Last year, I paid a lot of money to change my blog membership to a ‘Business Plan’. I’d never earned a cent from writing, but for the first time ever, I’d been offered a paid opportunity to host an ad on my blog, for an organization that was incredibly aligned with everything I write about. The amount of money I would have made would have *just about* seen me break even for the upgrade, but I figured it was more than worth it, since I gave myself a crash course in creating a contract, a price list, changing my blog around so that I could include plug-ins and ads, and making it look nicer with an upgraded theme.
Then it fell apart. The company, and the person who contacted me, were legit and genuine, but the guy just ghosted me, right when he was supposed to sign a contract. I saw a travel blogger who I’ve followed for years do an ad for the company on Instagram, maybe a month later. He’d probably decided that ads on Instagram were better investments, and no doubt that this blogger in particular had a much larger audience, and I really didn’t have enough knowledge about any of this to write back and try to convince him to still work with me.
So… I had changed my entire blog layout, spent hours working through tweaks and getting caught up on everything I needed to learn, and spent a lot of money. It ended up being an expensive, intensive and unnecessary
professional amateur development opportunity, I guess. I can’t afford to keep the business account, so I’ve downgraded, back to the much more affordable basic account. All the fancy stuff disappeared this week, but that’s ok. Because the experience taught me to ~~~*** be true to myself ***~~~. For real though, I’m not going to do that again. Here’s why:
1. It was stressful! Why did I spend so much time changing something I loved to cater to someone who hadn’t even paid me yet!? I should have been more honest and just confessed that I hadn’t hosted an ad before, and offered something that I could have provided. Maybe a sponsored post, or an Instagram post. He could have said no, and that would have been ok.
2. What was motivating me? I’ve decided that I don’t want to alter something I love in order to make money. (Okay… that’s a lie… I’d alter things A BIT to make MONEY to do what I LOVE!) This guy wasn’t asking me to change – in fact, he’d contacted me because a lot of what I write about is very much in line with the travel campaign he was advertising, but it got me thinking about this. I like autonomy, and I like to be wacky with my writing. I do like to grow and evolve, but sometimes IDGAF how something should sound; I’m going to write it the way I want to! For example I consciously choose to use the word ‘like’ a lot. Like (case in point) I wouldn’t mind someone telling me what to do, just not how to do it. You know? You don’t know? You don’t follow my crazy brain? TL;DR: don’t change! Be yourself! You do you! Ba dap ba dap bah I’m lovin it!
3. It was a pretty dope year, blog-wise, sans advertising, which was empowering. Late in 2017, a talented, lesbian blogger couple (Mei and Kerstin) asked me to write a guest post for their blog. I worked on it for a long time, and what came out was a vulnerable, long piece about how my coming out was related to travel. This post was the first one in a while that I really put myself into, which was rewarding in itself. It also generated a lot of positive reactions, and – I believe – directly led to my blog/Instagram being featured on an AUTOSTRADDLE LIST (basically the Buzzfeed of lesbians, but imagine if everyone who read Buzzfeed was your target audience). My blog was on a couple of other cool lists (Only Once Today, The Rainbow Route), I won a bit of money in a contest, and I got to work with ANOTHER talented and hilarious writer (Jenna Wimshurst). We wrote guest posts for each other’s blog, which for me meant collaborating with Kyla on a piece for the first time! The fall was a little quieter in terms of collaborations and features, but you know what? My readership has increased in a way that I’m really proud of. The number of visitors and views on my blog have more than doubled compared to last year. Let me stress that I still have a very small number of visitors compared to bigger blogs (come at me, potential advertisers, lolz!), but it’s been cool to see the growth on my blog.
4. I want to make more specific goals for growth (and potentially $$) for Les Talk, More Travel in the future, where I take initiative and remain in control. I have a few ideas for potential collaborations, along with posts I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and at the very least I will continue “creating content” (i.e. exposing you to my crazy brain) at least once a month. I’ll be back with more travel posts soon!
I love this blog, and it might look uglier from now on, at least during the transition from $$$ to $, but writing makes me happy, and I want to keep feeling that way! Thank you SO much for reading! (Seriously who doesn’t have a blog these days; there’s definitely a disproportionate amount of writers to readers, so really THANK YOU if you made it to this line!)
December 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm
Leslie, your blog is NOT ugly! And we LOVE all your articles! It‘s the content that really matters, and your writing is absolutely GREAT!! 🤗
December 17, 2018 at 4:42 pm
Awww that is so kind! I was partially joking about that (it turns out I didn’t lose as much as I thought with the transition), but it so nice of you to say 🙂 Thank you so much for reading, and for producing such great writing yourselves!
January 3, 2019 at 1:49 pm
Shame that opportunity didn’t work out, but at least you learned something from it that I think is such a valuable lesson. Your blog is great the way it is!
January 3, 2019 at 6:45 pm
I think so too! Thank you so much, that’s so nice of you to say!