The peaks and troughs of being a freelancer and what 2018 taught me about my business

Happy New Year everyone! I hope this will be a fabulous year for us all, and whether or not you believe in resolutions, I hope it is a year that brings you love, laughter and joy.

Looking back on last year, which is something I don’t always do as I only believe in moving forward, I cannot believe how much I achieved and how much my life changed. Last August marked my first full year as a full time blogger. I have now had my own business, which has branched out to full time PR as well as full time blogging, for 17 months and boy what a ride it has been.

I have learned so much about myself and others this year that I wanted to write it down for anyone in the same position. When I started this blog back in 2012, it was never with the intention of earning a living from it, it was purely a hobby. However, as I found my voice, my readership and my contact list began to grow, something magical happened. People wanted to work with me more, on a professional level.

Elemis peptide mask

Not only was I published in a few magazines last year, which was just incredible, but my PR Company landed its first clients. I hit goals and milestones that I could only dream of a few years previous and although those all important Instagram numbers haven’t hit the big 10k (Pah! Follow me HERE) that is by no means any reflection on my achievements and successes.

Believe you me, nothing about last year was easy, you don’t just suddenly hit the jackpot, the hustle is real. Working for yourself and being self employed means you literally only have yourself to blame when things go wrong. If you have deadlines and are sick, you still have to reach them and don’t get me started on working during the school holidays!  You only have yourself to pay all the bills – and  being a full time blogger is incredibly expensive with all the equipment, materials, meetings, travel, apps, software, laptops, cameras, lenses etc, etc to fork out for as well as paying the tax man the privilege of being your own boss. So for anyone thinking of taking the full-time plunge, a little nest egg will most certainly be needed on those dark days.

Pink Hair

 I missed social events due to work, I dedicated every, single, moment of my free time when I wasn’t being a mother to working, even at times at the detriment of my relationship. You see, sadly, something always falls behind when you are building your business, and people close to you may not always see your vision or understand that any job in social media is all time consuming.

I  learned to heap praise on myself when I achieved great things, such as being interviewed for a magazine, or reaching the Million views milestone on my blog, or achieving over and above what a brand expected from me on a collaboration. So a few bottles of Champagne have been popped a long the way! Its doing these things – and shouting about them – that will keep your passion for your brand alive.

Freelance Blogger

 I also discovered that I work ALL THE TIME. My work ethic has always been amazing, I am one of those people that just can’t sit still, but when you work from home and see your laptop staring at you and deadlines looming, it can be really hard to switch off. Add to this the fact that I am also a mother and in charge of the school run, homework, dinner, washing, cleaning, shopping etc and etc, it can sometimes get totally overwhelming. So learning to schedule, plan and organise better became a priority of 2018.

Last year was also the year I finally learned to say no to people and brands. For too long I have been taken for granted as “That blogger that will write a great post for free” I know it, I enabled it….but last year I discovered my worth. I realised that the hours and days of effort and energy that went into testing products (weeks) then photography, editing, filming, more editing and writing, was worth so much more than a “free” sample. I took myself off PR lists (Shock horror!) as I didn’t want to feel obligated to write about brands that didn’t really have any relevance to my readers. Sadly, I also turned down many beautiful treatments, massages, facials, haircuts etc, purley because my schedule wouldn’t allow and I had to focus on work.

The House of Elemis

 I had landed in a space where I had allowed myself to be used and that wasn’t something I liked. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I get paid for every post that lands on my blog, of course not, there are lots of products I buy myself and write about out of pure love, and lots of brands I feature because I know you love them and I believe in their product. But it is the brands that have worked with me for years and years and years…….knowing my readership level and worth…without any mention of a paid partnership that I had to start saying no to, for my sanity. Why miss spending time with my family because I am writing a blog post for a company that doesn’t care about me? The partnership has to work both ways, I think? I have no room for doubting myself on any level, and working like this constantly left me feeling as though I wasn’t good enough.

Being self employed can be so hard and also lonely, especially since I have moved far away from an area I have lived for forty years, and a home I loved for 21 years, but as they say a change is as good as a rest and as a family we made the huge decision to move home. I now have to make sure to schedule in lots more meetings in London in block bookings rather than the odd day here and there to make things work for me, but love figuring out this new timetable of events.

Blog Planning

Noticing I was becoming totally overwhelmed towards the end of the year, having also moved home in October (did I mention that!!)  I actually took two whole weeks off work at Christmas. I had finished my PR work for other brands and signed my blog off as “out of office” a week before Christmas. I just needed time for me and my family, without worrying about the six Facebook groups I solely run (comprising of almost 10,000 members) my blog, reviewing, testing and featuring beauty products. I have managed to work on my relationships with family and friends and realised that the hard work of last year and laying down the foundations for my future has passed and as long as I keep everything on an even keel and take time out for myself, my husband and children and those I love, everything will be ok. The world will not stop if I take a day off!

Now I am absolutely raring to go! I have an energy and a passion for my brand again! I know where I want to take my blog, working with more brands on a professional level to bring you those all important new beauty and skincare releases for us more mature women, as well as concentrating on my You Tube Channel HERE. Thanks to all of your feedback and constant dedication, you have let me know exactly what you want from me and that has put such fire in my belly. I am also taking on more clients within my PR business and love helping them find their way within social media and advertising. MY brand is growing from strength to strength and I just could not be happier.

