The Clown or the Professor: Which Are You?

When you were a child, you were probably asked on more than one occasion what you wanted to be when you grew up. As a child, you didn’t quite have a firm grasp on what was realistic and what wasn’t. Maybe you wanted to be a firefighter, a Hollywood starlet, or a space cowboy. The question was harmless.

But when you got a little older and you were asked the same question, things got a lot more real a lot more quickly. During high school, you may have gone through some career preparation courses to help plan your path. In those planning sessions, you may have sought the perfect intersection between three key areas: the things that you’re good at doing, the things that you enjoy doing, and the things that will actually make you money.

And so, you eventually settled on a career and entered the world of adults. But then perhaps you found it unsatisfying and that’s how you end up here, seeking advice about how you can make money online from the comfort of just about anywhere in the world. As a budding professional blogger, though, you are once again faced with a very important decision: are you the clown or the professor?

The Professor Knows His Stuff

Let’s start with the professor. Here is a guy who has an abundance of expert knowledge in his particular field of interest. He knows everything (or at least he has the reputation for knowing everything).


The primary goal of the professor is to educate. He aims to be useful. He strives to be informative. He is there to deliver the information that readers want to have and this is a very important need to be filled on the Internet.

There are countless websites and blogs that fulfill the “professor” role very well. Wikipedia is an excellent example. The people who seek out specific information or advice aren’t looking for a cheap laugh or to let their mind wander. They want answers. They want the straight goods without the fluff.

And the role of the expert professor can be incredibly lucrative, landing you all sorts of book deals and speaking engagement opportunities. People seek out the expert, because they strongly desire that wealth of knowledge without having to go through the trouble of learning everything themselves.

The Clown Just Wants to Get a Laugh

The clown is an entirely different kind of individual. He might know a few things, but that is hardly his main appeal. You don’t care if he knows nothing at all as long as he gets you to smile or laugh.


He is an entertainer, first and foremost. It doesn’t matter if you learn nothing at all after reading through a few of his blog posts, because you’re happier after reading it. It doesn’t matter if the video contains very little of actual real world value or applicability, because you’re laughing. And that has an intrinsic value that simply cannot be measured.

You might look at some of the most popular vlogging personalities on YouTube in this vein, like PewPewDie. They are not dissimilar from professional comics like Amy Schumer or the late Robin Williams. The goal was never to make you think about something deeper or to educate you about quantum physics. The goal was to make you happy.

The Nutty Professor Can Do Both

But, as an online content producer or blogger, do you really need to make such a sharp, black and white decision between being the professor or being the clown? I don’t think so. You can be thoroughly knowledgeable, spouting all sorts of incredible insights backed by real data, all while being thoroughly entertaining for your audience.

Again looking to YouTube as our source of inspiration, you’ll find that many channels have been able to achieve this balance beautifully, even if the entertainment isn’t necessarily of the “haha” variety. Mental Floss and Crash Course are good examples of being fun yet educational.

And when you really think about it, so is this blog. John, along with the rest of us writers, are here to provide you, the readers, with informative and useful posts that hopefully move you forward with your online careers. At the same time, posts can be sprinkled with humor and other posts are just for fun. That’s the epitome of the dot com lifestyle, after all. Be fun. Be happy. But remember to be useful too.

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