Ok, that’s a lie. Some parts of blogging aren’t fun.
I had the idea for this post after I heard this for the millionth time: “Man, I want to just blog and have people send me stuff all the time.”
As I typically do to avoid confrontation, I laughed it off with a quick “yeaaahhh…” and smiled.
I figured that this happens enough, however, that I would think out loud on the subject. Just to be clear, I understand the difference between someone saying it from a place of respect and someone saying it with absolutely no idea the work that’s involved. For the latter group — this is for you. 🙂
Here’s the thing. Blogging is WORK. In order for you to have people “send you stuff all the time,” you have to prove that you’re worth sending stuff to. You have to be consistent. You have to show up. Day after day. The blog market is so saturated that if you aren’t visible and putting out quality content, there’s another blogger behind you that will.
The things that I receive from companies are either something that I have negotiated a collaboration with (and then will tell you) or they’re things for me to try out and I am under no obligation to post about. Often times I do because just like I work hard, so do these companies. I’m a big believer that the more positivity you put out into the world, the more will come back to you. If it’s not something I like, I will usually tell you, and the brands I love I will tell you about probably 21564687 times.
Blogging is not my full time job. I’d say at best it’s a part time job that I spend more than part time on. I do it because I love it. I love to write, I love to connect, and I love to share ideas. If I didn’t, I would have stopped years ago — and that’s what many people do. They operate under the assumption that you start a website and BAM — it’s time for free stuff. When that doesn’t happen immediately, people often lose steam and stop blogging altogether.
In addition to blogging (I count blogging as this site and my Instagram account), I
- have somewhere between 10 and 15 sessions of individual personal training clients a week
- teach classes at Sweat
- am the midwest point of contact for a corporate fitness company based out of Portland. To keep it short, I teach 6 classes a week, manage instructor’s schedules, and maintain three corporate accounts
- do social media and freelance writing work on a month to month basis for at least two companies at any given time
On top of all this I find time to get my own hour of the day to exercise and time in the evening to spend with Neil. Any time that I’m not physically required to be at the above jobs I squeeze in writing these posts and staying on top of my social media accounts. There’s really not an hour I’m awake that I’m not doing one of these things (maybe I should work on that).
I’m not saying this to complain or to advertise that I’M SO BUSY LOOK AT ME; I’m saying it to show that writing a blog while living life is hard work. Obviously there are bloggers who are doing this full-time (#ballers) and those who have no desire to. Not everyone with a blog is as scattered around as I am, but this is my experience with it.
The side of blogging that most people don’t see involves deadlines, invoices, content curation, photographing, editing, replying to comments, remedying tech issues, expenses, negotiations, media kits, bookkeeping, emails (SO MANY EMAILS), and likely more that I’m forgetting or blocking out at the moment.
This is the part of blogging that isn’t fun (at least for me). It’s staying on top of your game and treating your blog like a business. Even if you’re not there yet but aspire to be, you still have to put in the legwork to grow your brand in order to get those first sponsorships or collaborations.
It took me a year to grow my Instagram account to a number that started to attract brands. That’s a year of planning content, traveling to new food places just for specific items, planning shots, and making sure I had enough images to consistently post twice a day. It’s a good thing I love food.
While that may seem like a long time, it took me probably two years for that to happen with my blog. It could have been faster if I hadn’t taken so long to update my theme and figure out the direction I wanted to go, but regardless, it took me two years of posting multiple times a week (often five) before I started to get some real attention. Especially with the millions of blogs there are now, the bar for your level of work has risen much higher than in previous years. You have to put out top notch content just to get noticed.
On top of that, in this market you can’t just sit back with open arms and say OK BRANDS HERE I AM. I’M SO AWESOME JUST COME TO ME. You often have to reach out to them with proposals and ideas about how you can improve their brand.
You also can’t exist in a sea of blogs and ideas and expect readers to come to you. Blogging is collaborative. You have to find like-minded people and authentically communicate in order to develop relationships and spread the word. In short, you have to network just like any other business.
If you’re starting a blog with the intention of making any level of income, understand that blogging is a marathon — not a sprint. It takes time, dedication, and ultimately a passion for what you’re doing.
In closing, I’m not writing this to make anyone feel bad for making those types of comments. I only want to draw attention to the fact that bloggers work hard. I have an awesome amount of respect for bloggers and microbloggers because I know how much time it takes.
For those of you who just “want free stuff,” start a blog and let me know how that works out for you.