So you want to be a full-time blogger and social media influencer? This is how it looks like

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Let’s go. Drive me to the grocery.”

“Mom, I’m working!”

From where I was standing, my mom thinks I work for myself and I can stop anytime I want. Nobody’s going to sack me because I don’t have a boss. This happened when I visited home last year, December 2015. I was living with my parents so technically, I am a squatter. I needed to contribute something to the household. Which is by all means, correct. But the thing is, nobody in my family has an idea how being a full-time blogger is like.

It’s a curse to be my mom’s second most obedient child. In fairness, my siblings and I are equally obedient but in many different levels. I still find my brother, Jethro, the most obedient because he is the youngest. He doesn’t have a choice. It has been a feature of my childhood to pass all the tasks to him because he will take the bullying as per familial hierarchy.

My sister who is also in the house that time is not very skilled with driving cars so I didn’t have a choice. Even if the article I was writing will pay a week of my life, I had to drive mom to the grocery. I grabbed the car keys and vowed to myself: Tomorrow, I will answer back. She has to understand that my occupation is actually a full-time blogger. Fine. I look like I don’t do anything but eat, drink, sleep, read, write, and travel intensely. But I have a job! This is the job! This lifestyle actually needs financial support, please! Arrrgghhh.

I swear to God. Nobody has respect for my time, my work and my circumstances. Everytime I’m on the laptop, people think I am writing a “dear diary” thing. Not actually making a living.

Full-time blogging as a job

It has taken me a year to get used to this lifestyle. I never thought that this blog, the fruit of my writing habits will convert to $$$. When the opportunity presented itself and the possibilities were obvious, I spent a lot of time learning how I will be able to pull this off while traveling the world. It did pay off. However, I faced many adversaries along the way before getting here. Like many other start-ups, it will take all your time, energy and also money in order to achieve the goal.

And so, I did it. I am blogging and social media influence-ing full time. Oh, no. I am not complaining if that’s how you perceived it. I just want people to know that what I do is really hard. I have so much respect for other travel bloggers who are able to pull off this lifestyle. I am continuously inspired by them.

Location independence

Easy steps on how to become a Digital Nomad
Read: Start a professional blog today and discover the rewards of working for yourself

I was never employed in a real office. I did not quit my job to travel the world because I never had a real job in the first place. I have no idea about the workforce dynamics. The only thing I know is that you have to go to the office from 9:00 – 17:00. It sounds ridiculous to me (no offense, to each his own) to sit down in a boxed environment and be on the computer all day.

When I first had the taste of working wherever I want, I thought it was pretty cool. I can be in the sands of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro and work as long as there is the Internet. From cruise ships to 5-star hotel pools, I was free. I can even wake up midday and yeah, nobody will sack me if I start working at 13:00. My work life was indeed amazing. Living the life, I was!

The blog grew and grew and grew. In just 2 years of being a full-time blogger, I was able to live from the income of the blog. It’s a very rapid growth and it doesn’t happen to all blogs. I was really one of the lucky ones. Though I must say, I owe it to all the readers of this blog. I wouldn’t have made it without them.

You want success, Trisha? There, you got it. The definition of location independence never faded. I could still work wherever I am but not whenever I want. As the blog grew, I received sponsorships, small projects, consultations left and right. I couldn’t keep up because I was used to waking up midday. These brands and companies are paying so I have to submit on time.

I bought my freedom

Taj Mahal views

I didn’t want $7,000 USD a month. As long as I can live wherever I am in the world, I’ll be fine. Tel Aviv has been quite different because it is fecking expensive here. Imagine, if I was targeting $600 USD projects per month when I was in South Americ. In Israel, I have to do 5 times that. Even more.

So that means more hours. Oh no, it doesn’t mean I work 8 hours straight. In fact, I am not capable of that. Three hours straight is already very stressful for me. I’m a writer. How do you expect me to write anything of substance if I am facing the computer all day? I need to be out there. I need human interactions. I need to feel the air slap my face. I need to smell the saltiness of the sea. I need to interact because I just self-diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder.

