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.