Many who are interested in making a living online consider the online business models of blogging vs trading.
If that’s you, I’ve written this post for you.
I’ve worked at a hedge fund since 2015, and my wife and I make significant additional income from blogs, particularly her travel blog.
So I have exposure to both the world of finance and blogging.
For years, I’ve wanted to make my living online and for several of those years, I thought trading financial instruments was the best way to do it.
I went deep down the rabbit hole of forex trading (or trading currencies), stock trading, options trading, and more.
I’ve made and lost thousands of dollars in the market.
I’ve also spent thousands of dollars on courses that (allegedly) teach you to trade.
Some painful trading losses, introspection, and other life experiences have finally helped me realize that blogging, not trading, is the way I want to make a living online.
Requirements for Profitability
You can start your own self-hosted blog for $1 in your first year and ~$15/year thereafter.
If you’re reading this, then you can probably afford that.
The rest of what’s required to make money blogging is effort.
Sure your expenses may increase a bit as your blog’s traffic increases.
But increased traffic almost certainly means increased income which should more than cover any minor expenses you have.
This is why blogging is one of the highest margin business models out there.
And it’s one of many reasons why blogging is such an attractive business model.
On the other hand, day trading financial instruments requires money.
In other words, you MUST put money on the line to make money.
This can be really stressful because a bad day at work trading could mean that you lose a lot of money.
There aren’t many jobs where you could lose or make money every day.
And blogging certainly isn’t like this.
You may not make money blogging.
But at worst, you’ll lose the time and the money you invested in starting the blog which can be as little as $1.00.
Likelihood of Success
There are countless examples of financially successful bloggers.
It doesn’t take much searching online to find lists like these of 50+ blogger income reports.
Of course, like anything in life, there is no guarantee of success.
However, blogging is one of those business models where time and effort are strongly correlated to success.
In other words, the longer you create a high volume of high-quality content consistently, the more likely it is you will have some degree of financial success.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t true with trading.
It’s very challenging to find successful traders over the long-term.
Sure, there are traders who do great for months and maybe even a few years.
But there are very few traders who make a lifetime career out of it.
And often, the ones who seem to succeed for the long-haul (like hedge fund managers) actually make their money collecting fees from “managing” (aka trading) other people’s money.
In trading, many of the brightest minds in the world are your competition.
Think of the countless scores of MBAs all over the world who go into investment banking so that they can trade financial instruments one day at a hedge fund.
These well-financed institutions and individuals are playing the same trading game as you are, but with someone else’s money.
Do you really want to compete with them?
On the other hand, many people still don’t understand blogs, let alone how they can pay the bills.
And even for those who are aware that it can make you a living, it’s just not as sexy a career as finance is.
For this reason, there isn’t as much competition blogging as there is in finance and there is, therefore, more opportunity blogging.
Blogging has the opportunity to add value to people’s lives.
I know that our travel blog isn’t changing anyone’s life, but we are helping people (and a lot of them) in a small way.
However, with trading, it’s debatable whether you are adding any value at all.
Failure in blogging typically just means giving up.
Like I mentioned above, the longer you stick with creating high-quality blog content consistently, the higher the likelihood you will make money.
So usually the ones who fail in blogging are the ones who give up.
But even if you do give up, you likely will have learned a lot about technology, entrepreneurship, marketing, SEO, and more.
These are useful skillsets that you can leverage at a job if you want but particularly within another entrepreneurial venture if you choose.
If you fail trading, you may end up having lost too much of your own money to continue trading.
And although you may end up having learned a lot about the mechanics of trading and about finance, at best, these skills set you up for a career in finance.
If you’re interested in making your living online, I’m guessing you are looking for a low-stress lifestyle of freedom.
Finance is one of the least conducive industries for that.
In financial blogger, James Altucher’s post about eight reasons not to trade, he lists suicide as one of them.
As a former day trader himself, he admits feeling suicidal trading.
This can happen when you put a lot of money on the line and lose.
Unfortunately, there are stories of traders actually committing suicide because of the losses they’ve incurred.
I’ve never heard of any feeling remotely suicidal as a result of their blog.
I knew most of these cautionary pieces of advice before I got into trading.
But I did it anyway.
And you may be that type too where you won’t know if trading is for you until you actually do it.
If you are, I know this post won’t stop you.
And trading may in fact be the best professional path for you.
But I think the odds are much higher that blogging would be a more profitable and successful pursuit for any given person than trading.
Are you learning towards blogging or trading to make money online?
If you’re leaning towards blogging, check out this post for reasons why you might consider it.
Let me know in the comments!