But yeah, I found myself 5 straight hours working since I came to Tel Aviv. I’ve gone nuts! The only difference is that the Tel Avivians have this creative energy that makes me want to do better. Everyone here seems to be doing something different. Something life-changing. Again, I am not complaining because I am still happy. If I am not happy anymore, then that’s when I have to re-evaluate this ‘bought freedom.’

A fact that everyone needs to know: full-time bloggers don’t have a stable income. We can have $5,000 USD this month and then $200 the following month. We are on a project-based partnership and nothing is permanent. Our transactions always come in a flash. Do one Instagram post, advertiser pays $400 USD and that’s it. We wouldn’t know when the next Instagram post offer will come so we really put our best foot forward in everything that we do.

Free trips = hard work

When I get an e-mail from Tourism Boards and independent organisations from all over the world inviting me to visit their country, I don’t say yes right away. First, I need to know if the destination is relevant to my niche. Okay, fine, it’s for free. Media trips are always paid for (and on top of that, I am paid an appearance fee) but I will not say no to a destination that I won’t know how to market. There are only a few of us who do this and those are the full-time bloggers. Almost 80% of influencers all over the world have other jobs so when invited, they say yes because it’s a vacation for them.

For me, it’s work. The hardest I’ve done is the 12-day trip in Indonesia. They agreed to my rates, terms and contract so I can’t say no to that. When an organisation is willing to sign my agreement, I never say no because there aren’t a lot of them. It was also my second time working with Indonesia so they always have the VIP card in my contact list. They are labeled high priority in my inbox — any time of the day, no matter where I am in the world.

Imagine this: Let’s say one day of a media trip will start from 5:30 and end 22:30. I have to follow the itinerary, move my muscles in order to participate in seeing these places, take pictures, take videos, snapchat, edit pictures and videos, think of a caption, arrange the Instagram grid preview, do a graphic material, write an article, create a Pinterest board, schedule tweets, think of a compelling Facebook post, etc. Can you do all those in one day? To think that you will have to do all these while moving, is that something realistic to you?

More often, I can’t help but look at my fellow travel bloggers and influencers as superheroes. They are very good at what they do in press trips. And me? It tires me to death. The only energy and effort I put into is my Facebook page. You think I am just posting whatever. It looks easy. But seriously, I put all my greatest powers to that page.

There come the companies and brands who ask me to work for free…

The lack of consideration from advertisers is pretty staggering to me. I receive over 40 e-mails per day from brands and companies and 60% of them are asking for free work. No. Thank you. I am definitely not Craigslist. Again, you think the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, blog post, grow following, search engine optimisation (SEO) are jobs we do in minutes? Nope. If this is easy, advertisers shouldn’t be contacting us in the first place.

What advertisers should know

The nature of working with bloggers and online influencers is evolving rapidly. A lot of us have feckloads of following and we did not do that overnight. It took us a lot of time, effort and money to be able to reach that goal. The results we deliver have been proven with documented return on investment. Therefore, it is only right to demand payment for what we do. Magazines, newspapers and any form of traditional media are out of the picture — bloggers are the most credible people because experiences are tangible and firsthand. Audiences are now programmed to believe real people than read a damn spread with a byline that doesn’t have a face. Here are some of my articles about working with full-time bloggers and online influencers:

And there come the readers who think this life is very easy…

Sometimes, I think it’s our fault that not all of us showcase the real life of being a full-time travel blogger. It results to the “celebrity” worship syndrome that we started as a revolution. I call my fellow bloggers to please tell everyone the truth about what we do. Don’t make them see only our photos on the white sands of Seychelles. Don’t just post your one-year itinerary the length of the Dead Sea. Remember, a lot of people out there are looking up to us.

And to the readers and followers, I will try to say this without being emotional but THANK YOU for supporting my work, for believing in what I do. Everything I have not won’t be possible without you. If you want to be a full-time blogger and online influencer, again, it’s not easy. We are all unique individuals with different lives so please bear in mind that we are just like normal people: without an office, but still working our arse off.

