13.4.18

We Need To Chat About Knowing Your Worth

As I sit here at my desk, exhausted and fed up after another long and pretty pointless day spent in the grimy streets of London Town, I wonder why I bother. I've been running my site for eight years, and in that time I've built up some incredible relationships with certain brands and I know they respect what I do; they value my time, expertise and the audience that I've established over a number years. They respect the effort that goes into creating content and building an audience, and they understand that time is a precious commodity - especially for those of us that don't live in the capital city. However, on the flip side I feel like we're once again battling against the tide and experiencing the same troubles and issues that we were five years ago. Constant justification of our existence and value takes its toll, and even for the most long-standing of us it starts to wear thin.


In recent weeks I feel like I've been fighting constant battles; I sit in my office feeling rage at another ridiculous request, lack of respect for my time and excessive demands in return for very little. We've been working tirelessly over the last decade to establish blogging, vlogging and social media-ing as a valid career path and something of real value, helping to reach digitally savvy men and women that want a hit of inspiration every day. But as soon as I feel like we're making a breakthrough we seem to take a few steps backwards, faced once again with the same troubles and issues that make me want to pull my hair out.

In the last week or so I've had a campaign pulled once the work had been completed, simply because the PR decided to go in another direction; I've had a twelve month exclusivity cause practically forced upon me, because brands don't understand that paying for one piece of work doesn't mean you'll turn down opportunities with their competitors after a reasonable time has passed; I've been stood up at press appointments and cancelled on at the last minute yet again because of another internal meeting; I've been told 'the other influencers we're working with don't have a problem with this' after I objected to an element of a campaign that was unreasonable; I've been ignored at press days and made to feel like the least important person in the room, even though I'd made an effort to travel thirty minutes out of my way to swing by. And that doesn't include the fact I've had my images stolen, my content used in marketing campaigns without consent, or the fact that I'm having to chase overdue invoices for the fifth time.

Don't get me wrong, I love what I do and I thoroughly enjoy bringing you content and working with some amazing brands that I truly believe in - but like every job there's the good, the bad and the downright ugly. And the only way to right some of these wrongs is if we collectively start standing up for ourselves and understanding the value we offer. Too many influencers are agreeing to work for free, to sign away their content rights without any additional remuneration, to put up with excessive demands or simply to keep quiet about something that makes them angry or uncomfortable. Enough is enough, because if you do put up with it without question then you're unfortunately ruining it for the rest of us (as well as yourself.)

I feel like we've hit a bit of a glass ceiling that we need to break through, just as we did a few years ago. The growth of 'super bloggers' has undoubtedly rivaled magazines, so it's no surprise that they're receiving the same luxurious treatment, opportunities and paid-for campaigns that their journalist counterparts once were. Additionally the growth of the 'micro blogger' is well documented, with brands increasingly understanding the value of smaller communities that trust and purchase off the back of their recommendation. But these two industry movements have lead to a change in the way many of us are treated, with huge expectations placed upon us without them really being thought through.

This year I've made a conscious effort to take a step back from press days, trips and appointments in favour of actually getting some work done; it's all very glamorous and fun to be swanning around the streets of the city and insta-storying your cocktails, but it's also exhausting and doesn't really add much value to the content you create. So when I do pay the £25.00 it costs for me to get into London (far less than other bloggers, but it soon builds up!) I want it to be worth my time - and increasingly it's not. Increasingly I leave meetings feeling it would've been far easier for them to send the product to me (and I wouldn't have to lug it up the hill home,) or that the PR is more interested in telling me about their forthcoming holiday than actually running through the product's benefits.

I've had to pay for a PR's coffee after they've got up and left the table without collecting the bill, and don't even get me started on the 'battle of the cake'. (You know when you're starving hungry, but they can't even bring themselves to buy you a slice of cake in return for all the content they want you to create - for free.) I don't ask for much, just a smidge of respect (and to be fair sometimes a slice of cake.) I know the value a feature on my channels can bring, so I just ask to be treated and compensated fairly - and so should you, no matter your job or life choices.

As a society we're often too easily persuaded to do something we don't want to, or find ourselves agreeing to something we really feel uncomfortable with; we don't want to rock the boat or to be seen as 'difficult', instead finding ourselves being walked all over and wondering how we got into this pickle in the first place. We're easily embarrassed or feel awkward sticking up for ourselves, whether it's saying no or questioning a decision that's been made, but sometimes that's how we all grow. That's how we all get better and we start working (and living) more efficiently and effectively.

I'm confident in my abilities, the value I offer and the experience I bring to the table - and I'm not afraid to stand up for myself as a result. But I'm only one person and it's easy to be labeled as the 'annoying one' instead of being listened to. We definitely all need to start questioning and asking for more, in every area of our lives. Although this has been a bit of a ramble I feel like taking the time out to list your qualities and value will reaffirm and motivate you, no matter whether you're working a 9-5, starting a creative business, looking for your next venture or just enjoying discovering what your next step is. Understanding your worth is the first step towards happiness and success, I promise you.

