A Fashion Blog By Gemma Talbot

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Not Your Typical 9-5: The Stresses Of My Job & Being Self Employed

I’m writing this post whilst at the gym on an incline walk on the treadmill because quite frankly I haven’t had a spare minute to open blogger and put my thoughts to electronic paper. People who say “it’s hard taking pictures of yourself for a living” (sarcasm noted) infuriate the hell out of me because quite frankly you’re ignorant and I really wish this was all my job entailed. Equally, comments like this paint me as an Instagram ‘air head’ and I know there’s much more to me that that. I’d always refer to myself as a blogger over influencer any day. When I get comments like this I bite and I really can’t help it. You might as well throw out the bait because you’re guaranteed a fish dinner with comments like that. Even though I know I don’t have to justify my job to anyone because ultimately I know how hard I work, it’s still frustrating all the same and I do tend to get on the defence. 

Someone employed to work a 9-5 with a horrid commute into London on the northern line is assumed to work hard and granted I’m sure they do. What about myself and bloggers/influencers alike who often stay up working until 12pm to meet a deadline? Oh yeh that’s right, I forgot it’s an easy ride. This is by no means a dig or nag but the comments and general negativity with regards to my profession are quite frankly beginning to grate on me. So much so that when I meet people for the first time, I’m often embarrassed to tell them what I do for a living at fear they’ll automatically make presumptions of myself and the life I lead. Photos in Instagrammable cafes and lots of flowers is usually what springs to mind and whilst yes these look aesthetically pleasing on the gram, my main focus is on the clothes I’m wearing which is depicted in the street style image I am ultimately trying to create. I’m left feeling ultimately disappointed with myself because why should I be embarrassed of a job that I have worked so hard at to be able to do full time? It definitely hasn’t been an easy ride I can assure you but an obstacle I still seem to face is others realising how hard it actually is. 

From the moment I wake up to when I unwind for what usually is about half an hour each night (sometime more now that Love Island is over) I’m constantly busy. From editing my Instagram pics, composing invoices, inputting expenses on excel spreadsheets, creating content for upcoming blog posts, filming and editing YouTube videos, reading over and signing contracts for upcoming campaigns, meeting my Insta wife to shoot content for my blog and Instagram and back and forth emails for upcoming brand collabs, the list goes on. Not to mention the late payments that I am constantly having to chase which is time consuming in itself. That doesn’t include meetings or last minute campaigns that pop up and throw everything off course. Last week it was a sponsored post with Dominos pizza (I know winning at life) with a less than 24 hour deadline bearing in mind I was already working on a tight schedule. 

There’s no denying that I love the freedom of my job, the ability to work pretty much anywhere in the world and as such I don’t have a set working day. But that’s not saying that it’s not hard work. It might not be physical grafting but with so much going on at one time it can be exhausting. Most have one job title and granted take on extra responsibility but I’d class my job as including the following; accountant, creative director, writer, the list goes on. As of late I have felt like I'm struggling to meet my daily to-do list. Some of you may think I am ridiculous when I say this but I could really benefit from having an assistant, even if this is part time. It's something that I have talked about with my friends because at times I feel that I'm so overwhelmed with my work that it's causing me to not be good at it. This way I could delegate my responsibilities and focus more on creating content and giving it my 100% effort and not feeling like everything is one big rush. 

The one thing I’ve really been struggling with as of late is not feeling as though I’m having any real time to wind down. For a while now, I’ve been feeling emotionally and physically overwhelmed and I think this is why I'm struggling. More often than not when you leave work you leave the responsibility behind until the next working day. For me, it doesn’t work that way. Every email that pings into my inbox is an opportunity and whilst my passion and love for my job is what motivates me and is my driving force, I am solely responsible for the money I make and the sheer thought is at times extremely daunting. I often work on the weekends, rarely get a holiday and sometimes feel like I never stop. As such my brain is starting to feel like the Underground tube map. My job is a lot harder than what I might make out and what others may presume. 

I’m always on my phone and anyone else who is self employed will know that you can pretty much work all hours god sends. It’s just knowing when enough is enough. Last week I was hit really hard with fatigue, I felt deflated and physically drained. If you do what I do full time, you need a lot of drive and to be really motivated. When you’re lacking motivation it can be really hard to move forward and as such you lose your creative streak. Most of my work is created for Instagram and as such is very visual. Brands who work with me expect me to create aesthetically pleasing content that ultimately will generate a lot of likes and engagement. If I’ve lost my creative mojo so to speak then the content I produce isn’t going to be up to scratch and it generally has a knock on effect on all aspects of my work. 

That’s where I was at last week. I sat down to film a YouTube video and could just tell in my voice that I wasn’t myself. If I could notice this then I’m sure others would too and I just felt I wasn’t on my best form. Not to mention, even beginning to sit down and write a blog post. So I made a conscious decision to take a few days off. Obviously not completely switching off because I had some urgent campaigns I needed to finalise and contracts to sign but as such I wasn’t going to put any additional pressure on myself. I wanted and felt as though I needed a little break to come back feeling refreshed, motivated and inspired. It happens to the best of us but at times and I am my own worst enemy. I am often quite hard on myself when I feel like this and I put even more pressure on myself for feeling this way in the first place, which I know is not good. One big downward spiral to feeling deflated. As such, when most people feel this way in their job they can take a days holiday but I need to think whether that days ‘holiday’ is worth the potential loss in earnings. 

