People are constantly telling me how lucky I am because I get so many 'freebies'. I get free holidays, free clothes, free food, free toys, all the free stuff! This may come as a surprise to some, but I am a blogger and I don't get freebies. I am a blogger not a blagger.
You may be confused, how can I claim that I don't get freebies and then go on to write that I get holidays, etc that I don't pay for? The reason for this is that the things that I get aren't free, I work for these, I work very hard for these.
Many of you go to work, earn a wage and choose what you want to buy with that wage, you book and pay for a holiday with that wage. I, on the other hand don't get the luxury of going down to the travel agent and excitedly looking at various holiday destinations, I get paid in the form of a holiday, a holiday that has been chosen for me. That sounds a little ungrateful but it really isn't, I'm just trying to get my point across that these items aren't free. My holidays aren't necessarily a break. While on holiday I have to remember to take decent photos of certain things, I am constantly winding Spencer up by shooing him out of the way or telling him that he can't unpack his luggage or chill out until I've taken photos of the accommodation. I am always jotting down notes of points that I must remember to mention in my review.
Blogging is hard, it is a lot of fun but it is also hard work and it takes time. We don't just magically get sent items to review. We work hard to maintain our site, promote our site, improve our photography, update our media kit and regularly send it to our contacts. We have to edit photos, improve old blog posts, update our social media channels. Most people put the kids to bed then watch TV. I put Aria to bed then switch on my computer. I rarely watch TV and when I do I feel guilty for having a break, despite the fact that I am checking and updating social media at the same time.
Yes, I will admit that I am lucky. I am lucky in that I can earn money and make part of my living by doing something that I love, not many people can say that. What I'm trying to say here is that luck isn't why I get these items, I get these items because I've worked bloody hard over the last five years to build my blog up to be in the position that I am in today.
I'm lucky that blogging has brought me things that I wouldn't have experienced otherwise as we would have spent the wage on something far more sensible. It has also brought me a few money can't buy experiences, experiences that I will be forever grateful for.
In the past I have been referred to as a 'jammy sod', I decided to ask some of my fellow bloggers what they thought of the whole blogger freebie debate and if people thought they were jammy or hard working :
Hannah has been told that it must be easier having a newborn this time around as she 'gets everything she needs for free'.
Hannah (not that one ^^) - My postman has clearly googled me (local celeb) and regularly tells me he's come bearing freebies. I've also been asked by friends if I can get them something they fancy or should they just buy it. Also at Lu's birthday party I was asked if her presents were all from the blog. Annoying.
Plutonium Sox - Giving the other side of the story, I feel really lucky that we're able to go on holiday as a result of my blog or we wouldn't have managed to afford it this year. Of course it's not free but it's still pretty amazing.
Steph - People have no idea how much time and effort a blogger puts into their blog. People may think we're lucky with all the 'freebies' we get but if they knew how many hours we spend marketing, editing, photographing, designing, writing, networking and researching behind the scenes they would probably wonder why we do it!
Ami - I have friends/family that ask me "oh can you get me one of these or one of those as you get them for free? " NO!! I can't just go round asking for things and a lot of work goes in when I am lucky enough to be sent things! I think people think I send a tweet or email, just sent whatever I've asked for and then it's happy days all round!!
Kate (this is probably the most shocking blog related comment I have ever heard!) - I once got asked if I was having another baby 'for all the free stuff'
Yeah. Because an awful pregnancy and major abdominal surgery followed by decades of responsibility is worth a few free baby bits.
Alison - Someone recently said to me 'You should take all the free stuff, you could always pass it on' when I mentioned how I sometimes turned things down because I didn't have the need for / didn't have the time to review something. People don't realise the work that goes into writing a review and if it's something you don't need it's not worth it! And she was clearly talking about me passing them on to her haha.
Jo - Haha I don't get anything. But it's not actually a free holiday when your testing out the food and bars, then take pictures, sort said pictures out. Then spend time writing and editing. People don't see that side of things though do they?
Cathryn - I think people underestimate the amount of work that goes into reviews - writing it, taking photos and editing, uploading to Wordpress, promoting on social media, and responding to comments from readers, not to mention building a social media audience and producing a blog that people want to read in the first place.
Yes, blogging gives my family and I opportunities I might otherwise not be able to afford or have access to, and I feel very grateful for that. But I work hard to provide content - as soon as my three kids are in bed, and most people are flaking in front of the TV, that's when I start work.
When I'm at an event, or on a day out, I am always thinking of how it would relate to my readers' lives, thinking about what I am going to write. Then when I get home, I have to write about it. Sometimes, if I've been to a show or something, this is at 10pm at night, so I can get my review out while it is still playing in my home city of Cardiff, so it is relevant to those who may already be attending or who may be thinking of attending.
Alex - My response to anyone who says "another freebie" is "it's what I'm paid in. Like you're paid in money I'm just paid in product, only my payment doesn't pay the bills unfortunately".
Lauren - My standard response to friends commenting on 'free stuff' is it might have been sent to me for 'free' but I worked damn hard to get my blog to a good enough position to be sent things and I have to work damn hard to review things too! The thought process, write up, photos and promotion all take an age!
Teddy Bears and Cardigans - It takes hours to photograph, edit the photos and write a review. Then it needs to be promoted on social media. One of mine was a day out value £12. OK we did have fun but I got paid about £1 an hour. Hardly a "freebie".
I'm not lucky that I get free stuff, because I don't get free stuff, I work for my stuff. You earn a wage, I earn 'stuff'.