So, according to a recent survey by VoucherCodes.co.uk, the youth of the UK has spoken, and the youth of the UK all want to be bloggers when they grow up. Well, 24% of them do, anyway.
They polled 2,348 people (which isn’t a whole lot really, but whatever, let’s just go with this…) aged between 18-25, and asked them what they saw as the ideal career. Surprisingly to some, blogging came out as the top choice, with Look magazine, who published the survey, seizing the opportunity to talk a bit about Zoella and Alfie, who “prove that bloggers can earn big bucks”, apparently.
So, look, I think it’s pretty obvious that this survey wasn’t exactly a representative sample of young people in the UK (pretty good opportunity for Look magazine to get some extra clicks, though, so good for them), but it’s also been obvious to me for a while now that – to some people, at least – blogging has become something of an “It” job. I keep seeing my fellow bloggers complaining about all of the blog tips articles out there, but the fact is, those articles exist because there’s a demand for them. Blogging has never been more popular, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s always fascinating to hear what other people’s perception of your industry and career is, so I was most interested in reading the reasons those surveyed gave for wanting to be professional bloggers. Here they are:
Why people want to be bloggers:
Bloggers don’t have to do much work – 26%
Getting good money – 22%
Being admired by other people – 19%
It’s easy – 19%
Bloggers get free stuff – 11%
So, no surprises there then: blogging is easy, you get tons of freebies, and before you know it, you’re living in a mansion, just like Zoella, OMG!
Just for fun, then, here’s my response to these perceptions of blogging as a carer…
01. Bloggers don’t have to do much work
I’m guessing from this one that the people who took part in this poll weren’t actually bloggers, huh? Pretty much everyone I know who’s tried to start a blog has been amazed by how much work goes into it, and how time-consuming it is. I think the issue here is probably that people don’t view writing, or photography, as “work”, really. They think it’s just a fun hobby, and sure: blogging IS a fun hobby, and if you want it to remain a fun hobby, then no, you don’t have to do much work. (Although even hobby bloggers will often end up putting a lot of hours into it.) If you want it to become a career, though, sorry to break it to you, but yeah, you’ll have to do some work. Quite a lot actually. Writing and photography is just the tip of the iceberg, you see: it’s what other people see as the end result of the work you do. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot more to it than that, though, and that’s without even getting into all of the accounting, tax and other admin that comes with any kind of self-employment.
02. Getting good money
Some bloggers get good money, sure. Most of us don’t, though: most of us only get good enough money, and even that takes years to build up to the point where you’re able to actually live off it. The fact is that the vast majority of people who start a blog in 2015 will never make enough money from it to turn it into a full-time career. Yes, I totally just made that up off the top of my head. It’s probably true, though. Even if you do make whatever you consider to be “good money”, there’s a lot of financial uncertainty to deal with: you can make “good money” one month, and then really, really bad money the next. A lot of people can’t deal with that kind of uncertainty, no matter how “good” the money might be. (And just in case I wasn’t clear enough: it probably won’t be that good, unless you’re prepared to work really, really hard. Which takes us back to point one…)
03. Being admired by other people
You know, I think this is probably one of the main reasons a lot of people get into blogging, even although they might not want to admit it. It’s like, you might not ever get to be the popular kid in high school, but you COULD be popular on the internet, where you can carefully construct an image, and make sure you never say or do anything that could damage it. Well you could, couldn’t you?
The thing about blogging, though, is that you MIGHT be admired by other people, but you also might not. In fact, no matter how hard you try to never say anything controversial, and never do anything to annoy people, there will always be people who DON’T admire you. Who actively HATE you, in fact. And who will tell you that, over and over again, sometimes even making up different names and email addresses, just so they can keep on telling you just how much they don’t admire you. The more popular you get, the more of these people you’ll attract: rude people, mean people, downright cruel people. They’re all on the internet too, you see. It’s not all just headpats and people saying, “OMG, I LOVE UR DRESS!” There’s a flip side, and honestly, it’s a pretty dark one: and some days it won’t matter how many people “admire” you, all you’ll be able to think about is the ones who don’t, and who will dedicate their lives to making sure you know it.
04. It’s easy
I’ll say to this one what I always say to people who reckon blogging is easy: if you REALLY think it’s that easy, then go and start a blog, and come back to me once it’s earning “good money”. Or, in other words, if it was really that easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? The fact is, blogging IS easy in comparison to many other jobs I could mention. I’d much rather be a blogger than do any of the other jobs I’ve had, for instance, so in some respects it IS “easy”. And, I mean, writing a blog post is easy, right? Taking a quick photo? Also easy. What’s NOT so easy, however, is writing a blog post that thousands and thousands of people will want to read. That brands will want to pay to be mentioned in. And then doing it again the next day, and the day after that, and so on and so forth, through weekends and holidays, and a whole lot of other days when you’d rather be doing something else. That isn’t “easy”: in fact, it’s pretty hard, and that’s why there are probably millions of blogs out there now, but only a small percentage of them making a real living from it. The mechanics of blogging might be “easy”, but anyone who thinks that making money from a blog is easy has obviously never tried to do it.
(If you have tried to do it and you genuinely found it easy, please tell me your secret!)
05. Bloggers get free stuff
Actually, no, they don’t. Yeah, bloggers get sent items to review, and to feature on their blogs, but they’re not really “free” if you have to work for them, are they? And you do have to work for those so-called “freebies”, by the way: you don’t get to just take that “free” dress, put it in your closet, and think, “Gee, that was so nice of that brand to send me a totally free dress, just out of the goodness of their hearts!” No, you’ll have to do something in return for that dress – or that lipstick, or tube of toothpaste, or whatever it is you think you just got for “free”. It’s only once you’ve spend a few hours taking photos, editing them, writing a blog post and publicizing it – all in exchange for a bottle of shampoo which you could easily have bought yourself – that you realize you didn’t get it for “free” at all. You paid for that bottle of shampoo – and you probably paid a whole lot more than it was worth to you, once you factor in the amount of time you spent on blogging about it.
Freebies seem great to start with – and they ARE great, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not actually “free”, and as soon as you realise that, you’ll start to see that £5 lipstick that’s going to cost you several hours work, in a whole different light…