June 27, 2011, 5:00 am

Telling Your Boss You Have A Blog – Good or Bad ?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Career
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telling your bossTo tell or not to tell that is the question?  So you have a blog, or better, a small business on the side. Should you tell your boss about it? Most bloggers are anonymous for this reason; they don’t want their boss to make the link between the blog (or side business) and the individual working for him.

Why is that? Is it because we are afraid that our employer would spy on us because they think that we would work on our alternative source of income instead of concentrating on our day job?


Is it because we are afraid to be asked to stop our extracurricular activities?


Is it because we are afraid of being disciplined due to “inappropriate” statements found on our blogs?


All these reasons and many others are related to one simple thing: FEAR.


In all honesty, my boss knows about my online empire. She knows about the fact that I am making money online, that I blog about personal finance and that I am a shareholder of a small corporation. I’m sure you can find plenty of reasons to not declare that you have are making money on the side through your blog or any other kind of small venture. But you might have not considered the benefits you can get from telling your employer that you run a business. This is why I am going to give you a few benefits of telling your boss you have a small business.


Please note that in my case, due to legislation around my day job, I have to declare any participation in a corporation and all additional sources of income. In fact, even volunteer activities have to be reported in my field!


Being Job Independent

This is probably my biggest advantage: my boss knows that I could easily live from something else than my day job. She doesn’t know about all the details obviously, but she knows that my company is generating sufficient income to support my lifestyle. This makes a huge difference in the relationship you have with your employer. They know that you like your job (if not, you have the ability to quit) and they also know that they should take care of you (up to a certain point).  Being job independent doesn’t mean that you can be arrogant, far from it! However, it helps you to negotiate with your boss in order to get what you deserve. Corporate structure dictates that, sometimes your manager will have to “put you on the shelf” instead of giving you what you expect (promotion, salary raise, etc) right away. They do it because they don’t always have the choice (they still have to generate profits and manage their whole department) but they will pick someone else if they know that you are a little bit more independent financially…


Create a Wow

Having my own company helped me earn credibility from my boss, my peers and my clients. While most of them don’t know the details of what I do (I make sure to draw a clear line between my business and my day job), they are intrigued and impressed by the fact that I can manage everything at the same time. When people around you are impressed, it helps you shine (and obviously increases your chances of getting a promotion!).


The key point is not to brag about it and stay VERY HUMBLE. I don’t talk much about my company and I keep some mystery around it. Most people just know that I run websites and make money out from it. I tell everyone that I don’t get clients from my online business and that I don’t mix my financial planner job with my blogs even when I talk about personal finance. I actually do more than tell them… I don’t mix both in the real world either!


Get more Exposure

I am now known for being a great financial planner as well as an entrepreneur. The last time I had an interview (it was for the Canadian Business Magazine), I had the photographer to come to my branch and my boss was quite happy of having her branch shine at the same time!


Be honest

The last thing I want: is to create a bad surprise for my employer. I don’t want them to find my sites or my incorporation by chance. If it happened, I would be in serious trouble. Why did you hide it from us? What are you doing exactly? This is where you get tons of questions as if you were a criminal while you actually do everything by the rules. Being honest has always served me (even though I hate paying taxes 😉 ), so I applied the same guidelines with my employer.


Final thoughts on telling your boss

Since I first started The Financial Blogger, I didn’t know that I was going to make some serious money with the internet but I knew that someone I know could identify me. This is why I have decided to write only things that I feel comfortable with (or that I can defend if you turn it the other way around). Since I’m okay with what is being published, it means that I am also okay with people reading my stuff… including my employer!


I think that it is very important that you don’t bad mouth people you know on your blog because you do have a “louder” voice than most people through this medium. Therefore, you have to be careful with what you do with it. After all, with great powers, come great responsibilities!


What is your take on this? Are you comfortable telling your boss you make money online?


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Well said. Honesty can take you places you never thought possible.

I also had a side business. I told management about it eventho it wasn’t even close to be in the same sector as my day job. There were no possible conflict of interest. Still i felt I shouldn’t hide something like that.

I ended up closing down my business (that was doing very well) to concentrate on my day job. Altho I wasn’t looking for it, the word spread and I was recognized in a good way for it.

… I still wonder if I made the right move but that’s for another comment section lol

Mike, Good job covering both sides of the story here. One other reason for potentially not sharing is in the case where an employer might try to claim that any intellectual capital you create while working for them is their property! Now that would really suck.

I do like your point about showing your employer that you have some skills and aren’t forced to work for them. It’s almost the equivalent of subtly letting them know that you got an outside job offer and that they need to do their best to keep you happy.

you might have consider to sell the business instead of closing it? at least, you got some recognition for it!

@Car Negotiation Coach,
I’d say that the important thing to consider is not to mix the time you spend at work with the time you spend on your side business / blog. then, your employer could claim that you have a problem with time management and that you could be more effective at your day job. This could become very tricky!


well, I wish I had knowed the online world better at the time and the actual trading that could be done. I just didn’t know where to turn to sell it.

I remember a post TFB a while back on how you should have X number of posts already done so the buyer can have something to continue on after the sale…. that might have made it possible to kept momentum going on both my jobs until a buyer came alone.

I think it depends on the career. As a teacher I use it to benefit my students. Therefore it is a plus. Some careers, the boss would think you are taking too much time away from what you should be doing.

If you’re not being unethical or crude why hide it? There should never be a reason to be deceptive or secretive about your blog. Quite frankly, if you are speaking negatively about your job in your blog you should be fired. However, being honest DOES afford a lot more opportunities and could really foster a great relationship with your employer.

IT’s a tough one though. Most bosses in a demanding industry would not want their employees to be distracting with side income activities. Pretty soon, they might start asking for a day off here and there to work on their outside activities. Instead, they want them 110% focused on their job at hand, which is why they pay them.

by: The Financial Blogger | June 28th, 2011 (3:46 am)

@Financial Samurai,

I guess that if you don’t do your day job properly, your employer is in its right to ask you to focus on your main job, right? If someone starts taking days off or take time during his day job to work on his part time business, he is not being honest either. It’s very important to keep both separate.

On starting a previous job, I was very upfront about my freelance work on the side. I had a track record of juggling day jobs and freelance work before and there was no conflict of interest between the two. That said, the HR department told me I had to terminate my freelance work. It was purely on the basis of corporate policy as opposed to anything related to my current work performance, since I hadn’t even started working yet.

I felt it was quite short-sighted. Blogging and owning your own business is so helpful from a commercial perspective; you can hone skills in your spare time and use them to advance your day job.

Despite my experience, honesty is definitely the best policy but so is discretion. Writing something inflammatory or rude about your day job is asking for trouble!

I think we’ll pass on telling our employer. I’m in a union setting – i’m not sure there is any “wow” aside from flat out winning a job via merit and a good interview.

On the other side, it’s almost impossible for you to get fired, so you don’t have much to lose telling them… hahaha!

I am currently exclusively employed as a mother to 3. However, I cannot think of a boss that I would inform that I had a blog…much too personal.

[…] at The Financial Blogger presents Telling Your Boss You Have A Blog – Good or Bad ?, saying “Does your boss know about your […]

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I think that as long as there’s no overlap for contractual and possible competitive intelligence reasons.

Having said that, having a blog is now part of your personal brand, and I would much rather have a presence on a blog than only in social networks – LinkedIn being the exception.

Interesting post!