Not too long ago (it may have been on a forum or something), I saw someone say that you aren’t a “professional writer” until you’re earning six figures. I think most of us would disagree with that (I’d reckon that most “professional writers” – authors, journalists, etc. – aren’t earning a solid six figures every year actually). However, it got me thinking about professional blogging a bit more.
I don’t consider myself a professional blogger yet, but it’s a goal I’m working towards (shooting for the end of 2009). But what exactly is a professional blogger?
Here are some of my thoughts on what does or doesn’t make someone a professional blogger (and you’re welcome to share your own thoughts and disagree with me here):
- A professional blogger has to be earning money from blogging.
- You don’t have to be a member of a blog network to be a professional blogger, and being a member of a blog network isn’t enough in and of itself to make someone a professional blogger.
- You don’t even need to have your own blog to be a professional blogger (corporate blogging / ghostblogging is a growing trend, and quite lucrative I might add).
- You can be a professional blogger if you only work on your own blogs.
- A professional blogger should be earning not just something, but enough to be considered a living if they do it full-time, or enough to be equivalent to other part-time job options available to them if they’re doing it part-time (something reasonable when compared to their main writing or other work). In other words, earning $100-200 per month doesn’t really qualify many as a “professional blogger” in my eyes. (To me, that would be like saying someone working in a McDonalds kitchen is a “professional chef.”)
For me personally, I don’t think I’d call myself a “professional blogger” until I’m doing it full-time and earning enough to get by solely from my blogs and sites (I have a few non-blog sites, so maybe a better term would be “professional Web publisher” – I don’t know).
Last summer, my blogs were earning the equivalent of a low full-time income for part-time work for several months before dropping off (mostly because I slacked off to focus on client projects). So does that mean I was a “professional blogger” during that time? (I don’t think so.) Exactly how long do you need to be earning significantly from your blogs to really earn the title?
I recently quit consulting to focus full-time on writing. My next move is to quit most client writing to work full-time on my sites (although I’ll still do part-time client writing a few hours a week at that point – probably early 2010 if things go according to plan).
Because I’m choosing this route of looking to go full-time, I would say I’d need to earn at least $3000-4000 per month from my blogging part-time (not including service referrals) for at least 5 or 6 months before I make the jump to full-time (to invest more time to building the income further) and consider referring to myself as a professional blogger.
Do you think that’s enough time? Too much? Too little of an income goal to make the switch? Too high?
There aren’t any right or wrong answers. The thought just kind of came to me today, so I figured I’d throw it out there and see what other writers / bloggers think about it.