Having a blog is a productive way of spending your free time and can be a good move for your career. It allows you to learn and improve in many different areas, such as content creation, marketing, and networking. You may be unemployed and on a hunt for a new job. You may be just about to graduate and you’re looking for that first company to start off your career. You may not be too happy with your current role and are looking for something better/different. Blogging is your opportunity to stand out and set yourself apart. Having a well-executed site gets you noticed, helps you get discovered, gives you a competitive advantage and improves your CV by showing your activities and knowledge on a more deeper level.
What’s blogging good for?
- It helps you market and brand yourself. It is your professional online presence. It gives you visibility and a public voice.
- It helps you learn and improve. It teaches you skills you will most likely need if you want to work online. You get better at writing, marketing, reading, communicating, networking and more. It helps you continuously develop yourself.
- It showcases your skills and your abilities in the area of your passion.
- It lets you increase your network and meet new people that may bring you new opportunities.
- You can build real life relationships. It’s a great way to interact with people who share your passion for blogging, no matter what the topic is.
- Allows you to add your site to your CV. Just like any other job, except this is better. This one is your own little company that you’ve built from scratch.
More reasons why I love blogging are here.
Putting you in a better career position
It is now common to Google someone’s name after having met them or before doing a job interview. By having a successful site you will impress as you stand a chance of ranking high in Google. After Googling your name people will see your well executed site, they will be able to browse through it, learn more about you, and get a better image of your opinion, your skills, your knowledge and how you might be able to help them achieve their goals.
By having a site you will be in a better career position with a more control over yourself and your future prospects. You will have a professional identity that is your own. This identity can be used to get other jobs and you can carry it with you as you change jobs. You will own your brand and you will not need to start from zero every time you are changing a job or a position. This way you will not be in a position where you rely on a company or are dependent on a company. It will bring you more freedom. It will make you less vulnerable.
Just look at how the jobs of journalists have changed a lot in the recent years since the Internet growth shook up that industry. A newspaper reporter now does many other nontraditional tasks in a typical day: writes for the web edition of the newspaper with its own rules or writing and engaging, she tweets, builds and engages an audience in social media, monitors and tracks the buzz in the online world, does web videos and much more, all on top of their traditional role and responsibility.
You need to be able to communicate effectively, you need people skills as you will be expected to collaborate with others. You need to have a commercial awareness and need to know how business works. You need to be aware of how you can make more money for your employer. Whomever hires you will want some results out of your work and the salary they are paying you – for more positions this means profit on the bottom line.
Which of these 4 types of bloggers will you be?
What does the average blogger look like? Blogging has become such a popular activity in recent years and a wide range of people have started blogs so it might be a difficult question to answer. State of the Blogosphere study has tried to collect all the recent trends in blogging and gives us a good answer to what the average blogger looks like. The study has looked into what an average blogger looks like and their analysis on people who produce content online have shown that there are four different types of bloggers.
The importance of self promotion
Selling yourself is a big part of having a successful career. If you have the reluctance to promote yourself and you lack social skills you will be unnoticed. There are only a limited number of opportunities for all of us to take. This is why everyone keeps saying and stressing the fact that promoting yourself and marketing your skills is a big part of getting successful. Most of us are not very comfortable with self-promotion, not many people enjoy blowing their own trumpets all the time. If you speak a bit to different types of creative people you will realize that most of them are very passionate about the things they create and not so much about actually selling themselves and selling their art. It feels like “selling out”, it feels obnoxious, it feels cheap, distasteful and it feels like selling your soul. It is not what they are interested in.
Some see marketing as a waste of their time, the time that they would rather be spending on something more interesting and more creative. You want to get on with the next story, with the next post, with the next design project. You need to understand the importance of marketing. Marketing and selling is everywhere around us. You sell yourself by the way you dress or speak. You sell your point of view and what you believe in when you speak to your friends. You sell your site by the way you present your content. Selling is a part of life and we are all selling.
Unemployed? Start a site and list it as current position
If you are not currently employed you need to start an industry site. Show your knowledge there, present your experience. When applying for positions list this as your current position. There is a big difference between having “unemployed” and having “running a site that has achieved this and that” on your CV. Always make sure to do everything you can to make your personal brand more attractive to the potential employers.
Remember that under skills and experience it doesn’t all have to be just like in a traditional resume with your prior work experiences only. You can list any relevant skill you have in there from copy writing, to networking, to design and marketing. The time you are spending working on building a site can be just as important as your past “real job” employment as it lets you go on an adventure working on a variety of tasks from tech/design projects, to content production, to marketing and selling. Ambitious side projects like these are good for your brand and present you as a dedicated person, full of initiative and ready to take responsibility.
Starting your own professional identity on the side of your job
“Is it ok if I quit my job and start a blog?” is an interesting question. Clearly the idea of quitting your job, leaving the rat race behind and doing something on your own terms is the fantasy that appeals to many cubicle bound employees all around the world. It is a great idea, a great dream to have and definitely something that can help get you motivated to achieve big things.
