Bloggers: Nothing Wrong With Charging For Your Work

How many times have you heard something like this:

“Don’t worry about the money”

“Don’t monetize your site if you want people to respect you”

“Work for free now and profit later.”

…Are you kidding me?

These types of people are selling you feel-good lies and playing on your morals to make themselves look good. Worst of all, they are part of the reason you’re not making more money.

So let me set one thing straight – THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH CHARGING MONEY FOR YOUR WORK!

Now let me explain a bit. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give value to your audience. You absolutely should. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put your audience first, and do what you can to make your audience happy. You absolutely should. What I’m saying is that there comes a time when you have to make money as well. After all, your web hosting and other business expenditures do not pay for themselves.

I’m not going to lie to you and pretend that I don’t aim to get some sort of monetary reward out of all of this. I give out content for free knowing that it will result in some people paying me money for more. If I wasn’t making money from all of this there is no way in hell you’d be reading this now.

Think about it. Why should you work for free? Why should you spend a period of your finite life providing stuff to other people if you’re not going to get any reward out of it?

It doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s the thing about the real world: it is driven by money and the free market. The system works, which is why so many countries are converting to capitalism. In the free market, businesses put out products with the aim of creating a profit.

In a brilliant post by Joy Healey on a similar subject to this one, I mentioned in a comment that people love to complain about pharmaceutical companies charging money for their life saving drugs. What people do not realize is that if they weren’t making money, these companies would not have any reason to develop further cures.

Likewise, if you’re not making money from your blog, why bother to work hard to build it up further, right? You’d be wasting your time. Don’t let people take advanage of you, charge them fairly.

I know this is different to what a lot of people have probably told you. When you compare me to what I call ‘feel-good’ bloggers, I look like a real jerk. I’m not. What I am is honest. A hell of a lot more honest than the bloggers playing on your emotions and morals to make you feel like you’re “doing the right thing” so you can wonder at the end of the month why you’re not making a dime.

Here’s the thing about business. It does not care about your emotions, and your emotion should not get in the way of business.

As mentioned in the video, the primary goal of a business is to make money, and that’s it! Unfortunately, many people get blinded by their emotions, and put them before logic or facts when making decisions. That is a real problem.

You are very fortunate as a blogger. You are in the type of business where you make more money by being nice and making friends with other people. When you give a ton of upfront value to your audience, you make more money than if you hide behind a curtain and try to hard-sell every person that visits your site.

However, there comes a time where you’ve got to draw the line and start charging for more. This is true with both your content and your services.

I do a lot for my email subscribers. I go above and beyond most marketers to really make sure they’re happy. Not only do I answer all of their emails in detail, I don’t mind working with them one on one on a project or to help them make an important decision. This takes up a lot of my time, but I know that the money I make from these people will be worth the time spent.

Every once in a while though there’s someone who wants me to run their entire business for them. Not only are they emailing me everytime they have a tiny question (which could easily be solved with a Google search) but they want me to fix their screw-ups and do their work. I’m not joking, I once had a guy that expected me to write his content for him!

Screw that. Pay me. If you’re going to take away the most important resource in my life, my time, I damn well better be getting something in return for it.

Anyway, I pointed this guy to my services page where my rates for freelance writing / content creation were at. He was honestly appalled that I would dare charge him for my services. He let me know right away that I “wasn’t who he thought I was” (clearly a pushover) and that he would be “unsubscribing and unfollowing me.”

Great! That action saved me a countless number of future headaches. Let’s hope those kind of people leave your site and never come back, because they certainly aren’t worth your time either!

Prioritize Your Buyers Over Your Freebie Seekers

Some people deserve more of your free time than others. Put those people first.

Everybody should be segmenting their list. At the bare minimum, keep your group of buyers separate from the rest of your email list. It’s important to know who on your list trusted you enough to spend money on your products, because they are the people most likely to send you money again.

As mentioned earlier, in this business you make money by helping other people. However, not every person is going to end up buying something from you. That’s fine and to be expected. This means however that some people are more important to you than others – your buyers.

