I know this post may seem a little bit ironic, as only recently I posted another #ad on my Instagram feed.
My blog and Youtube channels are not completely free of that little connotation either and in fact, the bag that I’m wearing in these outfits is a generous gift from the brand Teddy Blake.
However, I’ve started to feel less and less enthusiastic about working with brands recently and I wanted to discuss the topic here too.
For a lot of people, blogging or Instagramming is another way to make make some extra income on the side. For many, it doesn’t really matter what they do, as long as they get some moolah from their side hustle.
But for others, deciding to go into blogging represents freedom more than anything: when you’re self-employed and no one can boss you around.
Working For Yourself Or Working For Someone Else?
I saw blogging as a way of working for yourself, on my own terms. Much like owning a business, if you own a blog, you’re in full charge of the content that goes into it, how frequently you work, what your products are, where your revenue comes, etc. Until you’re not.
Blogging and accepting sponsorships is like having a business and dealing with clients – they all have their specific wants and needs and they ultimately dictate if they are happy with your work. To me, having clients sound like having multiple bosses. And well, I never really liked the idea of having a boss that much.
Of course, when you have a blog you often work with multiple brands, and if one particular brand is hard to work with, you can just choose to not work with them in the future.
But what if you’re income is completely dependent on having multiple clients? You’re screwed! If your income solely depends on brands working with you, you are in a pretty weak position because you probably need to make some sacrifices: be it your price, the time that you put into a project, or something else.
Not to mention, when you have no brands to work with, you have no income. I experienced this first hand when I first started blogging full-time.
The Truth About Brand Campaigns
There are many brands who still try to take advantage of bloggers, especially if they haven’t established their reputation yet. I always found it hard to negotiate rates and I still find it hard, even with almost two years of blogging behind me.
When I first started out as a full-time blogger I relied completely on brand work and would accept almost anything that came my way if they paid enough. Luckily, I can still say that I’ve never promoted something that I’m not proud of, but I’m happy that I’m not in a situation where I need to rely solely on brand work anymore.
Relying on brand work not only makes you more vulnerable, it can also make you seem a little bit desperate. I noticed that when I needed to make a certain amount of money each month, I was willing to let my price drop just to be able to make some money and pay the bills, and I think it shows.
If you are willing to walk away from deals because you’re not paid a fair share, you’re more likely to actually get what you asked for.
Why I Quit Working With Brands As Much
It took me a while to remind myself the exact reason why I got into blogging in the first place. Lots of fashion bloggers will tell you that this whole “blogging thing” happened to them by accident, but it wasn’t the case for me.
I came across an article on DailyMail about 3 years ago where the newspaper reported how much money you could earn as an Instagrammer and I was very intrigued.
Granted, the numbers were all wrong (they said you could earn £100k in a year with 100k followers which is 99% of the time not even remotely the case), but the article sparked an interest in me and made me want to attempt this whole Influencer thing.
The reason why I wanted to try it was because I always wanted to do my own thing. I never knew what the thing exactly would be, but I figured that online services were doing pretty well and that I could learn a thing or two. Ultimately, I wanted to make enough passive income so that I could choose if I wanted to work or not.
When I first started blogging I thought that it would be a great way to be your own boss and earn passive income. However, when you’re working with brands, you’re not actually producing passive income at all – everything that you do requires active work and many hours to be put in.
That wasn’t the idea that I originally had in mind, so I decided to focus on something called affiliate marketing that does allow me to make passive income and choose my working hours myself.
Should You Quit Brand Work?
I think this depends on two things primarily: do you want to make money passively and do you have a big enough audience to be very picky about the brands that you work with?
To be completely clear, I’m not opposed to working with brands every now and again when a suitable brand comes along that aligns with the values and aesthetics of your own blog.
However, I see quite a few bloggers promoting whatever comes their way and more than often it makes me question if they’re really loving the product or just doing it for the money.
For example, I remember seeing a condom campaign on another blogger’s Instagram feed and it made me really view her account in a different light. I mean sure, we all use condoms, but why put a picture of it on your Instagram?
To avoid questionable campaigns like this, I would always encourage people to use affiliate marketing and ads as a primary source to monetise their blog. Heck, if you can make enough money on Youtube to pay your monthly bills, you can do that too!
How To Succeed In Affiliate Marketing?
If you’re not making that much money in affiliate sales, there are many useful Youtube channels and blogs that give tips on how to grow your audience quicker, one of my favourites being Income School.
I have also laid down my own tips + given a list of the highest paying affiliate programs here – head there if you’re looking for new programs to join!
Pinterest is also a great source to add affiliate content into if you don’t have a big audience on your blog. To get more acquinted with Pinterest, check out this post on how I got 5 million pageviews on Pinterest!
What do you feel about the topic as a blogger? Are you happy earning income from just brand work, or are you looking for more ways to diversify your income too? Let me know in the comment!