If I could look back at my time in blogging and reflect upon the four years I have been doing it, I think the main thing I would say is that I cannot get over how much I have progressed. And even more so in recent months not just the last couple of years. I look back at my Instagram photos from October 2019 and think ‘What an earth was I thinking?’ But then I realise it just comes to show how much I have learnt through blogging even in recent weeks. But like any job or hobby, there is a lot to get wrong, but it means you can learn from it and just make it better. One thing that I know a lot of bloggers tend to get wrong, including myself, is how much they should be charging for sponsored posts.
When I first started my blog, it took nine months of blogging daily, to build up a small following and receive my first ever lot of #Gifted items. They were some skincare products that I had never heard of before and I couldn’t get my head around it. And neither could a lot of people. I know when I first started blogging a lot of people would find it a bit baffling how companies would even consider sending me – someone with under 3000 followers at the time – anything.
However unbeknown to them blogging gives people the chance to show initiative and creatively express honest views on pretty much anything. Thus, in the last 10 years the influencer world has turned into one of the most powerful marketing tools available. From brands dressing celebs on red carpets, or a skincare brand giving someone £50 for a feature photo, people can make a wage from blogging.
I read Lauren’s post about what she made in her first month of earning from Instagram. I was filled with a warmth and humbling feeling because she had opened up about something a lot of influencers won’t talk about. Why would someone want to talk about how much they earn, sometimes its a topic that people shy away from. However I have read multiple blog posts about earning through Instagram, or being a full time blogger and I STAN it. Blogging doesn’t give you a justified income each month. And especially in the start up stage, it is so much like a rollercoaster with your earnings.
Until you secure a few regular clients there is no income guaranteed. But going into this form of self-employment unless you read blog posts like this to help then you are very much in the dark about what to expect, what to charge and what to do. This is something I have struggled with myself, and in terms of tax return, I am still very much learning. But for those who might be finding themselves in the same position, I wanted to talk about how I started earning, and what I made, and how to do it yourself. I mean, you will thank me later…
You don’t ask you don’t get. Lets be real. It would be absolute bliss if every brand that emailed you said they wanted to give you a bit of money for a collaboration. I mean it would make our lives a fair bit easier. However it doesn’t work like that. If you want to get somewhere you have to ask. A lot of brands will approach you for a gifting collaboration as it is an easier option. And for a long time I didn’t realise I could actually ask to see if they would do a sponsored collaboration. But every now and then, like Lauren said in her post, I see people doing the same collaboration as me, but it being a paid collaboration. Now, every time a brand emails me, I will reply with a response like this…
“Hi ….. , Thanks very much for contacting me. I love the look of your brand and the products. (mention something about the product they are promoting and do a bit of research to make you look appealing). Out of curiosity do you have a budget available for this campaign?”
Its as simple as that. Sometimes brand will say no, especially if they are smaller brands or if their original product is quite expensive. However a fair few times they have turned around and asked me for my rates. Put this on your first email to them and you will see a difference.
I know there is no definitive amount an influencer should be charging. If you Google it, you get sites that give you a rough idea of what you should be charging however I believe it is different for everyone. I sometimes get that sick-feeling in my stomach I am undercharging. But there is only a handful of people who talk about there rates so nobody can ever tell what is the ‘right’ amount. Some people say ‘You should charge 10% of the amount of follower you have’. But it simply doesn’t work like that.
So currently I charge between £80-£120 per grid post and £20 per story. At this current moment in time my average is £100 per grid post or per blog post, however it varies on the brand. If the brand is sending me an item that has a high expense value then I will settle for £80. However I won’t drop below that because it simply isn’t worth it. A lot of people will huff and puff and roll their eyes at £100 an Instagram post. It looks like easy money right? But like any job, you do put in work people don’t see.
I worked with a brand a couple of months ago who required me to create four different lots of content before they were satisfied. I spend stupid amounts of time on Instagram each day engaging. And I have been doing this blogging thing for nearly four years now. In reality I have only been earning though it for the last six months. So £100 for one post might seem a lot. But it makes up for the last three years for doing it unpaid and putting my own money into it.
Like I said at the beginning of the post, this self-employment gig is not reliable. Especially in the stages of first earning through Instagram. It doesn’t happen within a day. Back and forth emails and can a week, there is a period for shooting the content, a review period, a set date for posting content, and then a 30 day payment period. I tend to set up collaborations to know I will get paid the month after. My highest earning month was October 2019 where I earned just over £500. But its hard to know where a definitive line is on the amount I am earning because you might have a collaboration in October, but then get paid for it in November. But January, for me was a quiet month, as a lot of December is holiday time so no brands contact you. See where I am going with this?
There are sites like Tribe – which I love, or Takumi. This is where you can apply to collaborations and they offer guidance for rates. However you need to value your worth. How much time do you spend creating content? Is it in your niche? How much was the product?
I really want this topic to become more open because there are so many influencers in the dark about this. To be honest I wish I had this post, and I hope it will help a few more people. I can understand why people don’t like sharing their income and it is risky. However if a brand drops you because of your rates, then why would you want to work with them anyway? You want to work with brand you love and respect so that as an influencer you are honest with your audience.
Do you earn money as a blogger/influencer or have any questions?
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