One major downfall of my job is the inherent pressure I feel to look half decent all of the time. After all, I’m just your average 27 year old girl, who like yourself has down days too. Do people want me to be down in the dumps and insta storying about it? God no. I feel the need to be chirpy all the time. Uplifting, empowering and motivating all in one. Sometimes I feel like I put on a social media voice....”hi guys, I hope you’re well today” but other days it’s just me, the outgoing bubbly person I’d say I am 80% of the time. The direction social media is going at the moment, I’m often finding that I’m putting up a ‘filtered’ version of myself. You really have to think about what you’re saying in case you happen to offend someone. I’ve always stood a firm ground that I won’t let social media change me but sometimes I feel like it is. Ultimately, I want to be completely myself and for people to love me for who I am. I don't want to feel I've offended anyone so when I feel like this I'd rather not put anything up at all as I feel I'm not being true to myself. 

Whilst I’m proud of the social following I have built up and am extremely grateful for the amazing support I have received so far, as such it’s just a number. I’ve seen what gaining followers has done to other bloggers and I find it extremely off putting which is why I don’t want to end up like that. One thing that is really important to me is that I am relatable and remain humble and level headed because I am just a normal girl living in London. Just because I have 49+K next to my name, this doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone else. Far from it. Like I said it’s just a number. But believe me, some Instagrammers feel as though the world owes them something because they have a few thousand followers next to their name. I'm not mentioning any names but believe me I've seen it with my own eyes. Almost as if the world owes them something which makes me cringe. As such I want to be myself and people follow me because they like my personality. I talk about everyday topics and want girls to feel like they can nod (Churchill style) in agreement to what I am saying which I think more often than not they do. 

Sometimes I worry that when people see me in real life they’ll think I look different. The catfish of Instagram. LOL. I’m not even guilty of over editing my photos and I don’t know why I feel this pressure or it bothers me but I’ve heard other girls talk like this before and would hate for someone to say that about me. I felt this pressure on my most recent holiday to Bali, where I wanted to make minimal to no effort and just chill without worrying about content or other people thinking that I didn’t look my best. It’s even the smallest things like girls commenting on how nice they think my hair is. I know that it can look good when I tong it and make an effort which is why I now hate wearing my hair natural. Obviously when I’m on holiday I am not going to be curling my hair when I’m going to the beach or at least not in the day anyways. It’s made me self conscious of my natural hair which I know may seem ridiculous to some. It’s just something that I have probably built up in my head and exaggerated more than necessary. When girls actually DM me to say they love my hair natural, it’s such a lovely confidence boost and makes me feel that perhaps I am letting things affect me more than I should. 

With that said, I’m finding that social media is making me behave differently. As the content I am putting up is going out to more than a handful of people I feel the need to think carefully about it. I think personally this is both good and bad. Ultimately, I want people to follow me for me, because they like what I wear and also my personality too. I don’t want to be sent an angry DM saying that I’m “disgusting” and “offensive” for putting chicken on my Instagram stories. Life if about making personal choices and we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about the life we lead, especially by people we’ve never met before. I feel that social media has encouraged people to lose a filter and think about what effect negative comments will have on others. Some are genuinely skipping the process where you think about what you should just think and actually say out loud or shall I say via DM. The unfiltered generation. 

I know that I need to grow a thicker skin but I don’t think people understand the effect that one nasty DM can have on me and others alike. It can have the ability to put me in a bad mood for the whole day. It’s in my nature to think about others feelings and when I’m made to feel like I’ve perhaps been insensitive it makes me feel really bad. Admittedly, I am putting my life out there for others to judge and I get that people are entitled to their own opinion but I can pretty much confidently say I don’t behave in a way that would offend anyone. At least I'm pretty sure I don't anyways. 

I recently went to the gym and uploaded an Instagram story of me wearing my newly purchased NEU apparel ‘booty’ shorts because they were Hubba bubba pink and I loved them. Granted this was on my fitness page which has far less followers than my fashion page but a DM I received really upset me. A girl had replied to my story saying “Babe I can literally see your fanny. For the love of god don’t wear those to the gym. OMG 😮🙈” After the initial shock, I cried. I hate to admit this but it made me really angry that someone would message me this but ultimately I felt embarrassed that I had worn these shorts to the gym before and that others would have thought the same. I just thought it was a bit unnecessary if I’m honest but is this what I have to grow to expect with putting myself out there on social media?! 

