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What I’ve found difficult in my first year of full-time blogging

A couple of weeks ago I posted a bit about my first-year full-time blogging. It was a fairly positive post. Overall, I’ve had a good…

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A couple of weeks ago I posted a bit about my first-year full-time blogging. It was a fairly positive post. Overall, I’ve had a good first year. My income was much better than I had hoped for, I had some brilliant collaborations and many things that I’m proud of. But it’s not all sunshine and roses.

Being self-employed might sound amazing and when people think of it, they think of things like freedom, being your own boss, and having time to do what you want, but there are also some negatives that come along with that. Let’s have a look.

What I've found difficult in my first year of full-time blogging

My income varies

There’s a £3000 difference between my worst and best month’s earnings for the last tax year. There’s no guarantee of how much I will earn. It can be terrifying.

Sometimes I can go into a new month with a lot of outstanding invoices paid. Sometimes I can go into months with a lot of work already agreed. Other times it’s the opposite, I’m not owed anything and I’ve not agreed to do any work. This always makes me nervous.

There’s never any guarantee I’ll have a good income month. This is why I always work a month ahead rather than spending money as I get it

The money I earn in April is what I will spend (and save/invest) in May. Then I won’t touch any of May’s income until June. I find this way I can manage my finances well.

It’s also why I saved a large amount of money for an emergency fund to give me some security.

No benefits

The job I left had a great benefits package. I was in a good pension scheme where my employer matched my contribution. I got 16 weeks of full sick pay and 5 weeks of paid holiday, plus bank holidays per year.

Now I don’t have that, I pay some money into a private pension with gets 25% government top-up and I take my laptop on holiday with me so I can do bits of work here and there. I also answer emails and agree work for when I get home.

No time to switch off

Leading onto working when I’m on holiday, it’s so hard to switch off. The nature of my work means the quicker I reply to emails, negotiate rates, sign a contract, publish a post and send an invoice, the quicker that money hits my bank account. Which means I check my emails many times a day so I can respond in a timely manner.

I do need to set myself some boundaries though as I absolutely don’t NEED to be this obsessive. I know if I got an email at 7pm, I can wait until the next day to answer. I think if I had time during the day where I could sit down and go through emails, I would live it to the next day.

But most mornings I need to be up and out the house with Leo to some baby class. I guess part of me working around Leo means responding to emails via my phone throughout the day.

What I've found difficult in my first year of full-time blogging

Sometimes I feel like shit

There are days when I get imposter syndrome so bad and I feel so useless. Sometimes photos don’t go to plan, or I don’t feel good enough, or I’m rejected for a job and it has a really big impact on me. It’s a tough pillow to swallow when someone thinks your blog/social media, which your pour your heart into, isn’t good enough.

I try to keep my rational and logical mind on, but it can be so hard. I’m a bit of a people pleaser and it take it to heart. Even when logically, I can see why my blog or Instagram hasn’t been picked.

I’m tired

Guys, I’m soooo tired. It’s 11 pm right now and like always, I’m working after my son has gone to bed. I’m happy that I get to spend my days with him, but I feel so guilty if I go to sleep early instead of working. As Leo is still a wakeful baby, I don’t get much sleep and working until midnight does not help.

I look forward to this changing when Leo gets older and I can start working through the day again!

Instagram

Instagram is the bane of my existence. I’m starting to earn some money from it, I do enjoy it when I get photos that I’m happy with but I find it a big drain on my emotions. I try so hard with Instagram, but it’s so hard to get engagement! I just don’t see why people would like my Instagram.

I like my photos and content, but it doesn’t really give value to others. All the tips say your content needs to entertain or teach people something. Mines more like a diary and unless you care about me, you’re not going to care about my Instagram.

I hate my voice

I’d love to speak more on stories and things but I just hate my voice and I’m not very charismatic. I feel like I could do way better on Instagram if I did more stories where I talk and show myself a bit more, but watching myself back to edit captions makes me hate myself.

What I've found difficult in my first year of full-time blogging

I often look a mess

Leading onto the post above, I often look a bit of a state which also puts me off getting in front of the camera. I hardly ever wear makeup and I usually shower then get myself in comfy clothes or leggings. I aspire to be one of those people that gets up and ‘gets ready’ for the day. But what am I getting ready for, exactly? To take Leo to the park? To sit on the floor in my living room playing with shape sorters?

I usually get dressed and put makeup on before baby classes, then I’m straight back into something comfy as soon as I’m home.

So this freelance/full-time blogger life is not glam at all, well for me anyway.

It’s hard with a toddler

There are days when I’m motivated to do work but I can’t because of Leo. Either he won’t let me put him down for a nap, or he won’t sleep in the evening. Then I can’t work. I can’t work during the day as he just hits my keys.

It’s also hard to take photos as I only have a limited amount of time until he gets bored or starts getting mardy!

It can get frustrating but I’ve gotta remind myself that he is the reason I am doing this, so I can be present. So sometimes I have to just stop working and give him the attention he needs and deserves.

I don’t have a USP or talent

I’m definately a jack of all trades, master of none! I’ve always struggled to find niche as I’ve always dabbled here and there and flipped between interests. I stick with ‘lifestyle’ as I tend to be passionate about writing content that’s relevant to my current life.

