Blogging is one of the most romanticized occupations of our time and we all know the cliche: Work from home in your pajamas and life will be Pinterest-perfect. Forget commuting in snow or traffic. Travel and take off whenever you like, there’s no permission form. Plus blogging is the perfect job for introverts who like to work independently!
It really is pretty wonderful-but I’ll be the first to tell you there are also pitfalls.
I know, it’s not the popular opinion but self-employment isn’t for everyone. Blogging is hard work, and not everyone can make money blogging. You’re responsible for creating your own income and it requires specific traits for success, though being introverted is a good start.
Even more than writing (a skill that will strengthen the more you practice) your dedication and tenacity will be what see you through.
For some it’s heaven; for others, hell.
Think you have what it takes?
Are you built to be a blogger?
Let’s look at what that means so you can decide.
Why Blogging is the Ultimate Career for Introverts
Blogging isn’t just writing kick-ass posts; it’s also web design, content marketing, social media marketing, sales copy writing, etcetera…all tasks that require you to sit at your computer-alone. The reason blogging is recommended so highly for introverts is because they are naturally content with this occupational environment. Introverts are drawn to independent pursuits while blogging has plenty of solitude to offer.
Are You Introverted?
The term introvert has gotten a lot of attention lately but it’s also caused a lot of misinformation. Introvert does not imply social anxiety or bashfulness as some believe it does, but instead describes someone who thrives in isolation and enjoys solitude.
Everyone falls somewhere within the range of introversion and extroversion. To help you visualize it, you can think of these elements as opposites on a scale:
Of course not everyone falls in the perfectly balanced middle-I’d bet most people don’t-but the important thing is to determine your place on the scale so you can use this information to target a job that suits you, whether that’s blogging or something else. How you currently spend your time can shed light on this.
- Already spend your time reading, pondering, writing, and designing?
- Cherish your solitude enough to make time for it?
- Engage in hobbies or pursuits that involve working independently?
- Get lost in your work or hobbies for hours and lose track of time?
- Enjoy spending time in your own head?
- Notice your mind wandering often?
- Talk to yourself? (Seriously, it has proven cognitive benefits) http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/9-surprising-benefits-talking-yourself
In addition to analyzing your activities, there are also specific personality traits associated with introversion. According to Nancy Ancowitz in her book, Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead, people with introverted personality traits:
- Get energy from “down time”
- Listen more than they speak
- Prefer to speak with one or two people at a time (instead of several people, or a big group)
- Are more detail oriented
- Need more personal space
- Are usually reserved
- Wait to be approached in social situations
- Are reflective and appear calm
- Think before speaking or acting
- Know a lot about a few topics
- Enjoy working alone or with one person
If you find yourself agreeing that these points sound like you, blogging might be a natural fit.
For more targeted results, you can take an online personality test to determine your introversion levels, like this one from Psychology Today. I scored a 25 of 100 and their analysis is me to a tee:
According to your results you appear to be the type of person who doesn’t socialize often. You likely have a limited social network, and possibly aren’t really interested in extending it beyond a few close and intimate friendships. Having an active social life apparently isn’t the most important thing to you. Chances are that when the opportunity arises to socialize among a large group of people, you’ll likely turn it down if possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t enjoy socializing or being around people. Rather, you generally prefer spending time with smaller groups of friends. Individuals who score similarly to you typically aren’t conversation-starters, especially with people they aren’t familiar with. In addition, they aren’t known to be exceptionally outgoing, unless among close friends.
I love hanging out and going places with the people I love but I purposely keep my circle small because lots of people take lots of time and I prefer my solitude. Sound like you, too?
Discovering your natural tendencies (and making decisions based on this knowledge) can lead to a career that fits and allows you to thrive. Occupational success will be a by-product of your fulfilling career and it will feel less and less like work at all.
For introverts, blogging can be a perfect fit. That’s not to say that extroverts can’t be successful bloggers, they most certainly can, but the tasks that come with it (writing, editing, designing graphics, designing your site, social media scheduling, digital marketing, etc.) are solitary pursuits. It’s a lot of sitting on your butt at your computer-something most extroverts have to force themselves to do.
