Is the Hustle Worth it?

is the blogging hustle worth it?

Hey Do You Even Tribe! Below is a wonderful, thought-invoking, REAL contributor post from Araminta Robertson at FinanciallyMint.com. I love these thoughts so much, I also recorded a podcast for it, which you can find on iTunes, Sticher, Overcast. Enjoy this read, and drop Araminta comments once you’ve read it. It means a lot.

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I’ve been working on my blog for 3 months now, and every so often in a moment of self-doubt I come up with a very painful question:

Is this worth it?

I publish an article which took me 4 hours to write: nothing, 5 page views in a day. I then see newbie bloggers like me reporting 4,000 views in their third month.

Should I really be doing this? Is this blog that’s not really giving me an income and taking up most of my free time worth it? Am I wasting my time on something which won’t ever produce anything of value?

But then, my brain has a flashback: my boss screaming at me for spilling coffee on a client, messing up an order and for saying ‘please’ too many times.

I imagine myself depressed as I work at an unfulfilling job which takes up so much time that I can’t even start to dream of traveling to another city.

Yes, I could spend more time socializing, watching movies and probably earning more money through a stable job. But, would I rather have location independence and work when I want to and on something I’m passionate about?

Absolutely.

And every day I’m grateful for having found the blogging and personal finance world. So yes, for me, those 5 page views won’t stop me. Blogging is worth it.

However…

I have a 3-month old blog and after some considerable cost-benefit analysis, I’ve decided I don’t have much to lose if blogging doesn’t work out. But, that’s ME.

What about YOU? What is your situation like? Are you a full-time earner? A mum of three? How much do you have to lose if blogging doesn’t work for you? Is it worth it?

You might have all these questions but feel lost for answers.

In fact, you might be slightly scared of finding out the answers: ‘what if I’m doing the wrong thing?’

First of all, this is absolutely normal, and shows that you care about your blog and that you’re putting effort into it. Second of all, having no answers gets frustrating and can impact your motivation to work and to keep blogging.

Having gone through this process quite a few times, I know that the best questions to ask yourself are the ones that scare you the most.

A combination of Side Hustle Nation questions and the ones I have created through these ‘episodes of self-doubt’ will help you be brutally honest with yourself and get back onto your feet.

  • What am I really hoping to accomplish with this project?
  • What dent in the universe am I trying to make?
  • Am I good at it?
  • What could I be doing instead?
  • Do I see myself doing this in six months? One year?

Let’s take a look at each one:

is the blogging hustle worth it?

What am I really hoping to accomplish with this project?

There are three main reasons you’ve chosen blogging:

  1. to earn a side-income,
  2. to share your thoughts with the world,
  3. or a nice combination of both.

Of course, the ideal would be the third one, but it varies from person to person.

If it’s mostly monetization, you need to make sure you have a plan to earn money and know that you won’t be wasting time. If it’s mostly as a hobby, make sure it doesn’t become a chore; write about what you enjoy.

What dent in the universe am I trying to make?

Are you trying to make a difference in the world?

Write down your mission statement/tagline. What’s the main goal of your website?

feels like this. often.

Am I good at it?

‘Hard work beats talent’.

Yes, I agree, but only if it’s worth it. Do you see yourself laboring night after night, not feeling like you’re improving?

If you’re goal is to earn money online, look at all the options available apart from blogging and see which one suits your skills best. If, on the other hand, you feel the hard work would be rewarding, then by all means don’t stop. Just make sure you know what you’re doing.

What could I be doing instead?

Personally, this is the scariest question of them all

Could you be doing something more rewarding instead of working on your blog? What are the sacrifices you are willing to make? Instead of those 3 hours working one evening night, could you be doing something else instead (family, exercise, etc)?

Remember that with every big success comes a bit of sacrifice, so don’t be scared to admit that you could be having way more fun on a night out with friends than blogging.

Once you reach your ‘success’, you will be glad you made those sacrifices and laugh at those past moments of self-doubt. It really all comes down to evaluating the benefits and costs.

Do I see myself doing this in six months? One year?

An equally daunting question: What’s the future going to look like?

Many things can happen in 6 months and one year. Do you still want to be blogging? Where do you want to be and what do you want to be doing?

Take into account the fact that you will learn a lot in the next six months: success might mean something else, you might have a new business idea, you might discover something else you’re passionate about.

Is the blogging hustle worth it?

Will blogging still be part of all that in six months?

