I fell asleep on the couch watching the Olympics last night, and when I woke up at 2 a.m. it was hopeless to try to sleep again. So I was on the computer at 4:30 a.m. when I started getting emails from the east coast telling me to read an article in the New York Times business section. Our paper wasn’t delivered yet, and now that I’ve read it online I definitely won’t be able to fall asleep. Because according to this article, by beginning my blog, I very possibly have stumbled upon the American dream.
The focus of the story is a woman named Heather Armstrong who has a blog called dooce.com (I already checked it out by 4:38 a.m.) Blogging about her life has propelled her to such financial success that she and her husband quit their jobs and live on the proceeds of her blog–and assorted merchandise related to the blog. Stuff like t-shirts and calendars with the blog title and family pictures. Heather has more than 850,000 readers and the New York Times called Heather’s blog “a money making machine.” So now you see what is keeping me awake.
Heather started her blog 7 years ago–and I started 7 weeks ago. And there are some other key differences between us–not counting the fact that she is blonde and beautiful and Mormon and younger than me. Another key difference is what I observed in the picture showing Heather working at her desk. Heather is wearing a stylish suit and necklace. I am writing this blog at 5 a.m. wearing my pajamas. And while Heather’s desk and office look very clean and organized, my desk and office look…well, I’d rather not go into that right now, but they look nothing like Heather’s.
Despite the differences, I can see potential parallels. Heather writes about her dog. I don’t have a dog but I have a cat who acts like a dog–which should count for something. And we are both mothers. Her daughter is 4 years old. My daughter is 24 years old. Apparently Heather often quotes from conversations with her daughter. I have to believe that anything my daughter says could be more quotable than what comes out of a 4-year-old.
The most important point is that Heather’s audience is overwhelmingly female—which is highly preferred by companies like J.C. Penney and WalMart, who advertise on Heather’s site. Visitors to female-oriented websites have doubled in 2 years. So I want to notify all the men who read my blog that I am very happy you like it. But in order to attract the big bucks, I need to focus on women–so expect in the future to find less mentions of George Bush and more mentions of George Clooney.
Another big success mentioned in the article is the group that locked me out of their convention, BlogHer— which just attracted 5 milion dollars from a venture capital firm. Advertisers. Market shares. Venture capitalists. And here I was– thinking that blogging is so much fun.
Just the thought of dealing with all of that makes me exhausted. Which could be because I’m still awake and it’s 5:45 a.m as I write this. In fact, I think I already hear V in the kitchen making coffee. I better go ask him how he feels about having his picture on a t-shirt.