Blogging Lifestyle

Do you need a team to be a successful blogger in 2017?

January 18, 2017
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This is a question that’s been rolling around my brain for some time now. Do you need a team to be a successful blogger now? I’ve been hearing it more and more from fellow bloggers and friends about what help they have with blogging. I’m talking more than a well trained Instagram Husband,. I’m talking PA’s, pro-photography, videography, web design, graphic design, social media,  management teams and beyond.

To be fair, there are individuals out there in the blog/you tube world who have built themselves into mini empires. I can very much see why having help isn’t just a luxury, but essential. But I’ve also heard of others who are on a smaller scale utilising the services of virtual PA or interns to help get some of the leg work of running a blog professionally done.

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I’ve looked into it in a few different ways. From a virtual PA, to help with filming. But there’s always been a couple of things holding me back. One being the finance side. I need to have it really clear in my head how investing in external help will pay off financially for me longer term. At the moment, I’m not sure I can see that so have held back. Then my other hesitation comes down to what I could simple label ‘control freakery’. It’s not quite as simple as that really, although I’m sure a big part of it is that I want to keep a handle on things. It’s mostly about the fact that since I started the blog it’s been all me. Bar the odd re-design, where I’ve had some help on that front. But to hand over something that would really feel like it saved me time would be something like the photos, social media writing, or emails. All of which I either really enjoy, or just feel like it wouldn’t be quite as ‘me’ if I had help doing it.

The big question that I have around it all though is: is not having any help holding me back? I have never and don’t have vision of myself as being a mega-blogger. I’m quite happy as I am, but I want to maintain where I am and not rest on laurels. Plus for my own sake I want to keep pushing and challenging myself so that I can always feel pleased with what I do. And ideally avoid a sense of total overwhelm.

But what I’d love to hear from anyone else reading is what you think of this topic. Do you think it’s ‘the norm’ to have help in the form of a PA/photography type thing? Can you see how something like a Virtual Assistant would help you? Or are you maybe a little more old-fashioned like me and generally quite happy as a true ‘one man band’. I’ve always been proud that the blog is very much me from start to where it is now. But am I sort of shooting myself in the foot by not being open to taking on help, building a team or just outsourcing the admin?

I am very much a team of one at the moment. Apart from the occasional help from fellow bloggers if I’m on a trip, or Ollie if I ask very nicely… the only help I have is on the finance side as I do have an accountant who makes sure all of that side (both personal and as a business) are covered off thoroughly. I often wonder if it’s one of those ‘you need to spend money to make money’ sort of situations, where if I was to invest in some part time admin help or photography or even start doing videos again. Would this help me up my game and in the long run be a better business decision.

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What is the cost of building a team?

Having looked into different types of help over the last year or so. I wanted to include a few ball park costs to give you an idea (again, ball park – this is sort of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ topic) of what it might cost to use professional services to build your own support team.

Photography: From street shooting to support on product photography. Cost: From £30-100 per hour. Plus editing time and costs for travel.

Videography: Filming and editing of video content. Cost: Hourly from £50+ Day rate £200-500. Plus cost for travel.

PA/VA assistant or Intern: Admin, expenses, emails, diary, proof-reading, scheduling. Cost: £25 p/h for VA work. Assistants and admin can vary from travel expenses & food only (intern) upwards to full time salary.

Or am I actually quite happy just being me and working my little butt off each day to do the best I can on all areas of the blog. I should probably state here, that if I was to take on admin type help, it would span more than just the blog but on my consulting side too I think.

I’ve spoken to a few fellow bloggers about this, some who have help in the form of boyfriends/husbands who are really skilled photographers. Others who do invest in professional service. Others who have admin help, full or part time to take the load off on managing diaries, answering emails and adding in links and proof reading posts or scheduling social messages. Of course the general view is that those who don’t have help are quite happy and those that do are also quite happy. Which doesn’t exactly give me an answer to the question in the title.

Of course, as with everything in life and blogging. It mainly comes down to your own individual circumstances and preferences. And what success looks like to you. What I’d love to know is your view – as when I’ve talked to others, the view has often been quite strongly in favour or against the idea of paying for help. What’s your view? Is having help something you aspire to? Does it seem indulgent to you? Or does it just make good sense to manage all the tasks required of running a blog as a business?

