Monday 24 April 2017

Blogging is how I make a living

Being self employed and working from my home over the last few years has shown me how incredibly valuable it is to have a space dedicated to work. Somewhere I can sit down with a computer (especially since I upgraded my laptop to a full size desktop spec!) and have everything I need within easy reach.

I have spent so much time putting my little home office together, especially the fun bits like adding in some character and really being able to make the space I sit and blog, an enjoyable place to be.

When I started thinking about what I wanted in my little work bubble, I just had to include an A4 light box on my wall here because I like to leave myself encouraging messages, right now 'Get Stuff Done' seems to be the motto I need in order to get actually get stuff done...Well that and a rather strong cup of coffe... or Two... if I do so much as glance up, there I am telling myself to stop checking my Instagram and carry on writing!

Of course as much fun as it has been to focus on the arty side of having a dedicated office space, I have also had to think realistically, as there is so much one does need when they work from home. I have purchased a lot of nice office supplies from Engelbert Strauss, it's amazing how much ink a blogger can get through!

When people ask me what I do, and I tell them that I'm a 'blogger' I have gotten some rather funny looks, because even in 2017 the word 'blog' or 'blogger' is still a relatively new concept. I have explained what I do so many times that it just rings out of my mouth before I have given them the title some days, but more often than not I would say that I run a website and write the content that I feature on said website. It definitely seems to make my life easier, as everyone knows what a website is!

That being said though, the next question on everyone's lips is... 'but how do you make money out of a blog!?' And again this can sometimes be quite tricky to explain to someone who didn't even know what a blog was 5 minutes ago!

Blogging has been a real eye opener for me, a hobby that has somehow over time evolved into what it is today. Sometimes I have to punch myself and take a step back from this online space that I have built from the ground up. To think that up until just under 3 years ago, only close family and friends even knew about my online persona and I kept the secret for many, many years.

When I got made redundant back in 2014, that was when the cat started to escape the bag that it has been guarded in for all that time. More people were naturally finding out, and as the time passed by, I started to feel more confident about what I had built.

I guess looking back, the main reason I didn't ever say anything was because I liked having the freedom to write about what I wanted. If I wanted to speak anonymously about my then day job without any social repercussions (not that I would ever go into details of who, what, when, where, because there has to be some form a line that I wouldn't cross! I definitely didn't want to end up in the company search terms on Google if you get my drift!), but it allowed me to speak freely about my personal experiences, and that meant that I could be as honest as nature intended.

To this day I still swear by honesty, because honestly is the only way that I intend to write. Whether it's about my personal life, Leo or a review that I am writing for a company, whatever I say reflects on me. Self integrity is key when you are in a position that might encourage someone to purchase the product off the back of something that you have written about an item or product. I want my readers to be able to trust what I say, if I loved something then I will tell you, and I will equally tell you if there was something that I didn't like, because at the end of the day your experience reflects on me.

Being a blogger that works from home is an incredible privilege, but it is also work. At times hard work. If you have a deadline to meet, a video to record, edit, publish, photos to take, photos to edit, a feature to write, check and compile with the rest of the content that you have created, and then throw in having the kids out of school, you will soon see just how much time and just how much effort is poured into a blog.

I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible brands over the years, I have been sent products that in some instances I could only have ever dreamed of owning. I have attended some fantastic events, met celebrities and had a taste of how the other half lived, but none of this stuff has just been handed to me. I have had to work for it, produce content and socially share my personal thoughts and opinions, but it's easy to look in from the outside and not see just how much work goes into it.

I say this because people see these at times extravagant parcels being delivered, they comment on how amazing it is that I get 'sent so much free stuff', and there was one instance where my income was referred to as 'free money'. YES. FREE MONEY! Of course I couldn't let that one slide, so I turned the situation around. I said that so basically he went to work and they gave him free money for sitting in an office all day. Just because I don't go out to work, I am still putting in time and the content I create, is how I make money. It's no different to a self employed stone mason, or builder, or window cleaner, hair dresser or anyone who makes a living working for themselves.

There are times that I really do have to bite my tongue, I do get that people don't understand the concept, and at times it can all seem quite elaborate to the outsider peering in, but what they don't see are the late nights spent putting it all together before it even goes live.

Hitting the publish button is the final stage, when the content and the pieces of the jigsaw have all been pieced together.

Well... until the social media promotion begins.

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