Oh, and giving Sarah Knight's books a little read won't hurt either... She's my spirit animal.





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19 comments

  1. Hayley, you are worth so much more than a slice of cake!!

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  2. As always, I love your content. It's so true that everyone needs to stand up and say this isn't acceptable, from sexism to just being paid your worth. If everyone had your attitude we wouldn't have to even discuss this.

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    1. Thanks so much. I feel like it's a British cultural thing to just smile and nod, rather than sticking up for yourself - or the attitude you should be grateful for what you get. I just want to enable and encourage people to stand up for themselves and appreciate their value.

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  3. I love this book it's so great. I agree that with so many bloggers accepting terms that aren't right and doing things for free it sets a precedent and you just hit a brick wall with brands and PR companies when it comes to sponsored content or at least your time being valued appropriately. It's almost like there needs to be some sort of petition / group or movement set up - but it needs people on board. I hope it changes x

    franklyflawless.com

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    1. Her books are so simple but so spot on! And yes, there's this odd precedent at the moment and a real lack of value towards influencers - maybe because there are now so many it's almost like we're disposable?

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  4. It's great you're standing up for yourself - Not dressed as lamb had similar issues a while back and like you was up front about it. I really can't understand that you have to chase them for an invoice to be payed, after all they know it's your bread and butter!

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    1. Honestly some of the invoices go unpaid for years - and many you just have to give up on altogether. It's so frustrating and shows a lack of respect for what we do.

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  5. Hi Hayley - long time reader, first time commenter! I really enjoy your site and your thoughts.

    I can relate to SO much of this post. Disrespectful treatment at the hands of brands and PRs was one of the reasons I gave the "big blogging" game away a few years ago. I definitely felt like "the annoying one" too! Maybe I'll send you an email and we can commiserate in private - I was nodding my head as you described some of your experiences (being stood up, etc!) But I never had to pay for a PR's coffee....I think you win for worst PR experience on that one!

    Keep up the great work and I do hope you keep being "the annoying one" (which you are not!) and call out unprofessional behaviour that disrespects the hard work and valuable time of professional bloggers and content creators...because we will all benefit in the long run!

    xx Phil

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    1. Hi Phil - and welcome to commenting! Thanks so much for taking the time. And yes please do email away, I'm sure we have plenty of stories to share ;) Your support means a lot x

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  6. I think as a community we need to start talking about things more. I had no idea what to expect with charges, invoices, what my time is worth and where to even begin charging for things. It's hard when we live in a country that is so hush hush about money and income - so it's hard to see as a micro blogger what we should be charging etc. We need to start making clear the ugly side of blogging, highlight the issues we face, so we all know we are on the same page - so i'm so happy to see you writing this. You keep doing you - and you are definitely worth a slice of cake! :)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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    1. I totally agree Erin - we need to be more open and talk about things, both to the positive and negative, so we're all on the same page. I get frustrated when I see bloggers being taken advantage of, but equally many bloggers take the mick with brands too and expect the world for little in return. It's about it being a two way street and collaborating for everyones benefit. Thanks for your kind words too :)

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  7. Great post Hayley. It feels like a funny old time to be a blogger at the moment. My gut instinct tells me that change is afoot. I think a lot of newer bloggers don't have a strategy however those who do and stay steady, sticking to their guns will come through the other side in a stronger position. I saw it happen a few years ago when I was working in the oversaturated glossy mag market. With all of the security and algorithm changes going on at the moment I suspect that the whole landscape will look completely different in 12 months' time.

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    1. I definitely agree with you - there's big changes afoot and I think those with something to say and an engaged audience will rise to the top. There's too much glossy and not enough opinion, from my point of view, and we've stopped respecting the value of someone's influence over the value of their insta followers. Here's hoping we see change for the better.

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  8. This is such a great blog post, I really enjoyed reading it!

    Danielle xx
    https://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

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  9. Gosh, I can't believe how some of the PR agencies you've worked with have been treating you! I'm glad you were able to write about this, though, as I don't really see a lot of it in the blogging comm so I really hope PRs will catch on and learn from their mistakes!

    Lizzie Bee // Hello Lizzie Bee

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  10. One of the funniest things I've read recently - well, it was worth a bitter laugh, at least - was when you mentioned a campaign fell through during your rebrand because this site didn't have domain authority yet. I mean, how short-sighted can you get??

    I am happy to join you as "the annoying one" any time. Disrespect wouldn't stand in any other industry, so in one dominated by young women I think that those of us with a bit of experience (in blogging or our other business fields) have a responsibility to stand up for fair treatment and respect, on both sides.

    x

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    1. Eugh, I'd forgotten about that. The irony was when they realised how ridiculous they were being they kept coming back and I just ignored their request, refusing to work with a brand that was so short sighted. It's so frustrating.

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  11. It’s so awful that you’ve had to put up with all this stuff. I don’t mind working for free when the brand is just starting out and doesn’t have the funding though.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

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