Weighing In // The Business of Blogging (Or the Lack There Of)

About a month ago, a reader comment got me thinking.  The comment was well intentioned and kind, but left me feeling anything but good.  I guess you could say the comment struck a nerve.  So I wanted to talk about it and give you guys a look at what goes on behind this blog.  The comment went something like this:

The lack of sponsors and ads all over the place makes your blog a pleasure to read.  It’s one of my favorites!

Nothing ground breaking, right?!  It’s complimentary and honest.  But the reader implied that they like the Grit and Polish because I don’t have sponsors and ads.  They like reading this blog because I’ve pumped thousands of dollars and thousands of hours into this blog and never received a dime in return (well, there was that one free rug pad ages ago, but you know what I mean).  In the context of the larger discussion going on in the blogosphere right now about blogging and compensation, this comment was a wake up call for me.  Because I don’t think of myself as a good blogger.  In fact, I think of myself as a bad blogger.  I’ll explain why in a second.


I can’t begin without saying that I appreciate your support and do not take it for granted.  You make the choice to read my work every time you come to the Grit and Polish, and I can’t thank you enough for that!  There is no shortage of  home renovation/design/DIY blogs out there to choose from, so it means the world to me that you chose to spend your precious time with me!  I LOVE writing and curating this blog, but without you guys reading it, I wouldn’t keep it going.  The Grit and Polish has always been a creative outlet and a way to share our work.  And for the past 3 years, I’ve chalked the costs up to an expensive hobby.  But then I quit my 9 to 5, and I found myself wondering if this blog could become more than that, because the Grit and Polish is SO MUCH MORE than just a hobby to me.  I listened to this podcast, read this post, read this post, and listened to this podcast (all of which discuss blogging and compensation) and wondered why I wasn’t asking for something in return for my work.  Content takes time to develop and good content takes a lot of time.  So like any good math nerd, I took stock of the hours it takes to run this blog and here’s what I found:

1-3 hours styling, photographing and editing photos / post

2-4 hours writing text/post

1-2 hour editing/post (thanks sis!)

Subtotal = 4 to 9 hours/post –> 2 posts/week = 8 to 18 hours/week

But that doesn’t count the time spent behind the scenes:

1 hour/week scheduling, organizing, and maintaining the blog (and probably more because my sis helps)

1 hour/week responding to comments (including social meda too)

1 hour/week honing my wordpress/Photoshop/photography skills

2-4 hours/week creating Instagram and Pinterest content

Subtotal = 5-7 hours/week

In total, it takes 13 to 25 hours/week to create the content you see on the Grit and Polish (and social media) and keep the blog running.  These numbers aren’t exact, but they’re in the ballpark.  And that is before you take into account the time we spend renovating and designing the spaces shown on the blog, which totals up to approximately one gazillion hours/week.

So how could all this unpaid effort possibly make me a good blogger?  I don’t think it does.  I think it makes me a bad blogger.  One who helps perpetuate the idea that bloggers should eschew compensation and create free advertising for companies, because that’s essentially what I’ve been doing.  I buy products at retail prices and provide photos and links to those products and show it to tens of thousands of people.  A very bad blogger indeed.  One who isn’t asking for her own worth.

So…it’s time to make a change here on the Grit and Polish.  I’m at the prepecise of turning my once-hobby into a job (or at least a venture that generates enough cash-flow to pay the babysitter).  This is a long time coming, and a change I’m really excited about.  You won’t see ads littering the site, but I am searching out partners (and maybe eventually sponsors) and looking into afiliate links.  Next week, I’ll be announcing my first partner, one I think you guys will really like, and I hope there will be many more.  My content won’t change – the projects, ideas and recommendations will be my own, as always – and I will take great care to select only partners and products that I can stand behind 100%.  The changes you will see on the blog include more renovations, better photos, and a much-improved/better-curated blog.  And I think old houses will champion for it.  Hopefully, you’ll be as excited as I am for these changes, but I understand that some people will be apprehensive, so I will do my best to take it slow and explain things as I go.

Okay, that’s the whole business (or lack there of) behind the Grit and Polish.  I’d love to hear your opinion.  Leave a comment and tell me what you think about this new leaf for the Grit and Polish.

More than ever, thanks for being here!



