The terms “blogger” and “freelancer” are often used interchangeably to describe ourselves, but it’s important to differentiate between the two to minimize disappointment and maximize profitability. One can certainly be a blogger with a freelance business or a freelancer with a blog. However, to do one successfully requires a different skillset.

I’m a blogger first with some services I offer to anybody or any business looking to develop a presence online or seek help with their personal finances. However, such services are not my main focus as I limit my clientele to four a month maximum. The reason why I limit my consulting is because I mainly want to write, which is my joy. If I wanted to work, I wouldn’t have retired!

Whether my writing makes money or not is secondary to being able to share some thoughts and interact with the community. It’s always going to be this way. The thrill of getting picked up by some major media organization or doing an interview on a public radio station is addicting. So is learning about different perspectives from readers all around.

As it turns out Financial Samurai generates enough income to eat ramen noodles in San Francisco. But again, this is a side product because I’m currently living off my passive income streams in CD interest, dividends, and rental income. Everything generated from my blog is a bonus.

Despite four years of blogging, I’m still struggling immensely with selling a product or myself. I just don’t enjoy the process of trying to make money from readers and am seriously considering outsourcing the work to a freelancer.


A freelancer’s main job is to make money through work provided. The same cannot necessarily be said for a blogger. It’s much easier to become a freelancer than a blogger because there is immediate reward i.e. payment for services rendered. A blogger can literally go for months without seeing a single penny of income. Is there any wonder why so many quit after a while?

Of course there are plenty of bloggers whose main purpose of creating a site is to make money. And that’s fine too. There’s just an entirely different way of making money through blogging vs. freelancing. Just think about all the massive blogs out there who have sold for millions of dollars. Most did not make it a mission to blog for money.

Blogging vs. Freelancing

* A blogger has to figure out ways to generate enough traffic to be able to generate sales of their product or their affiliate products.

* A freelancer needs to generate enough traffic to be able to find enough work to a comfortable point.

* A blogger needs to develop high enough web metrics for their site for SEO clients to take them seriously.

* A freelancer isn’t as concerned about SEO once they get their own name out.

* A blogger not only has to write, but be in charge of marketing and branding.

* A freelancer also has to market and brand themselves up to a point of maximum capacity.

* A blogger writes the majority of content for him or herself.

* A freelancer writes the majority of their content for someone else or some other publication who now owns the content e.g. write an article for The New York Times.

* A blogger is master of his or her domain.

* A freelancer does not control his or her domain and therefore does not control revenue channels.

* A blogger doesn’t need to find clients as a large amount of clients find them through search engines.

* A freelancer needs to find clients in the beginning and will hopefully get referrals to fill up his or her day.

* A blogger’s revenue potential is much more scaleable given a post can be seen by millions.

* A freelancer earns more money by working more hours and charging higher rates.

As I think about things a little more, if a freelancer can do all the same things a blogger is doing, a freelancer will be absolutely booked to the gills with work!


The reason why I prefer being a blogger vs. a freelancer is because I can do what I want, when I want practically all the time. There is more freedom to blogging because clients aren’t necessary, only readers looking for answers who perpetually land on your site through search whether you want them to or not. I also want to provide the best advice possible to one such individual.

The biggest test for all freelancers is to simply ask themselves this: If they started making much more money from their blog than through freelancing, would they continue to freelance? My suspicion is that most freelancers would say “no” or seriously ratchet down their freelance business in order to just write for themselves.

Freelancing is a great way for anybody to start making immediate money. The issue with freelancing is that if you become successful, freelancing will feel like work. Once freelancing feels like work, you’re almost back to square one working for a corporate 9-to-5. Sure you have more freedom than your typical office worker, but there is no denying the gnawing feeling of having to work to make money. You have to be responsible. You have to create course work. You have to follow up. You have to respond to e-mails. You have to be present and helpful. When I was away for 4 weeks, I just put up a huge out of office e-mail and didn’t do hardly anything online while the ramen income still came in.

Scaleability of time is a problem that can be better resolved through blogging. Once you complete that app, design, or post and send it off for payment there’s no more perpetual income stream for a freelancer. What I recommend freelancer do is lower their rates to get a share of revenue with successful clients or completely participate in a revenue share model. It’s important to identify who are the potential or existing successful clients out there and latch on. Once you do, you’ll have a much easier time making more money and scaling your time.


Both bloggers and freelancers want the same thing: more money and more time. Freelancing provides more freedom from working a 9-to-5 job, while blogging creates even more freedom from having to freelance.  Bloggers and freelancers just go about their goals differently.

