The Unspoken Reality Behind Being a Blogger
I never really thought I would ever sit down to write a post like this, but the longer I am in this industry and the more I grow both on Instagram and my blog, the more I feel the need to clear up some very common misconceptions about what being an “Influencer”/Blogger is like.
Now more than ever, I am working harder than I ever have to grow my brand and platform. This means actually meeting with companies, clients and investing in courses, products, equipment, etc. to really take my brand to another level. But it seems that the more time, effort and work I put into blogging and this “influencer” life, the more I realize that a lot of what people think of bloggers (what we do and the truths about this industry) is so far off from what the reality actually is.
The crazy part about it? Most bloggers don’t actually talk about these realities. And while I do appreciate the few that explicitly shed light to the industry and keep it real, I think there needs to be a more transparent narrative so that more people understand that this industry--while very luxurious at times--is FAR from “living the dream”.
Below are some of the most common things people say to me. *I typically try to laugh it off because I know most people do not know any better (this industry is very hush hush about many things), but here are the truth’s behind the most common things people say to me:
“It must be nice to be a blogger, it doesn’t even seem like work”
It is a JOB. And most times, you have to put in way more work than a 9-5. I think this one has started to become a sore spot when it comes to what people think bloggers do.
Sure, there are people who post just to post (even when the content is low quality), or post subpar content and call it blogging that give the rest of us a bad name (cue: “Everyone is a blogger these days” statements). But for those of us busting our butts off, waking up at obscene hours of the early morning, going out of our way and sacrificing raw fun and enjoyment so that we can provide our audience with content that they would appreciate and enjoy or is useful--well, this kind of negates all that we do. Yes it is unconventional, and I won’t deny that the perks are sweet, but as a content creator there is so much done behind the scenes that no one ever sees. I mean who else would create the content for us?
On the topic of perks:
“You get so much free stuff, must be nice” or the infamous “Tell your sponsors to send me free stuff too”
This is the one that probably bugs me the most. It’s no secret that I and my fellow bloggers get a lot of stuff sent to us. What you don’t know is that behind every #bloggermail Instagram story of me opening up a box, my timer starts ticking towards a deadline. Whether it is an #ad, #sponsored post or something #gifted, none of these things come without a price. Every item I get sent to me has deliverables attached to it that I need to create within the next 10-14 days, sometimes less. These items are typically sent to bloggers because the brand has determined that that specific blogger has the audience reach that would resonate with their product. So the next time you tell a blogger to “tell your sponsors to send me free stuff too”, know that if they laugh it off and joke around with you--they’re probably just being a nice and good friend and humoring you.
“You get to go to so many fun events and do things for free (stuff that most people pay for)”
I know each time I post about being at an event with a champagne glass in hand, I may seem like I am living the high life, but honestly? Hardly. What you don’t see is me having to eat my food cold in order to get the perfect shot. What you don’t see is me stressing about how to strategically place my food and myself in a way that is aesthetically pleasing for my feed at the moment. What you don’t see is me ONLY ordering food that I KNOW for a fact will look good for Instagram. Yep, I don’t love avocado toast with radish and Eggs Benedicts or latte art THAT much. I just have trained my brain to opt for it because it’s what looks the best on my feed. Those free restaurant dinners you see me go to? Those are press events (called menu tastings in the foodie world) that are often a trade for post (I get to eat for free in exchange for a post about my experience). Yep, there’s always a trade off!
"You are just living the life! It must be so fabulous/glamorous/etc. based on your Instagram"
Hardly tbh. It’s crazy to think the amount of people that think my Instagram feed is actually an accurate representation of my life. If you look at my Instagram feed and aesthetic, you will notice that everything is curated to fit those neat little squares, but the truth is: my life is far from that. In reality, what I show you on Instagram is 10% of my life. Not saying that I photoshop myself in these places, but just saying that the majority of my photos are staged and preplanned. Yep, there are apps for that. I mean come on, did you really think that my life is that coordinated? Yes, there are random blissful moments where I find a picturesque spot and snap a shot, but the majority of the time they are planned in very intense detail wayyyy ahead of time.
“You must get paid so much”
Yes, it’s true, it’s possible to make a sizable income blogging. BUT, only if I am hustling like crazy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY (aka actually treating this like a full time job) which is near impossible for me because I work multiple jobs, go to school and am involved in multiple organizations. If I slack even just a little bit, there goes any chance of scoring a paid collaboration.
“What? You get paid to post pictures? I can do that”
Everytime people say this, I am always tempted to say: “Okay, then do it”. But since I am a nice person and will probably never say that, I will explain this concept that is truly easier said than done. Bloggers are called “content creators” because they create content for brands that can be used on that brands social platforms, catalogues, etc. The rise of this paid collaborations world lies in the fact that the cost to pay an influencer to create the content is way, way cheaper for the brand compared to the overhead costs that come along with hiring a production team, model, photographer, renting out a space, etc. for the company. Most of the time, we are selling the rights to our photo for brands to use on their site and because of this they have to be high quality, high resolution images and very much so curated.
While on the topic of money:
“It must be nice to never have to spend any money since you get everything for free”
The amount of money I have to actually spend to keep doing what I do is actually pretty surprising to a lot of people. So I will say this: this lifestyle is expensive af honestly. It may seem like it’s so nice for me to get sent free stuff all the time and to go to pretty cafes or pretty places, but ALL of that comes at a steep cost. Let me break down for you how much some pictures have cost me (money I’ve had to spend on my own dime):
This doesn’t even include all the extra clothes I have to buy (yes, yes not all of my stuff is sponsored—I still buy the majority of my clothing), otherwise I wouldn’t have any content to post. Plus, I wouldn't want every post to be sponsored material. This doesn’t even include the trips I have to take to keep my page and content alive and something you actually want to come view or the amount of money I have to spend on equipment, courses to learn new and useful information and to just small things like the monthly fees I have to pay for my blog, ads, or expenses for props etc. IT ADDS UP QUICKLY!
In fact, a huge portion of my monthly expenditures come from the upkeep of blogging.
I could go on forever, but I would probably shatter all your illusions about the world of blogging, so I will leave it at those common ones. If there is anything I hope you learned from this, I hope it is the fact that there is definitely more than meets the eye--especially when it comes to this industry. I love being a part of it, and I love being able to share useful information and create content for you guys. But this lifestyle is definitely not as glamorous as you think it might be, just remember that the next time you wish you had the life of a blogger!
Til' my next exposé,