Probloggers Aren’t Really Self Employed

One of the biggest arguments that professional bloggers (bloggers that blog for money) churn out in defense of what they do is that for the most part, they have financial freedom because they aren’t tied down to a common 9-5 job. I’ve always disagreed with that statement because it isn’t necessarily true. Tyme White wrote an interesting article on how professional blogging doesn’t really constitute to self employment. In her words:

When is a blogger self-employed? When someone isn’t dictating what the blogger does and how the blogger does it.

She goes on to explain bloggers that are paid to blog for other people (like how Pay Per Post comes to mind) aren’t truly in complete control of their blogging. People are telling you what to blog about and you’re getting paid for it. Sure you’re not working a 9-5 job but how is it any different from when your boss tells you what to do so that you can get paid at the end of the day? More often than not, you need to spend more time trying to market your blog to actually make the blogging worth it, at times like that, a 9-5 day job might seem like a short time indeed.

So really, self-employed bloggers would be people who have complete control over what they do to earn money. Tyme reckons that people who put their own ads on their blogs or people who go through a third party to handle their revenue needs. I do get the idea of people willingly negotiating what advertising content goes onto their blog. I feel that to reach that point, it would be the pinnacle of having quality content and a good reputation with the community, not just a mindless battle for search engine rankings.

What I don’t understand is what a third party really is in this case. Text Link Ads make sense because you can make a deal with who uses your site for their ads. Google Adsense has less control and it’s not really obvious to all but people that are serious about controlling ads on their blog. So where is the fine line between control and being at the mercy of an advertising company? I think that’s a good question.

All in all, most people aspiring to be professional bloggers are taking things like this the wrong way. Yes, you can earn money from blogging, but there is still the future to think about. There are the people are the forefront of the game, and there is the rest of the problogger bunch. When you think about it, you don’t have all the perks working for others can give you. In retrospect, the Las Vegas sex industry has a better health plan for their employees than a lot of companies let alone professional bloggers that have nothing to fall back on.

Sure, a lot of probloggers don’t really pay tax. Then again, you don’t have a pension, you don’t have health coverage and more often than not, given all that you have earned and all that you will pay (bills, food, rent and other living expenses), are you so sure you have enough to see you through your older years? How secure are you there? Have you really thought about it that far off?

Now I’m not saying that blogging for money is evil. No. Far from it. I just want to maintain the quality of the posts I’m reading. If you’re getting paid to blog, you might as well make your money’s worth by earning what you were paid for. What I can’t stand is people who do it for the sake of everyone else doing the same thing. The eventuality of that would be the degradation of posts worth reading and that is a hypocrisy I cannot stand.

I have proven that you don’t need to have ads to earn the web hosts and domain you blog on. I am proof that you don’t need aggressive marketing of your blog to earn a couple of bucks on the sidelines. All you need the passion to blog for something you believe in and work hard to maintain the quality of your writing for yourself and the people who trust you enough to come back and read what you have written.

Professional blogging for what it’s worth, is overrated and blown completely out of proportion. Don’t kid yourself into believing that you are free of the things that normal people are bound to, because you’re not. When you’re old enough to retire and savour the money after everything that you’ve put yourself through, maybe then it makes sense. Until then, it’s always best to think 5 steps ahead in your future.

Nothing is always as easy as it seems.

11 thoughts on “Probloggers Aren’t Really Self Employed

  1. All you need the passion to blog for something you believe in and work hard to maintain the quality of your writing for yourself and the people who trust you enough to come back and read what you have written.

    Can’t agree more with you there, Ed.

    Many are forgetting what makes the money roll in is the content. Although my content is not great and my topic is not niche, I still continuously blog about websites, design and now, blogs because I think there is a significant different view to every blogger. πŸ™‚

  2. Interesting post there. I can’t say I care much for the whole problogging concept, and even less so for some of those probloggers themselves. I suppose the irony is that as long as that you run ads, you’re never really self-employed. For that to happen, you’d actually have to sell your product (i.e. your content or whatever) through your blog. I don’t think I know of any blog that would apply.

    Personally, I have no problem with being a hobbyist. If anyone ever asked me, I’d consider putting an ad on ndnl, but I’m not actively looking for that. A lot of bloggers, like you, who self-host and don’t constantly beg because ‘ooh, it costs so much’ get a lot of respect from me. They may not be pros, they are independent, and they can even become as well-known, respected and good as anyone else.