Help out everyone on your list to the best of your ability, but always give priority to the people that are giving you money (if you want them to keep giving you money). Reply to their emails first. Do more for them. Make them feel special – because they are.

Conclusion

If you’re not blogging to make money, you’re not running a business. You’re pursuing a hobby.

While it’s always a good idea to provide a ton of value to your audience, do not ever be afraid to charge for further services. Always remember that the primary goal of a business is profit.

How you work with your visitors to convert them into buyers is up to you. Just make sure it actually ends up happening.

You’ll thank me later!

LEARN HOW TO TRIPLE YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC IN 7 DAYS!

About James McAllister

James is the owner of Help Start My Site. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. Here on HelpStartMySite.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, like him on Facebook .

Comments

  1. Hi James,

    I always remember the classic Gordon Gecko line from Wall Street:

    “What’s worth doing is worth doing for money,” or something like that 😉 We all are entitled to make a living, so make it. Charge your worth, and be bold for the Universe rewards boldness in all that you do.

    Great message!

    Ryan

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  2. Hi James,

    Here comes another unique article.
    Yes, I agree with you. There is nothing wrong with it. 🙂

    For me, I have no problem in helping others, even for free. I will not charge if it does not deserve to be paid. But, I would charge if it really takes time and effort. I thought, I need costs to survive in this world as well. LOL 😀

    Thanks for sharing, James.
    Have a great week ahead!

    ~Nanda

      (Quote)
    Nanda Rahmanius recently posted…4 Top WordPress Plugins to Make Your Website Mobile FriendlyMy Profile

    • Hi Nanda!

      I’m the same way to be honest. I spend a lot of time each day helping people at no expense, but I do it knowing some of those people will end up becoming paying customers. I do genuinely like helping people and helping their business grow, but my time is too important to me to give it away for free.

      Like you said, we need money to survive and if we don’t get it from our businesses we have to get it from someone else, taking away even more of our time. I would not be able to do half the things I do if I was forced to work a regular job, so it’s really best for everyone that we charge when necessary right?

      Thanks Nanda, you have a good one too!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…25 Guaranteed Ways To Increase Your Email Opt-InsMy Profile

  3. Hi James,

    I’m clapping hands as I read this post. Blogging is business. Now when it comes to free stuff, it is right there on my blog. If someone wants to know more and work with me, I do have various price points set up in my funnel to do so. I’ve been an entrepreneur too long to let things slide. I still own my off line business, even though someone is running it. I keep it for off line branding. I am in control of several properties…want to know how hard nosed that is? HA

    I’m pretty easy to get along with. I love people and will give them my time if I choose. I will lend a hand and so forth. But it is up to me!

    When it comes to business, some will say I’m hard nosed. I’ve been even called a bitch. But I know it is “not my monkey, not my circus” and let them go off and do a drama with someone else. I have no room for it. Will I fire someone? In a heart beat. I already did fire a VA because this person didn’t live up to the standards written down in a contract.

    Oh yea…a contract! When doing business with others, a contract must be signed even if you hare hiring your mother. It is all down on paper and saves time if someone goofs up. I have a contract with the woman who runs my shop and we both signed it. She is my friend, but business is business! It’s been great for the past 4 years. She does her thing and I do mine.

    When I do a JV, another contract must be agreed upon. Yes, James you have made an important point here. We have to value ourselves and charge money for our services. If someone is looking for free stuff they can spend all their time doing so. And there are many that keep trying to haunt me saying “if only I can afford to hire you” ((smirk)) That is another way of trying to play me. I’ve seen it happen too many times.

    So stick to your guns my friend, you are worth it!

    -Donna

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    donna merrill recently posted…When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

    • Hi Donna!

      That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship in my opinion – you’re free to make your own decisions. You set your price. You choose who you work with. If you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to. Sadly, many people do not realize the power they have and end up doing too much for people for too little in return.

