The Business of Blogging

13 September 2007 · 5 comments

I woke up one morning recently and discovered that Get Rich Slowly had become a business. That’s funny — last I checked, it was meant to be a hobby.

What do I mean that GRS has become a business? I mean that I spend most of my time working on the site, both writing articles and taking care of things behind the scenes. I mean that about 50% of my personal income is now derived from the site. I mean that the e-mail flow has become so large that I cannot cope with it. I mean that I’ve seriously considered paying somebody — Kris? Mac? — to help me take care of things.

I also mean that there are all sort of business-like decisions to be made. I just joined two blog networks, for example. They’re both interested in working together to enhance advertising opportunities for members. This means negotiations of the type I’ve shirked before. (I get business/ad proposals all the time, but basically ignore them. Now I feel obligated to represent my blog networks, even if I don’t want a particular ad.)

I’ve also got people pitching book deals to me. I’ve been ignoring them, too, and I feel bad about that. I should at least respond to let them know that I don’t have the time right now, and that I’d rather self-publish my first book unless I can get a huge publisher to take me on.

Or how about this: in a week or two, I’ll join a new MSN project. In theory, this will drive huge quantities of traffic to the site, thus increasing its current readership. This is great, but terrifying. Dreamhost is barely able to cope with current GRS readership. My account begins to flake out at the 1000/visits per hour mark. Even a bump from a moderate-sized site pushes me over sometimes, and then the site becomes unreachable, which is not the image I want to portray. (And sometimes, like this morning, the site is just completely unreachable for reasons that I cannot fathom.) So what do I do?

Well, I move from $100/year hosting to $2500/year hosting, that’s what. Yes, it’s true. I’m going to pay $200/month for a company to host Get Rich Slowly. It hurts me to type that. It hurts me every time I think about it. Yet it must be done. And the reality is, this is only about 5% of my current income from the site, so it’s really not that big a deal. Yet it feels scary — $200/month for something that I’ve been getting for a fraction of the price?

Meanwhile, the key to Get Rich Slowly is the content. This week I’ve worked very little on content. Why? Because I pre-wrote everything last week, which was nice. It gave me a chance to take a break. But I didn’t realize that I’d be swamped with administrative tasks. It’s noon on Thursday. I took a vacation day today so that I could work on GRS. I’ve spent five hours doing nothing but behind-the-scenes stuff. I haven’t written anything besides the entry you’re reading now. I have nothing written for next week. I’d rather not go back into “day before” mode, so I need to get cracking.

But first I have some more business to take care of…

1 Lisa September 13, 2007 at 15:11

Congratulations on the next step! It’s the funny little milestones like paying so much for web hosting that makes you realize how far you’ve come.

2 paul j. September 13, 2007 at 15:45

J.D.,

I enjoy hearing about this. I find it amazing at how this all works and am even more amazed by the amount of traffic GRS gets.

3 Amy Jo September 13, 2007 at 16:35

This is exciting, but scary too. I applaud you for all the hard work you are doing, but worry about burnout. I’m always willing to help out if you find yourself in a crunch.

4 Will September 15, 2007 at 20:22

Heya,

Did you look at MediaTemple by any chance when considering your new hosting package?

You may want to look into their “grid service” as it sounds like something that you could really benefit from for GRS. Not to mention $20 / month looks more attractive than $200. If it still seems slugish, you can always move to $200 later.

I’ve been a very happy customer of theirs for some time now.

http://mediatemple.net/

5 SusanO September 17, 2007 at 17:08

Congratulations, and good luck! Are you still working elsewhere fulltime?

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