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Is it Possible to Earn a Full Time Salary as a Part Time Blogger?

“Is it possible to earn a full-time salary as a part-time blogger? (eg, if you’re student)”

This question has been voted up quite high in my Q&A sidebar widget so I thought I’d attempt an answer today.

It’s one of those questions with two answers:

Yes…. and…. No

Let’s unpack both (and I’d encourage you to read both as they bring balance to the question).

Yes it is POSSIBLE to earn a full-time salary as a part-time blogger

Part of me wants to simply answer this question with a ‘no’ answer and give a long list of answers why it’s not possible (because to answer ‘yes’ will mean some will accuse me of painting an unrealistic picture of blogging for money). However I have met a number of bloggers who make a good living from blogging as part time bloggers (in writing this I don’t have permission to share their stories so I’ll keep this fairly general).

However in every case there are a few observations I’d make about these bloggers. They usually had all of the following characteristics (or at least a few of them):

1. They worked hard – they might not have put full time hours (40 or so hours a week) into their blogging but they certainly did work quite a few hours and worked hard in those hours. Many of them did work full time on their blogs at certain times (summer holidays etc).

2. They were very good at what they did – they had an exceptional knack of being able to write engaging content, build networks and build community on their blogs.

3. They had an element of ‘luck’ to their story – I am thinking of a couple of bloggers particularly who really found themselves in the right place at the right time when they started their blogs.

4. They were able to draw others in to help – one way to overcome an inability to work full time hours is to draw others into your blog to help shoulder some of the load.

5. They made money indirectly ‘because’ of their blog and not just directly ‘from’ their blog – interestingly a number of the bloggers I’m thinking of have developed products (e-books and courses) of their own that they sell from their blog (and other people’s blogs). This means they are not just building a revenue from advertising but have a secondary source of income.

6. They USED to work full time as a blogger – one blogger that I’m thinking about now works about 20 hours a week blogging and make a very good living from his blog – but only because he used to work full time. ie he built up his blog to a point where it really was earning good income which then enabled him to scale back a little and coast a bit (he also hired someone to help him – see point #4).

No it’s not LIKELY that you’ll make a full-time salary from blogging part time

It is possible to make a full time living from blogging part time – but the sad reality is that the bloggers I’m thinking of are not in the majority.

Most bloggers who do get to a level of earning a full time living from their blogs are working full time hours (or above) on their blogs. And even then many that are working full time hours are not able to make a full time living from blogging (time is just one element of many factors that build a successful blog).

When I’m talking to new bloggers wanting to explore blogging as a way of making money I generally encourage them to see it as something to supplement their existing income.

Yes it is possible to make a full time living from the medium but the reality is that most never get to this point. Sure – have it as a goal, but set yourself smaller goals in terms of your earnings and see it as something that progresses over time as you invest more time into blogging.

If you’d like to see a progression of how this unfolded for me I’d encourage you to read my story of becoming a Pro Blogger. It it you’ll see that I gradually stepped up my time put into blogging – but only as the earnings I was receiving allowed me to.

PS: Are You a Part Time Blogger Earning Full Time Income?

If you’re one of those bloggers that I mention in this post that are able to pull in a full time income from blogging part time I’m sure my readers would love to hear from you and learn from some of your wisdom. Feel free to share your own experiences (either with your URL as an example or anonymously if you’re not wanting to go public) – looking forward to your own lessons.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I think the reality is that it’s unlikely for the vast majority of bloggers to earn full-time income (whatever that is) regardless of how much time they put into their blog.

  2. A really well balanced article.

    I supplement my income with blogging. It makes enough so that my high-speed internet connection is virtually free. That’s reward enough for me :)

    I enjoy your site!

  3. It is very true, while many blog full time, little make full time income. A lot of bloggers put in 12+ hours a day on their blog, and they make no where near “part time” income. I feel the key to the successor is he or she’s passion for what he or she is doing. Whether be it 21 hours a week or 40+ hours a week, it’s all in the bloggers heart and passion for what he or she writes about. It doesn’t make a difference to put in 12+ hours a day on your blog, if your not using those 12 hours wisely. It all depends on the person and how much they want it, just like everything else in life. As far as luck – I don’t believe in luck. Great Post Darren!