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  1. Fantastic!!! You get yours, girl, and I’ll keep reading! 😉

  2. I think this is an excellent decision! Your content has been a valuable resource for me. I fact, when I first found your blog, I binge-read every post over a weekend, just to catch up. I wish you success in allowing your blog to compensate you and your husband for all the work you’ve put into it. After all, you could do all your projects without taking the extra time to share them with us via the blog, and we would be the losers then. I’m sure you will be very successful in setting up affiliate programs, etc. and I have no fears that you’ll recommend “bad” products to your readers. Go for it!

  3. Way to GO! You deserve much more than you’ve been giving yourself credit for!

  4. Esther @Denofsix says:

    I’m new to your blog, your Instagram posts got my attention, and I mostly view your work via Instagram. However, today’s blog post, caught my attention because I had been reading about this same controversial idea of bloggers making money, on a different blog. It truly amazes me that readers would be against the idea of bloggers being compensated for their hard work?!!
    I get their concern for authenticity, unbiased opinions, etc… but speaking as someone that used to have a blog, I understand the amount of time, energy, brain space, and money that go into a blog!!! As annoying as ads are, they help support all that goes into making a great content!!
    So I applaude you for realizing that you are a “bad blogger”. Go get yourself some great sponsors!! And I look forward to seeing this new “good blogger” 😉

  5. You go girl! You deserve to be rewarded for your talents and hard work, no matter how much fun you have doing it or what field of work you are in. I don’t necessarily think you were a bad blogger before, because I think blogging can be a great (but obviously expensive) hobby. But I’m psyched to see women asking for what they’re worth. 🙂

  6. Go for it! You deserve to be compensated for your time. I think if you are aware of what is good for your blog/readers/you and not only what is good for your pocketbook you will do great!

  7. Bravo! I appreciate being able to access content without paying for it and I’m happy to read some sponsored posts (especially if it’s for products you would use anyway) in return. No one should work for free!

  8. I love your blog! I think you should receive compensation. It won’t deter me from reading your blog at all!

  9. Good for you! I am only a recent reader of your blog, and hadn’t had a chance yet to notice whether there were ads or not, but I read many other blogs and have to tell you that the advertisements and sponsorships don’t bother me at all (unless they are crazy intrusive, but I think most bloggers know better, and I’m sure you do, too). I don’t expect to read a magazine without ads (even though I pay for the magazine), and I don’t expect to watch television without ads (even though I pay for that, too). So I certainly don’t expect to read a blog (which I can look at as much as I want for FREE) without seeing advertising and sponsorships. You should be paid for your work — it’s as simple as that. I look forward to seeing what you will do as you transition your blog into a business.

    • Thanks for the comment Becky…and what a good reminder! We pay for content in so many other formats when blogs are free, something I really love about them!

  10. Cathy, I appreciate your open attitude about this. I’m a fairly new reader, and I’m not bothered a bit by sponsored posts when the blogger is authentic with her/his readers. I’m glad you’re going to do this, because that means your blog will continue!

  11. Hi Cathy,
    I work for CJ Affiliate running our blogger program (I discovered you through this year’s ORC and have subsequently bookmarked you and continued reading 🙂 Whats your email address? I would love to reach out and get you into our program!

  12. *cheer*

    We women need to get better at expecting to be rewarded for our talent and efforts. And at supporting each other in that pursuit.

  13. Huzzah! You should get a kickback from the Ms. Stewart latches I bought on your recommendation. That being said I think what turns people off is when you ‘jump the shark’, we read the blogs we read because we like the content. When a DIY home blogger starts pushing $500 purses we stop reading the posts and after enough of them stop reading all together. Just stay true to your brand and it will be fine!

  14. I understand that a lot of time and effort goes in to making quality posts, and I think that if you’re doing this as a business you should be compensated for your work. That being said, sometimes I struggle with this issue, particularly with home design blogs, and I think what/how/how much you choose to disclose is so important. I read blogs like yours to help me with my own home decor, and so I appreciate seeing the choices you make in the absence of free or discounted product. For example I loved reading all of the “official” ORC-sponsored blogs, but after so many of them I wondered “would so and so have gone with the same design if she hadn’t received free sconces/rug/paint/furniture etc?” I’m more than happy to shop through affiliate links, and I don’t mind bloggers getting free or discounted product, but it is really helpful to know if you would have paid full price for the free/discounted product, or if you would have purchased or refurbished something else. Does that make sense?

