Ten Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Full Time Influencer

I took these photos in The Office Group, Wardour Street.

In Summer 2016, I graduated and started job hunting while continuing to make videos. Somehow, the videos gained more popularity and I was able to sustain myself on my income from social media alone. It was, as they say, a happy accident – however doing Youtube/blogging/full time influencing has been a completely different kettle of fish to what I’d initially expected. I’d watched my friends follow creative, self-employed career paths for a couple of years while I was in university, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, however since the beginning its been an absolute rollercoaster. I thought I’d list a couple of things I’ve realised since starting this weird and wonderful career a year and a half ago, partially for my own reflection but also to inform you in case you’re about to embark on the #selfemployedlife or leave your job to start your freelance career.

  1. Everyone works differently and that’s cool. I used to think some of my influencer friends were doing it “right” and that others were doing it “wrong” depending on how organised they were, or how good they were at scheduling their time. This leaked into how I worked, and I found myself feeling like I was falling behind because I couldn’t keep up with 8am starts or manage my workload without working into the weekend. Some time last autumn, I went to a talk about self-employment by my friend Emma Gannon, and she spoke about how she wasn’t an early bird when it came to work and how she’d learned to manage that. Suddenly it clicked and I realised that working at 8am probably wasn’t going to produce the best results when my creative brain switches on at around 4pm. Now I’m focusing on learning to work in tandem with my body clock when it comes to my schedule and I’m feeling so much more relaxed for it.
  2. Explaining what you do for a living never gets easier. I dread walking into a drinks event, or a party, or an uber, and having to explain my job to whoever I end up talking to. It’s such a common occurrence that my flatmate even noticed and said she could probably predict the order in which the questions will be asked. Half of the time I just say I have some other job. It’s exhausting and I can’t wait for the day when careers on social media are better understood.
  3. You have to get out of your bedroom. I wish I’d realised this earlier on in the game – I could have avoided so many burnouts. Locking myself away at my bedroom desk day-in, day-out made me feel super isolated, and I reached a point where I became a bit like the family dog; my flatmates would come home and I’d race out of my room desperate for a conversation and a tummy rub. “How was your day?? Who did you meet?? Tell me EVERYTHING.” Now I have a co-working membership at The Office Group, which means I can go into an office whenever I need to. I’m writing this in their Wardour Street office right now! It’s been so valuable for me to separate home and work a little more and if you’re also working from home, I’d really recommend it.
  4. Being female is a curse and a blessing. It’s really great to be surrounded by so many cool, outspoken women making amazing content, but on the flip side I find myself getting typecast, being asked to do things for little to no pay and made to feel stupid when I push for more. Judging by anecdotal evidence, I’m pretty sure most female influencers experience this on various levels. It’s a constant battle to be taken seriously but I’m so glad I am surrounded by supportive women who are fighting alongside me.
  5. Everyone has different strengths. Now this one took me a long time to truly come to terms with. As a social media wizard, you are running your own business. You are the on-screen talent, the manager, the PR, the account exec, the editor, the project manager, often times even the accountant. Not everybody has all of the skills to be a well-oiled machine when it comes to managing every aspect of a one man band of a business. That’s okay, and it’s important not to hold yourself to an unattainable standard.
  6. Cut yourself some slack. Speaking of which, when you’re doing all of the jobs you’ll inevitably slip up sometimes. It’s important to hold yourself accountable but to cut yourself some slack – you can’t be Wonder Woman and that’s okay. It’s also important to have contingency plans in place for difficult times – for example, I try and make sure I don’t have meetings on the first day of my period, so I can work from bed with a hot water bottle and just chill. I also have a therapist who I can talk to when I’m overwhelmed, which takes the emotional weight off my shoulders when things get tough.
  7. People will always have opinions on how you do your job. Ignore them. I have a neighbour who always comments on the fact that I work from home; in fact I think I’ve mentioned him on the blog once before. He always implies that I’m lazy because I’m working in my pyjamas, or that my job is easy because I “only have to make one video a week and can relax the rest of the time.” Yes, that is a direct quote. His comments used to make me feel self-conscious and ashamed of my job, but I’ve learned not to take them personally. I highly suspect that a thirty five year-old man who works in recruitment probably wishes he’d been able to run a small business in his twenties whilst looking like he was having fun 24/7, so it makes sense that he’d be a little bitter about his neighbour, a woman god forbid, being able to manage it at twenty-two. It’s taken a while, but now I firmly believe that what others say and do is a projection of their own experiences and beliefs and not a reflection on me.
  8. Ask for more money than you think you’re worth. Potentially standard advice, but it’s common for women especially to undersell themselves. I’m learning to ignore the feeling of fear when asking for a fee that feels too high and just pushing myself to do it anyway. It’s a negotiation process anyway so there isn’t much to lose by pushing it and seeing what you can get. And I bet you anything that the guy who’s also taking part in the campaign is asking for more than you are.
  9. Professional support is necessary. This point is kind of a continuation from number five; if you can’t manage all of the work yourself, or you don’t have the skills or time to do a certain element of it, it’s important to find people who can. I can’t believe I survived for so long without management – I can’t wait to shed the email anxiety and have someone else managing my inbox. I also work with Rebecca Munroe, an amazing photographer and cinematographer, on some of my videos, and Ollie Ali, a wonderful photographer, on some blog posts.
  10. Look after yourself. Look at you! You’re doing great! Now go and cook yourself a nice dinner, set your phone to Do Not Disturb and go and watch a film. Yesterday my boyfriend cooked us some spaghetti Nigella-style (satin dressing gown not included) and I had a long shower before we watched an episode of How To Get Away With Murder. If I can’t forget about work on a Sunday evening and take some necessary self care time then when can I? Make the most of your down time!