Are you a full-time blogger? How does your day look like? Would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts on the comment box below!


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  1. That’s a great insight, Trisha. Although we have our own full-time office jobs, we consider blogging to be a profession.

    However, its “newness” as a money generator is still strange to mainstream society. Add to that the usual perception of Filipinos that success equates to an office job, having a nice house and car, etc.

  2. I know that blogging full-time is hard work and it takes a lot of energy. I don’t know how people do it!

    I already have a full time job so I keep my travel blog as a hobby. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers and sharing tips/destinations.

  3. I have a blog. But no. Not a full time-earning blogger here, I just do it for documenting some of my trips, some stuff that I do, basically whatever i wanna post blog. In fact I only have less than 10followers. Haha. I only have a few entries because it is so damn hard to compose one article. From selecting and editing photos, writing captions, trying to remember the details of 20-day/6-countries you had just visited is really hard for me. Because for sure I cannot do it while on a trip. Writing the story is the hardest for me. Maybe because i am not good in writing. But seriously, it takes me a week or two to work on one single post!
    Oh Trisha! I know how it is difficult to be a full time blogger.
    Cheers to more not-to-free advertisements! ?

  4. That’s for such a great read! I’m so knew to this and with so many ” hey I made 5k in four months” online stuff floating around its good to remember it still takes hard work to create good content!
    Keep it up ??

  5. Hi Trish! This truly struck me as it is what I am going through now. I’ve thought about writing the same & thanks for reminding me that we need to tell the world what we really are, what we do & how we work so hard to make it all happen. As I write this, I am waiting for a new client & I keep my fingers crossed that what we’ll agree on will make me cross December or January. I bought this freedom —-arrgh!

  6. And you for sharing. I’m a new reader and I like your writing style. I hope to read more.

    I’m also a blogger and considering the online influencer path. I’m beginning go relate to some of the struggles that you mentioned. Especially companies expecting the free work part.

    In any case thank you again. I’m prayin for more success on your blog.

  7. I’ve been blogging full time for a few months and you are not kidding when you say it is a lot of work. Sometimes even answering emails and scheduling my social media posts takes up so much time that I find it hard to take the the time to actually write posts.

  8. Thanks for sharing this!
    I’m not a full time blogger, I don’t earn money with that, but even so I realise how hard it is to care and cuddle your blog, write good content, choose the right pictures, managing the Facebook page.
    I often think how hard should be traveling and working at the same time: trying to catch up every detail worth reporting to your readers is not easy, and maybe frustrating.
    So keep up the good job, and congratulations for the way you do it 🙂

  9. I don’t blog full time but do monetise some of my content, and many of my friends are full time bloggers. I do appreciate how hard it is, but I would also say that those who blog full time but have never had a regular office job don’t appreciate the other way around, how exhausting that kind of job can be – in some offices you can get away with some lazy downtimes but in many cases you are full on for 8-9 hours solid, not to mention an unpleasant commute at both ends of that for those of us in big cities! So I think both sides need to have some respect and appreciation for the trials and tribulations of the other. As for your mum asking you to drive her – I’d say if you’re getting free rent and board living at home, no matter whether it’s for a few days at a time or longer term, then running her to the shops for her grocery when she asks is not really a big deal at all!

  10. Hahaha yes I frequently work from home, and my mom drops by and gets so annoyed when I won’t just run out for coffee with her in the middle of the day!

  11. Thanks for sharing and presenting your insights into blogging. It is often a misunderstood genre, and often exploited for free work, as you mentioned. But we can provide a fantastic ROI if used correctly. I too have been doing blogging full time, and don’t miss the grind of the 70-80 work weeks in my previous profession. That being said, it is still a lot of work and responsibility, especially when working with brands or tourism boards. Just because you get something for free, doesn’t mean that you can just sit back and relax. Social media, photography, writing. It can be a lot of work, but ultimately, more rewarding that most office roles.

