The Art of Blogging:
Business or Pleasure?

The Art of Blogging

Nowadays, everyone seems to think that making money as a blogger is a piece of cake. A lot of people make the mistake of starting out by picking a niche they are not exactly passionate about simply because it pays well.

In other words, they are just in it for the money and somehow consider this a sound business model. It’s easy to show up day after day if the pay is good, right?

No Pleasure, No Gain

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but you couldn’t be more wrong. If you don’t like what you’re doing, your writing will reflect that, no matter how hard you try and this especially applies to blogging.

Sure, if you just launch a static website which will depend on traffic from the search engines then, why not, you could simply hire a few writers, optimize your website and there you have it. Even in that case, maximizing results will prove to be a challenge (let’s face it, you are always more productive when working on a project you are passionate about) but you could get away with it.

When it comes to blogging on the other hand, things definitely stand quite a bit differently. As a blogger, you are establishing a bond with each and every reader. And how will you be doing that? Exactly, you will be establishing a relationship or building upon an already existing one through each and every post.

Readers Think, Readers Judge, Readers Decide

No matter how well you try to hide something from readers, they are quickly able to determine if you are passionate about what you’re doing or not based on your writing style. You can try as hard as you want to, but the fact remains: if you don’t like what you are doing and if you are treating it as a chore then readers can and will pick up on that.

As a result, convincing them that your blog is worth following on a regular basis will prove to be next to impossible. The same way, building a community around your blog (yet another aspect which makes blogging special in the first place) will also be out of the question.

If you are not genuinely passionate about your work, your writing style will reflect just that and you can rest assured that readers will not exactly be thrilled about returning or about commenting and being active members of the community.

Business or Pleasure? Why Not Both?

People often associate the idea of making money as a blogger with a person who works and works, but is only in it for the money. The same way, more than a few folks associate the idea of blogging for pleasure with a person who is having fun, but not earning anything. Why people tend to see things in black and white is beyond me.

Mixing business with pleasure is not only possible, but it is also recommended. Yes, you can make money by doing something you love and, even more so, you will also see your personal productivity skyrocket if that is the case. If not, then let’s just say that maximizing results will prove to be quite a challenge.

Take advantage of the opportunity to make money as a blogger, of the opportunity to earn a living online by doing something you are passionate about. It won’t be easy and there will be a lot of work involved, but if you manage to mix business with pleasure, you will enjoy every minute of it.

About the Author: Alan Johnson is the author of The Online Business Handbook.

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  1. The first time I ever got paid to draw (18 years ago) was enlightening to say the least.

    Before that, I used to struggle to make money doing odd jobs.

    It made me realize that we’re SUPPOSED to make money doing what we love, what comes naturally to us. We each have a specialty, something we’re passionate about. Usually it’s something other people aren’t good at themselves. That’s why they need to pay us to do our magic.

    If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re probably not doing a good job, and probably not getting paid well as a result.

    I have yet to profit from blogging (after 1 month). But I do love sharing inspiration, and I’m betting that in time the money will come because I believe the content I’m putting out helps people.

  2. Alan, you are bang on. Passion is a huge key. Not only will it shine through if you have it, but it will be the motivator to keep you going when things are crazy busy or frustratingly slow. You can’t fake passion – even online.

    I have found that since I launched my new company in January and started blogging, my passion level for marketing has gone through the roof. I also have found that reading blogs of people with like passions has helped me continue to learn and participate actively in my area of passion. It blows some of the traditional learning classroom environments right out of the window…at least for me!

  3. “why not both” – absolutely!

    It’s very unlikely that you’ll ever be truly successful at something that you don’t particularly enjoy (read: love) doing.

    That’s largely because your heart, your soul isn’t behind it. It’s just “something you’re trying to do”.

    Passion is key to the amazing success, as you can see by looking at the most successful people in pretty much any niche or industry, today and in the past. They’re PASSIONATE about what they’re doing, about their message, about their goal.

