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What I do….

Posted By Darren Rowse 13th of June 2010 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Earlier in the week on my personal blog (infrequently updated) I wrote a post entitled – What do I do?

The idea of the post was to try to explain to friends and family members what it is I do in my business. It came out of a conversation with an old friend recently who admitted that while he knew I was a blogger that he had no real idea what that meant and what blogs I worked on – so after explaining it to him I wrote it up as a post as well.

As I guess it relates to my blogging and perhaps gives a little insight to readers of this blog what it is that I do – I thought I’d link to it here. You can read it at What do I do?

PS: how do you explain what you do to your friends and family? I’m not sure I’ve really done it justice in that post – but would be interested to hear how you go about it in comments below.

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.
  • Um, my friends and family know that I’m a writer but that’s all they get. They don’t understand the day to day. In fact, some of my relatives probably think I’m unemployed. I’ll be so glad when my book hits Amazon so that I can say “See? Look! This is what I do!”

  • I currently fumble all over myself trying to explain what I do, since most of my friends and family members don’t understand blogging. They do understand the concept of ‘writer,’ however, so I’m starting to just say, “I write for my own internet site and others.” That’s not a great explanation, but it does keep peoples’ eyes from glazing over.

  • My family understood what a blog was (generally) because I’d had a family blog for 4 years before starting my business blog, but they still didn’t understand how what I did made money or what I “did” during my work time. It actually took watching the movie “Julie & Julia” for my mom to understand it, since we could pause the movie and she asked a bunch of questions. I haven’t mentioned Twitter, forums or other offshoots because most of my family is barely on FB and hardly into social media.

    Love the “What do I do?” post. Thanks for sharing it.

  • LOL I’m actually just getting past stumbling on the “uumm… well.. ” part that was inevitably part of my answer. On my side of the pond the concept of “working online” seems like a poor excuse for saying “unemployed”. People rarely get it and they think you’re a hobbyist at best, but I just say I’m a freelance writer/blogger, although people are always disappointed that that doesn’t mean newspaper journalist.

  • Right now I don’t have that issue because I work a full time “normal” job as a tax consultant in addition to blogging and internet marketing, however I constantly think about what I’m going to tell people I do once I eventually quit my 9 to 5 job.

    Perhaps “independent online writer and marketer” ? I’m really not sure.

  • I have to agree with Jean, the same things happen to me. My parents and friends even don’t understand what i’m doing :D Lol..
    Thanks for the post Darren.


  • Christian

    You write (post) your views and opinions for others to read and give you feedback and interact with you, on your personal website designed for that, which is called “blog”. Your intention? is to share helpful information with others as well. You spend (insert time amount here) while enjoying what you do. :-)

  • I help nonprofit organizations show their donors that they care about them. I help them learn to show that they are thankful for everything they are given so that those donors know that there’s someone on the other side of that check that values their contribution. If blogging, tweeting, or whatever else social media happen to be involved, they are only the media through which they express their gratitude and by which we can help those donors become the vehicles for the organizations’ missions.

    Even though I’m not the biggest fan of it, if someone doesn’t get the above explanation, I will let them think I’m just “a social media guy,” but then, that doesn’t really get tem any closer to understanding than the friend you mentioned that just knows you’re “a blogger,” right?

  • This is a common problem I guess.

    I am afraid most do not understand what I do, specially where I am from.

    I am an Internet Marketer, but they understand Email Marketing more easily, so that’s what I tell them.


  • I am from India and here a blogger may be an endangered species because of very new sensation going on for the peoples who are active at Internet and ofcourse peoples who are related to them are thinking a full waist of time and money in these funny stuff, but I think there is nothing to say bad about them because they don’t know what the blog and blogger is even most of the peoples and not aware about the service of Internet then how can we expect the blogging or else that is higher quality working and all.

    And in this case it is hardly possible to make them understand that blogging may give a life dependency business so keep working and show them results in real time.

  • In case of me I tell my friends that I write articles and earn. They don’t know about blogging so I don’t want to confuse them. Blogging is getting famous day by day and I think after few years it will be easy for us to explain what we are doing.

  • It is always interesting trying to explain to people that are not involved in blogging or the Web what it is that one does. Inviting them to participate helps a bit. When the person that you are trying to explain your work to gets a hazy look in the eyes you know that you have lost them!

  • @Dev,

    That’s too bad your parents don’t understand what you do. I think they would be very proud of what you have accomplished with your blog. As well as the amount of stuff you must have learned from blogging.

