The Classic Brunette: What I've Learned My First Year As A Full-Time Blogger

Monday, May 7, 2018

What I've Learned My First Year As A Full-Time Blogger

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Just like with graduation, I can't believe it's been a year since I started blogging full time. I want to start off by saying that this definitely wasn't the plan for my year. Full-time blogging sort of fell into my lap due to a number of circumstances. After graduation I had planned to take the summer "off" as a final hurrah to my schooling, one last break before I began working in the real world. Turns out the real world hit harder than expected that summer with the passing of both of my parents. I was postponing getting a job, which turned out to be a good thing considering how much work it takes to understand and get an estate in order (thank you to my sister who is taking on more of a load than I am) and blogging was my way to pay the bills until I could find something more permanent. As it seems, blogging is the more permanent thing. Although I might pick up a second job in Seattle since the cost of living is higher, this year of full-time blogging was eye opening and full of lessons. Here's just a few of them!

Always Know Your Worth, Don't Work For Free

You can't be a full-time blogger if you're not making an income, it's as simple as that! But here's the thing, you shouldn't be working for free either, even if blogging is "just a hobby." If you're marketing for brands, that's something you should be paid for. Blogging is worth something. Your time is worth something, and your words, photos, and actions are worth something. Although there are always exceptions (like a luxury item when you're a smaller blogger) this is 99% of the time a rule. Once I started trusting my worth (Thank you BossPitch!)and offered up my services to brands, they took me more seriously as well. (Check out my tips for how to pitch and work with brands here!)

Do I still get product only offers? Of course, all bloggers do, even the HUGE ones. But once I started saying no to those and sticking with my rates, I was suddenly getting more paid offers. The worst thing about bloggers working for free though is that it devalues everyone else in the community. You don't know how many times I've received an email back from a company saying "We don't need you, another blogger will do this for no budget." It's an outrage, but I know that every company that treats me like this is one that I don't want to develop a relationship with anyway. If a brand doesn't respect your time and skills, they probably won't respect you either. The ones that have the budget are typically the nicest and most supportive brands, and always make a great impression!

Pitching Brands Is Where It's At

Although I LOVE when brands message me first, it can sometimes be daunting when you have no clue who that brand is. On the one hand, when a brand contacts me it can be an amazing collaboration with a company I might not have otherwise been aware of. There are so many brands that have introduced themselves to me these past few years that I have grown to love, and I never would have found them had they not reached out! But on the other hand, sometimes the brands you love seem to not be aware of your existence. The only way to get on their radar is to reach out yourself! If you craft a pitch you're proud of and show them how you can both be mutually beneficial to each other, pitching can bring you amazing opportunities!


It's Easy To Feel Overwhelmed

I only blog twice a week and sometimes I just can't keep up. There are times when I need to sit down and take a break from my blog and social media. Just like everyone else, we need mental health and vacation days. I'm not sure how some full-time bloggers put out content every day! Although I'm only writing two posts a week, I'm still working every single day. Whether it's answering emails, taking photos, posting to social media, interacting with readers, I'm on my computer or phone all day. Sometimes I drive myself crazy with how much screen time I get. If you're not a blogger this might be a surprise, as many of us try to make it look like we live the most relaxing and fun lives! Don't get me wrong, I love that I can work from home, take care of my pet(s), and run errands when I'd like to, but that doesn't mean I'm not constantly on the clock. Most days I'll get up to start working around 9am only to make it to bed by 2am just trying to catch up with everything.

PIN FOR LATER!

Making Friends Is A Must

Not only is it hard to have a social life when you spend most of your time in your house on your computer, but the blogging world can be lonely if you have no one to share it with. I'm a part of a few communities and facebook groups for bloggers, but some of my best blogging friends came from just interacting with each other on social media! Shoutout here to Kristin from The Blush Blonde, aka my blogger bff who is always checking up on me and sharing news about her cute little pup Lucy! It's great having someone to talk about this crazy job with, whether it's good news or bad!

