I DON’T WANT TO BE A ‘BRAND”

In the summer of last year, I felt like I was riding high when it came to blogging as anything more than a hobby. I thought I’d hit that point where you start to become noticed, the opportunities were flooding in and I felt like I was beginning to get somewhere and achieving my goals.

Fast forward to today and I’ve been flagging for months. I can’t keep up, I have no self-belief and I compare myself to my peers constantly.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s healthy and a good idea to seek inspiration from those around you who are succeeding but if you get to the stage, like I have, where you’re thinking ‘why bother? I can’t meet those standards’ then you’re not going to get anywhere quickly.

If you’re struggling to find a niche they (the blogging gurus) say ‘you’. You are your niche and if your blog is your business, you are your brand.

But what if I don’t want to be a brand?

I Don't Want To Be A Brand

Brands specialise in something particular, they are consistent, they are ‘branded’ in terms of colour schemes and types of things. They fit in a certain box, they are a round peg for a round hole, they are what you’re looking for.

I’m not like that, I change my mind from one day to the next. That colour scheme I liked last week doesn’t appeal to me as much as it did then and I’ve moved on. I like things that are the exact opposite of each other. I am always changing my obsessions and finding love for the new.

Instagram is easily my favourite social media platform. It’s visual, beautiful, inspirational, I adore scrolling through my feed and usually put my iPhone down feeling creative and impulsively charged.

But I’ve not posted there regularly for months, just the odd update here and there is all I’ve managed.

Why?

Because I can’t take good enough photographs. I can’t stick to the same filter or edit them as well as so-and-so can. My feed is far from curated. I don’t have a ‘theme’ because my life doesn’t stick to a theme unless I pretend it does and exclude all of the ‘real’ stuff but then instead of happily looking back at a string of memories I’ll see a feed full of posed, fake, carefully-executed photographs.

I’m not saying this is the case for everyone but I don’t have the money for a beautifully-designed, everything-matching home, I can’t afford to buy all of the latest trends and I’m certainly not model material.

My house won’t stay tidy, the bastard.

My daughter messes up my styled displays.

I’m lucky if I’m dressed by mid-morning and the days where you’ll see a perfectly-polished face full of make-up are few and far between (despite my love for the stuff when I get the chance!)

I often feeling like I’m failing because my Klout score (a tool that rates your social media influence) isn’t rocketing but the truth of the matter is, I don’t want to be on social media every hour of every day.

I can’t master every social media platform simultaneously because I don’t have the time to dedicate to them all so I stick with my chosen few and focus on those instead, keeping the others burning in the background but not shining brightly or being anything special.

I want to be successful. I am in my element when I’m writing, I love taking photos (but could do with a crash course) and I have goals I’m determined to reach but I can’t follow every blogging tip or stick to every rule.

There’s blurred lines when you build a business based upon your life. For your business to be interesting your life (i.e. you) needs to be interesting, appealing, something people want to know about, will keep coming back to and enjoy reading about.

I can’t tailor myself to that every day. That’s too much sodding pressure, it’s not a true reflection of my life and it would take up too much time. This blog is an addition, primarily for us (or an outlet for me) and, for me, it can’t be the be all and end all.

I need sleep. Especially when I have a sleep-thief loose around the joint. I can’t stay up until 2am every day of the week.

I need to relax and spend time with my boyfriend. Not resent him because he gets a break from work whilst I feel like it’s never-ending after looking after Lily all day and plugging in to my blog as soon as she goes to bed.

I need to clean my house so I don’t want to cry every morning when I walk in to the kitchen. So that I don’t feel like every day is a battle between spending time with and stimulating Lily and trying to get this place back to normal.

This Christmas I took hardly any photographs or at least nowhere near as many as I did last year. I just had fun, enjoyed being in the moment and felt so relieved not to have to worry about catching all of those precious times on film.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say other than that what you see if what you get. I can’t keep on putting off blog posts and social media updates because my life isn’t Pinterest ready.

I won’t always be around on social media. Traditional jobs have set hours and I think I need to define some working limits and not worry about being switched off.

I might not be known for anything in particular, I might not excel at anything or be topping the charts anytime soon but I’m here and I’m sharing my life with you.

I’m not a brand, I’m a person.

A flaky, easily-influenced, ever-adapting person.

Hopefully that’s enough.

