There’s no secret that times are tough right now. Money is tight, jobs are scarce and that’s true across all professions, including bloggers.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur blogger doing it mostly for fun, a part time blogger doing the work as a secondary income or a professional blogger who does this to pay the rent/mortgage, the online economy, though it’s getting better, is still tough.
This can put even the best blogger under a lot of pressure, especially with bills coming due and obligations to meet. Sadly, a lot of people online have realized this and begun to take advantage of it, tempting bloggers with everything from ultra-low paying writing gigs to unscrupulous offers.
When faced with bills and an overwhelming feeling of failure, many bloggers are tempted by these tricks and find themselves pulled into a world that can be difficult to get out of, even when better offers are available.
If you’re faced with a blogging crisis, it’s important to stay strong and keep fighting, after all, your integrity as a blogger and a writer is the most valuable thing you have and, once you sell it, you can never get it back.
Some of the Snakes in The Grass
When it comes to ways that a blogger can sell out their integrity, there are many out there.
Consider just a few of the temptations a blogger might have to face, especially if they find themselves desperate for money, audience or recognition:
- Unfair Writing Deals: There are plenty of places that will pay you very low amounts of money for writing articles. While some might find them a useful place to get started or test the waters, once you’re more established and able to command a higher rate, going back to this can be suicide. However, the temptation is there if you need some quick cash or to fill a few extra hours in the day.
- Unscrupulous Deals: Some companies and sites will offer unscrupulous deals such as paid linking, undisclosed paid reviews and unethical partnerships. These deals can be tempting as they are potentially lucrative but they can destroy a blogger’s credibility as an unbiased source. Even worse, it is trading on the trust your site has built up for quick cash and the trust can almost never be earned back.
- Bad Buyout Offers: It’s not uncommon for bloggers, when they’re done with a site, to cash out and sell their domain. However, some offers are better than others. Not only do some offers pay better, but some people will buy a site to continue it almost as is, keeping the audience and building on it, and others will destroy tear it down and simply use the trust built from the domain for their own ends, leaving the audience out to dry. Leaving a site gracefully is key to starting up the next successfully and selling out too low just devalues all of your hard work.
While there are many other temptations to be found, these are by far the most common and some of the most dangerous.
When faced with these situations, and ones like it, it’s important to be strong and press on. However, that can be tough to do when faced with a stack of bills and a limited income.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to stay strong and not give in to the pressure that can sometimes be overwhelming.
Staying Strong and Moving Forward
The key to getting through the dark times is to understand the value of your hard work and that, while giving in might be a temporary fix, it creates much bigger problems down the road.
However, from a more practical standpoint, there are a few things you can do to prepare for these moments and, more importantly deal with them when they come.
- Know Your Value: Know roughly how much your time and work is worth. This is done by doing an honest evaluation of your skills, your reputation and comparing it to the market. Never take a job that is too far beneath that. It’s much better to have fewer higher-paying jobs that you can do well than too many low-paying ones. Also, do the same for your site in case you get offers on it.
- Focus on Finding New Business: Always be active in making contacts and seeking out new business. Even if your dance card is full, be working on a short list of people you can call if something changes. Preparedness helps make these moments a lot less difficult.
- Have Alternate Streams of Income Lined Up: No matter what profession you’re in, having alternate streams of income available is crucial should anything change. This goes beyond good savings and good financial planning, but having a means of never truly being cut off. This can, and likely should, include a mix of Internet-based and “real world” income streams.
- Learn the Law: Understand the laws that surround your finances. In many cases, if you find yourself in a bad spot financially, it may be better to either work with those you owe money to or consider filing bankruptcy than it is to constantly scrounge up cash to keep up. This can mean some pride-swallowing, but a lot less so than doing something unethical or that might be more harmful long term.
- Learn to Say No: Sadly, a lot of people fall into these situations not because they are truly desperate but because they don’t know how to say “No”. Either their too flattered, too easily coerced or just simply too nice. Knowing when and how to say no is critical to avoiding compromising situations.
All in all, most of the solution, unfortunately, is solid preparation. That means when things are going well is the best time to be thinking about what happens when things go wrong.
Simply put, if you wait until the situation is already desperate, it may be too late to find a good solution that keeps both your life and your ethics intact.
It’s important to remember that your blogging and freelance writing integrity doesn’t have a price. There’s no way that you can effectively sell it as any short term gain would have to outweigh all of the potential value, both monetarily and personally, that it would have for the rest of your life.
If you keep that in mind, it should be much harder for the shady corners of the Web to tempt you and to make you want to sell out.
In a strange way, maintaining high ethics is less about having an unapproachable moral character and more about understanding what it’s real value is.
That way, even if you are tempted, you won’t be broken.