The Truth About Working In The Social Media Industry

You watch her Instastories seeing her have the time of her life at a social gathering, clinking her colorful cocktail glass against her friend’s hibiscus margarita.

You come across his most recent post, raving about the wonderful time he’s currently having as he explores the streets of Paris.

You tell yourself that working in the creative field must be so goddamn perfect and that everybody seems to be in love with what they do.

But as a passionate lifestyle blogger who’s been chasing her dream career for two years and counting, I’m here to tell you that life behind Instagram’s little squares isn’t exactly represented through one's perfect aesthetic feed. Today, I wanted to share a heart-to-heart talk with my followers addressing the side of social media that nobody sees. This includes the financial struggles of being a full-time blogger, the overwhelming amount of stress from juggling multiple collaborations, the never-ending deadline to create content 24/7, and more.

Myth: Unboxing packages every day or week must feel like a dream.
Truth: Yes, I’ll admit that I do feel a little bit of an adrenaline rush whenever I unbox packages from my collaborations. After all, every package reminds me a bit of the festive holiday season and who doesn’t want it to feel like Christmas every day? However, the minute you open that box is the minute that the timer starts counting down towards your next deadline. A lot of people don’t know this, but social media influencers are expected to complete their collaborations within a certain deadline. We have to creatively brainstorm a way to promote a product that relates to the theme/lifestyle of our page and then actually take the time to shoot the product. Sometimes, our completed work would need to be sent in for review before the post date, which means that you have to finish your project a lot earlier than the due date. Keep in mind that you might see all of the fun and games, but you may not necessarily see the hustle that goes behind these collaborations. As social media influencers, we aim to please and entertain our audience so we leave out the tedious work that comes with our collaborations to spare your free time with more interesting content.

Myth: You get to travel, attend media events, and do what you love for a living. Your life must be perfect.
Truth: Let me be clear about one thing – my life ain’t close to perfect, dear. BUT, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard towards earning the best luxuries in life. To me, all I really want in life is to feel emotionally happy and be physically and mentally healthy. In other words, I want my blog to encourage, influence, and motivate people to chase their passions and dreams. If my blog can improve somebody’s lifestyle or bring more positivity into someone's life, then I’ve done my job.

Going off tangent a bit, let’s talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a full-time fashion, food, travel, and lifestyle blogger. The more genres you cover on your blog, the more projects you are assigned. Because I love all of these topics equally, I’m not going to limit the content I talk about to please my audience or gain approval from a certain group of people. Instead, I want people to love my blog for the fact that it represents my entire personality. Besides, who said that you can only have one passion in life?

Lastly, I wanted to share that travel collaborations are not what they seem. In fact, hotel collaborations come with a work hard, play hard mentality. As soon as I arrive at a new hotel, I’m not just chillin’ on the bed – I’m headed straight to work! This includes documenting a hotel tour on Instastories and Snapchat, taking pictures of the hotel room before I mess up the bed, and exploring the hotel for additional locations to shoot. If I’m exploring a new city, I am constantly scouting out places that match my outfit to create content for the blog. As much as it feels extremely rewarding to travel often for work, let’s get this one fact straight - traveling as a full-time blogger is NOT the same as traveling as a tourist. After every one of my travels, I am dead tired and want to go into hibernation mode as soon as I arrive home. However, travel collaborations also come with deadlines and that’s when you have to push out your travel content as soon as you are back at your homeland. Nevertheless, to call the world my office is a priceless opportunity that I will never want to give up, even if it comes with the intolerable jetlag, exhaustion, and demands of being a full-time travel blogger.

Myth: How do you monetize? You must have an awesome life if you get paid to take pictures of products, your outfit, and food all day.
Truth: Honey, you can monetize off of almost any creative idea that you can think of. In fact, I recently watched an intriguing Facebook video of a man who monetizes by waiting in line for people – you HAVE to watch it here. But back to the main question, yes, I do get paid through various collaborations and campaigns with companies. And here’s an important tip to help you with monetization – creating a solid media kit that showcases your previous work will definitely help seal the deal ;)  

Myth: Wait, so you’re telling me that it is possible to make a full-time career off of blogging? I've heard stories of people who can't support themselves off of blogging alone and others who only blog as their full-time career!
Truth: If you have the business-oriented and hard-working mind of a hustler, then yes you can! Anything is possible, just as long as you have a blueprint of what exactly you want to accomplish with your blog. Come up with short-term goals, long-term goals, and write these all down. Psst, I hear that Passion Planner does a pretty good job in helping you achieve your goals (says the crazy planner lady who owns four Passion Planners and multiple other brand name planners) ;)

Another point I have to bring up is the financial instability that blogging comes with. Starting off, blogging will be a very financially unstable career until your blog starts to launch off. You basically have to weigh the pros and cons. If money is your first and foremost priority in life, then I would suggest keeping up with your blog as a part-time job while having a full-time career. However, if you value a flexible work schedule, being your own girl boss, and positively influencing others more, then go ahead and dedicate full-time hours to your blog! And if worst comes to worst, it doesn’t hurt if you pick up a part-time job while running your blog to help out with the finances. In fact, I pick up several babysitting shifts every now and then to earn some extra pocket money. Don't question the hustle - just fucking do it!