26 Comments

  1. January 7, 2017 / 2:38 PM

    This is a brilliant post! I can totally relate, my house is a sty and most days are stressful for the same reasons you’ve said. I love honest posts like this and I think if most people were honest I’m sure 99% of people’s lives aren’t Pinterest ready and I have no idea how they make it come accross like that so well. You are you and I love your blog and you because it’s different and honest. I don’t have a niche so I say my niche is having no niche. I’ll never be big on Instagram because it’s pictures of us and our lives with no uniformity to it as every day is different and I don’t think as many people find that visually appealing but my life isn’t clean and white so neither can my Insta feed be. I, like you can’t afford to flood money into my blog so it is what it is and if it grows then that’s a bonus. Don’t underestimate yourself and your blog though it’s amazing and I can definitely say that seeing normal people and reading normal posts without the bullsh*t is really appealing to some of us so keep doing what you’re doing! Its far too easy to be self critical and I would say my blog is tripe but get lovely comments sometimes and a girl hunted hubby down at a wedding he went to to tell him she reads mine all the time and loves it, I was shocked but just goes to show you are probably better than you think you are. Think about my drawings, I think they arent great and not ready to sell but you were excited for me to be doing something with them along with others so Im giving it a try 🙂 xx
    Laura recently posted…Photography >> Project 365 – The Fluffy OneMy Profile

  2. January 7, 2017 / 5:21 PM

    I absolutely love this post Lucy and well done for you. Years down the line and I’m still comparing myself, feeling like and failure and wondering if I should just pack it all in. Like you, i fluctuate constantly about what I like, what photos I take and how much I’m online. It’s exhausting, but on the flip side I love it! X

  3. January 7, 2017 / 5:29 PM

    Brilliant post and reading it was perfect timing as I have been beating myself up this morning about my photos being bleurgh! I don’t have perfect neat furniture or a spotless house, you think keeping it tidy with one is bad, try seven! My instagram hasn’t been updated since mid December, but so what, I haven’t been nominated for any awards and I probably won’t in the future, but I started the blog as a place to store memories and as you say, memories are about real things and events, not staged stuff, so thankyou from the bottom of my heart for saying its OK to be just me xxx

  4. January 7, 2017 / 7:33 PM

    This is perfect, I feel the same about so many thing. I had a Christmas with few photos, because I wanted to be in the moment. My blogging goals including sticking to set hours (and only when my daughter is at nursery and asleep). I have a ‘memory book’ which is a few lines from each day for five year, and this year is my second year, today I read last years snippet for the 7th and it was me worrying about blogging and what my blog is about… a year I have been worrying about blogging, if I am good enough, am I blogging about the right things and what is my niche etcetc. But no more. All along I have just wanted to be me and not feel less for it. It’s so lovely to hear that other people have similar feelings about this too!
    Jenni – Odd Socks and Lollipops recently posted…The Happiest Blog Posts I read in 2016My Profile

  5. January 7, 2017 / 7:37 PM

    What a great post! I like so many others can relate to this. I started my little blog as a hobby and a way to record my journey up to and into my fifties. Not sure yet where it can go but I totally know how you feel about all the perfect Instagram photos! I despair sometimes. But I do think keeping it real is important and that is my approach – this is me! It’s for me! Xx

  6. January 7, 2017 / 8:53 PM

    I can relate to this! I’m constantly bombarded with the “get a niche”, “act like a brand” spiel, but I don’t feel like a brand and I just cannot decide on a niche! I blog about various things that come to mind. I write about what I want to. My Klout score and stats are terrible, but I just cannot be bothered with numbers anymore. It added extra stress that wasn’t doing me any good, especially since I had stress going on in my actual life. My house is a tip at the moment and I don’t have a fancy, expensive camera to take perfect pictures with. I am who I am. I just post what I like and what others may like.

