What a Writer’s Blog Teaches About Dollars and Debt

by Bill on January 23, 2012

How much do you really need to earn? I thought about this while reading a post by Ruth Zive on her blog The Freelance Writing Blog. She wrote about how people start blogs with the intent on making money, and how most people don’t make money from writing blogs directly. Now, her point wasn’t that people don’t actually make money from blogging – her point was that they should use blogging as a tool to generate long-term income via other sources. The key words being “long term”.

Now, what the hell does this have to do with debt or employment? Well, like I said one thing that stood out in Ruth’s post was the six figure income. Who actually needs a six figure income to support themselves? Yes it’s nice to have one and be able to afford all the big, fun fancy things that go with it. But at the same time, how much do you need to actually have a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your belly?

I think this is one of the biggest mistakes people make about money. The idea that “bigger is always better” and “new is better than used” have driven people into massive debt that they can’t get out of without lots of pain and thought. Last year’s models can be bought at half the cost. One or two of something might be enough. So how much less would you need to earn to take care of basic needs?

The other point to consider is the fact that people want the “bigger and better and newer” NOW. Not later, NOW. This is where Ruth and money again intersect. Ruth explains that blogging is a tool to expand your reach and eventually your income. Now let’s look at education and employment; both can be seen as tools to help you further your income. Education is obvious because it gives you knowledge to advance; but what about employment? Yes those low-wage jobs look dead end. But they’re not. Those jobs, when used as tools to work towards long-term goals, create greater income and greater resources. Now here’s where Ruth and debt intersect – people don’t want to wait, they see blogging similar to how the general public sees taking out a loan; if you jump right into it, right now, you can enjoy the fun and such in a relatively short time. Start a blog, make a mint, afford the fun. Take a loan, grab the money, afford the fun. Sorry, neither works like that. And both theories are disasters.

Another point Ruth makes on her blog is that you have an opportunity. Use the opportunity, make it work to your advantage. Set goals over time; and it will take time. Add more resources and more tools as you advance along your goal and your income. Her point – and mine – take your time to get to where you want to go. Life is a business, just like blogging; you can’t go making snap decisions without feeling pain later on. Planning and time are a prerequisite to any success in life regardless of what you do.

My final point here connects to her view on branding. Now, for her, branding and blogging go together. The blog helps build the brand by identifying who the blogger is within their respective area. So, how does this apply to me and you and everyone else? Easy. When you go out and buy a bunch of expensive bobbles, a new car, the big house etc., you brand yourself. You brand yourself via the items you present yourself with, in and around. Kids do this all the time. They want to be known as a certain “type” in school, so they brand themselves with clothing, other kids and methods of behavior. The problem is, most times people are either so wrapped up in maintaining the brand, or are so unhappy with what the brand comes to represent, the whole thing becomes a farce. Fake. The brand means nothing. And the brand costs you dearly. It doesn’t represent who you are, nor does it actually function to better serve you in life. Ruth says the blog must successfully represent the image you want; and that many times, people can tell when the image is fake. Same in life, people can tell when you’re fake. And all the debt you put into branding yourself just made it worse. Stick to your true self and the rest will take care of its own. Over time, your brand will emerge without needing a major investment in money.

So what can a writer teach you about dollars and debt?

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Aloysa @ My Broken Coin January 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm

A lot of people start blogging in the name of writing. A lot of people start blogging in the name of money making. I think the latter will reflect in your writing and ultimately branding. In fact, you brand will suffer because your blog will become way too commercial and your content would become insignificant. Money should never be a motivation in blogging. 95% of bloggers (I came up with this number myself) will never make enough money in a long-term to be able to live off it. Just my opinion… Loved you post!
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Bill January 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Believe it or not both you and Ruth Zive (who wrote the blogger post) came up with the same percentage of people who will get into blogging who fail because of the money.

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