    Not to get too metaphysical, but you could even say it feels like “what you were meant to do”, a gift you can into this world with. :-)

    And there’s also the other side to it… wouldn’t you rather live a life where you pursue your passion, and live truly passionately, and be excited to get out of bed in the morning? Living every day as if it truly mattered? Rather than the “damn, gotta do this sh#* again” approach. That’s living out of fear, not passion.

    Personally speaking, I’ve seen the greatest success in my ventures when I pursued something I was truly passionate about. Every time.

    Of course there’s something to be said for having the faith and endurance to follow your dream through, even in the first 3-9 months when you’re barely seeing any results.

    Most people drop out too quickly, and let friends/family who don’t share their vision talk them out of pursuing their passion. But if you believe it, feel it, live it, your chances of success grow by the day.

    Have an awesome day!
    Dan

  4. First interest, then business. Having a job is working for others, while running a blog is for yourself. Blogging something that you are not even interested in or having fun with, how is it possible for you to turn it into business?

  5. @ Mr. Marketing Integrity-“You can’t fake passion …”

    Sure you can. Women do it all the time. But here’s the point. You will know intimately the down side of any profession you choose. Picking one you love and would do paid or not, makes it easier to “fake” on those days when all hell is breaking loose and a million and one things challenge even the hardiest of us. When you can look around ,stomp out all the fires and still say, ahh, no place I would rather be, you have something worth “faking ” it about. :) and damn good stories to tell.
    All best, Jan

  6. Certainly doing what you like (and I would say what you know and you’re and expert in) makes everything easier. But life is not as easy as that.
    Sometimes you like things nobody is interested in, and you have to make a living, don’t you?
    So I would say that it is not important to blog about the things you love, but to love the things you are blogging about.
    That is what a job is.
    That is what studying is.
    That is what life is.
    Work, hard work and not necessarily always joy and amusement.
    But if you are able to enjoy what you do, to be interested in what you HAVE to write about, to find the interesting part in everything you do, that is the secret of success.
    Do you want to be successful?
    You do not need necessarily to write about the things you are enthusiastic for, but you certainly need to be enthusiastic about he things you write about.
    I proudly can say that I wrote some posts about things I didn’t know or didn’t like, I read about them, I learned what I needed to learn and very often they came out pretty good.
    There is no subject I wouldn’t be unable to write about, or better, I wouldn’t be unwilling to write about.
    In principle my life is the blog I write about.

  7. Great piece, Alan. As a web publisher by day and a blogger by night, it’s taken me sometime to separate the two different worlds: one where I do it for the pay, one where I do it for the play.

  8. Your sentiments are right on the money–to follow through with your idea about blogging for money! Like the Chinese proverb says, Find something you love doing, and you’ll never work a day in your life. How true. You might want to consider using a few more contractions in the essay so it reads a little friendlier, such as using “They’re just in it for the money” instead of “They are . . . ” And there are a few stray commas that should probably come out. I can help find ‘em if you like.
    -Paula Plantier

  9. I fully agree with the sentiment of doing what you love. Life, as others have said, is much too short to waste doing something you’re not passionate about. My father has worked at the same job for 25 years, not making too much money at it — but he doesn’t care, because it’s not about the money. He loves what he’s doing and he makes enough to get by. Sometimes I think that we can get lost in the details concerning how much money people need to make to be happy. Not everyone needs a million dollars to feel validated and many people who have a million dollars aren’t happy. You just need to define what makes you happy, work towards that and you’ll end up the richest person you know! (with, or without money) ;)

  10. I agree, why not both… Now that I’m making good money doing what I love to do, I wouldn’t imagine going back to something I did no absolutely love.

