To many (and most), blogging may seem like a superficial past time that’s full of parties, free stuff, and fun trips. And it’s true, it is full of all of that stuff – and more. When I first went head-first into the world of content production, I was definitely blinded by the glitz and the glam. You get rewarded by your hard work by being invited to more parties, more free product, and more people vying for your attention.
But behind the veil of glamour is also another side that isn’t often spoken about, or even acknowledged. I want to preface this post with a note that for those who are interested in getting involved in the world of blogging and digital content production, by no means am I trying to scare you off, but to rather set the expectations as to what this life is and most likely will be like. Especially for those who are only interested in the overnight fame, because that doesn’t exist. And if that’s what you’re in it for, then trust me, it’s not going to end pretty.
So grab a hot drink, settle in, because this will be a long read, but a good one. I hope you all enjoy!
Success comes to those who don’t seek it.
It’s undeniable that becoming an “influencer” in the social media sphere is elusive, intriguing and very tempting. But if you ask any of the top Creators, they’ll seeking success and fame was never their original goal.
Many of the top content creators began doing what they do now purely as a hobby, and didn’t think much of it. Success in this field comes with a lot of time, effort, determination, or just sheer luck. In the way that your chances of ever winning the lottery and becoming a millionaire overnight is low, so are your chances of becoming Insta-famous. Consider all of the people who already command authority in the space and how long they’ve been doing this for. It’s going to take time for you to break into that sphere and to make your mark.
For me, it took almost about a year before I started to see anything of value coming from it. My biggest tip? When you first start out, think of how you can add value to the community rather than thinking of how much money you can make. If you are passionate about your work, and you enjoy what you do, it’ll take you farther than those who only see the dollar signs. Those with money hungry desires tend to burn out quickly once they realize that success doesn’t come overnight. If you’re patient, put your heart into it, and work hard, it’ll pay back. I promise.
Think of it as a hobby. If you love playing soccer, and you continue to hone your skills, you may get scouted to coach a team or play professionally – once you prove yourself. No one becomes a pro-player overnight without first showing off their skills.
‘Sleep’ – The 5 letter word that disappears from your vocabulary.
If you love what you do, you’ll be willing to anything for it – such as giving up your sleep. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve gone to bed at 6 AM only to have to wake up 2 hours later for work. And the best part? I don’t even mind doing it! Because I love it so much, it never feels like a hindrance.
And like I said, success doesn’t come instantly, so you’ll have to work for it. For most, blogging and content creation doesn’t become a career overnight. Most of us enter the world with an existing full-time that we have to balance, so sleep is probably the first thing to go if you’re truly dedicating yourself to both things.
But as hard work begins to pay off, and you begin to realize that lack of sleep isn’t something that can be maintained, you’ll have to then make the decision as to which job you value more to keep your sanity.
You’ll probably be misunderstood by the ones that you care about the most.
It’s undeniable that becoming a successful “Instagrammer” requires a shift in focus of your everyday priorities and lifestyles. Your life becomes hyper-publicized on social media, and every single move that you make is scrutinized by anyone who sees.
You may start to stop in the middle of the road to take a photo, or stand on top of a chair in the middle of a restaurant to get the right angle. Whatever it is, it usually becomes an annoyance to others around you who aren’t as passionate about what you do. And in an attempt to not invade on the normalcy of the lives of others, you begin to develop another circle of friends who share similar interests in content production.
What are friends besides enjoyably spending time together over similar interests? But because your actions are constantly in the limelight, your initial core group may misinterpret your new relationships as their replacements.
When blogging and Instagram consumes your life such that your lifestyle changes completely, balancing your normal life and your “digital career” can be difficult when it comes to maintaining friendships and relationships. Your behaviour may be misunderstood for leaving your past for greener pastures even though it isn’t your intention, but be weary of your actions being misunderstood and misinterpreted.
Understanding the life and behaviors of a content creator can be difficult for those who are outside of the industry, so it’s your responsibility to ensure that the ones you care about don’t feel left behind as you get swept up in the life of an internet celebrity.
Everything will become valued as to how ‘Instagrammable’ it is, or isn’t.
Seriously, whether you want to, or not, you’ll start to assign a value to every situation in regards to whether or not it could be Instagram worthy.
Oh you just purchased a latte? But did it come with latte art? It didn’t? Then it’s not worth taking a photo of it for Instagram. Oh, but it did? Well then by all means, snap a photo quickly before the foam deflates!
What about that beautiful avocado toast that you just ordered? And you just got your nails done yesterday? Perfect, it’s time to take a flat lay of your order on top of the table with a side of cutely positioned fingers clutching onto your cutlery in a pseudo-mid-cut position. You’re not actually going to cut into that avocado toast, you’ll hover over it, at least until the photo is taken. Then you’ll put down your cutlery and consume your open-faced sandwich like a normal person – with your hands.
Assigning every situation an Instagrammable value is terribly negative on your outlook on life because you’ll never be able to fully enjoy any experiences without that niggling feeling at the back of your mind as to whether or not that photo would be great for Instagram. But it’s important to come to terms with the fact that like all other jobs, sometimes you need to turn it off and be yourself.
The real you likes to enjoy sunsets by the beach without snapping a photo of it. The real you can sit down and take it all in with a glass of wine in one hand, while casually posing as if you were going to get your picture taken – even though you aren’t. And only because you’ve trained yourself to pose perfectly. But it’s okay if you can really take in the experience and not think about documenting it to share with the rest of the Internet.
Creating good content will cost you more than you think.
And I’m not just talking about spending money on equipment. Because yes, having the right equipment in order to create content to the caliber that you’re proud to be known for can be pricey, but it goes beyond just the initial investment that goes into the tools.
Every coffee shot comes with the purchase of the coffee, the cost of traveling to the cafe, and potentially the cost of additional props as well – croissant, muffins, cookies, etc. Sometimes when you aren’t able to get the right shot and the latte art deflates, you have to go back and order another coffee just to keep shooting. There goes another $5. By the end of the shoot, you may have gotten the one photo that you’re happy with, but it came with a price.
Let’s break down the cost of the photo above. I paid about $10 to uber to the restaurant, and $5 for the coffee, but I also ordered Eggs Benedict for breakfast because I was hungry – $15. To get back home it also costed me another $10 uber. So in total, I spent about $40 just to get that shot. In perspective, it may seem like quite a lot, but how else would I have been able to get this shot in the restaurant without actually sitting down and ordering a meal?
The same goes for clothes. Sure, you’ll be sent a lot of stuff, but a lot of the time you may go through a dry spell where no brands are interested in sending you pieces. And you need fresh content to stay relevant, so out you go to the mall in search of the coolest new stuff just to take a photo of it to keep your content fresh.
There’s no free lunch when it comes to content production. A cost is always associated to each and every single photo, and you’ll need to come to terms with spending money in order to make money.