I’ll Never Make A Dime From This Blog


I will never make a dime from this blog and I’m perfectly okay with that. Lately, I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately around my future plans for the blog and how I’m planning to “monetize BIT”. After all, that’s what most bloggers do when their blog reaches a certain size, right? Well maybe, but I’m not most bloggers and BIT isn’t like most blogs. Unlike most blogs out there:

  • I have no products for sale.
  • I have no ads on display.
  • I have no affiliate links hidden away here [any link on this site is solely because I think they’re worth linking to].
  • I don’t sell my email list [you guys are way too awesome to share]

So if I don’t make money those ways, how am I going to make money of my blog? Well, it’s simple…

I’m not.

A Confession

This is Not Me

I have a job [yes, I said the j-word]. I’m the Marketing Director for Fat Atom Internet Marketing [it says it right there on my home page]. I do occasional consulting for friends or people who ask nicely and that’s it. I don’t make the most money in the world, but I do okay for myself. I’m not “location independent”, I’m not living in Asia and I’m not Tim Ferriss [Surprisingly, I actually get asked all three of those questions a lot. I have no idea why]. Sorry to disappoint.

I’ve never depended on my blog for income and I never have and I don’t plan on it. There are a variety of reasons why not, but the main reason is I think most blog monetization strategies are sort of boring.

Blog Monetization in 60 Seconds

There are usually two types of blog monetization strategies. The first traditional method looks something like this:

Blogs Posts –> Audience –> Ads + Ads + more Ads –> $$$

It’s a good strategy and works great but the problem is you have to have massive traffic in order for it to be worth while [Lifehacker, Gawker, Cult of Mac, etc], or you have to be a super tiny niche site that you can get search engine traffic for [super speed dating for penguin lovers living in Albuquerque]. Neither option appeals to me with what I’m doing here at BIT.

The second “NEW” unconventional* method works something like this:

Blog Posts –> Audience –> Affiliate Links –> $$$ –> Product Launch –> more $$$

This is also a good strategy, but you take this approach, you have to realize you’re not just “blogging” anymore, you’re in the affiliate business and the information product business. The key difference here is the word business, not blogging.

Observation: It’s interesting how so many people wanting to live “unconventional” lives are all following pretty conventional monetization strategies.

Build a business, not a blog

Read this article. Then go through and replace the word “app” with “blog” and follow the advice. Then do me a favor and never use the phrase “monetize your blog” again. You monetize your traffic by converting it [via sales, ads, links]. You monetize your blog by selling it. There’s a big difference.

Definitions aside, you’re still way better off building a business, than a blog. A business has customers who pay you money. A blog has subscribers who may or may not read your posts, click your links, or buy your products. If you’re starting a blog, realize what it is…a blog. Once you come to that realization, you can build a business around it, but whatever you do, please don’t confuse having a blog with having a business. [Update: Naomi Dunford just wrote on this. It’s worth reading].

You are more valuable than your blog. Don’t limit yourself by thinking your blog is a business. There is some skill or knowlege you have that people will pay you for: consulting, design work, writing copy, photography. Use it. If you really don’t have any all [trust me, there’s something], make a product or service that people will buy.

Put simply: unless you have a huge rabid audience that slobbers over everything you release [i.e. Leo, Chris, etc], there are much better [and much more interesting] ways to make money than selling e-books.

The goal of BIT

I’m not trying to use BIT to make money. If I was, I’d be doing a terrible job since I have nothing to sell you. That’s done on purpose. I want this to be completely my space. That’s why I don’t run guest posts, push affiliate links or run ads on my site. It’s all Joel, all the time. Some might say that’s selfish, but that’s what I’ve chosen to do for a specific purposes. I’m not building BIT to be a black box that will print money while I sleep, I’m building BIT to be a tool, which, while less lucrative, is much, much more useful. Let me explain:

BIT is a networking tool
This blog gives me the chance to meet a lot of really awesome people. I’ve had a chance to connect with people from all over the world and meet people that I never would have had a chance to meet otherwise. As a result, I could fly halfway around the world tomorrow, and have a couple people pick me up at the airport to hang out. That is pretty freaking cool.

