12 truths about being a full-time blogger

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Except, oh, i’m not a full-time blogger.

But you get the general idea, right?

Yes, I love what I do more than I probably ever admit, although I do talk about blogging a LOT and my boyfriend probably wants to stuff my mouth with tea towels to get me to shut up, but it’s still a lot harder than most people probably ever realise when they see people like Zoella flash up on YouTube adverts. So here’s what it’s really like…

1. People expect you to do things for free ALL THE TIME

Despite the fact you may have just as many readers every month as a magazine website (uh huh, seriously), tonnes of companies will contact you constantly asking you to do things for free.

I have to be honest, I tend to ignore them, which may seem rude, but I find the fact that they’d even expect me to take the time to do something that will only benefit them and not me or my readers without payment, rude.

A lot of the emails will be disguised to sound like you’ve been selected for something amazing. They’ll say ‘we’re asking a select group of bloggers to work on this project with us.’ The said project will be you writing a post about something they’re promoting, which firstly doesn’t even fit in with any other content on your blog and will look hopelessly out of place, and secondly is just a really shit idea.

The saddest part is that I actually see other bloggers, people who are desperate to make it big, taking on these ridiculous tasks. Just no.

 

2. You can’t take time off

Oh sure, because you’re freelance and work from home (in your pyjamas more than you care to admit) you can take time off work all the time. Tuesday off to curl up and watch MTV all day? Why the heck not. Except you rarely do, and you’d never just swan off for a week or a fortnight for holiday, because then who the heck will look after your baby, your blog, your company? No-one, and you wouldn’t want to trust anyone else to write for it, because the whole brand is based about you as a person.

If you take time out or take a day out you’ll fall behind, and there’s this constant fear that if you aren’t giving your readers what they want – and what they want is regular good content then they’ll go elsewhere and no-one will read your blog and you’ll make no money and be forced to go and get a horrible office job like everyone else.

 

3. We all had ‘proper jobs’ before

Most of us, at some point or another, made the drastic decision to leave our jobs and make our blog our job, our full-time income and it was hella scary. Our parents didn’t really get it, our non-blogging friends didn’t get it and it all seemed a bit crazy, but we’re still here and it seems to have worked.

Yes, I kept on two days worth of work at Metro to keep my income stable just in case, but that was the new sensible side of Hannah that’s grown inside me since I got a cat and aged to the more rugged side of your twenties.

We’ve all had that 9-5 office job that leaves you feeling pained and tired and sad at the world every time you wake up and remember it’s not Saturday, and we all worked our arses off to get out of that situation. We know we’re the lucky ones, but there’s always a fear the blogging industry will collapse and we’ll have to go back to it.

 

4. There’s nothing worse than hating a free product

We get quite a lot of emails about reviewing products – some from brands we already know and love and some from new brands. Most of the time they’ll fit in with our blog and we’ll agree to review them, because hey, it gives us some more content for our blogs which is always a win.

The worst thing? Hating said product, Literally hating it because it made you get a ten tonne of spots or red skin or greasy hair, and being plagued with guilt that you can’t write something nice and glossy about it. Trust us, we want to write about it to say thank you, but we just can’t and it’s hard. Like opening a present you hate and then not even saying thank you and pretending to like it. Eurgh.

 

5. Taking style photos is a bloody nightmare

Imagine all your friends work 9-5 office jobs and imagine it gets dark at 4.30pm every day. Yup, taking wonderful style photos with outdoor light is a right bloody mission – unless you’re best buds with some freelance photographer who is available at your every beck and call (i’m not).

And it’s not just that, because come the weekend, i’m sure there’s pretty much nothing my boyfriend wants to do less than take photographs of me in a variety of poses, of which I’ll look at afterwards and declare I look hideous in all of them. It must be literally the worst half hour of his weekend, and I don’t blame him.

I’d love to get dolled up and drive out to somewhere that looks prettier than our back garden (or dining room/bedroom if it’s rainy) but it’s just more effort than I want to make my boyfriend put in, because it’s not his blog after all. So yeah, scouting out someone to hold a camera for you is a pretty big issue, let alone finding someone who has experience and skill at taking street style shots. Eurgh.

 

6. It’s ALL about your social media following

OK, so maybe not ALL, but a lot of it is. I get ridiculous amounts of shares on social media because that’s the nature of the type of content I create on my blog, and a pretty damn fantastic number of unique users, but my social media following? It may as well be zero as far as PRs and brands are concerned.

