I’m a blogger for a living. Have been for years and years and expect to be well into the future. Maybe forever.
Before blogging? I was a dabbler. Like many self-employed types, I tried my hand at a bunch of things to avoid full-time work and hopefully hack it as my own boss. At one point I was tutoring nearly full time, doing portrait photography on the side, and accepting the odd small gig like creating (terrible) websites for teensy-tiny start-ups/businesses. One thing I’d never agree to? Shooting weddings, as I’m one of the seemingly few who detests them; I’m married, and yes, I did hate my own wedding.
I always thought of blogging as the perfect profession for me. I like photography, I like writing, what could be better? While I’ve had a few ups and downs with my chosen career path (no matter what anybody tells you or what pre-conceived notions you may have, sustaining a living online is not easy), it’s still probably the best type of work I can imagine, so I’ve stuck to it.
I’m not your typical blogger, however. Unlike most, I’ve got a large number of websites I dedicate my time to. And yet, I absolutely always write and photograph my own content. Again, going to stress: this is not normal, it’s probably not ideal either, I know this well. But first, in case you’re new to the game, let me catch you up to speed on what is normal…
The Typical Blogger Career Trajectory
Most bloggers have one site on a single topic or under an umbrella of related topics they blog about. They invest huge chunks of their time, energy, and effort into their only-child until it’s no longer a baby, creating content for and promoting that site until it finally reaches maturity and hits a peak they’re happy with, or are forced to accept because it no longer has much room for growth.
At that point, bloggers who want to stay in the game typically go one of three ways:
- They’ll ride the wave, simply sustaining their site.
- They’ll grow their mature brand by entering other mediums, like podcasts and/or videos.
- If they realized along the way content creation is not actually the thing about blogging they love most, typically bloggers will begin to outsource the content creation part of their job, freeing up their time to do other upper-level behind-the-scenes work that goes into blogging instead, and in essence become blog managers and/or editors instead of bloggers proper.
Obviously, some choose to tap out instead of pursuing any one of the above options – selling their site for a healthy profit, then starting a new blog or a new career altogether. But assuming you’re not interested in tapping out, pursuing any one of the above options is a safe and almost sure bet, since you’ve already scaled up your blog to the level where it’s earning you a living. Each option is best at reaching a specific, unique goal, so what you want from your blog once you’ve hit this pique really should guide the option you choose.
Option 1: Sustain Your Site
If you blog to earn a living and are happy with the income you’re producing from your blog, this route is likely to keep you earning with the least investment of time. Sustaining a blog isn’t the hard part for most, starting a blog and growing it to where you’d like or need it to be is.
Option 2: Expand with Other Mediums
Following option 2 is the most likely to make your brand as big as it possibly can be. It’s especially helpful if you’re a content creator whose main purpose is to get your message out, as different mediums are likely to help you tap into new audience bases. But even if you just happen to be invested in and/or really love the brand you’ve built up, it can be a great option for expanding reach, especially since creating new content from old posts is a lot easier than finding new ideas and starting from scratch.
Option 3: Outsource Content Creation
Those who choose to outsource content creation and instead take on roles behind-the-scenes of blogging almost exclusively are likely to become the biggest income earners of the blogging industry. Why? There’s only one of you, but you can hire as many content creators as your site’s earnings can support. This trajectory makes the most sense for those who are blogging to earn a living, yet want to increase their income substantially, and not merely sustain what they’re earning from their site. Eventually, you can even hire someone who can replace you as management, thus taking yourself out of the equation completely, freeing up all your time. Though that point will undoubtedly take considerable time and planning to get to.
Why These Options Don’t Work For Me
You’ve no idea how much time I’ve invested thinking up ways I can follow any one of these excellent options for a blogger’s career trajectory. You’ve no idea how deeply I realize that, in one way or another, bloggers who follow one of these three paths are likely to be substantially more successful than anyone using my method.
Still, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that none of these paths fit me.
What I love about blogging is – plainly put – blogging. That rules out options 2 & 3 completely. I don’t want to change mediums and I don’t want to outsource.
My only problem with option 1? I can’t simply write about the same topic (or umbrella of related topics) prolifically forever – the dabbler in me refuses to make this option work.
Sticking to just one subject over time drains me: it becomes too redundant, a bit boring, and in the end makes me momentarily fall out of love with a topic completely. At times, it’s even made me resent blogging altogether, and led me to feel as though I really want to quit.
My options as I saw them were as follows:
- Tap out by selling my blog (something I would never do – my blogs are my brain babies).
- Take a break and hope interest in writing about the same topic would resolve itself (feels like a temporary solution – I’d eventually just end up in the same situation).
- Tap out by essentially no longer updating my blog, and look for another career in the meantime while my blog dies a slow and painful death (not a fan, obviously).
- Continue writing regularly for the blog, but likely end up publishing lower quality content due to being burned out by always writing about the same topic (again, not a good option).
- Just start a new f*ing blog. Write on both as I see fit.
Obviously, my first blog would not get the same kind of attention it would’ve had if I were exclusively concentrating on it because it was my only blog.
Obviously, starting more blogs probably isn’t a good financial decision, as options 2 or 3 would’ve helped overall growth more, and to happen much more easily.
But no other option was one I’d be happy to take.
Multiple Blogs: A Last Resort
My resolution? To quit obsessing over following typical blogger career trajectories, following expert advice and guides – open up a new blog and write.
After a little time relishing how easy it felt to write about a new topic, and how much better it made me feel going back to publish on my old blog – I lost all restraint and opened up another. And yet another.
I don’t know how many active blogs I have at this present moment: it definitely depends on your definition of active. (Should it have been published to in the past week? Month? What if that was the only post after a year or more of inactivity?)
I don’t know how many active or semi-active blogs I’ll have as you’re reading this, and have no clue how many I’ll have by the time I’m done with blogging, but I no longer care.
If my love for blogging is not what fades over time, but what fades is my desire to scribble about the same topic day in day out, having multiple blogs is a reasonable solution for me.
It’s not efficient. It’s almost certainly not going to be as profitable as having one or capped-at-two blogs, nor is it as smart as expanding into other mediums.
But blogging is a career I’m happy with, so why make myself so frustrated boxing myself into writing about one or two topics that I feel I have to jump ship on the whole she-bang – when simply having a slew of different blogs can help me continue to be happy in my chosen profession?
Whether You Should Start Multiple Blogs
If you’re anything like a normal person: you should probably never start up a second blog, let alone try having multiple blogs at once. If you’ve managed to make one blog a success, and you want to continue to grow, you should probably choose to move your brand into another medium or outsource some of the content creation to continue growth while maximizing the time, energy, and effort you’re spending blogging.
But if you’re anything like me – you love content creation in the form of blogging and just want to stay happy in this profession in the long run – start a new blog. Just do it. And if you want another one after that, start it. Rinse and repeat until you’re satisfied.
Because if you’re anything like me, nothing else will scratch the itch of sharing across so many different websites, to so many different audiences. If you’re anything like me and you start a bunch of different blogs and try (many times unsuccessfully) to keep up with all of them – although it surely won’t be the best financial decision you’ve made, and certainly won’t be time efficient at all – you (probably) won’t regret it.