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?