Photo courtesy of Happy Bushra, who is clearly working from what Ramit Sethi would describe as his "home office"
I have just returned from the second annual Financial Blogger Conference, FinCon12. Just like last year, the conference has filled me with great ideas and enthusiasm for what I'm doing. However, I'm just as convinced as ever that blogging is not my path to riches. Every single one of the heavy hitters who spoke highlighted the idea that you should not start blogging because you want to make money, despite the fact that they were showing up to the conference in white limousines. (I kid!)
I can certainly relate. I have been blogging over on my sister blog The SAHMnambulist for over two years. For about a year and a half of that time, I've featured BlogHer ads in order to generate some modest revenue from my silly stories about parenting. The threshhold for BlogHer cutting you a check for your ad revenue is $25. I've earned $21 so far, so I anticipate reaching that $25 goal and receiving my big money check sometime in 2013.
If you factor in the cost of my internet service and the care and feeding of my Apple, you would discover that I'm getting paid somewhere in the range of -$1.30 per word.
This got me thinking: what other activities could I be doing with my time that would offer me a better return than blogging? Here's what I've come up with:
1. Taking pennies from the take a penny dishes at convenience stores. This would require some stealth on my part, because they usually want you to buy something in order to take a penny, and that would get me back in the red again.
2. Panhandling. I understand this can be very lucrative, provided you manage to keep the fact that you actually live in a house and eat a three square meals a day secret. Otherwise, this might be a good way to inspire pitchfork-and-torches kind of outrage.
3. Opening a lemonade stand. This works better if you have a cute kid who can front for your business. For some reason, it's both less adorable and less lucrative if a grown woman is hawking lemonade to passersby.
4. Searching for change and buried treasure on the beach with a metal detector. Granted, there's the outlay for the metal detector, and the incredible dork factor (I doubt even a Vargas girl* would be able to make sweeping a metal detector over the beach look sexy), but the hours spent searching for lost pocket change will be totally worth it when you come home tens of dollars richer.
*If you don't know what a Vargas girl is, imagine a Kardashian painted in a provocative pose, except light years classier and much more attractive.
5. Collecting cans. Not only would my time dumpster- and trashcan-diving be better for the environment and my waistline than sitting for hours in front of a computer screen trying to come up with a funny way to describe taxes (note: there is none), it would also make me richer, to the tune of 5¢ per can. That is, it would if I lived in one of the states that offers a cash-for-can-return program, which I most decidedly do not.
Despite the fact that I could be doing more financially with my time than writing my silly stories online, I have no plans whatsoever to stop blogging. It's a passion, an outlet, and a slight form of mental illness, and I can't imagine not blogging. And that was exactly what all our big name #FinCon12 bloggers were talking about. You blog because you love it, and in some cases, money will follow. Choosing what to do with your time and resources based on how much money you will get out of it is a path to a disappointing and soul-sucking career and terrible priorities, not to mention beige carpeting.
And we all know how important it is to avoid those horrors. Especially the carpeting.