Overthinking and overanalyzing takes up a lot of space (and time) in my head.
A constant whirlwind of thoughts float through my head at any given moment. Partially because I’m a woman and as women, we are multitaskers by nature but partially because I have high functioning anxiety. This gives me the constant need for being busy, whether physically or mentally.
After driving myself (and my husband) somewhat crazy, I decided to find an outlet for all of my thoughts. An outlet to get out everything swirling around inside instead of the word vomit I pour on to my husband each day.
A friend of my mine jokingly asked one day when I was going to start my blog. Hm. A blog. That was the outlet that seemed most fitting for me. My Instagram posts had been receiving a lot of positive feedback (unintentionally) so why not turn those lengthy posts into a blog?
Right off the bat I had post after post pouring out onto my keyboard. Back to back. I would schedule myself to write posts every few days to keep the interest but not overdo it.
It didn’t take long after starting the blog for me to start looking into becoming an influencer, you know, because I like to be more.
Seeing all of these bloggers that were promoting products, getting free stuff, earning money by recommending things to their followers. It sounded like a great gig.
A blogger momma that I really admire suggested some sites, Facebook groups, and Instagram pods for me to check out, which I did. I quickly found myself ten blog mom Facebook groups and Instagram comment pods deep, applying for campaigns to promote products, receiving free products in exchange for a blog review/Instagram post/whichever social media shout out.
Six months in, I realized.. this wasn’t for me. Influencer was not the title I wanted, this was not the hobby/job that I was wanting to take on in life. Honestly, I was failing at it and here’s why.
1. Cohesive color schemes. I read a post on one of the blog Facebook pages once, a blogger was asking for advice about her Instagram color scheme. Color scheme I thought to myself, what do you mean color scheme? After reading through the comments, I realized you are apparently supposed to have an overall color scheme. So when someone looks at your feed as a whole it is “cohesive”. I was baffled because frankly, I had never looked at someone’s feed and thought “wow, it’s so cohesive”. That is a worry I wasn’t finding myself interested in worrying about.
2. Professional photography. Have you ever looked at a blogger/influencers Instagram and realized that every photo is professionally taken? All white, crisp, clean. So hard for me to relate a Mom blogger when their feed looks this way because.. where’s the fingerprints? The crumbs? The toys? I mean, there are a lot of things I don’t have time for in life. A professional photographer taking all of my pictures of one of them.
3. Follower count. I obviously understand why you would need a huge amount of followers to be successful. The more followers the higher the chance they will buy the product you recommend and the more you make. I get it. Some campaigns I would receive emails for required 10k-20k. Yes, I said twenty thousand. That is not impossible by any means. But when you are sitting at 2,400 – that seems a little unattainable in the near future. The harder I tried to grow my followers, the slower it grew. I jumped from 500 to 2,400 in the six months that I was blogging and NOT trying to gain followers. SMH.
4. Real or fake? In these Facebook groups, they would have different posts each day to help support one another; “follow all”, “comment all”, “tweet all”, and so many more. The main idea was that you could post a link to your blog post, your Facebook page, your Instagram post, your tweet, whatever it may be and everyone in the post would have to like it, follow it, comment it, share it, show it love in some way. Now, while I thought it was great to see everyone support one another.. I personally didn’t want some half assed, insincere comment on my blog post from someone who just wrote the same comment on 52 other blog posts. I wanted real sincere support from someone that read and enjoyed my blog. Call me old fashioned.
5. Engagement. To be a successful influencer, your “engagement” is very important. You need to be responding, commenting, liking, engaging with your followers as often as possible. Keeping everyone interested. For me, this is a hard thing to accomplish. I do not have my social media notifications turned on, I don’t see comments or likes until I sit down and click into a social media app. This keeps me from picking up and being on my phone every time so and so “likes” a photo. So for me to stay active virtually 24/7 was against everything I stand for as a parent and spouse.
6. Popular opinion. Obviously when you don’t have the popular opinion, there will be backlash. I have never (knock on wood) had any virtual trolls comment on my posts with their snarky remarks. But in one instance, someone I knew personally commented a post on Facebook stating that I was a hypocrite. I wrote a blog post with my own personal opinion about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, she felt that I wasn’t being supportive of her. She said she finds my words to be harsh and that I will not gain followers this way. Which got me to thinking.. do I want to be honest about who I am and what I think or do I want to gain followers? Clearly I couldn’t do both. That is a problem. The goal was always to share my thoughts but if I had to sensor them for others.. was I being fair to myself?
7. Good reviews only. I have never had the intention of receiving a product to review and bashing it to the fullest. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever received a product I truly didn’t like, but the problem I came across is that even if I didn’t like it – I wasn’t allowed to say that. If I had a bad note to make, I needed to contact someone/not share my opinion. Kind of defeated the purpose of giving a review if I couldn’t be 100% honest about it.
8. Deadlines. Once I started to have back to back deadlines the blog started to cause more stress in a life that it was supposed to ease the stress of. No longer was it an outlet but now a job. I had to sit down to write reviews, take pictures, use products, send statistics, etc. I immediately started to dread the process. Sitting down to write became work I wasn’t enjoying instead of a fun way to get my thoughts out.
I know so many bloggers/influencers make this a big part of their household income and that is so great – for them. I don’t knock any of them or the process, but it wasn’t for me.
I like to post pictures in the moment when my kids are being cute, my house is actually clean, we go out and do something fun, or maybe when there’s a horrendously huge mess that I still haven’t cleaned up. I don’t want to take these photos then wait until I can sit down to edit them before posting them. I don’t want edited photos, cohesive Instagram feeds, comments from insincere strangers, follows from women just following so I’ll follow back, pushing a discount code on everyone I know for a product I may or may not even like that much.
I want real life. Messes, sticky kisses, dry shampooed hair, yesterday’s leggings, dirty kitchens, toys thrown everywhere, take out for dinner, 17 cups of coffee a day.
So if you read this, if you follow me anywhere – know that what I share is 100% real life. If I share a shop or a code, know that I believe in it fully and I’m probably not making any money off of it (because I don’t have 20,000 followers so I don’t get chosen for campaigns). My photos are not taken by a professional, or even with a professional camera, or even edited. Gasp. They’ll probably never be cohesive because my life is colorful and I’ll never dull that down so it matches.
Also, know that I just wrote this blog post from my iPhone while sitting my Jeep between 5am – 6am. This is because one child has been up since about midnight, refusing to go back to sleep. The other woke up at 1am, I put him in my bed only to hear him cry and my husband yell for my help after he woke up and threw up in our bed at 4am. After his second round of throwing up and my little ole wanting to be held, I rounded them up and took the long way to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee to get them both to fall asleep. Then I didn’t want to risk them waking up so here I sit.
That will never land me a writing gig, a big campaign, or 20,000 followers. But if that isn’t real life, I don’t know what is and that is what I promise to always be.