The glamorous life of a (semi) professional blogger

November 11, 2014

Yeah, I’m a semi-professional blogger, and here’s a typical day in my life…

7:28 AM — My eyes pop open a full hour before my alarm is supposed to go off. A nameless dread grips me. Oh god, I think. What now? The feeling is in my gut before I even remember why. Then it hits me:


7:37 AM — Hot coffee in my hand, computer warming my junk, I’m back in bed. I open up my sales letter to check if  everything’s okay. Fuck me fuck me FUCK ME. This is garbage! This is probably the worst sales letter in history! If I send this out, Gary Halbert is going to appear as a ghost somewhere, to tell a real marketer to come and cut my throat. And they’ll totally do it… How are you going to say no to the ghost of Gary Halbert?

[Gary Halbert, for those 99.8% of people who are not aware, is like the Muhammad Ali of direct response marketing. Now you know.]

8:55 AM — I’m fully caffeinated and my sales letter is looking better. Still bad (perhaps), but better. At least now it has problem – agitation – solution. It has something about my positioning. I’ve improved the offer. As Hemingway said, the first draft of anything is shit. Now it’s time for MailChimp.

9:28 AM — I’ve been wrestling with the Chimp for what seems like an eternity. Checking and re-checking the links. Making sure everything’s right. I still suspect that it’s not. And that I’ll spend the rest of the day getting unsubscribes. Spam report! Spam report! The red lights will be flashing at MailChimp headquarters, like a submarine under attack.

9:31 AM — Finally I’m ready to hit send. You know what’s more horrifying than sending an email out to several thousand people at once? Sending an email out to several thousand people and asking them to buy something. Something you spent months to create. Something with your name on the cover. Something with your smiling face on the YouTube video. Your accent speaking a foreign language. What’s worse is the knowledge that it’s this, or back to depending on your day job for 100% of your income. God help me.


I guess you can’t know what it it feels like until you’ve done it.

la guía de los phrasal verbs
That’s my thing. Maybe you should buy it.

Satan (probably) kills a puppy every time you buy something from Oxford University Press. Buy this instead.

9:33 AM — Now, the waiting begins. I’ve got a few minutes here to brush my teeth and put on some real pants. And I might as well admit it. I’m clicking refresh on my email every 20 seconds also. Just in case somebody was just sitting there with their debit card in their hand, waiting up all night to buy this thing.

9:51 AM — No response yet. Some people have opened my email, but the clickrate isn’t amazing. Oh dear Buddha why? Is it my terrible sales copy? Has everybody gone and signed up for a Vaughan Systems course over the weekend? Am I going to have to go live in one of those flats where you just rent a bed in an 8 hour shift? What did I do in my past lives to deserve this?

10:00 AM — I’m at the physical therapist. My body’s been falling apart at the seams the last few weeks. So I have to pay this guy to put things back in place. I Ieft my phone at home so I won’t think about it. Time to work on my this ailing bag of meat and bile I call “Mr Chorizo”. Well, at least my brain is still working. Sort of.

11:00 AM — Time to go home. The physical therapist says I’ll be okay. But I need to sit around with an ice pack, do the stretches and keep coming back for a few more weeks. And most importantly: no quick movements. Goody. 32 years old and under orders from a medical professional to hobble around slowly like some old geezer.

11:07 AM — I’m at home. I jump on the computer… Hot diggity! I made a sale! Last time I did this, I hit send at 9 AM and then sat around for four hours, until a bit after 1 PM, waiting for something to happen. It was torture. So this is already better than that. Of course, it could be a fluke. I still could get my wave of unsubscribes. What’s my clickrate again?

11:24 AM — Well, I still might be forgetting to do something. Something big. But I don’t have to go to class immediately, and the email doesn’t send to Latin America for another few hours. So, I might as well have some coffee and blog about my angst. Cause that’s what my generation does. We blog about it.

12:08 PM — Have I mentioned that it’s been pouring down rain all morning? Maybe that detail is affecting how I feel a little bit. I realize that maybe I should write some emails to people I know about this whole thing, to see if they want to tweet about it. “Just tweet about it and hope for the best” is hardly an award-winning marketing strategy, but it’s better than sitting here blogging about it. Meanwhile, a couple more sales have trickled in. No reason to panic. Yet.

Save draft.

a day in the life of a professional blogger
What you don’t see in this photo: the pigeon flying past. I’m sorta worried he’s going to take a shit on me.

And it just goes on…

12:51 PM — It’s really raining now, and I have to walk down to my first class of the day. I put on a raincoat, stick my well-worn copy of English Grammar in Use in a plastic bag, and head out. It’s cold, my feet are soaked, it’s windy. And actually, out here it feels pretty good to be alive. Maybe I just need to stop hunching over the computer all morning. Maybe I could get a job as a lifeguard, or a tree surgeon, or a busker. You know, something cool. Not an online marketing guy…

1:02 PM — My students start to trickle in. I spend an hour teaching them some of the differences between British and American English. Like how British people (apparently) get angry about such barbaric Americanisms as “train station” “program” and “gotten”. It’s okay.

2:08 PM — I’m back at home. No sales in the hour and sixteen minutes since I left the house. I’m a failure! And probably always will be! I bet Tony Robbins never feels like this. Then again, Tony Robbins already has his millions. He doesn’t have to sit refreshing his email to see if people are sending him small amounts of money. Tony just sits in his cryotherapy chamber and the money rolls in. All day long. Why can’t I just be Tony Robbins?

2:20 PM — My lentils are hot on the stove and I sit down to eat. No sales in the twelve minutes from the time I arrived home till now. Should I have some more coffee? Should I get drunk? Stumble into my day job (or, more accurately, my afternoon / evening job) smelling of booze and giggle my way through the first hour and a half of Pre Intermediate 2?

No! There’s a lot of day left here. The email just sent to Latin America a few minutes ago. I’m not a total failure yet.

2:53 PM — I get my first sale from LatAm. Dolla dolla bill, y’all! Life is beautiful. Maybe I should change my socks before I get pneumonia. Those were some good lentils. Why am I still sober? Oh yeah. My afternoon/evening job. Which starts in an hour and a half. Better get used to the idea of going back to work.

3:10 PM — Why phrasal verbs anyway? I spent 22 years of my life without even knowing that phrasal verbs existed! Nobody knows about them, except EFL students.

3:15 PM — I need to get outside. Better shoes this time. Movement. Slow, old geezer movement, but movement nonetheless. This day seems like it’s taking longer than usual. Time for my afternoon/evening job. That’ll put some spring in my step. Talking to people all afternoon. Sure. It’ll be great!

3:29 PM — More coffee? What exactly am I doing with my life? Why couldn’t I stay in Phoenix and get a job at the car wash? I could be manager by now!

I gotta get out of here.

Hey, is that the sun?


P.S. If you liked that, maybe you’d also like my guide to starting an online business.

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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