Jon Symons

What are the Odds of Becoming a Pro Blogger?

Before we get into pro blogging a couple tangents. I think it is useful to make an analogy between becoming a professional blogger and a professional athlete:

When I was young, all I thought about was being a professional hockey player and all I did was play hockey.

I remember my mom telling me, when I was about 6, that on Saturday morning I couldn’t knock on my best friend’s door until I knew they were awake – apparently his mom had complained. So I would get up at about 5am, before sunrise, load up my sticks, my net and various balls or pucks, depending on the season and and walk to my friends house. A few feet from his front porch I would sit, as instructed, and the very second that a light came on in that house, I’d ring the doorbell to gather my friend up to go and
play hockey.

It is my belief, even though I didn’t make it to the N.H.L. that the type of passion I had as a six year old is what is required to make it pro in anything.

Fast forward a few years. My cousin was a top notch baseball player, playing for his team in the small town of Vernon, Canada; there are pro scouts attending his games. He opens up his drawer and shows me “letters of interest” from every major league baseball team. He’s still in high school. Two years later he is playing, on full scholarship, for an tier one U.S. college team – he’s on the fast track to the big leagues.

He outlines the practice regime they follow everyday and it is phenomenal. 6 – 8 hours daily of drills, tips and physical and mental exercises. When he was in Vernon with the pro scouts attending his game he was a star, I assumed he must feel even more special now that he is so close to being drafted and turning pro.

“I feel like a grain of sand on the beach,” was his reply, “you wouldn’t believe how many great pitchers [he was a lefty pitcher] there are in this league. I am almost insignificant here.”

It turned out that arm injuries ended his chances just as he was ready to be drafted, but his comments certainly opened my eyes about making it to the elite or pro levels.

What Percentage Get to Go Pro?

A little background when it comes to professional sports. There are approximately 2 million male athletes playing high school baseball, football and basketball. About 68,000 of them will make it to the college level. From there only 2500 will play professionally.

That’s .13% or about 13 out of every 10,000. Stats source.

Apply that to Blogging Will Ya!

Sure, I think that blogging has a commonly perpetuated illusion that it is easy to make pro money, but I think it is about the same odds as pro sports. Maybe slightly better, because the ones at the top are not making as much, so there maybe more pro positions.

Some things to consider: high school athletes are very dedicated. I played hockey in high school and we took it pretty damn seriously. Lots of practice time, coaching, special skills training in the off season, weight training and theory classes.

And that’s just to get to the 2 million level. In blogging equivalent that’s probably a pretty good site. A PageRank 4 or 5 with a couple hundred articles and a decent number of RSS subscribers.

So How to Move up the Ranks?

It isn’t really the intention of this article to tell you how to go pro, but rather to give you some idea of the mindset of a pro. If you had a niche site that you started 2 years ago, you would have had an express pass to the big leagues, but now with everyone and their dog trying to make money online, you’re going to have to realize that you are fighting the odds.

What it means is that you’ll need to develop and be able to demonstrate blogging skills that are “better” than 9987 out of 10,000 blogs in your niche.

Depressed Yet?

Good. Once you get over it, then you can see more clearly if that’s the game you want to play. Just like in pro sports there are huge rewards for being the best and reaching the top. There are also big sacrifices that those athletes [and the many who didn't make it] have made, to get to where they are at.

I believe the essential ingredient is passion. If you are having fun, it is like a source of energy and inspiration that will lead you in the right direction to get you into that elite group of pros.

Practical Tips

Think about it. High school athletes have coaches and like I mentioned, they have specialized skills practice and constant feedback from more experienced players.

I see a lot of people spending money on money making “opportunities” which is like trying to find a short cut to big leagues. It would be better to put that energy and money into real value building activities, just like athletes do.

Break down the elements of blogging and focus on improving each and every one of them. Hire coaches [I read that Darren Rowse - ProBlogger - hired an editor and for a week, before he published any story he had the editor review, correct and critique it - that's a pro attitude!], get site reviews, study the most successful sites in your niche, make friends with a pro
in your niche [a hint for this - start by asking yourself and them, "what can I do for them?"] and work on creating an attitude and system of small incremental improvements.

Fortunately, unlike a pro athlete you don’t have only 3 or 4 years to reach your prime, so you can take it slow as long as you are headed in the right direction, based on solid principles.

If you really want to go pro, you’ll need to find your passion, have fun and be prepared to pay the price for every step along the way.

There is a reason that only 13 in 10,000 will make it, can you find the reason that you should be one of them?

- Jon Symons
Still in the other 9987 of online businesses, but closing rapidly :)

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3 thoughts on “What are the Odds of Becoming a Pro Blogger?

  1. Pingback: Ideate - Small Business in South Africa » The Art of Money

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