    Tyme does know how to surprise, doesn’t she? Pity she closed her comments (it seems) because this could surely make some waves πŸ˜‰

  3. This makes a lot of sense. Making money from blogging and turning into a cash whore in the process seems to defeat the whole purpose.

    Now, working as a fulltime freelance writer… that sounds a little easier to do. ^_^

  4. Danny: I would think that because you constantly blog about websites and design, that would cater to a niche itself. You encompass that part of the area and if you keep on concentrating on that, you can develop a reputation for yourself given time.

    Nils: Not really. When you think about it, people who negotiate with companies that want to advertise on their blogs because their blog is recognized for the content are people who come close to being self-employed. They are in control of the content that goes onto their blog and the conditions in which it goes on.

    Developing a reputation does take a lot of time and money, one I’m not willing to put so much effort to. For someone who wants to actually earn money from blogging, they have to put into it the same amount of effort if not more as they do a real job. I already have better things to do so I don’t do it.

    As for Tyme, well…there is a reason why her blog is called “I Talk You Listen”. πŸ™‚

    Pat: You can grow to earn money from your blog because people recognize you for what you write. The big boys of professional blogging all start out this way. Starting out straight away and telling people you want to blog for money when no one has heard of you. That’s where most people fail.

    I’ve worked as a freelance writer before and as nice as it is, it’s not as easy as it seems. At least I don’t think I could have supported myself with the pay. Then again, it was part time, not full time, so maybe there is a load of difference.

  5. I do agree with you on “What I can’t stand is people who do it for the sake of everyone else doing the same thing. The eventuality of that would be the degradation of posts worth reading and that is a hypocrisy I cannot stand.”

    Many people consider themselves probloggers merely on the grounds they get paid to blog. There is one element lacking though… professionalism. Most paid posts bloggers are not ethical enough to grasp the concept of paid posts. When you write about a product, it’s supposed to be a personal endorsement of sorts from the blogger. You can’t say something is good when you’ve not tried it nor believe it. In the name of making a quick buck, you’ll just jeorpadize your blog and your own credibility.
    As for the part about not being your own boss, I do have a different thought. πŸ™‚ BLoggers have the right to walk away from anything they feel not right. They have a say. It’s harder when you’re working for a boss. You can’t exactly say NO. πŸ™‚

    BTW, a little off track here…I’ve been trying to make the list of my recent posts appear on my right WP sidebar. I found the code or syntax (whatever you call it) but it’s not working. I tried inserting the code inside the Archive, Archive template and even side bar. Nothing doing. The list of my recent entries are not coming out. Any pointers where I should exactly insert the code?? It’s driving me nuts. lol

  6. The thing is…bloggers have NO rights whatsoever. There is nothing black and white about what we do. While that is a different thing altogether, it also means that professional bloggers are at the mercy of jumping at anything to earn money, unless they blog for blogging networks (eg ScienceBlogs or b5media), that of course means that they work for the company itself and aren’t really self employed.

    What I am trying to say here is that self employment aside, there is absolutely no job security in what they do. Is that the kind of future you would want to resign yourself in?

  7. Now this post got me some ideas. There are opportunities to fine tune ‘problogging’ into a professional occupation.


  8. Blogging will always be a hobby to me. Definitely not a vocation. In truth, I don’t see it sustaining for the next 10 years. Something else will probably be bigger by then.

  9. I had no idea that people get paid to blog…
    I could never do it for money, my talent is not that refined. I do think that those who do do it, perhaps have the sence of freedom around what the do.

    I do not know…perhaps im completely off the mark. What I do know is I would rather a 9-5 than…no person to person contact.

  10. Benkaiser: Hopefully one that doesn’t exploit the masses and give us spam. πŸ™‚

    Pablopabla: People can sustain it only when they treat it the same way as they treat a serious business and put as much effort into it. Most people do it because they heard it gives them money. Wrong assumption and a dangerous one at that.

    Tracey: Well think about it this way, you don’t have to deal with stupid people face to face and if anything you can ignore them on the net when you are faced with them. The call is strong for some, but their motives about it are completely off.

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