A lot of people have asked me since I started working as a professional blogger in July of 2007 how they could also get into that line of work. There is a certain allure to the idea of sitting in front of your computer in your pajamas, hammering away on the keyboard, making money while you sip coffee with your pet curled up on your feet.

I wish it was that easy, but like any other job, it is a job, it’s just done in a different locale.

writingSo, as I keep getting asked this question, I decided to do a short series of four posts about how the whole process works. Part two will be about finding the job, part three will focus on getting the job, part four will be about keeping it once you have it and part five will tell you how to promote yourself to show you  understand what the Internet is all about in this day and age.

While I am certainly not an expert on the subject, I can at least offer you some real world experiences that I’ve run into, and how to deal with them. I’ve never seen a reason why people shouldn’t share what they’ve learned in certain situations; wouldn’t you have liked help when you were starting out in a certain field? Instead people tend to think they need to hide everything to lower their own competition in a given field, but my feelings are there is enough work for everyone out there, so why shouldn’t you help someone along?

Before we start this adventure, I have one very large question for all of you to ask yourselves: What is it you want from blogging?

Are you looking to get rich? Well, I would love to tell you that all of this writing is making me wealthy, but it’s not. That’s not to say it doesn’t pay well, but I’m not dining on champagne and caviar every night from it either.

Are you looking for fame? Keep looking.

Are you looking for a job that takes little to no effort? Again, keep looking.

Basically you have to remember this is a job like any other, sometimes with exceptionally tight deadlines, and you have to be able to read your source material, research further sources, and turn it into an article in as little as 15-minutes. If you can do all of that, then give it a go, but don’t expect easy money you can retire with from it.

It can be as stressful as any other line of work you think of, if not even more so.  When I first wrote this I was technically on “vacation”, but I was still  writing at least some each day because the news cycles don’t take breaks just because I did.  Between all the blogs I work for, I write an average of six posts a day, seven days a week, and that doesn’t count the larger projects I work on that can take days of research to complete.  While not all professional bloggers write this much, it isn’t exactly uncommon either.

The other thing you have to realize is that there is the other work that goes with being an online content creator, and this doesn’t pay you directly, but it pays off in intangible ways.  What is this magical work you must do?  Engagement.  While people people are used to responding to comments on their own blogs, you also need to do the same on the blogs you work for.  You also need to converse with people on Twitter, Facebook and so on.  The job is about more than just writing, but also to make sure you give your readers a reason to keep coming back.

Questions?  Feel free to leave them.  This series will be published every Monday until the whole series is done.  If you want to make sure you don’t miss any, make sure to subscribe to the RSS feed.

This series originally appeared on SeanPAune.com and is reprinted here by permission.