  4. I wouldn’t tell anyone that it is possible to make a full time incoming from blogging part time because I would worry that they would focus on the fact that they COULD, without thinking about too much about how unlikely it is.

  5. I blog on what would be considered a part-time basis. I still manage to get several posts in a week, but I just can’t spend as much time networking as I would like to.

    I also haven’t found very much financial success as of yet. I’m not exactly in it for the money, though, so this point doesn’t bother me.

    A part of me wishes my site would explode with traffic so I could finally concentrate all of my efforts on the site, it’s promotion, and the networking involved.

  6. In order to make money you need persistence and good networking skills. Of course the ability to write good engaging content. However without networking skills good content remains unread.

    I think being apart of a group of blogs would help in that case.

    Is that how you is B5 helping newbies? Or should someone join a group after a certain time?

  7. Great article. I think people are too often looking for that next “get rich quick with little to no effort” deal that does not exist. My blog is very new, and it requires a lot of effort to get it going with no monetary benefit in the beginning.

    I would love to see a stat on how many blogs never make it past 90 days.

  8. Darren, you’ve provided a nice look into “real – world” blogging. It really is difficult to try to earn a full time income when you only put in part time work. It’s the same as any other job!

  9. I think persistence is the key. Most people give up to quickly. A single person can only run 1-2 successful blogs, but it doesn’t stop you from having multiple niche sites that have a few pages of static content or user content generated sites like forums.

  10. I am still waiting for my blog to take off, I put a lot of work into it wih very little page views, hopefully as I continue to produce content and start to build community then it will start to get more popular, it is also a niche market, so that doesn’t help. I have not added any adds so I am not making any income, but in the near future I am hoping to start monetizing my blog

  11. I have a 6 blogs and i have been blogging since July,2007, And i am a Student, i have recently crossed $2500 last moth and i started making money from November 2007. So , that means I crossed that figure in six months.
    $2500 is not that much, but its quite high in my country( India), where my six month expense is $1000. So i saved $1500 and It gave me enough money to take my Girlfriend [EX :-( now – never mind] to restaurants and movies, a Music Phone, Digital Camera etc.
    But cant take it as my Job ( what my Dad would say, that i am a Blogger) But its a good thing for extra bucks +recognition ( I feel Proud when i say blogger) i am not a serious blogger but one day i might give Darren Rowse, some competition ;-).

  12. I make as much or more per hour from blogging (and my related info products) as I do from my consulting business. But blogging requires less admin time, so it’s perhaps even a higher hourly rate. One of my blogs generates a lot of leads for my business. So I suppose I meet your criteria.

  13. I expect Darren may have been thinking about me as one of the bloggers who does the full time income/part time blogging thing.

    In my case I put in the hardest work at the start, but today I write a blog article or record a video or podcast for my blog every second or third day. It works out to about two hours of active blogging per weekday, but I do a TON of other work not specifically on my blog but on my BUSINESS.

    When I just started, like most new bloggers, I had to get my name and URL out there, but as you build momentum, the proactive marketing job becomes less intensive, you have more cashflow to draw upon for hiring people and producing more significant resources and your existing traffic brings in new traffic (compounding).

    The content I do produce for my blog, though not daily, is usually of a higher standard because I like to invest time in lengthy articles since that’s my writing style.

    It’s possible to go part time work/full time pay (and much more), however like with most things in life, people don’t work hard enough at the beginning, where the hard work is most required and therefore never give themselves enough time to get over the early days and build momentum. The more time you put into it, the more likelihood that you will find some of that “luck” or “good timing”.

  14. Some bloggers have an angle for hitting a nerve with the public faster than others. Some have knowledge of a subject with more widespread value. Some just have more writing talent. Some just work harder. I’m sure it’s possible to earn a full-time income working part-time, but I’m certainly not doing it. I just love thinking out loud.

