I have been blogging professionally now for over six years; wow! I started this blog when I was on maternity leave with my son (my eldest), as a lot of people do. But then I go the bug for it, and it has grown and grown.
When I first started out blogging, it was more of an online journal, and just a way to document my life and what we had been doing. Looking after a baby in a new area was a little lonely, so it was a way to have something just for me. I had no idea that you could make money from it until I logged onto Twitter one Sunday evening, and saw an #lbloggersChat trending on there! I clicked on it, and it opened up a whole new world to me. I followed more people, and really got my stats up to be able to earn money from this.
I love that I can work from home and around my family, especially when they were younger. But as it is still such a new thing really, I have a lot of people who don’t really ‘get’ what I do, how I earn from it, and even have some brands take the mick a little but.
Stop working for free
For so many people that do start out doing this as a hobby, the fact that someone emails you asking you to do some work for them seems amazing (or at least it feel like that way to me at the start). But it is so important to make sure that you stand your ground, and stop working and advertising for free! As a blogger, you are creating your own content for free, a lot of the time, when you start to build up an audience. The brand needs to be paying for your time and effort and all of those months of work and building up a following when they approach you.
Sometimes I get a few emails that offer a very low rate of pay, way below my standard rate, and after I say no and state my prices, they come back and just talk about the fact that it will only take five minutes to publish the guest post or to post on Instagram. They aren’t getting the point; they need to pay for your work building up to it, for the influence or following that you have, not for the exact time something would take for you to do.
The hardest part about working essentially as a freelancer, is that your earnings can completely vary from month to month. Unless you have a regular partnership with a brand, that requires a monthly post, for example, then the rate of pay can vary wildly. It can be totally seasonal too, being much busier and more lucrative in November and December, but very quiet in January and February, for example.
Part and parcel of this is that you can get a lot of unpaid invoices. You may state, as I do, that there is a thirty day payment, or late fees may apply. But if you have missed a brand’s payment deadline in their finance department, then you could easily be waiting for sixty days. Although I haven’t ever had invoices that have never been paid, there are a number that I have had to chase up. So always check what their payment terms are. They may be on the brand’s website, but always check ahead of time.
Don’t be afraid to pitch to brands
When I first started out blogging, I was busy with a baby, and then a baby and a toddler, so I just took work as and when it came in through PR emails and this doing blogger outreach UK. But in recent years, with a little more time on my hands, I have taken reaching out to brands and pitching to them for work, much more seriously. My top tip would be to always give it a try!
If you have a content idea coming up, say something around school holidays or homeschooling, then it could be worth approaching crafting or stationery brands, for example. Have your pitch ready to go, and talk about what you can do for them, rather than just ask for what you want. I have found that being specific really helps too. Say how many times you will tweet about the brand or share the blog post, as well as what you’ll share on Instagram and how many backlinks you can provide to their site from yours. As I’ve said, it has got to be worth a try, even though once I was copied into someone’s message to their colleague about sending me ‘their generic reply.’ Awks!