go to, the entire focus of the site is on using a blog as a tool to make money with. Now, for many people that is a bit of a dream. That’s something that you want to do. You want to make a full-time income in order to maybe become less dependent on your job, maybe even to leave your job altogether or let’s say you are heading into retirement and you are trying to come up with some form of income for when you jump into your retirement. Now, that is all great.

But I don’t want to lead anybody astray by having you go into this thinking that this is a super easy thing to pull off. There are a lot of people out there that want to create a full time income via blogging, but they do not really have the true reality of what it is like.

First of all, one point that I want to make for sure is that there is nothing passive in this business. In fact, the whole idea of passive income does exist but there’s generally a big pile of work that goes into creating such a thing. And even then, it is not truly passive because you have to keep pushing it down the road a little bit. You might not have to put in full hour days but you still have to do things because if you don’t continually kind of flow energy toward it, it is eventually going to die off.

Well, the thing about “blogging”; when you are using blogging as your marketing vehicle, it continually needs you to be pushing on it. Now, there are ways that you can set that blog up so it is not going to be quite as demanding, as some people think. There are a lot of people who would think that blogging is nothing but this big hamster wheel, and you are constantly having to create stuff. It can be set up that way but it doesn’t have to be set up that way. But it’s not a passive business. You are going to have to work at it.

Now, the other thing is that, it’s very important that you understand that you can’t just go out there and talk about something that you are interested in and magically make money from it. The whole idea of blogging connotates this idea that you are kind of like this media celebrity in whatever it is that you are talking about. You are going to go out there and talk about your passion and these things that you are interested in. And the keyword here is “talk about those things”. And that somehow you are going to monetize that blog after the fact. And usually, that is absolutely a pipe dream. It just doesn’t work that way.

Blogging Doesn’t Make Money

Generally, you are not going to make any money at all by going out there and just talking about something that you are interested in. So, I want you to throw that thought out the window. It just does not work that way.

You are not going to go out there and try to be some pseudo-celebrity in your space by just talking about things or regurgitating opinions and necessarily be able to make money at this, okay?

Is it possible? Sure. People have done it, but it is really difficult.

Not only that… it is even more difficult now than it used to be because there is so much more going on in the internet. The quality level has just been driven up, up, up. So you are not going to standout… you are not just going to standout there and then.

So, the alternative here – and this is a mindset thing that I definitely want to make sure that you understand – is that blogging does not make any money. Throw the word “blog monetization” almost out the window because the problem with monetization is that it is generally an after-thought. Somebody went and created a blog and they started talking about what they are interested in and then later on they are out there looking around at blogs about blogging and how to monetize this beast that they have created that is not making a dime. And it is really hard to do it at that particular order.

So if blogging does not really make money, what actually does? The answer is very simple.

A business. A true business makes money.

Now, what does any business out there do? Well, they provide a product or a service to people who need or want that in exchange for money.

All businesses do that, every single one.

Now, you can do that on the internet and you can put a blog on top of it. And in fact, your blog can be the entire public face of what it is that you are doing. But at the end of the day, you are still running an actual business. And we are going to be talking primarily about a product or service of some kind. Just simply talking about things is not going to make money for you.

Setting Expectations

So with all that said and done, I really want to make sure you have that as your proper expectation… that you really are starting a business here.

You are not starting a blog; you are not going to just install WordPress and start typing and somehow make money with banner ads.

You are going to actually start a business. And everything that that phrase “starting a business” connotates, that is what we are going to be doing; starting that business. Just because it happens to operate on the internet and has a blog as its public face, does not mean that the foundation and that the basics of that business is any different than what has existed for decades. Or maybe even longer than that, quite frankly.

The other very important thing that I want you to understand about the mindset, the reality of blogging for a living is that you are going to need to work. You are going to need to hustle, you are going to need to be very outcome-driven and make things happen.

You are not going to be able to sit around and spend hours in screwing around with little theme tweaks on your site and expect anything to happen other than you wasting time. You are going to need to hustle; you are going to need to be very goal oriented in getting things done.

Now, generally I find that there are a lot of people out there who are okay with that. They just do not know exactly where to direct their energies. That happens to be the business and is providing that direction and that clarity and then allow you to go do the work. But one thing for sure is I don’t want you to ever, ever fall for one of the shiny object pipe dreams that it is possible to do this without working a lot.

Don’t get distracted by these marketer promises of instant riches that you click a button and money pops out and you are going to make a full time income on an hour a week. Whatever stupid red-highlighter headline you have seen out there; it is all crap. It just does not work that way.

You are going to have to hustle to pull this off. It is certainly doable. But you have got to have the right mindset on this. And if you keep allowing yourself to get distracted by all those faults promises or by thinking that you are simply going to write and write and write and money is somehow going to come out of that, then you will be wasting time if you do that.

Building A Business

So that is the basic gist of it. I want you to have an understanding of what the realities of blogging for a living truly are.

It is a great thing. The fact that we live in this day and age and that we can actually make a living doing this is fantastic. I really enjoy helping people do it and I always have. And I love doing it myself. It allows me to, for example; I’m getting ready at about two-something in the afternoon, I’m recording this, and I’m going to be popping up at my car… I’m going to be picking up my daughter at her school. I’m going to be meeting my wife somewhere… I can do those things during the day because I can make my own schedule and stuff like that. It’s great! I love the benefits of doing these kinds of things. But that being said, anybody who knows me and sees what I’m doing know that I definitely treat this like a business. This is not something where I just pump out content all day.

Actually, blogging; the actual act of blogging is the minority of what it is that I do.

So anyway, all these to say… the realities of blogging is very cool but expect that it is going to take work and that your mindset that blogging is going to make you money; you need to throw that out the window and realize that we are actually building a business here. That is why I talk so much about business at the Blog Marketing Academy. It just happens to be through a blog.

The blog is the marketing vehicle for the business that we are building and that is how that works. Okay?


  1. So appreciate the reality check for folks. This also applies to things like podcasting, youtubing, and others, right? Seems what you’re teaching is true for those just as it is for blogging. It’s the BUSINESS behind the activity that makes the money. And it’s the true WORK that is done that creates the value people pay for.

    Do you have a particular mindset/attitude you take as you “head to work” that helps make the transition from family life to work mode?

    1. Yeah, I think it would apply the same way. Obviously, with podcasting and Youtube, there’s also the matter of ads. There are people who generate enough views on YT, for instance, to make a fairly decent income using ad revenue alone. And some YouTubers sell merchandise, which is obviously… business. 🙂 But, SOMETHING has to make the money. Even ads is basically selling other people’s stuff. In the end, content doesn’t make money. People buying stuff they want does.

      My transition to “work mode” varies. Sometimes it is as simple as pour my coffee and walk back to the office. Sometimes, I may make a point to get dressed (as in, normal clothes, not gym shorts 😉 ). Just as a way to be “At work” and not “at home”. Sometimes, I close the door. But, overall, I’m pretty good at just making that transition without any major lead-up. I’ve been doing this long enough now where I don’t personally have too many issues with the distractions of being home.

  2. Not sure if my comment went through so I’ll retype it again.

    I got started back in the day because of those promises of instant riches. Not even thinking about the “realities” of what I was going to go through, well, it was both a blessing and a curse haha.

    Everything I thought of was about the “4HWW” and “passive income” back then
    It took me a while to figure things out after that.

    I love what you are doing here David. Keep up the great work.

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