I just read that Jason Kottke has quit his job as a Web designer to become a full time blogger.

In his post, he explains his rationale: not having enough time to blog and do his full-time work, not having enough time to pursue his own interests, etc. He also has an interesting theory about how to do it: by getting what he calls micro-patrons to donate small amounts of money to keep him afloat. The mentions this as akin to patrons who hire painters and sculptors to continue doing their work. Interesting concept, and a large number of micro-patrons have already offered some money (he’s asking for at least $2.50).

While I envy him for doing something original, this just seems like a bad idea from a financial standpoint (which he is fully aware of). I, too, would love to quit my full time job and write for a living. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. I have a book being published in April to be sold around the world, and there’s no way that I’m going to make enough money to even consider quitting my job, so I can’t possibly imagine someone making enough money writing on a blog to support himself or herself.

Practically speaking, what about health insurance? Buying health insurance for yourself is really expensive, and heaven forbid you find yourself in need of emergency surgery, or even if you just break a bone. You’ll need to collect more money from micro-patrons just to cover that. Sound like selling advertising on your site might be a good idea now?

The other thing I believe Kottke is overlooking is how long a fad like this will last. And yes, it is a fad. Once people micro-patronize you once, how many more times will they be willing to do it? Chances are, not very often. Then you need to start looking for more ways to attract more visitors or to get your current visitors to send you more money. Out come the “I’m a micro-patron” t-shirts from CafePress.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire people who have the courage to quit a job they’re not happy with to pursue their dream…but this seems like a longshot. While I wish him all the luck in the world at living out his dream, I’ll check back in after a year and see how things are going.

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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