If you are a blogger:

* Create a Services/Freelance page that will capitalize on your expertise as written through your content. You will be able to tell if such a service is right for your community by the number of comments and e-mail questions you receive. With 13 years working in finance, an MBA, and a livable passive income stream I feel I am able to legitimately help clients better get a grasp on their finances. With over 10,000 hours of online publishing experience, the Yakezie Network and strong monthly traffic, I will be able to help small businesses and new bloggers gain a better footprint online to jump start their journey. Look to your most popular posts by pageviews and comments and see if you can package a service based on your expertise.

* Create your own product. The benefits of creating your own product are numerous. For one, you get to learn how to put things together from start to finish. Your project management skills, team work skills, discipline, and creativity all come to light. The second benefit is branding. Once you have a product you are proud of, you help build your online brand further. With my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, I’ve been able to brand myself as a unique career counselor who helps people transition from same old to something exciting and new in their lives. Once your product is out there, it will stay out there forever and bring about new opportunities with other businesses and outlets you won’t even anticipate.

* Hustle like a freelancer. If you want to generate revenue from your blog, then you’ve got to follow the lead of freelancers who proactively reach out to prospective clients on a frequent basis. Too often we are lulled into kicking back and hoping that business comes to us. I’ve seen a very tight correlation with hustle and revenue during the times where I want to make money. You will see the same once you’ve established the voice of your site.

* Try to get some freelance jobs. If you’ve already got a stable blogging platform where you are earning money, figure out other sites where you would like to contribute your knowledge to expand your exposure. It’s generally a good idea to look for bigger sites with stronger metrics. Don’t get stuck in your little bubble community. If you can write just one new article for a bigger site a month, you’re well on your way to super charging your readership.

* Always focus on the end game. Blogging is about writing, connecting, and having a lot of fun in the process. I personally want to have a journal where my family and I can look back to when I’m old and have a chuckle. The money will always come if you gain enough traffic, but don’t let the money sidetrack you from the freedom you get from your blog. Again, look at the biggest blogs in the PF space such as GRS and TSD. JD and Trent just wrote about their journey and ended up with multi-million dollar windfalls!

If you are a freelancer:

* Diversify niches. One of the main risks for freelance writers is content spin, the act of writing the same thing over and over again in slightly different form. A freelance writer might not intentionally write similar topics, but there’s only so much you can say about spending less than you make or reviewing so and so product. The end result could be a knockdown of your own site’s metrics, your brand, your client’s site, or getting banned from Google+. The solution to content spin is to diversify niches or topics as much as possible so you don’t unconsciously start writing the same stuff.

* Try becoming a pro blogger. The only way a freelancer can really appreciate how hard it is to build a blog with a sustainable income stream is to give it a go on their own. Work on guest posting, building a product, branding, and your own content generation while making no money for months on end. Chances are you will fail, but even if you do you will gain a renewed appreciation for bloggers everywhere. Chances are that you may even succeed and no longer want to freelance. You will never know until you try.

Note: I remember getting big wigged by a freelance writer because she wrote for a large media publication and I did not. She criticized my writing style for being too long, which I’ve worked to improve. But as bloggers know, thick content is in if you want to do well in search. It was strange for her to compare her job at a large employer to my own little site. She was confusing being a freelancer with being a blogger! She’s since given blogging a go and has failed at making any type of income from her site. Not so easy is it? Maybe, just maybe her employer’s massive media foot print has something to do with why she gets so many readers from her freelance articles. Riding someone else’s success is a great way to get ahead. But’s it’s much more satisfying creating your own success.

* Also create your own product. Unfortunately, perhaps the only product you can create is on how to become a freelance writer in the immediate term. However, maybe there is an app you can create to connect freelancers with publishers in different niches? Or maybe you can outsource your work to someone and pay them a large percentage of revenue once you’ve built your freelance empire. The product is about branding and reoccurring revenue for years down the road.


Bloggers who want to build sustainable money making sites need to think long term. Freelancers who want to grow their freelance business and not get burnt out should think more like bloggers. After all, bloggers hire freelancers and not so much the other way around. There’s great opportunity for both sides to incorporate each other’s work. Strive to eradicate the short-term temptations and short-cuts. Once you build a critical portfolio of writing or projects, you’ll receive more business than you’ll ever expect.


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, learn how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one. 

Leverage the 3+ billion internet users and build your brand online. There are professional bloggers now who make way more than bankers, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs while having much more fun, much more freedom, and doing less work. Get started. You never know where the journey will take you!

Updated for 2017 and beyond.