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The Gig Industry: Knowing Your Worth

Posted on 8 m read

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! Today, I wanted to share with you something that’s been on my mind lately: SELF WORTH. Specifically as an individual of the creative space. What is self worth? Why is it so important? How can knowing yours affect you & your business? As a full-time freelancer making a living through digital marketing, I’ve learned that knowing your self worth is the first step to long-term success. The second step is standing by it. While this article will be mostly relatable to other creatives in the industry, recognizing self-worth is important for all.

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Many of you have been curious as to what a typical day running Style Lullaby looks like. Firstly, I’m going to start off by saying that blogging is a lot more than just blogging. In fact, I don’t even like to say I’m a “blogger” because I feel it doesn’t quite capture the essence of my work today. As anyone who runs their own business knows, you have to wear many hats. You are the accountant, the marketer, the creative director, and so on.

When I first started blogging, it was a hobby for a year. Everything was fun and games — no obligations and no deadlines. Then, my second year rolled around and I decided that the 9-5 life wasn’t for me… so, I turned it into a full-time job. Since then, there have been many tight deadlines, expectations, fights with my boyfriend/photographer, and more. It has not been easy, and to my surprise, my stress levels are higher than ever before. I even struggle with getting enough sleep every night. With that said, I can’t help but feel agitated when brands ask content creators to advertise their product via curated content to our audiences, while failing to recognize that what we do requires a lot of hard work, passion, and dedication. Those pursuing this are putting in hours of work to meet deadlines and create quality content.

Marketing efforts are essential to the growth of a brand, and quality content goes a long way in establishing a brand’s professionalism and increasing their sales. Think about it this way: Everyone gets promotional e-mails. Whether it’s a BOGO sale going on at Forever 21, or a Black Friday offer at Best Buy, these e-mails flood our inboxes daily in hopes that we’ll see them at the right time to buy something. Someone was hired to create those emails. Essentially, this is exactly what digital marketers are doing for brands, and that value should always be compensated for — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Unlike a 9-5, I’m not handed work to complete for the day. To stay afloat financially, I am responsible for seeking out my own clients/work, and completing my tasks in a timely manner with nobody “supervising me.” My income is dependent on how much work I can bring myself, rather than how much work I get done for a company or how many hours I work.A typical work day for me will look something like this:

  • 6 am – 9 am: Catch up on all social media posts
    • Engage with followers, respond to comments/questions, etc.
    • Post my photo for the day across my social channels.
    • Reply to blog comments.
  • 9 am – 12 pm: Administrative work
    • Answer e-mails that came through the past 24 hours.
    • Send out follow-up e-mails.
    • Conduct outreach and/or coordinate plans for work with clients.
    • Organize editorial calendar.
  • 12 pm – 2 pm: Lunch/Errands/Networking
    • This block of time is spent either catching up on errands like pulling clothes for a shoot to complete a look, grabbing a quick bite, or attending an event/meeting.
  • 2 pm – 4 pm: Blog work
    • PREP by making sure all photos needed are edited and ready for placement.
    • DESIGN upcoming posts and lay out how I want them structured.
    • CREATE content for upcoming posts.
  • 4 pm – 6 pm: Shoot
    • Get ready for a shoot (make-up, hair, styling).
    • Find a location to shoot and get there.
    • Shoot several outfits or things that need to be shot before it gets dark out.
  • 6 pm – 7 pm: Dinner/Errands/Networking
    • Similar to lunch time, this block of time is spent either catching up on errands, metworking at an event/meeting, or… well, eating dinner.
  • 7 pm – 10 pm: Catch up on personal obligations
    • This block of time is reserved for spending time with my boyfriend outside of work related things, taking care of my lizard, showering, catching up on laundry, and other chores that may need to be done.
  • 10 pm – 2 am: Review
    • Review photos shot, make selections, and work with my retoucher to finalize the photos.
    • Review and make sure schedule posts go live when they should and are kink-free.
  • 2 am – 3 am: Plan
    • Plan which post(s) is going live in the morning and appropriate caption(s) for each channel… when I wake up 4 hours later.
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My schedule varies day-to-day which is a huge perk of my job, but as you can see, there’s a ton of work and time involved behind the scenes. This doesn’t even account for all the time I’ve spent to build a readership/following, and relationships with people online!

So, it never ceases to frustrate me when brands reach out expecting free work or ask to “gift” an item of my choice in exchange for a shoutout. Advertising is not and should not be free. In my two years of blogging, I’ve probably seen every excuse. I’ve also calculated my thoughts on each excuse thoroughly. Here are just some of the common ones I get regularly… in no particular order of “favorites.”

We’re a small and growing business.

My thoughts: That’s great! I’m all for entrepreneurship and starting businesses. Heck, as a social influencer, I consider myself a “growing business,” too, and still have to put forth many expenses to keep creating quality content. Some expenses include photography & equipment, photo props, hair & make-up services, gas to get around to shoots, “Insta-worthy” food, and renting studio space when needed. These are just some of many everyday expenses I have to account for, not including my personal expenses that may bite into business expenses as well. That said, if you’re a growing business, you most definitely should have a budget for advertising. I’m not saying it has to be a big one, but it should be something so that you can pay your influencers for their time and efforts in putting a word out about your product or service that help increase sales of your product or service.

We’d like to do a “test post” before committing to a larger compensation.

My thoughts: Since when was I able to take home an article of clothing from the mall before paying for it? Unfortunately, many brands are using this excuse to exploit bloggers into working for free. These brands often will work with anyone and everyone, and see how many they can take advantage of. Seldom do they ever come back and offer a second partnership with a “larger compensation.”

We have many other bloggers doing it for free.

My thoughts: I have no words. I’m outraged. Bloggers doing $hit for free, please become aware of your value. You should be paid for any content you create. Otherwise, you are devaluing a service that should always be compensated for. If a brand doesn’t pay you, then that sends a clear signal they do not value your services at all. Brands saying this to me, think about how unprofessional you are. I have spent so much time, effort, and energy into creating my own business — I’m not a charity, and thus, I don’t work for free. I pride myself in creating quality content that will reach hundreds to thousands, and only work with professional brands who see this and value it.

We don’t have a budget for influencers.

My thoughts: This is most annoying when it comes from bigger, more established brands. I have a hard time believing they don’t have a budget for influencers. In fact, I don’t believe it at all. I see traditional billboard ads for these brands all the time on my drive to the grocery store. I hear radio ads in the car. Commercials are all over the Internet and TV. NONE of these are free — so why should I advertise for free? Many studies show that traditional advertising is mostly dead, and quality content through digital marketing efforts is much more effective. Using social media influencers is a form of digital marketing, and digital marketing from professionals is always paid for.

Our product retails at *insert large amount of $$$*!

My thoughts: If only I could give your product to my property manager at the end of the month saying, “here’s my rent!” But really though, if only all the gifted items could amount to what my annual salary should be… I’d be rich!

Honestly, I could go on and on with the excuses but I won’t bore you. This leads me to my point: knowing your self-worth and sticking with it. If you’re doing any type of advertising for a company, make sure you’re getting paid fairly! Of course, “fairly” is subjective and everyone will have different rates. How you create your rate will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your business expenses, the time you put into your work, etc. I have analyzed my business thus far and have set a valid price point for my clients, and am so very thankful to those who see value in working with me and respect my rates. They know they’ll get a good return of investment.

However, just like many influencers out there, I’m still getting many e-mails from brands asking for free work, commission-based work, or trade-for-product work. At first, it was hard to turn them down. I’ll admit: getting free things in the mail everyday was exciting, especially when those “things” retail for hundreds to thousands. After realizing my self worth, I trained myself to stick with it and only accept paid work.

I must clarify that not everything you see here on my blog and on my Instagram is an advertisement (those that are, are clearly labeled so). While I do digital advertising for brands, I also enjoy sharing styles that I personally pick out when I go shopping, foods I enjoy eating, beauty products I swear by, etc. In such cases, I will willingly share with my audience where I got something under no obligatory circumstances. However, it’s important to note that these are things I willingly go out and pay for, and are not gifted items from brands that expect a shoutout in return. As for brand partnerships, I only work with those who I believe match my aesthetic/personal style. I think that’s an important part to realizing self-worth too, because you never want to be advertising things that aren’t true to you (and thus, devaluing your worth).

