When you start blogging it's so difficult to wade through all of the should's and should not's to find exactly what you need to focus on. If you're looking to make money from this, then that's a whole other kettle of fish. I think a lot of bloggers that are fortunate enough to use blogging as a means of income today didn't really start out for that reason, we didn't know the career possibilities and thus it's all been a bit of a learning curve. Things are a little different now, with the blogging market becoming more and more saturated with each day, it's definitely harder than ever to be seen, though I'm sure that will only continue as more realise you can make money in what a lot of us define as a hobby.

Be professional
This is first up on the list, because it's probably something I struggled with for quite a while. Of course in my emails and posts on here, I'm pleasant and a little more conservative but social media is an easy place to falter. I am far more reserved than I was a year ago. Remember that so many brands use it as a way of reaching out, even if they're not connecting with you it doesn't mean they aren't watching. Nobody wants to work with someone that's going to bring their brand name into disrepute, so bare that in mind before you brain dump on Twitter. We all have our moments, of course we do, but what we do and say online isn't like footprints in the snow, they're more like giant footsteps in wet concrete. You can delete and erase but in a moment anyone can see them or screen grab and within seconds your actions are out of your hands. This works the same for your day job, if blogging is much more on the side, think twice if what you are writing wouldn't sit too well with your colleagues or boss - nobody wants to be dragged into the office at 9am on a Monday morning.

'You get what you work for, not what you wish for' a good motto to bare in mind if you're sitting back and waiting for the work to roll in. Everyone has slow weeks, even slow months and there is nothing shameful about pitching to brands you want to work with. Don't expect that every brand is going to see you, there really is a lot more bloggers today than there was last month and so they can't see everyone. If you really want to work with someone, tell them, show them what you're made of and what you can offer them in return for working with you. Don't pitch because Sally got a blender and you've got better stats than her, pitch because you want to work with someone, if your needs are insincere it'll not only shine through to the brand but it will in your post if you're just not that into it. The worse that can happen is a no, and more often than not, it's a no 'for now'. That doesn't mean leave it a month and try again, persistence is key but not in that aspect, add them onto a list to contact in six months and show them how much you've grown in that time.

Followings aren't always fortune.
It's hard not to focus on a follower number when it's almost the first thing you see on everyone's social media profile. Yes you will find brands that will turn you down based on your following, but don't let it discourage you, rome wasn't built in a day and an engaged following is far more important than a large one. What's the good in 10,000 followers if only 20 are seeing your posts? It's useless. More and more brands are looking at engagement, and with so many tools now I think we'll definitely see a shift. Socialblade is a blessing as it weeds out the fakes and the phonies,

Late payments are a thing.
Usually when you hear the words late payment, you'll associate it when negative connotations. That doesn't seem the be the case in PR world, and it's really frustrating when you're on the receiving end - or ironically not receiving end. More often than not I am paid late, which is why this year I have made payment terms a key part of my negotiations. When blogging becomes your full time job, you need to know when you expect the money and I now always ask for a date that I will be paid by, if not - late fee's apply. In no other ordinary job would you expect to be ignored on payday, because you'd obviously stop doing the work till you were, which makes life tricky in a blog world when you've already carried out said work. It requires you to be incredibly trusting and there are some who taint the whole experience.

Value yourself.
If you don't value yourself, nobody else will either. You have to believe that you're good enough for the fee's you are asking for. Negotiations are part and parcel of working in this industry but negotiating doesn't mean you have to sell yourself short. It's always worth having a figure in your head you want to be paid, and then quote a little bit higher, so when you settle you're not actually underselling yourself. We have bills to pay at the end of the day and though £50 might look reasonable for a post that might take two hours to curate - great £25 a hour. Well when you factor in photography, editing, social media scheduling and then actually writing the post, you're probably way under what the national minimum wage would be. It's really foggy ground to know what price marks you should set, but just dive in and you'll soon be able to gauge by the responses you get if you're too high or low.

People will not understand
Whenever someone asks what I do for a living, I find myself fumbling over my words. Instead of being confident in my job role and telling them I am a freelance writer and blogger, there is something inside of me that knows the immediate response 'what's that?' 'a what?!' 'eerm, ok'. Nobody seems to understand it too much and I think a lot of people assume I'm just at home writing and laughing my way to the bank. That's not the case, there is so much more to blogging than typing, posts are planned, drafted, written and scheduled. Social media has to be active to be 'seen', you need to style photos, shoot them and edit them, everything has to be scheduled across all platforms and that's without factoring in replying to emails, pitching and supporting other members of the blogging community. Quite often that's done around juggling housework, errands and children. It's not quite as easy as people think.

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