    I really think you one of the best blogs around.

  • @Jean,

    Yeah, I think most people would understand the concept of writer vs blogger. I had a friend who didn’t know what a blog was. So I carefully explained to her.

    Then I told her that I was starting to make a nice profit at it. Naturally, she asked, ” How do you do that?”. I smiled and said, “wouldn’t you like to know.” :)

    I eventually told her…I just wanted tease her a bit.

    She couldn’t believe it.

  • Of my family only one of my brothers has a decent understanding of what I do online. But he’s also a published author and has an idea of the importance of marketing and selling online.

    A few friends also get it, but only the ones that are already Internet and social media savvy.

  • Most people don’t understand so I avoid the subject.

  • In my locality, many people aren’t familiar with blogging, affiliate programs etc. ‘Earning online’ is whole new and strange concept for them. So they don’t consider it as a profession or a way to make a living. At least they realize it’s a good source of extra income.

  • Some of my friends understand, but my family thinks it’s a complete joke. My brother especially is critical, but when I start making the big bucks, I’d love to prove to him the power of blogging.

  • First @ robbie good going lol..Second I told some of my friends by showing them my blog, including my boss. Yes they don’t know what blogging is, but they do like my blog :). Also hope to be moving my blog over to WP. A.S.A.P. will still have godaddy hosting it though.

  • Mentioning getting help in your post Darren, are you planning on outsourcing with a VA or actually having a full or part time staffer?

  • I find it very hard to explain to people my blogging and how it relates to my niche. I guess owning an outdoors blog, it is a little counter intuitive since most people think of bloggers as being shut in an office somewhere.

  • Darren,
    Indeed, not everyone knows what a blog is. I explain it as an interactive website where I write articles and people if they wish can give me their thoughts and ideas in response online.

    When people ask why I do this? I tell them I am passionate about writing and helping others and it helps me keep in touch with people who have heard me present at conferences. It also helps open up other business opportunities.
    Thanks for asking for my opinion.

  • What a great subject! I’m glad it’s not just me that has this problem. I’m not young – going to be a grandma at the end of the year and while my hubby is incredibly supportive and he kind of understands what I’m doing, I don’t really think anyone else does. It definitely makes it harder when you’re not making much money out of it! At least once you’re making plenty of money they know you’re doing something! We’re also just learning forex trading now – so the family think we’re really just nuts and off on some pipe dream. Lol The eyes glazing over is a really common occurrence.

  • Hi Darren,

    My Family has no idea on what I’m doing here But all they do know is that there are checks coming into our house every month. Oh I really love blogging ;)

  • Hey Darren,

    Well I have to give you a thumbs up for trying to explain exactly what you do, or in general a bloggers life, I’m sure you know yourself that it’s sometimes best to leave it in a very simple way, unless someone is intrigued of course.

    In every day life most people are in banking, sales, insurance or some other type of brick and mortar business that is at least known and in some way understood, but when it comes to blogging, I feel know one even can really grasp exactly what the whole point is and how you can actually make a living.

  • Hello Darren,

    its dificult enough to explain and make us understood by my wife , the rest of the family just wishes the best foor me.

    But you really did a good explanation of it.


  • I don’t like the “what do you do” conversations. They’re all pretentious. I often fantasize about asking “who are you” instead.

    But they wouldn’t get it… And they would likely have no answer anyway…

  • I got in trouble with my family for being a blogger but after a few weeks they got over it. They just told me I was in a niche that didn’t make any money and that I needed to be in a more popular niche even if I wasn’t passionate about it.

  • yeah, in my neighborhood, blogging can not be refereed as occupation, because kids can also do it

    however, i think they did not get the point of blogging

  • I know that in first-date conversations, I usually do not throw out, “I’m a blogger.”

  • Ann

    60% of people dont understand, 30% find it boring and 10% don’t know how I have the time

  • I don’t tell my family exactly what I do. I just tell them I’m a journalist. They would laugh at me.

  • I also don’t know how to explain it to my familyand relatives lol..
    My situation same as Mr. Hokya. Blogging not yet acceptable as an career. They even no idea how we make a living from blog.Maybe I should try to write my own post explantion.

  • I get mixed reactions from family and friends when I tell them what I do. If you are succesful as a blogger you can back up any doubt with proof of your income, but when like me have yet to succeed and make a decent living from blogging it is difficult to convey that across to people.

    Some people I have met simply can not get there heads around how my site will make money, my family are supportive but are generally clueless as to what I do, my father knows what i do as he has attracted a few readers from his work.

