This Online Life

Mum’s friend. So Lucy, what is it you actually do now? Good question.

So you want to be a blogger?

I’ll start by saying I count my lucky stars while on a little career break from Finance that I earn income that’s pretty flexible around my son/lifestyle. I also get to do something I really enjoy, which is basically being creative and talking about things I love and am passionate about. It’s something anyone can do if they want to. I also love the way Instagram has helped me connect to so many amazing ladies (& gents) that I would never have come across ordinarily.

It’s also taught me valuable knowledge in marketing, photography, editing, accountancy, networking, tax – so I’m still learning valuable skills away from the office until I eventually decide what it is I want to do? Marketing sounds quite attractive. Who knows.

One thing I always struggle with in this world of social media it how much is too much when it comes to sharing snippets of your life online? I never really show my family or close friends. If I snap Alex it tends to be from certain angles or from a distance. It’s a hard one. I want to shout from the rooftops the fabulous people I have around me but I also want to protect them, you know? ‘If you knew my whole story you’d be proud of me’. I saw something recently and it really resonated with me. I’m quite selective with what I share online. ‘You know my Instagram, not my life’. Despite what assumptions people make life hasn’t always been easy for me believe me and everyone has their own shiz going on behind the scenes but that’s just life isn’t it?

Don’t automatically expect your real life friends, colleagues or even family to ‘get it’ or be supportive of it. Luckily my closest friends have all been amazing, and embrace it during my weekends to London, taking me to the best insta worthy spots and helping me take pictures. I’ve had others not so supportive but I don’t dwell on that! It’s not for everyone. If you ever wonder who takes my pictures it’s my sister and insta husband….

There is a LOT that goes on behind those curated squares and it is so far from ‘sharing a quick picture’.

But just how did earning a living online happen? Honestly? Years of hard work and dedication. Posting daily at 6:20am. However I don’t do that so much these days, I’m a little more laid back about posting times and do social media around my son.

I often get asked for advice on how to grow an Instagram platform but sadly I’m not able to provide all the answers. I started back in 2014 in the ‘good old days’ but honestly things were so different back then. You saw posts chronologically. You will hear us bloggers/vloggers be disheartened by the Instagram algorithm and that’s because Instagram only actually shows your posts to around 10% of those that follow you. Every once and a while I get a nice message from Instagram telling me that my post has reached a wider audience shortly encouraging me to promote it. It hasn’t of course. Instagram subsequently drops reach. I’ve lost hours of my life trying to beat it. The analyst within me says It is what it is.

Despite loving what I do, it never turns in for the day. I get emails and DM’s throughout the night. YOU and only YOU can say when to call it a day. I kinda miss that Friday afternoon buzz, kicking back for the weekend, because chances are I’ll be working over the weekend.

Luckily I’ve been invited for lunch with my former colleagues in December so I will still get to pull a cracker and sup a seasonal spritz in good company! 😊 If I wasn’t so far from Amy and JP, we’d have a Festive lunch booked in for sure!

So what exactly does my day consist of?! Well, I’m a Mum. Arguably the most important task of all. Alex spends a split about of time with me and at Pre school. I’m also solo parenting a lot of the time. I’m busy doing housework, cooking family meals. You would not believe the work that goes into running the hashtag challenges. We must get 100 DM’s a day, share multiple posts, images, speak to brands to try and source the best possible prizes for you guys. I’m also responding to emails from brands for my channels, mums, DIY queries, writing blogs, taking images. I’m also working hard on our small property portfolio, Pluen Cottage being the latest edition.

I love affordable fashion – love a bargain and I love Sales. You’ll never see me with a Mulberry handbag or Louis Vuitton’s. A, I can’t afford them and B, I’m pretty sure even if I could I wouldn’t physically be able to hand over that kind of cash for a bag . I would be scared of being mugged! I was saying this to my husband last week. I get a buzz from getting a good deal and making my money stretch. I’m no fashionista but people seem to enjoy the colourful clothes I wear & I just love Clothes! Always have done. Same can be said about houses. I am no interior designer. I just buy what I like, bung it all together in an old building and hope it looks ok! I’ll always opt for a period house if circumstances allow, and that’s purely down to my love of history.

As a Liverpool girl (we love our clothes and beauty products), you’ll not be surprised to hear that If I am going to splash out and treat myself I am more likely to buy a lipstick or pair of shoes than I am a designer kitchen or car (if I could drive ha). I know most bloggers say this but it has to be reinforced. I only work with brands I love. It’s my reputation on the line. I had a message a few weeks back from a high end interior brand about working together. I looked at the cost of the side tables. £800. £800! I would never pay that living my current lifestyle. Sorry – it’s a NO from me.

People often make comment about bloggers receiving ‘freebies’. Is anything in life really free? No, let me tell you it is not! I actually refuse most of the ‘gifts’ that I am offered. What needs to be remembered here is that brands don’t want me to enjoy the exquisite aromas of a scented candle, they want me to show you the enjoyment of it! If something is sent as a gift, I’m putting the same time and effort into it as a sponsored post.

I am lucky enough to be on press lists for some of my favourite brands where I receive new products from time to time for release. They are PR gifts with no obligation to share. I really enjoy trying new things, learning about them, talking about them and passing things over for friends and family to enjoy too. Where do all the bits and pieces go I don’t get through? Family, friends and charity.

Sometimes, as with all things creative I get a sort of creativity lul and its almost like ‘instagrammers block’. I have no passion to take images and can’t think of anything to say! I also get the fear about storying.

You may see ‘Ad’ plastered on my feed more than other bloggers/vloggers. That’s because even if I have been sent a ‘gift’ in exchange for guaranteed social media coverage I will mark it Ad*. If I am helping out a small business unpaid and accept a print (payment in kind) this will also be Ad*. If I have a relationship with the brand and I am sharing a link it will also be Ad*. If it’s a giveaway and I have been sent an item as payment in kind to hold the competition AD also. Small businesses don’t typically have the budget to send things to bloggers with no guarantee of a return. I’d rather be OTT on the compliance side and be completely transparent than not. At this moment in time, I personally choose not to use affiliate links. That’s not a dig at those who choose too.

I think as your audience gets bigger, you are opening yourself up to so many people. So many opinions, backgrounds and walks of life. I find that concept quite hard to deal with as I don’t know how to be responsible to everyone. When posting spontaneously I often just chat about what pops into my head and I do get ‘the fear’ I am going to offend/upset someone. I guess all you can really do is be yourself and not everyone is going to like you, you are not a jar of Nutella!

I think it’s important for everyone to limit their time on social media and what content they consume. Unfollow channels that don’t bring you joy. If you can’t unfollow someone (maybe that work colleague or neighbour) just mute the account.

This online life isn’t all flowers and brunches though. There is a dark side to it all and I’m well aware of the negatives. Recent press has highlighted that.

As always thanks for reading and the continued support. I’ve a new recording camera, tripod and editing software, so I’m really excited to launch Youtube soon!

Until next time,

Love Lucy x

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