BIT is a marketing tool
There are way too many boring people out there. Seriously. How many people do you talk to on a regular basis that are excited about their life? There’s a few clients I’ve had the chance to work with one-on-one because they either met me through my blog or liked what I wrote and thought I was interesting. How do you stand out from the crowd? Contrary to lots of people out there, I’m not against working for others [I have a job after all] and I don’t think work is a bad thing. If I have to hire someone, I’m much more inclined to hire the person who shows initiative with a side-project, blog, or business and tries to do something interesting with their life over the one who watches TV for 5 hours every night once they come home. I could be the only person in the world that thinks like that, but it’s my experience, people are attracted to interesting people, so why not be interesting?

Blog Tip: If you’re worried about your boss reading your blog, A) You probably shouldn’t be writing it or B) You should find a boss that values employees that have opinions of their own, think critically and take initiative.

BIT is a doing tool
I have a whole list of impossible things that I’m actually doing. I ran 3 triathlons, along with a half marathon this year. I was an extra in a movie and did lots of other stuff as well. I’ll be finishing up my 100 pushups this month [finally], I’m starting to plan out my races for next year [to be announced soon], and I’ve even got a few more secret plans in the works [more on that later].  I don’t want to say that I wouldn’t have accomplished those things without the blog, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun when you have thousands of people visiting every month expecting to hear an update.

Of course there are other good things that come out of blogging as well. I’m about 1000x better at html than when I started [I was terrible, I’m now mediocre] and I’ve become a much, much better writer. I’ve also gotten better at time management and goal setting as well, but those are all added benefits to the three things I really want BIT to be.

What I Want

More than anything, I want BIT to be a place where I can meet doers. There’s a lot of noise out there, a lot of people who write about stuff that matters, but never actually do anything. I don’t want to hear any more noise and I’m not interested in huge numbers. I’d rather have 2 readers that read BIT and regularly go out and do impossible things that blow my mind, than 20,000 people who re-tweet every post but just skim over it and never do anything about it. Shooting for quality is almost always more fun than sheer quantity.

I make money because of BIT, that I never would have made if I didn’t blog, but that’s not why I’m constantly after the impossible. So what exactly is the why? Lach asked me that same question the other day. The answer is coming Tuesday.

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  1. says

    Well I have just one word to say after reading this… THANK YOU.

    And a few more words…
    Finally someone has said it. I recently unsubscribed from several blogs b/c I felt like my readership was appreciated simply b/c I may be a $ eventually. There are some pretty big, respected bloggers out there that I’ve even grown tired of because I’m not learning anything anymore or being inspired – I’m simply given numbers about this and that, about what they did and how if you buy this product you can do it to, and blah blah blah. It’s all sounding the same to me now. And its far from inspiring.

    The best part of blogging are the connections you make and meeting like-minded people. It inspires and motivates, and it’s awesome when it’s like that.

    So yea, Thanks Man :)

  2. says

    Great blog. Period.

    So many times these days, people are using blogs and halfway interesting writing to try and make a buck, and like Lauren above related to, I have stopped reading certain blogs due to the constant feel that I am being sold something, or marketed to.

    Thank you for providing perspective that there are people out there looking to motivate people through spreading their ideas and thoughts, without looking (blatantly) to be compensated for it.

    It is obvious to see where the blog will help you in making money, or in that direction, without the need to use the blog as the money making medium.

    • says

      If you look at the time spent on blogging vs. the return, blogging is a terrible investment or business. Fortunately, money isn’t necessarily the only piece of the equation.

  3. says

    Interesting post in the sense that it’s the exact opposite of what you see most people writing about these days.

    I definitely admire your perspective, and its clear that your doing an excellent job of keeping your blog and brand very genuine.

    That said, do you ever think you’re going to regret this proclamation? Ads, ebooks, and affiliate links aren’t evil, and can certainly be a win/win/win situation for everyone involved. Do you think that providing the occasional product for sale would actually further your goals of meeting people and doing impossible things, because it would give you even more income to pursue the adventures? Just a thought. All the same, very good post and as always look up to your thoughts and opinions!

    • says

      Thanks Sean. Coming from you, that means a lot.

