There are many things you learn when you start blogging. Every day is different. When I started blogging almost 7 years ago (crazy, huh?), I did it “just because”, without any motive or goal. I just wanted to share my outfits, that’s it. Today, blogging has become my job, and it wouldn’t be like this if I hadn’t learned a lot. From taking pictures to working on the layout and writing to business talks and trying to make a living with what you love. It’s not always positive, you’ll definitely have a few or even a lot of setbacks. Especially when you do everything alone, it’s hard not to take everything personally, but that’s one of the things I learned, so: here’s my list of the things I learned through blogging.
1 • You can achieve something
This probably sounds pretty cheesy, but it is what I love most about blogging. You can change the world, achieve your own goals and actually be successful. It’s about the effort you put into your work, the passion and love. Of course, in the beginning you won’t see the results of your work, but in the end it’s all about the feedback you get. That’s why comments and e-mails from readers are the most precious thing about blogging. You can’t imagine how proud I am when I receive an e-mail from a reader telling me that she finally had the courage to wear a dress again and felt great! It’s unbelievable how happy it can make you when you make others happy.
For me, changing the way how plus size is seen is one of the most important things about blogging. And I really hope that together – plus-size bloggers, models, brands and you – we will make this change as soon as possible.
2 • Some will (try to) take you for a fool
Be it the “young start-up company” that claims not to have an advertising budget or even the brand you worked with for years that suddenly decides that you’re not worth anything – there will be many moments in which you’ll think: “Seriously?!”.
If you blog for a living, you’ll definitely depend on what people pay you for your work. Work is not for free – nowhere. But some agencies and brands seem to forget this when they contact us bloggers. Maybe because there are many who like to give their work away for a few undies (just because they like doing it that way doesn’t mean that everyone does, especially not me!), maybe because they are told to exploit us as much as possible, maybe also because they just don’t know how to work with bloggers. Bad thing about all this: you’ll learn the hard way that you can do it like this and feel horrible afterwards or say no and miss lots of collaborations. The good thing is you’ll learn to say no – and that’s something very important! Because that’s how you set your own value.
3 • You can’t rely on others
This sounds more negative than it’s supposed to. It’s just a reminder that you have to do something yourself if you want everything to be right. Others won’t do it for you.
Unfortunately, the German blogosphere consists mostly of one-man shows (most of the time, there are exceptions, of course!), no actual team work, no real support. I have to admit that I actually prefer to work alone but sometimes it’s good to join forces and start something special with other bloggers. That, by the way, is something I want to start (again) next year.
4 • But you can still make friends
You’ll find lots of people who like the same things you do. Best conditions to become friends, right? I wouldn’t want to do without the friendships I made through blogging!
5 • Working on your own
Discipline is something you’ll learn very quickly because it’s the key to success. Working on your own isn’t just sitting on the couch with your laptop and some freshly brewed coffee. It’s not as easy-peasy and nice-looking as in the pictures on Instagram and Pinterest (even though you can make it look like that!). If you want this to work, you’ll need a schedule, a plan and discipline – or you’ll end up on the couch watching Netflix. ;) You’ll learn how to work efficiently, you’ll learn new things, and you’ll find your own way to put everything into action. It’s fun, but since every day is different, you’ll also have to learn how to adapt. Some of your new best friends will be your calendar and a to-do list. ;)
6 • Companies don’t send you things because they think you’re nice
Yeah, you might think you get all that stuff because you make such beautiful pictures, because your blog looks so nice, because you’re such a friendly person, but no. You’ll get the stuff because the companies, brands and agencies know about the profit they’ll make from you posting it. You post it, your readers buy it. So please think twice before you say yes to a collab that only includes a bottle of shampoo for you, and also don’t forget to think about your readers: is this really something they need to get to know? Is it something that has an added value for everyone, including you? You’re the medium between the brand and your readers, your readers trust you (hopefully!) and the things you show could make them buy something. You don’t want them to buy something that you wouldn’t even recommend to your worst enemy – just because you got it for free.
And you should really think about the fact that you’re doing all this for something that’s only worth a few dollars and will bring the brand maaaaany dollars. That’s marketing, I know, and it’s something you won’t think about first, but after a few collabs you’ll hopefully see that you, your work and your blog are worth a lot more!
7 • But some will really value your work and surprise you
Even though there’s a lot of marketing going on behind the curtains, there will always be some partners who really appreciate what you do and want to work with you on a basis that pays off for both sides. They will offer you a collaboration that fits your blog and matches your own point of view, they will offer you appropriate payment and be so happy with the outcome that they’ll want to work with you again. It’s all about mutual respect!
8 • Set your priorities
There are a lot of moments in which I have to decide whether something is good for me or not. There might be a great offer, with perfect payment and someone wanting to work with you on equal terms, but the product just doesn’t fit. It’s something that would make me and my blog look implausible, my readers would start to question my trustworthiness and in the end I’d hate myself (dramatically said).
Sometimes you’ll have to decline an offer because it’s not the right thing and that’s how you learn to set your priorities. Even though it’s really hard sometimes – that’s how you make progress and the next collaboration will be a match!
9 • Saying no
I already mentioned it a few times in this post – saying no is one of the things you learn. Even though it’s not the funniest thing. But you and your value depend on it, and if you keep on saying yes to everyone and everything, you’ll end up very unhappy with how you and your blog are treated. Saying no depends on your priorities, on the message you want to convey. Of course, a few potential partners will be annoyed by this answer, but if they want something from you and aren’t willing to give you the compensation you asked for, this won’t be a cool collaboration. You’ll always think about what would have been right afterwards.
10 • Just because someone doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean that it’s bad
There will always be people who don’t like what you do. Readers, partners, even friends. You’ll get to hear and read it and it will make you sad. Don’t think that I’m not sad when I read that someone didn’t like something for which I worked for hours and just get a “That sucks!” in response. But truth is: there are so many more people who really like what you do, some will even love it and become fans (remember number one!), and that’s what’s important. Of course, you should read criticism and maybe think about it and change a few things in order to get better – maybe you can change some people’s minds but that shouldn’t be your goal. Staying true to yourself and doing your thing the way you like it is the most important thing. Don’t change yourself for others! ;)