I'm gonna talk about something that I assumed have never really been spoken about before. I mean I've been asked these questions over and over again in interviews or by my friends who are interested, but I've never really gone down to the nitty gritty details. Basically, I haven't been working on my own content lately and everything I've been writing about were paid advertorials. I know how boring that was and for those of you who still stayed on to support me, thank you so much. But I am also aware that I've lost a couple of readers because of that. This has never really happened to me before so it kinda affected me a little and it got me thinking about how majority of people don't understand how tough it is to work in this industry. Hence the idea of writing this post.
I've also caught up with a friend lately (who also works in this industry) and we both agreed on how it's so hard to get people who are not in this industry to understand the kind of pain and sacrifices we have to put up with. We've both also noticed quite a number of young girls aspiring to be professional bloggers/influencers and that got me thinking and wondering what's actually driving them to want this. It's really not as simple as it seems and it certainly isn't as glamorous as most people think. So if you're one of those girls or guys, I hope that through this post, I would be able to help a little with providing some tips on what to expect from this industry and how to better prepare yourself before things go seriously wrong.
DISCLAIMER: Everyone can be a blogger as long as you have a blog. But I'm referring to those who are trying to make a living out of it, those who are looking for a career in this industry. Also, when I said that I've been working on paid advertorial posts, it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy doing them, I just need to find a balance and try not to do them all at once.
Being an influencer isn't always just about taking pretty selfies, or wearing pretty clothes or attending fancy events, it's NOT as simple as that and so much more goes on behind the scenes that people just aren't aware of. Before I fire away with the tips, here's something else I've discovered.
I've always wondered why I get paid a relatively good amount of money per hour every time I model or when I'm engaged for a blogging deal. The sum is quite ridiculous for the amount of work I'm required to commit to. But after 4 years of experience in this industry, I've come to realised the reason why I get paid so much for what I do, is because it's suppose to cover my maintenance fee. What I mean specifically is the cost to fix and maintain my physical, mental and emotional appearance and state. The very fact that my pay includes these factors just goes to show how stressful and demanding this industry is. So the way I see it, the higher you climb the ladder, the more you get paid because more people are watching and scrutinising you, so the higher the chances of you breaking down. Do you get what I mean? No wonder Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and many others went bonkers. That pressure to uphold a certain image, it's too much for one to handle, especially if you're still a teen growing up. Hey, sounds kinda like most of us influencers huh.
Alright, let's jump right in to the first tip.
From my experience over the past 2 years since I started blogging, the only route to success is to work hard. Consistency is key. Especially when it comes to social media, the moment you take a break and go Missing-In-Action (MIA), trust me, it's gonna be a challenge to work your way in the game again. You see, the lesser you appear on your follower's Instagram timeline, the easier it is for them to forget about you. That explains why bloggers are constantly posting pictures on their platforms rights? ;)
This also applies to your content. Like I said, blogging isn't always about looking pretty, getting free stuffs and attending fancy events. It's about your content. In all honesty, I know that my readership has dropped over the last couple of months because I haven't been consistent with the contents on my blog. Everything I've been putting time and effort into were for my ads. So take that as an example, always remember to find the balance in everything you do. It's not wrong to write ads because that earns you money but also remember to write and work on what YOU want as well. At the end of the day, always remember that the blog belongs to you and it's not just an advertising space.
Working hard also means that you're expected to be on your computer every other day to write and build content. I hate it when people simply posts pictures on their blog instead of actually writing something. How can one even call herself/himself a blogger just by posting pictures? There's a reason why Facebook exists right? In that sense, I guess I'm trying to say that you need to have a creative mind and a personality to succeed in this business. Working hard also means that you have to constantly work on your writing, your grammar, spelling, pronunciation etc. I know I'm not even good at that yet but I'm trying and working on it.
All I wanted to say is. Blogging is not about taking selfies or posting OOTD pictures or dressing up. THAT'S FAR FROM IT. And if you're just here for the fame or money, just... go away...
The very fact that you're expected to be constantly working, even over the weekends, you'd find that you don't have enough time to do the things you'd usually do. Before my journey, I had a hell lot of time. If you remember, Fai and I used to go on weekly adventures, I could meet my friends almost every week and every Friday or Saturday, I'm at a club. I used to have so much freedom but all that has changed now. You see when you're so focused on being consistent and working towards your goals, you tend to forget to enjoy life. To put it simply, you're losing time to money. And we all know that time is precious, when you're busy, you just loose it without realising until it's too late.
For example, Fai and I have been in a relationship for three years, but guess what? We haven't been on a proper vacation together. We haven't gone overseas together at all unless it's for work. That's quite fucked up don't you think? I've been so caught up with work over the last 3 years, it has put a strain on our relationship and I've never realised that until a few days ago. I've been using my time to earn money that I forgot to build memories with my loved ones with it.
It's also the reason why I've broken down a couple of times over the last few months because I found life to be meaningless. Like, I'm earning all these money but for what? I have all the shoes and clothes in the world but I still felt empty. So it's true what they say, money can't buy you happiness. Time though, that's something you can never get back once you loose it. For sure, I don't want to be 25 and regret not putting my time to better use. So even if it means, losing out on a blogging deal that would earn me big bucks, I'm still gonna use my time to spend it with my loved ones who I might lose forever.
