Living the Dream?!
This time last year, I was at the teetering point of handing in my notice at work and taking the plunge into full time blogging. It’s a hard decision and certainly not one I took lightly. I never thought that being a full time blogger was my dream career, in fact, I never thought it would even be an option. But when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t resist.
I read online and hear from young girls how being a blogger is their dream job, but being a full time blogger isn’t quite as fabulous as we make it seem! While it is incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world, there are a few drawbacks, which no one seems to tell you about,… read on if you want to know what it’s REALLY like to be a full time blogger!
1. Holidays do not exist.
Despite what our instagrams may portray, those exotic locations and fabulous trips are far from what you would probably call a holiday. Whether you are on a press trip or vacation with friends or family, going abroad is never a real holiday. Partly because when you’re your own boss it’s impossible to switch off from work, especially when the nature of your work means you always need to be connected, but also because often the locations your visiting offer the best content.
Even though I don’t class myself as a travel blogger, I’m always photographing, Instagramming, Snapchatting and filming in the beautiful locations that I visit, as well as writing posts, editing, and replying to emails.
2. Everything takes A LOT longer than you think
I have lost count of the days that I start off full of optimism that everything on my seemingly reasonable to-do list will get checked off by the end of the day, only to reach 8pm and find I’m not even half way through. It’s not because I am procrastinating, it’s just that I’m a perfectionist. A blog post can take around 3 hours to write, and that doesn’t include the setting up of the photos, taking them, editing etc. Then there’s YouTube, and trust me, technology is your worst enemy. If anything can go wrong, it will. Upload error? Memory Card Corrupt? Something along those lines will always happen at least once a week and it just adds hours to your time sheet.
3. Emails are Endless
Following on from the above point, a full time blogger’s inbox is like a never ending vortex. Once I think I’ve replied to them all, I go back to page one only to see 20 more unread emails. I could easily spend two solid days responding to emails and still not have made a dent.
4. It’s impossible to explain what you do to people who don’t blog.
Those who don’t blog just don’t get it! From the outside it seems like we just take photos, write about things online and have a super lifestyle. The admin that goes with it, the days spent in London for meetings, the long hours, it’s something you only understand if you’re a blogger yourself.
5. People will ask probing questions about how you make money.
… So prepare a stock answer for this one! I pretty much have a script for explaining what I do for whenever I meet someone new. Everyone is so curious about how bloggers earn money, and what it is we actually do, and you’ll come across so many people who will roll their eyes and not think of it as a ‘real job’. I absolutely love it when people have a genuine interest in the blogging industry, but sadly there are still a lot of people who don’t get it!
6. Bloggers don’t actually spend that much time writing blog posts
Oh how I wish I spent my day curled up at home or in cute cafes writing blog posts! In reality most of my time is spent in meetings , at events, editing, promoting posts, or organizing products (more on this next!). I’d say that only 5% of my time is spent actually writing blog content, and at the moment it’s mostly while I’m on a plane as it’s the only time I have where it’s just me and my laptop, no wifi or other distractions. I’m writing this post on the plane to LA, and it’s been my most productive few hours of post writing in what feels like months!
7. Blogger mail becomes stressful.
Now this is a tricky subject because I do not want to seem ungrateful for receiving lots of fabulous products! But it is actually fairly stressful when you have to organize at least 20 deliveries a week. I spend a lot of time prioritizing which products I’m going to try, and then which to feature. A beauty blogger’s duty is not only to tell you about products that are great, but also edit out those that aren’t quite so great. I like to test skincare out for three weeks before writing about it so I can give an honest and thorough review, which means I have a huge back up of cleansers, moisturisers, serums etc yet to test, and the list is growing! Equally with beauty, there simply isn’t enough time to write about it all!
8. You have to remind yourself how lucky you are.
Following on from the last point, while the points I’m mentioning are stressful and anxiety inducing at the time, it’s important to step back and realize that actually, it’s your job and it’s something a lot of people would kill to do. Bloggers get so many incredible opportunities that it’s too easy to become blasé about things. Afternoon teas at the most superb locations in London, flying across the world, dining in the best restaurants in town quickly become things you become accustomed to, and it’s easy to take them for granted.
9. There’s a heck of a lot of pressure.
Especially if you’re a Type A perfectionist like myself, and you put pressure on yourself to always work harder and achieve more. You could easily be a full time blogger and sit back waiting for opportunities to come to you, creating the minimum content possible to just keep your channels active, but when you’re your own boss, the only person responsible and accountable for your blog, is you. I put pressure on myself to make my content the best it can be, because if its not, guess who is to blame! If it’s your full time job and your only source of income and you’ve got financial responsibilities like a mortgage, a family etc then it sure is a lot of pressure to get it right.
10. You’ve got to be open to change
No one knows where the blogging industry will be in a year or so, therefore it’s important to adapt and change with the times. You only have to search a year back in the archives of your favorite blogger or youtuber to see how much they’ve changed, and that’s because the blogging industry is so rapidly evolving. Content quality is increasing at such a rapid pace that if you don’t keep up, you’ll find yourself losing readers and unable to keep up with your follower’s interests. A key skill of a full time blogger is recognizing changes and trends and being able to adapt quickly, to keep giving your readers or viewers what they want.
11. It’s very competitive
Like any industry, blogging is incredibly competitive. I frequently find myself comparing myself to other bloggers, and while it’s good to know what other bloggers are doing, it’s important not to let it influence your work or let it bring you down. Brands have limited budgets and can’t work with everyone, and places on press trips are limited, so you’re not going to be chosen for everything, but it’s so important to focus on what you’re doing, instead of worrying why you weren’t chosen for that specific campaign. Sadly the competitive nature of blogging can make the blogosphere into a bitchy and argumentative place, and I’ve learnt the hard way that competitiveness can bring out a nasty side in people.
12. You’ve got to toughen up
This is something I am still working on! When it comes to running a business, you have to be tough when it comes to the financial side of things. Brands often want something for nothing, or want to you to create content for an embarrassingly low fee, but by knowing your worth and sticking to your guns, you should be able to negotiate and come to an agreement that works for you both. Don’t undervalue your work – be tough and only settle for the fee you deserve for your time and skills.
13. You need to Love what you Do!
If you’re passionate about your work, it will show! You can tell from a mile off when someone is blogging because they feel they have to, not because they want to, and when you’re working for yourself you don’t have anyone chasing you up if you don’t meet deadlines or produce work of a high enough quality. If you love what you do then you’ll always be pushing yourself to work harder, create better content, and it will show!
What I Wore
Are you surprised by any of these truths? Or if you’re a blogger, do you agree?