Moving house – I’m writing posts about applying for mortgages. Having a baby, here comes the pregnancy and parenting posts!

All you hear on articles about being successful in blogging and Instagram is to have a niche and stick to it. No. You can’t make me. I won’t do it. But I do worry it makes my SEO/social media suffer!

So many rubbish emails

It is infurating! I get so many rubbish emails. $5 guest posts. Gifted items where there are list of requirement. Asking my rates and never getting back to me. People trying to negotiate up from $5 and still giving pathetic prices.

There are days where you feel like you’re just wasting your time replying to all this, but ever so often there’s a good offer hidden between the 20+ rubbish emails I reply to eat day!

So yeah, full time blogging. It’s a hoot.

I love that I can do this, but it’s taken 10 years to get to this point and it’s still not an easy job. It’s very convenient for me right now, while I have a young child. Who knows what will happen in the future.

I’d like to think I can grow my income and really scale up when Leo goes to school, and be able to work during school hours.

Have you ever faced any of these issues as a blogger, whether full time or not?

20 comments

  1. Thank you so much for being so open and honest, this really opened my eyes to how hard self-employment can be and I think this will help so many people! I don’t think people quite realise how much hard work goes into blogging and everything that comes alongside it. Thank you so much for sharing lovely Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  2. You are smashing it! I find Instagram really hard for similar reasons, I hate my voice and generally how I come across if I try and do talking stories! I also find it hard to take good content on my days off when I’m usually chilling in joggers with no makeup!
    Amy x
    callmeamy.co.uk

  3. I feel like you’ve jumped into my brain! Hahaha. This is exactly how I feel too. I did want to write about it, but you’ve put it way better than I ever could. I think the whole girl boss / side hustle thing is BS. What we do isn’t glamorous. Like obviously I enjoy it. I really enjoy it. But it’s not what it’s made out to be.

    Claire.X
    http://www.clairemac.co.uk

  4. It’s really refreshing to read both sides.
    I’m currently blogging more and getting back into it while I’m on maternity leave with a view to hopefully strike a good balance when I go back

  5. This is indeed the tough, challenging side of blogging. When it gets to this, I try and remember all the good and great opportunities. But yes, mentally, morally, physically draining, expecially if doing it full time.

  6. I certainly relate to nearly everything in this post (minus being a mum, since I’m not) but as someone who has blogged full-time for going on 7 years, I absolutely understand the way you’ve felt! It can be really challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding! You should be very proud that you’ve worked this hard on your space on the web for the past year. I wish you many more years of great success!

  7. Ya, I feel you on several of these points, especially the time juggle! I like to be able to do things consistently so, even as a nineteen-year-old, I get frustrated sometimes when I look back and see how irregularly I have committed to something. It is rough but, on the flip side, I always feel like the waters are worth sailing anyway. πŸ™‚

  8. I love how honest you are, and I relate to lots of these blogging struggles! Instagram is just something else – I’m trying not to post too much about random things I get up to because it doesn’t fit into my niche. But then I end up not posting for days/weeks which also worsens my engagement. It’s a tough nut to crack! I like your insta πŸ™‚ x

  9. This was such an interesting read! I’d love to blog full time, but even as a side hustle the unreliability of it is stressful. I remember having two months where adsense stopped workingg properly and my income was literally halved – so frustrating! x

    mia // https://miasdiyprojects.com/

  10. i definitely find time for blogging hard when you have a little one! The times that neither of my babies napped at the same time of day meant I could only do morning or evenings when they were asleep and it was hard to keep up with my blog – luckily it was just a hobby and I enjoyed having something just for me to do in the quiet times, but they so rarely happen, with kids, haha!

    Hopefully once sleep gets more predictable for Leo you’ll not be as tired and feel able to keep on top of it all better – you do a great job with it all and it’s sad to read you have imposter syndrome, I think you’re a real example of an honest, authentic and successful blog! πŸ™‚

    Hope you are having a good week. I’m looking forward to the long weekend over Easter πŸ™‚

  11. You’re being so hard on yourself! My baby is a similar age to Leo and I couldn’t imagine working for myself, you are smashing it just to be able to pay the bills – when you said you can’t work in the day cos he just smashes the keyboard, I know exactly what you mean. Like others have said good for you for being so honest – maybe that can be your niche!?! It seems to resonate with a lot of people.

  12. Thanks for writing such an honest post – I think people often think that blogging is easy or that successful bloggers have ‘overnight success’. I’m sure that it will get easier as your baby gets a little older and sleeps more, those early years are tough.

  13. I actually find it amazing that you’re earning from blogging at all. I’m not full-time, but I do put a lot of effort into it, yet I don’t see where I can start earning. Anyway, thanks for sharing your wisdom, and wishing you all the best in your blogging journey!

  14. This really resonates with me Corinne! All I want to say is I’ve been exactly where you are and it does get easier in terms of blogging and looking after a little one. Especially if they go to nursery/school. Xx

  15. I loved your article, I saved it to my favorites in my browser to later see other content.
    blog:

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