Your Family Won't Understand Your Blogging Career

54 amazing comments

Blogging is now a legitimate career option for millions of people around the world who want to do something different with their life.

But, as with any non-traditional work, you have to be prepared for the fact that people won’t understand, and some people will down right try to talk you out of it.

This can be particularly hard when it’s a family member you’re trying to support financially.

In this article I want to take little look at my own experiences dealing with this tricky issue in the hope that it might help someone out there who is just getting started.

Is blogging a legitimate career?

I want to start this post by stating something really clearly: blogging is absolutely a legitimate career option.

I’m not saying that bloggers are as useful to society as a nurse or a doctor or an environmental scientist, but in some cases bloggers can have an even larger impact that those people due to the sheer numbers that a blog can reach.

So what makes something a “career” anyway?

I guess it’s a job or pursuit that can provide financial security, or stimulates you creatively, and leads to opportunities for future growth or expansion.

Blogging can do all of that.

No, we don’t get degrees and practice as professionals, but neither do a lot of business people or entrepreneurs and those careers are usually seen as admirable.

Given the fact that many college degrees are obsolete by the time that they are completed, one has to wonder why there is so much opposition to people seeking new and different career options in a rapidly changing world.

My own experience in this area

If you read my little two-part series on how I made my first dollar online you’ll know that part of the story involved dropping out of University because I had sold my first blog.

While my family was very proud of my little mini-achievement, they were also really not on board with the idea of me leaving school to pursue something that was totally new to both myself and the world at large.

It caused a little bit of tension.

But, they also knew that I was very unhappy at uni and had been “lost” for a few years, and I think they knew that some change was needed. So, in that respect, they encouraged me to try some something but to keep the degree on the table for the future.

I think they always thought I’d go back…

Why family members get scared

I guess it’s important to note here that not all family member’s are going to care what you do for a job as long as it’s warm and there’s a comfortable seat…

supportive family members

But seriously, whether you want to be a professional blogger or just run some other online business or entrepreneurial activity, it’s important to think carefully about what might make a family member scared.

In my experience listening to friends and observing my own situation it normally comes down to a few things:

  • It’s too spontaneous
    If you are making a snap decision to change your career that can be really worrying to a loved one. Change is hard for almost all human beings, and if you’ve got bills to pay and a family to support, this type of thing can really shake things up and leave people feeling isolated.
  • It’s untested
    The thing about any new business is that, most of the time, it is completely untested and comes with a lot of risk. You have to invest time, money and energy into the project and the uncertainty around the outcomes can be a cause for a lot of worry.
  • It’s unfamiliar
    If you tell a family member that you want to go to school to become a doctor they know there will be a period of study, internships, and then a stable employment. But with blogging or online business they might not even know what many of the terms mean!

If you’re aware of these things it might help you to understand why a family member might not be seem very supportive of the path you’re thinking about taking.

How to ‘pitch’ your new career

More importantly, once we think about these things we can come up with some strategies for how to educate them (and ourselves!) so that we communicate our plans carefully and bring important stakeholders (wife/husband/parents) in on the discussions so that they get the say that they deserve.

Here’s some thing that have helped me over the years:

  1. Make a specific time to chat
    Try not to just talk about the whole thing in parts over weeks when you’re cooking dinner. Request a specific time to go for coffee, sit down and discuss your ideas, plans and thoughts. Make sure you spend a lot of time listening.
  2. Get them involved
    The next thing is to make sure that those around you have an opportunity to become involved. This is more important for your husband/wife than your parents, but make sure they know that you’d like their input, skills, etc. Even if it’s just picking out a desk.
  3. Be deliberate
    I’ve noticed that my partner gets nervous when I flip flop around different ideas. While she knows that a lot of the good stuff comes from experimenting, she also knows that those risks should be deliberate calculated ones.
  4. Don’t waste time
    Early on in my career I spent a lot of time doing things I shouldn’t be because I was working from home and setting my own hours. This lack of discipline can really worry those around you if they feel that you’re not putting in 100% at a time when they’re supporting you with this risk. This is especially true if they are working to support you.
  5. Share your wins and losses
    If your career stays a mystery then it’s likely that it’ll stay a source of confusion for those around you. It’s important to share all the little wins that you have, but it can also be really helpful to talk about the losses and what you’re struggling with because it helps to show people that it’s just like any other job.

The great thing about all of this is that it will actually help you to run a better blog because you’ll have to plan, think carefully about each step and then follow through with hard work.

