What I’ve Learned After 2 Years of Being a Full Time Blogger

What I've Learned After 2 Years of Being a Full Time Blogger by Top DC blogger, Alicia Tenise

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I missed it by a few days, but I just realized that I have officially been a full-time blogger for two years. What? How insane is that! I look back at the post where I announced that I was trying this out, and it’s so evident that I was somewhat scared (but excited!) about taking the leap.

I wanted to take a break from holiday content to share all the good, bad and ugly that I’ve learned over the last few years. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge to be a full time blogger (or really, freelancing/being your own boss), here are a few tips and tricks.

Outsourcing & Asking for Help

When I started being a full time blogger, I thought it would be a piece of cake being a one-woman show. I no longer had a 9-5 or a commute and could dedicate myself fully to this.

You guys: I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I travel blog, attend media/influencer events, spend hours negotiating deals and reviewing contracts, and create exclusive content for my blog, newsletter, and every single one of my social media platforms. I quickly found myself working 70-80 hour work weeks, and the pressure to be “on” was immense. 

Outsourcing tasks and/or asking for help is perfectly ok. I’ve outsourced nearly all of my photography (I do still brainstorm the shoot locations/concepts/etc.), my SEO, and I have an assistant to help manage some of my MISC tasks. I also have an accountant to help come tax time, because let’s be honest: I (barely) earned a C in accounting in college, and I can’t handle that!

The Mute Button Is Your Friend

Since I’m a blogger/influencer, it’s considered a faux-pas to unfollow fellow influencers at times. However, sometimes I too get caught up in the comparison game. I’m human! It’s easy to beat yourself up about why you didn’t land that campaign, didn’t get invited to an event, or didn’t get asked to go on that press trip.

Sometimes when I’m feeling down about myself, I’ll temporarily mute my colleagues so that I can take a mental break and remind myself that I’ve accomplished a lot and that I’m not going to land every single campaign. I’ll even take full weekends off of social media when I’m feeling down. Once I’m back on my feet, I’ll un-mute them and pick up where I left off.

Start Charging More 

When I first started trying to figure out how much to charge, it was recommended that bloggers should charge $100 per 10,000 pageviews/followers, etc. However, if I followed that rule, I would only be making $215 for every sponsored Instagram post (I still use that formula for my sponsored blog posts, however, I would say that 80% of the sponsored projects I take on are Instagram-based). By the time I take out photography fees and taxes, well, I’d be earning close to minimum wage for my efforts.

I took the leap and started charging more for my work, because one, I’m confident that I can offer a high-quality product to brands and two, I don’t need to work for minimum wage. Not every brand accepts my rate, and that’s totally fine: it’s normal to have to reject offers. However, there are plenty of brands that value the quality of my work and they can accommodate my rates.

IMO, I think that the charging rule I mentioned above is a little outdated. If you find that you’re overwhelmed by the amount of sponsored projects you have, it might be time to increase your rates and take on fewer projects.

Standing Out In Your Field

The influencer industry is oversaturated, to say the least. Over the last few years, I’ve had to figure out new ways that I can stand out in this industry and keep earning revenue.

I constantly ask folks why they chose to follow me, and people liked that I was one of the few influencers who actually smiled, was genuine, and that they enjoyed my shoot concepts. Don’t copy someone else: just be yourself, figure out how you can make your own unique mark on the industry, and watch your brand flourish!

Taxes & Health Insurance Are The Worst

It’s hysterical for me to look at how much money I actually made during the year, vs. how much I end up with after taxes and health insurance. Technically, I’m making way more than I did at my last full-time job, but after everything gets taken out, I’m netting around the same. I’m doing what I love, so I’m ok with this — but it’s just something to keep in mind! 

Photo by Tom McGovern

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