…and other stupid statements.
How many times have you told someone you’re a blogger and been met with a blank stare, or–even worse–snickering?
We recently came back from Italy and the U.S. customs agent asked both of us what we did for a living as he scanned our passports.
“I’m a blogger,” I said.
The man (probably in his early 60s) stared at me for a moment. “I don’t understand what that means.”
“Well, I have a website where I write about living a healthy lifestyle. I work with brands that I believe in to bring my readers products and services that could help them do that.” I said, or, something along those lines. At that point, I had been up for nearly 24 hours.
The man studied me for a moment with a look on his face I could only describe as condescending. Finally, he turned to my husband and laughed “Don’t ever quit your job!”
Sadly, most bloggers I talk to have a similar story. I gave him an eyebrow raise as I took my passport back, but it got me thinking how little some people know about blogging as a profession. I could fill a book with stories about weekends typing away while my family played board games and watched movies on the couch, or wee morning hours barely able to keep my eyes open as I Googled “how to place google ads on your home page” for the 20th time. Or even learning to get over my fear of being photographed in public because, dammit, I AM my brand.
I could also add that one Friday morning when my entire website crashed and I spent an hour crying and then another 4 on the phone with customer support. Or every time I logged in to see that my page views had dropped and sadly wondering why I was even trying to blog in the first place.
Whoever said blogging is easy was out of their damn mind.
Blogging is a business and as bloggers, we are small business owners. Even though we don’t have a brick and mortar building, we are the sole proprietors in charge of (and certainly not limited to):
•marketing–most of us take our marketing into our own hands through platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We work to get our brand out in front of the audience we want to connect with. This means tons of copywriting, editing, picture taking/selecting, scheduling and advertising.
•marketing collaborations–a good blogger will not represent a product or service they do not believe in. When we partner with a brand, it is to bring our readers a product/service that will help them. We may or may not earn a small commission off of it. Some partnerships only pay us in product, some in a flat fee.
•sales–see those banners and links on our website? No, we are not ‘sell-outs.’ We have a business that people seek out for whatever we offer (fashion inspo, blogging help, recipes, etc). Because we have a steady stream of readers coming to our site, placing the right ads generates income for us and helps our readers find/purchase the things they are interested in. This happens at no extra cost to our readers. When you purchase something through a link on our sites, you are supporting us and what we do and helping us continue to do it.
•hiring–many of us may not have actual employees, but we do hire services such as graphics designers, virtual assistants, newsletter services, photographers/videographers and more.
•taxes–yep. We pay taxes just like any other business owner.
•content creation–the reason our audience comes to us in the first place. Most bloggers do not have any help in this area. We are constantly brainstorming & writing posts and articles. We are researching which keywords are being searched most and figuring out a way we can get in front of (and help) more readers by using them in our articles. We are Pinning like madwomen and men, because Pinterest is an image-based search engine that drives a huge amount of traffic to our blogs. We are meeting with partners and negotiating collaborations and contracts.
Sure, it’s hard, but it can be rewarding.
There is no clocking in or out when you’re a blogger. You must learn to juggle this role with that of being a friend, wife, mom, etc. Sometimes that means making hard decisions like saying no to a huge partnership because spending time with the family is more important.
Along with all the aforementioned requirements, as a blogger, you also get to meet some amazing, creative people and sometimes you get to travel to really cool places and eat incredible food. The blogging community I’ve found myself in has become a source of inspiration and admiration for me. I would never have had the opportunity to meet so many badass business women and creative geniuses, if not for diving into this profession head first.
My heart goes out to each and every one of y’all that decided blogging was your profession of choice. You are brave and creative and a downright badass. The sacrifices you make on the daily do not go unnoticed.
I want to hear from you:
What are some hardships you’ve faced that you never dreamed you’d encounter when first getting into this business?
What are some of the dumbest misconceptions you’ve heard about blogging in general?
Tell me the worst response you’ve gotten from telling people, “I’m a blogger.”