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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Blogging for Hobby versus Blogging as a Business

Most of us are blogging as a hobby. 

Never mind the rather "lofty" goals some of us wrote in our manifestos.

Wait... Do I have a mission statement in my blog? Check here, check there. Phew! No. 

Good, good. No stress then. It's a hobby remember?

There are also bloggers out there who are CLEARLY using their blogs as an extension of their existing businesses. 

Think remisiers, insurance and property agents, financial educators, etc.

It's not any different than all those health and medical seminars provided by our medical specialists. The obvious message is to create awareness on certain medical conditions; the undertone pitch is really about the marketing of the services and products of whoever "sponsored" this medical seminar or talk.

Don't believe? Just look inside your goody bag. This activity is under the sub-set of public relations; although marketers will claim it belongs to them too.

Then there are those new bloggers  who started off looking like hobbyists, but they are aspirant Business Owners who started with the end in mind. And I applaud them.

I had great fun predicting who these bloggers are.

Here are some of the tell-tale signs:

1)  About us. It's in the plural even though it's clear there is only one blogger. After several months or 1 or 2 years, you'll see more partners or contributors joining the blog. More people means more resources as in time and money. The blog will usually quickly scale up to the next stage.

2)  The platform used. Hobbyists usually choose that free blogging for idiots platform. Those who blog with an end in mind usually choose another platform that is free in the beginning, but it can be easily scaled up by upgrading to the paid version.  

3)  Template chosen.  It's screams business-like to you. No silly and frivolous stuffs such as birds, camels, or amateurish pics of fruits picking...

4)  Blog topics.  Again, deadly serious here. No instant noodles musings, no lame jokes or parodies, and definitely no mature adult stuffs that would make an ex-convent girl blush. 

5)  Free giveaways.  You provide an email address and you will get something for free. FREE is a great hook!

Once their readership have reach a critical mass as in page views or email subscriptions, they will start to monetize this "asset".  Some will start to sell financial courses, some financial products, some financial services. 


Some do it so well that they can quit their day job and commit full-time to their blogging business.

Off course not all will succeed. Singapore being a small market and all. You think why big daddy wants to increase this domestic market to 8 million?

Its refreshing to see in this blogosphere where snakes and dragons intermingle, where most just aspire to be better traders or investors, there are a minority few who have their eyes on the bigger prize - Business Owners.

Standing ovation.


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Hehe, good observations!

    I only fly here fly there, land on some flowers, eat some nectar and fly off to another flowers to look see look see. Occasionally, I'll see a grasshopper doing the same ;)

    1. LP,


      When hopping from flower to flower, don't say it out loud!

      Must say to each flower we only have eyes for that single flower only, sompah (cross fingers behind our backs)!

      If not how to get nectar?

      I don't use brute force one OK?


  2. Hi SMOL

    Ahh ironically I just contacted adsense yesterday to include ads in my blog after 4 years of blogging. Could hv been done sooner.

    It started off as a hobby and it still is till today. The only difference is more people are looking at it as being more educational so I would want to respect that portion and write and think better.

    1. B,

      Good for you!

      We belong to the same cohort ;)

      Isn't it nice to get non-monetary benefits from blogging?

      Thinking and writing better can't be detrimental to your day job ;)


  3. Do you have your own domain name?

    That is serious business!

    1. CW,

      That would be overkill...

      We will be kicked out of Blogger if our pageviews are like XiaXue's ;)

      So no need to worry whether we should upgrade to paid version with our own domain name.

      Crash got sound one.

      So let's party on! Free is good!

      Which also means we are just amateurs...


  4. Hi SMOL,

    Very interesting indeed. Especially with more and more blogs coming in.

    I wonder where I fall under. You give me your honest opinion, I will give you an honest answer. =p

    My 15HWW

    1. 15 HWW,

      You are neither and yet you are a bit of everything I have blogged above ;)

      Your "About the Blog, About Me, and Contact Me" don't quite harmonize together; giving me the impression you are attempting to be everything all at once...

      I hope you will get the answers you are seeking ;)

      One standout I need to highlight and compliment you!

      While others are all harping the same financial freedom tune, you come along and stick out like a sore thumb with your 15 hour work week masthead.

      I don't know whether you copied it from elsewhere, or was it something that came naturally out from you.

      And if it's from you, was it from your Mind or your Heart?

      I think you know where this is leading to...