    Yet, again, a refreshing-reality post :-)

    Maria :-)

  11. Reading through the comments, it’s refreshing to see so many others share the belief about doing something you are passionate about. If a blog is set-up as a business then it will have the same gains and pains that any business experiences. The beauty is that either end of that spectrum are in better balance when you love what you do, avoiding the emotional roller coaster ride. A blog has many different aspects than a topic, mainly writing. If you love writing, love your topic, and love building an online business then blogging is a super business for you! It would be self defeating though to assume that because you love your topic matter but don’t enjoy operating an online buisness or don’t enjoy writing, that you will love being a blogger. Like anything else, many factors must be considered.

    Janice, I can’t agree though that women can “fake” passion. I think we can pretend that things are fine but to take it to the level of faking passion, that would be a challenge tough to master. Passion comes from our heart and we only cheat ourselves when we fake it. Take cooking for example. In most homes one person is responsible to prepare most of the meals for their family. Doesn’t mean they love it but after years of practise they can actually become extremely good at it although they may not really like cooking. There are peripheral benefits to being a good cook, like your family is happy when they eat yummy meals which can give the creator of those meals a warm and fuzzy feeling. Doesn’t mean that person is necessarily passionate about what they do, they have just become very good at it over time and appreciate the results it brings.

    Resume Writing Services, “Find something you love doing, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”, one of my favourite quotes, thank you for the reminder.

    Have a Happy Heart!

  12. I agree with this idea 100% and actually planned on discussing it myself.

    Passion needs to come before “big money” niche if you want to make it…there are of course the incredibly money driven people who’s passion is purely making lots of money so they can stay committed to something as long as it’s making them something in return.

    But I think the MILLIONS of deserted “niche” money making blogs on the internet prove that most people need to actually love what they’re doing to stay committed to it.

  13. You must like to write, ( one ebook in two weeks) and you must be excellent at some niche. They need your answers!

  14. @cathy-Let me clarify my point…
    If we choose to do something we truly love there is a deeper well of authenticity to draw from on those days when summoning enthusiasm and delivering the goods are the order of the day in spite of having the day from hell, a Murphy’s Law day. That touchstone can pull us through until our reserves are renewed.
    And yes, faking passion is possible, not in a hollow way as you suggest. That is not my point. Performing passionately anyway, because the real thing is within you, maybe just needing a nap. :)

  15. I agree :)

  16. So true, and most new bloggers will make this mistake a few times before they find the right combination. I’m a computer and Internet freak, so I actually love blogging about these types of topics, and sharing whatever I might learn with my readers. It’s a fun and growing experience.

  17. I think this is spot on there are so many bloggers that are who think its easy to make money but its only true if you have the passion and drive to write good sorry great content, as there are just so many blogs out there now.

  18. Yes, this is great to mention, it’s a lot of work, though some people proclaim that it’s “so easy”…

    That’s why when you really enjoy doing the work, you become truly successful.

    Moreover, I was wondering whether it is possible to get to the level that one day your work will be fully automated – simply to create a way that will generate automated online income.

  19. Couldn’t agree more.

    Since I started my blog about golf, something I’m truly passionate about, I’ve started playing better and having more fun. This helps me write better stories/lessons/articles which gives me more subscribers which in turn helps make more profit.

    It’s a perfect win-win. I wouldn’t change for anything.

    Happy Blogging

  20. What a great article. Writing only for the money gets boring as well. It’s no wonder so many blogs dry up before even getting started.

  21. Totally agree with you. We must like to write if want be blogger. There no easy way to make money. Actually make money with blog is hard if we start blogging just for money.

  22. Just because you have Photoshop doesn’t make you an artist, and just because you CAN blog doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

  23. Folks,
    there is one side more in this issue. Let us take an example of blogging in a non-English language.
    This Israeli PR company prefers blogging in Hebrew for pleasure or for business? I think Hebrew is more pleasure here, although English would be appropriate for business. If you wish to gain customers all over the world, of course.
    What do you think, folks, about non-English blogging?