Let me end this point by saying that I’ve been a full-time freelance lifestyle blogger for two years and I’m still not where I want to be today. My blog and social media platforms are still a major work in progress, but as long as I’m fueled by passion and inspiration from my career, that’s all I really need to keep me going.

Myth: You get to meet so many people every day in the same industry! How cool is that?!
Truth: One of my favorite parts about having a blogging career is the fact that I get the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. However, meeting people at events or from online to real life can be a real hit-or-miss. I’ve met totally kind-hearted individuals, your Regina George typa clique, and we can’t forget them shady folks. The kind-hearted people, I strike up a conversation whenever I bump into them at an event. As for cliques, I stay far, far away from them and tell myself that I’m better off meeting genuine people who want to get to know me than people who value being cool as their number one priority in life. Now, for them shady folks. Let me say that you need to have a tough exterior if you want to survive this industry. In this field, people will shamelessly use you, try to pry info out of you, and more. There were people who would be super nice to me in person, and then immediately talk shit about me behind my back (trust me, word gets around). Also, I’ve had people befriend me at events saying that they want to meet up and grab brunch another day, only to ignore my texts and comments as soon as the event ended.

The key lesson to bring home from my personal stories is to be nice to everybody, but trust few. As much as the new stranger seems supportive of your lifestyle, you really don’t know what his/her intentions are when talking to you. Take time to get to know every single individual that you meet and you’ll eventually find a crowd that’s right for you.

Myth: What’s the life of a content creator like? Can't anyone technically be a content creator these days if they have an iPhone or DSLR?
Truth: As enjoyable as it feels to be a content creator, let me point out that this field is not for EVERYBODY. Social media is an extremely competitive field that can mentally and physically drain you if your mind and body are not prepared for it. If you are pursuing this field without passion, let me just save you the time and say that you will not make it out alive. Little do people know that having a career in social media and content creation will involve tasks that will gradually transition into your everyday lifestyle. There are no days off, as your brain will always be working a 24-hour shift trying to come up with new content. Yes, I’ve taken a few short-term social media hiatuses here and there, but what truly matters is that I’ve never fully given up on my goals. In fact, I have always returned from a social media cleanse feeling completely refreshed and ready to tackle the work days ahead.

Myth: Taking pictures for Instagram for a living must be fun! It must be an easy job, am I right?
Truth: Not at all! There are a lot of behind-the-scenes that you DON'T see outside of Instagram. For example, one of my photoshoots may have anywhere from 50-200 pictures on my camera, but I only end up editing 5-15 of these photos. The aesthetic table spreads of food that you see are neatly set up for 5-10 minutes before shot on my DSLR, which I may or may not be standing on a high chair or stool to capture, heh. For fashion photoshoots, your must plan your outfit to match the background in order for your entire photoshoot to make sense. Thus, when exploring a new area, it may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to scout out a location for the perfect shot. To produce quality content, it takes time and cannot be done in a rush.

Myth: Your life must be stress-free doing what you love.
Truth: This is probably one of the most inaccurate statements to be ever assumed by anyone who doesn’t know me or any social media influencer on a personal level. Although I may look like I’m having a blast in my photos and on my Instastories/Snapchat, you truly don’t know how stressed I feel on an everyday basis. I’ll admit that I have breakdowns, that I cry every now and then when it comes to financial problems or an inspirational roadblock with content creation. In a fast-paced society where trends and creative ideas experience constant change, you have to continue to create content that moves people while thinking of new ideas that will catch your audience’s attention. Also, working in a competitive industry that requires the critiques and criticism of others only adds to the stress. Because you are in a field that requires constant engagement from your audience, there will always be people who judge your work, for better or for worse.

When I first started my blog, you wouldn’t begin to imagine how many people refused to support me – this includes close family members AND friends. I’ve had friends roll their eyes at me, make fun of what I do, and put me down, saying that my “hobby” was a waste of time and a cry for attention. I’ve had family tell me that the job I was pursuing was unrealistic and stupid. In response, I blocked out all of their negative energy and continued to pursue what I love. Two years later, I’ve worked with a few of my dream companies and completed my first hotel collaboration. After observing my hard work from afar and where it’s gotten me today, these non-supporters actually began to show respect for my career. This just goes to show that there will always be people who put you down only because they lack the potential and confidence to do what you set your mind to for themselves. To anyone reading this, please don’t let others be the reason for why you give up because you’re much stronger than that. Instead, show the world what you're made of and how you can make a positive difference in everybody's lives.

Here’s a positive take-home message I have for those of you in the social media world who struggle to deal with haters. Don’t ever let people’s opinions stop you from doing what you love. Be 100% confident in your work. With confidence, passion, and dedication, work towards your goals and continue to find ways to improve your work every passing day. Stay true to yourself and never lose sight on why you started in the first place. Instead of absorbing all of the negative energy from non-supporters in an unhealthy way, use people’s disapproval to drive you forward and to prove to them that you have the potential to do anything you set your mind to. If I can do it, I know you can too!

Sharon Litz from @sharonlitz

[Outfit Details]
Teal Hat: San Diego Hat Co.
*Use discount code HELLOSPRING for 15% off your entire San Diego Hat Co. purchase until 4/30.
Mink Lashes: Fairylash Boutique
Necklace: BEXO (Similar necklace linked)
Trenchcoat: Irene's Story
Maxi Dress: Irene's Story
Sandals: Cambiami

*Disclaimer: Collaboration supported by Shopping Links.

Much Love,