Many of us who blog and earn money from blogging do so because we want to work for ourselves and not be constrained by the rules and regulations that working for someone else entails. I do it because it allows me to set my own hours, working as much or as little as I want, earning as much or as little as I want and to organise my work in the way I want. Sure, I have contracts and those have particular things I have to do, but it’s my choice whether to sign that contract or not.
Basically, I get to write the rules for my working life. My blog. My rules.
Over the past year or so, I’ve seen a huge increase in bloggers telling other bloggers what to do and what not to do on their own blogs. You know, the blogs that they spend a huge amount of time on and pay fees for.
From what a blogger *should* be charging, whether they should be hosting do-follow links, whether they should be linking to this or that, how they schedule social media posts, whatever – there seems to be a whole load of bloggers telling others what they should be doing.
Blogging is a weird job. It’s incredibly lonely at times because it’s so new and not a lot of people understand what it involves. They see a nice blog post, but don’t see what has gone on ‘behind the scenes’. You end up joining blog groups for support and advice, which is great. Advice really is great.
Judgment is not great.
Recently, the new thing seems to be about what bloggers charge and people openly judging and shaming people for not charging what they think is an acceptable amount. In an ideal world, no one would be offered £20 for a blog post or link. In an ideal world, no one would NEED to accept £20 to write a sponsored post or include a link. We’d all be getting three or four-figure fees every time, and we could laugh at those offers. No one would be skint enough to have to take those jobs on.
But it doesn’t work like that. Not at all.
First of all, there are always going to be SEO people, brands, PR companies etc who will only offer a pittance. That’s the way it works. Maybe they are taking the piss – some definitely are. Maybe they genuinely only have a tiny budget and are trying to get what they can for that budget. Maybe they just don’t understand blogging and the value that bloggers can bring. Whatever the reason, it happens, and it’s always going to happen.
Mor importantly though, there are always going to be people who accept it and shaming them for doing so is just not on. There are so many reasons why someone might take on a blog post for £20.
- They’re the only earner in their household and every penny counts
- Their children have got through another pair of shoes and need a pair by the end of the week.
- They need to pay an unexpected bill
- Their car/washing machine/freezer has broken and needs replacing
- They need to move house
- They’re incredibly skint and need to put food on the table/petrol in the car/buy gas and electric
- They want to
All of those reasons, including the last one, are completely valid reasons for taking on crappy paid work. Would we look down our noses and judge someone for working for minimum wage to support their family? No. Yes, ideally they would be offered 5 or even 10 times that, but if I was desperate and needed money, £20 is better than nothing.
I’m really lucky that most months, I earn a fairly decent amount from my blog, and it’s very rare these days that I’m in a position that I would need to take on low paid work. I have been in the past, though, and to see fellow bloggers criticising, shaming and telling other bloggers that they’re ‘letting the side down’ for accepting this pay, well, you can imagine how it makes you feel when you’re already at a low point.
I keep seeing people saying that you should hold out for longer and the bigger jobs will come. That’s all well and good when you don’t need to buy a pair of school shoes, or you’re worrying that you can’t pay your rent this month. It’s a case of ‘needs must’, and if you’ve never been in that position, you’re extremely lucky.
Some of the things I’ve read about people who do take on lower paid work include:
- ‘If you’re that broke, go and get a normal job’ – if only it was that easy for everyone.
- ‘The rest of us will only get offered low paid work if you accept it’ – Yes, some SEO/brands might only offer low paid work but to be honest, they probably would anyway. And, whilst I’m all for helping fellow bloggers out (I always share opportunities, pass on people if it’s not suitable for me and do what I can to help other bloggers), if I’m in a position where I need that money, well, my kids and my home are always going to come first.
- ‘You have no self-respect/you’re devaluing yourself’ – telling someone they have no self -respect, when they might already be struggling, is low. The devaluing thing – I do agree with that to an extent. We are all worth more than that with the amount of time and effort we all put into our blogs, but sometimes, other needs override that.
If you’re a blogger, before you criticise the way someone else runs their blog, whether it’s what they charge for a blog post or something else, please have a think. Help and advice is one thing, telling someone what to do or openly judging them are another. Pass details of other work that pays more on if you can or nudge them in the direction of other, better-paying jobs. But if they want to or need to accept that £20, don’t publicly humiliate them.
What are your thoughts?