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On a more delightful note, these photos are different from what you’d normally see here. We decided to take a spontaneous trip out to Joshua Tree this week and David created these cool composite images of Babadook and me! No, he didn’t take steroids… but he may have done some heavy boulder lifting out in the desert to get this big. 😉 You should always strive to do personal projects for fun, that also showcase your abilities and creative visions to attract quality clients.
KNOW YOUR WORTH!

What are your thoughts on self worth? I’d love to hear all about it in a comment below! xx

Photos by David Potter

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214 Comments
  • Alexandra
    October 14, 2016

    Omg this is such an amazing post! Not only are the photos so creative and stunning, everything you’ve said is so on point. As a photographer I can totally relate! So aggravating even when friends and family ask me to work for free and don’t see the value of my work. Will definitely be sharing your article 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Alexandra! LOL! My boyfriend would totally be able to relate to you about the friends asking to work for free 😛 I guess it’s quite common in the creative space since not a lot of people understand that what we do takes a lot of hard work and is not just fun/games or a hobby!

  • Thomas Falkenstedt
    October 14, 2016

    Sharon, I don’t even know where to begin. At the same time I really don’t know what to write. I’m equally pissed off by bloggers and “influencers” who do stuff for free as well as I am by companies coming with every excuse out there. That’s what’s still keeping me from moving on to my dream of leaving my 9-5 job and actually work with what I enjoy doing the most on a full time basis.
    Another interesting fact is that you in face work harder now than ever. I intentionally use the word “interesting” instead of “scary” as I think that’s the way it is when you have a business of your own. At least in the beginning you work your bum off, but it’ll pay off later on and you’ll have more freedom and money than you’d ever have if you’d be employed by someone else.
    This seriously gave me a lot to think about and I’m very glad for this post about self worth and integrity.
    xoxo
    Thomas

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thomas, we are always on the same page! This is why I love talking with you outside of the blogging world too 🙂 You work so hard — I have no doubts you will be able to realize your dream of quitting your 9-5 and transitioning into full-time digital marketing soon. xoxo

  • Jo
    October 14, 2016

    Thanks for sharing this really great post! I just turned down working with a brand recently for, as you’ve mentioned, asking to do a “test post” with my blog. I think there’s still a lot of misconceptions about the value of blogging from the advertisers’ standpoint, perhaps because Influential Marketing is still relatively new compared to traditional forms of marketing. I hope this changes, and you’re right it starts with us bloggers/content creators/digital marketers as a whole to collectively know and ask for fair compensation.

    Jo x
    http://www.cutandchic.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks for reading, Jo! GOOD JOB on turning that brand down! Seriously, huge kudos, because not enough content creators are doing this. As a result, brands are exploiting more and more, and this industry will never change. I totally agree though — it’s a new and growing form of marketing but these days with everyone on social media it can be way more effective than radio ads, TV commercials, etc. that brands pay thousands for!

  • Nick B
    October 14, 2016

    I completely agree with you. I’ve always hated the idea of working my butt off for someone who likely will not appreciate my contributions, and even more likely to undervalue my value in terms of compensation. Right out of college I began creating my own online businesses and I never could have imagined it being so fulfilling on both a personal & financial level. Going into business for yourself is really the most honest way in determining exactly what you’re worth. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      You couldn’t have said it any better, Nick! So glad to hear that we’re on the same page. Starting your own business is never easy and I totally understand that! Thanks for stopping by xo

  • Stephanie
    October 14, 2016

    Oh dear friend this was so well said. Honestly I could leave my comment at “PREACH” and it would summarize my thoughts just fine, but truly, I’m grateful for you being open and sharing this. I know it’s something you and I have chatted about several times, and it’s definitely something that brands need to hear. If it’s alright with you, I’ll be sharing this on my Facebook and Twitter, because I think more bloggers and brands need to read it! I’ve been busting my butt for over a year now to keep my blog afloat. I started it without a job, so my sole income from the very beginning was from brands, and it has been incredibly shocking to me how many companies completely discount a blogger’s worth. I think very soon they will see that we will not take “we don’t have a budget” for an answer. At least, that’s my hope! Ahh, so many thoughts I could continue to relay, but really just THANK YOU should suffice. Love you so much for this!

    Stephanie // SheSawStyle.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you so much, Stephanie! I’m honored to hear that you want to share this post — and please do! The more people who see it, the more people will be aware, which is what I want! I am just like you — busting my butt off for years to make this work and just even a little bit of recognition from brands is always appreciated. Since I’ve transitioned into doing this full-time, it is my sole income as well… and I’m still writing e-mails to brands everyday explaining why I don’t work for free. I guess it’s just part of the job but at the end of the day I am blessed for those who do value my time, efforts, and quality of work… and pay fairly! I don’t take “we don’t have a budget” for an answer already 😉 haha!

  • pospi otuson
    October 14, 2016

    nice graphic photos., really lovely site you got here. anyway thanks 4 sharing this

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks for stopping by! x

  • The Fashion Folks
    October 14, 2016

    Such a well written article, love! You bring up so many great points and you really structure down what it comes down to when running a website! I can relate to so many of these points, so thank you for sharing! Nothing is more irritating than being contacted by a great brand and given a campaign, only to find out that they want you to do it for free! I always reply with: “As much as I wish, me writing a free ad for you, would pay my bills, it won’t”. And sometimes they don’t ever bother to reply, and other times they’ve apologized haha! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you so much! I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed the article. It’s quite a lengthy one and different from what I usually post on here, but I felt that it was a topic that needed to be addressed. I had been thinking about it for a while and quite honestly, it took a bit to gather my thoughts and make them coherent into one blog post. So, I’m happy you found it was well-structured! I couldn’t agree more… girl, if all the free stuff I got amounted to cash, I would be filthy rich. I believe that social media is the new form of marketing and if brands expect to get their brand out there, then they have to pay for advertising. I mean, even the “PROMOTE” button costs money on Instagram 😉 If they have enough money to pay for other forms of ad, they definitely have a budget for influencers — and it’s our job as a whole to educate brands and make them aware that our work and time is valuable.

  • Kristin
    October 14, 2016

    Really appreciated this post, Sharon! It was really encouraging to me as I feel the same way but often don’t speak out enough to brands who want to collaborate. Thanks for your insights!

    Kristin
    http://www.thedelilahblog.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks for reading, Kristin. I totally understand how you feel! Sometimes I feel a little intimidated to speak out but I feel like it’s just important for both influencers and brands to know the importance of how this industry should be working! Far too many brands are expecting free work, and far too many bloggers are doing free work. As a result, those trying to make a living out of this have to separate themselves and unfortunately sometimes it’s not possible other than just voicing it out for others to read. I’m grateful you stopped by. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  • Kate Brookes
    October 14, 2016

    GIRL you’re killing it!!! I really love when people can voice their true opinions and be open about topics like this. As an aspiring actress I can relate to a lot of these. It can be so disappointing when people don’t see the value in your hard work just because it’s not a conventional 9-5. A lot of people think I do this as a “hobby” rather than for making a living. Thanks for the encouragement and for these amazing points. I have a new level of respect for you! xo

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you so much babe! Transparency and authenticity are both really important to me, so I try to stay true to my voice and write a personal piece every now and then 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed this one! I totally understand your feeling about people not taking us seriously just because we don’t work a 9-5. I feel like I still have to convince my parents that what I do is just like what they do in the office in terms of making a living… except even more challenging because I don’t have other people delegating work to me — I have to seek it out myself and make a living out of it. The hustle never stops!!!