Still, blogging isn’t a life sentence to isolation-if you don’t want it to be.
Extroverted bloggers may find themselves procrastinating on the sit-down tasks and find it easier to schedule the desk-work in chunks. Others design their content to keep them active and away from their laptops. These are usually image or experience driven blogs. Think travel and adventure blogs with Instagram extensions of visual content.
But whether you’re an extroverted blogger or an introverted blogger looking to get out of the house now and then, there are opportunities to get away from the computer:
- Interview a local person of interest in your niche
- Visit a trade show or convention in your niche and share pics via social media while writing event-related content
- Share an image-driven post featuring a local shop, service or organization
- Develop your professional skills and networking by joining a local blogger meet-up
- Undertake a DIY project and document the steps on your blog
- Go on an adventure and share your experiences
- Document a journey or life-change like divorce, juicing, remodeling, weight-loss or parenting
- Take your laptop outside
Okay, that last one doesn’t get you off the computer but it will get you out of the house.
Traits of a Successful Professional Blogger
There’s a distinction between blogging as a hobby and blogging to earn an income. Professional blogging success requires more than a propensity to introversion. Blogging might allow you to work independently but self-employment means you will be responsible for all the business aspects you don’t delegate to a service or assistant.
Blogger Trait #1: Determined
Being self-employed might mean having the coolest boss in the world but you’ll still have to make sure things are getting done-well and on time. Going pro requires more than phoning it in, especially in the beginning when on top of content and marketing, site design and graphic elements are high on your to-do list. The only person holding you accountable to getting it all done (even on the days you don’t feel like working) is you.
Having a clear proclamation of your professional goals can keep you on track and break your goals into daily tasks. Imagine what your life will be like once you meet your blogging goals. Will you get to quit your job? Commute to the coffee pot? Work in your favorite hoodie and yoga pants? Travel?
Write down these goals and a list of steps it will take to achieve them. Use this vision to motivate yourself whenever you feel like bailing. Which will probably happen since 95% of new blogs fizzle out within the first 100 days.
Blogger Trait #2: Perseverance
Speaking of dissipating, if you don’t already have a huge social reach, it will probably take you longer than 100 days to replace your current income-or build comparable profits. Giving up will mean abandoning all of your hard work. Maybe all you need is a new theme and some niche direction. Or you just need some great blog ideas. Instead of bailing in the face of a blog-growth plateau, add a few researched strategies to your content marketing plan. When the going feels like dragging a boxspring up a sand dune, you’ll need the perseverance to up your game in spite of it.
Blogger Trait #3: Tenacious
Worst case scenario, you attract a few comments from a group we’ve only recently titled: The haters. More likely, the email barrage will come from spammers and those confidence-cutting comments will rise internally from your ego, or a voice the artistic community has dubbed the critic.
For many bloggers, the biggest challenge in ‘putting themselves out there’ is confronting their own self-doubt and criticism. It’s these insecurities that make fear a common challenge for writers and bloggers. Contacting those super-stars of your niche can be intimidating as well, but courage is taking action in the face of these feelings-and tenacity is not allowing the haters to deter you.
Blogger Trait #4: Responsible
As a self-employed professional, you’re the end of the line as far as responsibility. There’s no one above you barking orders and no team or buffer for when you have to explain an oversight to a customer or affiliate. It also means doing what you say you will, meeting deadlines, and holding yourself responsible for meeting your career goals. Excuses won’t get you anywhere when you’re self-employed.
How to Succeed Working from Home
The very benefits that make blogging so appealing, you know: working in your pajamas, staying home, making your own schedule-are also the very things that make it challenging. To succeed at working from home as a blogger, be aware of these common double-edged pitfalls, which can be especially entrapping for introverts.
No Supervision vs. Staying on Task
I’ve spent an entire workday (8 hours straight) at my laptop, only to find upon review that I hadn’t done anything tasked for the day or productive and significant. By my definition, when it isn’t any of these things, it’s piddling and it’s easy to piddle around on the internet-and have it almost feel like work-when you fail to take a break or notice what you’re doing. Nobody’s going to stop you from perusing social media but unless it’s blog-task-related, save it for after work.