  24. I am shocked to see how many people get into web development and blogging just dreaming of being rich. I started 6 years ago with a content site and now I own 25. Each of them is useful, each is something I am proud of. I cover topics I am passionate about and monetize a bit too. For me the most important was to have the love for that niche, not just see dollars. Maybe this is why I am not a millionaire :D

  25. When I first started one of my blogs, it was purely for money. I’ll even admit it, the knowledge that a person could write an article (quality article of course), draw enough people, and make money with various forms of advertising.

    After I stayed with that niche for a while I began to understand that I wasn’t doing this because I enjoyed it, I was simply doing it because I was earning some nice money.

  26. In Schopenhauer’s “On Authorship and Style,” he divides writers into two camps: those who write for the subject matter and those who write for money. He says the latter will be perceived by the reader because their thoughts are “half-true, perverse, forced and vacillating.” He goes on to say:

    “Writing for money and preservation of copyright are, at bottom, the ruin of literature. It is only the man who writes absolutely for the sake of the subject that writes anything worth writing.”

  27. I think there’s far too much focus on the business of blogging these days, with a subsequent increase in the number of people who enter the arena purely for that purpose.

    That ends up being counterproductive in two ways. It divides the potential market to such an extent that all income avenues are threatened merely because it’s so difficult to stand out from the morass of similar blogs. But more importantly it just reduces the quality of blogging in general, because as has been pointed out writing for money leads to much less interesting content than writing for passion and pleasure.

    My own blog has no financial aspect, even if it might be considered to be “professionally” oriented. I write it because I enjoy the topics, I hope that some people will visit and find things interesting or useful. And I hope that even when I’m wrong or inaccurate (which I have no doubt I am) the fact that I’m enjoying writing comes through in my work.

  28. Great post and comments. What’s interesting is the original catalyst for beginning the blog. Did you start out with a passionate interest or unique perspective that “required” your sharing with the world, or instead were you participating in a business where blogging was considered table stakes for a carried interest in your respective industry. I agree that maintaining this balance is paramount, and that focusing too heavily on either side of the scale will be imminently transparent to your readers.

    Best,
    Mark

  29. Our blog is definitely fun and then business. It’s not strictly necessary. And it’s not a spam blog about flowers to try and get some SEO. It’s just one or two posts a week (or sometimes none!) about running the business and what we’re going through and what we think is interesting. This makes it great fun to write.

    We’ve seen so many other flower websites put up a blog with clearly spammy intentions. Then give up a few months later when they realise it’s not doing them much good.

    We hope it lets people see underneath the skin of our organisation and meet the people and the ethos behind it. We don’t regard it as a way of making our fortunes, that’s for certain.

  30. Will, I like your intention behind your blog. I have a blog for a similiar purpose. In my niche market there was no online community and no voice so the blog addresses concerns of the day/week/month and invites others to share their stories too. Also provides a platform to breed positive business practises and improve skills and techniques. Would like to make money from the blog just haven’t focused on that part yet.

  31. I agree.

    I love what I do and the posts flow. It is so much easier than choosing something that you don’t really like.

  32. Thanks, Cathy. It’s a lot more fun when your only ulterior motive is enjoying writing.
    :)

  33. It’s really interesting to read. Thanks for cool blog, Alan

  34. I personally have found that if our blog was originally meant for business purposes, I am finding great pleasure in managing it…No, that does not mean I am all work and no play!!!!
    I also want to take the opportunity to thank you for such an informative blog. I have been sharing some of your links (with your name, of course!) with my Facebook fans.
    Take care.

  35. I personally love to Blog…I used the Google Blogger because it is easy to set up and maintain… I also think it is good to have Google index it so quickly…. I usually write an announcement about a client site I am working on and they pick it up within 2 hours!!! Truly amazing… If you haven’t tried it I would set up a Blogger account, because it gets indexed very quickly…

  36. I agree with this idea 100% and actually planned on discussing it myself.

  37. You’re so right! Writing is a very challenging work and one can’t churn out quality blogs if the topic bores you. If you want someone to believe in what you write, you have to believe it yourself first. I personally believe that if you choose a field of work that you find interesting and are passionate about, you’ll be more productive and hence successful.