So You Think You Want to be a Full Time Blogger?

 

What It's Like to be a full time blogger, so you think you want to be a full time blogger, realities of blogging, Missguided, Chloe Dupe Bag

 

The rise of the blogging industry over the last few years has been truly monumental and the industry is becoming more and more saturated with empowered women (and men!) who hope to ‘make it’ as full time bloggers. I think that is ace. I’ve spoken at length about how truly wonderful I think blogging is; as a hobby it allows a creative space to share your thoughts or your talents with the world, and as a career it allows freedom and flexibility. As a largely female dominated industry I find it particularly inspiring that so many talented women are able to run killer businesses from home around busy lifestyles, families and all manner of commitments. But, it isn’t easy.

I saw a tweet recently that was a little concerned that more and more children are aspiring to be Youtubers or bloggers when they grow up. There is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t, but it’s very easy to look at the industry from the outside and assume it’s all press events, freebies and scrolling on Instagram. If I mention that I’m working from home or that I’ve given myself a lie in I often get a lot of responses telling me how lucky I am. Recently in a face to face conversation, someone said to me “I wish I’d thought to set up a blog, must be such an easy way to live”. Uhmmmmmm

Yes, to an extent I am lucky; I am lucky because I get to wake up every day and do the thing that I love doing. I don’t often get that Sunday night dread, and I always meet my rent. From that perspective, I feel totally privileged and the opportunities I’m afford bring me so much joy and gratitude. But I work bloody hard. It’s not luck that I started a blog and it’s not luck that people want to read it.

There are a thousand wonderful things I could write about this industry and this post is absolutely in no way intended to put anyone off, but it isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and Gucci Belts –

 

Here are some of the realities of being a full time blogger:

 

It’s a bit like being at work all the time

As a full-time blogger, it is incredibly difficult to ever switch off. Whilst for most a scroll through social media first thing in the morning, on the train, or whilst watching Netflix in the evening is a past time, for us it is work. That can be really daunting and is part of the reason I try not to keep my phone next to my bed at night.

Everything is a content opportunity and whilst yes, that is a choice, it becomes almost impossible not to want to get a quick snap for the gram. When I’m out and about I literally see photo opportunities and I can’t help mentally drafting blog posts and captions and at times that is totally exhausting. 

 

And people forget that you are actually working

If you’re at an event, you’re working. If you’re meeting a PR for lunch, you’re working. If you’re on a press trip, you’re working. Don’t get me wrong, I’d personally far rather be doing all those things than following a 9-5 but sometimes it is really frustrating that people just assume you’re off on a jolly. Luxurious events are wonderful, but there are normally always content requirements; a pressure to share and to provide the publicity that fundamentally you have been invited for. 

 

You constantly have to justify your career choice

Even though I am self-employed, running my own business and paying my own bills, people still ask me what I am going to do with my degree. I’ve been asked how long I’m going to ‘keep up this blogging lark‘ multiple times, and whilst I’m lucky that my Mum is incredibly supportive, I know a lot of people have really had to convince their parents that they are not wasting their education or pursuing a whim.

 

What It's Like to be a full time blogger, so you think you want to be a full time blogger, realities of blogging, Missguided, Chloe Dupe Bag

 

And the job security is incredibly low 

The media industry is ever changing: a few years ago I don’t think anyone really predicted that blogging would be what it is today, or that Glamour Magazine would give up the ghost and move online because sales are so low. Platforms that we rely so heavily on – such as Instagram – have the ability to send our businesses plummeting to the ground. I’m not whinging about the algorithm, but rather questioning the longevity of the app. Just look at Facebook; a few years ago it was thriving but now it’s a dumping ground for cat videos and Sandra from Huddersfield who wants to sell her wardrobe. One tweet from Kylie Jenner and Snapchat’s shares plummet. 

 

You do not get to sit in a cute cafe and write all day

Maybe 20% of my time is actually spent writing. The other eighty is dedicated to endless emails (many of which are either a load of rubbish, a waste of time because they never reply anyway or newsletters I never even signed up to), brainstorming and planning, meetings, reading contracts, amending silly contracts, issuing invoices, chasing invoices, doing accounts and 50000 other items of very mundane but very necessary admin.

