In the midst of the uncertain times of coronavirus many people are looking for ways to bring in a little extra income on the side. In fact, nearly half of Americans have some form of a side hustle.
For many, starting a blog is an attractive option with low starting costs and virtually no barriers to entry.
But is it really something that you should consider for yourself?
Here are five things to think about before going "all in" with blogging as your side hustle.
Are you prepared for a long-term game?
Unless you have sizable amounts of cash and can afford to invest up front in a blog, building a blog is a slow and steady climb. In many cases you're looking at at least six to 12 months until you typically start to see real results.
There are some ways to jumpstart the climb but many come with potential risks and others may just depend on a lot of luck or you being ridiculously talented at creating content and perfectly executing your marketing and social media strategies.
For most mortals, it's important to understand that you're not going to start making a fortune in a couple of weeks and you should enter into blogging with the mindset that you are planning on seeing results in 6 to 12 months, depending on how much time you can devote to it.
Can you afford to go public with your identity?
Search engines like Google are increasingly interested in rewarding true experts within their niche with the most traffic. While it is possible to have a successful blog using an alias, being able to leverage your actual identity has major advantages.
If your prior skill sets relate at all to what you're doing, you can use that to provide evidence about your expertise. For example, my background is an attorney and now as a blogger I'm constantly parsing through credit card terms and conditions and trying to make sense of things like nuanced credit card application rules. Because of that background in law, people trust that I know what I'm talking about with such things and it's helped me to build an audience.
Not going with an alias will also help you properly network with other bloggers in your niche which can be crucial to your success. There's something unsatisfying to me about interacting with someone hiding under an alias and that can prevent relationships from flourishing.
And think about this.
If you ever get invited to attend an event or conference within your industry and are only known by your alias, what are you going to do? Turn down the event? Show up wearing a mask? Make your grand reveal?
Your road to growth will just be much smoother if you can use your real identity.
Can you commit yourself to writing?
Trust me, you don't have to be the most gifted writer in the world to build a successful blog. I've heard of stories of people building blogs with pretty rudimentary writing skills, at least in the beginning.
But while you don't have to be the best writer, you do have to be committed to writing. A lot.
I once heard that blogging is like a pie eating contest where your prize is more pie. Truer words have not been spoken.
While it is possible to build small websites that generate a decent amount of income and require minimal levels of article publishing, you're always going to have to keep your content fresh to stay alive in rankings which will require writing.
And if you want to grow a blog into something big? Guess what? Much more writing.
You can always outsource writing but if you're just starting a blog as a side hustle chances are you may not want to invest tons of cash into hiring quality writers.
So make sure you can commit yourself to writing (for days upon days).
Are you really the blogging type?
Some surveys have shown commonalities between personality types among certain types of bloggers, so there may be some truth to having blogging in your DNA.
But you might also have something else in your DNA. Even if you are a decent writer and enjoy writing, you may have personality attributes that will help you better shine in other ways.
YouTube is a perfect example. If you have a natural camera presence and are even mildly entertaining, video might be a much better platform for you to focus on.
Or maybe you thoroughly enjoy interviewing people and getting into deep, long-form oral discussions. If that's the case, you should look into podcasting.
Many times a blog will supplement another platform but if you're just starting your side hustle, I would suggest focusing primarily on one platform at first. That will help you hone in on your craft and then you can expand out to other platforms when you're ready.
Are you just trying to make money?
If you are primarily just concerned with putting more cash into your wallet, blogging may not be the best route to go.
As already mentioned, it can take quite a while to start making real money and it takes a commitment to research and writing that many people probably can't even fathom before starting their blog.
For those reasons and many others, you need to be passionate about your blog in a way that making money is virtually an afterthought.
In order to get your side-hustle blog off the ground in a timely fashion, you're going to be sacrificing a lot of your free time. You may have to put off watching that popular Netflix series everybody is talking about, miss that highly anticipated Monday Night Football match-up, or perhaps dip out on weekend engagements sometimes.
And trust me, if you are not passionate about what you're doing, it's going to be really hard to keep making those sacrifices without making money for several months to a year.
These are all some good questions to ask yourself before you jump right into blogging. It's definitely not for everyone so I suggest to be real with yourself and consider if other side gigs might be better worth your time.