photos by Elisheva Golani Photography
A day doesn't go by without someone at a birthday party, or luncheon, or just passing by mid-photoshoot saying "Oh she's a blogger" with an eye-roll that would rival Judge Judy. I typically laugh it off because I get it- blogging seems a bit trivial to someone who's never really read or written a blog. But those of you who have know what I'm talking about when I say that having a blog is more than a little work. It's a huge, huge undertaking. I happen to love everything that goes into this wild world of keeping an online diary, so I think of it more as a hobby than a job. But that doesn't mean that it's all fun and socializing; it's a cut-throat network that requires never-ending labor and attention.
Some of you may not know that I had a blog prior to Hello Honey. I started it right after Zach and I were married back in 2011 as a way to keep our distant relatives up to speed with our (semi-boring) lives. Once Bear was born, things got much more exciting and the blog became a way to document his growth over the first two years of his very spoiled little life. During these years of "Fun with the Fullwoods", I had no clue that people actually blogged for a living and made money off of it (some of them millions!). It was just something that I enjoyed doing and a way for the grandparents to see pictures and read stories about Bear. Once Hello Honey launched in May of last year, I began following other local bloggers on Instagram and realized that these ladies (and gentlemen) work their tails off. It's not as simple as snapping a picture and uploading it; many bloggers spend several hours per Instagram photo editing, linking items, etc. I knew that if I wanted to make Hello Honey successful, I'd have to really step up my game. I'm still in the process of figuring it all out but I've learned a few things over the past year that might surprise you.
Most bloggers work 100+ hours a week.
That's a fact, Jack. This article in The Atlantic talks all about it, and sheds eye-opening light on just how demanding the fashion blogging arena truly is. One of my best friends, Dress Up Buttercup, who has an extremely successful up and coming fashion blog admits to spending at least 3-4 hours a day on Instagram alone. Her account recently reached 20k followers and that's greatly due to her drive and ambition to create a visually appealing account and interact with her thousands of followers.
I meet a professional photographer several times a month, whom I pay to photograph my outfits, and the rest are taken by friends and family. The latter are edited by yours truly, and not very well, but it does take significant amounts of time (and a few curse words while using Photoshop). I'd say each post takes about an hour of editing, plus the hour or so it took to take the pictures themselves. I then link each specific item in the outfit(s) pictured, which takes about thirty minutes. I write the post last, which takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half depending on how tired/distracted by Real Housewives I am. So in total, one blog post takes me about 3-4 hours to create and I typically do 5 posts a week. That's 20 hours spent on posts alone, not to mention the constant emailing/communicating with brands, site upkeep, content planning, SEO strategics, business meetings, conferences, building/editing a media kit, networking, brainstorming, and tackling the monster that is social media (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). It's, in a nutshell, a freakin' lot.
We do get paid, and we earn it.
This is something that varies greatly from blogger to blogger, but it's no secret that most of us receive compensation for certain posts. I get asked all the time, "So you get free products from stores AND they pay you to post their stuff? That's nuts!". Yeah, it is kind of nuts. But it's also genius on their end, as they're benefiting greatly from reaching new audiences and building brand and product awareness on top of making countless sales. Every collaboration is different, and most bloggers have a set rate per sponsored post.
Let's say Sally's Sweet Shoe Company decides to send me two pairs of shoes to review on my blog, and pays me X amount of money for a sponsored post with social media shares. Chances are, I'll need something new to wear with the shoes that hasn't already been posted on the blog. So I'll go buy an outfit, and possibly get my nails done for photos if I have time. I'll then pay a professional photographer X amount to do a shoot in the shoes, where we'll both be dripping sweat in the 100 degree Houston heat and humidity. Once the photographer sends me the photos, I'll upload them and start creating the post when my site crashes. I'm technologically challenged, so I'll be forced to email my techy friend to fix the problem which costs me another X amount of cash. So while yes, I got paid by Sally's Sweet Shoe Company for this post, I also sunk a great deal of time and money into doing the best possible job for the brand.
It's the same as running a "regular business".
This came as the biggest shock to me after starting Hello Honey. I had no idea that a blog needs to be treated as a business, which includes marketing, sales, staff, accounting, security, and all kinds of other fun stuff. When I work with a large, well-known company, so much goes into getting everything settled behind the scenes. I'm sent over a contract, which can be 10+ pages, where I'm required to guarantee my post by a specific date. I then mail back my signed copy of the contract along with a Form W-9 for tax purposes, and all of this is required in order to get paid by the company via Paypal invoice once the post goes live and I've fulfilled my end of the contract. This, like everything else, differs from client to client, but it takes organization and the help of my brilliant husband (who's a financial analyst for a living) to see it through. Otherwise I'd be screwed.
I could ramble for days about this topic, obviously, but I think it's important for those of you that support Hello Honey and other blogs to know what goes in to keeping a blog afloat. It's not just receiving free clothes and going to parties; even vacations are a time of work and very little play. Strategy and planning go into everything we do, and there is rarely ever an "off day". Blogging is an incredible and liberating outlet, full of learning experiences and daily challenges. If you're thinking of starting a blog yourself, I'm in no way trying to discourage you from doing so. In fact, I think it's the best job in the world. Go for it! Just be prepared to work more (and eat more macarons and donuts) than you ever have in your life.