Blogging Is An Industry/Business

Most people I talk too and I sometimes mention that I’m a blogger, look at me as if to say, what? My next sentence is always, so you have no idea what blogging is then? The funny thing is they usually reply, yes I know what blogging is, so explain to me what blogging is, and after about 60 seconds I will reply you don’t have a clue what blogging is!

The strange thing is if you say you’re a plumber, electrician, hairdresser, or in my case a painter and decorator people instantly recognise that I’m part of a profession, industry or a business they will more often than not ask if I work for a company or if I’m self-employed. They instantly accept what I do for a living as a bona-fide job. So what happened to blogging? This is my take on what I think needs to be done to change people’s attitude toward blogging.

Most of the problems related to blogging and accepting it as a business, in my humble opinion come from within and how blogging has evolved from its early beginnings.

When I started blogging it was a hobby, but after about 12 months of blogging I accepted payment for a blog post and at that point it ceased to be a hobby because I accepted payment so therefore it becomes a business, even though it was only a small payment and I didn’t get anything else offered for months. Technically my blog was now a business because I benefitted by way of money.

How many bloggers accept the occasional payment for a blog post or a social media tweet, but refuse to believe their blog is a business and say it’s still a hobby? It’s not a hobby, you are accepting money or a product therefore it’s a business.

If blogging is to be taken seriously as an industry. We as bloggers need to starting behaving as professional business people. We need to stop saying it’s just a bit of extra cash. It’s earning money which needs to be declared no matter how much it is. If we don’t then PR’s and Brands will always consider us as cheap labour because they think they can give bloggers some pocket money and it’s all ok. Bloggers can be their own worst enemy. Stop whinging that PR’s don’t pay enough, be more professional and you might actually get a higher fee. It’s time to be brave and ask for what you are worth., which is an influencer that can benefit brands.

I believe that if blogging is going to develop into a respected business and industry, we as bloggers need to be quite simply more professional, but to achieve that professionalism there are number of steps I believe we have to take.

I was recently at BlogOn in Manchester and one of the sessions I attended was held by a very well known dad blogger. He made one statement that really struck home to me. He stated that his blog is a limited company and he has for years paid corporation tax.

Although I’m not about to set up my blog as a limited company, it does have its benefits in relation to tax commitments. I did also think how professional this was and when dealing with a big brand to say you are a limited company, the brand will instantly think that sounds like a well run blog.

I run a self-employed painting and decorating business, and do yearly tax returns. Now that my blog earns money it will be run in exactly the same way. I do this rather than setting up a limited company because quite simply there is less paperwork to do.

While we as bloggers treat earning money from blogging as just getting some pocket money or the latest toy. PR’s, brands or whoever won’t respect us as a legitimate business and will just think they want some beer money for the weekend, no need to pay them a lot.

When you are dealing with PR’s and Brands always act in a professional manner, produce invoices, set out your terms of business so that they know it’s a well run organised operation.

Blogging has come a long way, but it still has long way to go, and we need to encourage bloggers to believe that they’re actually operating businesses, because they simply are. We might then become thought of as a serious industry.

Blogging has been around a long time, but incredibly the attitudes of bloggers is still in its infancy.

If you were any other business you would operate it professionally, so why is it blogging is still being looked upon as a cottage industry. People are nowadays making a very good full-time wage from blogging.

I would love to know your thoughts. Do you think blogging is treated as professional business or is it seen as a way of earning a few pounds now and again. Do PR’s and brands take all bloggers seriously?

27 thoughts on “Blogging Is An Industry/Business

  1. Great post Nige. I’m not sure it’s an industry on it’s own. Fits into marketing, media, news, entertainment and obviously marketing.

    I totally agree that if you want to make a decent income from your blog you need to run it like a business.

    I class my blog as a hobby, although I’ve done a couple of sponsored posts, it’s still just a hobby.

    I’m planning on making it into a business next year, to which end I’ll certainly be making changes.

    #thatfridaylinky

  2. I agree, if you want to montetise your blog you have got to be professional about it. I’m still working on growing my little blog, but being self employed already, am aware that I do need to turn it into a business too. Really interesting post #ThatFridayLinky x

  3. I think it’s a bit of both really. I think there are bloggers who do it for a hobby and be odd bit of pocket money but obviously there are bloggers for whom it earns them a really good income and then it really is a full time profession. I’ve just been made redundant and so being offered done paid work has been a massive bonus and I feel like I’ve got my mojo back a bit too! Really interesting post, thanks as always for hosting #thatfridaylinky

  4. Really interesting as I too get random looks when I tell people that I write a blog and thats my main source of income. Although I dont get paid anyway near a part time wage, let alone a full time, it takes time to build up and thats my aim. I used to get embarrassed saying I’m a blogger but i soon realised that its silly and your right, no one is going to take professional bloggers seriously if we dont take ourselves seriously!

