Why You Should NOT Start a Blog

Why You Should NOT Start a Blog

If your intention is to make money, then there are a hundred different ways you can make more money FASTER than it takes to create an online source of income. It may be off brand, but this post will detail why you should NOT start a blog. I’ll also dive into the reasons I started my site and what keeps me going as I approach my one year mark.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. Blogs DO make money. Some blogs make A LOT of money. Site’s like Mr. Money Mustache, can make as much as $400,000 in a year.

Not a bad income for an early retiree. 😉 (disclaimer: I do love MMM’s site so I give him mad props for creating something of value in retirement as opposed to sitting on the beach sipping on pina coladas all day. I don’t think he gets even 1% compared to the amount of life changing value he’s provided to millions of readers, myself included.)

With that being established, I’ve noticed a lot of new people enter the realm of blogging. I’ve now been heavily involved in the space during 2016 and I’ve seen many people quit along the way.

At this stage, I’ve noticed one theme resonate with all new bloggers: If your number one intention is to make money, you’ll probably fail. I don’t think creating an online source of revenue is a bad idea, but if money is the FIRST reason you think of when asked why you started a site, it won’t be enough to keep you motivated through the process.

You simply will not have the drive to create content that people will read. And readers CAN tell when you write bullshit; if it’s not relatable, if it feels fabricated, it won’t stick.

The reason being because blogging takes TIME and ENERGY and you’ll see ZERO returns at first.

Or at least, zero cash directly from the site.

If you want QUICK sources of income, I’ll recommend applying one of the approaches below.



I have a close buddy who started to drive for Uber and Lyft on the weekends. He doesn’t make much, but he only works about 2 weekends a month at maybe 6 hours a day. He picks nights where there’s a large concert of some event where he expects there to be a lot of people moving around.

For the weekend of Lollapalooza one year he made over $1,000. From ONE weekend.

And no, he didn’t rob anyone or get lucky after someone left their wallet behind.

Another friend of mine used to (not 100% sure if he still does) go to yard sales or garage sales on weekends. He would scan through all the items and compare prices on eBay and Amazon. After the cost of gas and using his vehicle, he would net out a few hundred for each day of work.

Another friend did a similar approach with thrift stores or second hand clothing stores. He was having so much success that he even purchased a nice camera and a manikin to take better photos! I’m not sure how much he made, but if he purchased a $500 camera, I’m guessing the ROI was many times that.

So, by now you know the reason behind this article:

Why you should NOT start a blog VS. why you SHOULD start a blog



When I ask a new blogger what their vision is for 6-12+ months out, I slightly cringe when I hear a dollar amount mentioned as the first goal.

Blogging SHOULD NOT be your first option for increasing your revenue in the short term.

If it is, then I’m willing to wager you won’t last long.

Of course, I highly recommend we can all benefit from starting a blog, but NOT because you can expect higher income tomorrow.

The reason I say this is because blogging is much MORE difficult than all the alternative options mentioned above. You yourself can think of extra items in your own life that could produce hundreds of dollars in value, nearly overnight.

It might be that car repair you’ve been putting off, or that extra work project that your boss will notice. It might be offering to cut your neighbor’s lawns for an extra few bucks. Whatever it is, you’ll see a much FASTER return.

If you’re looking to learn more about retirement planning, or insurance, or how to properly prepare a power of attorney on your behalf, then blogging might be a useful way for you to read about and discuss these topics.

If you’re like me, and feel you’ve mastered some elements of personal finance while still aware of the fact that you know nothing (Jon Snow), then blogging opens a lane for your mind to cover new material while offering value on topics you’ve already been through.

Personally, blogging has been a tremendous source of learning in my life.

On the deepest level, blogging has developed the communication between my girlfriend and myself. We’re able to open new lanes of communication to express feelings that might be difficult or cumbersome to discuss face to face.

That’s not to say we don’t talk one on one, but sometimes it is easier to write out your opinion before you can really figure out what you’re trying to say in the first place.

Of course, I could mention the countless relationships I’ve developed with other personal finance bloggers and with my readers. Many of you will never see the level of communication I have one on one with many readers who have very specific questions. In some cases, I’ve spent more time answering one specific reader’s set of questions than writing an entire blog post. .

When it is appropriate, I’ll even use that as a source for a new article.

That type of interaction is what makes me more than thrilled to continue blogging.

My source for inspiration comes from learning more about myself and more about what other people are struggling with. Sometimes my past struggles can often a lesson and sometimes it is something new for me and my readers. Either way, the whole point is to continue on this path towards Financial Freedom. Or, if you’re already there, then to keep learning about ways to optimize not just your budget, but your overall lifestyle and state of happiness.

If you didn’t catch it earlier this year, I detailed how blogging has helped me keep an additional $13,291 in income through the first SIX months of 2016. Those types of benefits are real and should be incorporated into any site, but you can achieve the same results working side hustles other than a blog.

The short version is this: scientifically, if you publicly declare a goal to people who will keep you accountable, you’re FAR MORE likely to achieve that goal.

So, if your intentions are to learn, to share knowledge, to have fun, to build an online brand that you can control, to hold yourself accountable, then yes, start a site today.