  • Rachel Wells
    October 14, 2016

    What a perfectly composed piece! I can really feel your genuine tone and know that you’re a really hard worker who always takes your work seriously. With that said, I totally agree that brands need to recognize content creators like you and the quality of content you put out, and compensate accordingly. Just from your website alone, I am wowed! It’s unlike any other blogger’s I’ve seen <3 Keep up the amazing work babe.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you so much, Rachel. Your support is greatly appreciated and I can’t tell you that enough! It’s rare that someone realizes my hard work unfortunately and when brands undermine my work by asking for free advertising, it doesn’t get better. At the same time, I am extremely blessed for those who do value my work, take me seriously, and pay my rates, though! I’m glad to hear you like my new redesign of the site xo

  • Jasmin Marie
    October 14, 2016

    Great piece, as always, Sharon! Loving your creative work with Babadook. Well done to your boyfriend who always takes amazing photos of you! Happy Friday 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you so much, Jasmin! Babadook loves you too hehe

  • Jessi Malay
    October 14, 2016

    Wow great post babe! Many really don’t understand how much effort, time and dedication it takes to run this business, I myself barley sleep every night due to meeting deadlines and setting up the next blog post. I appreciate you sharing your experience with us 🙂

    XO, Jessi
    http://www.mywhitet.com/5-tips-on-how-to-grow-your-blog-into-a-career/

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Jessi! I LOVED your most recent post! So informational and I’d love to see more posts like that from you in the future <3 hehe thank you so much for taking the time to read this post; it means a lot to me because I know it's really text heavy and anyone who reads through it all is just amazing. 🙂 I am totally with you -- I barely sleep at night too because there are just so many things to complete! So glad that there's someone out there who can relate and understand how much effort, time, and dedication it takes to be a successful content creator. Have a wonderful weekend sweetie <3

  • Shubhangi Rane
    October 14, 2016

    Hi Sharon , nice one !
    Self Worth is extremely important for me. If we cannot value ourselves, why should we expect others to value us ?

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      This is true! Thanks for stopping by and for reading xoxo

  • Jessica
    October 14, 2016

    Sharon this my favourite post of yours to date. You, David and most importantly, Mr Babadookpotter! Created stunning shots, I love this kind of photography and grew up looking at a picture of my mum and dad on their wedding day where my dad was holding my mum in his palm and she looked like a doll. We recreated it when we got married. But I digress!

    You day is never ending! I feel your efforts, but I’m usually in bed by 12/1 and get 7 hours sleep not 4!

    I actually lol’d when I read “Since when was I able to take home an article of clothing from the mall before paying for it?” You are so right, I’ve only been blogging since January so at first I was flattered as hell that companies wanted me to do work for them. I don’t have a huge outreach at the moment but they were still were just using me for free advertising. I’ve found it very hard these past months to say no to companies like that but reading your post has inspired me to try harder. Thank you.

    I hope you three have a lovely weekend. With a bit rest! 😘

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Hahaha! OMG now I have inspo for my future wedding photos 😉 LOL! Thanks for stopping by and for reading my post. 🙂 I know what you mean about being flattered that brands want to send you stuff — I was there at one point too! Until I realized they keep doing the same thing over and over, and I found myself slowly trying to get rid of all the free stuff I got (haha, still doing so via Poshmark!). Then, I realized I needed to be more selective with who I work with, and more importantly, ask for monetary compensation for my marketing efforts. This has definitely been especially true after I decided to make this my full-time job because hey… girl’s gotta pay the bills and eat!

  • brittany
    October 14, 2016

    WoW. Incredible post. This gives an amazing insight to what goes on behind the scenes and all of the work that actually goes into creating a substantial, successful and inspiring business.

    http://www.outofofficeny.com/in-the-know-how-i-stay-on-top-of-current-events/

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Brittany! So glad you enjoyed it xoxo

  • Atsuna
    October 14, 2016

    Haha I just love the photoshop work you did here!! When I saw the pic on instagram I was so amazed!

    xoxo
    http://www.atsunamatsui.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Atsuna! xoxo

  • Miki
    October 14, 2016

    Forst, can I just say your photos are incredible?! Omg. I am blown away by them.
    Sharon, this is your best post yet. I really appreciate that openness about the blog. I’m still pretty new, but I spend my entire day working on things related to the blog and am still learning. It’s really refreshing to hear you be really frank about work and the industry and just tell people to be gutsy enough to demand for their self worth. You were also once new and understand – I’m still figuring out what is fair and when to ask for monetary compensation. Thanks for all the inspirational words. I hope you release more like these.

    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamode.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you so much, Miki! You’re so sweet. I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed this blog post! You have a fantastic blog and photos as well and I think you definitely should start asking for monetary compensation if you haven’t already. It sucks to get turned down the first few times but once you get your first paying client, it feels AMAZING! I’ll never forget mine, that’s for sure 🙂 There are people out there who value our work, but it’s just a matter of finding them… and educating the ones that don’t, haha!

  • Lisa
    October 14, 2016

    Sharon, I LOVED LOVED this post so much – very compelling, insightful, and carefully laid out. I can tell you put a lot of work into it and it’s a very passionate subject matter to you.
    I will say – I do agree with you for the most part, ESPECIALLY if you are trying to start a business as a digital influencer/blogger/etc. As someone who blogs as a “hobby” and as a creative side gig, I will say that in some cases, getting gifted items is perfectly fine (and great!) because you get to share your love of something and get something tangible in return. So win win. But definitely not sustainable if you want to make a living out of it. One thing I CANNOT stand is when brands/shops reach out to you and ask to do a “partnership” but don’t compensate you at all! (No promotion on their social media, no gifted items, no pay, nada!) It’s CRAZY! It’s like… if I wanted to write about a product for free, I wouldn’t need your permission to do so or your request for a “partnership” Mind boggling and completely insulting! One company comes to mind, I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about 😉

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important subject matter!

    Lisa
    http://www.theeverydayelevated.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for taking the time to read this post and writing this detailed comment! I do take content creating very seriously as I’ve decided to make it a career. When you aren’t being supervised by anyone or given work by someone else like you are in a day job, you’re really FORCED to hustle. With that said, it’s aggravating when brands fail to see this and just assume that bloggers will just work for free. Advertising is not and should never be free, and my aim for this post is to not only educate brands and let them know they need to pay influencers for good reason, but also to encourage creators to charge and know their worth! I totally understand what you mean about brands giving nothing in return. It’s just complete blasphemy and I refuse to be a part of the exploited, so I always stand my grounds and refuse any type of work that doesn’t meet my rate. It helps because I work with a professional photographer and he won’t let me accept jobs that pay too little 😛

  • Maryam
    October 14, 2016

    This was a great post Sharon! I certainly face this challenge everyday! Like you said, we should know our worth. Thank you for sharing!

    xo, Maryam
    http://www.glamandposh.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks for reading, Maryam! Glad you enjoyed the post and found it relatable xoxo

  • PAPAJEFF
    October 14, 2016

    Kudos to you girl! As a young girl in school you were quite outspoken and also in real life! You’ve done a good job knowing what you want to be. Just to let you know I really enjoy reading your blog and the pictures are great! David have done a good job taking the quality photos you posted! Wish you and the bloggers out there the best of what you are doing and the partnership out there to pay their share having bloggers to advertising their products! Keep up your good work!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Dad! I have to stand up for myself or else nobody else will 😉 Appreciate the support xo

  • Tory
    October 14, 2016

    Great post! So many of us undervalue how much time and effort goes into a post. And even if you are a hobby blogger it’s an expensive hobby!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Tory! I couldn’t agree more. It entails so many expenses that people often overlook!