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15 Comments

  1. February 5, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    Loved this article Lucy, very inspiring and comforting as well ! It’s tough out there, and it’s nice to understand more of what influencer/blogging etc actually is.
    xx
    Elsa
    https://lebeautyjournal.com/

  2. February 5, 2018 / 6:24 pm

    I needed to read something like this!! – Im just starting out and oh boy! I can’t tell you how much I’ve needed to hear this from a real person. Thank You Lucy, very inspiring, comforting and helpful.

    Thank You! ❤️

  3. February 5, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    This is very helpful Lucy! I’ve been (seriously, haha) blogging since a year ago, and step by step i’m taking my work and myself more seriously. I wish I could make it my work but I guess I miss that push because in Spain, that kind of blog isn’t ” the thing” yet.

    xx
    http://www.poortz.com

  4. February 5, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    I mean I’m not planning on becoming self employed anytime soon, but this sounds pretty helpful and if I was going to become self employed then I would definitely use this advice. Might use the ask for more than you’re worth thing cause that sounds pretty cool.

    P.S. loving content lately!

  5. February 5, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    Such a great blog post! I’m working freelance as a columnist and journalist and I have this sinking feeling that I’m not getting paid enough compared to men doing the same job. I’m thinking of asking other people doing the same as me what they get paid so I can compare, but I’m afraid that might come off as rude.

  6. February 5, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    It’s a very interesting and a very demanding position.
    And I think you’re handling it quite fine!

    I myself am trying to figure those things out.
    I have a YouTube channel, artsy-lifestyle. And even though I’m not making it full-time, explaning what am I doing is always hard!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. ❤️
    Ps. I love your GRWM 😊

  7. February 5, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing your expertise! As someone who’s dipping her toes in the freelancing waters, I will definitely keep these tips in mind. (Also love the photos!)

  8. February 5, 2018 / 11:55 pm

    Hey, Lucy! I loved reading your article! I feel that it synthesizes well the kind of content (and influencers) I like to follow online: the legitimate ones. “Everyone works differently and that’s cool,” and “everyone has different strengths” is very true and understanding that only makes you a better professional – and one of my favorite people on the internet! Thank you for making everything in your own way.
    All the love <3

  9. February 6, 2018 / 6:39 am

    This has so much truth- all female influencers or wannabe influencers should read it, thanks for sharing !

  10. February 6, 2018 / 3:33 pm

    Love this post! You’re so right about everyone having a different working differently. I’ve been self employed since I left university and I’ve always felt guilty about not getting up earlier. Maybe I need to take your advice and cut myself some slack!

    alicered.co.uk

  11. February 6, 2018 / 8:09 pm

    There is one thing, I believe, which comes before the things you mention. And what is the key factor to success for an “influencer”? Is it to get to know people? Or is it to get people to know you are there? Jesus told his disciples they were like salt of the earth and like light of the world. Girl and boy.

    I really love your logo. Classy, it is. I believe I will visit your blog again. I found it by a link posted on Twitter by @iamnotlucymoon.

  12. February 7, 2018 / 10:52 am

    I love this post! I just started out on my blog and can already relate to your words. We rock girls!

    justxenia.wordpress.com

  13. February 7, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    I totally agree with you. When brands have approached me and asked me to do a review of their product without offering payment I will always tell them my fee and a lot of the time they aren’t interested anymore. When I have to bring up money with a brand I ALWAYS feel as if they aren’t taking me seriously – this needs to change! Xx

    http://www.flolavita.co.uk

  14. February 7, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    The SECOND I read “cook yourself a nice dinner” I felt hungry. Time to go do it I guess!

    Lilly xoxo

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