4 Things Most People Don’t Know About Being a Professional WordPress Blogger

So you want to make money blogging?

I remember being there, it’s an exciting feeling.

You read an ebook or article about these bloggers making thousands and thousands of dollars a month, working in their pajamas, sleeping in and “firing their boss,” to “live the dream” of working at home.

If you’ve got a creeping suspicion that you’re not getting the whole story, I’d like to share four things the ultra-enthusiastic “I’ll show you how to make over $100k working in your pajamas if you buy my $47 eBook” people won’t tell you…

#1: You Have to Be Self-Motivated

I wish being a “Work at Home WordPress Blogger” was as glamorous as everyone thought it was. Sitting by the pool sipping Margaritas, watching a truckload of money pour into my bank account…making a bundle of money off of other people’s efforts.

Everyone loves the idea of making money as a WordPress blogger or a freelance WordPress developer. I meet these people from time to time. When they hear about what I do, they say things like:

“Wow, I’d love to work from home. I need to become a web developer.”

Wow, I should become a blogger. I’m tired of working for someone else.”

Or, my favorite…

“How long do you think it would take for me to make money blogging?”

Oh, if only they knew…it’s not as glamorous as sitting at your lap top and working in your pajamas. All it takes it one drop in the economy or major shift in technology and once again you’re running to keep up. That’s not the biggest challenge you face as a professional WordPress blogger…

Success can be just as much of a challenge.

You start seeing some steady income, you start sleeping in more, writing less and just enjoying life. Then you start kicking yourself when you realize your cash flow is slowing down, and once you lose your motivation, it’s not always easy to get back. No matter how much money you’re making, there will always be periods where your income will take a sudden drop.

Are you self-motivated enough to handle these economic ups and downs? How about working at home with all the distractions and temptations of sleeping in, having to give your family attention or putting off your next blog to do the dishes? If you live alone, are you ready to deal with the social isolation and come up with a plan to keep yourself from going mad?

This shift might be easy if you’re already self-motivated and have mastery over your social insecurities and economic fears.

If you’re not already disciplining yourself in your regular habits (eating right, working out on a consistent basis, keeping up with responsibilities in your personal life, overcoming procrastination, worry and negativity), you might need to strengthen your self-discipline muscles before trying to work at home.

#2: You Actually Have to Be an Expert

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

“You don’t have to be an expert in your topic; you just have to position yourself as an expert.”

The “positioning yourself as an expert” often involves repurposing other people’s materials to use in your own blogs. The idea is that you can become an expert if you:

  1. Are well read on your subject
  2. Can add your own insights

This is 100% false. To only way to position yourself as an expert in your topic is to be an expert. There are so many bloggers already trying to do this that even the content you read is diluted and often very inaccurate.

Not to mention that your readers aren’t dumb. If they’re willing to invest their time to read about something, you can bet they know enough about the topic to spot a phony. If you’re certain that you have the self-motivation to succeed as a WordPress blogger, don’t pick a topic just because you think it will make you a lot of money.

Pick something you’re a genuine expert at.

#3: You Have to LOVE Writing

Some of the “how to make money blogging at home” books will tell you that you don’t have to be a good writer or even like to write in order to make money at it. Some of them will advise you to even hire writers to do it for you, but hiring a decent hard working writer can be very expensive, especially in the beginning.

If you want to succeed as a WordPress blogger, you have to LOVE writing. Not just like it, love it. There will be times when you want to give up because of adversity or economic uncertainty or even the needling of your friends and family who think you should “get a real job.”

There will also be times when you’ll have some steady income and be tempted to surf the web or take a nap instead of blogging. Then, you’ll have days when you simply don’t feel like it…and even if you love writing, those days will come. It’s the bloggers who suck it up and do it anyway who make the money, and that’s not something you can fake for long.

I don’t care how much money you’re making, no one is invincible when it comes to staying motivated. You have to have that inner drive and passion for writing if you want to make a living as a WordPress blogger.

#4: You DO Have to be Technically Savvy

Plenty of books on blogging claim that you don’t have the be technically savvy to be successful.

I would have saved myself hundreds of hours and probably about $30k dollars in my first few years as a writer if I’d know how false this advice was. Web technology, even user-friendly platforms like WordPress, can have a steep learning curve and are constantly evolving because of upgrades and new version releases.

Not to mention that if you run into an obstacle while doing something simple like registering or repointing your domain, you can’t just call the company IT department and ask for help. In fact, even products and services which you pay money for rarely have adequate support.

Then you have the option of hiring a web developer, but communication barriers, budget restrictions and even incompetence can leave you once again trying to figure out the problem on your own…and that’s after having spent the time and money trying to get your developer to help you.

I’m not saying you can’t do well as a WordPress blogger if you’re not technically savvy. You do have to become technically savvy, and I’m living proof that this is possible.

My personal experience and work with other bloggers has taught me that underestimating the complexity of online technology is one of the leading causes of failure for online entrepreneurs.

Don’t make this mistake. If you’re planning on becoming a WordPress blogger and if you’ve got the self-motivation, expertise in your topic and passion for writing, I advise you address this final challenge and get connected with a community like WPMU.

There are people out there who will tell you what you want to hear when it comes to WordPress blogging for money. In some ways I can’t blame them; it’s a good way to get people ready for the challenges to come. Take it from someone who stepped in a lot of landmines over the past four and a half years…there will be obstacles, so be prepared.

See you by the pool side.

 

 

 

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Comments (7)

  1. What true words! Your write up has hit the nail on the head… So many people believe that it can all be done very easily but with very little knowledge in the area they are trying to succeed.

    “This is 100% false. To only way to position yourself as an expert in your topic is to be an expert. There are so many bloggers already trying to do this that even the content you read is diluted and often very inaccurate.”

    So true and understanding this would guide people in the right direction “Jack of all trades, master of none”.

    “If you’ve got a creeping suspicion that you’re not getting the whole story, I’d like to share four things the ultra-enthusiastic “I’ll show you how to make over $100k working in your pajamas if you buy my $47 eBook” people won’t tell you…”

    If I had a penny for every time I have seen this!!! Its a shame that so many people fall trap to it. If you want to succeed at anything it takes dedication, hard work, planning and massive motivation (There is no quick fix and this applies to all arenas of life)

    Again another great write up from you guys at WPMU!

  2. Technical knowledge is indeed a must have when it comes to WordPress, but from my experience, it’s best to do things yourself than spending money and dealing with communication and money problems when hiring a web developer. In the end, its all about professionalism, and will be an important asset in the future. I started the DIY mentality with Lubith, a flexible online theme generator. Then I found out more about child themes, about changing things from the code, tweaks etc. – it takes a lot of your time but it pays off for sure in the end.

  3. Thanks George! I’ve found the same thing with hiring web developers. In fact, that’s why I started learning PHP, Java and MySQL in the first place. I was spending so much time creating mindmaps and pages of technical writing and educating programmers that outsourcing just no longer made sense. There’s a lot of talk about self-duplication and outsourcing in these books on entrepreneurship. It all sounds great in theory. But even the great entrepreneurs like Edison took the DIY route, some long after they had the money to hire it out.

  4. I’ve just begun actively pursuing making an income online. And people are absolutely right, it takes a huge time commitment and an endless amount of work. But I love it. I would chose doing this over any of the other jobs out there I could be doing. It is just the perfect line of work for my personality. As you said, never give up. I won’t give up so I know I can be successful at this pursuit.

    • Hey Lance, welcome to the world of online entrepreneurship! Raw persistence is definitely the dirty little secret to success online. Just avoid the bright shiny objects (ads about making millions without working) and do your own thing. Good luck to you!

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