Here’s a great way to feel terrible about yourself and doubt your internet abilities:
Google ‘rewardstyle highest earner.’
(Don’t do it! Did you do it? Gah! Dooooon’t!)
If you do that (which you shouldn’t) you’ll find all sorts of information about fashion bloggers who earn multiple six-figures by posting gorgeous, professional-level photos of their cleverly assembled outfits.
And then, if you’re human, you might decide
a) you should start a blog and make a bunch of money
b) that the blog you already have clearly sucks because you’re not earning six-figures on affiliate links for skorts
I say this because I’ve done it. The self-doubt part. The why-am-I-not-making-more-money part.
I’ve glared at my sweet little blog and cursed my own inclination for posts that can’t really be monetized and aren’t ‘Pinterest-friendly.’ I’ve wondered if I should start posting about makeup and clothes even though I have a three-product makeup bag and just rotate through three sundresses from Target.
This mindset is completely unfair. It’s disrespectful to my own hard work, to my blog, and even to my readers. While Yes & Yes hasn’t brought me zillions of dollars, it brought me experiences and opportunities I didn’t even know existed.
It introduced me to some of my closest friends and helped me meet amazing people while I traveled. It found me on-camera gigs, writing jobs, a literary agent, and an app developer. It gave me (another) reason to try new things and a place to share them. It gave me a space to share important stories and connect like-minded people.
And I think that’s the reality of blogging in 2015. Sure, it’s possible to earn a living from ad space and affiliate links. It’s also possible to earn a living as a professional athlete or an astronaut.
You’ll like blogging more if you view it as an opportunity maker rather than a money maker.
We’ll all enjoy our blogs more if we see them as a means to an end. Luckily, we get to choose what that ‘end’ looks like. Maybe it’s establishing yourself as an expert so you can book more clients. Maybe you’re uniting people around a common cause or starting an important conversation. Maybe you’re developing your photography portfolio or interviewing your professional idols. For nearly every opportunity, there’s an online instigator.
Give your online space the credit and love it deserves. (We all know that life experiences are worth more than skorts, right?)
How has blogging affected your life? What opportunities has it presented? Do you ever get hung up on how much money you’re making directly from your blog?
photo by Matija Puhek // cc
Thanks for this! Whilst style blogging is all well and good if you’re into endless photos of clothes, for me it’s just another huge part of the capitalist machine that wants to sell us a never-ending stream of throwaway cheap-labour goods. Which is a whole other rant.
Blogging enabled me to put together a three-month road-trip across the states! I noticed that about 85% of my readership were in the US so I tentatively sent out an email asking if anyone would, like, put me up on their sofa - I was overwhelmed with responses and this ensued!
I did half the trip in March/April and plan to go back and do the other half next year! It was mind-blowing - so much hospitality, so many brilliant moments doing tarot (which is what my blog is about) - all from building trust and community via my blog. Aside from the posts which directly point people to my products, I don’t blog for money. I blog because it opens doors for my work/life, helps me to connect with awesome people, and - of course - because I love it.
Hell to the Yes! This is so true! Thanks for posting. I’ve been a blogger for 6 years and have been through a few phases. Right now I’m focused on me and on a minimalist look with no ads etc. And it’s working just fine. Thanks.
So true! I’ve been blogging for over ten years now, but have never built the blog itself into a business (though I have plenty of other businessy things going on around it!). People often ask why, and it’s because it’s my little space on the internet - it’s where I can share what’s important to me, what’s in my brain and what I’m seeing around me - without having to worry about whether it’s relevant/moneymaking/pinnable etc.
And I love it - I can’t imagine life without blogging
When I first started blogging I had this big idea that I’d somehow “make it!” I’d be a top travel blogger in no time and I’d make the top 100 lists and people would love what I had to say… I could do it! All these other people were doing it, why not me? But over the last year or so of blogging I’ve realized A) obviously it’s not that easy, and B) I don’t know if I really want all of that out of my blog! Through blogging I’ve found what I want to do with my life, and I still enjoy putting beautiful things together I hope other people relate to… for now, that’s all I need!
I love this. Though I’ve just started blogging it helps me to keep my ‘blog dreams’ in check. If it’s all about the money, the love surely disappears! I blog because I love to write!
I loved this.
I had to remind a good friend of this exact same thing this past week. She was fed up. I reminded her, and in turn myself, that without the blog we never would have met.
Building relationships and travelling to meet new friends on the other side of the world have been two of the hidden benefits of blogging for me.
Thank you so much for this!!! You said what I have been thinking for a long time. I just love writing and sharing my refashion projects, musings on special needs mothering and creativity posts. I tried for 2 seconds to do the affiliate links and advertising but it didn’t feel authentic. My blog is an EXTENSION of the work I do, not the work I do. I’m okay with that.
I always think I’m not making a lot of money with my blog but if I look forward, I met a lot of people, I did a lot of things and I found a new job about blogging and social networks. You opened my eyes, thank you !
Awesome post, and on something that has been weighing on my mind. I have been blogging for a year now, with the intention of creating quality content. I am just beginning the process of marketing in earnest with the eventual goal of monetizing, but man am I finding it difficult to be optimistic. Everything I read about how to market seems so . . . spammy and irrelevant to my readers. Can I have both money and integrity? Bah! I sure hope so.
The most meaningful experience I have had since blogging was being able to inspire someone to pursue their dream career. I try to remember that for me, blogging is about growing as a person and helping others to do the same. I have faith that the money will follow (usually).
[…] A Kinder, Smarter, Better Way To Think About Blogging: If you play the comparison game when it comes to blogging, you will never be happy. Sarah Von Bargen outlines how you can change your mindset to think about blogging in a different way. She says, “You’ll like blogging more if you view it as an opportunity maker rather than a money maker.” […]
This is a really great post and a reminder that you should start blogging because you’re passionate about a subject, not because you want to make money from it. I started my blog earlier this year because I love magazines, lifestyle, tech and fashion and I wanted to share my thoughts with other creative entrepreneurs out there. I’m not doing it to sell affiliate links - I just wanted a platform to share my thoughts. Also, it’s worth remembering that a lot of the massive blogs out there started out years ago when the industry was tiny - now it’s much harder to stand out in a huge crowd. I think readers can tell if you’re only in it for the money too. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying reading the big blogs though