    It likely that anyone after high rewards for low efforts will be too preoccupied with the possibility of wealth than the reality, like kids who dream of becoming pro athletes when statistically the odds are overwhelmingly against them.

  15. I think its possible too…

    Yaro basically works part-time and makes more then a full-time income.

    1. The right topic(big community, profitability)
    2. Passion & hardwork
    3. Some luck & good timing
    4. Help

  16. Great post. I am one of those part-time bloggers just getting started. While I do have visions of big numbers from my blog at some point I am grounded by reality. I am in it more for the fun and any income that comes my way is gravy. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I’m one of the part time bloggers with a full time income. I broke 5 figures (from Adsense) for the first time in April.

    I spend about an hour a day working on my blogs and websites (about half of my income comes from blogs–my most frequently updated and most profitable blog is in my link there–and the other half from article-based websites that I update much less frequently).

    My niches are in the home and garden field, and I started working on this all about four and a half years ago. It’s always been a part time gig (due to trouble with repetitive stress injuries, I really had to figure out a way I could make a decent income without having to hammer at a keyboard 40+ hours a week).

    I’m not a particularly brilliant blogger, link builder, or what have you, and I’ve never networked with other bloggers (probably missed some opportunities there), but I’ve stuck with it, and today I reap some pretty nice financial rewards. I’m even lazy in many ways as I rarely answer people’s inquiries regarding direct advertising spots (but this summer, I am planning to redesign my site to incorporate text links and banner spots, and work toward being a little more customer friendly :)

    I think sticking with your sites is key in this business. A loooot of bloggers give up after 6-12 months, and that’s often just on the edge of the tipping point.

    Also, I think starting a few different sites in a few different areas can be helpful for beginning “pro” bloggers. You can’t always predict which ones will pick up, become popular, and start earning you good money. But with a few different ones, you can wait and see which ones have potential, and then decide which site will become your main.

    Lastly, you don’t have to be married to the idea of blogging. My second highest earning site is a straight html article site with about 100 articles. It’s a topic I’d be bored with if I tried to blog about it every day, but adding an article once a month and working on getting a couple links is certainly doable. Also, in my experience, click-through-rates tend to be higher on article sites, perhaps because they’re less “busy” than blogs and people notice the ads a little more.

    Good luck everyone!

  18. I would answer YES. The key thing is how good do you manage your blog doesn’t matter whether you are part time or full time blogger. If you spend your time from 9 to 5 on your work then if you want to be a successful part time blogger you have to allocate your “after work hour” time to take care of your blog. That’s what successful people always do..

  19. What do you consider as a full time salary…A full time salary here in india may be small money in U.S….but still you could lead a life with that money…so it is all depends upon where you live…i make good money by doing some part time blogging on http://techblissonline.com/… but it may not as good as you make…

  20. Sometimes smart work does pay. As Pro says, ‘right hit at the right time’.
    We don’t spend hell of time on the blog, just leisure time and we do make quite some $$$ !

  21. I’m doing an experiment right now where I have set up a blog for a myriad of reasons that include:

    – Keep myself informed on industry happenings
    – Use as a storage bucket for intel that might as well be shared with others
    – Learn how blogging works

    Since I have a full time job and additional projects on my plate, my strategy is to hire several writers to create posts daily. Then I can focus in my free time on top level strategy. The goal is to spend less than $100 per month and to eventually develop an asset that can be leveraged.

    It seems critical to identify what you can and can’t realistically do. My hats off to folks who can write daily and stick with it.

    I also think that the term blog could use a bit of an update because it seems sometimes people use it as a descriptor for a publishing platform whereas others use it to describe a style of writing. Some of the bigger blogs and blog networks appear to me quite similar as other news outlets with a slight format adjustment.

  22. I agree the average blogger is not going to be able to support themselves, but I think most of us do it to add a spoke in the wheel of social media. Enjoy!

  23. As one of the few part time blogger, full time income blog. I can say that it’s very possible to make better than full time income with your blog. My blog made over $32K last month and I did it while vacationing in Shaghai since May 12.