      As for regrets. No :). I don’t think ads, ebooks, or affiliate links are evil, but it’s just not the path I’ve picked for BIT. There are places for those things (and I’m working on creating a few of my own) but not here.

      There are other types of currency besides cash [*blog post coming soon*].

  4. says

    This is a great post, Joel. I enjoy several “monetized blogs” but is is refreshing to find a blog that isn’t trying to sell me anything.

    These are things I’ve been thinking about a lot with my blog. I never want to run ads. I hate that shit. I may include some affiliate links of things I really truly enjoy because I just quit my j-word and every thing helps. But I don’t want to just slap every e-book I can find on my page to make a buck. A lot of people are writing who don’t have any business writing just to cash in on the e-book craze. A lot of people are charging truly obscene prices for their book that the people they’ve encouraged to quit their jobs can’t afford because, well… we quit our jobs!!!!

    I’m a writer. I’ve always intended to make my living writing novels & screenplays. But the publishing and movie industries are tough to break into and can take years for very little return and very little control over the final product. So I want to sell my books online, but I don’t ever want my blog to become an obnoxious storefront. I’m really just realizing this as I write this comment so i really appreciate this article for making me fine tune my expectations. I think I view my blog as more of author platform where I can pimp my books but mainly where i can connect with the people who might read them + share my ideas for how those people can live happier, experience-filled lives.

    • says

      This made me laugh a lot –> “A lot of people are charging truly obscene prices for their book that the people they’ve encouraged to quit their jobs can’t afford because, well… we quit our jobs!!!!”

      My .02 cents. If you want to be a writer, realize your products are your books, not your blog. Your goal with your blog should be to make it a place where you let your ideas spread.

  5. says

    You mean, you can make money from blogging? It has never dawned on me that such a thing was possible. And, I’ll go you one further. If I hear someone utter the word “monetize” one more time, I think I’ll hang myself.

    I’ll echo the other commenters and Thank you for validating our feelings. Blogs are strange things. In order to get better at it, you have to do it, which means that when you’re doing it – for years at a time – you’re still not good at it. (Replace the word “you” with “I”)

    Not only should most of us not plan to make dough from it, we should consign ourselves to looking at it as though it’s a straight-up learning experience. Want to learn how to write? Blog. Want to learn how to discuss things? Blog. Want to make money. Do not blog. That’s what jobs are for.

    Thanks again.

    • says

      Careful Matt, I don’t want to be responsible for any rash decisions :).

      Writing is one of the great benefits of blogging that people seem to forget about. Great writers are rare. Blogs can help with that a lot.

      • says

        Agreed. The great thing about blogs is that you can solicit feedback. That, of course, brings all sorts of ego-bruising experience, too.

        About 1.5 years in, my writing is much tighter. I figure I have many more years ahead of me before I even consider myself to have baseline competence. But, I find that freeing.

        I’m under much less pressure to “be pro” (whatever that means). I even treasure my obscurity. It gives me the time to practice and experiment. However, I could never appreciate that if I were pressuring myself to make money or “be something.”

        I keep coming back to that ol’ hackneyed advice to new authors: “Just write.” Everything else is fluff. :)

        • says

          Creating thick skin is important. Feedback is good, but only some is helpful. The key is to be able to tell the difference between the two and use the helpful feedback to get better.

  6. says

    I share Lauren’s sentiments about bloggers blogging about how to become a blogger by blogging about blogging about blogging. And… obviously that shit would be out of place here. But overall, this post seems a little too “Protestant work ethic” for my taste.

    Sean posed this as a question, but that’s because he’s much nicer than I, so I’m going to turn it into an assertion… “[P]roviding the occasional product for sale would actually further your goals of meeting people and doing impossible things, because it would give you even more income to pursue the adventures.”

    And I’ll take it a step further… People need/want good information and would love you more, not less, for selling them information they’re genuinely looking for. The impact of your blog is more than you think. I’ve had people complain to me because I didn’t have anything paleo related on my site that they could buy simply because they trusted my recommendation and didn’t want to end up buying junk from someone they weren’t familiar with.

    I’m in marketing too, and from that perspective, ironically… blogs with minimal, yet tasteful, advertising actually come across as more serious/credible than blogs with none.

