I have never been a 9-5 kinda gal. Until my last job (artist management in fashion photography) I could not hold down a job for more than 11 months. I’m not even joking. This doesn’t mean I’m a slacker. Some people were just not put on this earth to be “managed”. I’d just get this itch, you could call it, around the 10-month mark and I knew I would be moving on soon.
I wasn’t entirely sure what was wrong with me! Everyone else seemed to be content enough getting up at the same time everyday, doing the same commute and sitting at the same desk 5 days a week. Don’t get me wrong, each time I started a new job I was filled with all the normal feelings of excitement, ambition and happiness about all the new opportunities that would come my way and obviously a thirst to prove myself and excel in my new position.
After work drinks would be a great way to integrate and I’d be so happy when my colleagues and I became friends. However, like clockwork, as the 10th month would draw nearer on the calendar that similar feeling of discontent would start to niggle away at my brain. I’d try to ignore it but my resentment towards my work life would only manifest itself deeper until I no longer took any pleasure in accomplishing tasks in my job. Soon, turning up late became the norm and getting let off an hour early was no longer a small victory but a massive relief. Once again, I felt trapped in an unrewarding spiral of imprisonment, unappreciation and depression. Working 9-5 (in my opinion), is no way to make a living.
Why working 9-5 for “the man upstairs” is an out-dated concept
In 2014 I tried freelancing at a giant online fashion retailer and was astounded at how much money I could make a day. It made me realise I needed to started contracting myself out on my own terms.
That phrase “9-5” is out-dated as they come. Nobody I know works 8 hours a day, everyday. More like a 10-hour day with some weekend emails in between. If you are doing this for a corporation then it’s only the man upstairs benefitting from your toil. I wanted a pay rise at my old company so I became this person. Covering maternity leave, working on the weekend, doing my bosses jobs without complaint and no extra compensation.
6 months later I found out I wasn’t getting a promotion or a pay rise. So it was middle finger in the air to them as I went back to doing expressly what was in my job description. They did not like that, I tell you. I was pulled up as slacker even though I was literally doing everything I was hired to do but that just wasn’t enough…
My point is many of us find ourselves going above and beyond for a company with little or no return. It sucks and I was finished with it. Time to take my skills elsewhere and cost them out at for a fair price.
Planning to get out
If the above sounds familiar to you are most definitely NOT alone. In fact, our generation of centennials and millennials are breaking the workplace moulds. After graduating or interning we are increasingly opting for careers or jobs that no longer tie us to a desk, dismiss the fact we have lives outside of work and slots us into a nasty and out-dated form of hierarchical office bullshit.
After 2 years of squeezing in event launches at lunch and pr breakfasts before work I joined generation self-employed in October 2016 and went freelance making my own hours, appointments, projects and writing my own paycheques (best bit). Although to this day I regret not starting my blog and Youtube channel earlier (queue flashbacks of weeks written off at university due to hangovers) In 2014 I slowly but surely started to build my own escape route.
Growing was tough in an already saturated sea of influencers. If you’re a blogger, you’ll know this part takes years and there were moments when I honestly CBA anymore. But then I kept going back to it because I was enjoying creating content, I was seeing the traffic and followings grow slowly but surely and the quality of my work was getting better. Brands were interested in working with me, even though discussions of payment were few and far between I was getting noticed.
Should you go freelance?
I’m not encouraging everyone to start a blog in the hope that your too will find freedom from the monotony of 9-5, but I am assuming many of you reading this may already be bloggers and starting to earn a little income from it but still bank on that monthly paycheque from your job. Some of you may work in marketing/PR and know the inside out of how to market product and create a buzz about a brand through the most engaging channels. In which case, you are already on the road to the freelance life should you choose to take that path eventually.
What I am saying is if you hate your job start working towards your ticket out of there! Equip yourself with the tools and skills you need to become your own solo project. A freelancing and hireable entity, in demand in your own right. Start sniffing around people in your industry who are freelance and offer to help on their next project. Tons of my friends are taking extra courses; some in journalism, some at Google, to make themselves that more equipped for a solo venture should they decide to go it alone.
How I did it
If you’re a blogger wanting to go FT then ask people. Before I took the plunge I asked a lot of people in my bloggersphere how they made a success of going FT and they all said the same thing. You take a leap of faith into the unknown and work your ass off for 6 months (give or take) and then you start to see the rewards. Most had savings to support them for a few months; some didn’t have anything (me). Some were luckier than others and sky rocketed others were more of a slow burn. Everyone hustled like a mofo and every one of these ladies is a success in their own right!
I worked at my blog for 2.5 years and my Youtube 2 years before I felt that I was in a position to give it a go. I truly thought after a month of full throttle freelance I’d be running back to the recruiters’ office with an updated CV and a big fat failure stamp on my forehead. The fact that didn’t happened was pretty much the most surprising and best thing ever.
I always knew that being my own boss would be something I needed to make happen in order to enjoy the rest of my life. Self-employment may not be for you and like my sisters, who love the companies they work for, they are much more content not having the pressures of chasing their next pay cheque.
4 months full time
It’s now been 4 months since I went full time as a Blogger, Youtuber and Influencer. Not everyday is enjoyable and easy but nothing worth having ever is! Like every job there is plenty of rough and some smooth but the difference now is I’m in charge and I’m in control of my own destiny. I do have pinch-me moments when I sign a contract with an amazing brand. Getting paid to create content I love is amazing and I’m not sure it’ll ever get old even as my rates and traffic increase.