If you’re building an empire – go you. If you’re running the show solo – go you.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Hayley January 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Love this post lady – it’s such an interesting topic and something that I think we all just kind of figure out as we go along! I love having a small team of girls helping me write but have now decided that I’d solely like them to focus on travel on behalf of FMIF and I’ll run the rest of the site like I used to, having being nominated for a travel award I think this is a big goal for us a team in 2017! I’m also looking to get a photographer once every week or two and would rather use someone consistent – it can be so hard to shell out money especially when you don’t see initial results but I think a photographer is a great investment for sure! Keep smashing it as always lovely one!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

  • Reply Cherie City January 18, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Yeah, I see your dilemma. Maybe get freelance assistance on the creative side like photography and video, but keep more control over the blog admin part? My husband is pretty techie, so maybe I need to utilise his skills a bit more to make some cool travel videos :-)

  • Reply Kat January 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I’m definitely not at a stage where I need help with the admin side of things but I would love a photographer to work with – for fashion posts mostly. I find I’m held back by an unwilling boyfriend and no one else to ask! I feel like I could do so much more with my content if I could afford a photographer!

  • Reply Charlie January 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I really loved this post Jen. I do find bloggers are increasingly using photographers/videographers for their content. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all but it does widen the gap between the bloggers with a huge following and those that haven’t. I just try and use what I have to the best of my ability, even if it means having to precariously balance my tripod at the foot my bed to try and get a decent flatlay!

    charlieemilyhart.com

  • Reply Aine January 18, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    This is an interesting one. I have someone that helps manage the backend of my blog – so if something goes to shit, he sorts it. It’s not that I don’t know how to fix it, it’s just I’d rather not waste my time on it. I’m not even a particularly big blogger. I’d just rather focus on improving my skills or working on other projects. I think it can be valuable to spend money to help free up your time to focus your energy elsewhere. For example, I’ve started working with a local social platform as they’ve massively grown and they need to find direction, but as they’re so busy with the day to day, they don’t have the time to find this new direction/perspective. Maybe it’s something you make use of temporarily to allow you the time to refocus. I know lots of VAs that work on a freelance basis, helping out a minimum of a certain amount of hours each month, then pick up extra if needed.

    It’s all about deciding if there is something you want to improve, or if you want to allow the time to see if there are areas you want to change. If you’re happy as is, maybe you don’t need the help. Maybe it’s something you trial for a month and if it doesn’t work out, you bring it to a halt.

    Honestly Aine

  • Reply Rachel January 18, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    I think it would all boil down to how big you want things to get. If you want to get Zoella big maybe you need all of those things. I feel you have created such a great amount of success on your own that it seems a shame to loose the personal touch. For me I have a very tiny blog and I always ask for advise from people in the know but I very much like to do things for myself. I would rather pay to go on a photography course or editing course or something like that and learn to do it than have someone take my personality away from my blog. Friends and people around you will always support you from taking outfit shots if you need them and you could even take Oli on a photography course you’ll have a laugh and he’ll be able to take some good photos. You have to do what feels good and comfortable for you. Hope you find the right choice for you :-)

  • Reply Caitlin January 19, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Really interesting post. I’m pretty new to blogging and only have my significant other to take photos for me!

    Caitlin, Beauty & Colour

  • Reply Krista March 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I think about this all the time. I really would love a team but do I pay for them? And to your point, do I really need to spend money to make money? And what if they make a mistake???

    I’m in the process right now of paying someone to update my WordPress theme (I was using Twenty Eleven and that’s super old) and it’s such a painful process by myself. (And this was a guy with great reviews. I think I’ve learned too be skeptical of too many great reviews.)

    I know a few travel bloggers have teamed up to help each other, and I think that’s a great approach and one I want to try. They meet regularly and promote each other’s posts and help each other with social media. I am so bad at growing my following but I know there are others who are awesome at it. I’m probably better at making money off my site than some people (but beer money, to be clear) so maybe that’s something I could exchange.

    I’ve enjoyed going to some Ladies in Blogging events. Very helpful. I need to find more things/communities like that!

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