    • That’s a really interesting thought Vanessa and something I’ll keep in mind. Young House Love never accepted free products for just that reason. Thanks for the comment…you definitely gave me food for thought 🙂

  15. I’m all in, go for it!! I have loved your blog for years and sponsors and ads are not going to change that for me. You deserve compensation for your efforts 🙂

  16. New reader here and just wanted to offer my encouragement as well. I think this post alone shows that you will approach your new partner/sponsors with honesty and transparecy that everyone should be able to respect and appreciate.

    So happy for you to become a ‘good’ bloger, better late than never 😉 Mostly because we get the benifit of continued inspiration. All the best!

  17. I can’t add much more but agree with all of the previous comments. If you don’t read them already Door Sixteen and Manhattan Nest are great examples of design/reno blogs that, I think, successfully integrate sponsored content into their blogs while never making it seem forced or not them.

    I wish you success in making blogging more than just a hobby and I’m sure we will all benefit from even more great posts and content 🙂

  18. You most certainly should get compensation for you hard work, that is not what I meant in the least. I think I also said I like your blog because you do it because you want to, not because of money. So sorry my comment struck a nerve. I guess it turned out good though because it prompted change. It is the pop up ads that interfere with reading that are maddening. And bloggers that force content just because it’s a job. Again so sorry, I did not mean bloggers don’t deserve compensation, it is how a lot of it is handled. Happy Holidays.

    • Thanks for the comment Alison! I 100% knew you meant the comment as a compliment and didn’t intend to strike a nerve. I always love your comments, and this one obviously got me thinking and got me moving. So thanks! 🙂

  19. Go for it! Your design choices and your writing are excellent. That’s why I read it (and why you should be paid for it).

  20. Way to go! I’ve been reading for about a year and have learned so much from you. I’m excited for you to make changes that will support you continuing this work. Good job recognizing what you need and making a plan to get there. I really appreciate your honesty in this post – very refreshing.
    Wih appreciation for all your hard work,

  21. Adding sponsors, partners, and affiliate links won’t keep me away! I keep reading your blog because I get good information. I absolutely think you should be compensated for your hard work and it is excellent you are taking this step. I hope you find good partners and have much success! Because I want to keep reading. 🙂

  22. I think you should get paid for your work. Good for you!

    I think the blog chrislovesjulia does a very good job of balancing sponsored posts, advertising and still staying true to themselves.

  23. I honestly don’t mind the odd ad on the side or sponsorship or whatever if that makes for a better quality blog. I have tried blogging before and you have to put in hours and hours to get some decent content, so I don’t blame you. If you find good partners to work with, go for it!

  24. Good for you!! I love your blog and love following along as you work on your drool-worthy farmhouse. You deserve it after all of your hard work!
    A quick question – how do you go about finding sponsors? Do you need to have a large following to do so?
    Thanks for your help and awesome blog posts! 🙂

    • Thanks so much Tara. I am no expert on finding sponsors, but at this point, I’ve been approaching brands that I love and would buy from anyway. I think there are companies that act as middle men out there too, but I haven’t investigated that

  25. i also struggle with this. I have ads in my blog but don’t do anything else to get an income. I enjoy creating content, but I am afraid that finding sponsors and making my blog a real business would take the fun out of it.
    In any case, you should NOT feel bad about making your wonderful blog a source of income. On the contrary. best.

  26. Great decision! Blogging is hard work and you deserve compensation for your efforts. I’m just starting my home renovation blog and I’m overwhelmed with how much time is necessary, AND how much time COULD be put into the blog. It’s a big job, but so exciting!

    Since I know editing is a laborious task, I’d like to help by pointing out a little typo 🙂 “prepecise” looks like it should be “precipice” – bloggers gotta have each other’s backs!

    Best of luck on the new venture and focus on the blog. I can’t wait to read along and be inspired myself!

  27. As a brand new reader and wannabe blogger (most days–sometimes I just want to be a writer on my own terms, sans Internet!), I could not appreciate this post any more! As I’m scrolling your blog, my mind keeps saying, “Yes! This is what I want my blog to look/feel/act like!” Your willingness to share your process openly is super encouraging and instructive for those of us who want to take the next step eventually (ahem…income) but have no idea what we’re doing. Plus, your story gives hope to anyone who wants to pursue their true passion but is afraid they can’t support themselves at all AND spend the time their dream requires. Keep being yourself–what a gift your authenticity is!!

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