I once had a very good friend say to me “I could be an influencer, I just don’t want to do it.” I nodded as I thought to myself “could you, though?”. It’s a common misconception that all influencers do is take pictures and post on Instagram. If that were the case, sure, anyone with a decent iPhone camera could do it. It sounds easy enough, right? Snap a quick photo, slap a filter on it, and put your phone away. That, my friends, is a myth. It’s a misunderstanding, and it irks me, because it completely discredits all of the hard work we actually do.
True, we do take a lot (and I mean a lot) of pictures. And I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, the picture is all that you’re seeing as you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed. But there is so much that goes into blogging (or being an “influencer”) that we (bloggers) don’t talk about. From pitches and negotiations, to having to redo an entire photoshoot for a campaign because the client doesn’t like your hand placement. It’s hard work, which is why many people opt to do it full time— career bloggers as I like to call them. While I’m not one of them (a career blogger), I’m here to set the record straight.
Here are 10 myths about bloggers, debunked.
1) Everyone is in it for free stuff. Let me start by saying this: if you start a blog for the freebies, you’ll never last. People will see right through that. I started this blog as a creative outlet, and because I love writing. Of course, there are people who are in it for the free clothes, but I’d be willing to bet that most “influencers” do it because they genuinely enjoy creating content.
2) It’s easy. Running a successful blog is much like running your own business. You have to pitch yourself, read contracts, negotiate payments and terms of the partnership, plan your photoshoots, organize your campaigns and meet deadlines, submit drafts for approval, curate an Instagram feed that fits with your personal brand, and file taxes. It’s anything but easy, but it’s worth it.
3) All we do it take (and post) photos. Please see above. We do take hundreds (maybe thousands?) of pictures a week, but that’s probably only 30% of the job.
4) We get everything for free. When I first started out, I would borrow clothes to style from friends, get Free People pieces on sale, and even accepted collaborations that required me to send the pieces back (like what?). For the first year, I rarely got anything for free. Now probably 65% of my clothes and beauty products are gifted, but there is still a lot that I buy for myself. Don’t assume that everything people are posting was a freebie.
5) We ask everyone to take pictures of us. In the beginning I was constantly asking my friends and parents to take my pictures. While they never hesitated to help, I knew it wasn’t fun for them. Now I work with a brilliant photographer every other week and knock out 5-10 outfits in one session. On the weekends, or vacations, I usually have my tripod in tow so I can snap my own photos. Everyone is different, but that’s what works for me and my schedule.
6) We’re narcissistic. My best friend and I were talking about a mutual friend’s Instagram story, and she said “wow, she must really like listening to herself talk.” Just because we are constantly posting videos, sharing stories, and providing links doesn’t mean we crave attention. We’re literally a one-man advertising agency trying to create our own brand, while promoting others. Putting yourself out there, and sharing your life and things you love, is just part of the gig. It doesn’t mean we think we’re better than anyone, believe me, we’re not.
7) We don’t care what people think. I have really thick skin, but I think I’m an exception. A lot of bloggers take things really personally when Internet trolls come after them, or a brand doesn’t want to work with them. It’s hard to put yourself out there just for people to tear you down, but it comes with the territory unfortunately.
8) We don’t have “real” jobs. As I mentioned, there are a lot of career bloggers who do it full time, and they do it well. Most of them make over six figures. Personally, I have an established career in content marketing, and I’m not willing to leave that to pursue blogging. So I work full time Monday through Friday, and work on the blog after hours or on the weekends. It’s basically like I have two jobs, but it’s worth it.
9) We get guys sliding into our DMs all the time. If you looked through my DMs, 90% of the messages would be girls asking for advice, wanting a link to an outfit or product, or replying to one of my stories that spoke to them on some level. Sure, I get the occasional dude asking me to be his sugar baby, or wanting to chat, but those people generally get deleted (unless they’re cute— kidding).
10) Blogging is forever. I think most bloggers or influencers would admit that this is not something that will last forever. There will be a point when a new platform comes around to replace Instagram, your content is no longer relevant to your followers, or you get burnt out and stop. Many influencers likely have something to fall back on or a plan B, whether that be returning to a previous job, or starting their own business.