One of the best piece of advice I ever received as a blogger is that along with paying affiliates, editors, designers, and anyone else who provide services to make your blog possible, you have to pay yourself. You deserve to be compensated for your time – and only after that can you truly calculate profits.
The “time is money” argument is nothing new, but sometimes it is one we forget when we’re waist-deep, slogging through the work being done on out own projects. How many hours do you spend blogging? And promoting? And on social media? And writing ebooks? And working on design or doing updates? And traveling to conferences? And whatever else is on your massive list of “things-to-do-to-become-an-a-list-blogger”?
And, most importantly, what kind of hourly wage do you deserve? If you were paying someone else to do the job that you do, what would you pay them per hour. This is, at minimum, what you should pay yourself.
That’s not to say that we can all do that, at least not yet. But when you measure the success of your monetization efforts, it is something to take into consideration. If you spend 10 hours a week on your blog and make about $2000 per month, you’re actually doing much better than someone who spends 40 hours a week blogging and makes $4000 per month. When comparing statistics, it’s relative. Remember that, no matter whose figures you’re reviewing or how you’re comparing your blog to someone else’s blog.
Something else that I believe is important to remember – money isn’t everything.
When I first started working as a freelancer (blogging and otherwise), I was working…gosh, probably 60 – 70 hours a week, maybe even more some weeks. I was doing it just to make ends meet, and I lived in a relatively inexpensive part of the United States. My boyfriend at the time (who is coincidentally also my accountant and is still one of my best friends) was extremely supportive, but also didn’t really understand the choice. I was killing myself to make less than $30,000 a year. I’m not especially good at math, but I wasn’t even making minimum wage once you crunched the numbers. Why would I do that, plus have all the stress that goes along with not having steady income, not having benefits, being responsible for my own business, etc.? Why not just work at Burger King at that point?
Because I loved it.
Granted, I knew that working hard would pay off in the end (and it has, or at least, it is starting to), so I don’t think you should kill yourself working if you aren’t ever going to get anywhere, no matter how much you love your blog. Really, though, I loved what I was doing and I really believed in the work. He supported that, even if his idea of what a career should be is different. It’s time I’ll never get back, but just as time is money, love is money too.
How much would you pay, for example, to go to the movies for two hours? Most of us will shell out $10 for a ticket. Sometimes we like the movie, and sometimes we do not. That means we’re paying $5 per hour for the chance to be happy and entertained.
If you apply that same logic to your work as a blogger, it snaps into sharper perspective I think. When I started, maybe I was only making $7 an hour, but I was also happy, which was worth another $5 an hour for me, using the movie ticket logic – so I was really making $12 an hour, which starts to not look quite so bad. Of course, you have to pay your bills. You can’t give metaphorical “happiness money” to your landlord. But if you can make ends meet, sometimes its okay to financially struggle through the foundation years if you’re building something you love.
I guess, my overall message in this post is this: Be practical, but also follow your heart. Find that happy medium between time as money and love as money, and work toward both types of currency as you’re building your blog.