    #ThatFridayLinky

  5. I agree – I think it is so important to act professionally when dealing with brands/PR’s because you are doing business at the end of the day. Keeping them informed, using manners and sticking to deadlines are a must 🙂 #ThatFridayLinky

  6. What??? Some idiot stated at BlogOn that he operates his blog as a limited company and has paid corporation tax for several years in a row??? Good grief Nigel, world’s going to the dogs! I bet the same guy has about 20 years of experience in the media industry and has seen newspapers stumble and fall while blogs have grown from strength to strength. Great post me old mucker. Times are changing. There’s space in the blogging world for those who do it as a hobby and those to earn money. If you are going ot earn money ‘though, do the job properly.

  7. Until I started Blogging, I hadn’t really thought about this at all. I mean, not even on my radar. Now that I have just accepted my first payment for a post (whoop! whoop!) and been blogging for a year, I am beginning to think about just this -changing my email to be more professional, logging payments so that I can see when I need to pay tax etc. Its possibly because my other half works in finance but also, like you said, it makes your brand more acceptable to the corporate world. Great post btw. x #ThatFridayLinky

  8. Sadly, it’s not considered a “real” job by many people and I swear if I get one more look when they ask my occupation that makes me feel like the person wants to pat me on the head and say “that’s cute, dear”, I’m going to twitch. This is seriously the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life for the least amount of money…so far. (Gotta be optimistic, right?) 😉

    #ThatFridayLinky

  9. Interesting post and food for thought. I’m currently using blogging as a hobby and am enjoying learning a new skill. The thought of monetising it does appeal to me though as I’m currently an unemployed SAHM. Flexibility and working from home is important to me so blogging as a job would be ideal. Perhaps because people are able to blog as a hobby AND also as a paid job mean that the general population don’t know how to approach bloggers as a whole. Thoughtul piece! #ThatFridayLinky

  10. Mindset is really so important. How you view what you’re doing makes a huge difference in the WAY you do it, and therefore the quality of what you produce. Important post!
    #thatfridaylinky

  11. I always think it’s so strange where blogging has got to. I started my first blog back in 2001…except it was called an online journal back then. If you’d told me then that in the future people would be making a living from that I’d have laughed! But it’s still such a new thing, that I’m not surprised non-bloggers don’t get it. Most readers of blogs are also bloggers, so it’s easy to think that people should get it. I still think it’s a very small scene, which is exciting to see where it will go next.
    #thatfridaylinky

  12. Ooooh, this is a difficult one for me. i see my blog as pleasure rather than a business. I have done a couple of collaborative posts but I have firm rules about only doing posts that really work for me and my blog. I think if I were really to see this as a business I would have to spend a lot more time on it, I would have to cut down my hours and work and well, I would have to give up all housework – not that I really do any anyway.

    Thanks for your post. Pen x

  13. I started out as a hobby and didn’t even consider I would earn any money but the moment that I started to receive items to review and then later payments, I tracked everything I received and set myself up as self employed for tax purposes. I made sure that I was acting like a business. I’m still learning and so there is definitely room for improvement and it is something that I keep looking into more. Like you I have a day job which is my main source of income but that doesn’t mean that I don’t work as hard on my blog as I do at my day job. #ThatFridayLinky

  14. I definitely thought of it as a career when I entered the world of blogging, hoping to take advantage of its flexibility and potential for personal growth. I have no marketing experience so I view my journey so far as exploring a new business venture that may or may not work out. It’s a job and you act accordingly, with IRS and your business network.

  15. Oooooh this one got me thinking. Great post! For me blogging is actually something else entirely as I’ve never made a penny. For me it’s for raising awareness and advocating, and I haven’t really got any intentions of changing that. Although that’s actually not entirely true as I’d like it to open up writing ops eventually. Anyway, I totally agree that you need to take blogging seriously in order to make it work and equally you need to believe that what you are doing is actually a career choice. I had no idea how demanding and what hard work blogging was until I started! I may not make money but I put my all into my content, I can’t imagine how hard I’d have to work to make it my business x x #thatfridaylinky

  16. Great post Nigel.

    I strongly believe how you act and your mindset will set the tone for your business. If you talk big, act big and most importantly produce big… Then you will be taken seriously. If you’re always referring to your blog as ‘just a little blog’ or ‘a little side hobby’ then that’s all it will ever be.

    I think the problem blogging has as a whole, is that many bloggers are in it just as a hobby. Many more are in it purely to get a few freebies and then there are a selection that are trying to run their blogs as a business. I get asked all the time ‘is that another freebie then’ if we get something new, to which I then explain the real details behind it all.

    Whilst so many people are in it just as a hobby or to get a few freebies it will always be more difficult to be taken seriously by brands and pr’s. I must add there’s absolutely no problem with being in it because you enjoy, I find that admirable because I know the work involved.

    🙂

  17. I dont think blogging is taken seriously as a career by people not into blogging, and vlogging I think people think it’s a new fangled trend that will disappear.

    It is a shame as it puts a stigma of “oh im a blogger *looks down*” when really I should be so confident in it! I really am looking forward to March when I take the leap to fulltime blogging as I think it will be so much easier rather than cramming it in at night when I’m shattered!

    #thatfridaylinky

  18. If people are willing to pay for what you’re offering, it’s work. It’s not valued at whether the guy down the street can fit it in to their limited number of job types, it’s valued at the price paid for your work. Good post and as an economist, I can assure you that your job almost by definition is adding value to the economy. #thatfridaylinky

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