With an uncertain political and economic climate at present, and what is being described as a ‘bloodbath’ for jobs in the retail sector, many busy working parents must be feeling the cool wind of uncertainty blowing across their bank accounts.
As a full time blogger and stay-at-home mum, I have always said that I am very lucky to no longer have the drudgery of the 9-5 (in Legal Services it’s more like 8-7) and the stress of the daily commute.
It is ironic, then, that I have had to learn more business skills when it comes to running Mother Distracted than I was ever offered training courses for whilst working.
It is a constant source of frustration for bloggers that many think blogging is typing up an odd article and then taking selfies in front of whitewashed walls or steaming cups of cappuccino with hearts emblazoned in the foam.
Actually, blogging is a full time job. It comprises, among other things:-
- Pitching for work
- Accounting / bookkeeping (all income has to be declared to HMRC even if below the current tax threshold)
- Social Media Management
- Statistical Analysis
and probably several more my frazzled brain has forgotten.
Would I recommend blogging as a substitute job for those who find themselves suddenly unemployed or who struggle to find work via other channels? Yes I wholeheartedly would.
There are some purists, of course, who will declare that blogging is all about the writing, the creativity, the connection with readers – and it is. But blogs are also becoming the new magazines – frank, funny, fast-paced and, unlike a magazine, able to respond to its readers in almost real time.
The bigger blogs are, make no mistake about it, thriving businesses which, in their own turn eventually offer employment to design agencies, SEO companies and virtual assistants.
Why not consider turning your blog into a business?
As a potential career choice, to me, it is certainly as valid as many others if you have the skills.
There are practically no barriers to entry, other than a laptop and a smartphone and some of the bloggers I have had the pleasure of working with are very sharp business people indeed.
You still need the business basics of drive, enthusiasm, motivation and the willingness to work very long hours.
I read lots of posts about bloggers, however, who write two articles and then start moaning that they are making no money.
I would say that, for your blog to generate money, you need to get the basics right. A clear topic for your blog, a fresh, recognisable brand, great photography and a website that is easy to navigate. Content may be king but marketing and promotion of your posts is definitely queen.
Yes, you may need to invest eventually in something like a blog template, or a design app to help get the most professional look you can. My philosophy has always been to plough any money I make back into the blog to keep it looking as competitive as possible. You have to play the long game.
As your blog gets bigger, you may want to officially turn your blog into a business and put it on a formal legal footing by creating a limited company for example.
You are certain to need advice on business finance, hiring staff or even finding company premises. If your idea involves making clothes or ceramics, for example, eventually you are likely to at least need storage space.
Quality Company Formations is a great website which offers a whole host of information about starting a business. They also offer a number of packages which will supply the documentation you will need to, for example, register your business or register for VAT, and they even 0ffer 18 months free business banking with Barclays or Lloyds if you use their service. There’s also a free .co.uk or .com domain name for a year if you haven’t yet gone self-hosted.
I think there is so much red tape involved in starting a business, anything which takes the legwork (and the risk!) out of it is definitely worth checking out.
They also have a customer support team who are happy to answer any questions you may have.
The point, of course, about turning your blog into a business such as a limited company is that you will not be personally liable for any financial losses made by your business. You may also pay less personal tax than a sole trader.
Each type of business comes with its own advantages and disadvantages but if you are at the stage where you are generating income over the tax threshold (this year £11,850 for earnings under £100,000 p.a.), it may well be worth investigating your options to ensure that you and yours are protected financially. This is even more important, I think, if your blogging income is a significant proportion of your total household income.
Whilst the job market is rocky, blogging offers an excellent opportunity to create your own business – with all the benefits and entrepreneurship. Two of these, for me, are flexible working hours and the joy of being my own boss.
As long as you are prepared to put the hours in, to continue learning and to accept that the rewards may not be immediate, you may well be in a stronger position than your current employment offers.
Life is all about risk, after all. Just make sure you do your research but if you feel you have what it takes, go for it! Turning your blog into a business is entirely possible.