Why What I Do is Hard

Monday, September 3, 2018
Warning: very wordy, somewhat ranty post below.

Hello hello! Happy Labor Day, the holiday where work stops and all of America heads to the nearest water source in attempt to soak up the last bit of sun before Summer ends, as always though, work doesn't stop for me. Not even on a holiday. Actually I feel like I work more sometimes when holidays come around. It's an easy thing to shoot, write about, and post about, why wouldn't I? Lately though I have been struggling a little bit with what I do. No I am not technically "employed" and no I do not get payed, not a single penny, but I'm still working as if I do, and I'm getting tired, a little strung out and frustrated with the world of blogging. Here's why...

At the end of this year, it will be a full seven years since I hopped into the world of blogging, also knows as The Blogosphere. When I started I didn't know what I was getting myself into, I didn't know it would become my life. I didn't know that I'd be that friend begging to pull over to take a picture at every colored wall we see, and draining my bank account on photogenic ice cream. But here we are 7 years later. That is my life.

That and pulling all nighters rebranding things people probably don't even notice, drowning in hours of editing videos and photos. Doing endless research to make sure I can come up with funny, fresh, unique content. Learning the way things work like, dare I say the cursed word: algorithms... Hating being that person who uses an abundant amount of hashtags, but hoping no one will notice if I sneak them in. Staying up late, or moving plans around so I can post at the perfect time in order to get the most engagement. It is hard work.
Here's why it's so frustrating. Seven whole years later, and I am seeing incredibly minimal growth. I see people all the time on Instagram posting things along the lines of, "I can't believe it, one year ago today I opened my computer and decided to try something new, and here I am, so thankful for our lovely community, you guys are the best!" Talking to their 30-some-thousand followers... meanwhile me trying to engage with my 2-thousand-some followers who are mainly people who I know on a personal level, it is so hard not to compare myself to these influencers who have some how skyrocketed in the world of blogging and not ask myself, "why in the world am I not that girl?" "WHAT am I doing wrong?"

I work with as many brands as I can to build my repertoire and a good basis of my work ethic in content creation for companies, and still no growth, which means less and less companies want to work with me, which means I don't get payed, which means that I'm not even considered for bigger brand deals. Here's the thing though, I work just as hard if not harder than so many bloggers I see out there in the world. I am completely capable of coming up with creative and fun ways to advertise things that no one has seen before, and yet I go unnoticed. I am there, I am on their level, but I am tied down by numbers. 2,387 followers, an average of 200-350 likes per photo, 12% engagement, 4,000 average monthly blog pageviews, 1,193 subscribers, and an estimated revenue of only $13.15, ranging from 350-1,000 views depending if it's in the right niche. These numbers are incredibly tiny when it comes to being "successful" in the blogging world. Which of course, who wouldn't want to be successful!? I'm a student sure, but I don't have another job, this is not just my hobby, this is my full time hustle, side only to trying to maintain a 4.0, which by the way, also isn't easy...

Don't get my wrong I love what I do, but you have to understand how difficult and aggravating it can be when you try and try and try and still get no attention. And to the readers who aren't bloggers, this probably sounds like the most narcissistic post you've ever read, but when you are your brand it's hard not to be a little bit of a narcissist. And that's the thing, I am putting myself out there, photos of myself, videos of me talking, acting, trying to give advice, photoshoots I think are cool and fun, and then get minimal reactions, it's very hard not to let that get to me. What am I doing wrong? Is it the content? But wait, I am the content, why are people unfollowing me? Do they not like me?! What did I do wrong!?
Bloggers get a lot of hate for what we do. People do think we are incredibly narcissistic, shallow even, and obsessed with being better than others, obsessed with likes. Here's the thing, I don't feel validated by the number of likes (honestly), I see it strictly from the business prospective. I want to create great big things, and the fact that I can market off of myself, and start from essentially nothing except who I am and build off of that, I think that is so cool. Blogging isn't easy, but that doesn't mean everyone can't do it. We live in a world where all of this is at our fingertips, there is no reason not to at least try to create and see where it goes. It's only when you get in deep and start wanting to create full time, that's when the going gets tough.

Here I am trying to make the most out of everything that I do, but with such low engagement, it makes me think, why? Am I wasting my time? When I was at the Teen Vogue summit last winter, I was in a small panel with Olivia Jade (Youtuber, icon girl) and I asked her, "I have been blogging and making videos for some time now, and feel like I am not getting anywhere, how did you, when starting out, get past this feeling of not growing, but knowing you still needed to keep going?" Her answer quite literally was, "You just have to get out there, you have to make that viral video, for me it was my Everyday Makeup Routine video, I woke up the next morning with thousands of views and just kept growing from there! You got this!" *goes on to continue to talk about her boring makeup video... I like Olivia Jade I do, but what kind of advice is that? I keep trying to make "that viral video" but what if I never do? What if my blog never picks up? What if my Instagram followers remain people I personally know and follow back? It is so stressful.

At the end of it all I guess you could just call this a rant, I am going to still work, create, and produce new content for you all, and for myself too. So I'm not going anywhere. Just stressing about it all. Not to mention I have one of the hardest quarters ahead of me at SCAD this fall... But here's to pushing through, kicking the algorithm's butt, and making the best of what I can do! I am determined to keep going, and to do what I love, but please be patient and understand that it is very hard. So here's to that. xo, O

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