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Reasons Not to Pursue Full-Time Blogging

A year ago, I often dreamed of being able to make it as a full-time blogger. Many may say I was young and naive, and perhaps that is right, but I was also seeing a lot of success. In my first year of blogging, I made more than I probably will this coming year. I had built up 20′s Finances from scratch and while I still have a long ways to go, I was earning decent money from it after month 3. I told myself from the beginning that I was going to give this blogging thing everything I had for the first year and see if I had what it took to be successful. Not everyone does and I didn’t want to waste my time.

2012 started with a lot of promise. I started making more than I was making at my day job. I was convinced that my dreams were coming true and the sky was the limit. Unfortunately, this was far from the truth. Things took a turn for the worse in the spring of 2012. My ability to make money was drastically lowered and I was forced to re-adjust my self-employment goal. Over the past 10 months or so, a lot has changed in my life. I went from being in grad school and working at a library (one of the most boring jobs ever), to working for a non-profit and practically being done with school. Now that I have a decent job (it’s not the highest paying job, but one that offers lots of room for growth) that I like, I’ve changed my perspective on self-employment. It’s definitely not for everyone and I hardly doubt it’s for me. Here’s why…

Pressure to Generate Revenue

One of the first things that comes to mind in deciding not to actively pursue self-employment is the pressure to generate enough revenue to survive. While my wife will continue to work and will eventually make enough money for us to live off of her income, there would still be pressure for me to contribute – pressure from me. I would hate to quit my job and not earn as much or more money than I was making. If I had to re-enter the work force without a steady work history, it may be hard to get another quality job. That’s too risky for me.

Taxes

Not only is there pressure to generate revenue, but it’s much harder with the income tax structure. Over the course of 2012, I was paying quarterly pre-estimated taxes. I was contributing 33% of my income, thinking that between the likely 25% tax bracket and 13.5% self-employment tax (now, I think it’s back to 15.3% or something like that), and with considering other deductions, etc, I would be close to even. I was definitely wrong and have to pay a large tax bill in the next two months. While I am not the type of person to complain about how much I pay in taxes because I am happy to contribute to a better society and have some of the many benefits that we already have, this is where I change my position. Self-employment tax is simply too much. Not only does it mean that I take home about 60% of the net profit, but it also means that with expenses (yes, I’ve started to outsource more), I’m taking home a little less than half of my gross revenue. That’s just depressing. Another way of looking at it is that I need to make more than double what I currently make at my day job in order to replace the income. OUCH!

Schedule

The aspect that goes along with the pressure to generate revenue is the fact that work would never stop. Sure, I could set hours to live by, but when I would first be starting out, there would always be pressure to do just a little more. I thoroughly enjoy having pretty regular hours at my job. I don’t have to think about work on the weekends and I LOVE THAT! While I am sure I could handle it, I don’t want to be so obsessed with my work that it is the only thing that I am doing. It’s just not healthy to be obsessed with making money, working, and always trying to get ahead.

My New Approach to Self-Employment

While I have basically given up on my earlier dream of self-employment in the next year, it doesn’t mean that I have given up on my dream altogether. There are still many attractive things to running your own business. Last year at the Financial Conference, Ramit Sethi said something that resonated with me. He said something to the effect of the following: if you are creating a system that requires you to constantly do X, Y, and Z to maintain that source of revenue, that is a bad business model. Instead, he suggested to develop something that does not require your constant care.

Following this advice, it would seem that owning tons of blogs is just not sustainable. This is what I had been doing. In some ways, managing a blog is like this because you always have to produce new content for your site to stay relevant and interesting. In case you are wondering, No, I do not starting a blog. It has changed my life in so many ways.

But, I am doing things differently now. I am going to hire a virtual assistant to perform many of the mundane tasks of running a blog. I will ask him or her to help me in many ways so that I can focus on generating new revenue in my spare time. And, I will do so with patience. There is no pressure for me to become self-employed because I have a good job with lots of potential. Why focus on one revenue stream, when you can do two?

If you liked this post, you may also like to read about why blogging is the perfect side business.

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3 Responses to Reasons Not to Pursue Full-Time Blogging

  1. In regards to SE tax… there are ways to set up business to avoid them. Granted, if you dont’ pay SE tax you also won’t get credits for social security. Double edged sword i guess.

    • Lance is right. If you’re an LLC, you can elect to be treated as an S-Corp, and give yourself a “reasonable” salary, and the rest is paid out as a distribution that is not subject to SE tax. Consult your tax professional, might help :)

      But as Lance said, you don’t get the SS credit on that distribution income. Also, the IRS could audit if your “reasonable” salary isn’t high enough :)

  2. Great post and great reminders. Gives me a lot of perspective on my new venture – BeatTheNinetoFive…coming soon!

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