    With this post you’re (again, somewhat ironically) basically advertising “advertising free” as a selling proposition. It also serves as Zahavian signaling, but I’d have to charge you to explain that in more detail. 😉

    • says

      Interesting points, Andrew. Especially this one: “…blogs with minimal, yet tasteful, advertising actually come across as more serious/credible than blogs with none.” I’m on the fence when it comes to this, but it’s definitely worth a consideration.

      • says

        After thinking it over for a couple of minutes (I need an edit function), I decided on my side of the fence: An ad-free and especially affiliate-link-free blog would generate special trust in me. There are just too many concealed spammers, and this rules them out. But then, offering decent products or services would probably deepen my trust even more, because this implicates that the writer knows what she’s doing.

        Of course, this is very broadly spoken. In the end, every single case matters, and most of us are able to identify a spammer rather fast, especially if we’ve been reading (and writing) blogs for some time already.

      • says

        I think there’s a difference in “types” of blogs. Obviously ones like HuffPo have different advertising than ones that offer products. There needs to be a differentiation.

    • says

      What if I came up with an ebook compiled of bloggers who blog about how they started to blog about blogging and then blogged about that? :).

      I’m not against having products, courses, or other things for sale, but that’s not the purpose for the blog. If people begin to ask for something and are willing to pay for it, and it makes sense for me to make it, I’ll do it, but I’m not focused on “monetizing” my blog because that’s not what my blog is. It’s a platform that allows me to make money, whether that’s through products, consulting, networking opportunities or whatever else comes up. Does that makes sense?

      Andrew, always with the big words. What say you we have a battle of the wits sometime?
      Thanks for the awesome, well thought out comment

      • says

        “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Oh wait… I’m not a Sicilian so you’re probably safe in a battle of wits.

        My main point was that… while it’s perfectly fine to not focus on monetization, focusing on non-monetization seems strange. We seem to be in agreement, but that’s not the vibe I got from the OP.

        And I get your point about not making money “here”, but in my expedition project (@77Zero), I constantly get people asking how I support it. What’s worse, not talking about it leads people to assume I’m just milking a trust fund. I’d consider putting out a step-by-step guide and charging people for the technical, behind the scenes stuff. Giving other people the tools to have more fun is something I’m interested in, but it also bores me to write about the financial bla bla bla. So… I’d be charging for writing stuff that’s useful, but isn’t fun or interesting to me (wait… did I imply ‘job’?). Anyway, I’m sure that there are lots of people interested in the “how-to” component of what you’re doing… and that’s just one of many things that would make more sense here than anywhere else.

        • says

          En garde!

          I definitely get the challenges. I have a bunch of business goals on my list. I’ll be talking about them as I go after them, just like I do with my races, adventures and other endeavors, but I won’t be always selling it. I think UnconventionalGuides.com is a good version of what I’m looking at IF I do something like that, but I’m not confusing having a blog with having a product. Sure there’s overlap in the audience, but it’s something most people don’t get. Readers do not equal customers.

  7. says

    Exceptional post. Never been here before today, but read this and I’ll be signing up for your newsletter. Utmost respect for not selling me something. I think we all *get* that there’s business out there in blogging and that it’s occasionally necessary. But, damn, it’s refreshing to find a blog that’s not about that.

    • says

      Thanks David :). Did I mention I have this amazing once-in-a-lifetime course you can buy for only 14 payments of $27.97? It’s just in time for Christmas! [completely joking :p].

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you stick around =).

  8. Frank says


    First, let me compliment your assertion that you’ll never make money from this blog. I think that you’ve taken a pretty bold.

    It’s interesting, because I heard an interview with Tim (the anti-Joel?) where he discusses split testing for the original name of the 4HWW. My interest lies in the fact that they reject anything that: people warmly liked, or mildy rejected. BUT they ultimately choose something that was super-polarizing – something that people loved or disliked passionately.

    You’ve got that exact angle going on with this post – people will strongly reject you for not following the normal path, or people will sing your praises for being “above,” the money.

