5 Things About Being a Blogger I Wish I Learned Earlier10:30 AM
This year marks the 8th year my blog has existed. Time flies so fast and I've learned so much. Being a blogger opened so many opportunities for me, but it also closed some freedom in my life. I've been loved, hated, attacked and stalked over the past few years that it has become a part of my life. I've only been actively participating in the blogging scene for five years but I'm patting myself on the back for persevering (despite the number of times I insisted on quitting) and still going on strong.
Being a blogger is never easy, especially when you're not a highly paid blogger and you need to keep a day job. I learned to save from the jobs I get, did some freelance work and be a little bit more frugal than I used to be. I have to admit that luck has been on my side (and of course hard work too) but I do struggle sometimes producing content now that I'm not as outgoing as I used to be. However, if someone told me that this is the life I would be leading I don't think I would change anything I went through (maybe I should have kickstarted a few projects I planned last time). I just wish I had someone to tell me these things so I'd save a lot more time throughout those years.
1. Never say yes to everything.
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for saying yes when people ask for favours. I've had friends trying to take advantage on the existence of my social media and also big corporations who told me that I literally should kiss their feet and work with them to gain exposure (well not exactly but I think you get my point). If you don't believe in it or it doesn't benefit you in any way, you are not obligated to say yes just cause you're trying to be nice.
2. You cannot pay bills with products.
Being a well-known blogger definitely does have its perks. You'd get products for reviews, and also sponsorships from various brands. Sometimes, these perks are a bonus on top of what you're paid for but most of the time, you don't get anything but products or services in exchange for write-ups and shoutout on your social media platforms. As much as I try to be nice, but you can't take everything in product form. Free items won't pay for your bills. Some does help bring down your expenses, in my case household items, makeup, body care products and electronics but most products can't even be exchanged with cold, hard cash. At the end of the day, you can't keep accumulating junk from goodie bags and have no money to eat with. This is why most blogger cannot be a full-time blogger. In the end, they phase out as it could not be balanced with the demand of their paying full-time job. There are times when you can exchange your service with products, but it shouldn't be a must in every case.
3. Competition should be healthy, not catty.
If there's one thing I'm not a fan of in the blogging world, it would be the dramas between bloggers. Surely there's always someone better, prettier, smarter than you but that should not be a reason why you should feel threatened in a bad way. Take it as a motivation to create a niche for yourself. Don't bring your competition down with rumour mongering and if there are any dramas within your radius, steer clear. If you don't like another blogger, just keep it to yourself or the people closest to you.
4. Stick to what you know best.
As a blogger that started with no niche, I was literally writing about everything that was happening around me. Then it skewed more towards clothing and now I've decided to make this one a life and style based while I separated my travel content to another website. I did not want to talk about things I'm not familiar with hence why I don't do food reviews for F&B establishments. It's best to stick to what you know better than others so you have a niche and its easier for clients (cause I've worked on the client's side) to categorise you as they know your target audience better.
5. Value is not always in numbers.
I have to admit, I'm no longer raking in as much readers as I used to the moment I changed my URL. Google is still showing links to my old url so I'm losing out on the search engine part. I have been very honest with clients and agencies and try to work with them on other platforms which has higher engagements such as instagram. However, some clients are still insisting to work with me on the blog as they do not look at the numbers, they look at the value of the target market they can tap on. It doesn't matter if you don't have followers in six-digit count, as I've met successful bloggers from around the world who honestly has lower number of followers than our average popular Asian bloggers but brands still want to work with them and tap onto their readers. There is no point to have so much followers but you have no substance. Work on one, and the other will follow.