It wasn’t long ago that I was calling myself a ‘freelancer’ and I’d correct anyone who referred to me as a ‘full time blogger’.
When I first quit my job to work for myself the majority of my income came from freelancing copywriting and social media consultancy so I didn’t want to mislead anyone and make them think I was working on my blog full time. In reality, I was only spending a day or two each week working on The Travel Hack.
Oh, how times have changed. I now spend the majority of my time working on the blog so I guess that now makes me a full time blogger!
Being a full time blogger was my ultimate dream and while I love my job more than I ever thought possible, it does come with its drawbacks.
Here are some truths about being a full time blogger and the things no one ever seems to talk about…
1. Bloggers never take holidays
Holidays? Vacations? What are those?
No matter what your blogging niche is, bloggers never take real holidays. This is partly because bloggers never switch off but also because holidays make the best blog content. This is even more true if you’re a travel blogger.
Bloggers are always photographing, Instagramming, tweeting, taking notes, drafting blog posts and replying to emails. Once you start, it’s pretty much impossible to stop.
I don’t even know how I’m going to deal with maternity leave!
2. Bloggers don’t spend that much time creating blog posts
If only I spent all day in a cosy cafes writing blog posts. That really would be the dream!
Most of my time is spent in meetings, pitching, editing, analysing, promoting, brainstorming or doing blog-worthy stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing all of these things but the writing of actual blog posts takes about 10% of my time.
3. There’s a lot of pressure
Admittedly, there doesn’t have to be a lot of pressure but most bloggers put a lot of pressure on themselves. When you are the sole personal responsible for a blog, you are the only person accountable.
If the blog does well then hurrah for you. But if it does badly then you are the only person to blame. You can’t blame the new kid in a different department or vent your frustrations onto the IT department. Everything that happens, both good and bad, is 100% on your shoulders. It can be a heavy weight to hold.
4. Emails, emails, emails
You could easily spend most of your day replying to emails.
I have two words: Canned Responses.
Best. Invention. Ever.
5. You have to read a lot of other blogs
I’m always amazed when I speak to bloggers who don’t read other blogs. I’m a firm believer that you should write the blog you want to read and if you don’t know what blogs you like to read, how do you know what to write? I’m not saying you should ever copy a blog (quite the opposite) but blogs can be a great source of inspiration.
I read blogs on a million different topics. I read everything from SEO blogs, design, fashion, parenting, cooking, DIY, home renovation, personal development, blogs about blogging and, of course, plenty of travel blogs.
I learn something new from each blog I read and, while it might be time consuming, it’s part of the creative process.
6. It is the world’s best job…
…but it isn’t as perfect as many bloggers will have you believe. Yes, blogging is the best job in the world. I know this sounds corny but each morning I wake up and I’m so grateful to be doing what I love.
It might be amazing but it’s not all fun and games. It’s hard work with long hours, tricky clients, lots of negotiating and far too much time with your eyes glued to a computer screen.
7. You have to explain what you do at least once a day
Get used to explaining exactly what you do when you meet someone new (or in my case, every time my career comes up in conversation with my mum). Blogging is such a new industry and people are curious as to how bloggers earn a living and exactly what it is you do all day. I love it when people are interested in blogging but it can become tiresome at parties and events when you have the same conversation again and again.
8. Working alone is tough
Working alone is one of the hardest things about blogging for me. I have lots of blogger buddies and we speak on an almost daily basis. We chat about blogging and throw around ideas, we brainstorm, we plan, we plot and we share. But at the end of the day, we each have our own blogs to worry about and we’re ultimately alone in the big bad world of blogging.
I miss having a team and other people to rely on. When I’m not travelling I often spend all day alone in my home office and this gets boring very quickly!
9. You have to be flexible, open to change and willing to learn
No, I’m not suggesting you take up yoga but a good blogger is very flexible with their thoughts, their ideas, their plans and their time. Things change and they change quickly in the blogging world.
Readers of the blogosphere have a short attention span and content needs to evolve and develop fast enough to keep up with people’s interests. This means that something may have worked 3 months ago but won’t work today. You need to recognize the change in trends and quickly adapt to keep up with what people want.
10. It can be competitive
Like all small industries, blogging can be amazingly competitive. It could be easy to get swept up in this competitive world but it’s just as easy to ignore it. I find that my best days are the days I don’t log into Facebook. I don’t get involved in Facebook blogger chat and I don’t get sucked into bitchy arguments.
Keep an eye on what other people are doing but don’t let it influence your work. It will bring you down.
11. Everything takes longer than you think
You want to write a blog post about your experience in a new destination? No problem, surely that will only take a few hours to whip up? Right? Errr…wrong.
I always think I can whip up a post fairly quickly but when I think about the planning and organization that goes into doing something for the blog, then the time that goes into writing, editing, staging the right photos, editing the photos, formatting the post, promoting it across social media and a million other things you don’t think about until it’s time to hit ‘Publish’, writing a blog post takes a hell of a long time!
12. The flexibility and freedom isn’t always a bonus
When I first left my job to work for myself I thought I’d pick my own hours and have a flexible working day. In reality, I found this was difficult to maintain because I was working to a different schedule to all of my friends.
Yes, I have the occasional lie-in but where’s the fun in sleeping until 10am if it means I then need to work until 8pm when all of my friends are in the pub?
When I’m not travelling I pretty much always work 9-6 Monday to Friday. I rarely open my laptop at the weekend and I try to discourage lunch-time visitors.
13. You have to be a bit geeky
Most bloggers have an inner geek that is lurking somewhere inside them. It’s a blogger’s geeky side that makes it easier to spend hours working on blog design SEO, photography techniques, analyzing statistics, checking and double checking each written word for grammatical mistakes and teaching yourself how to use new technology.
Blogging can be hard work if you don’t enjoy the geeky side.
14. You have to be tough
I can’t believe how much I’ve toughened up over the past year, particularly when it comes to the financial side of my blog. There will always be people out there who want something for nothing and you soon learn to spot them from a mile away. Negotiating and coming to mutually beneficial financial arrangements is hard work and you need to get your game face on to get what you deserve.
15. Blogging can be frustrating
Blogging can be so frustrating that you need to cover your face with a pillow for a good 10 minutes and scream at the top of your lungs until you literally don’t have enough breath to carry on.
Frustrations come from the endless stream of people who expect you to work for free to internet trolls to friends and family members who just ‘don’t get it’.
16. Vlogging is one of the most awkward and embarrassing things you can possibly do
But when it’s done well, it’s REALLY good.
*Note to self: Learn how to vlog really good
17. You’ll have a love/hate relationship with Google Analytics
I check my GA stats on an almost daily basis but I still get nervous every time I log in. If my stats plummet then my blogging dream could be over. I don’t know why I worry about this because it’s never happened before but it doesn’t stop me panicking!
18. Your income will be diverse
Most bloggers don’t have one source of income and will earn their pennies in many different ways. It can be daunting if you’ve previously had a monthly wage that arrives into your bank account with no chasing, no pestering and no negotiating but you soon realise it’s better not to put all your eggs in one basket.
19. Content will always be king
It’s easy to get caught up with website design and your social media following but, at the end of the day, quality content is all that matters.
20. You have to love what you do
To be a full time blogger you have to love what you do with every single cell in your body.
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