      Hope it helps ;)

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Thanks for your compliments. The 15HWW is actually a personal philosophy that I aspire to (haven't tried it out yet). Resonated so strongly with me when I read about it a few years ago.

      Your observations are pretty spot on. =)

      When I first started with this blog, there was a part of me that thought about monetising it eventually.

      Paid domain? Check.

      Email subscription? Check.

      But then, there was a stronger side that valued other traits more than money.

      I want the readers to have a better reading experience, so no ads on the site yet. Email subscription? Save the hassle of coming to the blog.

      And to enhance what little credibility I have, haven't taken up any affiliate marketing. All those product reviews are there because I really like the products and use them.

      At the end of the day, I realise I might prefer to inspire, teach or even preach rather than earn from this hobby.

      But never say never. If I end up spending more than 15 hours a week on the blog and it becomes a viable business, why not?

      I definitely have ambitions of writing a book one day. =p

    3. 15 HWW,

      I wish you good tidings on your journey - be it a self-employed or entrepreneur one.

      Once you have succeeded, do come back and share with us whether you journey is the result of goal settings, planning, etc...

      Or is more a journey of do first, figure out later; or crash got sound kind ;)

  5. Hey SMOL,

    AK, the oat meal guy is someone that blog for hobbit but doing great business too!! LOL

    Seriously he is my inspiration. U know I email wordpress, how much traffic will it make sense to upgrade to domain and have advertisement.

    They answered very diplomatically, but the message to me is: I can go fly kite. LOL.

    Seriously, how many dragons can puff fire everyday? How many gem can u spot in a month?

    1. sillyinvestor,

      Go write to Google adsense to earn some kopi money by placing 3 ads in your blog:


      For us "niche bloggers" (now that's a nice euphemism!), we won't earn enough to quit from our day job, but an occasional cup of kopi is sweet!

      Good luck!

    2. SMOL,

      I went over to blogspot, but I do not know how to leave a message behind using blogspot. LOL

      Wordpress does not allow third party ad!

      Your post is the last straw, I am gong for money money!! 2 cents a year also good. My area of influence!! Hope it will give me more motivation to do company prosepcting


    3. sillyinvestor,

      I must say the templates of Wordpress are more "tok kong" and have more bells and whistles.

      I am very grateful and a proud contributor to Derek's The Finance. My posts are not automatically aggregated there.

      I do self-censorship one (that's why you don't see my lame jokes and naughty poems there).

      Derek gave me an account to his Wordpress site and I have to manually copy paste the posts I want to publish there.

      Good for me since I now know Bogger and Wordpress ;)

      Eh, stop spreading wrong info in blogoshpere. Derek's Wordpress got Google Adsense ;)

      Don't hit the face!

    4. SMOL,

      Derek one do not have the sub domain, wordpress.com

      Remember I ask about paying for domain and get rejected???

      those with wordpress.com subdomain cannot have third party ad

    5. Oh ya ya...

      Must clear the air, I remembered now. (Old age)

      I was wondering if I should buy the domain.

      Was reading the QandA, and they mentioned those with high traffic blog might be invited to have advertisement posted, they will do the link up, we can ask for invitation too

      I ask about the traffic they are looking at, and at what traffic does it make sense to buy a domain.

      They mentioned thousands monthly to be worth it, they didn't mentioned about invitation.

      Weird thing is, I think they mean either thousands per day or tens of thousands per month. Because I do have thousands per month.

      But I am sure those with free wordpress cannot have third party ad

    6. Hee hee,

      I just twist the bayonet and wah lah!

      On behalf of new bloggers out there, I thank you for providing the full picture :)


  6. Hi SMOL,

    Good observations. I'm still waiting for SPH to buy over my site. LoL *wishful thinking*


    1. Derek,


      You never know... ;)

      Let's have a drink when that day comes!

  7. Hi SMOL,

    The title of your post caught my attention. Haha. The finance community is so small how to make money? Plus we always preach the hard way to make money and need to save here save there where got people like? If want to make money then just preach the opposite and magic will happen. Lol

    1. SGYI,

      Well, you tell me ;)

      Your blog has ads, affiliation marketing, advertorial write-ups, and product reviews.

      Eh? You may want to ask why you are not collecting email addresses to complete your arsenal of tools from Blogging 101?

      There is money to be made.

      You just have to study those bloggers that DO make money out of the finance community ;)

      This is perfectly respectable and I applaud them. It's simply satisfying a market demand like any other businesses.

