7 Unexpected Benefits of Being a Blogger
Rich Dad Poor Dad Review
Stop Reading Blogs, Start Reading Books

7 Unexpected Benefits of Being a Blogger

Blogging has an awesome upside. There are many advantages, and not all of them revolve around making money.

If you’ve ever dabbled with the idea of launching your own blog, here are 7 unexpected benefits that might tip you towards your first post.

1. A Good Blog Makes Money

Okay, that’s get it out of the way, shall we? There’s no denying that one of the greatest benefits of running a successful blog is the money that it brings.

There are many ways to generate money. You can sell banner space, sling affiliate products, or use them as battlegrounds to take over the blogosphere with your own shady product creations. Many writers use their online reputations to pick up consulting gigs.

The money should never be your number one reason for starting a blog. But I also don’t buy the overused line that “I write to help others“. That’s bullshit. Every blogger has his own agenda, and it is usually either commercial or ego related. In my case, it’s a bit of both.

2. Free Shit is Nice

My girlfriend and I are both writers. She is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. I’m an affiliate marketing blogger. Guess who gets the better free shit? I’ll give you a clue. If you think it’s me, you need your head examined.

Over the last 18 months, my girlfriend has blagged an absolutely huge raid of freebies. She gets sent products every week. We’ve also enjoyed free holidays, free hotels, free Michelin starred dinners and a whole lot more.

My favourite freebie was an expenses-paid trip to an absolutely luscious hotel called The Library in Koh Samui. Imagine waking up to this in the morning…

Koh Samui, The Library

…and knowing that you got it because you splurged some opinions on a WordPress once upon a time.

So what freebies do I receive as a blogger in the Internet Marketing space? Well, other than the occasional trip to visit a network, and the ‘thank you’ Christmas presents, the biggest perks are the free access to paid services and products.

It’s not five star hotel material, but I’ve saved thousands of pounds with free copies of products that have come in very useful for my business. Popular forums like Stack That Money and Aff Playbook have unleashed a wealth of information that has been both profitable and practical to my business. And of course, it tastes even sweeter when it’s free.

I regularly get blitzed with software and tools before they go public. Not that I end up reviewing many products, but I simply wouldn’t receive them if I hadn’t established a blog.

I’ve learnt that free shit is good, which is why my next blog will probably be called FinchTravels.

3. Preferential Treatment

In affiliate marketing, having a blog isn’t just the trademark of a huge ego. It’s a valuable device for getting preferential treatment, and for deterring shady companies from screwing you over.

Many affiliate networks will have no problem in stiffing a loud-mouthed publisher who doesn’t follow their guidelines to a tee. But if you have an influential blog, those same networks will always think twice before messing with you.

I’ve heard many horror stories of new affiliates getting rough treatment that simply wouldn’t happen if they had a platform to voice their grievances. It’s deterrence, and no more. I’ve never directed a complaint at a company over my blog, and that’s probably because they bend over backwards to make sure I don’t have a reason to.

The downside to having an influential blog is the enormous amount of sucking up that comes your way. Internet Marketing harbours a lot of fake individuals, and if you have a platform where they can promote their message, you’ll find the urchins congregating around your inbox like flies to a turd.

4. Stay Social in an Unsocial World

My industry is not the sort where your day ends at 5pm, and you can hit the town to wash away your weekly sins with seven pints and a Jägerbomb.

The opportunity to wade through London’s bars and clubs doesn’t present itself very often now that I work at home in the suburbs. Since I quit the day job, my social life has become something that requires effort. It demands jumping on a train and heading in the opposite direction to the hoards commuting home wearing disconsolate frowns.

So how does blogging come in to this? Well, firstly, I wouldn’t call blogging a form of socialising. As I look around me, I’m accompanied by a Maltipom and a bunch of sausage roll wrappers.

Maltipom in the office

Social, my arse…

But what blogging does offer is an opportunity to express yourself explicitly.