  7. January 7, 2017 / 8:54 PM

    I hear you! It’s bloody hard enough doing the life thing and then having to worry about curation, branding, post scheduling…blahblah and all that jazz. Why can’t we all go back to being cool and writing our stuff and posting any old pics? Maybe it’s because it’s a saturated market/subject matter and it’s the best way to “attract eyeballs” (sorry, marketing waffle there). Being yourself is what it’s all about though so keep it up as I love your blog 🙂

  8. Alexandra | Mrs Hodgson
    January 7, 2017 / 10:08 PM

    This is brilliant Lucy, and I’m sure so many people completely relate. I know I’m one of them. I also know that some of it is seasonal. Lily is so young and it’s impossible keeping on top of everything while constantly entertaining a toddler, keeping her safe, keeping her clean, it is a massive win if the house is clean when they’ve gone to bed never mind when they’re up at that age. You, Michael and Lily are what’s most important and these years when she’s little are so fleeting. You’re doing the right thing by drinking in every moment. I love you lady. Your niche is you though, you may be flippant and inconsistent, but so am I, and so are a lot of the population and we all relate to you. I hope this post takes the pressure off for a lot of people. Mwa xxx

  9. January 7, 2017 / 10:36 PM

    You win. Balls to Pinterest worthy

  10. January 7, 2017 / 11:02 PM

    I have felt a lot of this in my short time blogging but I think I’m coming to peace with it now. I’m a terrible blogger and my stats are abysmal, sad but true. I love doing my blog/insta/youtube but I don’t have time to do all the promotion/networking that it takes to get anywhere with blogging and like you, sometimes life gets in the way of recording our life, and sometimes I need to step back and re-prioritise. For a long time I let that bother me, like it was important how many brands wanted to work with me or what my ranking was for this or that… and I let it put me off the whole thing altogether. But then I realised that I really didn’t care! I love taking pictures, I love writing, I love making videos… in years to come I will love looking at all the photos, all the blog posts and all the videos, I can’t stop doing it just because I know I’ll never get as many likes/views as such and such a person, that would be ridiculous! It’s hard when you’re reading everyday that your blog can give you a full time income, it can do this for you and that for you. I’m sure it can, but that takes a bloody lot of hard graft and I’m not willing to sacrifice my children’s most important years staying up till all hours scheduling tweets etc. I thought I’d love to make my blog my job but now I’ve seen what it takes I’m more like nah… I’ll leave it thanks haha. All I want from my blog now is for it to bring me joy. Keep doing you lovely because you are fabulous and there are plenty of people like me who love to read your posts. (Sorry about the essay, this comment should be it’s own blog post! haha) xx
    Louise | Squished Blueberries recently posted…Disney on Ice: Fit to DanceMy Profile

  11. January 7, 2017 / 11:44 PM

    You are most definitely enough. This post made me feel equally uplifted as it made me feel sad. I feel sad that you’ve felt you’re not good enough on those different levels when you are one of the loveliest people I’ve met – and you take beautiful photos! It sounds like you have a good balance and you need to keep that. Fit blogging in the gaps when you have the time and motivation – so many of us let it take over our lives and aren’t as present as we would like to be. Keep being you Lucy and keep having the life that you have now – Lily will appreciate it and Pinterest can be for those who have the time and inclination x

  12. January 7, 2017 / 11:54 PM

    I think it is enough. Just tonight I was chatting to my husband about ‘my brand’ and said ‘I’m just me, the brand is Michelle but I don’t want go be s brand’. I’ve been blogging a very long time now and can totally relate. Hopefully you’ll come through this reflective period with boundaries in place, knowing what works for you and ignoring comparison, the thief of joy. Mich x

  13. January 8, 2017 / 12:15 AM

    Oh Lucy, I can totally relate. I know the constant battle between doing what I should be doing (cleaning the fooking kitchen) or catching up on blog stuff. I don’t seem to be able to get everything done on social AND write bloody blog posts. I’ve really let myself chill over the last few months and it’s so lovely. I hope writing all this down has helped and don’t forget we love you for you. Real and honest will always, always win. xxx

  14. January 8, 2017 / 12:16 AM

    Love this post!! And I totally agree. I’ve been blogging almost 4 years and yet I don’t have amazing stats and I’m not constantly on social media. I have found a comfort level though where I engage when I can, jump at opportunities when I can and stopped getting so caught up in the number/stats side of things xx

  15. January 8, 2017 / 12:20 AM

    You already know my thoughts on this post as I’ve been pretty vocal about them on FB 😉 Just do it your way lovely, how you want to do it and when you want to do it. Blogging should be something you love to do, don’t let anyone take that away from you by making you feel like you should be doing things in a certain way. Your blog is yours, no one else’s!

