THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING A FULL-TIME MICRO-INFLUENCER (DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB JUST YET!!)
Recently, one of my insta-friends posted about being a blogger on the side while having a full-time job. She brought up the fact that she found it hard to balance working, blogging and her personal time… AKA working 5 days a week, creating content for her platforms and still finding time to spend with her boyfriend. She mentioned being envious of bloggers who had lots of free time to work on their content, and basically expressed her truth based on her own personal experience. And although her post wasn’t putting anyone down (she was actually very supportive of everyone in the blogging community), I felt like this was really hitting home… Because my situation is quite different!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with THB, here’s a little background info you’ll need to understand where I’m coming from: I started the blog a year ago (actually exactly a year ago today, wooh!), shortly after leaving my full-time job, family and friends in Montreal to travel full-time with my boyfriend, for his work. Since then, we’ve been spending 90% of our time out of Montreal in LA, and I’ve been focussing on growing The Hungarian Brunette full-time. Actually, much more than full-time, if you consider a full-time job to be around 40 hours a week (but more on that later).
When I quit my job, I knew I wouldn’t be able to start working again, at least not in the US. It was a big adjustment, but I figured I would make it work. I’ve been working since I was 17. At 23, I was working more or less 70 hours a week. And then, I started my own business, so I was practically always working. The last job I had back home was at a law firm, and although I wasn’t working as many hours as I used to, it was certainly a demanding job that required focus, attention to details, and took most of my waking hours… Just like any full-time job.
So the first time I woke-up a few minutes away from the beach, you bet I didn’t start working my ass off right away. For the first time in my life, I was free to spend my days doing exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. I could go to the beach, the jacuzzi, tan at the pool all day, discover LA… I was like on a permanent vacation. Until I got bored, about 3 days in.
If you’re rolling your eyes, not so fast. Unless you’ve ever been in the same boat, it’s hard to imagine what that feels like. I know I couldn’t, and I envied these girls who just never worked and had all this time to take care of themselves and do whatever they wanted. I thought it would be so fun to have no responsibilities, no job, no obligations and just free time on your hands. If you’re nodding right now… Don’t. Because not having anything to do, not having goals and plans is actually really depressing.
For a lot of people, I know this sounds crazy. And as I just said, even though I never thought I would be that girl, I also thought it sounded really cool.
You see, I’ve always made jokes about how life would be a lot easier if I had a sugar daddy and could just have everything I wanted without ever having to work. But in reality, that would be boring AF. Maybe not for everyone, but definitely for me. And if you think I’m crazy, just think about Kylie Jenner for a second. Yes, I know, she’s super rich and she doesn’t need to work, and she’s incredibly privileged, and it’s annoying to use her as an example when talking about any type of struggle. But you know what? Instead of just shopping and tanning all day, she actually launched a billion dollar company.
Why? I honestly don’t know what her reasons are, and I’ll most likely never be able to ask her directly. But my theory is: Being idle is boring. Feeling like you’re not accomplishing anything and wasting your potential is actually known to be a major cause of death amongst newly retired people. So even though she could have chose to do nothing with her status, she instead chose to bust her ass off, creating a company from the ground up and turning it into a massive brand.
When I launched The Hungarian Brunette, I had none of the advantages Kylie Jenner had when launching her makeup empire. I didn’t have money, I didn’t have fame, and I didn’t have a massive support system. And although I’m not delusional enough to believe that having a full-time job would have provided any of these 3 things to me, at least not on the Kardashian-Jenner level, I truly believe it would have made things a lot easier.
But before I dive deeper into why I think having a full-time job would have made growing my blog a lot easier than doing it full-time, I feel like I need to make a quick disclaimer. In no way am I complaining about being a full-time influencer. Life is what it is, and my circumstances could be a lot worse. I know I’m privileged to be able to do what I love and pursue my dreams, and I know many, many, many people never get that chance. So I’m not writing this post to get pity or even sympathy. I’m simply writing it to put certain things in perspective, wether you’re a blogger with a full-time job who wishes she could blog full-time, someone who aspires to be a blogger and wondering if you should quit your job to pursue your dream, or simply anyone who wonders what it’s like to be a full-time blogger.
And I feel like there’s a very important distinction to be made here: I’m not talking about being a blogger who “made it” with millions of followers and a team working with them. Although I do aspire to take my brand to that level at some point in the next few years, I want to really focus on the now. Meaning having a growing blog and social platforms, that still don’t generate revenue.
In this case, I’ll be focusing on what happens when you’re working full-time on your blog from the very beginning, with no steady income, no team, and no brand deals. I’ll also be focusing on the type of blogging I do, which is mostly about fashion, beauty, food and everything lifestyle. This only makes an impact on the monetary aspect, because as opposed to being a relationship advice blogger or a fitness blogger, which doesn’t require any monetary investment, being a fashion/beauty blogger does require to feature new clothes and beauty products regularly, which, obviously, can be very expensive unless you get free items sent to you - but that usually doesn’t happen in the beginning.
While we’re on that topic, let’s look at the obvious: If you have a full-time job, you most likely have an income. It may not be out of this world, you might not be making a shit-ton of money, but it’s something. If you’re blogging full-time, that’s not the case at all.