I just want to take this moment to thank you, my amazing readers for being so, so supportive. I know years ago I was trolled horridly and obsessively for two years, but now my following is full of wonderful, like minded people who inspire me as much as I hope I inspire them. I just want you all to know that you can go for your dream and with lots of hard work and passion, it can become your reality. I am always happy to lend an ear, offer advice where I can. Also a huge, huge thank you to all those amazing brands that collaborated with me last year. It was incredible and looking back I am so proud of the work I created and all of my achievements.

Here’s to a bigger, better brighter future here at Back To You Beauty! Are you with me?

Back To You Beauty

I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment below xx

32 Comments

  1. Annie Qadeer
    January 3, 2019 / 2:35 pm

    It is best to move forward and you have had an incredible year! Well done xx

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:06 pm

      Thank you Annie! Happy New Year

  2. Sarah Ridgard
    January 3, 2019 / 3:10 pm

    I have been really guilty of putting so much effort and time into blog posts and just doing it in return for the product sample. I never aimed or wanted to make money from my blog. It was something I started to distract me from constant pain. Being housebound & bedridden everything takes a lot more hard work & often I require help. I have never been confident of my worth as a blogger, so this year I am really aiming to change that! :)Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Good to hear that you will be moving forward with confidence Sarah! Believe in yourself and it will all fall into place! This is your year xx

  3. Samantha Rickelton
    January 3, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    Fab post and what a great year you've had. I had some time off over Christmas too. Lush!

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      Wasn’t it the perfect time to rest, Re balance and eat!! Haha happy new year hun xx

  4. Debbie
    January 3, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    What an incredible inspiring woman you are, you deserve all the successes you get xx

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      That is so kind! Thank you for saying so xxx

  5. Lolita Bonita
    January 3, 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Ahhh wow well done on all your success! Keep at it girl! x

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:09 pm

      Thank you!! Happy New Year! C

  6. Nanny Popcorn
    January 3, 2019 / 6:22 pm

    You work so hard and at last your seeing your rewards ! Good Luck Always Sharon and Well Done.

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:09 pm

      Thank you so, so much xx

  7. Karen Crossan
    January 3, 2019 / 6:58 pm

    way to go !!! you have worked hard and deserve success xx

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:09 pm

      Thank you Karen! Thank you for your support as always xx

  8. Unknown
    January 3, 2019 / 7:15 pm

    I am so pleased all your hard work and clear prioritising have been so successful..when the heart, vision and bones of a business are in place it's wonderful where it can take you..every happiness in the coming year Sharon..in business and at home xx

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      This is such a lovely comment, thank you so much xx

  9. Mrs R
    January 3, 2019 / 7:32 pm

    Congratulations on your success Sharon x

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      Happy New Year x

  10. Pam Merrifield
    January 3, 2019 / 7:35 pm

    All I can say is well done you! Long may your success continue xxx

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      Oh my darling! Thank you for being you! Big hugs xx

  11. Anonymous
    January 3, 2019 / 7:35 pm

    Such an interesting and inspiring blog. You really have worked hard and are now enjoying the benefits of your hard work. We are with you. Keep shining. From Angela x

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:11 pm

      These words are so kind, thank you xx

  12. Dawn99
    January 3, 2019 / 7:53 pm

    Well done Sharon. You are doing an amazing job and I really enjoy reading your blogs and finding out about new products.May 2019 be a happy and successful one for you

    • Back To You Beauty
      January 3, 2019 / 8:11 pm

      Awww I’m pleased you enjoy them! I’m thankful for your support xx

  13. Dawn99
    January 3, 2019 / 7:55 pm

    Well done Sharon on all your hard work. Enjoy your blog and reading about new products toktry. Wishing you a very happy and successful 2019

  14. Anonymous
    January 3, 2019 / 10:31 pm

    Aww that was really lovely insight. It sounds like it's been a challenging year Sharon. I always love your blogs. Your always so lovely and helpful and willing to give true opinions and help. Thanks for always coming back when asking for advice and tips. I hope 2019 is a fantastic one. Lovely pics in the post your makeup looks so lovely. HNY big hugs francesca xxx

  15. Alex Grace
    January 3, 2019 / 10:59 pm

    Wow I was fascinated reading this Sharon! Very inspirational thank you for sharing and wishing you continued success in 2019 x

  16. Erin Russell
    January 4, 2019 / 11:53 am

    yay! I loved this! You work SO hard, and you can really see it! Your blog is incredible, definitely celebrate that – and take the time off you need too. All the best for 2019 now lovely! Erin || MakeErinOver

  17. Amellia Mae
    January 4, 2019 / 6:47 pm

    You are an amazing force Sharon! Congratulations on all your wonderful achievements,you deserve all your success with such hard work xxx

  18. Kerry Jones
    January 4, 2019 / 9:36 pm

    Well done on coming through and believing in yourself and acknowledging what you have achieved. I love watching your stories and wait for your blog posts. Looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring for you! X

  19. Ambarina Hasan
    January 9, 2019 / 1:38 pm

    Such a good and honest blog post Sharon. Loved reading it. Totally agree with saying no to brands that you’ve supported for ages, written about and listed about, but they never consider you for a paid partnership…. I’ve a few like that myself that I may give the old heave-ho to this year. Fab blog post!

  20. JoannaLEdwards
    January 13, 2019 / 2:15 am

    Your blog and energy are inspiring. I also have a chronic, long term health condition and have found solace in having lovely products around me. More than that though you’re an inspiration as to what can be achieved because of chronic illness and not just in spite of it. Thank you x

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