      I think in business you’ve got to be hard nosed. You’ve got to be fairly ruthless. If I was running a multi-employee company, I would fire my own mother if I had to (which is why I try to keep my business and personal lives separate.) When somebody can’t uphold their end of the deal and end up cutting into profits, that puts everybody’s job at stake and that’s not fair to everybody else.
      You bring up a very important point with contracts. I think it’s very important to be clear of your expectations upfront. I’m also a huge fan of anything that’s legally binding because many people will take advantage of you if they are given the opportunity.

      Thanks for your valuable comment Donna, it’s very nice to hear your insight because I know you have a lot of personal experience on the subject.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…How To Tackle Competitive Blogging NichesMy Profile

  4. Hi James.

    That was sound advice.

    This is a problem that I’ve always had in way – undercharging. Having just rebuilt my website and taken time out to refocus on what I want to achieve, I’m determined to get better clients who will actually pay for the value that I provide.

    It’s hard to do that when money is urgent, but I’m determined to learn from my mistakes, and start to turn things around.

    Thanks for the boost to help with this.

    Nathan.

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    Nathan Ambrose recently posted…Does My Blog Look Big in This?My Profile

    • Hi Nathan!

      I was the same way early on. Even when I did charge, it wasn’t near enough and I didn’t really think to charge more until the volume of sales was overwhelming for me.

      I think it’s very important to be strict with what you’re willing to do and for what price. People will take advantage of you if given the opportunity, so we need to try and avoid that possibility.

      Appreciate you stopping by, commenting, and sharing my article Nathan. Hope to see you again soon!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…You Can’t Please Everybody, So Be Yourself (And Quit Sucking Up!)My Profile

  5. This is a great post. Totally agree. I’m very new to this business and although I haven’t made a penny yet I do feel I should be paid something for the hours of commitment and writing I do on top of a full time job. Only trouble is I don’t really know where to start!? So any advice you can give would be very much received.
    I await a reply with keen interest.

    Gavin

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    Gavin Darvell recently posted…Anpanman: The Museum for kidsMy Profile

    • Hi Gavin!

      Blogging is a huge subject and unfortunately I can’t cover it all here. What I will say though is this – you need to treat it like a business. Get your site on its own domain, find products to promote (do not rely on Adsense revenue) and build a business around selling relevant products to people who are interested in your blog’s niche. There are many other things you can do as well (offer services, create your own product, etc.) but what I mentioned covers the basics. This is how myself and many others are making a living through our businesses.

      If you want to learn more I highly recommend picking up my book, “Blogging For Profit: A Beginner’s Guide To Starting Your Very Own Web Business!” It’s aimed for beginners creating their first web business and covers everything from refining your niche, to creating compelling content, to building traffic, to monetizing your site. It’s an incredible investment with an immense amount of value. You can learn more here:

      http://jamesmcallister.selz.com

      Additionally if you have any specific questions you’re welcome to email me at any time (james[at]helpstartmysite.com)

      Looking forward to your success and thank you so much for commenting!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Your Blog Is NOT A BusinessMy Profile

  6. I love this post. Of course there are different ways to make money by blogging, some of it quite indirect. Yet putting up ads is not only viable but smart, and having some folks say you’ve put them up too early is invalid unless there’s no content on the blog whatsoever, in which case it’s not really a blog yet. lol

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    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Blogging DedicationMy Profile

  7. Hey James

    How did you steal my thoughts and reproduced them. 🙂

    Very interesting topic and all who understand the real potential of blogging have the same views on it as you and I have.

    Peanuts can be given for free but just imagine did you ever heard someone advising a jeweler to distribute a few diamonds for free just to attract more customers.

    People are so confused between sales and sales promotion they focus more on former and forget the fact that sales promotion beyond a limit puts an impression of charity and not the business.

    So I do agree with you that just to portray themselves a super human being many people announce loudly that they don’t want to earn money with their blog. My plea to them is; ok fine but let us earn money with our blog because we take it as our business.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this post on such debate-igniting topic.

      (Quote)
    Mi Muba recently posted…How to never fail in blogging with these 11 tips for success?My Profile

    • Hi Mi Muba!