Apart from when I need to post on my social media channels, I am making more of a conscious effort to put my phone down and mentally switch off. Anyone else find themselves just going to have a 5 minute Instagram scroll and next thing you know 45 minutes has passed and you find yourself on your crushes cousins cousins cousins Instagram. Time you’ll never get back. It’s about learning to detach myself from social media and focus on more important things. Things that are actually going to benefit me in the long run. I need to get better at putting down my phone and picking up a book or newspaper instead which in recent weeks I feel I have been making a conscious effort to do. In actual fact I've read two book in the past month which I haven't done for a long time. I've recently started putting my phone in my bedside table drawer and setting aside 45 minutes to watch a Stacey Dooley documentary and I've really been enjoying it. 

Touching on the pressure to look good all the time, I honestly feel like it’s a confidence thing. It’s like that meme “I asked Siri why I was single and the shady bitch turned the front camera on me” 😂 jokes aside I’ve been making a conscious effort to post photos and insta stories of me wearing minimal to no makeup and having my hair natural. I don’t feel confident and I’d even say I feel somewhat uncomfortable to post them but it’s about accepting who you are and adopting a more care free ‘fuck it’ sort of attitude. It’s like the saying ‘if you don’t love yourself, no one else will love you’ and it actually is beginning to make sense. Sometimes it can be hard not to compare yourself to other girls on Instagram though and feel inadequate because there really are some stunning girls out there. 

One thing I will say though, is that since doing so I’ve felt more comfortable in my own skin. As a blogger I wouldn’t say I’m aspirational by any means. I’m a normal girl, who sometimes makes poor decisions but ultimately I want to be seen as relatable as I genuinely believe I am. I’d rather girls who follow me look at me as a friend they’d love to have rather than a life they can only dream of. As such, I’m not going to look like a super model but this is ok too because most girls don’t. I’m talking hormonal breakouts, frizzy hair to those unwanted sweat patches on the commute home from work. It me 🙋🏼 There is so much pressure to look perfect all the time and quite frankly I’m over it. You feel me?

It’s interesting because a few years ago I’d take all my photos using a professional camera and everything had to look polished and now I’m not overly fussed about the backdrop or aesthetic because I want to feel as though girls can relate to me and that I as well as my lifestyle are in fact attainable. I don’t come from a wealthy background and everything I currently have I’ve worked my arse off for and I hope that I am a positive role model to most girls and that they can achieve what I have too with hard work and dedication. Ultimately, it comes down to learning from experience and finding something that works for you. My passion lies within styling and I love clothes. I mean what girl doesn’t?! But ultimately, I am showing others what I wear on a daily basis which is why I have tried to make my Instagram about the clothes I am wearing. 

I hope I haven’t gone on a massive rant about my job because I do love it. It’s just me writing about the struggles I sometimes face with mine which others may not understand. I realise that blogging is a grey area and a lot of people are unsure as to what it entails. However, with anything new it’s about educating others but also people being accepting to change and not wanting to criticise just because it deviates away from what it considered a ‘normal’ job. I may not physically graft like a labourer but that doesn’t mean I don’t work my arse off either. It’s a different kind of graft. Every job has its stresses but I think some people just don’t realise what mine are. There’s no denying my job does come with some amazing perks; the free clothes, press trips and invites to some amazing breakfasts and events. However, the way I see it is these are the rewards for working hard and whilst they are great perks they alone don’t pay the bills. Just a little food for thought.

shop this post:

Jumper - New Look
Skirt - Whistles 
Heeled Sandals - New Look
Bag - Gucci 
Necklace - Missoma 

Photography by Bethany Elstone


  1. Love this post! I am by no means a full-time blogger but I am trying to put more effort into my blog and insta and I can already feel the pressure. It must be really difficult doing this as a full-time thing as you can't afford to just have a few days off when you're not feeling it. But, tbh, you are absolutely slaying it and you totally motivate me to work harder and achieve my goals


  2. It’s hard to turn the blogger passion into a job because brands now don’t pay so much at all. I have been wantin to do YouTube for years now but feel as a single mum with a career, I just don’t have the time nor energy for it. I like you get overwhelmed when I get a few emails and to do lists that are endless so being organised is the key but I struggle with that.

    Lol to the fanny comment, you should have written back with at least mine isn’t used for paying the bills �� oops naughty but hey... hehe


  3. Thank you so much for your honesty Gemma. I'm aspiring to persue your current career, but I was really in the dark about what it actually requires. Obviously, I am currently self employed right now, so I can relate to those struggles, but I have only done one paid campaign as a "influencer" for a video app, which was literally last month, and I felt the pressure with that! I know no job is easy, and this blog post has prepared me for what to expect. Thank you for opening my eyes! Lots of determination and passion is needed. Keep being you and look after yourself.

    Abigail xxx

  4. I'm not a full-time blogger yet but I totally know how you feel! Working and blogging brings double the amount of stress haha! I'm sorry to hear you've received hateful DMs, I don't understand the need to spread negativity at all! Lovely post :)

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

  5. Agree with so much that you wrote - thank you for putting it out there when it’s really something that many people don’t talk about. Wishing you all the happiness in the future. Much love, a blogger from Tel Aviv ❤️

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