I try really hard not to write about blogging.
Not necessarily because I don’t find posts about blogging interesting (although if I see another “10 top tips for upping your blogging game” article I’m going to storm into Diptyque and smash every Baies votive going), but more so because I imagine for those of my readers who aren’t bloggers, subjecting yourself to 500 words about “scheduling”, “bulk shooting” and ~ eNgAgEmEnT ~ can be pretty dull.
Sometimes, however, I’m happy to drop the blinkers and discuss the industry which I’m a part of. With the shifting standard of content creation encouraging us to become podcasters, YouTubers, authors and more, and with swathes of us treating Instagram like a bad boyfriend which we’ll inevitably always go back to (here’s looking at you, Vero), blogging feels both like a whole new world of possibility, and a minefield of expectation.
And no! Before your curser instinctively shoots to close the current tab, I’m not about to break into a 15 minute lament on the “good old days” and how we can all do that little bit extra to boost each other’s stats. Every industry evolves, and more often than not, you have to decide whether you’re going to play the game or spectate. I’m not saying I agree with everything that’s changing, but I am saying that in order to keep doing what I do, I have to find ways to make those changes work for me. That’s just the harsh reality of business, sometimes.
And blogging is a business, especially for those of us who have chosen to make it our careers. Money in blogging has long been a taboo subject, with many not wanting to share how much they charge for services rendered (which, IMO, is entirely just. I think it’s helpful to share your fees with others so they have a benchmark for their own business, but if you want to keep your finances private, then you do you), and the stratospheric success of some super-vloggers casting a question mark over how much influencers are and should be paid. Whether payment in the industry is something that concerns you or not, there’s no denying that there is money to be made, and potentially a lot of it.
In the interest of transparency, I’ve made roughly £45k in the past financial year, through a combination of blogging and freelance marketing. I don’t have an agent (I doubt I ever will), I don’t do YouTube, and honestly, my success with rewardStyle has been extremely limited. My salary is both a lot and a little, but in comparison to others? I really don’t have a clue.
It just doesn’t phase me. As long as I can pay my rent, pay my tax bill, buy myself something nice occasionally and save up for God knows what in the future, I’m a happy girl. Blogging and freelancing have allowed me to earn a very decent wage for a woman of 24 years old, especially coming from a working class background and living in a town where creative job opportunities are few and far between. I've also been able to manage my own time and career development, go full-time self-employed and create a business which is entirely my own.
So why is it that we keep telling women they shouldn’t get into blogging for the money?
My question is: why not?
Is there something so sordidly offensive about women wanting to run their own businesses and earn good money? Are we really still suggesting that whilst men can aggressively push for higher salaries and bigger bonuses, that women should be motivated by passion and emotion alone? And that monetary reward should just be a delightful bonus? How can we rightfully celebrate blogging as an industry which is accessible for young women - and also recognise just how lucrative it can be - but also chastise anybody who doesn’t repeatedly scream about how they’d bloG FOREVER EVEN IF THEY DIDN’T GET PAID!!!!!
There’s money to be made in the world of influencer marketing, and there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be going for it. If you think that whilst I was living in my Nan’s spare bedroom, churning out blog posts after my 9-5 and living in my overdraft (which I still am, tbf) that I wasn’t partially motivated to make blogging my career because of the money, then you’re wrong. If I’m seeing girls like me buying their own homes, paying off their debts and creating better lives for themselves, why shouldn’t I want that?
That’s not to say that I don’t understand the frustration of individuals writing their first blog post, and subsequently going off on a Twitter rant about how they can’t believe they haven’t been offered payment for their first gifting opportunity ~ ever ~. All too often do people slide into my DMs with 700 Instagram followers, asking how they can gain a bigger audience to make bags of cash (the answer is time, patience and a lot of unpaid hard work, FYI). I’ve also become accustomed to seeing influencers expecting to be paid for their effort alone, even if their content doesn’t offer any potential return on investment for the brand (the relationship has to be mutually beneficial - if they’re not making anything out of paying you for content, why would they pay you in the first place?).
I get it - people looking for shortcuts in a career that has taken you money, time and exceptional energy to build is annoying as fuck. But if one of the aforementioned people managed to persevere and build a livelihood out of blogging, could I begrudge them their initial motivations? No, I don’t think I could.
If you’re looking to make a quick buck in blogging, the odds are stacked against you. There are some loopholes and tricks for getting there quicker of course, but largely, it takes a lot of time. I’ve been blogging for well over five years now, and only last year did I quit my office job and start generating a proper wage. That’s a long time of waiting and working for nothing, but 1), I’m a narcissistic English Lit student with an undying desperation to be ~ heard ~, so I was always going to keep writing, and 2), I knew that I could make good money doing something I enjoyed, so I powered ahead. If one of those DM creepers managed to stick it out and create a career for themselves, then they’ve probably realised the hard way that it doesn’t happen overnight. That, or they’ve beaten the system and become an Instagram-glam queen in a matter of months, in which case kudos queen - you did what you came to do and you’re making the money that you wanted, so keeping playing playa.
The blogging and influencer industries offer viable, accessible and potentially profitable career opportunities for young women, encouraging them to learn transferable skills through running their own business and presenting networking and travel prospects that otherwise would not have been possible. Should they be motivated by financial gain? Well, why not?
So here’s your personal PSA: you are allowed to want to make money - as much or as little money as you like. Even if you’re not fucking bonkers for blogging, and you don’t live and breathe for Twitter chats and industry statistics and whatever else is the flavour of the month, you can still be motivated by the prospect of earning a decent wage. Don’t let anybody tell you that you shouldn’t want to be financially successful in a job you enjoy, no matter how new-age it is.