When I blog, it’s like a tsunami outpouring of whatever is frustrating me on a given day. Occasionally, people will leave comments telling me I’m a closet genius, although more often they’ll compare me to a complete dumbarse. Hey, whatever, that’s okay.

Simply expressing myself and reading the comments has a therapeutic appeal. It opens the walls of my home office and assures me that there are other people out there facing the same challenges.

If you’re working a lonely job – like Internet Marketing, or coding, or anything that happens to be remote – running a blog can help you connect to your peers. It takes away the illusion of isolation.

If Jack Nicholson had a blog in The Shining, maybe he’d have kept his shit together.

5. Lend Authority to Other Projects

Assuming you’re building a blog that is just as focused on you as the brand, as it is on the subject matter, there’s enormous potential to use it to lend authority to other projects you may be working on.

Launching a new website from scratch is a tiresome struggle on many fronts. There’s the SEO, the initial word of mouth, the seeding of fan pages. Christ, the process can suck the giblets out of even the most patient of souls.

Having a blog to lend authority to your new projects is an excellent headstart. It’s like a piggyback over the first few weeks of trauma, tantrums and ball-ache.

I actively cross-promote my projects, and if I ever want to give a new site a boost, I can generally drop a link to lend some authority. This works both in the eyes of interested readers, and the Google juggernaut.

Blogging gets a bad name for relying too heavily on mindless self-promotion, which is probably justified. But mindless self-promotion rocks when you can get away with it. Why the hell not? Nobody has to read your drivel. Most just choose to anyway.

6. Getting a Job is Much Easier

How many people spend 20 years traipsing through education only to find ‘the dream job’ is still out of reach once they’ve graduated?

I posted several months ago that the blog is becoming the new degree.

Anybody can write a résumé, but the résumé shines only a tiny spotlight on an individual’s talent. It doesn’t reveal much, and it will always be weighted relatively against the next submission in the pile, which is often as thick as a J.K Rowling brainfart.

I advocate blogs as a great starting point for expanding your career opportunities. They reveal far more about your understanding of a subject than an introspective résumé ever could.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t list your qualifications and achievements somewhere on the site. If you have them, anyway. I’m a high school dropout, and school is something I try not to talk about.

The beauty of a blog is that you will be judged by the thoughts, arguments and knowledge you put forward. Every comment, every subscriber and every reader is a testament of your influence – even if they don’t agree with you.

Blogging is a way of proving your worth that doesn’t cost a penny.

Unfortunately, if your dream job involves rising through the football ranks or becoming a world renowned brain surgeon, you should probably look elsewhere. If somebody is operating on my skull, I want to know that they’ve been to university and paid their dues, not that they’ve dabbled with some WordPress widgets in their basement.

7. I Would Explode if I Didn’t Have One

Writing is a creative outlet. It’s a scientifically accepted mood improver.

Ever since I was 16, I’ve kept some form of journal or blog to document my various moments of insanity over the last eight years.

The vast majority of those outpourings I cannot look back on with anything other than disgust and a beetroot face. I find it impossible to read my own writing, even on subjects as notoriously heartless and cold as affiliate marketing.

Regardless, writing has a therapeutic quality to me. Just by putting in to words whatever I’m feeling; professional, personally, even politically; I can isolate the mood swings and stay focused on my actual goals.

It’s a tough process to explain to anybody who doesn’t share the feeling. I’m sure many readers will treat the idea of therapeutic writing with looks of disdain. Writing is certainly not a universal passion.

Nonetheless, I would explode if I didn’t blog. It’s probably the biggest benefit of them all. Making money, expressing myself, and not exploding. The only incentives I need.

Recommended This Week:

Rich Dad Poor Dad Review

This book, shockingly ranked #1 on Amazon for Personal Finance, might as well have been called Rich Dad Poor Dad Hopelessly Deluded Author. It’s so far detached from real-life wealth generation, that you should probably confine all future Robert Kiyosaki works to the Fiction section. He clearly specialises in talking out of his arse.

