I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a little while now, a few years in fact. Along the way I have learnt a thing or two about the realities of running a blog. If you’re a blogger yourself or are interested in becoming one, read on!

It is hard work. In essence you have to do multiple jobs; writing, photographing, website design, marketing, strategising, content creation and more. You start off not having a clue about most of these things, often just blagging it as you go along and learn bits and bobs here and there! You end up developing a whole new skill set, and having endless respect for other bloggers who make it look so effortless.

It is not as glamorous as it looks. An extension of the above point. Behind every perfect blog photo are 25 others where your hair is in your eyes or you have an unintentional double chin. Oh and those travel videos which looks so dreamy? Often getting the perfect shot for them means taking hours of footage and going through endless amounts of editing. As a result, the evenings of holidays can be spent locked in your hotel room working on your content. Not quite as idyllic as it seems!

It takes time. I get asked all the time how I made blogging into my career and manage to make a living from it. The reality of it is, it takes time, so much time. I have been doing this for years and only now have I started to make a consistent income from it. I also don’t do it full time, I have other businesses on the side such as personal training, the #girlgains events company and more. I actually make the majority of my money through other aspects of my career, and very little from the blog itself. In fact, most of the bloggers I know are the same and have other jobs on the side.

Brands will undervalue you. In the beginning, you will most likely be asked to work for free or in exchange for free products. This is totally fine when you’re starting out as long as your blog is a hobby on the side of your main job and you’re not relying on it for income. However, once you start to grow and develop an engaged audience, brands will try and pay you little to no money for access to them. You need to realise your value and not be afraid to ask for payment. Fees tend to be a taboo subject amongst bloggers but don’t be afraid to ask your friend for their rates, they are often higher than you think.

People will judge you. When I get asked what I do for a living and mention blogging I am usually greeted with a look of confusion or curiosity. Then come the questions – is that really a job? What do you actually do? And then the inevitable – how do you make money? Or even – how much do you earn? It seems people know no limits when it comes to asking about blogging, so don’t be afraid to refuse to answer anything you’re not comfortable with.

It is a small industry. Everyone knows each other and news travels fast. That is why it is essential to develop a good reputation. Stick to deadlines, produce high quality content and exceed expectations. And don’t chat shit about anyone, because not only does it make you look like a bitter Betty but chances are they’ll find out one way or another.

There is a lot of networking. Everyone wants to know everyone. Some people will blatantly ask you for your connections. This is when you need to stick to your guns. I have done so many intro emails in the past, only to not get similar support in return. You earned those connections. Sure, help your friends but you are perfectly entitled to keep them to yourself if you want to!

You will meet some amazing people. As much as blogging can be lonely at times, it can also be hugely social. The events mean you get to meet lots of people with the same interests as you. As a result, you can make some life long friends. I have met some of my besties through social media and blogging and I love how they understand my lifestyle more than anyone else!

There is always more room at the top. Blogging is a saturated industry and as a result people can see it as one big competition. It isn’t. In reality everyone has the right and the opportunity to succeed. We will all get further and achieve more if we stick together, support each other and celebrate each others success. When another blogger lands an amazing deal it can be easy to compare yourself to them and feel disheartened. Instead, congratulate them and realise that ultimately any bloggers success opens up opportunities for everyone in the industry. Bloggers need to stick together.

This post was not meant to be negative, however when I read back through my points I realise that quite a few of them are! I hope that instead of putting you off blogging, this inspires you to pursue it with passion, an open mind and realistic expectations. Blogging is one of my favourite aspects of my job and something I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do. Fingers crossed I get to do it long into the future!

Zanna xx