 

You are always held accountable for the things you do (and don’t) say

Followers have very high expectations. That’s totally okay and I always do my best to bare them in mind, but sometimes we get it a little wrong, or we say something off hand and oh my goodness do the hawks descend. Mention politics or a major event and you’ve got an agenda, don’t mention it and you’re ignorant. 

Fleur de Force got actual abuse from people for not revealing her baby’s name immediately. WHAT. 

 

What It's Like to be a full time blogger, so you think you want to be a full time blogger, realities of blogging, Missguided, Chloe Dupe Bag, woman drinking coffee, costa coffee

 

Sometimes people forget you’re a real person

Thankfully I’ve never been a victim of trolling or abuse but I know many who sadly have and it’s so unacceptable.

By putting your life online you also open it up to scrutiny and criticism. Even well-meaning followers can grow tiresome when they message to tell you that they preferred your hair before you dyed it.

 

There are no industry guidelines on pay

Money is such a taboo and it is truly ridiculous. There are no guidelines so you spend a lot of time stabbing in the dark at your rates, only to find that so-and-so is undercutting you, and so-and-so thinks you’re undercharging.

And guess what? Brands and PRs haven’t the foggiest either.

 

You’re always being asked to work for free

On a daily basis there are a flood of emails expecting free coverage. Only about 20% of my content is sponsored, so I am certainly not expecting to be paid for everything I do and the majority of what I write and post is out of a sheer love for the job, but when it feels like you’re doing a brand a favour then something is wrong.

Requests for ‘free trial runs’ (can you IMAGINE asking a hairdresser to cut your hair for free first, so that you can check she’s good enough) and offers of £30 tops in exchange for content packages you’d usually charge £500 for are a daily occurrence and sometimes it takes every ounce of my professionalism and self-control not to point out that my landlady does not accept clothing as currency. 

 

What It's Like to be a full time blogger, so you think you want to be a full time blogger, realities of blogging, Missguided, Chloe Dupe Bag

 

And you never really know what you’ve got to live on each month

Some months are brilliant, others are sparse and you have to remember that each invoice is going to take another month to actually materialise in your bank account, and that’s if they bother to pay on time. Basically, you need to be really good at budgeting or you are going to struggle. I have to view my income holistically and I tend to add up what I’ve made in a quarter and then average it out. 

 

And when you do do Ads and they don’t perform well, it’s a bit crushing

So taking all that into account, when we do do ads and they flop because followers would fundamentally rather everything was un-sponsored, it can be really disheartening.

It’s a common complaint that statistically ads never do as well as other posts and whilst it might seem a bit pathetic to get upset about likes – or a lack of -, it’s worth remembering that this is someones income and engagement is a direct measure of worth.

 

It’s made especially tough by people who will advertise anything

As in any industry, there are people who are good at the jobs and those who are…well, less so. 

Bloggers tend to get lumped together in a category when actually, we are all individual people running individual businesses. Unfortunately there are people who are essentially walking billboards for whitening toothpaste and cereal but there are also lots of truly dedicated bloggers who would never even dream of promoting anything that they don’t think is genuinely worth your while.

 

What It's Like to be a full time blogger, so you think you want to be a full time blogger, realities of blogging, Missguided, Chloe Dupe Bag

 

It can be really lonely

Working from home really isn’t for everyone. Some weeks are full of lovely events and meetings and others I honestly do not wear anything that isn’t made of jersey. Honestly, I relish alone time. As weird as that may sounds I am really comfortable in my own company and so it suits me, but equally a lot of people struggle with the lack of contact and the constant need to be your own motivator. 

And lots of people just don’t understand 

I bloody love my friends and some of them are super, super supportive of my blog. Others pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s fine, because I’m not about to comment on every aspect of their career either but it can feel a little strange when ‘real life’ pals don’t even like your Instagram posts.

Romantically, I imagine it can be really hard work going out with someone who wants to turn every date into a photo opportunity, who often has one eye on the TV and another in their DMs and who works weird and ever-changing hours. If you can find someone who supports and respects your blogging career as a career then that is worth its weight in gold. 

