Saturday, 27 June 2015

My experience with blogging, the honest and brutal truth.


I know there’s a lot of ‘personal-keep-it-real-my-experience-with-blogging’ blog posts doing the rounds at the moment and I'm sorry to jump on that bandwagon. But don't worry i'm not here to tell you what to do, or tell you how to take the perfect Instagram picture, i'm here because I want to be honest and tell you my thoughts on blogging and get some things off my chest.

When I started blogging all those moons ago, blogging wasn’t what it was today. I’m sure you’ve heard that a lot recently, us old school bloggers from back in the day (about 5/6 years ago to be precise) seem to be reminiscing a lot about the good old days on social media and maybe trying to figure out if we still have a place in blogging. Some of those bloggers have excelled since the beginning and continue to be game changers even today, others who came and went never to be heard of again (Moven Cats And Rocking Chairs anyone?) and then ones like myself who know that my blog isn’t one of the top ones anymore, but still love it none the less.  Without sounding like a broken record either, money also plays a massive part in todays blogging world. When i started this was pretty much unheard of, we blogged because we could and blogged about things we were interested in and that was pretty much it. Then brands cottoned on to blogging power, and the selling factor we gave. So our days started off with post full of samples to try and either love or hate, choosing to shout about it or store it away in a box which you’ll forget about.  You didn’t have careers from blogging, it was a hobby which consumed your evenings and weekends and it was just a fun supportive community.

Then we started to be paid. We were paid to write about the things we’d been writing about for years. The exact same posts with a pay check at the end of it, incredible. Agencies were popping up left right and center wanting you on their books, placing adverts on your blog and giving you amazing opportunities with some amazing brands. So this became our job, day in day out it was all about blogging. We ate it up, it consumed us, everything we did revolved around blogging and this was our life. But it also became competitive, gone was our little happy community, it was soon replaced by jealousy and an 'every man for himself' type of attitude which sadly, still shines through today. This was my life for 4 years, 4 whole years of being my own boss and it was brilliant and i thought i was invincible.

I wasn’t. Over the past year, probably a couple actually, my stats have dropped which means earrings have dropped, my agency weren’t coming to me with opportunities, and the brands which came to me had to be re directed through to the agency because of my contract to never have been heard of again. I was stuck. Don’t get me wrong, my blog was still making me money, and i was paying my bills at the end of the month but that was pretty much it. I’d feel guilty for buying something which wasn’t a necessity and i knew something needed to change.

So I got a job, letting myself only work part time so i would still have time to blog but still have some extra pennies to simply live. I hated this job, like i literally hated it. I’d been my own boss for so long I just couldn’t adjust to working in retail with a bitch of a manager. I set myself a time scale of being there for 6 months and then i would find a full time job. Luckily, as my 6 months were up my old boss (who i continued to freelance for) offered me an amazing full time roll, the ultimate dream job and 3 months later I’m still loving it. I spend my days in social media, researching and organizing events (I have a blogging one in the pipe line with The Body Shop in York, so if you’re from there give me a holla!) and i couldn’t be happier.

And this got me on to thinking about my blog. This little corner on the internet that has been neglected somewhat recently and i apologize. Sometimes being in the social media world all day makes it difficult to want to be in it in the evenings too, especially when you know your blog isn’t one of the big boys anymore it kinda knocks your confidence. I have to shake myself  and think ‘Come on Vic, you’ve been doing this for too long to give up now’ And I was right, but something needed to change.

I decided to leave my agency. A daunting and scary thought, they’d been with me since the beginning. Always being able to financially fall back on them, until the day when i wasn’t. Here they were taking commission from what little I did make and not helping me out when I forwarded opportunities on to them. So I left and decided to fly solo.

In the month or so since I’ve been on my own with no adverts on my blog or ‘please contact X for sponsorship’  my inbox has never been so busy, it’s surprising actually, maybe my agency wasn’t being as honest as they should have been and it does make me question how many rejection emails they sent on my behalf. I didn't need an agency to represent my blog, I could do that myself. I had that a piffany moment that maybe, just maybe, I may still have some influence in the blogging world there are people who still click on here every day to see if I've posted. That right there is the motivation i need to carry on blogging and to make more of an effort for those who have been with me since the beginning.