  12. I completely agree blogging definitely not an easy job and then the pressure of social media presence. I have worked a 9-to-6 job but I love blogging more, I love being my own boss and follow my own mind 😉

  13. I can totally relate to a lot points in your post Trisha! My husband and I travel full time with our Son and every time we visit home we stay with family. They (and most people we meet actually) have a hard time understanding the work we do online with our blog and as freelancers. Blogging is a lot of work! The 9-5 job I had before we became digital nomads took up less of my time for sure:)

  14. I just love your articles, Trisha. They are always so honest and refreshing. I am only blogging part-time because I have a full-time job, but it surely feels like have two jobs 🙂

  15. I perfectly know how do you feel. In all other jobs you generally get your beloved support. Personally, as a freelance digitalnomad, the people who have more difficult in understanding and helping are those who love me the most. It’s a curse. If I had a “Better” personality I would have left it all (blog, freelancing, digital nomading) behind years ago to become an employee again. Fortunatelly I’ve always been quite a bad girl ;-).

  16. “Free” work is definitely hard work. A lot of people don’t understand how blogging really works so great you really put it out there for many others to understand.

  17. It’s definitely not easy! I’m so so proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve been blogging for a little while now, but only part time. You’re an inspiration for a lot of us out there! Keep enjoying the fruits of your labor!

  18. How would anyone think it’s easy??? I keep a blog as a hobby and something I can look back on when I’m old and gray – and even knowing I don’t have a handful of audience stresses me out. You need to proofread it to avoid any hair pulling that may occur when future you reads how much you used the word “very” to describe your experiences. I can just imagine actually having to do it as work! This is why I enjoy reading about your travels tremendously. It’s not just your usual ‘picture-caption’ blog + list that’s been written countless times + I rarely (if never) find any typos. Yours stand out amidst all the sloppily written travelogues (mine included lol)!

  19. Love this and agree of course, blogging is not a free ride it takes time, effort and our own money. I’ve been blogging for 4 years now. Not to mentions the skill in creating websites, writing good real content and I can lose days editing pictures. The emails asking if we highjack everything you’ve created for free? Erm no! I haven’t made it pay yet but hope I will eventually. But there is also the other side, the influencers who have bought their statistics, they have no real following and yet get the work from advertisers that pays, what do you think of them?

  20. Just stumbled upon your blog and I must say, I love how honest and authentic your writing is!

    I quit my corporate job last year to start a travel blog then to co-found a startup. Not the best idea to do these two things at once….they’re both so damn time-consuming. But I do love the fact that I know whatever effort I put into the projects are not for some boss or senior executive. It makes everything more meaningful to know you’re working to put something great out to the world.

    Just signed up on your newsletter & joined your Facebook page! Hoping to get more thoughts & inspirations from you in the future.

  21. Found your blog while searching for Philippines Travel Blogger. I’m an expat living in PH for 5 years alrd and a part-time travel blogger as well. Inspired of what you are doing. Go girl !

  22. Hi Trisha! Thank YOU for your inspiring blog. I’ve been following you for about a year (and am part of your FB Group) and really enjoy your content. I take my hat to you for getting away from the “chronologic life” (love that expression!) at such a young age. It took me 45 to figure it out and another couple to actually get out of it!
    Yes, I have been on the other side of the spectrum. I have done corporate, I have opened and closed my own business until the day I decided I wanted to pursue my passion for writing and use a blog as the expression of that passion.
    Well, almost two years down the line I can say that it is not easy. No, let’s say it as it is: it’s f…ink hard work! Never worked so much in my life ( and I’ve always been a workaholic!). There have been many many hours put into learning (I mean A LOT!), some frustrations and many hours without sleep. Coming from a management and marketing background I put tremendous pressure on myself to succeed and to do it fast, but as you know well, it does not work that way. When I need strength and clarity I go to blogs like yours to look for encouragement. Thank you for sharing your real experience.
    Hopefully one day we will meet somewhere in the world. Let me know if you ever come to Portugal (where I live at the moment). Would be a pleasure to show you around.
    Keep up the great work. All the best.

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