There’s something no blogger – heck, no self-employed person in any industry – likes to talk about.
And that’s what happens when the work runs out. When it dries up, when the money stops rolling in and you’re looking at an inbox that’s got nothing but tumbleweed and emails about GDPR and infographics and REALLY OMG MUCH EXCITE competitions.
Because it happens.
Or at least, it happens to me, so I assume it happens to other people.
In the three years that I’ve been blogging full-time, my income has been fairly consistent. I’ve not yet had a month where I haven’t been able to pay my bills, or I’ve started realistically trawling local job sites looking for a way to top up my blogger income.
But there have been months where I’ve come very close.
Months where I’ve had to rely on my overdraft and my credit card to ride me through between invoice payments.
Months where I’ve worried. Where I’ve had to question the future and start coming up with an action plan in the back of my mind.
Months where I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that maybe my time as a paid online creator is up. That maybe my luck has run out and it’s time to move on.
Months – especially in the early days – where I had to take on extra tit bits to help pay for my blog hosting and my phone bill and my takeout coffee addiction. I’ve done shift work at a magazine, despite the weekly travel ticket to London almost completely cancelling out the day rate. I’ve taken on copywriting for fashion brands, written one-off listicles for places like Buzzfeed and Metro – heck, I’ve even done car boots just to help get that cash flow moving.
It doesn’t make me any less of a successful blogger because sometimes there’s not enough relevant brand campaigns swinging my way and I have to be creative with new ways to earn that dollar.
It just makes me your typical freelancer, just praying to the self-employment gods that something good is headed my way.
I try and think of the worst case scenario. Like, what is the worst thing that could happen? The very worst?
That blogging no longer generates me income?
OK, cool. So I get another job. I go back to an office job.
It’s not like I don’t have experience or skills. It’s not like I haven’t done it before.
I mean, would I like to continue y’know, doing what I’m doing? You betcha. But if I had to give it up and move on to something where – and this is a shocker – I had a boss again, could I?
And if the worst case scenario is something I’ve already done before, because let’s face it, I had approximately 738953278 jobs before turning to blogging full-time (ranging from till gal in JJB Sports and carer in an old person’s home to estate agent and one of those people who hand out fliers in shopping centres), then I am very much OK with that.
I mean, it’s not really a worst case scenario at all is it? Just a different path to funding my lifestyle and my family.
We don’t talk about those months much in this industry.
Purely for the very reason that it completely scuppers the illusion that everyone wants to work with us and OHMYGOD SO MANY INVITES AND BRANDS WHISPERING IN MY EAR AND OMG I CAN’T BREATHE ALL THE WORK.
It’s like when there’s a new fashion trend and you’re like ok gross no, and then everyone else is like IT’S SO AMAZING and then you’re like ok well if everyone else loves it then maybe it is amazing *buys 632756 versions of it*.
If everyone else thinks you’re awesome and wants to work with you it makes other people go ‘OOOH YEAH, HER. WE SHOULD WORK WITH HER‘.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years (aside from the fact that classic McDonald’s cheeseburgers are not a patch on McDonald’s double cheeseburgers), it’s that blogging is all about keeping up appearances.
I mean sure yeah, it’s about words and photos and engagement and networking, but it’s also about creating a certain image and buzz around yourself and your ~brand~.
It’s as much about your self-promo as it is the actual content you’re producing.
Some of the people I deem the most successful in this industry aren’t necessarily actually the most successful – they’re the people who shout about their successes and let me know that they’re doing well.
The people who force me to stop and take notice because SWEET DIGGITY they good.
Whether that’s with retweets from readers and followers shouting about them, with regrams from super cool brands, with insane paid collaborations, with paid trips that look hella sassy or with award wins and nominations.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is: a lot of the blogger lifestyle is an illusion. Sure, it can be glamorous as fuck and sure, there can be a lot of money in it, but for the majority, it’s the same as any self-employed gig.
You have strong months (where you forget about the slow months and WAYOOO LET’S BOOK FLIGHTS TO AMERICA) and not such strong months.
We just don’t shout about the not so strong months, ‘cos y’know, we don’t want to shatter that successful illusion.
Over and out.