Two Types of Value
Chris writes about people who think that blogging in particular – and writing in general – are not "real" jobs and are not worthy of real compensation. He asks, "Do people feel writing and getting rewarded for it is ripping people off in some way?" Here are my two cents from the comments section off that post:
I recently read an analogy comparing publishing a blog to publishing your very own newspaper. I think this type of comparison can be helpful for people who are new to blogging or unsure of its purpose and value. It's easier to "get" blogging when it's compared to a form of traditional media (like a newspaper, newsletter, or magazine), at least as a starting point. And it's given me a new perspective on how to approach my own blog. I'm building a list of ideas of regular and special features, types of content, ways to generate interactivity with readers, and how to monetize all of these efforts. I blog because I love to tell stories, but it’s also part of my business. I like the connection of passion and profit.
As far as people undervaluing blogging, it's the same with writing in most forms. I think that this pervasive attitude is also what makes some freelancers work for so little. Too many writers embrace the "starving artist" mindset, are simply desperate for work-any-work-at-any-price, or are just not very good writers. When I first started freelancing, I had to constantly remind myself that I was running a business and needed to value my talents and services appropriately. After all, if I didn't value them, others wouldn't. I always knew this in a business sense, but it took awhile to know it with every fiber of my being – in other words, to be able to quote my rates without secretly cringing. For awhile, I kept thinking, "Who pays for this shit?" It’s not that I thought my work was crappy. But I marveled that people would pay good money for something that came so easily to me. Then again, I pay people to mow my lawn and do my taxes – two areas outside of my own expertise. The moral of the story: People will pay for what they want/need. Which we all knew already.
Since I write for a living, both kinds of valuation – personal and profitable – are important to me.
What do you value in yourself? Does it also have value in the marketplace? I'm not suggesting that money should be the only motivator for using our talents. But too often we overlook opportunities to benefit from doing what we love. We all have gifts and we all need money to live. Why shouldn't the two overlap?
What do you love to do? What are your hobbies? Are there people who want the end product but don't want to do the work to get it? Would they be willing to pay you to do the work?