    My fiance is lovely and all but she simply doesn’t care much, she knows I love doing it and will never stop me from doing it, but she again fails to understand the hard work that I need to do, and until she starts seeing money appear in my bank account I think she will still view things like that.

    We have had many arguments over it, small bickering and sometimes full blown rows, I remember once I was working on a post on how to cut your cars fuel bill, a post that could of took me an hour instead took me nearly 3 because my fiance and her friend were bugging me so much.

    It’s not her fault I understand, but as a blogger you tend to come across opposition and doubt in the early years, I think that’s mainly because you business is not bricks and mortar, doesn’t have visible staff and you don’t dissapear into an office all day.

  • G’Day Darren,

    I tell people that I write for a living. If they ask me what I write about, I tell them that I write stuff that helps managers in small-medium business to improve the on-job performance of their employees.

    If they ask how I ‘make a living,’ I tell them that I sell the stuff I write to managers in small-medium business.

    That’s all: just the plain, unembellished truth. You see, I don’t think that there’s anything special about blogging
    or bloggers. Blogging’s an honourable way to make a $ as are millions of other endeavours.

    The last thing i want to be is a member of the Great Creative Writing Crusade led by the Blogging Brigade.

    And one other thing……….make sure you have fun.



  • Hi Darren,
    That is a tricky one, like you said in your article, your friend knew you were a blogger but didn’t really understand what that was. I spent about 2 hours the other night trying to explain to my wife what i was doing, lets just say it fell on deaf ears. I will just carry on blogging and find the people that do understand what we do.
    Keep up the good work


  • It’s kind of funny to see how a lot of the comments mention how people still see blogs as a joke or as a worthless activity. There are also people who doesn’t even know about blogging at all, which is probably worst. But this should never be an obstacle for bloggers to stop doing what they do, the time will come when blogging will be a common and necessary activity for each and everyone of us, at least for the ones involved in the business world.

  • I struggle to explain my blog to my family and many people I meet.
    If people don’t know what a blog is, that takes some explaining and then I have to explain a food blog.
    Mostly I just give up and say that it is about food, rather than cooking.

  • I often tell others that I write articles that aim to create awareness about the needs of persons with disabilities. Sometimes I use articles instead of blog posts, as the word articles is more easily absorbed by other people.

  • My mom knows it as I write something which is read half a million times a month and helps many for their education.

    Well if my mom knows then I believe everybody else. Blog is about ones experience put in words to help many.

    But one same time friends, who know about internet, think blog as a personal dairy.

  • Well, I am new to this field and its a part time work for me. So still I am trying to explain me what should I do to get success. When I will get succeed, then I will have to think about this, till then its me only :)

  • i don’t believe it. his post has inspired me to do the same thing on my blog. Most of my family members have no clue what I do and it is often hard to explain in 15 seconds!

  • I simply explain to my family that my blogs are two things. One is a censored online diary and the other is about trophy wives.

    They all know that I’m a stay at home mom now, so right now this is all a hobby until I make a decent profit from it.

  • my family often look over my shoulder wondering what i am doing, thing is if they ask i will tell them.

    then they would probebly just laugh and walk away

  • I also love to write and I wanted to be a pro blogger someday. This article inspire me to pursue to earn an extra money from my talent. However, I need more help on how to set up those ads to help me earn more. What I usually write is inspirational stories, or I share my own stories too. I usually get 700 visits a day and I would like to know more how can I maximize my blogging skills to help me sustain my son’s needs.

  • Blogging for Money

    Sometimes it is easier to just smile and not tell anybody anything.

  • Everything you said is true, but there are many upsides. Like, you can’t be fired.

  • I still don’t feel the affects on the web… real life – 100% affected

  • Awesome post! I’ve been trying to come up with a good internet business idea for a while. Instead, I have come up with a great non-internet business idea, which kind of sucks in a way because this idea requires a lot of money, as opposed to a full internet-based business that might not require that much to get it started. I’m not giving up though. I recently started a blog where I plan to document my steps for starting my company. I figured it would keep me motivated and force me to keep at it. I also hope it will motivate the readers to keep trying to accomplish their goals. By the way, I love your site. I’ll be adding it to my list of interesting blogs.

  • my friends and family know that I’m a writer but that’s all they get. They don’t understand the day to day. In fact, some of my relatives probably think I’m unemployed. I’ll be so glad when my book hits Amazon so that I can say “See? Look! This is what I do!”