This is a blog post. It’s not a post about where to find the coolest spots on the Costa Blanca, it’s not a review of a snazzy product I’ve been sent, it’s not even a blog post about how to build an audience or maintain your traffic. But, it’s a blog post. Sure, it’s probably not the best blog post in the world, but it’s mine.
It’s been a long time since I sat down with a cup of coffee and rambled. Shared my story. Well, excuse the fact that I’m sipping on a fruits of the forest juice instead of a caffeinated beverage but I wanted to strip it back and write a few lines.
Recently, I’ve been feeling less inspired by my blog. I just genuinely didn’t know what to write. What did I even write about? Why were people even reading it? What direction did I want to take?
First things first, the ads had to go. The ads that I had no control over that is. There is a huge difference between the ads that WordPress placed on to my site, which I had no control over and the posts where I review a product that I contacted the company to feature it on my site. The latter being products that we already use and love, or something that I think we will love. The first ones are the ones that are gone, instant square ads that led visitors to hotels, experiences or anything else which I had no control over.
Doing a sponsored post in exchange for a blog post makes the running costs even out. I can do a sponsored post in exchange for a shopping spree, or a new bottle of perfume, which covers my outlay for the days that we filled the car to post about a place. I spend out on keeping the blog running and having the information available. We test out bars and restaurants, experiences, hotels, things that cost money. The outlay for running a blog is a considerable amount. Of course, the people I make friends with along the way and their kind comments make it all the worthwhile too!
A product every now and again is my benefit for putting in the work. They will never go, as long as the opportunity is available to me and it’s relevant. I will only ever put things on my blog that I love and use and I have taken down some posts that don’t reflect my best work since.
Blogging is hard. It’s hard when you first start out and have no idea about what your time is worth, let alone what your work is worth. I didn’t think I was worth anything. You accept the products and the work you think you deserve. I accepted some collaborations or terms that now I would never accept.
I felt privileged that a brand wanted to give me 20% off their bikini, in exchange for a blog and social media post. Now, I know my worth. If you’re a blogger just starting out, you’re worth more. You’re worth much more than a discount code. Never pay to collaborate. It has to be mutually beneficial.
I’ve turned down many collaborations recently and it makes me feel so much better. I had a brand promise me a collaboration that I just couldn’t turn down. Working with my dream brands, promoting their event and creating a blog, vlog and social media posts. We splashed out on flights, only for 24 hours before the event to be told I can try out a new menu at a restaurant and still put the same work in. Knowing this doesn’t align, I turned it down, through pure morale.
In a paradoxically way, it felt like a turning point, shedding skin, starting afresh. A moment where I knew accepting it wasn’t my worth. I finally felt like I figured my worth and didn’t want to put something out I didn’t fully believe in and waste not only my time, but yours too. It felt like, sure I had wasted my own money for America, but I’d gained my own respect and knew I wasn’t doing it for the freebies, which some may say.
Weirdly enough, the same day I had an email from Instax and The Fragrance Shop. Two brands that I do love. Two brands that wanted to work with me. Collaborations that were and are mutually beneficial. They’re the kind of brands that I’ve always shared photos or talked about anyway, so posting a photo and tagging them in makes no difference. It’s natural content. Working with brands that you genuinely love shines through.
The new guidelines are a little hard work when it comes to collaborations. Now, even brands you’ve worked with in the past but it’s a product you’ve bought, technically you have to list as AD, even though it’s not an ad. If you’re sent a product with no monetary value, it’s an AD. So, it looks like I’m doing more adverts now, but I’m not, I’m actually doing less but the guidelines have changed, so the declarations have had to change. Everything is not as it seems.
Meanwhile, whilst things have been changing in terms of my blog, life in Benidorm hasn’t changed much. I’m still teaching and wouldn’t give it up. I love that I can inspire and enrich kids everyday. Everyday there is a moment where I notice that I’ve made a change. Inspired them. Taught them. Those moments where it just clicks for them and you get a real sense of satisfaction. People ask me if I want to take blogging full-time and the answer is no.
Why don’t I?
That answer is simple. I never set out to make money. It’s a hobby and a free product to review now and again doesn’t pay the bills. I’m not sure my landlady would accept a bottle of perfume in exchange for the rent, neither do I think Iberdrola would call it quits if I sent them a camera in exchange for the electricity payments. I don’t want to ever have to rely on my blog to make money or live in the doom of freelancing.
Freelancing is tough. I imagine it becomes more difficult finding paid opportunities and with the looming bills, I imagine people take on collaborations they aren’t fully committed to or feel 100% in because naturally they have bills to pay. I don’t want that. I only want collaborations that I truly believe in and think it fits both you and me. I also like the fact that I go to work, I get dressed, leave the house and have social time. It keeps me out of the spiralling stuck in the house freelance syndrome.
Speaking of being outside, we’ve been spending more and more time out and about capturing and planning content for my instagram (shameless plug). There was a while where I felt awkward and self conscious posting to Instagram everyday. It felt narcissistic. I felt self centred. But, seeing the photos come to life, building my following and seeing Alex’s photography get out there and helping him build a portfolio, whilst helping me find brand collaborations makes it worth it. What certain people think of me isn’t my prerogative. I know who I am. Soy como soy.
It’s funny that friends who should be the ones who support you are the first to drop away. People who watch all my stories yet refuse to engage. People who will message me trying to tell me how to run my blog or my Instagram. But, the people who genuinely love reading your blog or looking at your content are the people who push you to be better. Those who are trying to drag you down, they’re not the people you need to focus on. I need to teach myself this.
So, this is a blog post. A blog post about me. A blog post about how I’m finding my voice and finding myself in a saturated world. A world where I could have 70,000 followers today and 700 tomorrow. A world where brands might love my content today and tomorrow not want to work together again.
I’m excited for the direction my blog is taking. The direction of better quality photos, higher quality editing and only putting out blog posts I’m proud of. Which means, there might be fewer posts, or there might be more. Who knows!
Days like today, I’ve written two blog posts that I’m happy with. But, I’m not going to force anything anymore. I’ll upload when I feel like it’s worthy, not because it fits the box.
Thanks for sticking with me on this whirlwind.