What was your background prior to becoming a professional blogger journalist?
I got into journalism a long time ago, almost 25 years ago. I had been working as a software engineer. I have a chemistry degree, but I picked up a job writing for one of the early bio-technology newsletters, and from that I started working for a large computer trade publication, the rest is history.
Why did you begin working as a blogger journalist?
It’s combination of things. I’d been looking at the blogging platform and had friends who were bloggers. I rarely read blogs, but I figured, “I’m a media professional, I can do this, it’s what I do all day long.” I saw a successful future, but I wasn’t quite sure when the success would come. I had maybe a runway of 6 to 9 months before my money would run out, and that would give me enough of an idea to see if there was a business model in this. Unfortunately, it took a lot longer than 6 to 9 months.
What are the benefits of working as a blogger vs. a print journalist?
The freedom is liberating. It also means a sense of responsibility. I don’t have those checks and measures as much as I did before, so I’m constantly aware of trying not to introduce any mistakes or misspellings or things like that. But, yes, the freedom is very good.
What are the salaries of journalists who work as professional bloggers?
I’d say it would be in the range of $90K to $120K. I can tell you that my revenues are much higher than they were at the Financial Times, but you have to understand that I’m reinvesting a lot of that money. I’m building an editorial team. The money left behind for myself is smaller, but it’s just a matter of time, I feel, before my salary as a journalist blogger will far exceed my salary at the Financial Times. I mean, it already does.
Do you have any blogging advice on how to become a professional blogger?
If you’re starting out from scratch, you have to make a name for yourself. I was lucky, I already had a name for myself, so I had a short cut. But starting out, if you’re going to be running your own business, don't expect anything immediately because you need to build your readership. Once you build your readership, you can go out for sponsorships. Years ago, if you wanted to be a newspaper publisher, you needed a newspaper press, you needed the unions on your side; the cost of entry was huge.
Now days, the internet is your printing press and the cost is virtually free. It costs me maybe 40 bucks a month in terms of my web site, hosting fees. It’s virtually free. So there’s no obstacle to publishing, but there is an obstacle to audience. To gain an audience it takes time to build a media brand, and you just have to invest time. So, the sooner you can start, the sooner you can start building that audience, the sooner you can start building that brand.
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