  • Emma
    October 14, 2016

    Preach, girl!!! You’re so amazing and such an inspiration to me. Great photos to accompany great content as always. Have a great weekend!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Emma! I’m so happy to hear that! <3 xx

  • Walter S.
    October 14, 2016

    Great read! Tweeted 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks for sharing it on Twitter and stopping by, Walter!! xo

  • Tiffany So
    October 14, 2016

    Such a fantastic read! I really hope to see more posts like this on your blog soon. You’ve provided really good insight about the freelance industry and reminded me of the importance of knowing my self worth, especially when accepting/denying graphic design work. Thanks for that!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thanks, Tiffany! Glad you were able to find this post relatable as a graphic designer 🙂 xx

  • Lisa H.
    October 14, 2016

    Wow, Sharon! Honestly, I had no idea how much work you put into your blog until today (I mean this in the friendliest, most non-offensive way possible). Thank you so much for sharing and being open with us. You do work very hard and it shows through the quality of work you produce. Keep it up!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Hi Lisa 🙂 Yes, it’s a ton of hard work but I don’t blame you for not knowing especially if you’re not in the industry. I find that most don’t, and in fact, many brands aren’t aware too, which is what inspired me to create this post! Thanks for reading. Have a lovely weekend x

  • Ed from My Dapper Self
    October 14, 2016

    Hi Sharon!
    Honestly, I have no words to express how much I agree with everything you have mentioned in this article. This is simply a perfectly put together piece of thought that EVERY serious blogger should read.

    Key: serious.

    If you are serious, you should definitely be compensated for your work.

    It sucks though, that many bloggers are not serious at all. But who am I to say how anyone should conduct their “business” (?). I just don’t like the message they sent to brands that bloggers should be delighted just to get free product in exchange for advertisement. That’s why we gotta fight the good fight.

    Then again, there are definitely a large amount of shady (to say the least) “bloggers” that sell themselves as professional and serious in an attempt to make easy bucks and tricking brands into believing they’re TEH SH*T!… but then again, the fault falls on the brand if they ever decide to work with such “influencers”, it is their job to do their own research. By the way, I am coming up with a blog post that will touch on some of these topics… I’ll be delighted to get your input on it as well.

    My lastest post: http://mydapperself.com/exploring-the-versatility-of-tweed/

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Hi Ed! Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment. So glad to hear that you can also relate to the article. I totally agree with you — perhaps brands do not take bloggers on a general scale seriously because there are so many people out there doing it as a hobby? But at the same time, I feel that the ones that take it seriously will generally put in the effort to create better quality content that stands out from the rest. That’s why I don’t really like calling myself a “blogger” because I’m doing a lot more than just blogging. I’m essentially running my own business (rather than a charity), and as a result should be compensated for all marketing work and efforts. I can’t wait to read about your perspective on related topics. I’ll be staying tuned on your blog! Have a great weekend xo

  • Annis
    October 14, 2016

    You have no idea how much reading this meant to me!!! I agree 100% thank you so much for sharing!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you, Annis!!! So glad that you enjoyed it xoxo

  • Jenn
    October 14, 2016

    OMG girl, we were literally talking about this the other day and I’m so glad that you put it to words and voiced the frustrations that all up and coming or current bloggers/social influencers face. I agree with all the points you made and it literally made me upset and angry just reading all these tactics companies pull because I know I’ve faced them all. Even being a smaller influencer, I have recently begun to turn down offers who “don’t have a budget”, want a “test run” or so forth, pushing their items as a trading leverage. I do agree and admit that I have fallen to some of the products for free, but lately it just sucks to think of all the hard work you actually put into these collaborations and how you’re not being fully recognized for it. The planning, shooting, editing, writing, and all that is A LOT and it’s so outrageous that companies fail to understand when they should know from a business perspective what goes into everything. And it sucks that even if they realize it, they still belittle us as disposable and easy to use. I wish more bloggers would speak up and stand up for themselves, no matter how small or large they are.

    I seriously hope that brands start coming around.

    XO Jenn
    http://www.jennsemble.com

    • Jenn
      October 14, 2016

      Oh and I forgot to mention how I LOVE these images! They’re so creative and refreshing! Big props to your man 🙂

      • Sharon Wu
        October 14, 2016

        Thank you so much! It’s nice to do something different every now and then 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      We always have such great conversations, Jenn! So glad to have you in my life! <3 I think a lot of us feel the same way or similarly, but not many people are willing to voice it out or speak up honestly about it. I'm all about community building and empowering one another (rather than being catty and immature like a lot of people are), so I think this post was pretty appropriate to me. I'm glad that you found the points I made relatable to yourself. I think brands will start coming around once more of us influencers start charging fair rates (then they know they can't keep getting away with free work). You make a great point about all the different steps we put into a partnership -- it's disappointing when it all goes unrecognized or a brand doesn't even bother doing their part to make it a COLLABORATION. This is another reason why I've started charging -- this way if I don't get anything in return from the brand (i.e. a repost, feature, etc.), I at least can get myself a nice lunch! 😉 Plus, I wholeheartedly believe that advertising is never and should never be free. So, regardless of how small or large a content creator is, they should be charging something (a fair rate given their circumstances). Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  • Jo
    October 14, 2016

    Oh Sharon, I’ve read this blog post over and over. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said here. I have been experiencing all these frustrations you just described recently. It takes so much for us to manage a blog and all the social media activities but some companies are trying to take advantage of us and our precious time which we could spend with friends and families. What an inspirational post! Thank you very much Sharon.

    I also love the images your boyfriend took here. He is a truly professional photographer.

    xo,
    Jo
    http://www.glamfashionbook.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Awww Jo! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it and could relate to it 🙂 Sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing these frustrations but you aren’t alone! I totally agree with you — it does take a ton of time to manage a blog and everything that goes with it… thus my 3 hours of sleep at night. I’m definitely zombified, haha. Often times, we neglect our families and friends now because we’re always on our phones catching up on social media! Oh how things have changed in life. Ha!

      Thanks for your sweet compliment on the photos! My boyfriend would be really happy to see your comment. Have a lovely weekend with your family love! xo

  • Linh
    October 14, 2016

    Thank for sharing babe. Our blogger life is so similar, I hate how brands underpay us and think that our work should be for free! We work many many hours! However, I just love these pics of you and Baba! so cool! Good job David!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 14, 2016

      Thank you for reading, Linh! I think a lot of content creators can relate to this post in one way or another whether they want to admit it or not. While there are always going to be brands who are ignorant to our worth, it’s still nice to know that there ARE brands out there willing to pay your rate and respect your work — even if it may take some time to find them. But it’s a great feeling once you do and I speak from experience! 😉 Creating original content is always an exciting process for me and I truly love what I do, and having to work hard to get where I am makes everything all the more rewarding. Don’t give up girl! 🙂

      Thanks for your sweet compliment about the photos — we gotta do one of you and Izzy soon! xo

  • Georgiana H.
    October 14, 2016

    I admire you for pursuing your dreams and for standing up for yourself! Self worth is so important not only in the gig industry but even in a regular office setting too. I just had to ask my boss for a raise not long ago and am glad I did because had I not, I know I wouldn’t have gotten it. Knowing my value to the company and my worth has definitely helped me advance in my career. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thank you for sharing your perspective, Georgiana. I totally agree that the idea of self-worth is important and is universal outside of just the gig industry. Mad props to you for knowing yours and asking your boss for your well-deserved raise! xx

  • Kyla
    October 14, 2016

    I am obsessed with this post! First of all, the photos are amazing! Second, THANK YOU FOR SAYING WHAT ALL BLOGGERS ARE THINKING! I have to learn to stand up for myself more. So many of your points hit home with me. I’m so proud of you for being a role model to me! I will try to stop doing stuff for free. Eek
    Kyla
    Wanderlustkyla.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      LOL! I was thinking that too… when writing this post, that all bloggers are thinking this but nobody wants to talk about it. HA! So funny. You’re doing an amazing job with everything, Kyla! Thanks for always being so supportive xx

  • Gina Diaz
    October 14, 2016

    This is such a great post Sharon! I love how you outline every detail of how it runs your daily routine. It really helped me and inspired me. Thank you :)))

    Much love, Gina

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thanks, Gina! xx

  • Raysa Garcia
    October 14, 2016

    Hello Sharon!
    I agree with you 150% from the beginning to the end. Well said girl!
    Thank you for sharing this with us. AMAZING!
    I wish you a Happy weekend. Xx, Raysa

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thanks, Raysa! So glad that you found the post relevant to you too 🙂 xoxo

  • Awa-abuon Fidel
    October 14, 2016

    Wow your schedule for the day is great, you must be working very hard, even on this blog because it’s so nice

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thanks! I try 🙂 haha

  • Tina
    October 14, 2016

    Well said Sharon! You are clearly working hard and doing an amazing job! We definitely shouldn’t be working for free and more bloggers should be aware of this!

