For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Why I'll Never "Make it Big" as a Blogger

While having a catch-up with my favourite blogs, I began to think about the women behind these blogs and what makes them (and their blog) a success.

Success is, of course, a subjective thing.
One person's idea of a successful blog may involve a small circle of loyal readers who regularly interact with the content.

Another person's idea of success may be massive numbers of followers on social resulting in oodles of likes, comments and click-throughs.

Success could also mean making money from your blog, whether that's just extra shoe money, a comfortable living or the mega-bucks!

Some people may strive for all three, and why not?!

Some blogs are pretty HUGE but don't monetise in any way.
Others are fairly modest in size but manage to be a nice little earner.

Success comes in so many forms.

What makes a blog successful?

What makes a blog, or any other business venture, a success?
It's Simple.
Hard work.

Every successful blogger (and small business owner) works their butt off.
Only the one-in-a-million-super-lucky make it big by pure chance.
Successful bloggers work all-day, every day.
There's no let-up.

If bloggers are not writing, they're editing.
If they're not editing, they're replying to emails and comments.
If they're not checking emails they're keeping on top of social media.
It's non-stop.

Why I'll never make it 'BIG'

1. I say "No, thank you" too often.

If a brand, product or service doesn't float my boat I simply can't bring myself to work with that company.
I do think about what you (as my reader) might be interested in BUT if it really doesn't appeal to me I just can't do it.
No matter how big the carrot they dangle!

Skin care and beauty treatments/products are the items I knock-back the most... simply because (as a scientist) I don't really believe in any of the hype... read this post about ageing and why expensive lotions and potions are just a con!

I recently turned down an offer of visits to a salon for a series of (expensive) treatments that just made me laugh out loud.
I couldn't promote something I knew was a load of baloney.
Putting my name to a procedure that prays on people's insecurities doesn't sit well with me.

I have tried to compromise in the past, and make the best of a collaboration, but I felt like I was cheating you as my reader.
It was an awful feeling of shame.
I don't want to feel like that again.

I still have an open mind, but if my gut says "Nope!" then that's going to be that!

Find out how to say "No" as politely as possible... HERE.

2. I give anything and everything away.

I drive my husband nuts because I tend to give all kinds of things away.
Anything we don't need just gets passed on to friends or donated.

I've always been a person who passes things on to others.
Everything from my wedding dress to baby equipment, to clothes, to furniture.

It's must be in my genes!

When they were newly married my Grandpa gave away the chairs that came with my Nan's new kitchen table (the set they'd been saving up for 2 years to buy!) because a woman on their street had nothing in her house to sit on.
This poor lady's husband was an alcoholic and used to spend all his wages on beer then come home and beat her.
Her house was bare, and she often had nothing for dinner (when I was little I remember my Nan taking food into her on occasion).
My Grandpa was just doing the right thing and my Nan couldn't argue!
The funny thing is that they never bought replacement chairs, and always had a mixture of old secondhand ones.
They were good people for sure!

Now, any savvy business-minded person would tell you to sell any items you don't want/need and never give anything away that could provide a profit.
It makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, I'm just not cut from that cloth.

I did attempt to sell a few things on eBay a while back but decided to pull out after an unfortunate incident... see the post on my eBay experience HERE.
I'm never going to make my fortune that way so I'll stick to being more like my Grandpa!

3. I'm far too opinionated.

I've got a voice and I feel like I've earned the right to use it.
I'm never going to be someone who is diplomatic, sycophantic or even particularly agreeable.
It's just not in my nature.
If I don't like something I find it SO hard not to just blurt "That's a load of crap!".
Saying nothing is the ONLY answer.

I think diplomacy is a skill most successful bloggers possess and I certainly don't.
I'd love to be more gentle, measured and diplomatic.
I just can't sit back and let things happen.
If I feel strongly I have to act and get my tuppence worth in!

So, I've resigned myself to never 'making it big' as a blogger.
I'm okay with that.
In fact, I'm more than happy to accept the fact I'll never be rich either.
Even if Fake Fabulous did hit the big time I'd end up giving everything away anyway.
My Grandpa would be proud!

