Can I Create My Own Career?

I’ve been working at the grocery store for over 10 years now and I’m still trying to find a way out of that place. Trying to turn retail into a career is a waste but so is working hourly at the store. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever be able to make a career out of something. Right now, the best thing I’ve got is my WordPress enthusiast community in which I seem to be building my own career from the bottom up. The first year brought in a total of around $4,000.00 which is below poverty level. However, I’m already on my way to shattering that amount this year by introducing more affiliate reviews into the site and doing some other things.

What I worry about though is whether I can actually pull this off. That is, with a wife, a house, and bills to pay, can I work part time at the grocery store and eventually make my enthusiasm for WordPress a full time job. Since I started the project in March of 2009, every stat related to the domain has increased. I wonder if I’d be better off getting a second job somewhere other than the grocery store or finding a job that has a career path. But those jobs that have a career path are few and far between. Plus, my lack of education kills me. Also, since I’m only into my second year of the project and momentum is on my side, it would be foolish to give that up now.

Just thinking about all those people who have careers that pay $30,000 or more per year while I only made a total of $18,000 for 2009. I hope this is the year of the big payout so I can keep doing what I enjoy doing.

Creating Opportunities Through Blogging

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Fox Business recently published an article highlighting some of the success stories of some of the big name bloggers out on the net right now such as Perez Hilton, Christian Lander of Stuffwhitepeoplelike fame, and Amit Chatwani to name a few. While reading the article, it was interesting to note the series of events which lead each individual to the spot where they now reside. This is one example:

Jessica Coen is one example of a modern-day, Lana Turner-style blogging success story. While living in Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Michigan, she started writing a personal blog that, through what she calls “the economy of linking,” got picked up by popular New York media blog

After performing editing duties for Gawker, it landed her positions at Vanity Fair and then New York magazine. If she wouldn’t of started the blog, chances are, she would of never have been discovered and would of ended up on a different path in life.

This article reminded me of how I have achieved a little success. I started to blog seriously back on Jun 2007, where I published my first article on this domain. Because of the blog, I ended up getting a contributing writer position for, one of the largest websites dealing with WordPress. My blog ended up becoming my resume. The resume being updated each time I hit the publish button.

This brings me to my next series of points. There are so many bloggers out there who are reaching the point of wondering why they blog. Lorelle Van Fossen of The BlogHerald does a good job covering this particular problem her post, Why Am I Doing This Blogging Thing? There are so many B-List, C-List, hell, even Z-List bloggers out there writing great content. That content takes time to write, time that in most cases is not being paid for. It was David Peralty of who told me,

No matter what, Bloggers at some point in time are going to want to monetize their site or get paid for their time.

When that time comes, there are a myriad of ways to monetize your site. Let’s go over a few.

  1. Google Adsense/Adwords – For as long as I have been blogging, this has been the primary method to make money. The problem? First off, depending on your niche or subject matter, the ads might not perform well. For example, if your a tech blogger, your audience is probably tech savvy and more likely to have FireFox installed with Ad Block Plus which will disable the ads from being shown. Not exactly the recipe to an income. Secondly, the Payout from Google is 100$. This means you have to make 100$ in Google Adsense Income before they will write and send a check to you. Unless you are receiving a ton of traffic, your chances of getting a check are slim to none.
  2. Affiliate Programs – Affiliate programs allow you to partner with a company or service such as and sell wares through their site. You act as a referrer and for each product someone buys through you, you get a certain percentage of the sale. I’ve heard from other bloggers that affiliate programs have been somewhat successful. These days, it’s hard to find an affiliate program which has a decent payback percentage amount. Bloggers generally have to sign up to multiple affiliate programs to turn a decent profit. Asides from that, you will also need to advertise your affiliates wares to entice folks to purchase them through you. Wouldn’t you rather concentrate on producing great content and not coming up with advertising pitches for your affiliate programs?
  3. Direct Advertising – Pretty popular on WordPress blogs, direct advertising is a way of selling a 125X125 image advertisement on your blog. I’ve seen advertisements as big as 300X300 pixels. The advertising is usually performed by the advertiser paying for an ad image to be displayed for a static price amount per month. This price could be anywhere between 15$ up to 50$ per month. Prices vary depending on the popularity of the site or blog in question.

There are many, many more ways to monetize your blog. Kontera links, sponsored ads, sponsored links, text ads, paid reviews, and ad networks. The problem with all of these is that, you won’t make any decent amount of income unless your site is a powerhouse of traffic. Here are some things I recommend doing if you really want to monetize your site or get paid for your time.

  1. Write For Someone Else – It’s worked for me and it can work for you as well. Use your blog as a personal training grounds. After you have a backlog of posts, what I call references, shoot off a couple emails to blog owners who are managing the big blogs which cover your subject matter. Point them to your most successful posts on your own blog and apply for a contributing writer position on their site. I like this process of being paid the most because I can concentrate on getting the content written and published while knowing that I have a set rate that will be coming into my paypal account at least once a month. I’m not a fan of the paid per post model.
  2. Join A Blogging Network – If your site is concentrating on a particular niche and you are still not over the hump in terms of the next level, consider submitting your blog to a network which covers your subject matter. An excellent example is the Grand Effect blogging network. Grand Effect is a blogging network which has gathered a number of smaller, more concentrated tech bloggers who are writing excellent content yet, they are not busting at the seems with traffic and therefor, can not net those good advertising deals. Being part of a blog network gives you strength in numbers. It also allows the network owner to successfully obtain bigger advertising deals.

To summarize this post, I wanted to vouch for the claims that were presented within the Fox Business article. Although I’m not able to replace my full time job with blogging which I seriously hope to do some day, you can definitely make it through all the noise and make a name for yourself. I’ve also presented ways to make money blogging without necessarily having to dive into all sorts of ad campaigns. As far as I’m concerned, if you concentrate on writing awesome content on your personal site, visitors and the bigger opportunities will come to you. But if the content is not there, then what other reason do I or others have to stop by your site?

Now it’s time for you to sound off. Are you making money from your blog? If not, are you making money writing online at all? Share your tips, strategies, or experiences in the comments.