    Having said that, I would also say that most bloggers will never be able to make full time income even with full time blogging. This is because they are bloggers. I am not a blogger. I am an Internet marketer who happens to blog.

  24. Linda says: 06/02/2008 at 4:49 pm

    @ Lindsay,

    Would you mind giving us a link for your “straight html article sites” — just to see an example of what you mean by those?

    Thanks,
    Linda

  25. Whitey says: 06/02/2008 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks for answering this one, Darren. I’m the guy who posted the original question. I’m a missionary, and would love to replace (or supplement) donation-based income with something. Obviously I don’t need a 6-figure salary, just enough to replace a missionary / not-profit worker’s salary.

  26. I think the internet marketers win this one hands down (they were in it for the money anyway)

    The comments give some good insights into what makes a profitable blog though.

  27. I’d have to say it takes time to build upon many things before you can go part time with this.

    If you start out with no list, no viewers, no traffic and no loyal readers – there is really no way to make a living at blogging right away.

    I know of many who make an indirect income because of their blogs, but the revenue isn’t coming from affiliate links or anything like that.

    They’ve used their blog to build relationships and trust with their niche community in order to later sell their products or services from another site.

    That’s really the only way I’ve seen anyone make money from blogging.

    Not to say there aren’t those who are making money just from letting others advertise on their blog and earning an income from that. Whether that be just posting affiliate links on your site or offering a chance for exposure by paying for ads.

    Yet you should be ranking pretty high before you go asking anyone to pay to market on your site.

    In short – it takes time and is absolutely no way to get rich over night. Quite frankly I don’t think there’s such a thing.

    Lisa

  28. Thanks for the honesty in this post.
    Of course I’m interested in a decent earning, but I’m willing to wait and do the work needed.
    Keepin’ my feet grounded right now.

  29. no pain no gain!

    it takes 51 nosebleeds to turn a PC into a money making machine.

    :-)

  30. I would say “YES” if you can provide an interesting content and keep on update your blog regularly. But, don’t just stop there as SEO and SMO are very important to promote your blog to people who do not know the existence of your blog.

  31. I think what John Chow and Yaro said is really interesting, they’re not just bloggers, they just happen to be blogging (amongst other things).

    I’m starting to hear this more and more as I read blogs. A lot of people start to blog to make money, I know I did. But I don’t think that works for the majority of us (hasn’t for me).

    I’ve been moving the other way and using my blog as an addition or outlet to my interests and goals. Making the blog a part of the overall picture and integrating it with other elements. Totally changing the way I blog and my mindset for doing it, and it’s starting to work a lot better.

    Maybe in a couple of years I can write here about my successes!

  32. Shelly says: 06/02/2008 at 7:44 pm

    I’m trying to build up a queue of unpublished posts for my blog. Doing that, i think that can counter some of my procrastination, which I believe is the reason why many blogs die out. If I get into a lazy stretch, I’ll just publish something I saved for a rainy day. I just started my blog and I hope to make at least something I can put in the bank.

  33. I think that most of the people making serious money via their blogs will tend to not speak about it.
    I have no idea if you can make “real” money with your Google ads or other ads.
    However, your blog can bring you clients if you have a topic that really matters to readers.
    Banks, asset managers, fund managers, trading software sellers really hate me ; I publish every day what my trading systems are telling me (free) ; that brings me a lot of readers to my blog, and often brings in some serious clients.
    So regarding the ads, making a few hundred dollars per week is ok ……but it is nothing compared to making over 50,000 $USD on a single consulting fee …..
    For tax reasons, I will avoid saying how much I make. Let’s just say that if good traders knew about it (specially currency traders), they will quit their jobs and make a killing just blogging on entry/exit signals in currencies (also known as Forex)
    Find a niche, blog about it, and sell your services. That’s the best way to bring in serious money.

  34. Yes I have been doin that for quite some time now!!!

  35. Acutally, It is a bit difficult to earn as a blogger (full time or part-time blogger) in the asian country. Until and unless Lady Luck in on one’s side.

    I can’t but agree more to “phanatic74” points, I also have to thank “Moise Levi” too for the points that the writer has commented.

