The Realities of Starting a Blog – My Experience After 6 Years as a Blogger

For many people, being a blogger instantly sparks stereotypes of constantly jetting away on holidays and receiving gifts in the mail, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Daisy, who started her blog entitled By Daisy Bradbury in 2014, speaks about the reality of being a blogger and the common misconceptions that people may have.

1. It’s not as simple as clicking ‘upload’

A lot of outsiders presume that blogging is incredibly easy – all you need to do is pose in front of a camera and you’ll find success – but that’s not the case at all. 

There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes, from the hours spent writing blog posts to scheduling promotional content on social media, working with affiliate marketers such as algo affiliates, blogging is a full-time job.

And as a blogger, you’re essentially a one-man band; suddenly you’ll gain skills in coding, search engine optimization, and photo editing, simply because you need to and with the help of the Niche Generator Tool.

Even the photography part of the job, which is what gains the most attention, isn’t as easy as you may think. Shoots are carefully timed to get the best lighting, photos are composed to have the most aesthetic layout – it can take hours to achieve a handful of usable photos.

2. We don’t live the glamourous lifestyle that our Instagram portrays 

News flash: Instagram is fake. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but bloggers know all too well that what you see on the feed isn’t an accurate representation of someone’s life.

That brand-new eyeshadow palette that’s featured? I rarely use it so it won’t look worn or dirty when photographed. That delicious fillet of salmon I took a quick snap of? It probably went cold during the 100s of photos taken beforehand. That effortless flatlay of a cup of tea on my fresh bedding? That was carefully constructed; my actual morning routine looks nowhere near as effortless.

Instagram is a highlights reel and most of the photos that bloggers take will be artificial and composed rather than authentic. I’ll admit, I’ve got dressed up and done my makeup to take photographs, only to spend my evening in bed, on more than one occasion.

Bloggers live ordinary lives. You can’t see the pile of laundry waiting to be ironed that we’ve moved to the other side of the room, or the pyjama bottoms we’re secretly wearing when taking selfies. We’re just like everyone else while trying exceptionally hard to hide it.

3. A lot of people still don’t understand what a blog is

While social media has come a long way over the past few years, it still feels like a lot of people are stuck in 2014. It’s a common occurrence for non-blogger friends and family to say things like ‘what’s a blog?’ or ‘wow, you must get sent so many free products, I bet you’re the next Zoella!’

Whichever end of the spectrum they fall on, there is one universal truth that they always seem to agree on: blogging is not a proper job. 

“Blogging is one of those hobbies (or jobs, for some people) that is never fully understood by those who have never tried it”, says Erin, a beauty-obsessed student who blogs at Everything Erin. “It’s more than just writing a few words or taking a few photos; people really underestimate [the hours it requires]”.

It’s tiring for bloggers to work ridiculously hard only for people to not recognise their efforts. No wonder so many of us introduce ourselves as journalists, photographers or even teachers when meeting strangers – sometimes, you don’t have the energy to brave an interrogation about how social media shouldn’t be a job.

4. Blogging isn’t a viable source of income

Despite blogging for 6 years, I have found paid content incredibly difficult to come across. Often, bloggers will receive incentives like free products or social media shares from brands, but no real payment.

For all those people who think that all Instagrammers are millionaires, this couldn’t be further from reality. Sure, there are ways of making a few pennies here and there, but this is nowhere near the substantial and easy to achieve income that people presume. 

What’s more, the big brands, the ones that everyone wants to work with, often already have a select few influencers that they partner with. Unless you’re reaching millions of subscribers on Youtube, your chances of working with these are slim-to-none. 

5. Comparison is your biggest enemy

Blogging is now a very saturated market, so standing out from the crowd and being recognised can feel impossible. It’s a much more competitive industry than people realise and isn’t the happy family of bloggers that people often presume.

“It can be daunting when you first start a blog,” says style guru Shannon Leigh Blogs, “as there is much competition these days. Everyone has a blog. But you can’t let that stop you. Take the plunge.”

With this massive pool of bloggers comes the inevitable comparisons. It can be ridiculously easy to look at other people’s content and instantly doubt your own. While it can sometimes be easy to block out these negative thoughts and uncertainties, other days the competition can become overwhelming.

6. Blogging requires passion, not just greed for freebies

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some amazing opportunities thanks to my blog, but these have been a result of my hard work and passion being recognised. 

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who have said ‘it seems so easy to achieve, maybe I should start a blog to get these free perks!’ after witnessing me receive a PR package or attend an event. But those things don’t appear overnight; you need passion and dedication to achieve it.

“It’s often many years before you experience a sense of success,” says Erin, agreeing that it is not the effortless, overnight process that people presume. “For some, this success might be a sponsorship or receiving gifted products. But for others it may simply be the joy of other like-minded people reading and responding to their work.”

Daisy Bradbury

Daisy Bradbury is a beauty and lifestyle blogger based in Manchester. Her blog, entitled By Daisy Bradbury, was started in 2014 as an outlet to share makeup reviews, revision tips and document her life. She is in her final year of an English Literature degree where she discovered her passion for cultural journalism. Aside from working freelance, Daisy is the Fashion Editor of The Mancunion student newspaper and a contributing writer for The Manc’s style section.