2017 State of the Blogging Industry
part 6: the work habits
How much, when, where, and with whom bloggers work
Blogging is such a weird thing. In theory, anyone who has access to the Internet, a computer, and the drive to make it happen can use blogging as a tool to make a living.
You can blog from anywhere in the world at any time you want. Your customers can come from any country in the world. And if you play your cards right, you might be able to do all of this while maintaining a full-time job.
But that’s just the theory, so we asked respondents to tell us how, when, and where they get their work done. The results showed us that reality is much more boring.
Do bloggers treat their blogs like a full-time job, part-time job, side gig, or a hobby?
“Do you consider your blog a full-time, part-time job, side gig or hobby” might seem like an odd question… after all shouldn’t all pros be working full time on their blogs?
It turns out the answer is no. To be sure, most pros (66%) consider their blog-based business to be a full-time job. That’s by no means all pros, and equally surprising is the fact that 25% of not-yet-pros consider their blog and business to be a full-time job even though they’re not yet making a full-time living from their efforts. Overall, the majority of not-yet-pros (59%) consider their blog to be a part-time job or side gig.
The rest of the pros break down across side gig (12%), part-time job (19%), and hobby (2%). We love this because it means that even though many of these pros could probably leave their jobs if they really wanted to, they choose to keep a job for any number of reasons. We’d guess that our criteria for pro-level income does not always match the income needs of a given blogger and their family. But a lucky few likely stay in their jobs because they love their job and their blogs.
We also took a look at whether this changes based on gender and children.
Of female bloggers, 35% consider their blog to be a full-time job compared to 25% of male bloggers. Interestingly, bloggers with children were more likely to consider their blog a full-time job than bloggers without children, whereas bloggers without children were more likely to consider their blog a hobby. Males were most likely to consider their blog a side gig at 36% and most likely to consider their blog a hobby at 17%.
Do you consider your blog a full-time job, part-time job, side-gig or hobby?
What kind of office space do bloggers use?
Bloggers work on the beach right? That’s how we’ve heard it’s supposed to work, anyways. It was weird though, because when we asked, no one actually said that they work from the beach. Here’s what they had to say instead.
From where do you most often work on your business?
Most bloggers work from a dedicated office space in their house, including 66% of pros. That was the most popular option across all respondent segments. The second most popular was working from the house, but not in a dedicated office space. In all, 86% of all bloggers do their work from home, whether in a dedicated office space or not. No other location even remotely came close in popularity.
The only other stand out stat here is that males are the most likely segment to work from a coffee shop or cafe, at 9%, but that’s nothing compared to the 78% of males who work from home.
Do bloggers hire employees?
While not many bloggers had an initial goal of building a company or employing other people, a fair number of bloggers do employ others on some level. Here’s what we found.
Of the pros, 20% have full-time employees compared to 4% of not-yet-pros. Also, 30% of pros have at least one part-time employee compared to 8% of not-yet-pros. Finally, 53% of pros work with at least one contractor, compared to 21% of not-yet-pros.
This tells us that overall, pros are much more likely to seek out paid help than not-yet-pros, which makes a ton of sense. For one, pros have more money to spend on help and second, pros are more likely to have more work to go around since their blogs are further along.
At the same time, we know not-yet-pros feel the pinch of too much work and not enough time, especially the more their audience grows. When not-yet-pros pay for help, it’s usually for contract help so that they don’t have to make any long-term commitments that will add too much burden too early in their business.
Do you have any full-time employees, part-time employees or contractors?
How many hours do bloggers work each week?
Is the four hour work week real? How much do pro bloggers work compared to not-yet-pros? We were eager to find out.
Believe it or not, pros were most likely to say that they work between 0-5 hours per week on their blog. Of those pros, 42% are able to make more than the median US household income in just five hours per week or less. That is crazy! And, in fact, 0-5 hours of work per week was the most common response from all respondent segments.
On the other hand, pros were most likely to work more than 20 hours per week on their blogs, with 35% working more than 20 hours every week. Pros were also most likely to work more than 60 hours per week at 3%. However, it’s important to remember that 75%+ of not-yet-pro bloggers do not consider their blog a full-time job, so their blogging hours are likely on top of another job. That makes for long hours every week.
These respondent segments are helpful, but we also wanted to take a look at how age affects the number of hours worked.
How many hours do you typically work on your blog or business each week?
The age breakdown gives us a couple of interesting tidbits. Bloggers 65 and older are highly likely to spend 5 hours or less blogging each week. Bloggers 35-44 years old are most likely to spend 21-40 hours each week, at 21%. Other than that, the age breakdowns mostly tell us that bloggers of all ages spend a similar amount of time blogging. The breakdown between pro and not-yet-pro still gives us the best distinction on working hours.
This breakdown is interesting, as it shows us when during the day a blogger puts in their hours. In fact, compared to how many hours and what days of the week, this graph shows the greatest discrepancies.
About 40% of all segments say that their schedule varies widely, except for the 33% of pros who say the same. Pros are much more likely to work during typical work hours than any other segment of respondents, which makes sense.
How many hours do you typically work on your blog or business each week?
Bloggers with children are most likely to work late at night and bloggers without children are most likely to work on their blogs right after they’re done with their day jobs. Having the responsibility of raising children has very real implications for spending time on your blog.
Males are 157% more likely than females to work on their business before they go to work at their day job. Not-yet-pros are more than twice as likely as pros to work only on the weekends, as are females compared to males.
During which times of day do you typically work on your blog or business?
In the second to last section, we turn to one of the most important topics of all: the money. While we don’t see money as the point, earning money from your blog is certainly the key to being able to quit your job, go full-time in your business, support your family, and give more to causes you believe in. Let’s take a look at how bloggers earn money (and how much they earn when they do).