      Great points. I especially like your point on putting an impression of a charity rather than a business. When you give so much to people, they will eventually come to expect that from you. They will not be ready to buy whatever you’re offering because they’re so used to getting it for free. They do not realize that we are not a non-profit, we are not a charity, we are a business and businesses need to make money to continue operating.

      You’re right, let other people do what they want so long as it doesn’t affect us right? I hang out in a lot of beginner blogging forums and I constantly see people who do not monetize tell other people not to monetize as well. I say let people do what they want so long as it’s not hurting others.

      Thanks Mi Muba for your valuable comment!

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      James McAllister recently posted…How To Write Blog Posts Quickly And ProductivelyMy Profile

  8. Hi James,

    I love the boldness in your writing. This is one topic some bloggers hide from writing, but you have given it a voice.

    Like Ryan said, what is worth doing is worth doing well and so if you have a premium service that is worth charging money, you go ahead and charge.

    The major thing will be to make sure that what we are offering for a premium offer is what the money we are asking for.

    Thanks for sharing. Nice one!

    Jackson

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    Jackson Nwachukwu recently posted…7 Golden Tips To Make Your Blog A Home For ReadersMy Profile

    • Hi Jackson!

      Appreciate your comment. I agree that some people tend to shy away from these types of topics, and I think that’s a bit upsetting to be honest. I think it’s important to be open, honest, and realistic. The truth is, I really don’t care if people disagree with what I’m saying because I only ever argue the truth. People can love or hate the truth, but in the end, the truth is the truth and it is unavoidable. So why try to avoid it right?

      It all comes down to value. If your customer is happy with the value you’ve provided them for the price they pay, than both parties win and that’s the goal. I get to make money and the customer is happy with their purchase. That is the making of a successful business right there!

      Thanks for stopping by Jackson, and thank you for featuring this post in Feburary’s Winning Posts series!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Why Are There Bad Blogs Doing Better Than You?My Profile

  9. Hello James,

    Indeed a useful post. You are right that primary goal of a business is making money. So we can make money from our business after giving priority the audiences of our blog. Blog is a money making machine. So if we get the proper way how to make money from blog, then a person can make enough money for his/her living. Thanks so much for this valuable discussion.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Moumita Ghosh

      (Quote)
    Moumita Ghosh recently posted…Quick Review: Is Grammarly The Best Online Grammar Checker For You?My Profile

  10. Thanks for this, James.

    While I understand you aren’t implying that we become hucksters who are mostly bothered about the money while offering crap, I must confess that I have had to do battle consistently with agreeing to profit professionally from my online business. Always thought money would come eventually (from the blues) if you just keep at it.

    But this is an eye-opener.

    Well I do understand that offering lots of value to your targeted audience is a good way to start to build trust. What I don’t understand is a ton of us worrying over asking for cash in return for our efforts (me, inclusive). Yes, this doesn’t go against your submission to blog for a bigger purpose beyond the green paper, but it does mean that if you’re working your rear off trying to impact your audience, you sure deserve the reward that comes in cash afterward.

    Are you then implying that I send an email to my list, asking that they proliferate my account with tons of cash because “I’ve been serving them real hard?” No.

    But I think your point is clear; that we offer something for cash. A product. Service. Affiliate marketing. Something like those.

    It’s crazy, James, how a person would expect you to create content on his site for free and how he’d even take it personally that you called him out. That subscriber (who I’m sure isn’t a subscriber anymore) is just some whatnot. I’ll look out for something similar in future.

    Thanks indeed for this. I’ll be sure to start tooting about my freelance writing service starting now.

    – Yusuff Busayo

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    Yusuff Busayo recently posted…The Complete Guide To Building A Freelance Writing Business (Everything You Need To Know To Earn Six Figures Writing)My Profile

  11. Hell yeah! One of the best posts I’ve read this year. And it’s almost 2 years old. hehe

    But yeah, I totally agree with you, man.

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    Julian Sakanee recently posted…Wealthy Affiliate Review: Everything You Need to Start Making MoneyMy Profile

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