    Tina
    http://www.justatinabit.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thanks, Tina! Your support is greatly appreciated 🙂

  • lex
    October 15, 2016

    Truth be told , this post pushed a button in me to give more importance to things I do and myself. Thanks for this m8rning shakeup.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thanks, Lex! The post did its job then! 😉 xo

  • Helen Chik
    October 15, 2016

    You’ve definitely hit the nail on the head there with this post and I’ve been meaning to do one for myself as well! Knowing what you’re worth and what you create and contribute to a brand is so important!

    Helen xx
    http://CH1K.com
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnLiFUovT-PkhlrXIYiI-tA

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thank you so much, Helen! I’m actually really interested in hearing about your thoughts on this topic and more about your blogging experience, so please do create that post soon! xoxo

  • Fairytale Studios
    October 15, 2016

    Your day seems pretty packed up. I have started realising that blogging is no play. I am asked to write up for free many a times. But I am sure a time would come when people will start valuing us. Good luck to you

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      It sure is! Now I just hope that brands thinking to under-compensate me will think twice 😉 I am sure that this is a topic many bloggers can relate to, but many don’t like to talk about it. But hey, if nobody addresses an issue it will stay an issue so… here I am! Blogging is most definitely “no play” as you said — it entails so much hard work and dedication! Thank you for reading xx

  • Inyene
    October 15, 2016

    Very realistic post! I totally understand what it means when you run your business and have to wear different hat. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thank you! Glad you found the post relatable xo

  • mihaela
    October 15, 2016

    such a great post! i hope you’re having an amazing day!

    mfashionfreak♥blog

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thank you dear! xx

  • Christine Kong
    October 15, 2016

    Omg all I can say is AMEN!! This is a FABULOUS post and so overdue! All of your points are right on and so true! I completely believe that we need to stop accepting free items and get paid for what we do. Brands should come to realize that what you point out is the truth and it should resonate with them. Thanks for this because I will definitely use some of these points the next time I get asked for a free post!! Xoxo, Christine
    http://dailykongfidence.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thank you, Christine! Yes, this post was being created in my mind for a while but it took some time and effort to put it down into words and went through a ton of revisions. Because I’m OCD like that, haha! That aside, I agree that brands need to realize what value we bring to them and thus pay us accordingly. I think if more influencers knew their worth and stopped working for free though, more brands would realize the importance and necessity of compensating. Knowing this, I was inspired to create this post to bring awareness not only to influencers but also to brands alike!

  • Sydney
    October 15, 2016

    well done win this post!! I don’t know how you can go with only 3 hours of sleep!!!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thank you, Sydney! So glad to hear that you liked it. I caught up on sleep a bit today 🙂 Thank goodness for the weekend… even though there’s still so much that needs to be done! The work never ends…

  • tania
    October 15, 2016

    Thanks for this post, it was really enlightening, I’m just wondering at what point should you be not doing anything just for product? I feel like if you are small and just starting out then thats still ok?

    • Sharon Wu
      October 15, 2016

      Thanks for reading, Tania! Glad you found the post enlightening. Honestly, everyone works at different paces but I think after a said amount of time you just have to jump the plunge (can’t be working for free forever, you know?). I think once you’ve got a solid amount of “collabs” under your belt you can use that to showcase as a portfolio of work and what you can do for brands 🙂

  • Chelsea
    October 15, 2016

    What a fab post! This is so true and well said, and something I’m working towards as a blogger myself! Also, those images are SO awesome, Babadook looks like a dinosaur!

    Chelsea
    Chow Down USA
    Instagram

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Chelsea! Babadook is my dragon, dinosaur, lizard… and my life! Haha <3 xx

  • Fe
    October 15, 2016

    Sharon it is always inspiring and refreshing for me to read your posts. I completely see your point and agree that it is very important for bloggers and everyone in general to realize their self worth! Thank you so much for sharing and putting so much effort into what you do! Your work and excellence is evident 🙂

    xoxo
    Fe
    http://www.fesamaia.com/three-amazing-healthy-meal-alternatives/

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Awwwww! Thank you so much, Fe! You’re always so sweet to me <3 I'm glad you could relate to this post and found it insightful xx

  • Kathryn
    October 15, 2016

    Such a well written piece, Sharon! Being in any creative field, it is important to know your worth as people will definitely try to take advantage of you and your skill set (whether intentionally or not). I think when starting out, it can be hard to say “no” as it feels scary to do so, and while knowing your worth can be a bit of a process, it is absolutely crucial. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Kathryn • Simply KK

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Kathryn! So glad you enjoyed it. I agree — it seems like a majority of people tend to undermine the work of creatives but honestly we are the hardest working people I know! We literally make a living out of nothing and it’s incredible the results after hard work and dedication 🙂 Don’t give up on your dreams and always know your worth! xoxo

  • Rita
    October 15, 2016

    I just LOVE this post! Very well written. Totally agree with you. I started my blog last year and I definitely understand how much hard work it needs. I have full time job, personal responsibilities and even after than I try my best to dedicate my time for my blog. I came across all the excesus you have mentioned here. And I thought is it just me , may be I am new or all bloggers faced the same problems. I was not sure who I should ask about this because no one talks about these topics. Thank you for this post now I can see I am not the only one! 🙂 Your posts are always amazing. You surely working hard. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Love the photography, very creative!!!

    Rita | http://www.styleroundtheclock.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you, Rita! So glad you enjoyed it. Yes, content creating is a ton of hard work and even harder if you have a full-time job ON TOP of that! This IS my full-time job, so I just can’t imagine how busy you must be up keeping your blog and social media. You’re not alone girl! xx

  • Bernice
    October 15, 2016

    Very insightful blog post! Definitely my favourite of yours to date! I have always been interested in what a full time bloggers schedule was like. But what really interested me was your points about payment and knowing your worth. Very insightful and definitely a thing brands should consider when arranging their marketing strategies and budgets!

    http://www.bunnybernice.com/single-post/2016/10/16/Working-with-Motorola

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you so much, Bernice! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this post even though it was so lengthy lol! I totally understand — I’m always curious as to what other full-time bloggers’ schedules are like too! That’s why I decided to share mine in hopes that other people will be more open and also be aware of their worth and avoid getting exploited by brands seeking free advertising. Thanks for your constant support xo

  • Keith Haney
    October 15, 2016

    I understand this. I started blogging for fun as well. Not sure where this was leading. It has lead to one writing contract and another one on the way. Deadlines.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Glad you could relate, Keith! It’s incredible the different paths I’ve ended up as a result from blogging actually 🙂 Keep it up! xx

  • Lana_SHON
    October 15, 2016

    Lovely and beautiful!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks xx

  • Samantha Sito
    October 15, 2016

    Sharon, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I completely understand your view point through and through. I think as long as every blogger starts to value their work and stands their ground for payment, we are slowly paving the way for change. Being a blogger is building a business 100%, keep at it girl.

    http://www.otisamantha.com
    http://www.youtube.com/SamSitoTV

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Hi Samantha! Thank you for reading this lengthy post! Haha I’m so glad that you could relate to it. You’re so right — the more people who start to value their work and stand their grounds, the more brands will have to start actually noticing that this is what we do for a living and thus need to be compensated fairly for our time and work! Thanks for the support and love xo

  • Jenni
    October 15, 2016

    Amazing post! This taught me a lot about being a blogger and improving my own blog too. I completely agree that self-worth is important. It’s a topic that not a lot of people talk about on their blogs. I can’t wait to read more future blog posts from you. Great job as always! 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Hi Jenni! Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad that this post was insightful to you. I totally agree that most bloggers tend to dodge topics like this but I think it’s so important to address! Even outside of the blogging world, self-worth is so important to getting ahead 🙂

  • Linda C.
    October 16, 2016

    Love how informative and inspirational your posts are, Sharon! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend xo

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks for always reading my blog, Linda! xx

  • Richa Kamal
    October 16, 2016

    This is such an amazing post Sharon. I am going through this phase in blogging where I am discovering myself and what I want to write about.
    This post really opens my eyes towards my self-worth and how I should approach collaborations.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Richa | Fancier’s World

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you so much, Richa! I’m glad that this post was informational to you 🙂 xx

  • sepatuholig
    October 16, 2016

    Awesome picts Sharon!
    http://sepatuholig.blogspot.com
    IG @grace_njio

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks love x

  • Eva
    October 16, 2016

    What an amazing post! Thanks for sparing this

    Love, Eva
    http://www.dark-rebel.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Eva! xx

  • Carmen
    October 16, 2016

    Wow your day is perfectly scheduled – even though you don’t have that much sleep! And I love those pictures, they’re so cool!
    xx, Carmen – http://www.carmitive.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Carmen! I got a little more sleep than usual today so I’m in a good mood 😉 haha!