 

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Kaye Ford

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32 Comments

  1. March 1, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    LOVE this post babe!! I think a major thing that people struggle with is remembering that you are a real person with real feelings and real things going on at home.

    http://www.petiteelliee

    Ellie xx

    • Beth Sandland
      March 1, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      That’s definitely true! Thanks for reading Ellie xx

  2. March 1, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    This was such an interesting read! I’d love to one day work from home (I’m still figuring out what my business would be!), so I loved getting a little insight into your working life. xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • Beth Sandland
      March 1, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      I love working from home! Different environments definitely suit different people xx

  3. March 1, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    Another amazing post Beth! So honest and so informative, I’m loving your content!

    Toria x

  4. March 1, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    I love this and I am so glad you broke down everything so that people do get to understand the reality that you live on a daily basis. I think people think they know everything about a person from what we put online but that’s far from true!
    Abbie x / http://www.abbwhi.com

  5. March 2, 2018 / 3:02 am

    100% with you on this. Finding the gems of people who understand is so rare. And learning to let it roll off when people just don’t get it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. March 2, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    Loved this post. I find you so sincere and direct; it’s really refreshing.

    I started a blog last year which was supposed to be heavily centred on mental health but I lost confidence when I didn’t know what to write about haha! I’m going to try again though thanks to this post.

    If you would sub I would be so grateful!

    http://Www.cloudywithsunnyintervals.com

    Love x x x x

  7. March 2, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    This is a great post. I’m a part time blogger and it’s more of a love than anything else. Everyone dreams about it becoming full time but I am definitely not under the illusion it would be a breeze. I bet most people wouldn’t even think about the paperwork behind the scenes.
    I struggle with the technical side of my website and how to get onto bloglovin and SEO’s and so on. *sigh*
    Thanks for sharing
    Michelle xx
    wwe.thisismybliss.com.au
    IG: @shellie_belle_

  8. March 2, 2018 / 11:06 pm

    So much detail! I love blog posts like this, because you know the person behind it actually gives a shit. I think everyone wants to be online, working from home these days – I mean that’s the dream, but I agree it is hard, in-fact its harder than hard. I spend majority of my day online, trying to get coverage and because the market is so saturated, it’s difficult as a newbie. This definitely puts things into perspective. x

    http://www.sheintheknow.co.uk

  9. March 3, 2018 / 8:39 am

    What a fantastic post. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  10. March 3, 2018 / 10:34 am

    I love this post! Although I only blog part time people always think ‘bloggers do it for freebies’ and don’t realise everything that comes with it. Just keep being you, that’s the main thing.

  11. March 3, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    This is a great post. I have my own small business as well as blogging. Working from home folk think I don’t have a proper job & it maddens me.

    As you said it’s not easy but it can be more flexible which I like. I also enjoy my own company so working from home it’s just my two dogs & I during the day.

    Going to give this a share over on Twitter,
    Lynsey

    http://Www.larkandlilydesigns.co.uk

  12. March 3, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    I agree with everything you said!

    Recently a brand contacted me and asked me if I could do a review style post on some of their products. When I asked them weather or not I would be payed for doing the work and told them what my usual fee was they never contacted me again. I think it’s so narrow minded to expect people to put in hours of work for you with no payment at all. If it were a magazine advertising their products they would pay them, just because were working for ourselves and don’t have a huge team like a magazine would, it doesn’t mean that we will work with no payment.

    http://www.flolavita.co.uk

  13. March 3, 2018 / 7:39 pm

    This was truly a beautifully written post. I am someone striving to become a full-time blogger. Already, while I do it as a hobby, there are so many people already giving me shit. Even some members of my family aren’t very supportive. Luckily for me, my parents, while they don’t really understand it, are super supportive of it. It’s a struggle for sure. Not all glitz and glamour! Great post Beth xxx

    melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

  14. March 3, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Love reading this post. Completely agree with the ‘real friends’ comment too. How weird. Ah well.
    X
    Off to read your dupes blog now 😀

  15. March 4, 2018 / 1:06 am

    There’s nothing quite like meeting fellow bloggers face-to-face because they just get it. And it is the most relieving feeling ever to have someone who understands how tough blogging truly is. It’s a 24/7 job and doesn’t just entail posting a photo with a few words as most people think that is all we do. Like a silly FB post that take seconds. My God there is so much work involved, especially the social media side. Reading this felt like meeting another blogger in person over coffee. It was so refreshing to hear. All these trials and dedication it takes. All the emails we get bombarded with from companies who want free promo’s in exchange for the “off-chance” you’ll be one of their faves and they’ll share your post via social media. Or those who want content for less than $10. It can be such a thankless job sometimes. I wish all those haters who’ve said horrid things about bloggers feeling entitled to freebies and need to get a “real job” ie that poor girl who reached out to a hotel regarding a collaboration only to have said business blast and degrade her pitch on social media, would take time to read this and understand.

