As well as the questions I get about fashion and style itself, I also get a lot of requests for tips and advice about the business of fashion blogging, and how to make a living (or even just some shopping money) from it. With fashion bloggers continuing to attract sponsorships, and turn their blogs into full-time businesses, it seems there are a lot of people out there looking to get in on the action. There are also a lot of misconceptions about fashion blogging, and how easy it is to make money from it, so here are some truths about fashion blogging…
You’re unlikely to get rich and famous through fashion blogging
I’m not saying it’s impossible, (there are plenty of fashion bloggers who’ve managed it, obviously): I’m just saying it’s unlikely. Why? Because there’s just SO MUCH competition out there these days. There are literally thousands upon thousands of fashion blogs online right now: a new one is probably being launched as you read this. This makes it incredibly difficult for YOUR fashion blog to stand out and get noticed, and what you’ll find is that many of the very popular blogs are ones which have been around for a long time (i.e. they’re not necessarily better than any of the other blogs, they just got in first), or they have something very unique about them which makes them rise to the top. Sometimes that “unique” thing is talent, and if you have that, and you’re willing to work hard, then you have as good a chance as anyone else, but trust me when I tell you it will not be easy. The fashion bloggers who are making tons of money are the exception rather than the rule: most people who make a living through fashion blogging earn far less, and you might not even have heard of them. If you really want to get into fashion blogging, of course, you shouldn’t let that stop you, but you should probably try to manage your expectations, and be prepared for the fact that it could take a long time, and a lot of work, to make your blog a success.
It’s not just about dressing up and taking pretty photos of yourself
That’s part of it, of course: or, at least, it is if you’re a personal style blogger, which tends to be what people think of when they think of fashion blogging. Theres’ a little more to it than that, though: the more popular bloggers make fashion blogging look like an endless round of parties and freebies, but if you want to really make your blog a success, you’ll also do a lot of networking and marketing, and you’ll have to be prepared to learn about things like Search Engine Optimisation and how to actually monetise your blog. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to claim that these are the hardest jobs in the world, but they can be time-consuming and unglamorous: a far cry from the pretty pictures that are often the result of all of that hard work.
Freebies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be
A lot of people who want to get into fashion blogging do it for the freebies. This is a mistake. Yes, there are plenty of freebies on offer (Although less and less of them as fashion brands wise up to the fact that Google doesn’t like to see people try to “trick” their way into the search engine rankings by handing out freebies), but your blog will need to have at least a small amount of success before you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of any of them, and when the freebies come, they might not even be worth it. A lot of the time, you’ll be offered things that just aren’t to your taste: if you accept them, you’ll not only alienate your readers, you’ll also give yourself a lot of work, in return for some free item you don’t even like. Remember, freebies don’t pay the bills, and many of the brands who offer them are sending them in lieu of cash, so if you want to make a career or a living out of fashion blogging, you’re going to need to insist on cold, harsh cash. If you JUST want to get some free stuff, meanwhile, well, you’re going to have to work for it, and you may well come to the conclusion that you’d be better of just buying the things you want yourself.
You’ll need to develop a thick skin
One of the strangest things about fashion blogging is how very personal it is. Unlike many other jobs out there, where you’re criticised for the job you do, or the product/service you provide, as a fashion blogger, you will also have to deal with criticism of your personality, your appearance, and even things like your family and home. Of course, the argument is that if you’re putting yourself out there, you have to expect to be criticised: this is true, but it can be very hard to deal with personal attacks, especially if you’re not used to it, so it’s important to be honest with yourself about how you’ll deal with criticism, both founded and unfounded, and whether your skin really is thick enough not to let the occasional cruel or harsh comment affect you.
It could get you into debt
It would be a sweeping (and incorrect) generalisation to say that all fashion bloggers are shopping addicts, but there’s no doubt that fashion blogging and over-consumption go hand-in-designer-glove. Even if you think it won;t happen to you, when your job involves showing people what you’re wearing every day, it can be hard not to fall into the trap of feeling that you must always be wearing something new and different if you want to keep your readers. That’s a slippery slope to go down, and a hard one to crawl back up again, so be very sure you’ll be able to make more money than you’ll end up spending if you want to make fashion blogging a profitable career.
With that said, however…
It can be one of the most fun and rewarding jobs in the world
While many of the points I’ve raised here focus on the more negative aspects of fashion blogging, let’s face it: it’s not rocket science, and it’s not even comparable to the REALLY hard jobs out there. Sure, it has its down side, and building a successful blog can be a lot of hard work, but ultimately you get to make a living doing something you love, to be your own boss, and to create something which will hopefully give you a great deal of satisfaction. So if you want to do it? Go for it.[P.S. I post blogging advice every Sunday, over at my other blog, Forever Amber – click here to read it!]