We’ve all heard successful bloggers say that it takes at least six months for a blog to really start producing results. Are you willing to put in six months? Be brutally honest about your goals and dreams. Will blogging help you achieve those?

I, just like you, have gone over these questions time and time again. They’re scary but they’re worth looking over. And even after being sure that blogging is what I want to do, I still feel discouraged when I’m lacking progress.

Here are a few thoughts and strategies I use to keep a positive mood and stay disciplined with blogging:

  • Every Monday I spend 30 minutes finding ways I could improve on everything (marketing, organisation, writing skills, etc)
  • The second I start feeling stressed or worried, I spend a few minutes writing down the problem and figuring out solutions. My biggest productivity killer is discouragement.
  • Remember how much I enjoy writing: Look back on articles I’m proud of.
  • Talking to friends and family: people are always interested to hear about the blogging world, and are impressed by the word ‘Personal Finance’. Remember how cool it is to have my own website.
  • Think of all the opportunities this will give me in the future (a possible full-time income, location independence, my own business, etc)
  • I’m acquiring many skills: writing, marketing and networking. It takes patience and time but I definitely feel I’m improving.
  • Too many times we focus on all the things we’re doing wrong (me included). I’ve found that writing down what I’m doing right and hanging it on my bedroom wall gives me that mini boost of confidence every time I’m feeling discouraged.

As cringey as it sounds, boosting your motivation can go a long way.

araminta robertson do you even blog

All these questions stated above are there to give you a better idea of what your goals are, not to discourage you from blogging.

However, don’t be ashamed to throw in the towel if you feel it’s not worth it – you will definitely have learnt something from the experience.

I’m leaving you with a last question to keep your mind going:

Leave a comment: If you had 20 million dollars, would you still choose to blog?

30 Responses

  1. Specifically to your situation, I would consider mixing up the activities you do to try to gain more traction. Writing blog posts is just the first step, promoting and marketing it is the second step; if you only have so much time to devote to blogging then I’d put more energy and attention into promotion and marketing so you can gain more traffic.

    To the broader questions, they’re fantastic. It’s good to get introspective and go back to what you’re trying to accomplish especially if you’re in a rut and feeling down. Blogging, and any business, is all about motivation and how to keep it high. If you quit, you’re done.

    1. I think there’s a Zig Ziglar quote somewhere in there….motivation is like gas in your car. You need to refuel periodically BEFORE you run out.

      Or something something. Relevant though 🙂

  2. Great article and right now I am in the second month of blogging. I love it but these questions are also popping up from time to time.

    When I would have 20 million dollars, I would definitely blog 3 times a week. It’s not the fun that holds me back. It’s the economic thinking of a PF blogger. Starting in March, I will be a freelance developer and earn between $50-150/h. This means when I write 3 blogs posts/week (12 hours) it costs me something between $2,000 and $8,000 a month. I started my blog with 2 posts per week. But last week I have seen that I already do this like a full-time job (at least 20 hours/week). This works right now, but in March I can’t do it like that anymore. So I decided to reduce my publish frequency to 1 post per week. This lets me still do blogging (what I love) and at the same time making a dime on my day job.

    I’m totally fine when the blog doesn’t generate more than $100 in 3 years. I will still publish posts. However, I would probably quit when I use ‘too many’ time on it and not making some money. Now, it’s a hobby and I do it in a semi-professional way. Otherwise, it would be a job and I would be less successful.

    I think it’s very important to listen to yourself and then create a frequency that matches your goals and your life.

  3. I am in the same exact boat as Araminta. In fact we met a few months back on the twitter when we just started our blogs.
    This post came just in time because my partner and I have been feeling very discouraged lately with our blogs.
    Our main goal is to get some income from our blogs. Like so many others before us and after. We were hoping to make income via affiliate marketing. But I keep reading that that there are so many bloggers now, that advertisers are paying less commission.
    We haven’t made one conversion sale yet and news like this just makes it all the more discouraging to keep at it.
    I really hope to stay with it but it’s getting more difficult everyday.
    I do love to write and share my experiences with my audience. I know I need to hold onto to that to keep on going.

    1. I agree CJ. Honestly I’m putting all my effort into refining my writing and marketing skills at the moment, not really about making the money. What keeps me going is the fact that I keep trying to improve everyday, so I will always be able to look back and say ‘I did my best’.

      Hold on and fight through the ‘Dip’!

  4. Pete – Thanks for telling me to quit in the intro! Fine, I get it. I’ll make my blog better.

    Love this post. I know exactly why I Blog. I have at least three reasons in fact. That said, getting some feedback that I’m on track with these goals really helps with the motivation.