Of course, you know this post is meant to be a bit of fun.
I still love blogging.
I'm not going to stop anytime soon (fortune or no fortune!) and rest assured if I come across a brand, product or service that I think you will love I will be telling you all about it!

What's your idea of success?
I'd love to hear it!

Now over to you.

Last week something very different caught my eye...
How to dye Easter eggs naturally by Lina at Sew Historically.
What a great idea for the crafty-minded people who like a challenge.
Her methods are so interesting and the outcome is beautiful!



  1. Your blog is successful to me because I read it regularly and take ideas away from it. I like the fact I can recognise clothes from your wardrobe ie not just promoting new stuff. I also like the charity shop items as it inspires me to keep searching! I am not so keen on blogs that feature items from brands; as much as bloggers may claim to be unbiased in their reviews, essentially readers are still being sold to. Each to their own. That's fine by me, I just prefer bloggers who don't do this, or keep it to a minimum.

    Success for me in my late forties (nearly 50, gulp) is much quieter and home based. I enjoy my life much more now but I am doing piecemeal bits of work rather than furthering a career. Being OK with this was a big turning point in my personal happiness. I feel freer in my style and am growingy hair for the first time in my life, age 49! Woo hoo!

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness here Sam... I'm humbled by it.
      I agree with you about being sold to too.
      It is true!
      I don't have a problem with it at all as long as I trust the blogger to be selling something they genuinely like.
      There are bloggers I trust who make a living from blogging but there has to be something special about them to earn that trust.
      Like posting plenty of non-sponsored content or seeing the items again!
      It's a fine line and luckily I can usually smell a rat.

      I love your idea of success... getting that live balance and growing your hair for the first time.

  2. Hope your having a lovely Sunday Samantha. Thanks for hosting. I enjoyed reading your post.

    I sometimes think of what it would be like to be a bigger, well-known blogger but then I think I would feel the pressure to keep producing more creative & unique content.

  3. I'm with you Samantha. I can't bring myself to change what I really want to say on my blog to curry favour with a brand. And the only brands that have come calling are not ones I would wear or support. So... I decided to not monetise at all. I follow and enjoy a number of "bigger" commercial blogs, but many of them are so selling oriented that I've clicked away and exercised my option to unsubscribe.
    Thanks for hosting the link-up. I've only recently started to participate.

    1. Thank you for linking Susan!!
      I hope you continue to join in.

      I agree about some brands not really being your thing, there are loads I look at and think "really?!?!".
      I'm sure most of the time the outreach person hasn't even looked at our blogs!

      I do, however, get super excited if there's a brand I love who gets in touch.
      I've been lucky to get a few of those and some amazing pieces I've loved sharing.
      Most of the time though my charity shop finds or bargain bucket pieces make me just as happy!

      Long may we continue enjoying being bloggers! XXX

  4. Happy Easter Samantha! Thanks for hosting xx

  5. I turn down 80% of things because I want to stick to genuinely loving everything I pass on to my readers and I am affiliate with brands I've always worn. I would love to make a good living for myself but I will be patient and let it grow in the way I feel most comfortable with. Your nan and grandad sounds so lovely!! xx

    1. Patience is key... although the thrill of the first freebies (or collaborations) is hard to resist!
      Thank you for reading my little story about my grandparents and being so kind.
      They were lovely people and I miss them even now.

  6. Samantha, another thought provoking post. I work so hard every day on my blog as well and am quite small. I cannot imagine what I would even do if I added more work to my load! I kind of enjoy it the way it is! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    1. Hahahaha... that's true Shelbee!
      Like I said above bloggers work HARD... even the small ones.
      In fact sometimes smaller blogs need to work harder to get things done.
      My mind boggles at the amount of work the big bloggers do.
      I can imagine needing to hire people and delegate various tasks, to ease the load.
      Half of me would LOVE that the other half is too much of a scardy pants!! :oP

