People don’t think bloggers like me work.
I feel one of the perceptions that many people have about what health/fashion/beauty bloggers do, is that we don’t really work. The assumption is that we’re living a glam life and just work part time – taking a few photos here and there, and then writing about them.
And I don’t blame them. I had similar thoughts before I started blogging.
I mean, how hard is it to take a photo of food, write about it, and then upload it? Surely that’s hardly a job? To travel around and take photos. Isn’t that the life?
From the outside, yes. But there’s a lot more that goes on, and I want to share with you what it’s like behind the scenes.
Being a blogger is a completely different kind of working life to the traditional ideas of what constitutes a ‘job’.
For one, we manage our own hours – I often find myself getting up earlier or staying up a little later than I would like to, because I need to speak to clients, businesses or other bloggers who live in places with different timezones. That, or I come up with an idea that I need to write down before I can settle into bed!
It’s a labour of love…
Running a blog-turned-social-media-company is not something I do just ‘for fun’. It’s my full-time job – one that I take very seriously. It’s more intense than a 9-5 job, at times, because my head and heart are constantly in it. I’m passionate about what I do, so it’s hard to break away from it. It’s part of the reason I emphasise rest and the JSHealth Stress-Free Zone – because I know that it’s so important to take a mental break. Even if it’s from something that we love doing.
You wake up thinking and writing and you go to bed thinking and writing. I can’t simply get up from my computer and disconnect – I’ll be thinking of recipes, of topics to write about, of companies I’d like to support and work with.
I find myself constantly writing down ideas and exploring which topics are best. Once I’ve determined a topic, I research and write – which takes a good few hours. And I try to upload a blog post every day.
Writing a health blog means, for me:
- Brainstorming an amazing original recipe,
- Going to the supermarket to buy groceries
- Cooking a healthy meal
- Messing my kitchen, and then trying to take a good shot
- Or, the recipe fails and you start over again!
- Writing out the recipe and editing it a few times
- Finally, cleaning the kitchen!
Financially, I don’t have a steady flow of income or salary to fall back on. Being a blogger is a risk because you need to make it work. To do that, you need to make it good and original. One aspect of this is that I want honesty and quality to characterise my work. This can create a huge internal pressure to make the blog ‘perfect’ – which is another reason why it’s important to disconnect and take a break sometimes.
If you want to collaborate with companies, you need to be in constant communication to clarify what needs to be done, by when, what the angle is, whether your brands align in an authentic way, whether you really support what each brand stands for.
This takes hours of back and forth communication. It means you need to not only create content for your blog, but other websites too. The content has to be very professional and engaging – there’s no messing around!
It means being honest…
As I mentioned before, blogging means writing about something you’re passionate about. But you also have to deeply connect to what your community and audience want to hear from you.
It’s about engaging with people…
Something I’ve learnt is that people respond so much more to the visual aspect of blogging. Once my content is written and edited, it needs a good quality photo to go with it.
I mostly take my own photos for my social media accounts – I want to strike the balance between beautiful images, and the ones I’ve quickly snapped on the go… for me, it comes down once again to honesty. My instagram and blog photos are good, but I know they could be better compared to some of the amazing bloggers in my industry.
Then I schedule in every post. My team and I have a calendar where we schedule each one. Once they have been scheduled, we need to ensure they are cross-promoted on all social media platforms. Scheduling also involves making sure it’s uploaded to the blog with different timezones in mind.
I am always in touch with a web developer – trying to find ways to improve the website to make it more user-friendly and visually appealing. It’s technical and grueling.
It’s not just about the website…
If you love what you do, you always want to ensue your content is original and helpful. As a nutritionist, I care mainly about my community benefiting from content which will better their lives.
I’m always trying to figure out the best tips to share. I’m non-stop attending nutritional seminars to gather the knowledge I need to help my community. This is usually at night or on the weekends.
I also write plans and books, so at any spare moment I have – this is where my time goes. This is much bigger and more time consuming than blog posts.
So yes, we have our own hours. We don’t have to sit at a desk with co-workers. We have much more freedom with how we spend our time. We govern our own hours. It sounds great in theory, but there’s also a lot of self-discipline required!
It’s full time. Absolutely full time. And I love it.