Let’s say that you get hired as a video producer at a media company. It’s pretty safe to assume that your duties and responsibilities will revolve around producing video. You’d be pretty surprised if you suddenly learned that you’re also responsible for defending the company in a court of law when someone decides to sue the company. Or if you were suddenly responsible for developing a new mobile app for the company. Your job is your job, and those projects are for someone else with a different set of skills and expertise.
See, but here’s the thing. When you go into business for yourself as a professional blogger — and yes, a blog is very much a real business if you treat it like one — you are suddenly saddled with all the responsibilities that go into running that business. “Just” writing the blog posts isn’t enough. There’s everything else that goes with it.
Bookkeeper and Accountant
It’s true. As your business gets bigger and more complex, you’ll likely want to invest in a proper accountant. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to consult and work with a professional accountant from the get-go. Even so, there’s all the day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting you’ll need to do. You don’t want to hand over a random mish-mash of receipts and emails to your accountant come tax time.
And yes, you do owe income tax on your blog earnings.
This means, at a minimum, you should have some handle on those numbers. Keep track of your revenue and expenses, your recurring bills, your sales contracts, your affiliate commissions and all the rest of it. You need to be organized. This is not just some hobby. It’s a business.
Sales Negotiation Engineer
If your blog is a business, then it needs to make money. I know this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many would-be bloggers overlook this fundamental concept. They think that they can just write a blog post, throw up some random ad code, and wait for the checks to come rolling in. It doesn’t really work that way.
Ad networks can bring in some money, but affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are where you’ll find the bigger bucks these days. Direct deals are huge. And that means you have to seek out the kinds of partnerships that will bring in those big bucks. Even if you don’t have any professional experience or background in the field, you’re suddenly a sales and marketing manager.
Have you mastered the art of negotiation?
Chief Meme Officer
I say this with my tongue only mildly pressed in cheek. The truth is that if you want to make it as a blogger, you need to find ways to connect with your audience. They’re looking for meaningful engagement, something that shows that you’re a real person with real thoughts and feelings. And sometimes, that means coming up with a witty tweet or a creative Facebook meme, attracting those highly desired views, likes, comments and shares.
Crafting a successful meme or social media update requires a range of skills. You need a bit of creativity, a dash of humor, some clever wordsmithing, and a good hand at basic image editing. Combine all these abilities and you could be the next Upworthy or Buzzfeed or DAZN competitor.
Web Designer and Developer
It’s true that there are many WYSIWYG web builders out there so you never have to touch a single line of code. And it’s also true that you can outsource so much of your web design work to professionals who actually know what they’re doing. Even so, it is definitely in your best interest to at least have a basic understanding of the code that underpins your website.
Do you know how to update the copyright information in your footer without having to chase down your original site designer? Can you dig into the code view in your WordPress post to add a “nofollow” attribute or to adjust the embed code you might find on a media site you want to share? You need the basics, and this goes beyond “just” writing a blog post.
More Hats Every Day
For some people, the idea of having to wear so many hats as “just” a blogger can feel incredibly daunting and overwhelming. For me, though, I view it as an advantage. A benefit or a strength, even. What it means is that I am constantly challenged to learn and apply new things, keeping up with a level of interest and variety so that this blogging journey offers something new every day.
There are skills I use today — like video editing — that I didn’t think I’d have to use when I first started blogging way back in 1999. We can’t know what the future will hold specifically, but we can know that more hats, different hats, are always right around the corner. And I’m prepared to try them on. Are you?