That's what I’m going to do. I’m going to stop comparing myself to the bloggers who are still going strong and just carry on with doing what I’ve always done, posting blog posts which I’m interested in. It’s not about the money (Soz Jessi J) anymore, this isn’t my sole income and so it can go back to being a hobby instead of a chore and you have no idea how much of a relief that is. Don’t get me wrong though, you will still see sponsored content on here from time to time, no one is going to turn down extra pennies for that saving pot and I don’t want to be a hypocrite. But the content will always be relevant. There will be no butter placement in photos, tips and tricks for visiting a casino or whatever else is doing the rounds. And I’m not interested in having any adverts on here anytime soon either.  I like being able to control my content and how my blog looks for the first time in years.

So here we are, the honest brutal truth of my experience with blogging. I’m sure there are lots of other bloggers out there just like me, it seems to be you either make pennies from what you do or a few thousand with not much in between. Hell, there are a few who even make millions! But I’m happy doing what I’m doing. This week i put on an event promoting body confidence where I invited 30 teenage girls aged 12-14 from a local school to take part. There were workshops and demonstrations from well known brands and today I received an email from the school thanking me and telling me how much the girls loved it. That’s what life's all about, who cares that you didn’t get to go to the big event everyone else was invited to, or that free holiday with the stunning bloggers. It doesn’t matter, blogging isn’t everything and I’m so pleased I've finally realised that.

            
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35 comments

  1. Such an inpirational read. Thank you for sharing your journey. It gives hope to the people who have had the wind knocked out of them and brings things back to reality. Xx

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  2. I am so glad you got this out of your chest Victoria :) Things have changes a lot, as myself have been blogging since 2008 and remember how it was and see how it is now..(yes, I do also remember Morven her outfits were simply amazing).

    I do not have an agent, neither would I want one. It is difficult to manage my job in the academia (hello 10 hour shifts) AND blogging and this is why I blog mainly during the weekends or have scheduled posts during the week. I have learned though a) to spend my time wisely and subsequently b) blog only about things that I like and matter regardless the payment. It still is a hobby for me and will shall be for as long as I will be blogging.

    On this note, I would like to say that I love your blog and your honesty so keep up the good work because no matter how many times you will post I will always visit :)

    xx

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  3. This. I miss the old times but seriously only to an extent. AND I MISS YOU. And bombarding you with my ridiculous life stories over these entire 5 years xx

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  4. Thanks for sharing your personal experience with your blog. To be honest, Ive been blogging for a long time (on tumblr) then i stopped and have had my personal blog for about 1.5 years and i dont do very well in terms of stats. but thats okay because i dont want to reach the very top, i love my blog to be authentic to my own tastes and content.

    I think your agency was been a little greedy and now the power is in your hands :)

    One thing i must say about the blogging world is the whole 'brand thing' i believe that yes your blog should be recognisable in a sense , but i hate the fact that most blogs are like brands now, i feel it defeats the object.. bring back personalised blogs :)

    http://leannewinters.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. This. I have been blogging since 2009 and it has changed so much! It is time to bring it back down and to what we love posting about as it is passion that makes our blogs grow.

    I also remember Morven :)

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  6. I absolutely love this post Victoria, this has been the most honest post about blogging I've seen and there's a lot floating around like you said but nothing like this and of course I know it's a different experience per person but I loved and appreciate you sharing yours and the truth..
    Like you said, blogging is so different now than it was before and I remember how it used to be before too, even though I didn't blog much either back, I used to read a load of blogs instead, today blogs are everywhere and even Youtube and it really has been taking over since the social media spikes..
    The blogging for hobby has decreased which is sad, however I'm glad you're doing it as you feel as a hobby again, since that's what it's all about isn't it? Blogging should be fun and something you love and enjoy and if there's money on the side then a brilliant bonus.
    I've been reading your blog for years Victoria and you are among one of the first and main blogs that I started following and actually inspired me to blog. Please don't ever think you're becoming irrelevant or anything, your posts are amazing and especially with your journey with health and fitness that inspire so many people like myself.
    Anyway, I'm sorry if I ranted on and on..I'm glad you're back to happy blogging and happy with your job :) <3

    http://amelodyofdiaries.blogspot.co.uk/

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  7. LOVE this, Victoria!! It's so refreshing to see a blogger step back and take control of her blog again. I can't wait to see what comes up for your blog - we're all still loving it! I was actually thinking about advertising on blogs the other day. I switched my Adblocker off (ssh) and saw that so many of my favourite blogs were PLASTERED in ads. Ads that were so irrelevant as well. It was disgusting. It's nice to know that you don't want to sacrifice your blogs' integrity for the sake of a few extra pennies.

