Lattes, Life & Luggage just celebrated five years this August. Five years I've been in this crazy scene and I haven't looked back once. The world of blogging has changed dramatically since I started one fateful summer day in 2011 out of sheer boredom. Hobby blogging was what everyone was doing. Blogging as a career was only something a few people did. Most of us were thrilled at the prospect of getting free swag in the mail occasionally. Now, it's a cutthroat world but also one of the most supportive groups of people I have ever met. Some of my best friends are bloggers and I have never even met them in person. I know, crazy. Here's to you Southern Beauty Guide and Busy Being Jennifer. Then there are bloggers who I have met in person and have had the joy of being a part of some of their huge life milestones like moving into their first home and getting married. Shout out to you Beneath the Chandelier.
Being a blogger comes with a lot of territory, especially if you decide to turn it into a business. That territory has a few quirks that I wouldn't necessarily call downsides but they aren't particularly fun to deal with. For one, my family cannot grasp what I do no matter how many times I explain it. It's not a traditional career so therefore, to them, it's not one. Friends who are not bloggers, don't take it seriously because they see it as something fun and not a serious business. So when you are behind on writing and you need to blog, not making it to dinner is considered flighty because that's not "real" work. People, in general, also like to think that you're only in it for the free stuff. First of all, who doesn't love free stuff so please stop judging. Second of all, if I were only in this for the free stuff, I'd hate life. Blogging is so much more than getting stuff in the mail. It's content planning, social media marketing, writing, editing, photography, SEO...need I go on? With this in mind, I've come up with 10 things non-bloggers don't know about blogging. This is not to put anyone in their place or make anyone feel guilty about what they said that one time at that one party. No. This is to help anyone who has a blogger in their life understand that it's not all swag bags and parties. It's hard work and we would not be doing it just for free stuff. We can go to the grocery store for free samples if that were the case.
1. One post can take as little as 30 minutes to as long as several hours. Depending on what was involved, from beginning to end, it could take several hours to actually complete.
2. Those photos didn't start out like that. I don't know one blogger who doesn't spend time editing photos. Most of us are not professional photographers so our photos need a little TLC. Editing takes twice as long as actually taking the photos. So when you share our photos without credit, we are gonna get ticked. That's a lot of hard work and I'm sure you'd be mad if someone took credit for something you worked hard on as well.
3. Free stuff comes with conditions. Free stuff doesn't necessarily come "free." Now that we have a beautiful new product in our hands, we need to style it, photograph it, edit those photos, write about it, tweet about it, Facebook it, Instagram it, Pin it...I think you get the picture. Not to mention we have to claim the dollar worth on our taxes.
4. We eat our food cold. Seriously, I eat more food cold than hot. By the time I've snapped enough pictures, my food has become room temperature. Yes, I am a foodie. I love food no matter what. But no, I do not choose to eat tepid soup on a cold winter night. That is consequence of being a food blogger.
5. We will make ourselves frightfully uncomfortable for good content. I give fashion bloggers a ton of credit on this one. They will go out in the frigid negative temperatures of winter without a coat just for fantastic photos. You couldn't pay me any amount of money to do that. Food bloggers will go out of their comfort zone and eat weird foods for the sake of the "experience." That time I ate mussels...never again. I can guarantee that you will never meet a blogger who doesn't have a story of something they did that they can't believe they did just for a good post.
6. Social media is our best friend. Our followers are our life. So pausing mid-conversation to grab the perfect picture of that building in that lighting at this exact angle is definitely a must. I am not good at double tasking while posting on social personally so my friends have gotten a bit used to me stopping mid-sentence.
7. Most often, we are single-handedly creating all of the content for our blogs. That means, creating an editorial calendar, writing all of the blog posts, writing all of the social media promotions, taking all of the photos, editing all of the photos, creating all of the creative materials for our blogs and anything else I'm forgetting off the top of my head. If you consider an online magazine like Hello Giggles, for example, there is an editor-in-chief, editors for every topic imaginable, associate and executive editors along with them, contributing writers, content managers, editorial assistants, photographers, copy editors. There is a team of people behind their site. Bloggers are generally doing it all solo with the occasional help of interns and maybe an assistant. If our blogs were babies, we would not have a village to help raise them like a traditional website or magazine.
8. We have business hours just like anyone else. Just because we work from home, that does not mean we can go grab lunch or a coffee anytime we're asked. An afternoon shopping trip means an afternoon not writing. We work, just like anyone else, during normal hours or whatever hours we set.
9. We hate being asked how we make money. It insinuates that what we do isn't real work and cannot possibly make us an income. And more to that point, there isn't a one size fits all and that answer is long and tedious to answer so save yourselves and us from a long, boring conversation and just imagine the answer.
10. Even though we love what we do and it looks like THE life, it gets stressful. We love our job, we really, really do. But just like any other job, it can get tough. Whether there is a partnership not turning out like we thought, a low-income period happening or just the dreaded writer's block, it can get tough. So if we need to vent, please just let us vent. We listen to your workplace drama so don't discount ours as anything less. If anything, being self-employed in general comes with a whole basket case of stressors that are unavoidable and very anxiety-inducing.
There are a million wonderful things about blogging that keep us goimg. But it's not unicorns and rainbows all the time. Blogging is a full-time job. You are single-handedly running an online publication! That's incredible!