I know, I know – you’re shocked and stunned by the revelation that working as a full-time blogger is, in fact, all fun and games. (Stay with us.)
I worked as a full-time blogger for a little over a year, give or take. You can read about my transition from journalist to full-time blogger here, and then check out my little explanation here, as to why I gave up that life of luxury for something a little (a lot!) different.
What is it really like, being a full-time blogger?
There’s no hard and fast answer to this question. Each person’s experience will be different, after all. Not to mention the fact that “full-time blogger” is, as a job title, in its infancy – so it’s changing pretty much every day.
For me, I tried to write a minimum of three blog posts per week. I always hoped for one YouTube video per week, but to be honest, YouTube is not my favourite platform and video is not my favourite medium – so I always ended up postponing the editing for as long as possible.
My days were always different. I might spend Mondays at home, responding to emails, walking my dog, writing a blog post or two and editing for YouTube. On another day, I’d have meetings. Of course, by “meetings” I mean chats, usually over coffee or treats, with friendly PR people, introducing me to the latest fashion or beauty release they hoped I’d talk about (complete with a glam goodie bag, usually worth around €100).
The next day might consist of filming for Xposé or Midday (now Elaine) on TV3 – which would take around four hours, between getting to the filming location, hair and makeup and getting home. When I did styling segments, they took longer – maybe up to a day – to “pull” clothes (where you go into a shop, select the bits you want to film and sign them out), book your model, organise a shooting location and then do returns.
The take-home? It’s not all that difficult
Ultimately, the most challenging part of being a full-time blogger is finding things to write about, writing about them, and then publicising your post. Sometimes, I’d write something that I really loved and felt proud of, and nobody would write it – maybe because I’d misjudged how interesting I am (lol) or maybe just because I hadn’t promoted it well on social media.
The bulk of my time was actually spent responding to people across all social media platforms. I felt a massive level of anxiety about how I was perceived and I was genuinely afraid of being rude to someone, and it getting around, like the Irish village version of Chinese whispers, until the whole country thought I was an asshole.
And there are some serious perks
At the time, I would have agreed with full-time bloggers who say things like “it’s not all freebies and glam events!” Because it felt difficult. Sometimes it was stressful, trying to come up with something to blog about, or weathering the storm when I’d written something that people disagreed with [TW: rape].
But in hindsight, it had a lot of perks to recommend it – and it’s only now, that I’m working 30-odd hours a week (still, I know, fewer hours than most people!) at a job that requires me to be on my feet all day, that I realise just how good I had it.
Because honestly, I miss it. I miss the freebies. I’m running out of shampoo and I’m going to have to buy my own, and when you haven’t bought shampoo (with the exception of Kevin Murphy’s Blonde Angel, because it truly is worth it) in years, you do start begrudging the purchase. Why should I buy shampoo, when I used to get it for free? I miss the expensive lipsticks and the vouchers (around Christmas, I’d get at least €500 worth of vouchers for a variety of shops and brands, and I totally underestimated how incredibly lucky I was).
I miss being able to stay in my PJs all day long (you would if you could; admit it). I miss being able to go to the dentist and the facialist and the hairdresser any time I wanted (without having to pay for them). And this is rich, coming from me, because I’m still getting a good few of those perks, thanks to a social media following that hasn’t disappeared. My hairdresser looks after my hair for free; I get free dental treatment; I didn’t have to pay for my laser tattoo removal.
But I wouldn’t go back (not for all the freebies in the world)
But guess what? I wouldn’t go back – even if you guaranteed me a six-figure salary per year and all the shampoo I could use, for the rest of my life. I began to really resent putting myself “out there”. I worried too much about what people thought of me and was too thin-skinned to just brush off the insults I found when I Googled my name (you would 100% do this too). I got really, irrationally upset at the idea that random strangers I’d never met really hated me.
And aside from how sick and tired I’d got of blogging, and the internet more generally, I absolutely love what I’m doing now. I love getting to be with and around people all day long. I love meeting clients – people from different places, with jobs I barely understand, people who are not within media circles and who answer “how are you?” with something other than “oh my god SO BUSY”. I love seeing clients get stronger and more confident from day to day – and I love knowing that I’m contributing to that feeling. Not to sound too much like a cliché, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Ultimately, I’m glad that, from the other side, I can see just how good I had it. I can see that blogging is a privilege, not a “really tough job”, at least not in the grand scheme of things. But I can also see how it gets exhausting – and that endless freebies are not always enough to sustain a kind of emotional and mental demand that comes with having a large online following.
I guess the truth of the matter is, life is not a zero-sum game, and we can only judge our feelings by, well, our own experiences. That is to say: the stress you feel in your life right now is legitimate, and can’t be brushed aside by someone telling you that other people have it worse. At the same time, if you’re a full-time blogger who feels your life is super-stressful because you’ve two events to go to and have yet to film a YouTube video you’re being paid for, to review products you’ve been sent for free… it’s probably worth taking a long, hard look at yourself.