    Chrissy x
    www.chrissylilly.com

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  8. I really love this post! It takes a great blogger to write such a honest post. I've seen a number of blog that are all about the advertising and fake reviews as they don't want to upset PR companies hence they are happy to lie to their readers. I think the bloggers that stay true to themselves and their blogs will be the last bloggers standing.
    xx
    Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

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  9. Loved reading this and I love your blog, since i discovered the world of blogging it's always been one I've enjoyed reading ! I'm glad you are enjoying what you are doing again and that you've
    regained control.


    Distant Dreamer

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  10. I love this post and it pretty much sums up everything about blogging! I've noticed a few blogs out there which are full of sponsored posts and I think it just means people are in it for the money or the products, but for most people it is their hobby. When I first started my blog I knew it would be hard to 'make-it' in the blogging world, but now, I see it as it's my blog and I don't care if it makes it or not because it's my space where I can post what I want and when I want. I've been visiting your blog for about 2/3 years and it is one of the best out there purely for this post, which shows that you are a genuine person and you are true to yourself! x

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  11. This was SO interesting to read, and refreshing to hear that full time blogging isn't always THE dream for everyone out there. Go you, and I hope it all continues to work out for you :)

    Sophie x

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  12. I'm so glad you did such a truthful post like this & that other bloggers are realising how people are changing and losing control of their blog content. I've been following you for a while and I'm glad you're choosing to stay true to yourself! Hope everything goes well for you, people will still come to your blog regardless because of your good content!
    Tia x

    www.amortee.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. I'm glad you find blogging as a hobbie & enjoy it to the fullest, that's what's fun & makes us happy. Thank you for your honesty, I wish more people were conscious of this.

    Mafer, Concientizando x

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  14. Appreciate your honesty. I'm a new blogger and totally understand what you're talking about with brands and big bloggers. I've been stressing myself out trying to grow bigger and I was starting to hate blogging. Your words have given me perspective

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  15. This was really inspirational! I think It's best to do what you enjoy and if it was becoming a chore to pay the bills, best to do what you did and take a step back! Your blog posts will have more spark to them if its something your doing out of passion again :) Thanks for sharing!

    www.ajourneywithjo.com

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  16. This a truly inspiring post Victoria. I really appreciate how honest you've been and the fact you're staying true to yourself. I've always loved your blog, and you've been a blogger i've looked up to for many years and that certainly isn't going to change.

    Courtney | http://courtzmelv.com

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  17. Girl!! So well said. I also remember Morven from Cats and Rocking chairs, she's a fellow Scottish blogger and I have no idea where she disappeared to :( Nodding and agreeing with everything you're saying in this post. I also get nostalgic about the 'good old days' and have been really questioning lately where my place is in this new world of blogging. Trying to say that without sounding like an actual wank but I hope you know what I mean. Wish you lived closer and we could have a cuppa and a blether about this sort of stuff. Yous is one of the few few posts I've seen that's actually hit the nail on the head in terms of how I'm feeling too. You've been one of my fave girls from the very start and I am so glad that you're feeling refreshed and inspired and are going to continue blogging - and staying true to yourself! xx

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  18. Love this post, it's definitely not just another blogging-about-blogging read. I miss the old days too - so much nostalgia at the moment and yours was one of the first blogs I discovered back then! I'm glad you're still enjoying blogging - it's weird that we all started this for fun and enjoyment and for a lot of bloggers its turned into something completely different. x

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  19. Woah, that was pretty eye-opening to read because a) I didn't know you've been regarding your blog as becoming less big than it use to be and b) I didn't know that agencies could actually be that bad for a blogger. Of course I have never seen your stats but I thought your blog would still be as popular as it used to be, I mean after all you're still blogging about the same things, right? It's quite a scary thought that time doesn't necessarily bring growth. See I haven't been making money with my blog yet but I was always wondering whether an agency could be beneficial for me or not. When I started blogging I had a lot of cooperation requests but they became fewer since I started treating more local subjects, since I started getting pickier about the things I write about, and since I started asking money for them. So at the point where I am right now, I don't even know if I will ever manage to make a living from my blog, also because my number of followers has been stuck at the same level for months. I think having a job and earning a few extra pennies with the blog is the best solution though because everything related to the internet and fashion is just changing too quickly to actually be something you can rely on until the end of your days. So yeah, all in all I'm glad that you found the ideal solution for you and that you feel better about blogging now. Anyway I will keep on following you as I think you're one of those bloggers that kept it real.
    xx

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  20. Thank you for this honest post! Fantastic read!