It can be easy to forget that this stuff that we do online is not “normal” for everyone. Make sure you exercise a lot of patience with those just getting used to the idea.

How did your family react?

Did your family understand your choice to pursue a career as a blogger? I’d really love to hear from someone out who has some good solutions that might be useful for someone reading. Please leave a comment.

Top photo ยฉ Daniel Villeneuve

Ramsay from Blog Tyrant

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54 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Chris

    if you ever want to know my story on this, you’re gonna have to call me. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Oh man. Why is that?


      1. Chris

        It’s more of a long story. Maybe I’ll email you some day about it.


  • Steve

    Me and my girlfriend were having a conversation along these lines a few nights ago. While she isn’t a blogger, we are both working musicians and we are busy enough that we don’t need “real jobs”.

    We have both had family members who just don’t get it. The fact is, some people can only see the world through a 9-5 lens and won’t accept that there is another way.

    Luckily, neither of us has had to deal with any nastiness. Just a general misunderstanding about an alternative work life.


    1. Ramsay

      Good old 9-5. Jeez we’re lucky.


  • Mike

    Blogging can become all kinds of things, I recall we were discussing how the term ‘Blog’ has become too vague and we need new language to describe what people do with digital media publishing. You could be anything from an alternative medicine expert, an engineer, musician, social philosopher, teacher, accountant, health coach…it has become so vast!
    I always refer to it as Digital Media Publishing, we work in the space between the digital divide, and our specialty.
    I would love to listen into some of these ‘conversations’!


    1. Ramsay

      Great comment, Mike! It’s definitely a rapidly-changing space.


  • Jonathan

    Great posting and ideas Ramsay.
    Keep them coming!

    I think an ‘r’ is missing in your last subhead.

    Thanks


    1. Ramsay

      Fixed! Thank you.


  • Paula McInerney

    Great article, and one that aligns fairly closely with a recent post I wrote. No – our family and friends don’t get it. They try, but as you say, this is unexplored territory…for them. Business trips are seen as ‘another holiday’. I guess having been a teacher before coming into this industry, I had toughened up to the ..”you guys have so many holidays” .. ironic to say the least, that I went from one career with a lot of holidays, to another…except they aren’t. I read the above comment about the term ‘blogger’, and when we started a side business, Australian Travel Bloggers, (even though we do use the term ‘bloggers’) we are promoting that we are connecting businesses with the best Australian digital content producers and channels. So love to have you on board Ramsay. Subtle as a sledgehammer ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Sounds exciting!


  • Kirsten Oliphant

    I love it when people are like, “Oh, you have a blog! That’s so cute!” I think it can be hard to find that line where I just don’t feel the need to “prove” myself (and this is more from random people, not my friends and family who talk to me enough to get it). I don’t want to have to drop numbers on what I do and the income I make. But it’s also super annoying. Working on a sufficient answer that lets them know it’s legit but also isn’t a reactionary response from me, if that makes sense. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Ramsay

      Ha ha. Love it. Just tell them you run a tech start up and watch their eyes roll.


  • Vishal Ostwal

    Hi Ramsay,

    I can relate myself to all the points you mentioned. It seems as though all bloggers need to through same phases while starting out.

    However, my situation has been slightly different, because I didn’t start blogging with an intention of earning. I just wanted to write.

    Though, soon I found certain opportunities unfolding in front of me, so I did what seemed right. I feel privileged as my skillset and curiosity opened a few doors for me. I got to do what I love.

    Yet, I never disclosed to my family that blogging is a part of my work. They have a slight idea regarding it, but not much.

    That’s because when you’re just starting out and new in the arena, you aren’t really great. You’re mediocre and feel doubtful. You may not even earn a penny.

    At such time, people sort of wait for their chances of saying “told you so!” I didn’t want anyone to present obstacles while I was putting in the hard work. So I worked silently.

    The paradox is that once you’re at the stage where you have a handful of successes to talk about, people only watch and wonder how you did what you did.

    Everyone has advice for you when you’re vulnerable, but once you move beyond that ‘beginner’ stage, they stop questioning.

    It’s not that blogging has become my full-time thing, but it gave me a clarity about what I really want out of life, and helped me recognize my strengths which I kept ignoring.

    Perhaps, I was able to do it for long enough because I didn’t have great expectations, and I risked some things as I didn’t have much to lose.

    It really depends on the work people do, their priorities, and the way they deal with it while life’s happening.