Whereas 3,000 on Instagram and Twitter is a pretty decent number in real life, it’s certainly not in the bloggersphere. Brands want to utilise your following to sell their product, so if they send you something they want to see it all over you different accounts with the hope it’ll convince the tens or hundreds of thousands of followers you have to buy the product too – it’s not just about people seeing said product on your blog.

I was turned away from other blogger agencies before I joined Handpicked because although my website traffic was great I just didn’t have the social standing that their other bloggers had. The main reason mine is so small in comparison? I’ve been blogging since March, everyone else has been blogging since about March 2010.

 

7. You have no idea why people read what you write

When I click into my blog’s analytics I am amazed to see my returning visitor percentage go up and up – more and more of you are coming back to my site for more, and it confuses the heck out of me.

To me a lot of my content is like a diary, it’s just me writing about what i’ve bought this week and what thoughts about life I’ve been having, so it utterly bewilders me that you guys on the internet would want to read about it. I know a lot of it is because i’m so basic in everything I do – I have an easy-to-like and easily accessible fashion sense and a lot of the thoughts running through my brain are the exact same thoughts running through your brain.

I was recently asked why I had gained a following, why people read everything I write and in the answer is I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA.

 

8. Vlogging is mortifying

Vlogging has been going pretty much as long as blogging, but this year the YouTube scene seems to have really exploded in the media and now everyone knows it’s a thing – probably even my step mum and dad.

I recently started a YouTube channel but there’s not much on it yet, mostly because it’s terrifying! The first time I recorded a video from my room I felt so sick I couldn’t eat breakfast, and as much as talking to yourself gets easier, talking to yourself in public is still pretty damn weird. I’d love to record snippets of vlog from the train or from a cab or at an event, but i’m just not confident enough yet, it takes some guts you had no idea you needed.

 

9. Designing your blog is ridiculously hard

When I started my very first blog back in 2009 (it was a uni project about films – which is weird because I don’t even like films that much, so considering we could write about anything I have no idea why I chose that) I thought WordPress would be a doddle. I could spend a couple of hours one evening making my blog look glossy and premium and beautiful and pretty much do whatever I wanted to it.

Nope.

Remember trying to change the background on your Myspace account and having to learn really, really basic HTML? Now imagine that 75824659756 times worse. As many times as i’ve tried to teach myself web design I just can’t. I’m a pretty intelligent girl (get me drunk and i’ll tell you the ability to write fluently and be good at mental maths is a sign of being a genius, and how weird it is that no-one knows i’m a genius) but I just can’t grasp it, it all goes over my head.

My blog was designed by a tiny company in America and only cost about £150, but some people pay nearer to a grand. Sure, there’s lots of things i’d still like to add or change but it’s just not as easy as that. Or at least not as free as that. Weep.

 

10. Dem haterz be real

Sometimes I get comments from people disagreeing with me on my blog, and they have a valid reason and sometimes i’m like OH GOD YOU’RE RIGHT AND I’M WRONG, and I love those sort of comments because they make me think about things.

But a lot of the time I just get people telling me i’m an idiot. So there’s that.

I’ve been called pretty much every name under the sun, been told i’m promoting rape and sexual assault, had articles written about me, been aggressively trolled, have horrible emails and even once had an anoymous text. The world of a blogger isn’t always pretty. And sometimes it’s so hard not to crumble under all the negative comments because although there are people out there who say amazing things, it’s the horrible ones that touch you the most, and not in a good way.

 

11. There’s a constant fear your traffic will drop

I mentioned this briefly earlier, but I think about my traffic all day every day. I check people are still favouriting tweets, commenting, liking Instagram photos, and most importantly. visiting my site. Because if you guys stop reading my blog, I will stop earning money and i’ll have to get another job, and that pains me inside because I absolutely adore what I do.

When my traffic’s low (like it is right now – the lowest it’s been in six week, oh em fucking gee) I get really panicked inside and all I can think about it lists that could encourage new readers to the site. Is there anything else about being a woman in your twenties I can write about? How about school nostalgia? Or life? There’s so much pressure you put on yourself to keep growing your brand and making it work, and it’s exhausting.

 

12. We genuinely love what we do

Otherwise we obviously wouldn’t do it. It feels like the best job in the world and we feel overwhelmingly lucky that we have got to where we are. And confused. How have I been one of the lucky ones? HOW?

 

So yeah, blogging <3 and 🙁 and 🙂 and :O and :/

 

 


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