  • Mercy
    October 16, 2016

    This is such an amazing post, haven’t seen something like it. So transparent but I like your honesty. I was wondering how full-time bloggers handle their daily tasks. Love it to the max. Thanks for inspiring and for always looking fabulous.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Mercy! You’re so sweet xoxo

  • Susanna | Ordinality
    October 16, 2016

    This is so interesting! Blogging is very much a hobby to me, and I don’t think I could deal with the uncertainty of being self-employed.. Creature of comfort, I am!

    I’m totally bookmarking this post and sending it to every PR who wants me to do a 500-word post on their sheet of stickers which they’ll give to me as “compensation”.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks love! Everyone is different and I’m actually quite the opposite… the uncertainty keeps me motivated to work harder and I absolutely LOVE working from home not under the supervision of someone else 😉

  • Nada
    October 16, 2016

    perfect!
    NEW POST : THE COLORFUL THOUGHTS

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you!

  • Veethee Dixit
    October 16, 2016

    Loved your post. I am facing a similar situation and I can totally relate to it!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks for reading love! Glad that you can relate xx

  • Jasmine K
    October 16, 2016

    This is a great post; for bloggers and non-bloggers! I don’t think people realize how much effort and time goes into blogging. Many people in the Silicon Valley don’t take blogging seriously since they are used to their tech, 9-5 jobs. It’s frustrating when I tell someone that I’m a blogger and they think it’s not a real job. Since I am both a blogger (www.myeunoia.com) and a brand (www.jillyk.com), I understand your point from both sides. As a brand, I always ask bloggers/influencers to send me their rate cards in order to compensate them for their time, efforts, and materials.

    As a fairly new blogger, I am still trying to create relationships with brands. There have been some brands who ask me to do work in return for merchandise. For bloggers who aren’t as influential but still want to create relationships with brands, what would you recommend as the best way to go about this issue? Thank you!

    – Jasmine K
    http://www.myeunoia.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Hi Jasmine! Thanks for stopping by and for reading! I am glad that you enjoyed this post. I was raised in the Silicon Valley so I totally know what you mean! Everyone there is so overly “practical” … to the point where it’s sort of scary haha! Dream a little, will ya, people!? In my opinion, a bit narrow-minded. My parents have a hard time understanding what I do for a living and why I’ve chosen this path, and I’ve sort of given up trying to explain. They’ll never understand because they only see the workforce in one perspective and don’t usually think outside of the box on a day to day basis. It’s interesting to hear your perspective on this matter since you are both a blogger and brand! I’m sure being both it’s easier for you to understand both sides. As for bloggers who aren’t as influential but still want to create relationships with brands, I think it’s okay to do a few collaborations to start off as long as it’s actually a collaboration where both the blogger and brand benefit. When I first started blogging, I wasn’t in it for the money. In fact, I had another job that “paid the bills” while I pursued blogging on the side as a hobby. That said, I used to do collabs where I’d just be gifted free clothing but then when I posted my image, the brand wouldn’t play their part to repost my photo with appropriate credits to share with their followers or anything! 🙁 In that way I felt that I wasn’t growing as a result from working with these brands. Also, if a brand is not paying a blogger, I feel it is not fair to expect too much. For example, I’ve had brands in the past expect me to post just 5 days after receiving product(s) and it just simply does not work that way! I’m working with so many others I have to prioritize and I always strive for quality (which is not always attainable in such a short period of time as my photographer is busy and it takes time to craft quality content). After a point though, I think it’s essential for content creators to know where they stand and start charging their rates fairly. Everyone starts somewhere to reach a goal and as you get closer to that goal, it’s expected that you also make changes in your pricing and routine of doing things. 🙂 Can’t be working for free forever, you know?

      • Jasmine K
        October 19, 2016

        Just came back here to see your response = ) Thank you so much for the detailed response. You hit the Silicon Valley description on the dot! Being a part of the Asian community, people always have this standard. I should be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or should continue studying until I have 10 degrees. haha! I am truly inspired by your response. It gives me hope! Your response about brands offering free merchandise but not reposting is true. I have had this happen and didn’t know what to do. It was a little frustrating, but then again, I suppose it’s ‘business’. Thank you for offering assistance and being a wonderful mentor! Are you having a meet up in the Bay Area anytime soon? Even if it is in LA, I would love to come!

        – Jasmine K
        http://www.myeunoia.com

        • Sharon Wu
          October 20, 2016

          Awww you are so sweet! Thanks for checking in again! I think my mom still hopes that I’ll change my mind and go pursue my 10 other degrees and become a doctor even though that will never happen… ha! Honestly, I always dread going back to the Bay because I just get such a different vibe there… LOL lack of creativity will describe it in 3 words haha! With that said, I really don’t go back there unless it’s to visit my family real quick or for something that requires me to be there. Ha! I love my home in LA and will stay here whenever I can. If you’re ever in LA though, I’d love to meet up with you and grab tea/coffee or something! Just let me know babe. Have a wonderful week! xx

  • Jennifer
    October 16, 2016

    Such a great post… and oh so true! My schedule looks very similar to yours! If I get to bed by 3am that’s a lot of sleep! LOL. Keep up your great content and inspiration!

    xo, Jennifer
    http://www.publicistinpearls.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Jennifer! We sure are workaholics!

  • Alysa Villelli
    October 16, 2016

    Love your blog and this is super helpful info!!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you, Alysa!

  • Alicja
    October 16, 2016

    I love your photos!! They look really amazing! Great post keep up great work!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks lovely <3

  • Soraya
    October 16, 2016

    Thanks for this one!
    Really good points there and I totally agree with you! So many people do shit for free that it’s so hard to even start a business…

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you Soraya! You couldn’t have said it any better… haha. <3

  • Olga Pancenko
    October 16, 2016

    Simply beautiful
    http://www.falifo.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Olga xoxo

  • Tami | The Inspiration Lady
    October 16, 2016

    This is such a great post, and so true! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you, Tami! x

  • Via Bella
    October 16, 2016

    This is great! Since I am starting up it is harder to say no but I thought I was the only one that stayed up super late for blogging. Makes me feel so much better. I am hoping to get more into this as a new years resolution and be able to build my brand more. I love everything you said!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you dear! I totally understand — I was new to all of this at one point too and still consider myself no expert 😉 it’s always a learning experience everyday for me and I feel like I grow more and more too. I guess that’s what keeps me going rather than resorting to a “safer” 9-5 job where income is always guaranteed stable… but so is the misery 😉 haha! With that said, doing what I love, I am more than happy to stay up late if I have to. It’d just be nice if brands recognized our hard work and realize that we as influencers are brands too trying to make a living!

  • Fawn
    October 16, 2016

    I love this post! Thanks so much for all your amazing information. I learned so much!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks for reading, Fawn! Glad to hear it was informative to you x

  • Anna Elizabeth
    October 16, 2016

    Love this post, I totally agree with the points you made. The excuses that brands give to not pay a blogger/influencer for their work can be SO frustrating. Great post, babe!

    xo Anna Elizabeth
    http://www.annaelizabethevents.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, sweetie! So glad you could relate to the post xx

  • Alyssa
    October 16, 2016

    You always amaze me! Thanks for sharing the details of your daily life and for the people this is still new too! These photos are phenomenal!!! Keep up the GREAT work!!! ❌❤️

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thank you so much for your support, Alyssa! So sweet of you <3 xo

  • Adaleta Avdic
    October 16, 2016

    I’ve written several posts about this because I am a big believer that we need to be valued and knowing we’re worth more than a free $20 dress. I am a big believer of knowing your worth! xx Adaleta Avdic

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      AMEN girl!!! Couldn’t have said it any better 😉 haha!