    Sxx
    daringcoco.com

  16. Holly
    March 4, 2018 / 8:38 am

    For an aspiring full time blogger this post was so refreshing to hear. I’ve loved blogging and I think I always will enjoy putting my heart and soal Into my blog and writing.

    Have you got any tips for someone who wants to bag their first paid content/sponsorsed post? I don’t want to take offers from a brand that has nothing to do with my blog. Is that wrong?

    I love your blog and your Instagram stories are brilliant. Your advice would be really appreciated.

    Much love
    Holly
    Xx

  17. Love this post, Beth. I’m not a full time blogger but I don’t doubt for one second all the hard work that goes into it. It takes up enough time when I’m not full time so I can’t imagine what it’s like when it’s your main job!

  18. March 4, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    I have so much appreciation for this post!

    •Bree
    Letsbebreef.com/blog

  19. March 6, 2018 / 11:00 am

    Loved this post girl – you’ve touched on so many good points here (especially the constantly being at work thing, and also constantly feeling like you have to justify your job!). Such a great read and an amazing insight into what we do!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

  20. March 7, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    I love how candid you are with your posts! Thanks for sharing! Xxoo

  21. March 7, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    Your post was so interesting and I totally understand what you mean. Blogger is a job and that takes work!
    you go girl x

    a french reader

  22. March 9, 2018 / 6:29 am

    I think most people don’t understand how much work blogging takes. My blog is just a tiny one and I don’t make any money from it but just keeping up with it, creating content, engaging etc takes up almost any free time I have. Can’t imagine how much more it’d be if it was what I did for a living. That’s a big tip of the hat to you and all the other full time bloggers out there.

    Loved reading this post. The other side of blogging that not many people understand or see, always appreciate the honesty in your writing. Thanks for sharing!

  23. March 10, 2018 / 7:28 am

    I’ve just started a blog in December and I’d like to monetise it, if only for part time money. It’s good to be aware of the pros and cons. Great post 👍

  24. March 13, 2018 / 8:00 am

    This is such an interesting post – I’ve honestly never thought about making blogging my full time job (I’m new to the game but also have a career in law), so I’ve never had to think about all this stuff; especially the part about not always being able to switch off and being constantly at work! Really enjoyed reading this!

  25. March 21, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Love this! Even though I’m nowhere near being a full time blogger, I can relate to a few of these. Especially getting offered exposure for full coverage across social media – it’s ridiculous!

    http://www.theemeralddove.co.uk

  26. April 11, 2018 / 6:44 pm

    Nice insight! I have recently started a blog and of course read lots of posts about blogging but I like that you mention the downside of things as well as the upsides. Really helps someone understand blogging from the inside out.
    Enjoyed the read, thanks!

    xx-Steph
    http://www.stephellien.com

  27. Lea
    April 15, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    This is so true. You just absolutely nailed it! How you describe the good and the bad was so well described. I do blogging as a hobby and it already takes u a lot of time. Doing it full time I can only imagine all the work going into it.
    PS: I love your blog.
    Lea, xx
    http://asnippetoflife.com

  28. May 4, 2018 / 8:52 pm

    I found this post really truthful and I’m glad you wrote it.
    So many people often think it’s just fun and not a true job… alternatively, they think it’s super glam and think it’s really easy. Glad you got the word out there!
    Ironically, because I’m not a full time blogger, people don’t take me seriously for that reason, so I sometimes feel there’s no middle ground.
    Nevertheless, I’d love to reach that point some day!
    Great post xx

    thefrugalfrenchie.co.uk

  29. May 11, 2018 / 10:56 am

    I am a full-time freelance copywriter and I run my blog alongside that. I love what I do but it’s hard work, and many people don’t realise that! My goal is to a establish a high and stable income from freelance copywriting and I’d love to become a full-time blogger.

    Chichi
    chichiwrites.com

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