We’ve all heard stories about people who start their own blog or website and wind up making a great living from it. And best of all they get to say goodbye to the traditional business world — and that unappreciative boss, boring full-time job, and the need to wear business clothes!
But it’s probably safe to say not everyone is going to be able to do that. At least not in the way we typically hear about. So if it turns out that you can’t make it into a full-time career for yourself, is blogging still worth it? Can it actually help your career?
Four ways blogging can help your career
While blogging may not be for everyone, there are indeed more ways than you might first think where blogging can play an important and even surprisingly life-changing role in your career and beyond.
(1) Yes … it can earn you decent money
I know people who over the years (it takes time and patience) have worked hard and carefully built a strong, popular website (sometimes more than one), and are making a VERY good living from their ads and related money earners.
Once you have your own site, you need to find your audience through your articles (having a special niche helps) and for many by using social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. to help build connections and site / brand awareness.
You can also make money from affiliate marketing links, eBooks (not easy but can be done), and special private advertising arrangements. In addition, you can develop your own products / services / memberships that you sell on your blog or website.
(2) Blogging helps build a reputation and “platform”
But there is more to be gained in the bigger career picture than just the immediate, direct income you might earn from your blog or website.
If you’re looking for a job or a career change, your blog can help make you an online expert in your field. If done well, it’s a great way to show professional knowledge and experience to potential bosses, clients or business partners.
And it also is a great public “platform” should you want to write a book or do public speaking. About 10 years ago, I had a career book and an agent and a publisher who was interested, but they told me I needed a “platform” before they could give the book a full green light. I had no blog then.
But now, not only does my blog offer readers a lot that my book did anyway, but it is also a platform should I ever want to write another book. Your site can be that for you, whatever your career choice or interests may be.
(3) You can find connections that help your career
When you have a blog or website, and especially if you use social media, you start to find and build a community. It’s exciting to discover others who not only understand and support what you’re talking about, but also want to help you with your dreams – and even with job search.
When in job search mode, having a site that displays your expertise also can be a big plus in helping you find that new job or career. I had a designer friend who created a site during his job search to display his art work and major accomplishments. It was like a beautiful online calling card / resume.
And down the road, even if it’s been mostly for fun, there will be unexpected people you meet and / or things you learn that can help shape your next career steps. This is the exciting “unknown possibilities” aspect that just doesn’t exist until you bring them into reality by daring to try – and by doing your best to create a site that gives important parts of you a voice.
(4) You can turn a love into a career one day
Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to spend time on, but for now can’t afford to do it for a living. Blogging is a wonderful way to let you pursue a passion outside of your 9-to-5 job. And maybe, with a solid online platform and the connections you build, it can become much more.
I know someone who loves food in all its aspects and had a glimmer of an idea about a blog where he talked about food, shared recipes, photos, and stories. And one day he went on WordPress.com (its free) and began.
Eight plus years later, he has gotten more joy from it than he ever could have imagined. Plus some cool freebies and junkets and even a book agent!
A few more thoughts
Not everyone is going to make a traditional living from their blog. Some folks may just wind up making a little extra income and (hopefully) having fun in the process. And those are lovely things in and of themselves!
But blogging can also give you a chance to explore career dreams in a safe way, without quitting that job – yet. Plus you will meet interesting people along the way, some of whom may become business contacts or even friends.
Most of all, it’s a chance to get to know yourself better, as you work to find your real voice and create a site that reflects you and what you truly care about (while also speaking to and connecting with your readers). That exploration can not only help with future career choices, but also add a richness of life as you slowly weave in more things that bring you joy.
If you aren’t enjoying it (do give it some time to take shape and find what you really want it to be), you can always stop for as long as you want or just delete it. And you can also at any time start again. So if there is even a small blog seed wanting to be born, why not give it a try!
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