    Stevie xx
    A Cornish Mum recently posted…Ed Sheeran, bloggy friends and blankets #LittleLovesMy Profile

  16. January 8, 2017 / 6:58 AM

    Completely agree, however it is slightly ironic that by not wanting to create a brand. This is your brand! I want to grow my blog this year, but I am not a full time blogger. Love this post and cannot wait to read more of your posts and content

  17. January 8, 2017 / 9:04 AM

    Hear hear! I totally relate to what you’ve said about Instagram and not being a theme. I feel the same. My life is real, my kids don’t sleep, I can’t stay up too late either. My house is a mess. I just show it warts and all. I prefer blogs that aren’t overly staged. Keep doing you!

  18. January 8, 2017 / 10:04 AM

    Agree with it all, what a brilliant and well written post. I love it and hope that it makes everyone think about their blogs, lives and comparisons to others. Love these honest posts.

  19. January 8, 2017 / 10:14 AM

    Brilliant post. I would much rather read from an honest person than someone writing from a brand point of view. I don’t feel like I can trust what some people said as I know stuff is wrote just for views etc

  20. January 8, 2017 / 10:16 AM

    This is a bloody brilliant blog post and one to aspire to, so be proud of that. While you might think one person takes a beautiful photo, that same person may read your writing and think, ‘why can’t I do that?’. That said, I totally relate to what you’re saying. I am trying my hardest not to compare myself this year, it makes me miserable, but it’s so bloody hard not to. The thing I’m trying to tell myself, is that all this comparing won’t make my blog any better and it sure as hell does nothing for my self-esteem. So amen to not branding ourselves, I thought that was just for cattle anyways? I’ll be taking a leaf out of your book from now on xxx
    Kerry recently posted…The Best of the January SalesMy Profile

  21. January 9, 2017 / 11:18 AM

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I have never thought of my blog as a brand, my family is not a brand they are just a family who happens to share ramblings online. I’m sorry that you don’t feel enough because you truly are and more so. We are all enough and whilst it is easy to say don’t compare to others, we all do it. Chin up beautiful, you are enough, you are you and that is pretty awesome.
    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too recently posted…iCandy Peach All Terrain PushchairMy Profile

  22. January 9, 2017 / 3:58 PM

    Love this post. I think you’ve hit it on the head with the reality that most of us don’t actually want to be ‘brands’. The true joy of blogging, the thing that separates us from traditional businesses and brands (and why brands are always trying to attach themselves to bloggers) is the fact that it’s built on REAL people, making real connections and sharing the truth of our lives — often wonderful, sometimes meh and sometimes heartbreaking. I’ve never been one to chase stats or rankings and while I can knock up an impressive enough media kit (for those who care), the point is to continue building a creative and fun life for myself and my family, doing work that I enjoy and that doesn’t feel like work most of the time. It’s so easy to get sucked into trying to tick all the boxes, but much more rewarding when we take the pressure off and write what we actually want to write, when we want to write it. I think true success as a blogger is about finding your own groove. So screw being ‘branded’ and keep on doing you 🙂 x
    Babes about Town recently posted…Best Kids Apps 2017: Airside Andy!My Profile

  23. January 10, 2017 / 10:44 AM

    Ah Lucy, so much of what you say will resonate with so many of us. Just today I’ve noticed a huge drop in my Tots100 ranking because they’ve changed how they rank everyone and thought to myself, ah I can’t be bothered with this, I can’t keep up!

    But…then five minutes later I thought sod it! I’m just gonna keep on doing whatever I want to do and make this blogging shizzle work for me. As for the ‘being a brand thing’, you make some excellent points. Personally, I really believe the key to blogging success in general though is just to keep being YOU so forget about perfection and for want of a better phrase just ‘keep things real.’ People ALWAYS respond to ‘human’ even on Instagram. X Don’t give up!

  24. January 10, 2017 / 11:59 AM

    Oh Lucy you took the words right out of my mouth! I one hundred percent agree with everything you said. My house is often a tip, I enjoyed Christmas and only took blurry photos as Alfie is far from being a performing monkey. I work 8am – 5pm and all the photos I take in the week are dark as it’s winter! There is so much pressure on having a perfect Instagram and although it looks nice, it’s definitely not maintable for me. Keep doing what your doing, it’s much more relatable x
    Amy Fox recently posted…2016: The (Not Big or Fat) Quiz of the Year!My Profile

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