Community Over Competition

It's incredibly easy to play the jealous game in the blogging world. You see other girls getting incredible opportunities and start to wonder if you're not good enough, you don't have the right connections, or that you're just not doing your job right. This can be especially hard to deal with when there are "mean girls" out there that purposefully try to beat everyone out for collabs or even just tricks of the trade. Although I've only dealt with this on a minor scale, I have blogger friends who have been sent on wild goose chases for a brand's contact info, or been told they need to "figure it out for themselves" on a very simple piece of advice. I, and the majority of others in the blogging world are choose community over competition. We help when we can, offering advice, contacts, and other news when people are nice enough to join in a conversation. Of course there are those who take advantage, but they're pretty easy to spot. When you realize that you're going to be without friends in this tight-knit community, you start sticking together and working with rather than against one another!

Promotion Is Key

This is something I've been a little lax with lately (what with moving, my best friend's graduation, and traveling back and forth from home...) but I'm slowly working my way back into my grind. You can write an amazing blog post, but if no one is viewing it, it will never help anyone. You have to promote promote promote! Pinterest is my favorite way to share posts because it can lead to viral pins, which means PAGEVIEWS. It's the social media site that's helped my blog to grow so much, and I will forever be thankful for it! However that isn't the only way to spread the word about how wonderful your latest post is. Facebook groups, Instagram, Twitter, and even a good old fashioned email will get the job done!

Write Down Everything Important

I can be a bit of a spazz (type B here) when it comes to keeping things in order, however blogging is something that I take serious care of. I track expenses, income, dates for sponsored posts, responses to brands, brand contacts, the list goes on. It helps keep me organized, and is great come tax season!


Invest In Yourself And Your Blog Wisely

When I first started blogging I was overwhelmed with the amount of information, courses, printables, etc available to help bloggers learn. I wanted to buy everything, but also wasn't sure what was worth the investment. Courses can be pricy, and you don't want to invest hundreds of dollars only to find out you could have easily googled the info. Always always always look for multiple reviews on everything, and even ask around in your community if anyone has used the specific information you're looking at. You'll be surprised what you can find out with google, pinterest, and blogger friends on your side! Don't invest in something until you're sure it's worth it. This also goes for other things like props, an expensive camera, or even a blog theme. Take your time to figure out what will work best for you, what you're willing to put into educating yourself. (Will you take the time to learn how to use a new camera? Will you take a 20 hour blog course?) Choose your investments wisely and they can help you out in a big way, invest poorly and you could just be losing money.

You Can't Please Everyone

I'm no stranger to negative comments, emails, and even face-to-face harsh words. It's something that comes with putting yourself in front of the public. The one mistake you can make is letting the negatives get to you, when there are so many others who are building you up. It can be hard because we want everyone to love, or at least like us, but sometimes people just won't. This doesn't just show up in hate, but can manifest itself in things like seeing your friends not like a post or even something as simple and silly as unfollowing on social media. Those people might not be loving your content, and that is okay. Just think of it as losing a non-target audience, and slowly perfecting your niche. You shouldn't be pleasing everyone, since not everyone has the same interests. Take everything with a grain of salt, and don't forget that you're just working to find people who do enjoy your content!

Always Be Professional And Kind

I mentioned this in my how to pitch brands successfully blog post, however it rings true in all aspects of blogging (and life!). I've seen bloggers share embarrassing stories from readers that were meant for private DM,  I've seen impeccably rude emails sent to brands because someone was mildly offensive, and I've seen bloggers get nasty with readers when someone disagrees with their opinion on something. There's a time and place to stick up for yourself, but there's also a need to maintain your image and not immediately burn bridges. If someone is critiquing something you know is unfair, like the way you raise your children for example, stick up for yourself!! But don't sink to a level of middle school drama with name calling and swearing at people like a crazy person. Rationalize your response, and attack the issue with a clear head. Whatever the issue or situation that may be at hand, act as if your grandparent's can see your actions and response. Would they be proud of how you responded to a rude email? You never know someone else's connections or what sort of skills they have (stalkers are a real scare here in the blogging world!), so always try your best to be polite!

Do you agree with these lessons? What would you add? Are you interested in becoming a full-time blogger?

33 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes!! I love this, everything is spot on!

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  2. I didn't know that you were blogging full-time, congratulations!! Yes to community over competition, and yes to staying organized! I don't blog full time but totally agree with both of those!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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  3. COngrats on going full time!! I can learn a lot from you!!!