There are some drawbacks. I never know how much I will be earning one month to the next. There are busy periods and quiet periods. There’s a lot of anxiety that surrounds making a living from being online, especially when your success is often judged on how many likes you get or products you sell. Any full time blogger will agree that it’s very difficult to switch off and give yourself a break too. The longest I’ve managed to go without working in the last 4 months was 1 single day and I definitely checked Instagram a few times.
I will never rest on my laurels from here on out. So when you go freelance or self-employed make sure whatever it is you are doing you fucking LOVE IT. Because that is now your bread and butter baby, so you need to make yourself the tastiest sandwich every damn day.
On the plus side I have never worked harder and been more satisfied and fulfilled than when I am working for myself. Honestly, most of the time it doesn’t even feel like work! At the end of a long day I am exhausted and tired and probably a little stressed if it’s been that sort of day but I never feel resentment only accomplishment. I broke the cycle!
Shop the post
I ASKED YOU GUYS IF THERE WAS ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A BLOGGER OR GOING FULL TIME.
Q: Did your blog grow in spurts or gained immediate traction. Some blogs take years to get noticed. – @AnonBeauty_blog
A: Stylelobster.com definitely took years to get off the ground. In Feb 2017 I will be 3 years old, which isn’t that old in the grand scheme of blogging however I always started my blog with the hope and intention of making a business from it eventually so growth (for business) was at the forefront of my mind. Many people blog for themselves and don’t give a fudge how the blog looks, or maintain a constant photography style/aesthetic. That’s perfectly okay but in my opinion not a blog that has the best potential to get noticed by brands who will want to work with you. Ultimately brands want to work with blogs that read well and look good.
When I started out my photography was super amateur it brings tears to my eyes! But I researched and practised and invested in a nice camera so I could start turning out a level of content that eventually got me more traffic and noticed by brands. Obviously a nice looking blog is only skin deep! What’s on the inside counts as well and some blogs go viral after a couple of posts (mostly luck) some work away for years improving their SEO scores and climbing the google ranks by consistently putting out good content that tagged up right. It can be an up hill struggle but if you keep up the quality, quantity and consistency it’ll only be a matter of time!
Q: What gave you the final push to leave your job and go full time? – @dreamingxpretty
A: Honestly, the fact I had started to resent my working environment and no longer enjoying what I did. I was not happy. As I mention above this had happened to me plenty of times in the past but this time I had a lifeline (styleobster.com) that could potentially get me out of this loathsome cycle. I wasn’t making anything near what my salary was when I left my job and was fully banking on the fact now I could put all my time into blogging FT I’d be able to start getting paid work. This is exactly what happened.
Q: Do you have any tips/advice for smaller bloggers looking to get in with brands? – @zitaatkinson
A: It can be so frustrating when your blog aligns perfectly with a product or brand but you have no way of contacting them and asking about collaboration. I used to pester my PR friends for email addresses from their online databases, this helped me a lot. Some bloggers out there are fiercely protective over their contacts, which I understand. They worked hard to network and get these contacts and forge relationships. But it’s mostly because they are scared you will take work away from them. This happens to us all a lot and it sucks.
Think about a trade? I will happily give people a contact if they can trade one with me that I want in return. Also I’ve had loads of luck getting emails I need through the CONTACT button on brands pages’ on Instagram. Just drop them and email asking to be linked in with the pr dept or blogger contact for the brand!
Q: Was your goal always to end up full time blogging or did it accidentally happen.
A: When I started blogging in 2014 I always thought, “How cool would it be to do this full time”. The more I did it and the more feedback I got from what I was putting out the more I thought of it as a reality. 3 years later here we are!
Q: HOW do you get brands to send you products for review – @eflicciardello
A: I ask them. Don’t ask you don’t get. If they say no, that’s their prerogative but if you didn’t ask the question you’ll never know. Most of what I receive is not requested but I am on a brand mailing list so they automatically send me new launches for consideration. Sometimes I am working on a specific blog idea and that’s when I approach brands and request samples.
Q: How do you monetise your blog generate income and get free merch?
A: Most of my earnings comes through sponsored blogs and youtube videos. This is when a brand has seen my content and would like me to create something for their brand with my tone of voice and style. Affiliate links through sales is honestly a tiny portion of what I earn.
Q: Do you hire professional photographers or have you teamed up with some one / collaborated
A: I work with my photographer Kat for most sponsored videos or blogs as I factor in photographer fees when I quote a brand. I also self fund a few shoots and videos as I am still new and growing so I see it as reinvesting in my brand.
Q: Looking to grow my presence as a blogger but no idea how to do this any advice or experience would be much appreciated
A: This is a really difficult question that I’ll barely be able to skim the surface of in this blog. It’s really simple things that you are probably already doing. Posting regularly on your blog on the same day every week. Telling everyone on your social that you posted and linking them to the blog. Using the algorithms and analytics pages on your social media to know when your followers are online. This will tell you what the best posting times are. Keeping your content passionate and high quality always. And you need to ENGAGE with everyone who interacts with you and starting conversations on social with your followers so they are interested in what you have to say!