    I’ll agree with what Andrew said above – you’ve essentially branded yourself as the, “kinda lifestyle design guy, except he doesn’t want to make money off of you so it’s somehow more pure content.” Which (as you alluded to above) you might point back to at some point, when you are selling a product and mention the fact that you are the guy who doesn’t sell products.

    Shit man, I’d buy something you were selling. I’m interested in investing in myself by learning from people who have done what I want to do.

    I want to travel the world – I buy Chris’s stuff. I want to be a better investor – I buy Buffet’s books. I want to Overcome Fear – I buy Sean’s books. I want to learn how Joel did impossible things – I cry because I can’t?

    • says

      There’s a big difference between not making money online & not making money from my brand & not making money here. Hope that makes sense. Don’t cry, there are things on the way :).

  9. says

    You are not Tim Ferris!? I have been reading the wrong blog all this time.

    You really got people riled up with this one Joel. I think that just goes to show that there are different types of businesses to be in. You are choosing the one you want and they have chosen theirs. Some people want to live in Asia for $100 per week and some people like to live in the midwest and drive a truck to an office building. No harm in either as long as you choose honestly.

    Make sure you provide value to the customers and the money will be made.

    • says

      *shoot* Shouldn’t have told ya :). This is the 4 hour work week blog. Pay no attention to the photo in the sidebar.

      Along with providing value, I’m much more interested in solving problems over “making money.” Solving problems is almost always a much more sustainable way of building a business than trying to cash in on the latest & greatest flash in the pan.

  10. says

    This is awesome! You definitely have a fresh voice and something to offer the world (that isn’t ads, haha). I think what you are doing is really cool and fits your needs and wants perfectly. Every blog means something different for the person writing it and the people reading it. I guess when you start a blog (I JUST started mine, so I’m in this boat), you should have a pretty clear vision of what it is and where you are going with it. It’s cool that you started wanting it to be one thing, and you’re staying true to having it just be a chronicle of your life and everything awesome that you are doing.

    • says

      Thanks Jen! Glad you’re enjoying the blog. Everybody has their own idea of what you should do, so try to get advice from people who you respect and are a lot smarter than you and then do what you feel you have to do. Hope you stick around :).

  11. says

    Quick hypothetical: lets say you have an “impossible guide to marathon running” that makes you 1K monthly posted on the sidebar here on the blog. Do you think you would be better or worse poised to achieve your three stated goals?

    • says

      In the financial sense, it would be marginally helpful. 12k/year would be nice, but not life changing [and depending on it’s shelf life, may or may not continually sell 1k/month]. But even then, the “guide” would be a separate entity than my “blog” and a part of a separate income generated project. Make sense?

  12. says

    What’s up Joel!

    I have to admit I haven’t read much of your blog, but I came across a link on Elise’s site for this post.

    I have to say I respect the hell out of you for choosing this path for your blog.

    After looking thru some of your writings we have a bit in common so I signed up to get more epic shit from you dude.

    Keep rockin’ your life and blog your own way!


  13. says

    Everyone has a different purpose and it’s good to see what BIT’s purpose is, Joel. And in essence, what YOUR purpose is. There need not be any hidden agendas and I think the bloggers who do make $ off their blogs are doing it because of myriad reasons:

    – Freedom from having a job and reporting to someone else (j-word again!)
    – Being their own boss, setting their own schedule
    – Location independence
    – Never having a cap on earning potential and life experience (2-3 wks vacation and weekends only limits a lot of people who enjoy traveling, backpacking, living abroad for months/years at a time)
    – etc. etc.

    Of course, some will be a little shady in dealings, maybe “selling” too much, thereby, shunning many of their customers (who are readers) away because they just don’t want to hear it.

    So that’s why freemium exists in the blogosphere. Give away 98% of your best material away for free, charge for the remaining 2% of extreme high-quality content (not that free articles are not high quality, but a premium package “packages” it all nicely in one eBook, audio book, webinar, etc.).

    So long as you are happy with what you’re doing with BIT, I don’t see a reason to justify what you’re doing. People will unsubscribe, not read your blog, hate you (hopefully not!), etc. for the most ridiculous reasons. So we can only do our best to be truthful and as authentic as possible. If we don’t, it’ll come back to bite us in the ass.

