How I made a career through blogging

Image ©foodifancy.com

I’ve always felt an urge to help people.

Perhaps that’s why I started a blog, there’s very few reasons to pour so much time and money into creating so much work when there’s no immediate payoff. I’ve always had a desire to give things away, having often said that I’d love to be rich, just so that I could give money away.

Forget about the money.

M Scott Peck wrote that we can only achieve something worthwhile in life from a position of love. If the motive for behaviour is greed (money), avarice (possessions) or arrogance (status), then it’s not going allow us to grow in the same way.

It fits perfectly with my feelings about making a career out of blogging.

Blogging shouldn’t be about the quickest monetisation, or the easiest way to work with brands, or getting the most followers. I always felt a deep aversion to having banner adverts on my blog, I couldn’t understand how they were good for anyone, except those in the sole pursuit of money.

That is why my theory on how to make a career out of blogging is different to most other people.

Screw Google Analytics and Twitter.

You start a blog and work hard on it.

Look for the specific areas that you love doing.

Work harder on those areas.

Stop doing the things you don’t like. If they’re vital, get someone else to do them for you.

Ignore your traffic.

Don’t worry about Twitter followers.

Don’t create things based on what you think other people want to see.

Do things because it’s what YOU want to see.

Don’t try and ‘monetise’ your blog.

Learn the subtle difference between genuinely disliking a task, and the feeling you get when something really challenges you, making you learn. Both feelings make you want to stop what you’re doing, but one of them is worth working through.

Don’t feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing, or what they tell you to do. I stopped doing two recipe posts a week, because it stressed me out, so now I do one recipe and one opinion piece. My traffic dropped, but I enjoy my blog more and my career is still growing.

Most importantly, your blog should be your own independent creative publishing space, don’t let anyone else’s needs or payroll change that.

Say YES!

If you keep working and creating content for the world to enjoy and say “yes!” to EVERY opportunity that comes across your path, you can also find a career through blogging.

If opportunities don’t cross your path, go and ask for them. I got my first paid writing job by e-mailing a company and asking them if they would pay me to write for them. They said yes. My blog was my CV and portfolio.

There’s something special about the independent nature of blogging that is incredibly valuable to nurturing the soul and I think it is worth preserving.

By not ‘monetising’ my site, I have utter control and can post whatever the hell I want, whenever I want, rather than being worried about traffic volumes being directly linked to my income.

Be selfish.

The best way to create a career in blogging is to seek out what you love and keep doing it, keep practicing. The things that are truly important in life are often the most difficult to work through. The things that we feel resistance to are often the very subjects that we really need to confront if we want to grow.

When you’re working on your blog, it’s the middle of the night and you’re ready to chuck your laptop out of the window or burst into tears, take comfort in the fact that you’ve probably just hit a milestone of personal change. You’re getting there.

New measures of success.

Blogging should not be considered in terms of of money, income, profitability or traffic. It should be considered as it’s own art, as a muse, as something you can excel at in life to find your true role.

Through that you can then find happiness. Through that you can find a new career, but you need to work hard, learn to listen to yourself and keep the faith.

If you ever have a decision to make and you don’t know which direction to go, follow the path which opens you to the world and which shows love and compassion to everyone else within it. I realise that makes me sound like an utter hippy, but if you follow that advice, I can promise you’ll never get stuck in a rut or go backwards in life.

Accept everything that comes into your path. If you have an idea write it down, if you think of something, listen to the thought, you’ve created it for a reason. Your mind thinks about the subjects it wants to be involved with, so listen to it and follow it, don’t resist it, because the feeling will never go away, it will keep on coming back until you follow it.

Which is probably why you’ve read this, now it’s over to you. Good luck.


Gavin Wren is a professional food photographer, food blogger at le petit oeuf, occasional food writer and Food Policy MSc student at City, University of London. He talks food on Twitter and his photographs are on Flickr.