It’s five years since I was first recommended Rich Dad Poor Dad, a bestseller that I have always treated with skepticism given the murky nature of Kiyosaki’s upselling regime that sits behind the brand.

After reading the book in two pained sittings, I can safely say that anybody who recommends this slice of warble as valuable literature in the field of personal finance, is out of his damn mind, and knows jack diddly squat about personal finance.

Before we even get to the plot, it has to be said that Kiyosaki is a terrible writer. His storytelling unravels in scenes that would not look out of place in a poorly scripted infomercial. This, of course, is no coincidence. The infomercial is a perfect match for Kiyosaki’s primitive take on wealth generation. The rich are a collective, and the poor are a suffering crowd. It’s in such simple terms that Rich Dad Poor Dad thrives.

It’s difficult to decipher the author’s exact message at times. But I think I’ve nailed it down to 3 key points:

1. Education is important, but always second to financial literacy. People turn out poor because they’re not taught financial literacy.

2. Real estate is a fastlane to wealth. Buy properties at discounted prices, flip them and bank the just rewards. He doesn’t give details on how to implement this ninja wisdom, or how to beat the market. He places the burden on ‘insider tips‘. Mmm, fruitful.

3. Pay yourself first. Even if the government comes knocking on your door, you deserve to be paid first. The best way to do this, in Kiyosaki’s opinion, is to hide under the umbrella of a corporation. The author fails to recognize the difference between business expenses and personal expenses. I’m sure at least some of his devoted readers will have taken the words to heart, used expense accounts to buy rolexes, and will have enjoyed the fist of the IRS lodged firmly up their arses ever since.

Early in the book, Robert explains how he and his best friend Mike became swept under the wing of Rich Dad, a fatherly figure hated by his employees but blessed with the secret of knowing how to generate immense wealth. What could it possibly be?

The boys, at this point, are only 9 years old. Rich Dad puts them to work every Saturday, paying a pathetic 30 cents for their time. One day Robert snaps and can’t take it any longer. “You said you’d teach me the secret of wealth! All you’re doing is forcing me to bust my guts for nothing!

At this point, Rich Dad launches in to a mind-bending interpretation that he has actually done the boys a favour. He’s proven that the rat race is no way to spend a life.

Note: I’m pretty sure exploiting child labour in the manner of Rich Dad is considered illegal, even in America. Somehow, the madness only escalates.

What follows is a laughably contrived debate between alleged moneybags entrepreneur and inquisitive 9 year old Kiyosaki. I don’t remember how savvy I was at 9 years old, but I’d be amazed if I was able to remember even a fraction of the investment ‘wisdom’ that Rich Dad throws in the face of this kid. It’s clear that the encounter is entirely fictional and designed to portray a conversation between Rich Dad and the reader. But what does it say about the lessons to be learned that Kiyosaki has cast the audience as a hapless 9 year old child?

Just like that, Robert sets off on his adventure in search of riches and fame. Well, I suspect he achieved one before the other.

I could find only one bright spot in the entire book. It arrives out of the blue when Kiyosaki expresses the importance of investing in assets rather than liabilities. This is basic financial footing. Don’t spend more money than you bring home. Invest extra money in assets, and stay out of debt. I can see how the big reveal – Kiyosaki calls it the only rule of wealth that matters – might bring clarity and a sense of direction to those who have been doing it wrong. But for everybody else, it should be common sense.

Kiyosaki explains very little about where to invest money, nor what makes a good asset. But he does launch in to a tirade about the importance of paying yourself first. The argument can be summed up best with this stroke of genius:

When I occasionally come up short. I still pay myself first. I let the creditors and even the government scream.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but if this doesn’t tick the right boxes for ‘catastrophic financial tip of the year’, then I don’t know what will. More tellingly, it goes against every sound cashflow suggestion that he squeaks in to the first few chapters, removing any hint of a saving grace from the diatribe to follow.

How can you truly appreciate the importance of assets vs liabilities when you’re continuously battering your credit rating by refusing to stump up cash for your bills and debts?

