I blogged for the first time about a decade ago and I started Young Adult Money four and a half years ago.
Having written close to 1,000 blog posts and been involved in the blogosphere for my entire adult life, I wouldn’t be surprised if people rolled their eyes when I say “blogging is the ultimate side hustle.
That’s why I’m not simply going to say blogging is the ultimate side hustle, but give you a reason – and a ton of support – as to why that’s true.
First: A Big Disclaimer about Making Money Blogging
First I want to get something out of the way. The one reason why blogging is the ultimate side hustle is not because it’s “easy” to make money blogging, though a lot of bloggers want you to think that.
Many bloggers publish income reports. Not surprisingly, most of the bloggers who talk about making $10k or $20k or even $50k a month blogging do not go into much detail about the income source.
The reason why they don’t go into detail is because a large percentage of their revenue is convincing other people to start blogs. They get a huge commission from web hosts like BlueHost, and the most they can convince to start blogs the make.
Now I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with that, but I don’t think making money off of referring others to start blogs is sustainable and I don’t want to deceive readers into thinking that they will also make huge amounts each month.
Do I make money from BlueHost? Yes. In fact you’ll see a big call-to-action at the bottom of this post and I would obviously appreciate it if you used my affiliate link, but you don’t have to.
Even if you never make a dollar through affiliate sales to BlueHost I still think blogging is the ultimate side hustle, but for a different reason than making money on your blog.
The One Reason Why Blogging is the Ultimate Side Hustle
The reason I think blogging is the ultimate side hustle is this:
Demand for content
While it may seem like our world is saturated with content, it’s actually becoming more important than ever for brands and companies to have owned content. An example of owned content is a blog on a companies website, or an e-book you can download in exchange for signing up for an email list.
Demand for content will only increase over time. I repeat: Demand for content will only increase over time!
Traditionally media companies have produced content and, to a much lesser degree, companies and brands have produced content. The “traditional” way to advertise and market a product was through running advertisements on TV, radio, and in print publications.
While the traditional model is still staunchly in place, that model is quickly changing as traditional advertising is losing it’s appeal due to decreased effectiveness.
Companies are now being forced to prove their value elsewhere or risk not breaking through all the noise that consumers have been increasingly attuned to blocking out.
The three primary ways they can do this is through content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing. And most companies are way behind in all three areas.
The Changing Landscape of Content Marketing
In my book Hustle Away Debt I talk about the unexpected upside of side hustles. When I started a blog I didn’t intend to become a content marketing strategist, but over the past few years I have gained a wealth of knowledge around content creation and distribution, and it’s positioned me to (potentially) start a completely new career path.
If you don’t believe me set up a search for “content marketing manager” or “social media manager” on Indeed. You might be shocked at the extent many companies are either bolstering their budgets for content and social media marketing.
The reality is that companies are behind. This typically happens because they are a big company where things simply move forward at a snail’s pace, or are too small to spend time on content marketing.
Additionally I think it’s important to point out that there are a lot of people who have worked in corporate marketing their entire lives who have simply not had exposure and experience in content marketing.
They haven’t managed an editorial calendar.
They don’t know how to use Twitter.
Some have never even created a piece of content like a blog post.
And let’s not even throw the term “influencer marketing” out there.
These are skills that aren’t taught in college and typically are not normal things that corporate marketers have spent time on. This presents a huge opportunity for people who start blogs.
The Skills You Learn When You Blog
Anyone who has started a blog knows there is much more than writing that goes into blogging. Here is just some of the skills that come to mind:
- Writing – Had to get the obvious one out of the way. When you blog you learn to write, and you learn to write well. Practice makes perfect and you get a lot of practice when you are a blogger.
- Coding – Most bloggers don’t outsource the actual coding of their website, so they are forced to learn at least a little bit of html and css. You can go deep down this rabbit hole and develop a very thorough of html and css, if you want.
- Managing an Editorial Calendar – Even if you are the only writer on your blog, you are going to want to get organized and plan ahead. An editorial calendar (here’s an example of one) is essential, in my opinion, for a well-run blog. It becomes even more essential if you have contributors.
- Social Media Management – Well-run Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts have become essential for the sucess of a blog. You can also add Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube to the list.Every company, and I mean every company needs someone who has social media management skills.
- Email Marketing – My biggest mistake was not building my email newsletter from the get-go. The better a company is at email marketing the more likely they are to succeed.
- Content Strategy – There’s content creation and then there’s content strategy. Think about Young Adult Money. There’s literally millions of things we could write about on this blog. Picking the right topics and driving traffic to that content through the right channels is essential to our success. Blogging forces you to learn this skill or see your blog slowly fizzle out (or never catch on).
- Hiring and Managing Contractors – Congratulations! If you are hiring contractors you’ve either decided to invest money into your blog or you have revenue that you are re-investing into the site. I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple contributors to Young Adult Money for years now, including completely outsourcing graphics.
- Negotiating and Sales – Being able to negotiate with advertisers and other people you work with is a key part of blogging. I constantly need to “sell” my site to advertisers, explaining why we are a good website to partner with. Other bloggers can relate!
This isn’t even an all-encompassing list. Depending on your skills and interests, you may gain/build photography, videography, video editing, graphic design, research, or any other variety of skills.
The bottom line is this: if you start a blog, you are going to learn in-demand skills and have experience, examples, and a portfolio of your work to prove you have those skills.
Bloggers Have the Skills Companies are Desperate For
I recently heard the phrase “every company should be a media company” and I couldn’t agree more. If you don’t have content that is drawing in new prospects and keeping current customers engaged, you are not going to survive long-term.
Corporate marketers may point to the fact that B2B (Business to Business) marketing is above content marketing.
But that fails to recognize the fact that humans make purchasing decisions. They are going to reference Google to find their options. If you have content they are going to consume it. If you don’t have content you are putting yourself in an underdog position from the get-go.
The skills that companies need to become a media company, such as content creation, content curation, social media management and optimization, and other related skills are all skills that bloggers learn and develop.
Companies want (need) people who have those skills. Whether it’s an in-house employee or an outside consultant/contractor, they are going to pay someone to do the work. If you have a blog you are almost instantly qualified for consulting and/or 9-5 work
Start a Blog, Change your Life?
I remember reading various articles over the years that say blogging is dead. It’s useless, it’s way past it’s prime, you can’t make any money doing it, etc.
Did any of these commentators take into consideration the upside of developing highly in-demand skills that literally every company would eventually need? I doubt it.
Notice that I didn’t mention any of the other upside potential that comes with blogging. I didn’t even mention the opportunity to make money on your blog!
There of course is much more upside that comes with blogging beyond taking advantage for the ever-increasing demand for content marketing skills and expertise, but I think that demand alone justifies starting a blog.
Do you want to be exposed to the huge upside that comes with the ever-increasing demand for content creation, management, and strategy?
Read my post on how to start a blog or head directly to BlueHost to get started today! You will get the lowest price possible and a free domain name when you use my link.