You guys!! April 24th officially marked 1 year of freelancing and blogging for me! Wow, one whole year. If you asked me if I thought I would be working towards being fully self-employed a year ago I would have laughed. Seriously- I NEVER imagined myself as an entrepreneur and being where I am today.
Freelancing and blogging have turned into an avenue for me to not only talk about my life and products I love, but my entrepreneurial journey. It serves as a platform for me to provide value to current and potential clients, and allows my to connect with other badass female entrepreneurs in my industry on a daily basis.
I already did an extensive Q+A on my Instagram that answered all of your guys’ questions about freelancing, so be sure to check that highlight out! It’s titled “freelance q+a”. But, I wanted to make a blog post that centered around my big takeaways from the last year of my journey. Read below for 6 things I learned in my first year of freelancing + blogging!
Let’s debunk this myth right away- blogging is NOT easy. Putting yourself out there is an open invitation for people to judge you. Which again… not easy!! But it’s also an invitation for people to get a glimpse into your life, to meet new people with similar interests to you, and to create an outlet that helps people.
Don’t get me wrong- being vulnerable is terrifying! I was genuinely afraid to publicly promote the first few blog posts I wrote. But if I never forced myself to do things that make me uncomfortable I would not be here writing this post.
I also waaaay underestimated how long it would take me to create one blog post. Yes, you read that right- one. I feel like I have an endless amount of content ideas, but actually getting the words onto paper and formatting can be quite difficult for me. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to content, so it’s realllllllly hard for me to push the publish button when the post is ready… but not perfect. I’d be that person who’d spend the rest of their life “tweaking” things if that was an option.
And in case you were wondering… here’s an overview of everything that goes into creating one blog post:
See… blogging is not so easy when you factor in all that goes into it!! Haha. Once I got myself into a routine and got more comfortable putting myself out there, blogging slowly but surely got easier.
This had to be said, because it applies to both freelancing and blogging. On the freelancing end, there will be clients that reach out and want you to be their social media manager. While the opportunity for new work may be exciting, you really have to take a step back and determine if the project is a good fit for you. Don’t get too excited and ignore all of the red flags (we’ve all done it). As a business owner, you have the right to turn away work. And it took me a really long time to learn this myself. You cannot and should not accept every single project that comes your way just because there is a paycheck attached to it.
On the blogging end, same rules apply. You guys would not believe how many times I’ve received an email from a random start-up fashion company offering me a discount code for my followers… when I don’t even post about fashion-related content. 😂
Guys… I promise there will come a point in your career where brands will want to work with you. I know getting an email about a potential collab is super exciting and hard to say no to, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the free products that you get in exchange for promoting brands. Never forget that people can smell bullshit from a mile away, so if you are not being authentic to yourself and brand people will know. You have to protect your voice and your brand. If you put your name on a bad collab, that will stick with people.
You guys, no joke… at this point I thought I’d be making bank from affiliate links and collabs (especially because it seems so easy for these Instagram influencers). NOPE. It’s hard out here for the small bloggers. Full transparency here- you do not make much in commission off of affiliate links and sales (maybe like 3%, if that?). Brand deals and sponsorships also take awhile to secure because you have to build know, like, trust with your audience before they’ll buy what you recommend. So, all that being said… most of my income comes from the social media services I provide.
I’m not even going to get into this too much because this could be its own novel. Imposter Syndrome is a very real thing and everyone experiences it. Just keep in mind that throughout your journey there will always someone who knows more than you, and there will always be someone you know more than and can help. Freelancing is a rollercoaster. There will be days you feel like Steve freaking Jobs and other days you feel like you aren’t going to make it. And keep in mind that people only share their highlight reels on social media, so don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle and end!
This sounds so cliché, but people follow people… not blogs and influencers. YOU are the only person who can bring a unique perspective and voice to your blog. Anyone can write a blog post, but not everyone can continue bringing readers back.
Over the last year I’ve learned that people appreciate real. When I first started I refused to show up on my Instagram stories if my hair and makeup weren’t done. But nowadays there is so much over-editing and Photoshop that goes into creating that “perfect” online image. I’ve realized people appreciate when I show up on my stories with my hair in a bun on top of my head and no makeup more than they would if I was done up. Why? Because people love people they can relate to. No one wants to follow someone who is perfect 24/7!
Being authentic applies with freelancing too. I’ve landed clients simply because they like my personality and style so much that they want to work with me! Vice versa, I lost a client because our personalities didn’t mesh well together (which I now consider dodging a bullet lol). Either way, being the most authentic version of yourself is only going to help you in the long run.
My most asked questions are advice I would give to my younger self and if I have any regrets. My advice would be to just start because my only regret is not starting sooner. I would be so much further along in my journey if I started sooner. I wasted so much time being afraid. Afraid of what people would think and say, afraid of messing up a contract/legal stuff, afraid of doing my own self-employed taxes, and afraid of not knowing what I was doing and looking like a beginner. But there is no shame in being a beginner. Everyone you admire was once in your shoes- remember that! 🙂
Freelancing and blogging have opened a lot of doors I never thought would be possible for me. I really hope to make this the year I can finally say that I’m fully self-employed. Cheers to many more milestone anniversaries!