A lack of time also means, lesser or no time at all for yourself. I can't remember the last time I did my nails or the last time I spent time in bed just watching movies alone (I think that was 2 years ago?) And though, as a blogger, you have all these beauty sponsors, I hardly get to visit them because I'm just way too busy earning money. I only visit Salon Vim once every three months. And the reason why I stay up so late every night is because I use the little time I have alone in my room at night to do my own things, my little me-time. This results in lesser time to sleep. It's a cycle. These sacrifices that no one ever knew.
My point is, find the balance. Make sure that you have time for everything you want to do first then accept deals. Money is secondary. What's the point of earning so much but losing your friends or loved ones in the process? Besides, your friends and loved ones will be the only people you'd find truly genuine while you're in this industry.
As the result of putting in so much time and energy into this industry, you'll feel the urge to keep up with trends. What do I mean by this? There will come a time where you'll have to make decisions that might go against your morals and everything you knew as a child. Because this industry focuses so much, some times too much, on beauty, you'd tend to desire to look even better than how you already look. I'm referring to getting some work done on your physical appearance. I'm not going to lie, I almost had botox done a couple of weeks back but I couldn't make it for the session in the end because I wasn't feeling too well. I don't know if it was God speaking to me or it was just not meant to be. But I'm glad that I didn't do it in the end. I might get it done in future but as of now, I think I'll try to appreciate how I look. You see, the reason why I wanted it is because of filming. I saw how I looked like on screen for a bit and I thought that I looked horrible and since everyone I know already had some work done, I thought why not?
At the end of the day, it's okay to try and improve the way you look as long as it makes you feel happy and confident. But most importantly, make sure it doesn't affect those who truly care for you. And if it's against your morals, then well, it's okay not to do it either. Okay, what am I blabbering about.. I'm totally going off point.
Let's talk about something else I HATE the most about this job. It's the constant reminder to stay on top of the game. There are SO MANY bloggers in this industry and especially if you're contracted to an agency, there is bound to be competition. It's good to have competition cause it pushes you to do greater things as long as the competition is healthy. But when it turns nasty, that's when it feels like shit. That's when I want out from this industry because I entered it not to compete but to simply write and do what I want to. I especially hate it when I'm being compared to other influencers, it's stupid. But that's the way it is, and it drains me mentally, physically and emotionally. It's this part that might kill you if you don't stay rooted. You have to be prepared for this to happen to you, it's the nastiest thing but it's inevitable and it's something people often fail to notice.
The way to handle it, is to be the better person at all times. For if you would to fall into the trap, that's when you'll lose yourself in the process. You'd morph into someone you don't want to be.
Just stay rooted guys...
Here's my final point. Being in the public eye, and having some sort of influence on social media which is practically almost everything in today's society, you can't escape the fact that you'll be constantly watched. Be ready for people who will talk about you whether it's good or bad. I'm going to be honest, everyone who's already in this industry loves attention. Anyone who denies it, is lying. But with fame, comes criticisms and if you're someone who can't take it, then this industry isn't for you.
The way to combat it is to make sure that you think twice about whatever you do, wear, how you behave and what you say. As long as you're okay with whatever you do or say five years down the road, then it's fine to do or say it now. That's how I keep myself in check. Don't ever regret what you say or do or what you post on social media because this could make or break you. As long as you know what you're doing to morally and ethically right, then there's no need to be afraid of negative criticisms or bad press. My mom always said that if your conscious is clear, there's no need to feel guilty about anything and nothing will break you apart. So no matter how mean or nasty comments can get, it's not going to affect you. In fact, it might just make you stronger ;)
It's normal to have haters. With good, there's always bad, with God, there's always the Devil. So naturally, if you have fans, then you're gonna have haters. Every blogger deals with haters or at least people who don't have anything nice to say about them. There are two things you can do, either ignore them because you know you didn't do anything wrong, or analyse why they're saying mean things to you. Maybe you did do something wrong or unfavourable unknowingly and that could be a learning point. You could take their "hate comment" and see the positive side of it and change the way you do certain things to better yourself as an influencer. And don't forget to thank them later ;)
In conclusion, if you're looking for a career in this industry as an influencer, I say go for it! But keep in mind of what I've mentioned in this post. Always remember, it's not all glitz and glamour. It's still a job and every job has it's dirty little secrets. The way to survive it? Just make sure you're happy doing what you do. Money and fame shouldn't be the drive, it's happiness and the reason why you want to be an influencer in the first place, that should drive you to do amazing things.
I hope this post had been beneficial for you and I hope I didn't discourage anyone in the process. I'm speaking from my honest point of view, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this was just a summary of what I've experienced. All in all, I am very grateful for what I have and for everyone who've helped me achieve all these wonderful things.
Be yourself, be consistent, balance your time well- go for at least one good vacation every year to recharge, rejuvenate and unwind- be open to criticisms- start off by making sure you're saying and doing things right so you don't even have to deal with haters- Keep up with trends but stay close to your roots and think about whether it's going against your morals before finalising a decision and in terms of competition, just be the better person. And classy over trashy ;)
Hope you enjoyed this post.