  7. I consider your blog to be a successful one, Sam. One of the defining factors is because other successful bloggers often mention you and your love of colour! Not to mention that I just love you and your blog :)
    I would love to be a hugely successful blogger – earning a decent living from doing what this, because it's fun and makes me happy! YAY!
    Suzy xx

    1. Thank you for being so kind Suzy.... it means the world!!
      I think that's a great idea Suzy.
      To do EXACTLY what we're doing (and loving) while making a bucket load of cash.
      I could come to visit Portugal and we could do some location shooting... travelling first class, sipping champagne of course!
      I'll sign up for that :oP

    2. he he he that sounds like a plan to me ;)

  8. A successful blog is one that fulfills YOUR needs, not any other measurement. You seem to have achieved your goals. Enjoy it.

  9. Oh could I relate to this post. I am so much like you in every reason you just gave. Your story about your grandfather reminded me of my own father. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need and live with little or nothing himself. I so agree with you about beauty products. When I look at the price tags of that stuff I get sick to my stomach. How many mouths in India would that one bottle of facial cream feed in India for a day? I just can't justify the expense and I continue to use my Ivory soap. I also turn almost every collaboration down. On the few occasions that I've agreed to do a sponsor post, I've regretted it. I blog for pure enjoyment and that's it.

    1. That's a great way to be Amy... blogging for pure enjoyment.
      I also enjoy everything I do here and plan to continue doing just that, for as long as I can.
      Here's to many more years of happy blogging!

  10. Like you I feel my blog is successful simply because I still enjoy doing it. Also like you, huge success isn't in the cards because I refuse to keep my opinionated mouth shut...see the post I linked!

    1. Hahahaha.... I love an opinion Debbie!
      Regardless of whether or not I agree with the person, I always have so much more respect for someone who has a strong mind that the yes-men of this world.
      Keep doing what you do Debbie... it works for me!!

  11. It's funny how we strive for more and more, yet success can be so simple. The fact that I get to spend time with my moms and have fun with styling clothes is all the success I need!!

    1. Your blog is going from strength to strength Jodie!
      You have such a unique viewpoint with the three of you and you're so lucky to have such wonderful Mums in your life.
      I see you doing lots of collaborations but they always seem like they fit right in with you, Charlotte and Nancy.
      Perhaps the fact you are a trio gives you more scope to experiment and have fun trying new things, instead of someone reading your blog and thinking " That XXX is not really Jodie's style".
      You almost have a duty to give things a go for all of the 50+, 60+ and 70+ ladies out there!
      Keep doing what you do.

  12. hI Sam
    I like what Shybiker said. One's blog is successful if they still enjoy it and continue to wake up enjoying it each time. I don't beleive in selling, selling selling as it isn't what i started blogging for. I do chose brands that fit with my style and love that story about your Grandparents, they seemed like wonderful people.
    jess xx

    1. They were Jess, thank you for that!
      I still miss them, my Grandpa especially.
      I've noticed that your collaborations are always very genuine and VERY "Jess"!
      Especially the shoe ones... or is it just that i love shoes so much, I notice them more?? Probably.
      I know you must turn down many to accept the few you do work with and you have worked your back-end off AND you've been blogging for an eternity.
      These great collaborations don't just land on blogger's laps.
      Hard work is needed and even that doesn't always pay off.
      You do what you do so well.

  13. Yep I agree with all that you have said. I love blogging and would love to make some money from it, but I do work with brands that I like and feel comfortable promoting - I would only do that with things that work for me. I love reading your blog and seeing what you are wearing - we all get inspiration from other bloggers don't we. Thanks for sharing Hun.. x

    1. We certainly do!
      I particularly love seeing how colours have been put together on different people.
      It inspires me.
      I often click through affiliate links on the blogs I love to see if I can get hold of an item they've been wearing.
      I don't think that will ever change, no matter how many clothes/shoes I get sent!
      You are right about feeling comfortable.
      We all get that gut feeling "Is this right for me and my blog?"
      Even the thought of a nice cheque is not enough to compromise on that!
      You can't buy back your reputation... or other people's trust, can you?
      Thank you for this comment!