      The only exception are those low-level snake oil salespersons who write advertorial posts WITHOUT putting in the fine print that it is so. That's really low...

      Tip: You already have the answer - who likes to be PREACHED to? (Always ask who died and made you Indian Chief?)

      If you join the force of light:

      Don't preach - offer, market, evangelise, coax, etc.

      If you join the force of darkness:

      Don't preach - hard-sell, blanket, proselytise, entice, etc

      You not even 30; don't preach. I don't proselytise; who likes to be called uncle?

      I am fighting tooth and claw not to join the ranks of know it all qian beis....


    2. Hi SMOL,

      Even with all the ads, product reviews, advertorial write up its still not a lot of money. I certainly can't quit my job and depend on blogging income. But, as a side income, its good enough for me. :)

      The blog started out as a passion for financial stuff. Didn't know how it would turn out at first. Thinking of more ways to reach out to more people out there and spread the message of financial prudence.

    3. SGYI,

      You have fun now ;)

      Since you're a good sport, think about those famous hawkers in Singapore, did they reach out to us or we the foodie reach out to them?


    4. Hi SMOL,

      That is a very thought provoking example you gave. There's a price to pay for being famous. The spotlight will be on and it is very bright. I still prefer it not to be too bright. Nevertheless, I will give it a good thought and think it through. Thanks for the statement. :)

  8. Hi SMOL,

    Aiyoh! No wonder I sneezed and sneezed. You people gossip about other people behind their backs. Very bad lor. Talk about me in my presence please. ;p

    Confession time! I started my blog on Christmas Eve in 2009 out of boredom and curiosity. Hey... I think this sounds familiar. I think I said before in my blog.

    Anyway, the blog just grew into the monster it is today lah. I just do what I enjoy doing and it became like that liao.

    I don't like to do filing. So, I never collect email addresses de. (Tell you a secret, I was a clerk for a while in NS. I hated filing work!)

    I provide people with all the different ways to follow my blog if they feel like doing it and let them decided what they want to do. Doesn't matter to me.

    Blogging is a good hobby that makes some pocket money on the side for me. Seriously, try to survive on the income from ads, advertorials and commissions? CMI.

    OK lah, I think I will write a few more blog posts about instant noodles to make you happy. I borrow you pot, can? ;p

    1. AK,

      First, you tell me where is front and where is back in cyberspace? Wink.

      Don't you dare blog about instant noodles anymore! You're such a bad influence. Where got people eat instant noodles "kosong" one!?

      Must add eggs and luncheon meat like they do at HK's "char cheng teng". Mmmmm. Nothing goes better with empty calories than cholesterol and saturated fats!

      Your sneeze attack not me lah!

      Someone tried to tickle you today. LP is a true friend of yours. He stood up for you.

      I? I just laughed. I'm a bad person :(

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Oh, you saw that? Well, it is not the first time I have seen a reaction like that from the blogger but, still, hmmm. I guess I am just not as sagacious as some people. ;p

      I will let readers be the judge of whether my perspective on the matter is sensible or not. ;)

      Yes, LP and you are both good friends. I am sure. Why? Because you are good people. (Now, go say stand up for me. LOL.)

    3. AK,

      I must commend you. You have grown more mellow.

      I still remember that funny incident some years back where the fisherman said something and you went totally ballistic!? LOL!

      Don't you sweet talk me... I still haven't forgiven you... you instant noodle traitor you!


  9. SMOL,

    Well, if people were to make a statement about me which could be construed as a slanderous statement of fact, then, I would probably still go ballistic. AK brand ballistic missiles very powerful one hor.

    However, if people should express an opinion and I feel that they are entitled to their own opinions, then, I will live and let live. No point getting my blood pressure up over little imps and their acts of mischief.

    I am a fisherman too but I do not have a hook at the end of my line. I have a needle. ;)

    1. AK,

      Little imp? Ouch!

      You indeed have a needle ;)


      Green blog, wear mask...

      You're the Green Hornet!

  10. Blogging is good. Sparing is good too. For uncles of today. ;)

    Don't keep things inside...else no good for health.

    Go bloggers!

    1. pf,

      What you say is perhaps the "reason" why I believe why women in general live longer than men ;)

    2. Women nag their men to earlier death?

    3. Touche!

      What quick wit you have!


      But as a man of leisure, I must pretend to be shocked... (me having a love to women and all) 1,2,3, Here goes:



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