If these reasons match up with why you want to start a blog, then go for it. But, if your first intention is to make money, then stop. Save yourself the time and mental frustration of blogging by going out and finding quicker sources of revenue. Let this post be a remind on why you should not start a blog.

What keeps you blogging after all this time? Have you thought of starting a blog, but already have a healthy financial ecosystem of your own? Are you a blogger who’s focused on making cash today and are now frustrated after having read this article and willing to place a wager on being around 6 months from now? 😉 Let me know!

-Matt
Master Distiller


20 comments… add one
  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Aug 24, 2016, 5:38 am

    Matt, I couldn’t agree more, although I don’t appreciate the way you are diminishing the $5 I made this month…well, $4.97 to be exact.

    Anyway, you nailed it! Blogging is NOT a good way to make quick money. But, like you mentioned it’s a great way to learn and connect with people. There are also other benefits like how I made over $22,000 in 90 minutes (you’ll have to read my post to find out) that don’t show up on the blog’s P&L, but still affect your bank account.

    Plus, it’s just a lot of fun and it is powerful to put goals out there for public scrutiny and the simple act of thinking things through enough to write them down clarifies your thinking.

    It’s all good stuff, but you need to be ready for the time commitment and can’t worry about any money for a while. I’m giving myself 1-2 years before I even ask the question about whether I’m making any money.

    I really enjoy your posts, so keep up the good work!

  • Frugal Familia Aug 24, 2016, 7:28 am

    While I never started my blog for monetary purposes, I will be the first to admit that I never realized how much work and time commitment blogging it. I thought it would be a small hobby I did on the side for a few hours a week, boy was I wrong! I really enjoy learning however, and I never imagined I would learn so much in such a short period of time. I agree that if you aren’t having fun and don’t genuinely enjoy blogging, you will not be successful..just like most things in life!

  • Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions Aug 24, 2016, 7:53 am

    You nailed this one for sure! I never went into this with the idea of making money. I actually have chosen it to give back. I was so busy earning my doctorate and working full-time, along with raising two kids – that I never had much time to volunteer. If all that ever happens is some people learning from my blog, that will be enough. As you mentioned, I took so much from others who were willing to give advice and information – that I feel the need to share too. The people and the relationships are worth a lot more than trying to earn money right now.

  • The Financial Panther Aug 24, 2016, 8:08 am

    Right on point. Sure some blogs make a ton, but it’s no guarantee and takes a ton of time. There are a million and one ways to make money faster. Heck, I sold some Ikea chairs I found in the trash yesterday for $10, and that took me maybe 5 minutes of work. It would probably take me hours and hours to make $10 off my blog.

    I’m a new blogger and still figuring everything out, but for me, it’s really just a thrill to know that even one person might find something I wrote helpful. That’s really where I find my joy.

  • Brad, MaximizeYourMoney Aug 24, 2016, 8:26 am

    #TRUTH!

    Far too many people think they can make instant money doing a lot of things. But quality things that are going to last a long time tend to also take a long time to ramp up.

    With my last business I ran it on the side for four years before I left to do it full-time. I was hire #4. I continued to run it for 18 years and had a nice exit in 2014 but most people ignore that it didn’t many any money the first two years and didn’t make much the next couple of years after that. When building something to last a long time, people should understand that it often takes time.

  • Ms. Montana Aug 24, 2016, 9:20 am

    Mr. Mt and I were just talking about this last night! I haven’t thought about trying to make money from my blog, and I am not sure if I would. But then benefits have been huge. There is a cultural norm in the US to only value things that earn income, and value them in proportion to the income they produce. But that’s crazy. Writing has been enormously valuable to me, even with out bringing in income.

  • earlyretirementnow Aug 24, 2016, 9:22 am

    Very well said. Blogging for me is more of a hobby and very few people turn their hobby into a profit. I think it’s an ideal hobby: Much cheaper than most others (e.g. golf). Since I already have other hobbies (hiking, anything outdoors) that are of the cardiovascular nature, it’s nice to do something more intellectual. Especially after I quit my day job. Keeps the mind sharp. And I learn something new every day! I would never plan to make money off this hobby.
    And by the way, who says that the currently successful blogs will stay that way forever? Tastes change, fads come and go. Who knows, maybe even MMM will not make money from this forever.

  • Julie@ChooseBetterLife Aug 24, 2016, 9:57 am

    It is definitely not for the money 🙂
    Right now, I’m focused on creating content, providing valuable and helpful information, and learing to communicate clearly and effectively. Hopefully someday the blog will pay for itself and even provide side income, and it’s important to make sure it happens with integrity and my content isn’t influenced by anything but good intentions.
    Bonus-there have been so many other wonderful blogs I’ve found along the way and I’m learning so much. Win-win!

  • Tawcan Aug 24, 2016, 10:26 am

    Totally agree with you 100%. So often people see these big blogs making tons of money so they think they can do the same. But making big money with a blog is hard and takes time. Not to mention maintaining a blog is like a full time job. So many people give up quickly.

    I have to say my favourite part of blogging is making connection with other bloggers. This aspect has been quite rewarding for me.