  • Kelly & Alex
    October 16, 2016

    Such a great post this is so insightful for us! We feel like so many bloggers tip toe around these subjects so we really enjoyed reading it. We hope to make blogging our full time job soon just feel like some companies can be so rude while others are great.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks loves! Yeah, I totally agree. I think just like in any field, there will be respectful and rude people… just a matter of ruling out those who don’t matter and sticking with those who do! 🙂 Can’t let the negatives ruin our days <3

  • Lauren Ashley
    October 16, 2016

    Loved this post! It’s so great to hear about you standing your ground and knowing your worth!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks love! xx

  • Carolyn
    October 16, 2016

    totally agree with you – every point. “blogger” seems to be a reductive term now. there is so much that goes behind the scenes! the description of your day shows just how hard you and many influencers hustle. can’t wait until more brands understand the value and compensate accordingly. keep up your hard work and self worth!

    http://heyprettything.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Carolyn! So happy to hear that you can relate to this post, and I really appreciate your support 😉

  • Darlene
    October 16, 2016

    Wow! I admire your schedule! I wish I’m organize like you. tho I can’t sleep for only 3 hours I love love my sleep so much to sacrifice it, I get so cranky and annoyed the whole day if I don’t sleep well enough. Have a great Week Sharon!

    http://www.thenewgirl.me

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks love! I’m the same way… I am grumpy a lot of the times but good thing I’m working from home most of the time too LOL!

  • Sara
    October 16, 2016

    I’m only on a Free plan on WordPress at the moment, so I haven’t got any experiences on deaking with advertisers when blogging, but it’s something I’d like to get into in the future. This was great insight into what it takes to make it as a freelancer. Good on you for being so determined.

    Of course, you should be paid what you’re owed. I agree with what you say on rejecting companies expecting free advertising. Keep sticking to your guns!

    Good kuck for the future in your freelancing and thank you for the insight. 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Thanks, Sara! Happy to hear you found this post insightful xx

  • Candace
    October 16, 2016

    I have actually gotten to the point where I only accept paid gigs. The “free product” has gotten really old to be honest. I definitely realize my worth and growth and companies should as well!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com/

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      I’m the exact same way girl!!!

  • Chris
    October 16, 2016

    Thanks for writing this. It is always a challenge to balance between people blogging for a living and those doing it occasionally. I develop paid content occasionally and some times content in exchange for product or access to an experience that I wouldn’t otherwise I have. I judge each on its merits, say no to those that either don’t fit with my blog or life, turn down those that would I only write for money if they say they don’t want to pay and review those products / experiences that appeal to me. I’m conscious of the need to push back and ask for payment for content, not so much for my own benefit, but because I don’t want brands to get away with getting someone to do their work for them for free since that depresses the market for those of you creating content for a living. Thanks for the reminder that I need to ask for payment more often than not.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 16, 2016

      Hi Chris! Thanks for stopping by. You’ve got quite a lovely blog about parenting that I’ll have to share with some of my parent-friends! xx

  • alia
    October 16, 2016

    Love this! Thank you for sharing. I agree too many people want to take advantage of influencers it happens much too often,

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thank you, Alia! Glad to hear you enjoyed the post xx

  • Tessy
    October 17, 2016

    Omg! this is so breathtaking!!! the pictures are lovely!!! And I totally agree with you.

    http://www.tessyonyia.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thanks, Tessy! xx

  • Elisha
    October 17, 2016

    Your photos are just so amazing babe! The first time I saw your pic on IG, I was like “WOW” never been into editing something like this on photoshop! This is such a quite heavy one. I am really amazed.
    And yeah, you are right, blogging vs. living is really a struggle. You really need to balance everything and organize every bit of everything you needs to be done;. Thanks for sharing this babe! This is so helpful.

    Elisha | http://loveelisha.net

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thank you, Elisha! Haha! My boyfriend is creative on Photoshop 😛 thanks for reading xx

  • Saša Rakovec
    October 17, 2016

    This post is just what I needed! Just yesterday I was thinking about how unfair is from brands to ask for different kind of test posts. Great article! I hope there will be less and less free blogger advertising in the future!

    xx
    Sasha
    http://www.whatsashawears.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thank you hun! So glad to hear that you enjoyed the post xoxo

  • Lisa
    October 17, 2016

    I’ve been “blogging” for years now but it’s always been a thing I do on the side and I’m in it just for the chance to write. I’m not good at the business side of it but I’m attempting to try on a few different hats and see if I can make a go of it. So glad I read this. It’s very helpful to see what a day in the life of a successful full-time blogger can look like. You’re such a hard worker! I hate when people make it seem that being a blogger is easy because it clearly isn’t. Thanks for letting us in to a day in your life.
    P.S. I love the photos!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thank you for stopping by, Lisa! I appreciate your kind words and support xx

  • emily
    October 17, 2016

    Such a great post Sharon! You are 100% spot on and it’s important that other bloggers hear this! So much work goes into creating a single blog post and unfortunately free dresses do not pay the bills, the more people realise this the better the blogging industry will become for everyone!
    x Emily
    http://shedoes.com.au

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thank you so much, Emily! I appreciate your support and am so glad that you agree with the points I’ve made in this post. Hopefully more brands will realize the hard work we put into our craft and start compensating fairly. I totally agree… free dresses do not pay the bills, not even when they are worth thousands! 🙁 Not without me having to go through the trouble of trying to sell them, at least, haha.

  • Love those photos by the way! This is helpful, especially for a newbie blogger like me. You are SO right that there is a ton of work that goes into blogging that you don’t realise until you start doing it! You have such a long day bless you…I hope you get some time to relax.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Thank you hun! So glad that this post was informative to you as a new blogger 🙂 I did catch some time to relax a bit this weekend so that was really nice. Thank you so much! xx

  • jasna
    October 17, 2016

    Totally agree with you hun, I am also happy too see that you work as many hours as I do, which isnt that good we both need more sleep but anyway 😉 It does show that we work hard really hard and I also dont like the word blogger we do so much more than that, so thank you for this post.
    I also dont work for free and I have no time for brands or pr companies that think we should.. xx

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Hi Jasna, thanks for stopping by and for reading this lengthy post! Glad that you could relate to it and props to you for standing up for your worth and not working for free!!! I’m the same way!

  • marcy
    October 17, 2016

    I absoluterly love this post! I had always wonder how does your schdule was so thanks for sharing.
    Im thinking to quit my job and just start dedicating to blogging but is very scarry to take that step. Definately this post is making me inspired to do it.
    Thanks for sharing babe!
    xx
    Marcy

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Hi Marcy! You are doing such a wonderful job with your blog and Instagram, I totally think you could turn full-time! I actually thought you already did it full-time since I see you’re traveling so much. Does your 9-5 involve a ton of travel?! If so, I’m totally jealous!!!

  • Paige Strand
    October 17, 2016

    I adore this, and I’m sorry that you experienced this.. I think different experiences affect how people feel on this – for example, my first gig was unpaid (although it was one post a week and not my full-time job) – had I not experienced that, I don’t think I would have been where I am today, and I would do it again if I was sent back a few years. Don’t get me wrong. I DEFINITELY do not think the standard should be to not pay writers, but for people who are looking to gain experience or sample this as a hobby, I do think writing a guest post is okay. I think it depends on the audience, the model and what the purpose is. If the purpose is to advertise a product, having paid writers and infuencers is necessary. A more casual publication however, will seek pieces from people who do not practice this as a profession or as full-time work.

