mykonos-shore

I quit my job recently.

It was done after a year-long agonizing decision period in which I went back and forth about whether to leave.  When I announced that I quit on my blog, there was an outpouring of support and a few calls for full-time blogging.  I’d love to blog full time, but there’s so much more to blogging than simply tossing up a few posts here and there every week, that while I’d love to make a go at it, I can’t blog full-time, and neither can most of you.

LET’S GET REALISTIC

It’s a fantasy, I know, to be free enough to make your own decisions  and do what you when you want to do it.  Since we all presumably have blogs, if you haven’t already done so, you will think of your blog as a possible path to this freedom.  I mean, it would be cool, right, to roll out of bed, or maybe not (I do all of my blogging in bed with my laptop), and bang out the world’s best articles every day, every single week, while cashing big checks for your efforts every single month.

If you have not already discovered Darren Rouse of Problogger frame or John Chow of JohnChow.com or Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, or even our own Flexo from Consumerism Commentary, you will.  These guys have made the leap from full-time day jobs to professional bloggers extraordinaire and they make full-time incomes doing so too.  They make it look oh so easy, and we all want to be like them, but if only it really was that easy.

Many of you might not remember that I’ve been there and done that already.  Oh, not the full-time blogger thing, but I’ve been self-employed, and it takes a lot more than the relatively steady $1,000 per month that I make through my blog every month to sustain me.  $2,000, $3,000, $4,000, even $5,000 a month from my blog won’t work either, and here’s why:

BREAKING DOWN THE INCOME

  • If you’re generating let’s say even $5,000 per month on your blog ($60,000 per year), you have to pay for the basics of running the blog.  Chances are they you will have to move to a dedicated or cloud based server to handle all of the sexy traffic that you’re getting.  Your Go Daddy shared hosting won’t cut it. Sam says that it should run cost about $250-$500 per month.  My friend is paying $1,200 per month (!).  I don’t know the costs for sure since my measly blog sits on a shared server. Either way, you now have a maximum of $54,000 left over.
  • Are you going to write every single day?  Unless you’re an internet marketer like Pat Flynn who successfully pimps the hell out of commissioned products and sells you the dream of riches, you’re going to need to sustain traffic with fresh content every single day.  I’ll give you some leeway for holidays and even weekends.  Can you write 250 meaningful articles in a year?  It’s tough.  I tried writing a new article five to six times every week for three months.  At the end of it I was ready to quit blogging.  Seriously.  My brain couldn’t take it anymore.
  • So, if you’re not going to write every single article, you might need to bring on a staff writer.  Let’s see, I hear that those bad boys run at about $25 per article.  If you pay for just two articles every week that’s a minimum of $2,080. You’re getting off cheap here.  You still have a decent $51,920.  And imagine if you want to get some great quality writing, Whale Posts if you will?  Those articles can cost $200-$300 a piece to increase your chances of success.  100 of those higher quality articles for the year cost $20,000-$30,000!  You get what you pay for!
  • Do you plan on networking?  If so, you might want to at least go to The Financial Blogger Conference and Blog World Expo. Let’s say you have to spring for airfare, hotel, food, etc.  We’ll say that runs you about $1,500 for both events on the low end. We’re trickling down to $50,420.
  • How do like taxes?  Yeah, I’m not a fan either.  Wait, taxes come with their best friend, Social Security whose cousin Medicare tags along.  If you’re self employed, you pay double, baby.  So let’s see that’s 10.6% for Social Security and 2.90% for Medicare.  I’m in New York City, so I have to pay federal, state and city taxes as well.  If I’m lucky I’d only pay 45% in taxes.  That brings me down to $27,731.
  • If you don’t have a spouse whose health plan you can piggyback on, you’ll need health insurance.  All of that time spent in front of the computer is not healthy.  I don’t know how much healthcare costs if you have to pay for it yourself, but the COBRA amount for just me from my past job with no dental was around $550 per month.  That $6,000 annual cost will eat into your money.  You now have $21,731 left.

A REVIEW OF WHAT JUST HAPPENED

Let’s see, you started out with a hefty $60,000 and got nickeled and dimed down to a little over $20,000 with just the basic costs of running your own business. I didn’t even include standard items such as an accountant, office supplies, promotional activities, bank fees, lawyer fees etc.

You’ve now made $417.90 in take home pay per week.  Can you really blame anyone for not working and collecting roughly the same amount in unemployment insurance for 99 weeks if they can?

Don’t forget that you have to pay your rent or mortgage, buy groceries, pay for gas and car insurance, the doggy in the window as your kid’s Christmas gift, and all of the other basic costs of life.  Of course, you could just live in mom’s basement and have the parents pay for everything, including grocery shopping for your favorite pot roast and fizzy pop.  Better yet, you can just marry someone to take care of all your needs and declare yourself a freelancer/full-time blogger/early retiree as well!  But isn’t that just bending the rules?

Think that you can blog or freelance full-time now?  At what income level would you have to generate online to allow you to blog/freelance full-time?  If not an income level, what about a percentage of off-line income?

Photo: Mykonos Restaurant On The Water, 2011 by Sam.  You could blog from here if you were full-time.  Anybody interested in buying a secret product on how to do so for only $999?