#AD - This isn't a Paid Partnership
I’m currently in a strained financial situation. I’m no longer watching the gas meter but I’m not yet a millionaire either. I’m in a very popular water populated by debt, bills and the occasional treat. We are living in a time where even with two people in a household working full time still doesn’t allow for past privileges. I appreciate that my circumstance isn’t original so won’t waste time on the back and forth. You already know I’m into manifesting. I work hard on keeping my life upbeat by channeling great energy, sunbathing my crystals and writing gratitude lists. All of these things I find to be great tools in helping me make money. But I’m still human and there are many moments during the month, especially being self-employed where I think right, how the fuck are we going to pull this off then?
At the beginning of the year, I wrote myself a cheque for 100k and then a few more breaking down where I’m going to get this money from. I carry them in my handbag every day. Although we’re over halfway through the year, I’ve just started to see how this could potentially be my reality. But I’m shook AF. Having spent most of my childhood fearing money, being scared of its ‘power’ and never having enough of it, sometimes I know this energy gets in the way of me doing the best by the money I make.
My mum is great, awesome but don’t put a credit card in her hand. When she doesn’t feel great, she spends - on anything. Having watched these habits, for a long time I followed her lead. Thankfully I fucked up a lot earlier in life and I feel like I’m getting a second wind. And for that I’m grateful. A major bulk of my revenue comes from working with brands who want me to share their products with my audience. I appreciate that a lot of people don’t like their Instagram feeds to be awash with #ADs as it feels as though a lot of what they see is very curated, fake even. I try my best to only work with brands I’d actually work with and to be as clear as crystal about ‘Paid Partnerships’. But sometimes I know that this is still not enough to make some people happy.
‘Unfollowed. I think you profiting from your audience is disgusting and you need to get a real job’ - said the most recent DM
‘I’m sick and tired of seeing you hang out with problematic white women. You would do anything for money, won’t you? You have no scruples.’ - read one comment underneath a picture with me and a popular podcast creator which we took after recording a podcast I wasn’t paid for.
There are hundreds of others but I won’t bore you with the rhetoric. I’m sure you get the picture.
And keeping it real it does piss me off. Because I’m sure these same people watch ‘TEATIME!’, read a blog post or engage with Pillow Talk. All content which I create for free just because I love creating. But the minute it seems like I’m being paid to create content cue Beyoncé’s ‘Ring The Alarm’. One of the most annoying things being that I’m not even being paid by them!
Let me make it clear I worked for four years on video and written content without even the whiff of a paycheque. I absolutely knew I could build a career around what I love to do and just had to have faith even when the alarm of the house we were living in kept annoying the neighbours because we were only able to top up the electric meter at £5 a time and every time it slipped back into emergency the alarm would trip out. This wasn’t some decades ago, more like three years ago. Three years ago, I was claiming job seekers allowance. Three years ago, I was staying with my mum when things got too tight for us just to take some of the financial pressure of Papa B.
So now, every time a brand wants to work with me, I’m the cow jumping over the fucking moon. Because I never, ever want to feel that kind of pinch again. And I’m not writing this as an explanation but more as insight. A little BTS on ‘influencer marketing’ so you can understand why so many of us get a little upset when people come for us so hard. We all share the best bits of our lives on social. Not the bits where you’re putting shit back on the shelf cause you know your card is going to get declined.
I can’t speak for anyone else selling ad space or working with brands. But I can bet that the vast majority making a little dollar from #AD ain't using that cash to go lay on a yacht in Dubai. And even if they were whose business is it anyway? I’m trying to be filthy rich. I’m trying to use my gifts to put me in a place where I don’t have to depend on Instagram or any other app to dictate my yearly revenue and whilst I trust that this will happen, everything takes time. So in the interim, if I’m able to stack by working with brands and business’ who think I’ll represent them well then fuck me, yes I will do that.
Someone recently messaged me to say
‘I feel like me engaging or liking an ad is like adding to the hat of a busker whose music I really like. It’s me supporting them in a small way for all the free content they do produce which I appreciate’
and I really like thinking about it in that manner.
I’m not saying we have to engage with every #AD we see. But I also see no point in messaging people to say you hate the fact they make do ads or engaging in ‘call out’ culture. If the person is transparent and you still don’t like it, you know what you can do right? Exactly. Nothing is by force.
Lastly, I’d really like to get rid of this idea that I should ‘get a real job’ Jesus Christ, between the initial email, the brief, conference calls, the seven-step approvals and then providing engagement receipts sometimes I do think ‘ah being a receptionist wasn’t so bad!’ It’s a tough gig. Deals fall through every day and that can be hard because it’s hard to know what my take home is going to be from month to month. But it’s the risk I’m taking. Trust me baby girl, this job is about as real as it gets.
Anyhoo, if you’ve gotten to the end of this, I hope you see my point. I decided to do this as a blog post cause I don’t particularly want to keep discussing this. So at least this piece of content is here forever more.
For free. ; )