  14. says

    I think that is the right attitude to have. I have just started blogging about running away to travel the world and the PRIMARY reason I set up the blog is because I enjoy writing about the places I explore and the characters I meet.

    People who try to make money via blogs as their primary goal are so transparent in that you can just tell straight away their heart is not into it – their writing is usually substandard as well.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Kenan.

      I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with making money from your blog (if that’s what you choose to do). A lot of people do it and end up doing great things. That was just never the goal from the start for me and I didn’t feel like I needed to change now. Looking forward to hearing about your travels!

    • says

      Haha :). Thanks Christopher. I hope you’ll stick around :)

      a note on validation: be careful with it – it can be tempting to listen to only listen to voices that agree with you, but you need to hear the other voices as well. Even if you don’t agree with them, they can help you figure out what you really believe and why you believe it.

  15. says

    I really like what you have said about not making money from your blog. My blog is a great outlet to explore what I am learning about myself and to get my goals and projects finished (finally!) It is also good to find another minamalist who is not location independent and has a job outside of their blog. I am in the process of scaling back my possesions and am not location independent either (my husband loves his teaching job and our son is settled in school).

    What are your suggestions for someone who wants to start running (my goal is the Shamrock Run in Portland, OR) but is overweight and out of shape :(

    • says

      I’m not a great running coach, but my best advice is to always start somewhere and do something every day and always get a little better. Try jogging a half mile. If you can’t jog, walk it. But slowly work your way up. If you’re looking for a specific program, I’ve heard good things about the Couch to 5k Program [although I haven’t used it myself]. Hope that helps!

  16. says

    JOEL! Awesome Post. As a fellow Blogger and Adbuster – I agree. I want the things I’m saying to be taken seriously, not sponsored. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement that I’m not an idiot for wanting to create a genuine space for readers (revolutionaries).

  17. says

    Joel, you rock. I was starting to feel bad that I “wasn’t doing anything with my blog” so I started following the conventional unconventional strategies.

    But you know what, all I want to do it write, entertain, inspire. I already have a job that pays my bills.

    Thanks for the reminder, mate :)

  18. says

    Oh my gosh, this post is a breath of fresh air! I’ve been struggling with writing my new blog and hoping to earn money from products vs. writing my new blog to create a community and make the world better. Also, I recently found out my new wife and I are having our first child this fall, so I’m really spazzing out about monetization.

    I work full time, but I would rather work full-time for myself. I want to do products, but I want to either give them away or ask people to pay what they think is a fair price like Radiohead did with “In Rainbows”. I agree, I want to see readers as potential friends and not just potential customers. Thanks for the perspective!

    • says

      No problem Jermaine. There’s definitely a separation between ‘readers’ and ‘customers’ and a lot of people don’t realize that their ‘readers’ won’t ever actually be ‘customers.’ Good luck figuring out the direction of your blog.

  19. says

    Im so glad someone else realises this and is blogging for more than just making money. Its saddening to see everyone currently jumping on the Letter.ly bandwagon at the moment, separating themselves even further from the true benefits of blogging for the sake of a buck.
    I make money out of one of my blogs and i do it in a very basic way. I write good SEO’d content that comes up top of google for very niche keyphrases, then adsense the shit out of it. But these posts are never going to make me friends, they’re for making money and nothing else. This blog will never have a following.
    This side project pays for the hosting and domain name of my ‘real’ blog, which i do for the same reasons as you.
    Its a shame that money motivates people to waste so much time and destroy their relationships.

    • says

      I think it’s a shame people confuse the two different types of blogging. Both valid and and good ways to blog, but they’re like salt and sugar. Great on their own and both have their own unique attributes but when you start to confuse them, you immediately regret your decision.

  20. says

    thank you joel. this is exactly what i believe in. blog because you love connecting with people. money comes and goes. we gotta stop seeing folks as a means for our financial gain.

    thank you for being a leader.

  21. says

    The value of a blog as a doing tool is so underrated. You may not ever make a dime off this blog (though I somehow doubt that as it appears from the comments that people are looking for ways to throw money at you!) but you’ve changed your life in amazing ways because of it. As those darn Visa ads love to tell us, that my friend, is PRICELESS :-)

  22. says

    Someone recently suggested that I monetize my site as well but in truth, I don’t want to stoop to that. This week I hosted my first guest post (as a favor to someone) and it didn’t feel right. I didn’t have the same beliefs that were expressed in the article and I felt awkward posting it. I’m sure I would feel the same way about sponsored posts and ads.

