Being a blogger definitely has its perks, but like with any hobby or profession it also has its downfalls – the main one being the fact that you’re working solo, some days almost in solitary confinement. Having a network of people around you that understand the trials and tribulations of the bloggersphere is incredibly important not only for your own sanity, but to give you a sounding board and place to turn for advice. As bloggers we’re incredibly skilled at emanating an illusion of perfection, instagramming our super-smoothie breakfasts and our kick-ass sessions in the gym, but we’re not so great at showcasing the realities of our day-to-day lives. (FYI it’s ok that you’re still in your pyjamas at gone midday; some of my best work is conducted from the comfort of my PJs, even if the courier that rings my doorbell looks at me with distain.) I’ve always made a concerted effort to talk about the pros and cons of working on your own, and within the bloggersphere, because I think it’s incredibly important for us to collectively realise the issues we face daily are not just our own. Whenever I speak to other bloggers, it becomes incredibly clear that they also face the same daily challenges and frustrations, no matter how conventionally ‘big’ or ‘small’ they are. So in the effort of transparency, here are ten things we all experience – no matter our size or how long we’ve been doing this thing called blogging.
WORKING FOR FREE IS JUST EXPECTED
Although an ever increasing number of brands understand and value the role that bloggers play in today’s media landscape, far too many still don’t. Working for ‘exposure’ (whether that’s on a social profile, website or in a print publication) won’t pay the bills, so unless there’s real value to an opportunity it’s just not worth the time. No matter how big or influential you get, this age old issue never goes away. It’s tiresome trying to prove your value or extract money for something that deserves to be paid for, so sometimes it’s worth just drawing a line and moving on to work with people that really *do* understand what you have to offer.
YOU’RE OFFERING ME $20.00?! WHOOP!
Continuing on from that point… If brands actually *are* prepared to compensate you financially for your time, skill or following, on too many occasions they’re often prepared to only pay a nominal (almost laughable) amount. We all get those emails that initially sound like an awesome proposition, but soon transpire to be one of a thousand SEO pitches sent out in the hope that one of them sticks. In my opinion, the best way to deal with it is just to delete the email and move on – it’s not even worth trying to negotiate.
BRANDS DROP YOU FOR THE ‘NEXT BIG THINGS’
I’ve been blogging for over six years now (how’d that happen?) and I’ve experienced it time and time again. No matter how good a relationship you think you have with a brand, they can easily drop you and focus on the ‘next big things’ instead. It’s like when you’re at school and you could only be best friends with one person at a time, but in this instance it’s business and it hurts a lot more. You go from being flavour of the week, to someone that’s only worth a lipgloss twice a year. It’s painful seeing all your fave bloggers out for dinner in a glamorous restaurant and feeling like the goofy kid that wasn’t invited, but believe me – we’ve *all* been there. Focus on the brands that do appreciate you and the other opportunities you’ve been lucky enough to have received.
CRINGE: YOU GET GHOSTED
You’ve supported them, you’ve blogged about them, you’ve professed your love for them on Instagram… And all of a sudden they disappear off the face of the earth, never to be heard of again. In dating the technical term for this is ‘ghosting’, when your potential love interest just stops replying or contacting you, and the same thing happens in the bloggersphere. Some of my favourite brands have just stopped talking to me, stopped replying to emails, stopped replying to tweets and pretty much acted as if I was invisible. My motto? Their loss.
COLLABORATIONS NEVER MATERIALISE
I love being creative and coming up with campaign ideas that will genuinely engage my audience. Sometimes I put hours into proposals or ideas, only for them to not actually materialise or be put on hold indefinitely. The worst bit? They actually forget to tell you. There’s nothing worse than getting all excited about a collaboration, telling all your mates and mentally spending the money – only for it to never actually happen.
YOU CHASE PAYMENT FOR MONTHS ON END
I’ve never been one for numbers and finances (I’m good at spending money, but not so good at keeping track of it,) but being self employed means you have to become a stickler for chasing payment. Some of the worst offenders are the biggest brands (who you expect to be able to process your invoice pretty quickly so you can get on with placing an ASOS order,) and occasionally things can get a bit heated. I’ve waited for over a year to be paid by some companies, while other pieces of work I’ve had to write off as they go off the radar completely. It doesn’t matter if you’re chasing £50 or £5000, it’s a bore and it never stops.
BLOGGER FRIENDS TURN INTO ENEMIES
Unfortunately, as an industry incredibly saturated with women, the bitchiness you experienced in your teenage years occasionally rears its ugly head again once you start blogging. With money and free makeup flying about, it’s easy for people to forget what’s important and focus on becoming ultra-competitive; I’ve heard so many stories of blogger besties turning their backs on eachother and becoming enemies instead. Please ladies, it’s just not worth it. A good friend is worth their weight in gold, so don’t drop them for their weight in lipstick.
YOU FEEL AWKWARD AS HELL AT BLOG EVENTS
Sometimes I feel like it’s the school disco all over again, waiting to be asked to dance and that request never materialising. Blogger events can be a great opportunity to network, make friends and share experiences, but they can also be awkward as hell. Not being sure who is who, whether they know who you are, or wondering what to do with yourself so you don’t look like a loser, are valid concerns that we all experience. I’ve actually stopped going to the majority of events and launches because I just feel awkward; I much prefer to spend time chatting to someone 1-2-1 and building a rapport.
COMPARISON IS THE SOURCE OF ALL MISERY
The downside of social media is the visibility of what everyone else is doing; it’s easy to see how many followers other bloggers have, what products they’re being sent, what they’re buying and which brands they’re collaborating with, but comparison really is the source of all misery. No matter how many great things we’ve worked on or what we’ve got hanging in our closets, it seems it’s never enough – we’re always comparing and wishing we could do or have more. This seems to be the one concern that unites us all: that we just want what everyone else has got.
THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY
It doesn’t matter how organised you are or how streamlined you manage to make your workload, there are simply never enough hours in the day and you’ll always be chasing your tail. It may seem like every other blogger is effectively managing their content plan, creating awesome images for instagram and spending their days having meetings in beautiful surroundings, but think of them like a swan – gliding along looking elegant on the surface, but swimming like a crazed animal underneath. You’re not alone at feeling like everything is getting on top of you; unfortunately that’s one of the downsides of working alone and having to do every job yourself.
So there you have it… The realities of blogging, no matter your size. Are there any other issues you face on a daily basis and wonder if you’re alone in experiencing?
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.