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Blogging for Money or for Fun?

Posted on Sep 21, 2017 by

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The first question I usually get, after I tell someone I am a blogger, is “Do you make money out of it?”

Often this is the very first question, even before asking what I blog about. I learned to answer people with just a short “yes”, and to avoid giving details about how much and in which ways. I really want to stay away from all the unsolicited opinions that follow, about how I should do it, why I should do it, and so on and so forth.

Blogging is so popular nowadays that almost everyone knows about it. And everyone seems to think they are experts in it. There are also a lot of misconceptions about what a blogger does — think here about all those Instagram celebrities that define themselves as bloggers, although they only post photos of themselves on Instagram and don’t write a single word. So many people associate blogging with making money that I sometime even feel ashamed to tell people that I don’t live off the money I make from my blogs (I have two of them). In one of those conversations, a friend answered in my place and said, “No, she’s not interested in making money, she does it as a hobby.” He said it on such a sarcastic tone that his words stuck in my mind and still make me angry when I think about them now, a year later. In his opinion, investing so much time as I did in two blogs, without trying to monetise them in any way possible, was stupid. I agree with him, when I am in my doubtful moments, when I get mean comments or emails and I am so upset that I want to stop blogging. I agree with him when I realise I worked 14 hours some days, but I’m still paid only for 8 of them. But I disagree all the rest of the time.

There are a lot of people who started a blog with the idea of earning money, and some of them even succeeded. When I started my blogs I had no intention of earning money out of them. I started them because, as many expats do, I felt the need to gather all my experiences and discoveries and share them with my friends. I continued writing and photographing as the years went by, because I loved doing it, because it brought me a lot of joy and connected me with great people. There were very few blogs about Amsterdam when I started this one, and now their number is probably five times bigger. That says a lot about how much the world of blogging has changed in the past years.

Of course it would be great if I could transform my blogs in a well paid job. But I’m not willing to do that at any cost. I prefer to keep the blogs true to myself, to keep them as a refuge from the boredom, to have them helping me go through moments of sadness and confusion, or to celebrate happy moments together with my readers. If they don’t bring me enough money this way, then so be it! The world doesn’t need another blog that lists all the shops and restaurants in Amsterdam, or tells stories about how much cheese Dutch people eat and how many girls work in the Red Light District! I do honour invites to certain events, if they resonate with me. I also write about new places, if I think they might be of any interest for my readers. But I won’t cover the pages with shiny advertising and I won’t write about the best burgers in town if they’re not vegetarian. You will also not see photos of myself laying half naked on the bed of a famous hotel, next to the carefully arranged breakfast-in-bed tray, in order to promote it. You might see photos of the breakfast only though, if the hotel really made my day with a great selection of goodies. There’s nothing wrong with doing all the aforementioned things, I’m only saying that is not my style. Is my audience limited because of this? Very well, it means only the right people are coming here, people that have the same values and believe in the same things as I do.

cat blogger

I was laughing with a friend recently because I came to the conclusion that I might be an old-fashioned blogger. I share my life with the public, but not to the extent that is required nowadays. My online presence doesn’t give the same satisfactory feeling people have from the reality-show-kind-of-blogs/vlogs. The fashionable bloggers put everything out there, from their thoughts to the most intimate morning routine. I don’t do that — I can’t do that, and it might make me old-fashioned in this world of extreme transparency. After all, I’m not even one of those people who go to work from a café, writing articles while listening to all the chatter about where to find the best flat white in the city! And everyone knows that every respectable blogger has to do that! I write from my couch, many times late at night, because that’s when I have time.

I can only hope that the content I’m creating is valuable for some people.

If there is someone on the other side of the world who’s looking at my photos and decides to save some of them for their desktop background, I’m happy. If there is someone who reads what I write and feels the same way as I do, feels understood and not alone in the world, then I’m happy. And if there is someone who’s willing to pay to have my photos on their walls, or their business featured on my blog, in the way I like to feature it, then my camera is happy because I can afford to buy new lenses and to keep it in good shape. My cat as well, because I’ll have more money to buy him treats 🙂

Is my blogging a hobby? I think I passed that moment a while ago. I can certainly say that it’s now more than a hobby — it’s another one of my jobs and it will continue to be so. Will it ever be the main income generator? I don’t know. Probably not. But it will continue to be, for sure, one of the main joy generators in my life. And that’s the most important thing to me.

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  1. Carole Rey

    You go girl! I can totally relate with what you write. Blogging is first of all and foremost an expression of our creativity, it’s not even a question of hobby or job, it is beyond. It is a need. Good for you that you stay true to your values and keep doing things the way you like it, it’s your authenticity that makes it special and unique. Have a beautiful day and keep up the great work 😉

    • Amsterdamian

      thank you, Carole! You said it so well: It is a need, indeed 😉

  2. Great article. Indeed, the first question we get as bloggers is if we make money out of it. It feels crazy, and it sort of limits everything to numbers, which is a very sad view on things. And we end up feeling pressured by that view, as if we needed, first and foremost, the validation of money to justify the time we spend doing something we love. This view disregards the satisfaction brought by self-expression, the connection to like-minded people, and an idea of ‘virtual community’, which were the premises of old-school blogging. It all boils down to this capitalistic view of things. If it generates revenue it is a profession. If for some reason it doesn’t then you’re just an amateur having some fun in your spare time. And, if you do indeed spend a lot of your free time in something you’re not capitalizing into money then you’re just a dumb. Things are, obviously, not that simplistic. A lot of us don’t have this business drive, which makes everything more complex. Most bloggers would like to turn blogging into a paid job but don’t feel comfortable with marketizing their blog in the ways modern-day blogging requires. Others don’t want to spend their precious time on social media in order to grow their following. Others are not willing to promote any kind of brand on their website, and potentially compromise the independence of the opinions they convey. These are all very valid options that say nothing about the quality of content you are creating. And: we do need people who pay attention to ethics these days. We really do. And a lot of these hesitations express a desire to things right, in a way that honours who we are, the values we have, and, above all, respects our audience. For every ten bloggers who are brainlessly promoting products and brands as if there was no tomorrow, one is doing things slowly, at their own pace, trying to figure out a way to be creative while still preserving their soul. As you pointed down, the right people will come to you. So keep on doing your thing. Keep on doing what brings you joy.

    • Thank you for this beautiful comment, Amsterdive! And I’m happy to see that there are like-minded people out-there (well, I guess I already knew that about you and other lovely bloggers I follow). I’ll continue doing what brings me joy, and, when I’ll have doubts, I will just re-read this article to keep me grounded.

  3. I also really identify with this one, thanks for sharing. 🙂 For me blogging is indeed a joy generator above all else, and if I can make money from it some day while keeping true to myself, my creativity and my values, then all the better! <3

    • Would be great if that happens 🙂


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