    • says

      Everyone has different goals and purposes for themselves. Stick to your guns and what you feel is right. Don’t compromise even if it’s the ‘unconventional’ thing to do.

  23. says

    I just came across this and found it really refreshing as well. I am someone who wants to be location-independent, but I also don’t like the idea of bombarding my readers with ads or making them feel like I’m trying to sell them something. Because I really do believe in my message and I mostly just want to spread it for its own sake. My blog has only been up for about a month now and I haven’t tried to make any money off of it, but after reading this I feel like I have a better perspective now. Thank you!

    • says

      Always glad to lend a perspective :). I’ve found that messages worth spreading for their own sake tend to have longer shelf-lives than ones looking to make a quick buck. Good luck on your blog!

  24. says


    THANK YOU so much for just writing this post. if you do nothing else ever, know this, that this post made me heave a sigh of relief.

    i have been writing a personal blog in the livejournal community for a bizzilonty years (probably about 10) and never had to think about these issues (until lj sold up to the russians, but that’s another issue, no monetizing for me, personally, there). recently, though, i started writing a proper grownup themed blog (mindfulness) and i felt side blinded, not just by blogspot’s options on the subject, but also by ‘helpful suggestions’ from friends. yes, at some point i will probably run an online course, i might even write an ebook, but NOOOOOOO i will not be running ads or affiliating. thank you! it’s a mindfulness blog, not a sales pitch!

  25. Leah says

    Funny this post is one of your most popular ever, and now you sell T-shirts. I giggle. No shame in making a buck off of your blog, but having started with a mission not to, it now seems like your capitalizing.

    • says

      I wouldn’t say I’m capitalizing.

      People were asking me to make them, so I did. Over time, this has become more than just a blog but that’s also why I’ve made ImpossibleHQ. I’m not making any money off the blog. The t-shirts aren’t hosted here. I don’t sell ads. There are no affiliate links. The blog HAS created a pseudo-brand that I’m maintaining for continuity sake over at the League (also free) and HQ. My mission from the start has been to do something impossible and help as many people as possible. I don’t think that’s really changed.

  26. says

    Hey Joel,

    I just subscribed to your newsletter and I love this post. Oftentimes I feel like a cash cow when I read some blogs.

    More than this article I also appreciate the fact that you take the time to answer almost all the comments.
    I hope this is not gonna change as your blog gets bigger.


  27. says

    I really, really relate to every word you’ve said! A part of me was like, “Damn, now I’m not the first to be honest about how ridiculous all of this feels”, but more importantly, now I can focus on something that might perhaps be more unique to myself.

    Thank you for this!

  28. says

    Like you, my blog (which I’ve been neglecting horribly lately) is a no-ad site and I intend to keep it that way. When I was writing daily (damn that Facebook!) I got requests daily for me to push a product. My answer was always, “Feel free to send me the gizmo. There will be one of three responses: I’ll blog that I love it, I’ll blog that I hate it, or I won’t blog about it at all because it doesn’t matter to me one way or another.” I got cool stuff in the mail and even blogged that I loved a few of them. Most of the time I was silent and, only because I never actually *hated* any of them, I never blogged that I hated something. Keep blogging for exactly the reasons you mentioned!

    Carol in Seattle

  29. Dana says

    If you’re worried about your boss reading your blog, lie.


    No law in all the land says you have to append your real name to your blog. You are allowed to use a pseudonym. For crying out loud, *book authors* do that. No one bats an eyelash. Why not do it with a blog too?

    Just make sure there isn’t anything on the Internet that links together your real name and your blog pseudonym and you are all set. It will probably also help if you use a name that is *obviously* a nickname so your readers are savvy enough to figure it out. This will help with reader trust issues. People understand that not everyone wants their entire life to be google-able.

    And this will give you some breathing room to take your time and find a boss who values an independent thinker who takes their own initiative in life and has their own opinions. :)


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