Making money via blogging seems to be a hot topic in the blogosphere right now - indeed, for the past few years, I think it has always been a hot topic.
I have actually written about sponsored posts in the past and the conclusion I drew was that I couldn't care less if you are making money from blogging. In fact, I encourage people to earn money when they can and if your sponsored posts are about a topic I'm not interested in, rather than bitching about it in Twitter chats, I'll just click "Mark as Read" and move onto the next one!
I'd like to say I don't know why people are so resistant to the idea of making money from hobbies or non-traditional jobs - but I do know why. So many of us are so desperate to uphold the status quo. If the only way to make enough money to survive is to go to work everyday until you're 65, it makes people feel better about remaining in jobs they hate. People can justify having jobs that are less than thrilling if everybody is stuck in a job that they could like a lot more.
So, when people come along and they're earning money via blogging, via network marketing, or something that doesn't involve sitting in an office Mon-Fri 9-5, people suddenly get very, very resistant. The human race just doesn't like change, despite change being the only constant. We want other people to justify our actions, follow the norm, it's not nice when people decide to be different!
I recently read this post on decor8 about the hate Holly was receiving for trying to sell her products on her blog. This in itself is absolutely ridiculous - I can't believe people would genuinely complain about a blogger trying to market her products. No one bats an eyelid at giant Coca Cola advertising campaigns, so why should a blogger be shamed for trying to sell her books? I just don't get it.
However, there was one particular part of Holly's post that really stood out to me. Her husband had jumped to her aid in the comments section of her blog and one thing in particular he said really stood out to me:
"[Bloggers] are expected to publish content for free. They are expected to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are expected to be magical creatures apparently living off rainbows and hugs. Dare I say this holds true mostly for female bloggers."The emphasis is mine. The husband went on to speak about prominent male bloggers such as Darren Rowse of Problogger and how no one complains if he posts about his latest product. And suddenly, things clicked for me.
Despite considering myself a feminist and being quite interested in gender equality issues, it had never really occurred to me before that I so rarely see (have I ever seen?!) male bloggers being criticised for making money via blogging or less traditional means.
In fact, I mainly see "hate" being directed towards female bloggers, mainly of the beauty blogging persuasion, and it's usually other females delivering the crticism.
I think part of this stems from the fact that "girls hate girls." From a very young age, I believe girls are taught that we are each others' competitors and we get jealous when another girl succeeds, rather than celebrating each other's successes.
On the other hand, I think it's representative of living in a patriarchal society as a whole. It isn't a woman's "place" to put her entrepreneurial head and build her own business - we're meant to be mothers, or work in traditionally female professions such as nursing or domestic work.
As a community, I think we female bloggers have a lot of work to do. In my own personal experience, most people who read blogs and take time out of their day to comment on other blogs and the girls behind them are bloggers themselves. That means, when we see nasty comments about the way women bloggers are making their money, it's coming from other bloggers.
I see it as my responsibility to promote other bloggers and congratulate them on their successes. I think it's time to start calling people out when they complain about people who make their money via less traditional means. It's time to start building each other up, instead of trying to tear everyone down.
How can we women expect respect from men when we don't even respect each other? How can blogging ever get taken seriously, either as a hobby or a viable source of income, if we berate each other for doing sponsored posts or promoting our products? Deep down, I think a lot of things stem from jealousy - a lot of girls choose to crticise women making money from their blogs because they themselves haven't yet managed it. I wonder if it has ever occurred to them that if they were more supportive and admitted they wish they had that for themselves, people would be more open to helping them get where they want to be.
It's no secret that I want to own my own business and create a secondary income to support myself. I believe at some point, my blog will be a central part of this. For this reason, I try to support other people who are living my dream.
Whereabouts do you stand on this issue?