Photography by George J Rockett.
All your questions about full time blogging – answered.
So a little about me. In February – February 15th to be precise – I will have been blogging for seven years. Yup! Seven. I started in 2010. I went full time in late 2013, and have been doing it for those four years ever since until now. I’ve seen it change, evolve and become a billion dollar industry right in front of my very eyes whilst being there from the start of it. I wanted to try and answer some of the questions you may have about full time blogging, so I handed over to you on Twitter… let’s do it!
@romylondonuk: “How long did it take until you were able to live from the blogging/youtube money you make?”
Okay so it took a while. It definitely didn’t happen overnight. I knew obviously I was making enough solid income to start, but the nature of freelance is that it comes in bits and bobs, not regularly every single month. I found i’d have a really good month but then nothing for 2/3 months, and I had to try and save whilst paying for my London rent and bills. It was really hard but I just kept going! I would estimate that really when looking at it properly and getting enough saved behind me to live stress free and more comfortably it took a year, as in mid 2014 I was a lot more settled and had saved some of the money up.
@ruth_fishwick88: “Is it a competitive industry as in so many bloggers now appealing to similar brands?”
It is INCREDIBLY competitive. It’s not something suited for the faint hearted. Really. I get put up for campaigns against my best friends every single day, and I also lose jobs, experiences and amazing things to bloggers I know and bloggers who are similar to me but maybe are prettier, have a better ‘look’, live in a different location.. anything. It’s just like being a model, I think. You get chosen based on your specific life and vibe and whether or not that fits in line with what the brand wants. I’m often shunned from dinners and amazing events from brands who don’t think their makeup fits my aesthetic (even if I disagree) and there’s often nothing I can do about it. And yes, it is only getting more competitive! You do need a thick skin to do this, for sure. I’ve learned how to handle rejection very well as i’ve had a lot of it, more than in any other job i’ve ever had.
@paigechapman94: “How do you motivate yourself to complete your work when you are in charge of your own schedule?”
This was something I personally struggled with for the first year. It was very hard. I had worked in four different offices before going full time, and was very used to people telling me what to do and having a schedule laid out in front of me. I think you need a lot of grit and determination, as well as a flow of ideas to work for yourself. I don’t think you could have a good schedule without ideas, in my eyes the ideas come first and the schedule moves around them. You work out what is a reasonable time to upload and create a week, create an upload plan – so for my YouTube channel I upload every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday – and I work out how to implement the ideas I have into the schedule to which I upload. I have a plan for the weeks coming up, with the ideas and videos laid out in place already. This is currently planned out til Mid March. Everything can change at the drop of a pin, and I move around that. I motivate myself by knowing I can bring my wildest ideas to life, myself, and people across the world can enjoy and see them. That pushes me every single day, because all I ever wanted in life was to create and have my creations seen – motivation comes easier when you are happy with your content and your style, not forcing yourself, and have a brain bubbling over with ideas.
@elliejmadd: “How do you create new & creative YouTube/ blog content without doing what others have done previously?”
This is such a good question and a really important one. There should be a level of respect amongst creators that if people are making content inspired by others, it should be cited. So I think this is actually for me the part that comes most naturally and I do honestly and this might be brutal to say – as I do believe that if you are not particularly creative minded, this may not be a career for you. I think those with art, writing, just creative backgrounds flourish the most on YouTube and in blogging, because they’ve spent years learning how to see things differently. I live my own life, and I stick to what I want to do. I don’t model my house, my style, my hair or anything about me on anyone else – I watch others and take inspiration, but I always do what I want to do. I then create content around my lifestyle and what I do within my life, and I find inspiration in the every day. I find a lot of inspiration in music and just listening to songs and lyrics triggers styles and ideas in my head. I’m also inspired by fashion catwalks, music videos, movies and short films. Not really other YouTubers, because they have their own style and I have mine. I think the best thing to do for creativity is to take a step back and think about what you love, then make content around that.
@frankielt93: “Is it difficult renting places and stuff, like trying to explain how you’re income isn’t guaranteed/standardised?”
@princexo: “What practical skills did you have to learn along the way & how?”
There definitely are more skills needed than people think. I knew when I was a teenager that some sort of video was what I wanted to pursue as a career, so I studied film at college from the age of 17. I learned and became fluent in video editing using Final Cut Pro, and before then as a teen we learned Photoshop at Secondary school. So I already had quite a lot of good skills to take over to doing this full time, and I think you would need to take some courses/lessons in video editing to do YouTube full time particularly. For blogging I learned and got better at photography as time went on, and I think my writing has improved greatly too. I had to learn how to run a business effectively, controlling cash income and outgoings and making sure things I invest in are good solid choices for my channel and blog, as well as learning how to do my taxes and invoices. Even learning how to make an invoice template was complicated at first, but I had to learn how to and it becomes second nature very quickly. I used a lot of online tutorials to teach me specific editing things and to learn my taxes I spoke to accountants as well as advisors and read a lot about them on the internet. We’re lucky we live in an age of so much information!
@cheshiresmiless: “Do you think blogging & YouTube is a stable career or would you ultimately like to do something different in your life?”
The nature of the Internet is that nothing is certain. Right now we are right in the middle of the blog and YouTube boom, so right now yes it is a stable career for me. It has been for four years and I know it will be for some more. In the long run? No. I think you’d be kidding yourself to think you’ll still be on YouTube in 10 years time. We all know how quickly the Internet moves and changes. I couldn’t recommend more interning, or gaining some sort of practical experience before going full time, so you have as much of an enriched cv to fall back on. I wouldn’t personally encourage leaving school to go straight to YouTube, because I think your channel is enriched by knowledge of the wider and working world. I would always have a back up plan and always be learning, pushing yourself in other ways so you have transferrable and quality skills.
@xhollymuttonx: Do you think your job would be more difficult if you didn’t live near/in London? for business opportunities and such?”
Difficult is quite a key word here. Difficult I think yes, impossible I think no. You absolutely can blog successfully from anywhere in the UK, but as the majority of the industry is based in London, you should be prepared to travel and arrange skype calls for business meetings. I know plenty of people who are making it a huge success from other UK cities and if you are determined you can do anything, for sure. It’s really important the little blog industries in other UK areas doesn’t fade out, because that’s what makes our blogging scene here so enriched – the view points of many all over our country.
@fififionawhite: “Honestly, do you think it’s something ANYONE can do?”
Yes. I firmly do. I’m not from a rich or creative family, just a very normal suburban England one, with no money behind me when I started but a brain full of ideas and determination. I think anyone can do it, but I don’t think it will be the right fit for a lot of people and they will realise that along the way. If at any point it doesn’t feel like something you’re doing out of love or for happiness, and you feel depressed, sad or overwhelmed – it’s not meant to be for you.
@KennethClayden: “Are you happy this is your job?”
Yeah, I am. As I mentioned I went to film college and then also on to do film at University and I always wanted to make videos. I knew I was going down a path to do so, but my path just took a modern turn when I grasped the little known opportunity to work for myself when it wasn’t a thing. I took a gamble on a career I thought would get bigger and it did, and i’ll never look back from that. I’m happy every single day, I work on my own terms and I do what I want to do. I am able to bring my visions to life on a very shoestring budget, in a modest house and with high street clothing, and i’m thankful every day that people all over the globe can enjoy and watch/read my content. I’ll be sad when it’s all over, but i’ll have all the most amazing stories to tell as I get old, and i’ll never stop being grateful that I did experience this in my little lifetime.
I hope you found my answers helpful and insightful into blogging/YouTube full time. Let me know what you thought in the comments!