|A typical blog-writing situation for me|
A few years ago when I found myself unemployed mid-season, I immediately had to find a way to keep working. I didn't have a financial cushion to wait until the new dance season started. I desperately needed to find a way to make a living and continue on with my career. At that time, freelancing seemed like the only way to survive. I knew if I wanted to find employment, I needed to market myself. But I didn't know many other ways to sell my product outside of Facebook. While brainstorming up ideas, I remembered how much I used to enjoy blogging on Myspace. From that moment on, I knew that I had to create Life of a Freelance Dancer.
When I first started blogging here, people constantly told me I needed to include Google Adsense to my postings. But I always felt that I needed to spend a solid period of time developing my writing and audience before adding this money-making tool to my site. Additionally, I never really wanted my readers to feel that I was using them to make money with the facade of a blog. So, I gave myself a number, 10,000 views, before I would try to add these ads to my pages of writings.
It took me about six months to reach my goals on viewership, which was right on track for my best-case scenario. Right as I reached my mark, I wishfully opened my browser and started going through the application process to place Google Adsense advertisements on my blog. After a few days had passed, I received an email that unapologetically denied me use of this popular revenue tool. Why? Because the unique niche that made my blog so popular was also so unique that they didn't feel that they had any products that would appeal to my audience.
When I got the news, I wasn't really that disappointed. I didn't really want aimless, materialistic ads flashing at dancers and independent contractors around the world. In fact, I was afraid that the appearance of ads would not only deter building my audience, but that it could turn away the audience I had already cultivated from reading my content.
Lacking any instant financial reward leaves many who have inquired about my blog confused about why I would put so much effort into such a time-consuming activity. There are a few reasons why writing about working as a freelance dancer without any compensation is so worthwhile. The easiest and corniest reason (but still true) would be that I get to help people around the globe. Whether using my blog as a tool in one's own dance career or an unrelated career as an independent contractor, I get to help people move forward in their vocation and navigate tricky situations that are not all that common in the gainfully employed world. Beyond that, I am humbled by the numerous people that have sent me messages from the US to Iran to India and beyond about how my openness has helped them in their careers, times of need, and searches for inspiration.
Beyond all of this sappy stuff, writing about my experiences, successes, failures, and evaluations of situations does help me make a living. While I've never made a penny directly off of LOFD, developing a public persona on an online platform has helped me greatly. I can't tell you how many employers have told me that they have felt much more comfortable hiring me sight unseen and trusting my product because of this blog. Not only that, thanks to all of this, I have been featured in Dance Magazine and Dance Informa magazine and received professional writing jobs, too.
While blogging technically gives me no income, it creates the basis for me to make a majority of my income. Other than all of this joy, warmth, and glory, writing is one of the best ways that I have found to express myself. I get so much out of writing and have learned so much more about myself as a dancer, businessman, and person. For all of these reasons, having a well-read blog is way more valuable than having my readers make money for me by clicking on ads.