Working in Your Pajamas vs. Forgetting to Shower
I’ve read enough trade books and blog posts to know this isn’t just me. Remember how I said your new occupation might not feel like work at all? Getting so sucked into it your new blog that you forget to shower is a good indication that it doesn’t. It’s also a sign that you might be heading toward burn-out and will need to take breaks (and showers) to restore balance. We all get pulled into a project at one point or another and want to see it through to the end in one large chunk of time but if this becomes your new norm, you’ll need to redefine your work/life balance and dedicate time away from your computer.
Little Contact vs. Little Contact
Working independently (while avoiding workplace politics and drama) is definitely a benefit for introverts, but launching and managing a blog takes a lot of time and effort. Time that might take you away from your partner, kids and loved ones if you aren’t careful. To avoid this conflict, let these people know why blogging is important to you and ask for their support, then dedicate time and effort to those relationships and protect that time from distractions, like checking your email on your phone every ten seconds.
You Want to Be Home for the Kids vs. You’ll Be Home with the Kids
I love not having my children in daycare. I’ve worked both in and out of the house and I don’t miss pick-up or drop-off or the extra commute or the guilt or the worry. I love that if one of my children is sick, I have the freedom to leave work immediately and bring them home or if there is a field trip or conference I don’t have to request time off. Granted, my kids are older so they go to school and I don’t have to supervise them 24/7 like I did when they were little, but whether you have toddlers or teenagers, there will be times that having children will interrupt your work flow. You’re best bet in this situation-whether you’re working around Christmas vacation or nap time-is to schedule your work around their schedule, then be glad if you find extra snippets of time to surpass your reduced work-load.
No Boss vs. You’re the Boss
Self-employment isn’t the same as blogging for fun. You might be thrilled to fire your current boss and go rogue but you’re technically promoting yourself into that position and it comes with the accompanying stress. You’ll have to take over the bookkeeping and the taxes. Oh, and you’ll have to drum up your own income, which can seem overwhelming in the beginning. It’s enough of a deal-breaker that it keeps many would-be bloggers from ever getting started. Don’t be one of them. If you’re currently employed and rely on that income, start saving and building your blog now. When it’s time to make the jump to full-time, it will be a lot easier to put in your two-weeks with a cushion in the bank and a growing income from your blog.
You Can Travel vs. You’ve Chained Yourself to Your Blog
Once you wade out of the brain fog and take a shower, you might notice that despite having the freedom, you rarely leave your laptop. Plenty of bloggers before you have made this realization and many offer the same advice: take the trip and plan your content and marketing around your time off. It might mean a heavier work-load before you leave but you can pre-write and schedule weeks worth of posts, content promotions, and social media. As taking a vacation while working on a blog that isn’t travel-centric, I’ve never tried it but I can’t imagine I’d get much done with a finite number of days, though long-term travel while blogging is definitely an option.
You Get to Chill @ Home vs. No Physical Activity
Blogging from home is obviously appealing but it also means you’ll get little to no physical activity from work. Personally, I went from a physically demanding 9-5 job to working from home and put on fifty pounds in the process-not exactly a success, despite the self-employment goals I achieved. If you don’t already exercise regularly, you’ll need to make a strong effort to incorporate physical activity into your schedule once you begin working from home. Add a walk to your daily routine or make fitness plans with a friend-you’ll get social interaction and protect your health.
If you decide to make a career of blogging you’ll be in good company. Remember the statistic I showed you about how your tenacity alone can put you in the top five percent? iBlog magazine surveyed thousands of bloggers for their 2015 Women’s Blogging Industry and Business Annual Report and found that only 6% of respondents were making above $60,000 annually.
That sounds like a small number until you take into account the fact that 42% of respondents also worked traditional full or part-time jobs, 30% were stay-at-home parents, and 18% were non-blog business-owners.
If your goal is to earn a full-time salary by blogging, your tenacity might just earn you a decent living.
Shop Talk: Are you introverted? How does blogging suit your personality? Also, what has been you biggest work-from-home blogging challenge?