    • Sharon Wu
      October 17, 2016

      Hi Paige, thanks for stopping by! You do make a few valid points here. I totally agree that when you’re doing it as a hobby and not for a full-time job, it’s a different story… but you can definitely tell when someone is clearly business and someone else is doing it for fun, I guess. It can be hard to draw the line but this post mostly is geared toward those who are trying to make this a full-time living or already are. While there are a ton of brands that fail to recognize the worth of influencers, I’ve also had a good number who definitely do and I’m really grateful for them because they will respect my time and pay the rates on my media kit. I think that guest-posting is totally fine but as you said, if the post is to clearly promote a brand’s product and result in SALES, then the content creator’s time should definitely be compensated for. Thanks for sharing your insight!

  • Michelle Sun
    October 17, 2016

    Omg girl, this is SUCH an inspirational post! After seeing your Instagram caption, I knew this had to be a good read! Thank you so much for pouring your time and energy into such a detailed blog post. I really appreciate your honesty and straightforwardness with everything. I definitely feel you on the “work for free” struggles from companies and it frustrates me as well :/ Your blog and Instagram definitely showcase quality work and I’m sure that the companies who work with you today know that they are in good hands 🙂

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thanks, Michelle! Glad you stopped by 🙂 Also, I’m happy you found the post relatable too. Blogging is definitely a ton of work and a lot of people don’t realize it, but knowing your worth definitely helps keep you grounded!

  • Nadia
    October 18, 2016

    I don’t even know where to begin commenting on this fab post, Sharon!!! You’re one hard-working woman but babe, 3 hours of sleep – how do you survive? Is this your schedule on a day-to-day basis? I do hope you take weekends “off” more or less. I do admire you though for so much dedication & it does display in what you show on the blog and your socials. Well done!!!
    You covered some important points there, hon. Knowing your self worth is crucial. I was recently contacted by a “brand” asking to write a blog post & put in all the links they want etc. for $8??!!!!!! I couldn’t even tell you how shocked I was. Indignant more like it. I honestly wanted to reply and tell them how outrageous and ridiculous and insulting it is of them to offer bloggers $8 of compensation for crazy long hours of getting a post ready. I did get my emotions under control and simply deleted that email.
    I just wanted to ask you for a little favour – could you have a look at my blog/socials and pop me a little DM or an email and tell me what you think about it / if anything needs to be improved / if I have potential to go full-time with it. I do believe I can but at the moment it’s quite hard to take that step. Many thanks girl!! Oh, and I am head over heels your photos!!!!! <3
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thank you so much, Nadia! So glad that you enjoyed the post even though it was so long. I’ve been catching up on sleep lately because I feel I’m losing my health. Haha. Tried to rearrange the schedule a bit to only shoot once a week and pump out 3 looks each time and that gives me some extra time throughout the week to catch up on other things I might need to get done! I’m so sorry to hear that a brand tried to take advantage of you and only offer $8 compensation for a post! That is a huge no-no and I’m so glad that you didn’t bother. Knowing and sticking with your self worth will not only bring you far but also hopefully with more bloggers turning down under-compensated work, brands will start paying fairly! I took a look at your blog and it looks fantastic! Keep up the great work xx

  • Aiko Cunanan
    October 18, 2016

    Seriously my favorite post ever <3 So true, accurate and honest! Knowing your self worth is so important and this really makes me want to work even harder lol. Thanks for inspiring us babe!

    xo,

    http://www.aikocunanan.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thanks, Aiko! You’re doing great 🙂 xx

  • Katrina
    October 18, 2016

    I love how detailed you get! True! The life of a blogger doesn’t end at 5pm.
    Glad I found you through BEPG because I am loving everything about your site!

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      So true! We literally work around the clock! LOL! Thanks for stopping by, Katrina! xx

  • Leopard Couture
    October 18, 2016

    Wow what a wonderful post Sharon! I totally agree with you we need to stop doing it for FREE- there’s so much time and effort that goes into blogging, I don’t think people realize!! And also girl damn 3 hour sleep?! I don’t know how you function haha, you’re like superwoman! Thanks for sharing!!xx- Mitra

    http://www.leopardcouture.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thanks babe! Haha these days I’m trying to squeeze in a bit more sleep. I’ve cut down the amount of shooting I do and try to only shoot once a week and pump out 3 looks each time so that helps a lot. Phew haha!

  • Julia (The Velvet Runway)
    October 18, 2016

    This is such a great post Sharon.
    I had no idea how much work would be involved in blogging when I first started (as it was just for fun!) but now it’s become a peeve of mine when people undervalue the time and effort that goes into preparing a post!
    I admire your work schedule too, although I don’t know how you survive on just three hours sleep a night – I think I would be beyond disagreeable if I got so little sleep. However, I definitely think I need to be more organised in planning my day (albeit a much shorter one!)
    On another note, I love these photos!
    Julia x
    http://www.thevelvetrunway.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thanks, Julia! So glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 xx

  • Rae
    October 18, 2016

    This post resonated with me so much because I have lately been growing my blog to turn it into my business and am continuously amazed at how shameless companies are. If you are doing work, it should be paid for, point blank. I could not agree with everything you have said here. I spent around 7-8 hours give or take on a post, and a company needs to pay for that accordingly. Gifting an item that I know for a fact cost them a lot less than the mark up price and expecting me to put in hours of free work is just downright insulting. Now I will say that some companies truly are small and have no budgets and I always love helping people out and would love to do free work, but I can’t pay my rent with a free sweater. Great post, will definitely be sharing this.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      I couldn’t agree more with you, Rae! I am also always stunned at how companies think they can get away with asking for free work. It’s not only insulting, but wrong! Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing the article! xx

  • Kreshmanair
    October 18, 2016

    I actually read the entire post two times to understand a lot of things .. thanks a lot babe 😘

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! <3 xo

  • Nisha Rawat
    October 18, 2016

    Wow. Such a great post. The effect, photos, write-up – loved everything about it.
    I started blogging as fun too but now I can totally feel how much work it is. I love how organized you are. I wish I could reach there one day except the 3 hrs sleep part though 😉

    Nisha | http://simplistique.com/

    • Sharon Wu
      October 18, 2016

      Thank you, Nisha! So happy to hear you enjoyed the post xx

  • Garry Mattoc
    October 24, 2016

    You are so organized person who know what your goals are. I am still blogger newbie and still not sure where to go… also have day job 9-5 which prevents me to dedicate my self to full time blogging. I know tat I need at least one year of hard work before you start making money from blogging, and when you have family it is bit harder. I am sure that will be my occupation in future but for now I am here where I am now, Just wandering where to with my blogging…

    • Sharon Wu
      October 24, 2016

      Thanks for stopping by! Everyone starts somewhere so it’s great that you are getting started with blogging even with a 9-5!

  • JASCHEN
    October 24, 2016

    This is such an eye-opening article. I feel like a lot of people think blogging is such an easy job – take a couple photos here and there, share it on social media and get paid and what not – but it really goes beyond that just like how you described here. I work a regular office job and blog on the side and it’s already time-consuming and stressful enough so I definitely admire bloggers like yourself who do it full-time. And those long work hours of yours! Wow! Give yourself a pat on your back! Just wanna let you know that you are doing such an amazing job. Really cannot stress how much I love your blog, your photos, your heart-felt articles, everything! Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Jasmine | http://www.mysuitcasejourneys.com

    • Sharon Wu
      October 24, 2016

      Thank you so much for reading and for your support! xo

  • Rubi
    October 30, 2016

    I loved reading this post, thank you for sharing your knowledge and story! Having just recently started blogging, everything is a bit new and unfamiliar to me so this article is so helpful!

    Pose & Repeat

    • Sharon Wu
      October 30, 2016

      Thanks, Rubi! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it xo

  • Esse D
    March 31, 2017

    While I may be a little “late to the party”, I loved every word of this post! Thanks for breaking it down and being blunt about it. I’m looking to partner with brands, but it has to feel organic and not like I’m being used. This post really gave me perspective on my process!

    http://www.frenchingfrogs..com

    • Sharon Wu
      April 1, 2017

      Aww thank you for stopping by Esse! Means a lot to me and I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

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