If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time at all, you realize blogging is a pretty unlucrative endeavor for the first couple of years. Most of us blog because we love to write and interact with others. When we start to think about monetary returns, that’s when I suspect many folks start throwing in the towel.

Despite a strong proclamation that “You Can’t Blog Full-Time,” we all know there are highly successful full-time bloggers in our midst. After getting over the initial hump, you realize that earning some shekels is a possibility so you figure why not try and earn more. If traffic grows strong enough, you might even be able to bid the day job adieu one day.

When I quit my job, I gave myself a fun goal of earning $200,000 working no more than four hours a day by December, 2015. What’s the point of being retired and having a steady passive income stream if I’ve got to work to the point where it feels like work, right? I don’t feel writing posts such as this one and chatting with friends over social media is work. I can happily write for three to four hours a day, everyday until my fingers fall off.

Unfortunately, I discovered during my retirement that I’m failing at limiting my writing time. Instead of reading and writing from around 7:30am to 10:30am and then spending another hour checking e-mails for the rest of the day, I noticed myself getting up at 5:30am and still writing until 10:30am! There still is no need for an alarm clock, but I think my body is naturally feeling the pressure to get up earlier to do more since I’ve imposed this arbitrary time limit.

I want to spend more time writing thicker, juicer content for my readers. The average length of my posts has gone from 750-850 to 1,300-1,700 as a result. I no longer had an excuse not to write more. The next big reason for writing more is that I’d like to do well in search in order to create a perpetuity of traffic for the long term. Passive traffic/income is great, but it takes a tremendous amount of initial effort.


Sam, you’re doing it all wrong,” said my freelance writing friend. “It takes me sometimes 15 minutes to no more than 30 minutes to write and edit an article for a client. I used to make $25 a post, but now I regularly command $50-$100 a post. I work on average 25 hours a week and make over $125,000 in revenue a year!

Here I am, spending hours and hours on one post in order to afford instant ramen noodles and powdered Gatorade (very addicting so be careful) and here she is churning out posts like a champ and crushing it. How sad.

My other thoughts were:

Damn, she must be brilliant to be able to write a full length post in under 30 minutes. What the hell is wrong with me?

Hmmm, how good can a post be if it takes under 30 minutes? It sometimes takes me 10 minutes just to find the right picture I took to go with the post!

Maybe I’ve got it backwards and thick content is out, and thin content is actually in.

That’s it. I’m going to treat myself to some some instant Udon noodles instead of just ramen noodles. I deserve it.

I took a look at some samples of my friend’s posts and they were all about 500 words long. They weren’t very original nor were they that entertaining, but who cares? She had a huge book of clients willing to pay her $50-$100 a post for 30 minutes of work.

Stepping To The Edge

What got me demoralized was spending a little over 10 hours writing, “Recommended Net Worth Allocation By Age And Work Experience.” Financial Samurai readers had a great discussion on the proper asset allocation of stocks and bonds by age the month before, and I wanted to wrap up the theme given stocks and bonds are generally only a portion of one’s net worth. What resulted was an arduous attempt that almost knocked me out for the count.

I literally made over 50 draft revisions before publishing the post. The three charts highlighting the “Base Case, New Life Case, And Self Belief Framework” for asset allocation took about three hours alone to create because I kept adjusting the percentage figures to account for various life scenarios. They had to be realistic and multi-variable. When you create your own charts, it’s also very easy to make mistakes.

When all was said and done, the “Recommended Net Worth Allocation” post ended up being 2,818 words long. As soon as I pressed publish, I didn’t want to have anything to do with blogging for at least several days. I scheduled some previously written posts and decided to just go snowboarding up in Tahoe and relax in the hot tub for the week instead.

For the first time in a very long time, I felt blogging burn out. My biggest worry before quitting my job was the fear I would no longer enjoy blogging once it became a bigger focus in my life. My 2,818 word post, which isn’t even my longest post ever, almost made me quit again. I had used up all the mental power I had to create those darn charts. Thankfully, the community seems to appreciate the post with comments reaching around 100. 100 comments (30% of them my own) should be considered a success. The problem is, I’ve got around 40 posts that have already surpassed this mark so the novelty has worn off long ago. Perpetual investments eventually slow down and we must continue to keep on publishing.

It’s too early to tell whether the post I spent so much of my life on will do well. I hope Google believes it is the most comprehensive net worth allocation post on the web, but one can never tell. The web is inundated with thin content from About and eHow that hogs up the top spaces in search. I’ve also got to compete with freelancing machines. I’m trying to do my best to battle, but it’s a long, long slog.


I’ve come to the conclusion that the sweet spot for maximum return on writing effort is somewhere around two to three hours per post. Three hours should be enough time to write at least a 1,000 word post, find a pertinent image, and edit the post so that it’s worthy of most publications on the web. It’s when you start reinventing the wheel or coming up with your own ideas where the time starts racking up.

Two to three hours per post is also short enough so that the electric burn out fence stays out of reach. Bake in another one hour for miscellaneous online activities and you’re set at four hours a day total. With no more than four hours spent a day blogging, one can spend the rest of the day with their family, playing sports, working on different hobbies, seeing friends, and traveling. In fact, I find it challenging to do anything for more than four hours consecutively.

Can you spend more than 3-4 hours doing any of these things without starting to feel a little tired?

* Working out.

* Watching a baby.

* Watching a movie.

* Competing in a basketball, football, soccer, tennis, swimming, snowboarding and running.

* Talking.

* Reading.

* Eating.

* Listening to live music.

* Exploring a new city.

* Relaxing in a hot tub.

* Getting a massage.


Everybody knows that longevity is one of the most important variables to entrepreneurial success. If each one of us is able to publish three to five 1,000+ posts a week for five straight years, I’m pretty sure most of us will achieve blogging glory!

I’m curious to know what the average amount of time you spend writing a post? When were the times, if ever, that you spent so much time on a post that spending any more time writing would make you sick? What do you think the ideal time is to write a post and to blog in general a day? I’d love to one just blog from my vacation property in Squaw, Lake Tahoe and not care about anything.


It’s been around seven years since I started Financial Samurai and Yakezie and I’m actually earning a good passive and active income stream online now. The online income stream has allowed me to pursue other more interesting things, such as consulting for various financial tech startups, traveling around the world, and spending more time with family.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with Bluehost. You never know where the journey will take you in 2015 and beyond!



Photo: Mr. Meerkat Just Chilling, Sam, 2015.