As I just mentioned, PR and receiving free product is a huge part of blogging. But the reality is, unless you already have some traction and a good amount of follower, you’re not getting anything sent to you for free. Which means you have to purchase everything you want to feature on your blog with your own money. If that sounds problematic, that’s because it is.
But the financial aspect isn’t even the most impactful, in my opinion. Chances are, if you’re even considering blogging full-time, you either have a partner you can depend on financially, or you’re kidding yourself, thinking that you’ll be able to make a living out of it right away.
The biggest difference between blogging as a side-hustle and blogging full-time, in my opinion, is the contact with people. I will argue passionately with anyone who tells me it’s easier to grow a blog when you’re working on it full-time then when you have a full-time job. First off, I feel like a lot of people assume that blogging full-time means you have a lot of free time on your hands. Just like everyone who’s ever started a business, hearing that makes me laugh. Truth is, when you’re your own brand’s CEO, there is no free time.
When you’re launching a business (or blogging full-time, which comes down to launching a business), every second counts. I mean sure, you can slack off and watch cartoons all day while eating cereal and smoking weed, but then you’re not running a business. You’re basically just a drop-out. If you’re blogging full-time as a business, every waking minute is spent working on your blog, or thinking about it. Because guess what? If that doesn’t work out, you have nothing else to fall back on. There’s no job that brings you a salary and the feeling of accomplishing something and using your skills.
That’s something I struggle with a lot. I often feel like I’m wasting my time, especially when I work really hard on something and it falls flat, when growth is slow or when I lose Instagram followers for whatever reason.
Since I do everything by myself, another issue is also finding people to read my blog or follow me on social media. If you know anything about being an influencer, you know that to make money, you need to have an audience. And although promoting your blog and platforms online is a great way to gain followers, I feel like a very good tip someone gave me when it comes to growing your audience on social media is to actually get out of social media.
But when you’re just starting, it’s really a hard feat to be a guest on a podcast or speak at a blogger event. What’s one great way of finding potential readers and followers? Telling the people around you about your blog. I have a blogger friend (I actually featured her on THB right here) who told me one of her ways to find potential readers was to give out her business cards to the people she talks to in bars, at school, etc. If you have a job (full-time or part time) or go to school, this is actually a great opportunity to get out of the internet and find real-life supporters of your hustle.
In my case, unless I want to start randomly giving out business cards at Starbucks (awkward!) I’m pretty limited in my options, since I spend my entire days working from home, in front of my computer. So in terms of growth, that situation is really not ideal.
But still, the main advantage of getting out of your home and spending time with people, aside from the actual loneliness that A LOT of entrepreneurs deal with, is the change of scenery.
Seeing people, hearing their stories, socializing over lunch, not only allows you to get out of your head, which is super important, but it’s also very inspiring. If I had a penny for every time I’ve had an idea for a post while talking to someone about their life and problems, I’d have more money than I make blogging, ha!
Seriously though, there’s really something to be said about how detrimental loneliness can be when you’re a full-time blogger, and I know I’m not the only one dealing with this, just with the amount of actual blog posts I’ve seen from other bloggers on how loneliness is impacting their mental health. Feeling like you’re not making an impact on anyone can be really hard on your sense of self-worth and can make you feel… Well, worthless.
Once again, I’m not saying this to complain. I know how lucky I am. I just wanted to share this, because I feel like a lot of people have misconceptions about what it means to be a full-time blogger, especially when you’re just starting out.
And if you’re a full-time employee blogging on the side, and you get frustrated because you get home late and you have to ask your boyfriend to take pictures of you on the weekend, just know that I’m in the same boat, even though I’m a full-time blogger. You see, I made the conscious choice not to work with photographers anymore except for a few exceptions (but I feel like that’s another full post). So if I want pictures of an outfit… Guess what? I also ask my boyfriend to take them on the weekend. Except I’ve also been working on my blog the whole week, so instead of feeling like I’m doing something different, it just feels like I’m doing the same thing 7 days a week. Once again, I’m not complaining and I LOVE shooting… But variety is the spice of life isn’t a saying for no reason.
So in case you were considering leaving your full-time job to blog, I hope this shed some light on what it’s really like. And if you’re a part-time blogger because you have a full-time job, I urge you to appreciate all the opportunities that job gives you in term of financial freedom, organic growth and inspiration. But I know the grass is always greener, and I’m the first one to admit that blogging full-time also has a lot of obvious advantages.
I also feel like I need to say that I truly believe that at a certain point, there comes a time when it’s better to quit your job to focus on your blog, when you’ve grown enough to be able to really make a decent living out of it, and maybe hire a team to help out. I know this is the dream of basically every blogger out there, and I truly believe that having a job in the beginning can actually help you get there faster, even if that sounds counterintuitive. So I guess to sum it up really, really simply, I would offer this piece of advice: Don’t quit your job, or even think about quitting your job, until you don’t have a choice but to quit your job.
So tell me, guys… Who’s a full-time blogger here and who does it on the evenings and weekends after working a full-time job? What are the struggles and pain points you feel in regards to your specific situation? I would love to hear what you guys have to say on this, to get some different perspective on this. And I would love to open up a conversation about what it feels like to be a blogger, influencer or just any content creator, no matter your platform.
Love you guys!