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  4. Love this post! As a new blogger, I appreciate all these tips and plan to follow them throughout my first year!

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  5. 100% agree with this! I just turned my blog into an LLC in February after a year of blogging and there’s definitely a difference, a lot of these tips are similar to what I’ve learned.

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  6. I love that you gave so much information in this post. I would love to refer back to this page to keep updated on all this information!

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  7. I'm so sorry for your loss! I graduated and found out that there were no jobs available to me so that's why I started blogging full time. Everything in this post is so true! It's still hard for me to remember not to compare myself with other bloggers! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with working with different brands!

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  8. Great lessons! I love your Community over competition mindset. There's enough competition in the world without having to turn on each other!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  9. Love your points on what you learned in the first year of blogging! Especially the community over competition and to always know your worth (to not work for free)!

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  10. These are really awesome tips!! I have learned so much from blogging!

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  11. thanks for sharing these!!! i really admire all the bloggers out there who have made it full time... one day!!

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  12. Yes to all of this! Congrats on a year of blogging full time!

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  13. What a year you must have had. I'm so sorry to hear about your parents, but it sounds like you are doing really well. Thanks for these great tips!

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  14. I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your parents, that must have been so difficult but it seems like you really made the best of a bad situation. I'm so happy blogging has served you so well, you have some great tips in here!

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  16. Congratulations on your first year as a full-time blogger! I'm so sorry to hear about your parents, but you have really made the best of the situation, and have given some fabulous advice.

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  17. YES to all of this! As I am far from a full time blogger (i wouldnt even consider it a hobby anymore) but it truly is alot of work. The funny thing is though, you miss it when youre not around it! Love reading your insights into it. Cheers to another year!

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  18. Yes to all of these! You are legit a rockstar, Sami. I give you mad props because you persevered through all the hardships life has thrown at you the past year. <3

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  19. I agree that promotion is the key. You could have the most amazing content, but if you don't put it out there, it will be worthless.

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  20. Yes yes and yes! All lessons I've learned. Blogging is so much more time consuming than I ever imagined when I started. Yep, learned that too.

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  21. YAS GIRL. You've gone through so much and persevered - you go girl! And HOLLAH BOSSPITCH!

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  22. Congrats on a full year of full time blogging! So many great tips here, especially when it comes to working with brands and knowing your worth (something our team is still working on).

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  23. It's great that you're able to blog full-time! It definitely goes on to prove how much hard work you're putting into your blog. Kudos! I love this post and agree with all the points. I'm not a full-time blogger yet so these are key points for me to always keep in mind.
    Cheers!
    Parul - https://girlinchief.com

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  24. These are great thoughts. I'd love to get my blog to be my full time job. I'm not sure it's in the cards though :(

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  25. All really important lessons! Congrats on taking the plunge, I am also full time and while it is a challenge, it's also a lot of fun.

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  26. I love these insights. I looking to take my blog full time this year!

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  27. Being professional and kind and knowing your worth is everything! Love these tips girl - congrats on your first year!

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  28. These are fantastic piece of advice to those hoping to take their blog full-time! I only blog three times a week - and it's NOT my full-time job - but I understand how time-consuming it is. There is so much behind the scenes stuff that non-bloggers don't think about, or don't realise how long each task takes. I still love blogging with all my heart, but there is certainly a lot of downsides to it too!

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  29. Love all of these tips so much! I totally agree with promote, promote, promote! It takes SO much work to run a blog and most do not understand that!

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  30. Spot on! Thanks for the info. This is helpful since I've just started. Worth the read! 💕
    www.annebelo.com

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  31. These are awesome tips/things you learned! Blogging takes a lot of work and effort, but it definitely pays off!

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  32. Aw such great advice! I wish I had known these things when I first started blogging, I'm really enjoying making connections through blogging at the moment, I've met so many like minded people I would never have met otherwise :D there's so much beautiful content and beautiful blogs out there, so happy to have come across yours!

    Would you like to follow each other on Bloglovin’ by any chance? My page is here :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara

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  33. I'd love to blog full-time in the near future, too! All these are spot on! Right now, I'm investing in getting more resources that will help me better my blogging game.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment! I read and appreciate every one!

 
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