Kiyosaki argues that it doesn’t matter. Paying yourself first is ideal, no matter how loudly the government screams, because even if you don’t have the money in your bank account, the over-commitment will inspire and motivate you in to making ends meet. It’ll force you to grow as a businessman. What?! No really, what the fuck? Does he have the slightest Scooby what he is ranting on about?

One could argue that attempting to blood financial wisdom from a Kiyosaki sales device is like watching a SmackDown divas’ pillow-fight in the hope of extreme pornography. Expectations need to be met by reality. Yet I was still left wondering how such a half-baked cocktail of metaphors and generalizations could ever be met with widespread acclaim. Then it tweaked. The Warrior Forum flashed before my eyes, and normality was restored. Common sense looks like genius when it’s viewed from a cesspit of stupidity.

Do yourself a favour. Don’t buy Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Recommended This Week:

Stop Reading Blogs, Start Reading Books

Since caving in to the lure of a Kindle, my personal goal has been to read 100 pages of literature every day. It’s something I recommend every blogger should consider.

If you run a blog, or produce any kind of web content, you should be reading regularly to enhance your own output. In fact, if you have any entrepreneurial instinct whatsoever, you will greatly improve your chances of success by reading regularly.

Most people accept that good writing comes from practice and lots of reading. What they often ignore is that bad writing is just as easy to inherit. Unfortunately, bad writing is a central trait of the blogosphere. It’s just as epidemic as the lack of actionable information, or the self-obsessed drivel regularly tossed out by writers with no journalistic qualities and not the slightest regard for being held accountable.

Blogs have become a staple part of our literary diets. While I’m a huge advocate of sharing information in this way, I think it’s a shame that so few bloggers actually take their writing seriously. It’s not just bloggers. Every day, I find websites scourged in bumbling copy that fails to communicate the author’s message.

So what’s the solution?

Not every blogger has the literary prowess to mug off Shakespeare in the style stakes. But I think we can all benefit from investing in a decent grammar handbook, and particularly by immersing ourselves in books that have been stamped for approval. You know that a book has been stamped for approval when you find it on a bookshelf, not on a Clickbank sales page.

Many of us have RSS readers loaded to the hilt with meaningless crap – often, horrifically written meaningless crap. Feasting on so much mediocre writing makes us susceptible to inheriting the flaws as our own.

In the business world, we say that the fastest way to achieve wealth is to spend your time in wealthy company. Well, let me tell you that the same applies for good writing.

We live in an age where tablets and smartphones make books as accessible as the nearest USB cable. How many hours do you spend commuting to work each day? How much television do you inflict on your weeping eyeballs? Cut down the crap. Get some literature in your life!

And not just any literature. Read books that challenge your imagination.

I’m currently indulging in a wide variety of genres from the brilliance of Orwell, to the science of Dawkins, with thousand-page-thick Psychology textbooks thrown in for good measure. Reading is a workout for the brain. If you’re not pushing yourself, you’re standing still. If you don’t sweat after a workout, it probably hasn’t been a great workout.

Blogs exist by rehashing the same nuggets of information in bite-size form. Most of that information comes from books, or worse, plucked from the blogger’s fat lying arse. Sites in the Internet Marketing space – hey, like this! – are notorious for providing reminders of the shit we should have done yesterday. They rarely deliver plans for tomorrow.

There’s little harm in that, but for two problems: the information can be extremely biased, and the writing often sets a bad example.

I’m not suggesting you sacrifice all blogs for a dingy afternoon in the library, although maybe you should. But we need to make an effort to escape our comfort zones and feed the brain some literature of a little more substance. Our brain will thank us duly with new inspiration, new ideas and a much tighter hold over the English language.

If you have a blog, or any kind of web presence, you can steal a beat on your rivals by learning to communicate more effectively. The best way to do this is to read, and a read a lot. Writing is a tool that will aid any business. But to master it, you must expose yourself to a variety of literature. Not just the crap – like this – that piles in to your reader.

Recommended This Week:

Copyright © 2009-.