  36. Though I work full time and earn a full time salary as a blogger, I do think it’s possible to only put in part time hours. I know one blogger who spends her weekends blogging ahead for all of her blogs (she’s a blogger for hire like me) and time stamping them so she’s free to homeschool during the week. Considering she can support herself and son as a single mom and only work the weekend, I know it can happen.

  37. whether one works part time or full time, initial stages of blogging require more time to be spent either on content or building relations.

    its only at a later stage it becomes part time or full time work.

  38. I’m learning a lot from your entries and now I’m going to receive your book. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a full time pro blogger, but I’m exploring chances and I’ll surely give my best to exploit your suggestions.
    Thanks and greetings from Italy, ciao!

    http://theitalianvoice.today.com

  39. I think it depends a lot on your niche – some are more lucrative than others. A niche where there’s an obvious tie-in to actual products will find it much easier to generate cash.

    For example, personal finance is a big niche where it’s possible (but not easy) to earn a small salary on part-time work (say 20 hours per week) – certainly enough to keep a student, but maybe not a family.

    If your income requirements are low-ish, then the amount of time it takes to run a successful blog, can be the same as the amount of time it takes to run a successful blog that makes that much income.

  40. I like the yes and no answers to the question. But I have to say, I haven’t experienced the blogging “part-time” aspect yet. Even though I have a full-time job, I’m constantly thinking about my blog, at work, home, weekends, so it’s not as though I can shut off my mind and only allocate 20+ hours to it. But I think that acts as a motivator — I certainly can shut off thinking about my regular job after 5 p.m. so I’m excited that I’m finally excited about something that I believe in.

  41. i think it is quite hard to earn full time salary if you are a part time blogger. Blogging takes time, the more time you invest, the higher the pay you get.

  42. It is difficult to replace a full time income with part time blogging, but I believe there is a much higher earnings potential from blogging than other traditional part time jobs (retail, etc.). I needed to take on some part time work myself to supplement my family’s income, and after giving up on a number of $7/hr offers that would take me away from my family several nights a week, I decided to give blogging a shot.

    Monetization was really the second or third priority for me, as I began blogging more out of frustration with things in my niche, and a desire to have my voice heard. As things got rolling, I began to focus more on monetization, realizing there was potential.

    I’m glad I did – just last month I was able to match one of my take home paycheck’s earnings from my full time job with income from blogging. I imagine it will take much longer to cover both checks, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

  43. I make some money with my various blogs and sites in general, enough to cover my ‘coffee habits’ and a good deal more. However it’s not a priority to make money.

    My priority is quality. Lists etc are all very good but it’s quality, thought out, provoking, even controversial content that draws crowds and keeps them there. People can actually tell quality online and equate this with authority. Like Problogger here.

    When the quality is there and is consistent, that’s when money begins to flow IMHO.

  44. I am actually confused can someone answer my question.
    I am a writer and usually earn 60$ to 125$ a day.I work around 6 hours a day. So In my opinion and looking at the thing that I am only 19 I earn cool because I am in a asain country.If I blog I will have to cut out around 2 hours from my work and that would take 1/3rd of my income.So you guys please advice me whether I should start a blog or not.
    I would appreciate it if darren or anyone else answers this.
    thank you.
    i think I can afford writers what say?They are usually around 7$/day.

  45. My experience is that blogging is a long-term endeavor. If you put in 2 hours a day for a year you’ll likely grow more than if you put in 8 hours a days for 3 months.

  46. Great, great post about the reality of making money blogging. All things are possible, it’s just never as easy as people make it seem :-) Thank you!

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  47. i think you can earn a lot with part time but you need to work hard in the beginning

  48. I’ve always wondered what the average amount of time a “successful” blogger puts into his or her blog, and what counts as a full time income…. I’ve also always wondered how much the average part time blogger makes, too.

  49. I’m in a different position: blogging IS my job. I do it for a company, not for myself. Unfortunately, I have other responsibilities and the blogging doesn’t get top priority.

  50. I have made $100.00 in 2 years. I am all about the money!

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