I’ve heard it time and time again – “Blogging isn’t a real job.” “You’re just in it to get free stuff.” “It must be easy to sit around and just look pretty and take pictures.” It’s obviously true that many people don’t think that blogging is a real career and that being an influencer is bigger than just taking pictures all the time. Throughout the years, I have been told that I need to stop calling my blog a business and call it what it is – ‘ a hobby that is apparently a waste of time’. But I ignore all the nay-sayers and trolls and I’m here to let you know that being a blogger/influencer is a business and at times, it’s not always glamorous. I want to break down for you the ugly truth of full time blogging.
SHOP THE POST:
So I would like to start off by saying I’m not complaining whatsoever in this post. What I am doing is sharing some of the struggles and the truth of full-time blogging, just as they exist in any other profession. I enjoy what I do and it brings me joy that I was able to turn what I originally thought was just going to be a creative outlet into a full-time business.
BRANDS TRY TO UNDERMINE YOU
Working with brands comes with the cost of dealing with a lot of legal paperwork. And, unfortunately, there are some brands who try to get over on bloggers by throwing in clauses to use their work royalty-free on any medium without paying the rates that bloggers should be valued at. There are also cases where clauses are thrown in to confuse bloggers and take advantage of them. We often get undermined and used, and, in my case, insulted and undervalued. There have been instances in my blogging business where I was offered product-only compensation for posts where other bloggers were offered monetary compensation on top of product. No matter where you are in your blogging career, know your value, and know that you should be demanding to be paid your rates. You can’t go to your electric provider and offer them product in exchange for their services – you have bills to pay too.
YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET TO FULLY ENJOY TRAVEL
You may follow or see a lot of bloggers who share travel content. And in their pictures, they are showing off the fun time that they are having and sharing the wonderful experiences they are having on their trips. Like myself, I show the fun moments that I have enjoying time by the beach and going out to experience the culture. It is a great time, but there is work behind it. What you don’t see is the time that it took to negotiate deliverables before getting on the plane or in the car. You also don’t see the moments where they have to get up before sunrise to catch the right content that the tourism board is asking for. Then there’s the time editing, making sure that you are meeting the daily deliverables, and so much more that goes into it. At the end of the day, that trip is also work and it’s not all relaxation and taking pictures.
IT’S AN OVERLY SATURATED FIELD
There are a lot of bloggers/influencers out there which means that if you are blogging, you have to make sure you have a unique voice and that you are establishing yourself in the field in the correct way. To be completely transparent, it’s not going to be an overnight success unless you get into that group of 1% that has a video that goes viral on TikTok or Youtube. You’ll be challenged to try different things and they won’t always go right. And there will be times when you feel like if you do the same thing that another successful blogger is doing then you’ll get there too. But that’s not the goal. You have to be you and build a community around yourself based on your voice and what you can offer.
IN TIMES OF CRISIS, YOU MAY TAKE A FINANCIAL HIT
When a crisis happens, you’ll take a hit – it is an inevitable truth of full time blogging. We are currently amidst a pandemic and brands have cut their marketing budget and there’s a ban on travel. For bloggers that means that sponsored posts and brand deals are at a minimum and creating content on travel can be hard. In times of crisis, your ability to get creative will be challenged and some may be forced to take on another job to make up the income if they didn’t have good savings put away.
THERE ARE TONS OF EXPENSES THAT YOU MAY NOT CONSIDER
Many people think that you just need a camera, your phone, and a computer to be able to run a great blogging business. But there’s so much more to that. There are expenses such as hosting, domain ownership, payment of editing software, and equipment that you may need to push your business to the next level. You’ll also have moments when you have to pay for items to create content, you’ll have to pay for a new theme or someone to customize your site, you’ll maybe even take the plunge to get SEO and strategy consulting. With the many essential and helpful tools that become essential to a blogging business, there will be expenses that you have to pay to keep everything organized, functioning, and compliant.
YOU’LL BE JUDGED AND CRITICIZED
There will always be trolls on the internet – that’s just the truth of full time blogging. I mean, I shared only a few of the phrases that people say to me at the beginning of this blog post. I’ve been mommy shamed for sharing some of the things that I do with my son. There have been times when I have had to deal with racism right in the comments of my own social media posts. When featured in articles, there have been comments on the articles with negative things that I won’t even bother repeating. And there have been emails that have been sent to me criticizing what I do and what I look like. You have to have tough skin to be a blogger because you’re putting yourself out there and not everyone is nice and they aren’t always going to agree with you.
TASK MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE HARD
Your blogging business is your business. You’re the owner, CEO, COO, and probably the sole employee. That means all accountability for things that need to get done is mostly on you. You can outsource and get a virtual assistant, an agent, and even a consultant, but the person doing 98% of the work is usually going to be you. That means you’ll have to make sure you’re good at being organized and keeping up with tasks. I use task management platforms to keep myself on track and hold myself accountable. I set due dates for when tasks need to be finished.
YOU’LL HAVE TO COME UP WITH YOUR OWN BENEFIT PLAN
Just like with any self-employed individual, you won’t have the ability to have your benefits paid for by your employer. Instead, you’ll have to create your own 401k, insurance plan, and other benefits and manage it. You’ll have to do the research and set it up. And on top of that, you’ll have to pay the taxes from your income that are usually partially paid by your employer. Depending on the state, that might be 15% of your net income. Just prepare yourself and make sure that you have everything aligned, and that you are set up so that if something were to happen to hinder the income of your business, you’re still taken care of.