Last week, I was scrolling through Instagram and a photo popped up in my feed by a small clothing company in the UK. It was probably designed by Banner Experts. It was a photo of her family – and in the description, she urged her readers to shop with small, independent companies like her own this Christmas. She said that by doing so, we’d be helping to support her family, put her kids in nappies, and keep a small business afloat that she had worked so hard on for the past few years.
I clicked “like”, because I love the idea of supporting small, independent businesses – and I have done a lot of my Christmas shopping in Dubai that way.
But in a way, the post made me feel a bit sad too.
Why? Because when I wrote a similar post a few weeks beforehand on my blog Facebook page, disclosing that I would be posting a few affiliate links in the lead-up to Christmas (where I earn a small percentage if you click the link and make a sale), I received a spate of unfollows and a handful of quite hurtful private messages.
In one of those messages, the reader told me that I had lost my innocence since I started “advertising” companies. She told me she was unfollowing immediately and she thought I’d like to know exactly why. I care about this blog – and I have worked my socks off to grow it – and I’m not ashamed to say that a few tears pricked my eyes when I read her message.
She – and a spate of others who messaged me or unfollowed my social media pages that day – didn’t think it was right that I should make money from blogging.
It seems almost taboo.
Because unlike those crafters, and fashion designers, and book writers, and bakers, and aloe vera sellers – and pretty much every other person out there ‘selling’ a thing – a lot of people think it is wrong that you should be able to make any money having a blog on the internet. To work hard and help to support your family.
And I don’t really understand it, which is why I have decided to write this post.
Because the passion those small, independent company owners have for their business is exactly how I feel about my blog. I started it in 2014, just 4 months after Wilfred was born into this world. And as he grew – learning to sit, and crawl, and walk, and have incredible toddler tantrums – so did my blog. I’ve grown a gang of the loveliest readers and social media followers online. I have made friends through blogging. And I have gone on to win awards.
But the money thing? Still taboo for bloggers like me, it seems.
On a daily basis, we are entertained by newspapers (funded by sales and advertising), television (funded by TV licences and advertising), magazines (funded by sales and advertising), and films (funded by ticket sales and advertising). All of us are OK with this – as it’s always been this way. We know that journalists, film makers, and TV producers aren’t going to rock up to work for free.
But now there are blogs in this world – and I, for one, think the world is better for them. The people that write them can be totally honest, tailoring what they post to their readers in a way that has never been done before. I read lots of blogs myself – from the amazing escapism offered by The Londoner, to the brilliance of The Honest Mum, to hilarity of The Unmumsy Mum. And I would be genuinely gutted if they stopped doing what they were doing – but in a world where we need actual money to buy actual things, I don’t see why they should be entertaining me for free.
So this post is a virtual high-five to bloggers – who just like those small businesses, work incredibly hard to support their families.
And it’s also a note to my readers to assure you that making the odd bit of money from my blog will not change the way I write, what I choose to post, nor the way I wear my heart on my sleeve and share (probably way too much) with you.
If a post is affiliate, you will notice the hashtag #aff after it. If a blog post is sponsored, you will notice the disclosure ‘written in collaboration with…” at the end of the blog post. And if a social media post is sponsored, it will have the tag #collab. This will reassure you that 99% of what I do isn’t sponsored – and as time ticks on, I will only ever work with brands that I would want to shop, visit or try myself – as I’m a Mum, just like you. I know what my kids are going to like and what is going to make my own life easier or more enjoyable. For every opportunity that I am offered, I will turn down two more.
And making that odd bit of money will just give me more time to focus on my blog and (hopefully) make it even better.
And failing that? I could just give it all up and sell aloe vera, I guess…