    But as long as their intentions are genuine, I believe, they can turn things in their favor. At least, there’s no harm in trying.


    1. Ramsay

      Your comments are always so lovely. Please don’t stop writing.


    2. Ralph Nyadzi

      Interesting ideas so eloquently delivered! Love it.


  • Luis Medilo @ Tech Pilipinas

    My family didn’t know that I’m blogging. They thought I’m a freelance writer.


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a good way to put it!


  • Peter

    Ive always been rather haphazard in my approach to work and chopped and changed jobs when I was younger.
    After a while I settled into the routine 9 to 5 for years. The family were content.
    I grew restless and needed to shake up my life and discovered computers and have stayed with that ever since.
    Despite a lot of opposition from family because I was tinkering as my father put it they came to accept the fact this wasnt going away and involving them became less of a chore.
    My wife is totally supportive of my new interest in blogging even though im struggling to get to grips with all aspects ot is the support that drives me forward.
    There is plenty of doubt ag this stage with so much to consider but as you said Ramsey, alloying time to discuss and mainly listen to family goes a long way to acceptance and support.


    1. Ramsay

      Thank God for our wives and husbands. It seems like they really are the heroes in these comments and stories.


  • Ambassador T. Brikins

    I relate perfectly with your story.
    Your piece is quite helpful. I am always experimenting new things like technology, models, etc.
    Your advice is timely.
    Thanks.


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it!


  • Liton Biswas

    Hey Ramsay,

    Although blogging is not new as a career, yet many people don’t consider this as a career.

    It is also tough to convince family members to take blogging as a career.

    The best strategy I found is that start blogging as a side business. Once the blog starts earning then it will be easy for anyone to convince family members to take blogging as a career.

    However, thanks for your insightful post.


    1. Ramsay

      That is a very wise process. Thank you!


  • Sheeroh

    It took forever for my mom to understand that freelancing was a viable and serious career. She kept on nudging me to get a job until I started doing stuff for her with my freelancing income, and that’s when she slowly came to the realization that I wasn’t throwing away my life ๐Ÿ™‚

    I then held a freelancing seminar in 2016, and invited her. She officially became my cheerleader then, in my freelancing business. Blogging.. she still doesn’t fully understand it but I know she will in time.


    1. Ramsay

      Wow! That is awesome. Congratulations on walking the talk!


  • Sarfraz Khan

    My family is happy with what I am doing but when it comes to the people, explaining to them is impossible and they think that it’s just waste of time. LOL. But who cares? We do a lot of hard work and are happy.


    1. Ramsay

      Agreed!


  • Nat

    I didn’t really intend to be a “blogger..” I started trying to create niche sites but then, I realised that my main site was really a blog. Or a niche blog. Suddenly I realised, I was a blogger. Most people in my life still don’t actually know and I pretty much like it that way ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the cat pic… my cat spends most of his day trying to lay across my laptop when I’m trying to work lol.


    1. Ramsay

      Ha ha. You got to love them!


  • Lisa P Sicard

    Hi Ramsey, recently my husband went to our tax accountant to submit the taxes and the accountant asked what I did as I am a registered business now. My husband really could not explain it, he said “I do work for others around the world online and wrote some articles ๐Ÿ™‚ ”
    I don’t think he’s ever read my blog. But if I decided to quit my job to do it full time he is behind me on it.
    As for the rest of my family, they don’t get it. They ignore the posts on Facebook.
    It’s a funny business for sure!


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Lisa. Your husband sounds like he gets it – that’s the main thing!


      1. Lisa P Sicard

        Yes Ramsay, very thankful for that!


  • Ashley Wilson

    I started my blog to be able to stay home when I had my first. I was met with so much resistance because I struggled for time to work and time to play with him. Honestly still a huge struggle. Instead of my in laws stepping in to help me they judged a lot. I got these comments – โ€œWell are you making any money?โ€ โ€œWell when you go back to work Iโ€™ll help pick him up from schoolโ€ โ€œWell are you giving him enough attention, or are you too busy on your phone all day?โ€ I got that last one A LOT in the first year I stayed home. They still donโ€™t quite understand it but Iโ€™ve been doing it 4 years now so they know I generate a side income from it now at least. Was very frustrating though with a lack of support in the beginning.


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Ashley.

      That boundary between working from home and chores is so annoying – I’ve had to constantly remind myself that just because I’m at home doesn’t mean that it’s my responsibility to stop work and do all the housework and errands.