  14. I feel like I am succesfull! I am just a small blogger from the Netherlands, but I have given my life a wonderfull meaning after I had to stop working! Blogging makes me so very happy, and yes of course I would love to grow a bit more, but I am very grateful. And that is why I am proud of myself. (I always feel like I am more brutal honest on your blog then anywhere else!!)

    1. I'm so glad you're comfortable enough to say-it-like-it-is here Nancy!
      That makes me very happy.
      I love your confidence and obvious love of what you do... your photos are always so vibrant and full of your joy.
      We are lucky to be able to blog, you're right about that!
      I feel like the luckiest woman alive at the moment...
      I'm sitting here typing this in a cosy jumper with the sleet falling outside.
      My belly is full of a delicious chicken pie my two youngest children (11 and 13) made for dinner and I'm sipping on a huge mug of tea.
      What more could someone want from life? :o)
      Have a lovely week!

  15. I agree (particularly) on that idea of success being a subjective thing. It is!.
    I think that your blog is genuine and interesting, and that's a success!. I really enjoy your posts, your style and personality! (and I like 'too opinionated' people). Saying 'no, thanks' to some brands is not a bad thing, as many brands throw their net to catch bloggers as if we were fishes, they don't care about anything more than numbers.
    And I liked to read about your grandpa, what a lovely personality!

    1. Thank you for that Monica.
      My Grandpa was quite a man... he'd have loved your colourful style BTW! :o)
      I feel as you do about the "net" scooping up unsuspecting (or naive) bloggers.
      Some of the offers are laugh-out-loud!
      Having an auto response on my email address saves hundreds of "no thank you" emails.... Delete, delete, delete! :oP
      I hope you never stop blogging.

  16. I'm always amazed at the things I'm asked to write sponsored posts about! I can never believe the brands contacting me have even LOOKED at my blog! So while the lure of some $$ is strong, so far I've said NO to EVERYTHING. Hopefully someday there *will* be a good fit, but til thank you, Teen Prom Dress Company, etc!!!

    I have no problem reading sponsored content that's done sincerely. I GO to blogs looking for product referrals and recommendations! I trust a blogger I've been following for x amount of time more than I do a paid actor on tv. But it cracks me up when you see someone post about Product X...and in the same week or so you see 3-4 OTHER bloggers post about the same product...I guess how would the bloggers know who else is posting sponsored content about that product at that same time, but just always hits me funny.

    And you (and your blog) are certainly successful in my eyes! Your content is thought-provoking, your photos are excellent quality, your style is unique and have good followers and get great comments. That's success in my book. And if you happen to be compensated for your efforts, Icing on the Cake!

    PS - loved your graphic up-top of Lucky Cat. I'm a big fan of Lucky Cat and have just recently started collecting them. I think it would be fun (be warned: I have an uncommon view of death) if, after I die, people (whatever people those would be) go into my home to clean out and the place was just FILLED top to bottom with thousands of different Lucky Cat figurines. Ha! I would love to see THAT! (I warned you).

    Hope you had a nice holiday.


    1. Hahahahaha... I know those dodgy offers Bettye!
      They make me laugh.
      "We'll give you this cheap dress and all you have to do is give us Do-Follow links and your ruin your reputation, okay?"
      Or, my favourite, "Write about how great our product is without actually trying it!.... and we'll give you $50"
      Hahahahaha.... erm, no thanks!
      I'm always conscious of that "4 other bloggers" thing and it makes me cringe.
      It happened to me once and I felt like a fool... even though the product was good (worth recommending) and I was paid well.
      I still didn't like it.
      I think it's unavoidable in certain situations though... if a big brand comes calling that you are genuinely excited to work with then it silly to say no.
      I love your comments Bettye, they're always great!
      AND your crazy lucky cat lady image is brilliant.
      I think it's healthy to have an uncommon view of death.
      It is inevitable and definitely worth laughing at!

