This year, I'm not going to let myself constantly work tirelessly and willingly for free. Blogging, as much as I do class it as my job, doesn't always pay me like it probably should do. I work full time on this blog - I sit and write, schedule, photograph, email, edit, plan, etc etc pretty much from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to sleep at night. Basically, whenever I'm not doing a modelling job, I am running my blog and everything that goes along with it. In fact, a lot of the time, even when I am doing a shoot or something, I'll still be thinking 'I need to publish that Instagram about my latest post' or 'I need to reply to that email', so it is something I never cease to think about.

Most people work your average 9-5 job, allowing them to 'switch off' once they head home from the office or wherever they work, but with blogging, it's not that simple. Blogging is something you basically work on 24/7, it's something you're always concentrating on, planning stuff for, and embracing. At the end of the day (for me anyway), blogging is a passion - it's a hobby - turned into a job and I well and truly embrace that.

I'm in no way a complaining about the fact that I'm a blogger; I love love love what I do and I feel very lucky to pursue it, but I don't know whether people realise the fact that I never 'switch off'. I live and breathe this blog, and, well, that's why this is so important.

In the two years that I've been blogging for, I'd like to say I've done pretty damn well, especially considering the vast amount of 'bloggers' that are out there nowadays. I have people who regularly read my posts and comment on my content, and I have a social media following that is forever growing. My posts are often shared, and given so much love - it makes me so so happy. I've also had the opportunity to work with amazing brands and meet amazing people, and even attend glamorous events. I put so much heart and soul into this - it's my passion, it's my job and so it feels wonderful to feel like I'm really 'going somewhere' with it. But, considering how much my blog and I have grown over the past two years, and considering the following I've built up and the standard of my content, etc etc... why am I constantly being asked to work for free?

A lot of other bloggers have already had their say on this and so I wanted to chip in with my say too. (Actually, to be honest, it's probably more just as a reminder to myself that all this hard work that I do do, does deserve to be treated like 'work'.)

When I first began blogging, the novelty of receiving 'free stuff' was absolutely amazing. The idea that I was getting sent a pretty top from a brand that wanted to work with 'me'...'little ol me' was just crazy to me. At the end of the day, when I first started, as much as I worked hard on the content I was making, it's nothing compared to the work and passion that I put into everything today. So, yeah, maybe back then it wasn't that bad to be receiving 'free stuff' as payment, because I suppose my content and following weren't 'quite up to scratch yet'... but I still believe that if a brand wants to work with YOU and they contact YOU to work for THEM, then they should compensate you for it, no matter the size of your following or engagement. At the end of the day, they've come to you and asked you to work.

The idea of 'working for free' was only really brought to my attention when I started modelling. I remember my agency saying to me, that people might start thinking I'll 'work for nothing' if I'm willing to just shoot with anyone and everyone, because at that time, I was. I was too kind and open to modelling for just whoever asked me to because I enjoyed it. But ultimately, modelling takes hard work. I taught myself how to model, no one taught me how to pose or how to go to castings, I learnt it all the hard way and once again, it took a lot of work. So, why should my hard work not be paid for? That's what I started to think. I stopped shooting for free all the time and realised that I deserved to be rewarded for the what I was doing. That's when it hit me, why was I blogging for free too? My blog and the content I created took just as much hard work as modelling did... they're both WORK... so why was I doing all this stuff for nothing in return?

What I realised was, as much as I was getting to work with some cool brands and receive nice things, these 'collaborations' weren't even really 'collaborations'. A collab should be interdependent. The whole process should be a partnership where the blogger is compensated for the work they do and the brand is given the content created by the blogger. It doesn't matter if I'm simply being asked to post an Instagram post or a tweet, it's still a part of the work that I do and I deserve to be paid for it. Everything I do takes time out of my day, and so to take time out to promote something for a brand, and then not receive anything in return would be ridiculous.

Now, unfortunately there are 'bloggers' (and I use that term loosely) out there that just expect to create a blog and BAM! start earning money and receiving gifts, but sorry guys... that isn't how it goes. People work their butts of to be where they are today and that's why they earn money; that's why they get the nice gifts and work with the fancy brands, because they've built something that deserves to be rewarded.

There are too many people out there that expect everything handed to them for literally no work at all. You can't just say 'I''m a blogger' and expect to be paid. There's got to be proof in the pudding. Show these brands what you can produce, give them evidence that you're putting the work, time and passion into what you do, otherwise, it's no wonder that they're saying 'nopeeeee' when you're asking them to hand over the big bucks.

Anyway, let me try and get back on topic...

I get emails on a daily basis, asking me to work for free. They're laced with fancy phrases like 'we love your content' and 'this would be a great opportunity'. They often end with something like 'you can choose anything you like from our site, all you need to do is post about it' and 'you might even be featured on our social media!' and as I sit and read them, I can literally feel my eyes rolling into the back on my head.

As much as this all probably sounds great and you're thinking, 'that doesn't seem bad, what's she complaining about?' the fact of the matter is, I'm being asked to work for free. I'm being asked to advertise something for somebody, for free. Ask yourself, if you were doing any other job, would you be paid for this? If you were working for a magazine or doing the PR for a brand, would you be paid? The answer is yes. And so, why as bloggers do we not receive the same treatment? Work is work, no matter the size of your following or whether a brand deems you eligible for payment.

I have physically exhausted myself from blogging. I do it all the time. In fact, whilst I'm writing this I've had to cancel a test shoot today because my body is so literally so tired out from the past week of writing, scheduling, photographing, emailing, editing, planning, shooting etc etc, that I physically couldn't do it. Writing a blog post is so much more than just 'typing words'. The blog posts I write take hours, even days, to produce and I put every inch of passion into every single thing I do. As a reader, you might not realise it, but so so so much more goes into blogging than meets the eye. It takes effort and soooooo much time. I am lucky enough to work on this full time, but I know soooo many people who do it along side a part time or even full time job, and I honestly don't know how they do it, because I'd be exhausted.

"value yourself"

I've told myself this year, that unless I'm 100% happy to do so because it's with someone I am desperate to work with, I will by under no means be working for free. I've told brands that I'm happy to receive products or gifts, but without payment, there's no guarantee that I'll be promoting it. A magazine wouldn't promote products for free and neither will I.

Fundamentally, it comes down to what is beneficial to you as a blogger. It's okay to say yes to unpaid work, but only if you're happy to do so. The word 'no' does exist and I'm certainly going to be using it a lot more often when the words 'we have no budget' and 'but we might repost you on Instagram' pop up in my inbox.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this too - let me know down in the comments!

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