  • Marc

    I’ve been working online full time (mostly with blogging) since 2008 and my family, aside from my wife, has very little understanding of what I do. I actually prefer it that way because I don’t really enjoy trying to explain it or talk about what I do. I’ve never had issues with family thinking that what I do isn’t a legit business or job, but that’s probably because when I started I was doing some client work, and that’s easier for most people to grasp.


    1. Ramsay

      I’ve often thought that might be a good way to go. I often just say that I run a small tech company and if people ask for more details I explain the projects.


  • Kathy Stowell

    I began my blogging over 12 years ago – back then it was even stranger terrain to declare it as a hobby let alone a career choice. My husband and I made so many more unconventional choices leading up to that point that left our family head scratching that they probably thought I was doing this just to be different.

    Today I don’t really talk about it though I was sensitive about their questioning it at the beginning. Now that I’m older, and more confident about what I’m up to, I love it when they ask but they rarely do.

    But proof is in the pudding. I’m earning an income while I get to stay home with the kids so I’m happy – they’re happy (mostly), we have flexibility as a family when school’s out to do stuff because I don’t need to leave the house and I can create my own schedule and once in a while I share interesting antedotes from my weirdo job. So worth it being the blog sheep in the family ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Ramsay

      The proof is in the pudding! That’s what my mom always said to me! I love it. Congratulations.


  • Andy Lowry

    I just recently got married and, with the support of my husband, left my 9 to 5 job to start working on my first blog. I was definitely met with some apprehensive looks but so far have found most of my friends and family have been positive and supportive of my blogging. I’m thrilled you mentioned sitting everyone down at one time because it made life a little easier. I was able to answer any and all questions! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      That is so great to hear Andy! How’s the blog going?


      1. Andy Lowry

        Pretty good so far! Almost finished with the layout and getting set up with AWeber for email subscriptions. Your post on starting a mailing list has been really helpful so far with that. ๐Ÿ™‚


        1. Ramsay

          I’m happy to hear that!


  • Shafi Khan

    Hi Ramsey,

    I’m currently in my final year of graduation and working on blogging as a part-time thing.

    I don’t want to take a 9-5 job or continue with masters but convincing it to the family is a major challenge.

    I’m making $$ but that’s not a stable (yet) and hence I’m afraid that they’ll just ask me to do a 9-5 job instead.

    I’m thinking of working from a co-working space and struggling till I earn a stable income and then tell them about what I do and future goals.

    Thanks for sharing this post and sharing your inputs.

    Btw, do you have experience of working in a co-working space? Does it help you stay focused as compared to home office?

    Cheers!
    Shafi Khan


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Shafi.
      I definitely think you should finish your degree. Are you a year away from completing the Masters or the undergraduate degree?


      1. Shafi Khan

        I’m in the last semester of under-graduation and will complete it in next 2 months.

        Yeah, I’ll complete my degree first before taking a future decision.


        1. Ramsay

          That makes me very happy to hear!


  • Freddy G. Cabrera

    Hey Ramsay!

    I agree with you. Not everyone will really get it when you tell them you want to be a professional blogger.

    I went through the laughs and criticism when I decided to earn a living blogging online. I remember, my friends would laugh at me when I would talk about one day making a living working online with a blog. It took me a few years but I’m now having the success I’ve been chasing. I guess I’m the one who is laughing last! ๐Ÿ˜€

    You have to approach blogging for profits in a smart way and treat it like a real business from the start if you want it to pay you like one. That would be my addition to your article here. I don’t think most new bloggers really approach it like this.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and tips on this topic!

    Have a wonderful week man!


    1. Ramsay

      Well said and very true. Thanks for sharing!


  • Jennifer Waddle

    My husband has been 100% supportive from the beginning, even subscribing to my blog that encourages women. LOL

    One suggestion for those who would like to get family members on board is to ask permission to tell their stories.

    Stories have become super engaging as of late and I KNOW that every family has a story to tell.

    Ask to interview family members and share the lessons they’ve learned along the way. (with their permission, of course)

    Just a thought!

    Jennifer


    1. Ramsay

      Interesting point of view! I like it. I am very glad it’s worked out for you.


  • Ghaziabad Noida

    Indian families think that having a job is safer than being a freelancer.
    Great post anyways!
    Very different.


    1. Ramsay

      Yes, there are a lot of cultural things at play. I agree.


  • Terry

    I had to explain blogging to my family and trust me it wasnโ€™t easy.. I just Showed they what I did on a daily basis for them to understand blogging a little bit..


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