It's common knowledge that bloggers often get sent items to review. From clothing to makeup the list can be endless. My postman, whose name unfortunately is not Pat has seen me at my not so finest hour. Yes I am that girl who's guilty of answering the door in a face mask and with shampoo in her hair in an attempt not to miss delivery. A trip to the depot at the best of times is a drag.
I would generally consider myself an honest person. With me, what you see is what you get. I can hand on heart say that no matter where my blogging career may take me, I will always stay humble. I would never let the number of followers I have phase me because the way I see it, it's like Monopoly numbers. It's only real to a certain extent. I am so grateful to every single person who actually shows interest in what I post both on my blog and Instagram but I would never let it go to my head. I say this because I still get a little giddy when I open up a package sent through the post from one of my favourite brands. I know that to most girls this would be a dream come true. I also know I'm in a fortunate position and I appreciate everything that comes my way. Getting back onto the numbers game. Although 30.5K followers on Instagram would appear somewhat impressive, it's still a drop in the ocean compared to some. It's definitely not quite the blue ticked verified status but with that said I am happy with how far I've come particularly in the last year. None the less, trying to establish myself as a full time blogger requires not only perseverance but also knowing your worth which means knowing when you should say no.
I will admit that although trying to pursue blogging full time I do still accept items on a gifted basis, mainly because I love clothes. I have also been introduced to a number of brands and products that I might otherwise not have tried which is always welcomed. However, as time goes on I have become far more selective because ultimately that £60 suede skirt may look great hung in my wardrobe but it won't pay the bills. It was fine when blogging was merely a hobby but now I'm taking things a lot more seriously, including myself.
I mean not to offend any PR's here because I know a few read my blog but I am just putting it out there. I don't need to tell you how expensive life generally is, so obviously as a girl trying to live out her dream of being a full time blogger free things just won't cut it anymore. At least not as payment anyways. If I like something enough, I'll use my own hard earned money to pay for it. I also think it makes you value something more especially if you've spent time saving for it too. I hate to say it, but often freebies have little material value.
It saddens me that there are still many misconceptions surrounding blogging as a whole and what it is that's involved in being a full time blogger or influencer. I often find myself having to justify not wanting to accept something for free and there's often a lack of respect which yes does come across in the tone of an email. Although blogging may not be seen as a 'conventional' job the work involved in creating content is vast. From taking and editing photos, drafting the content, planning and scheduling social media posts and lets not forget about all the admin including back and forth emails. The list really can seem endless, to me anyways. A publication would not do all of this work for free or accept a piece of clothing as 'payment' so why should I or we as bloggers?! Moreover, in the past I've been made to feel ungrateful for turning what is often phrased as an 'opportunity' down or told that another blogger with more followers had done the same for free. Something that in a normal working environment would be deemed as unprofessional. And in my opinion a three word response email is unprofessional, especially when followed by an exclamation mark.
I mean not to offend anyone or come across in a negative way but I'm really just calling it how I see it. If anything I'm just trying to get people to understand the controversial topic, from my point of view. After all, if a brand is approaching me or any other blogger for that matter, I would assume we're worth something to them to want to work together in the first place?! Or is it simply a case of lets see how much free publicity we can get? What it really boils down to is knowing your (my) worth and standing up for yourself (myself). Naturally as a Taurus I should be good at this, with my stubborn streak but it often feels easier to cave in fear of becoming irrelevant. Nobody wants to feel as though they have been forgotten or cast aside.
It can be so easy to say yes, especially for me as I hate letting people down but if I want a shot at getting anywhere in the blogging world and being seen as credible I've learn't that it's also ok to say no too. Generally PR's are lovely about it and completely understanding. Believe me I do get it. Many start up companies simply don't have the massive budgets to pay bloggers to promote their products. However, blogging is a small close-knit community and we talk. I have even found out that a brand who approached me and made me feel bad for not wanting to do something for free actually paid another influencer who on paper has lower statistics than me. I mean if that's not unprofessional, I don't know what is. I think the worse part was, not feeling under appreciated but the way I was spoken to. I always vow to treat people how I wish to be treated and at the end of the day it simply boils down to mutual respect. I honestly feel sometimes that because blogging is a relatively new industry people are often not as respectful. Naturally, respect is earned and this takes time but influencers are......influential and surely this counts for something?!
It's not just blogging that this applies to, you can transfer this advice and know when to say no in many aspects of life. Nobody likes to feel like they are being taken for a ride or pressured into doing something they don't want to do, so why not say no and not feel bad for doing so either?! If you don't want to work those extra hours your manager is asking you to do, say no. If you'd prefer to stay in on a Friday night than go clubbing with the girls, say no. It really is ok to stick up for yourself once in a while and believe that what you are doing is the right thing #GIRLPOWER. If you say no from the get go, then at least you have been completely transparent and won't be letting anyone down.
If you can take anything away from reading this post it would be that if you know your worth, you'll know that it's right to say no.