    If I had $20M I’d probably quit. At that point I think I’d prefer to use my time differently. Or maybe I’d keep the blog but outsource 99% of the work keeping only the 1% I enjoy most.

    1. ding ding ding.

      This is EXACTLY what I’d do. I’d hire a bunch of former Y Combinator startup employees to do all my marketing, operations, etc…..and JUST do content.

  5. Thank you for the honest post! I started my blog 7 months ago, and I think about the question of whether it’s worth it often.

    I actually just had a blogger burnout 2 weeks ago and questioned if I should continue. I got over the burnout, but I’m trying to balance my work better so that I don’t get burned out again.

    Best of luck with your blog! 🙂

    1. woah woah woah.

      You’re not quitting. You can’t quit, you’re too good at this. Let me know if I can help with that balance at all.

  6. If I had $20 Million would I still choose to blog? Yes. I might hire out the technical and marketing side, maybe even some of the writing, but I’d still want to share my thoughts and connect with others through blogging.

    Great questions, Araminta!

    We’ve all got something to give. If a blog is your platform for giving, do that. If it’s not, find what else is.

  7. If I had 20 million I would still blog. I love sharing my passion for my blog subject (family history) with others. Great set of questions Araminta, think we all doubt ourselves at sometime, but remember the only person holding us back from greatness is ourselves!!

    1. Thanks Linda and it’s true that only we can get ourselves to greatness. That’s what causes frustration and even depression: the feeling that we could do better. So we have to learn to get past that and accept to take things step by step.

  8. If I had $20 million dollars I’d probably still blog since I like doing it but I’d probably spend less time on it. Like I wouldn’t push myself as much to monetize it and grow my income off of it. I have other passions and hobbies I’d want to also focus on. Great post Araminta!

  9. This was a very thought-provoking post (and podcast episode). I’ve asked myself many of these questions in one form or another. In fact, this is one of the reasons that I waited so long to start my blog even though I’ve thought about it for years.

    My ultimate goal is to make a full-time income from my blog so I can have flexibility with my time. Growing my blog is much more about learning and figuring out the best way to make money not for the sake of the money but for the sake of learning (I hope that makes sense). The money is just a great bonus, proof that I’m getting this blogging thing.

    I love learning, growing, and sharing what I learn with others. A blog gives me the opportunity to learn so much and apply what I’m learning right then and there. It provides great feedback (am I getting traffic? what can I tweak to fix that?). I try to treat my blog as a business and to invest in it just like I would with any other business.

    If I had $20 million, I’d still blog, even more so because my time would be much more my own. I’d just get to cherry-pick what I want to focus on next and how I want to grow my skills then outsource the rest. When we stop learning, we stop growing and giving, and that’s something I’d never want. Great post!

  10. Whenever I get burnt out from blogging, I always try to look into the future and see if it would still be part of it. And, it always is.

    For the longest time, it was hard to find my blogging voice but I slowly started to ease into it. I started my blog at age 21 and hope to blog throughout my entire twenties!

  11. Great post. We’ve been blogging for over five years. Are we making any money? Not enough to quite our day jobs. Why do you still do it? I’m either crazier than a loon on a Popsicle stick or I actually get some small amount of pleasure out of doing it. Sitting back and asking yourself if what your doing is worth it really isn’t that uncommon. It’s strange though, every time that one of these moments of self doubt seem to creep in, something will come along and pull me back into it again. Good luck with your blog and I wish you all the best.
    BTW – Do people still do those link exchange posts anymore? I think you’ve asked the right question that a lot of bloggers ask and it would be cool to get them to sound off.

    1. “loon on a popsicle stick.”

      I’m not familiar with that phrase, but I enjoy it 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes Nick, and what exactly are link exchanges posts? I can guess, but I don’t much experience with that sort of thing.

  12. Pingback: 2017 Blogging Review | Financially Mint
  13. Hello, Love this post. I know exactly why I Blog. I have at least three reasons in fact. That said, getting some feedback that I’m on track with these goals really helps with the motivation.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. I’m with ya. Getting that feedback (and the occasional reader email, etc) is like fuel for your motivation tank 🙂

      #metaphor alert.

  14. If I had $20 million, I’d still blog, even more so because my time would be much more my own. I’d just get to cherry-pick what I want to focus on next and how I want to grow my skills then outsource the rest. When we stop learning, we stop growing and giving, and that’s something I’d never want. Great post!

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