Finding yourself stuck in a boring job reading about all the people who have chosen to follow their passion can tempt you to give it all up and pursue the unconventional path. Don’t jump into it though assuming that just having the courage to pursue a different path is the only thing that matters, while everything else are just small details that can be worked out afterwards. Planning is key in this process.
Everyone needs to pay the bills after all and just quitting your job to start the site idea you have been thinking about is not very responsible in most cases. Having a steady paycheck is very comforting in these situations, as it allows you to keep your living standards and if you use it well can allow you to invest your time in things that have the potential to make your life better in the future.
There’s no need to give up your job when starting a site. There is a better option and everyone with a job can start today. Quitting your job is a good choice only if you have some savings on the side. Building a site where you can make enough money blogging to replace your day job takes a long time. During these long months you can live off your savings while working on growing the site.
Instead make your site a hobby, a side-project or a professional presence online and have your day job something to fall back on while you are building your audience. This way you work on your site in the evenings, weekends (or even at work if you can) and you start small without taking too many unnecessary risk. The barrier to entry may be low, but it is very difficult to actually succeed.
It’s easy to start. WordPress, the best content publishing tool, is free to use. You don’t need previous experience, academic degree or tech knowledge. You don’t need an office or expensive equipment either. A computer and Internet connection is all you need. The most you have to lose is $50 that you pay for a domain name and a hosting account so people can access your site. Follow this guide to start.
Optimizing your lifestyle will help you make the transition. Try to minimize your costs as much as you can. Get rid of the debt. Downgrade your lifestyle in terms of luxury (not necessary to downgrade the living standards). Make smarter choices and cut down on expenses. Make a budget.
All this will lead you to saving more money and having more money saved means that you might be giving yourself an opportunity to quit your job faster and having more time to focus on this new project. It also means that you have lower bills, which means that you need to make less money from your site in order to cover your living costs.
This is the best way to go without risking to lose too much. Jumping too fast and too early into a full-time career as an online publisher a big risk and you have a much higher chance of failing and getting into a bad financial situation without having a fixed income from your day job.
This is what you need to do in order to establish an identity independent of the company your work for:
- Think about your true purpose
- Explore your passions and find out what you want to do
- Get a personal domain name
- Start your own site
- Showcase your portfolio of work, skills and experience
- Establish a professional social media presence
- Change your LinkedIn profile headline to your personal brand or your skills
- Print a personal set of business cards
- Put in a personal brand signature on your private emails
- Network online and offline
- Promote yourself
- Educate yourself constantly
Pros and cons of being a blogger vs an employee
If you have established a great professional presence and a personal brand is it worth quitting your job and going for the blogging dream? Nassim Taleb has a good answer in his book Antifragile. Being a full-time employee of a company seems like a great option. You get the perfectly stable and predictable income, you may get a yearly bonus, you may get benefits like annual paid vacation. Having a salary deposited into your bank account once a month makes you stress and anxiety free.
Freelancers on the other hand seem full of stress and anxiety as they don’t have a fixed income. Income can be extremely variable. Some months your content may go viral or you may successfully launch a new product and these months can be good. Some months though there is nothing new coming up, you might have hit a writers block, Google may have changed their algorithm and stopped sending you as much traffic as before and then you suddenly cannot even cover your living costs.
It seems pretty much a one sided choice for people to take, doesn’t it? Take the stress-free monthly income from a corporation instead of going on the roller-coaster of income and the lack of job security.
The recent economic crisis has changed this picture somewhat. It is now easier to lose your job and to be made redundant. Depending on the job field you are working in and your age it might not be easy to recover from a setback like that. Is the image of safe full-time employment now merely an illusion of stability?
Freelancers are less exposed to the risk of a complete halt. If you have built your content archives, your products, affiliate offers, a large readership and freelance clients, your income will be dripping in slowly but surely without much risk of getting redundant and getting your salary taken away from you. You have many smaller employers and more options, compared to the full time employee who only has one big employer and is reliant on it.
This income variability is the key that makes blogger more adaptable. These variations in the income make people think, re-think, adapt and change continuously. They have to learn to fit and adjust their strategies and tasks as there are continuous pressures on them to perform. You basically need to learn to adjust according to the opportunities and threats there are. You are continuously educating yourself.
Full-time employees have less of a need to evolve and re-examine themselves continuously as their jobs are less volatile in that sense. And this is why there can be some big shocks happening in case of a redundancy, where it could be difficult to get back and stand on your feet again. You get stuck in the old way of thinking and the old way of doing things. Full time employment is a smooth and steady but very fragile option with the biggest vulnerability being that large shock of income going to zero.
For bloggers it is about randomness and the daily/monthly ups and downs. There might be a large variability in income but the large shocks have a smaller role to play. This variability encourages improvement of the whole strategy – bloggers have to find new ways of reaching visitors, they have to get better skills and learn and adapt on the go. The volatility provides bloggers with valuable information and it directs them to be adaptive. The illusion of variability may actually make the blogger more robust and ready for the future challenges than a full-time employee.
To conclude these days finding a job can be difficult. Start your own professional presence online, take control of your career and give yourself the experience that might be hard to find these days and the chance of boosting your own career opportunities.
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