  • Physician on FIRE Aug 24, 2016, 12:24 pm

    As others have mentioned, there is a definite personal finance / FIRE blogging community, and once you’ve been at it for a few months, you start to feel like you’re a part of it, which is great!

    Before I started blogging, I wrote down a timeline. Year 1: write great content and build an audience. Year 2: Consider implementing some monetization.

    Then I figured out how simple it would be to drop an Amazon link, and I started monetizing from Day 1, although it was about four months before I got my first $10 check.

    Blogging is generally not a good reason to give up your day job. Financial Independence is, though.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  • Karlene Aug 24, 2016, 3:10 pm

    Nice honest article Matt. I don’t remember having ever read anything like this before.

    Personally I started blogging because I like: Helping others, money and writing. Also, I had been sharing information by email with friends and family for years, and I originally thought doing something similar via a personal finance blog would save me some time. To say that blogging takes time is putting it lightly.

    I must admit that until this week I was one of those few who had decided to stop blogging. However, even though I told my husband and others that I wasn’t going to blog anymore, or only post something when time allowed that never felt right. I’m grateful to people like Bob Proctor (I am doing his 90-day paradigm shift) and Joe Vitale (for his Attractor Factor book) who helped me to remember that blogging is something that I really enjoy doing, and I need to find a way to do it.

    Like many of the other commenters, I enjoy learning, and have gained much from other bloggers. The only way I know how to show my gratitude is by making comments on blog articles like this. In time, I hope to be able to write as a guest on some of these blogs.

    Thanks to Matt and all of you who made comments for an insightful article and responses. Much success to all.

    Namaste,
    Karlene

  • Allan @ The Practical Saver Aug 25, 2016, 10:11 am

    I totally agree with you, Matt.

    A lot of people think blogging is an easy way out to make a lot of money. It is and it isn’t. Blogging takes more than just great write ups. It takes time and energy…. Well, a lot of those.

    I think readers can tell if a blog is just there to make money vice make money and share stories so people can learn a thing or two.

  • FinanciaLibre Aug 25, 2016, 5:16 pm

    Right on, Double-D!

    Well put, and I absolutely agree. This whole thing’s gotta be about improving lives by sharing useful information and perspectives.

    And in the FI/PF realm I think it should (at least partially) be about tearing down the walls that separate everyday life/decisions/habits from the confusing or arcane (but powerful) tools of economics and finance.

    Good stuff here, and thanks!

  • Victoria Wheeler Aug 25, 2016, 7:46 pm

    I just recently started my blog. For me it has been a way to disseminate info that my friends shyly ask me about quickly, and to parse my own thoughts.

    And I hope, as time wears on, I will get other personal finance besties who can come along and help us out. We’ve been out of debt for a while, but we’re just now getting to the point where we’re ready to take on bigger life goals, so I am excited to get input from smart folks as we do so.

    Maaaaaybe someday it’d be nice if it made money, but I’m picking up a lot of transferable skills in the meantime.

  • TheMoneyMine Aug 25, 2016, 8:41 pm

    Some folks in the blogging community are falling for the attraction of the quick money and the traits that are common to these “financial advisors”.

    Many financial advisors sell their services, primarily to make money. Not as often to make money for their client. And I know a lot of bloggers hate these people.
    Nevertheless, a few bloggers seem to use the same techniques when promoting the benefits of blogging. Sign up for bluehost, put a few posts online and you’ll be rich. In the meantime, the only person that is making money is the blogger who’s using the Bluehost referral link (and let’s be honest, Bluehost wouldn’t give a huge referral bonus, no one would refer them).

    Thanks Matt for adding your voice to this debate. You’re blogging for the right reasons.

    Blogging has certainly made me richer. In knowledge. In connections. Even financially by making better financial decisions. But first and foremost, it’s about the experience. If I can make a difference in someone’s life, it’ll be worth more than a few thousand bucks.

    Or maybe I’m just secretly jealous. I just can’t figure it out 😀

  • Colin @ rebelwithaplan Aug 26, 2016, 1:09 am

    I had a blog for three years before creating my current one on personal finance. My old blog required upkeep but my newer blog requires so much more work and resourcefulness. It goes way beyond just writing (which is what many people seem to think all blogging entails).

    “Writing” a blog=content marketing, photo graphic creation, some HTML and CSS knowledge, advertising, market research, etc. all with no immediate return. You have to really love it and have a mission behind wanting to do it!

  • Paul Andrews Aug 31, 2016, 11:36 am

    This post is drenched in truth. The fun part is explaining to loved ones/family that this is a long term investment of time and capital in order to try to get “passive” income in the future. But I definitely haven’t gotten riche quick. Awesome post!

  • Financial Shaper Oct 24, 2016, 3:29 pm

    Great post. I’ ve recently started my blog, it is so exciting. I like the community and to create a personal journal which articulates my goals, achievements and changes I am experiencing.
    Cheers

    • Distilled Dollar Oct 24, 2016, 5:37 pm

      Glad to hear it! Blogging has had an immense impact on our lives for the better. Look forward to checking out your insights.

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