Photos are by Katie
For the record, I very rarely sit and do my work in cute coffee shops, fully made up, so these pics are for aesthetic than anything – glad we cleared that up.
I was going to write a really typical ‘being self employed’ post, but thats been over done (and I may have already done it). So I thought I’d switch it up a little and talk about being self employed, but more so, when your work depends on being online. Relying on a virtual world essentially to make your living has its perks, but also its downsides.
Starting off, I would like to say that Rome wasn’t built a day, likewise with this little world I created, it took time, lots of late nights, weekends and juggling my job, uni and Youtube. When I started, I had no intention of it becoming my job, it just sort of happened. I did however always have the thought of ‘ what if I could quit my job and just do this to pay my rent’ fuelling me, but it wasn’t the end goal at the time. It took a lot of learning and adjusting to new platforms and technology. Most of the time I was just ‘winging it’ so to say it was an easy overnight success is far from the truth. I often get people ask me for the secret formula to being successful online and if I’m honest, there isn’t one. If you’re good at talking or have something to say and people find it appealing, you’ll get there eventually. Likewise, if you have a product or an idea, same goes, its just about persistence and doing what suits YOU.
Being true to yourself is totally important. If you’re trying to chase over night success and be one of the ‘popular gang’ you may find yourself straying from your true values and sense of self. Some people can do this, they can go with whats popular, to stay relevant and rack up those views or likes etc. However, if you’re in it for the long haul, staying true to yourself and doing what makes YOU happy is key for longevity and keepin’ it real. You cant go on pretending to be something you’re not just to please superficial others, its being honest and true that will get the best kind of audience, the kind that sticks around for you no matter what.
Generally it is a lot harder these days I wont lie to get noticed. Since the minor F*ck ups from the social media platforms we rely on (Instagram not being chronological, the cruel ways of the Youtube algorithm etc) it has hit numbers slightly and so its really hard to not feel disheartened. Some people have it ok, but there are many that have noticed the lil’ drop. Of course the first person you’re going to blame is yourself and in the self employed online world – self doubt is the absolute worst.
Self doubt is the cause to so many people feeling down in this industry, but I do feel with out it entirely you would also lack drive. Again, this has its pros and cons, being driven on the daily in my work has made me an all round more outgoing and determined person, the downside is the off button being jammed and the lines between me time and work are blurred. I find allowing myself time off, a break or to unwind pretty impossible (unless I have a hangover and its already game over).
Don’t get consumed by your phone. This is something I tell myself on the daily, but its hard not to. On evenings I throw it across the room so I cant touch it, but miraculously, somehow its back in my hand and I’m refreshing my emails, twitter notifications or accidentally spending half an hour on instagram stories ( I love it so much haha). Before I go to bed and the moment I wake up I refresh my youtube channel to see the views and comments like my life depended on it and this cycle I get in just repeats and repeats. I AM EVEN SCROLLING INSTAGRAM RIGHT NOW. I kinda call it research, keeping in the loop, knowing whats cool, who’s doing what but breaking away from it all, like I mentioned before is SO IMPORTANT. There’s only so much staying connected online you can do and to keep a level head, you have to be present in the real world too. I must admit, I find this the hardest and the biggest cause of procrastination so this is currently a learning curve.
I have my management, but it is a lonely job, so getting others to help out has proven to be a game changer. I hired Katie to help me with my blog photos (I hope you’ve noticed). I am currently planning some epic lookbook filming with Yeti and making more time to hang out with other likeminded people to talk about work but also let loose with is really important to keep a healthy, none hermit, I haven’t left the house in 20 days lifestyle. One thing the internet has given me which I am eternally grateful for is this wonderful network of followers and friends. I think about all the interesting and talented people I’ve met through the online world and I feel so incredibly lucky. It enables me to think of branching into other areas, using my knowledge, followers and friends. I am always trying to think one step ahead and what venture I want to take on next and I think that is a skill you develop, when you are completely dependant on yourself for success.
Working online is mentally demanding, there’s no clocking off time and its completely unpredictable. It takes a lot of balls to be in the firing line of many opinions but also excepting that not everything you do is going to work or go down well. It develops a constant need of improvement and evolving which is tiring at times. I know many that struggle at times with the pressures of it all, but none of us would change it. I am forever grateful for being in my position of control and being able to look after myself and my family. Sometimes thats just the way of the world, stuff happens when you least expect it, but likewise, if you have a goal, you can absolutely reach it if your willing to work hard and put your heart and soul into it. So now I am grateful to past me for the effort and curiosity, as now I still have to pinch myself for feeling so lucky that I am in the position I am, being my own boss.