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  21. I'm so glad that you were so brutally honest in this post and didn't pussyfoot around anything, you told it how it is and all the facts which I can imagine a few other bloggers wouldn't do for their readers so good on you!! also i'm in york and would love to find out more information on a body shop event, I was only in there a week ago buying a whole new skincare routine haha xx

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  22. Insightful post! It's annoying how people aren't honest and are kind of fake on their blogs!
    alicekatex ♥

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  23. Loved your honesty and insights Vic - I can totally understand your concerns and emotional strains; we've all been there and it's totally right to re-gain control of your site, allowing yourself to inject passion again. I left my agency too about 2 years ago and have been approached by many since; unfortunately they all want a cut of the pie so they'll decline so many offers they don't seem to be financially beneficial to them. In my experience it's always better to go it alone... If you can x

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  24. Such an interesting and insightful post. It's definitely important to be honest and shed light on personal experiences. Blogging can be sugar coated sometimes, but it's nice to see honesty! Great read xx

    VanessaVonJames | Fashion Blog

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  25. Really enjoyed reading this post. I have been blogging for a couple years not but have been reading blogs for much longer. I've noticed a huge change since when i first discovered blogs, and i cant help feeling disappointed with all the ads in blogs and youtube videos. It somehow doesn't feel as truthful x

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  26. You really got me! This is exactly the way I feel about blogging today. I wish I could get back on my feet, such as you :)

    xoxo

    SelfishxRomance.ME - Argentina Fashion Blog

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  27. This is the real you! That's what readers want to see, we want to know you. Thank you for pouring your heart out darling. This post has been a great insite into what can go wrong with blogging, so many people just keep it glossy now and your right the community is dying because of it.

    I hope I can follow in your footsteps and keep it real :) Only been blogging just over a week and need all the support I can get from a wonderful and real community ^-^

    www.bumpkinbroke.com

    Xx

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  28. I know exactly how you feel, and I loved Morven too! I started blogging five years ago, it feels very different now!

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  29. This a truly motivating publish Victoria. I really appreciate how sincere you've been and the truth you're remaining real to yourself. Your terms have given me viewpoint. Thank you for your loyalty, I wish more individuals were aware of this. http://www.ahealthdiary.com/search/label/BEAUTY

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  30. This is the most insightful and truthful blogging post I've read in a long time. It's easy to feel disappointed and not relevant but remaining true to yourself is always the most important. Thank you so much for sharing, it really spoke what I feel like most days! Ending on a positive is the best way forward x

    Bridie | Upon My Sleeve

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  31. I have over 250 unread blog posts that I'm reading my way through...yours were the first ones I went to! :) x

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  32. This is such a great post, I've followed your blog for years and years and I love everything you've said. Blogging has got way more complicated these days and although people can now make money from doing a hobby it should never get to a point where it becomes unenjoyable! I think people forget that they never set out to make money in the first place. Oh and never compare your blog to anyone elses, everybody is different!

    Libi
    thelibstick.blogspot.com

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  33. I've loved your blog for years and now that I am a blogger myself, this post was so refreshing to read. It's hard not to compare yourself to those mega bloggers, especially when you put so much time and effort into your online space and there's always so much to do. I myself got caught up in the freebies and PR emails I was getting and then blogging turned into a chore and left me feeling unmotivated. Now I'm being even more selective about the opportunities I accept and I'm writing what I want to write - it feels great! I'd be genuinely sad if your blog disappeared, so I am glad you're enjoying blogging again! xx

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  34. Just come to this post from your 2015 roundup one and wanted to say how wonderful it is that you have found a job you love (that makes such a difference!) and that you are back to enjoying blogging :)

    I've been blogging for almost 10 years now (so predating even the social media blogging era!) and it has changed so very much in that time. When I first found your blog (thanks to your dad, ha, such a chance encounter and feels like an age ago!) your blog was in a completely different league to mine but it was still lovely to read and connect with you - that sense of community is what blogging is really all about, for me at least! But it is so very easy to get caught in the trap of thinking you must be doing something wrong or missing out if you aren't up there with the "big guys" can't it? I actually had my best blogging year for years in 2015 at The Family Patch but made the crazy decision to walk away and start afresh elsewhere as it just wasn't enjoyable anymore... And as I said before, enjoying what you do makes all the difference! Sorry, long comment but I did enjoy reading this post and wanted to say how great it was to read how well you're doing!

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