  17. I consider your blog a successful one because it's so interesting and it's evident you blog as your personal creative outlet, and I am the same :) but it's true some people consider success in terms of sponsors and different things. My favorite blogs are the "genuine" ones when it's evident that the owner has a voice, and personal tastes. I am not attracted to "advertising only" blogs. Success to me is anything that makes you happy and content and since I have a job and I am a blogger driven by passion, I am happy with it as it is. Many kisses and thanks for the linkup

    Fashion and Cookies - fashion and beauty blog

    1. You are very kind Vale, thank you!
      I love the fact that your collaborations are always in keeping with the feel of Fashion & Cookies and never seem forced or out of place.
      That's why I love your blog.... or is it your amazing shoe collection??? Hmmmmm?? :oP

  18. What a great post! Someone wanted me to write a post for $15!! Before retirement, I wrote copy for the largest newspapers & ad agencies in the country - I don't get out of bed for $15!! Like you, I would never be fake over some item I did not really love. I want my readers to trust what I say. Thank you for keeping it real!

  19. Hahahaha... $15!
    That's just cheeky, isn't it?
    I think we'd happily work for hours for no monetary reward though, as long as we loved it, wouldn't we?!
    That's the beauty of blogging I suppose.
    Your days of writing on demand are over... you do your own thing now and rightly so!!!

  20. Great post, Sam. I agree, "success" is so personal in the blogging world. In all the happy ways, your blog is super successful because you have something to say, and you say it. And your style is fab and fun, and your writing is energetic. Thanks goodness we don't all have to support ourselves via our blogs! I earn "shoe money". : >


    1. Thank you for your comment Patti!
      Shoe money is good money in my book :o)

  21. This is a great post. My husband complains all the time because I am always giving things away. I just gave my sister 10 pairs of shoes Monday. We wanted to make a living from our blog when we started but now we are happy that people are reading it.

    1. Hahahaha... you sound like me there Victoria!
      I had a large Ikea bag overflowing with shoes I was giving away and I had my friends going through them trying things on.
      It felt great to see them all go to new (happy) homes... much better than selling them on.
      You can't buy that feeling!
      Keep giving your things away, it's good for everyone. XXX

  22. Great post and kudos for staying true to yourself. That's important. Though my blog is a fashion blog, I don't advertise items that I wouldn't use or wear myself. Matter of fact, if you follow my blog, as an example, most of what I am blogging about are old items that has been with me for years. For me, it's about showing that no you don't have to buy the latest and greatest but more so of how you feel wearing the things you already have.

    Maureen |

    1. I love to see that Maureen... "old" items getting re-worn and re-styled.
      Seeing the latest fashion item on promotion over 10 blogs isn't really appealing to be, especially when the item is an expensive one.
      I much prefer your way of blogging!! :o)

  23. This is an interesting topic and one I've wrestled with for many years. I've been blogging for too long...since 2006. It's insane. I'm not popular, I'm far too opinionated and I certainly don't make any money from my blog. The number of times I've almost quit are too many to mention.

    For about 5 minutes I thought I might be able to make some money with my blog. I knew that my style sense and priorities didn't align with that of the "normal" blogging world. My love of vintage and secondhand is at odds with fast fashion and mass consumption.

    The only reason I continue to blog is because I cherish the friendships I've established while blogging. I fear I would lose those connections should I choose to leave blogging behind.


  24. Perhaps the fact that I'm not a blogger diminishes the power of my viewpoint but your integrity,honesty and generosity make me love you even more Sam. I'm not looking for a sales pitch even when I espouse to copy one of your MANY fabulous stylings. I'm often inspired or intrigued but I always want to find my OWN way to a particular look. I may delight in a look that reveals more about Samantha, Suzanne Carillo, Mel Kobayashi or a few others but I rarely set out to replicate it exactly. I am most often encouraged to be more myself because of the joy you express in being you!
    I'm also fairly certain that bloggers who are more mature are less likely to evoke or seek the "fashion consumer stupor" that many younger bloggers can and do create.
    At least 60% of my blogger patronage is a result of loving the woman that is revealed within each post and it's her intelligence, wit, attitude, heart and soul that keeps me coming back.


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