I’ve been struggling with sharing this for a long time now. Years actually. I’m currently sweating more than normal. My hands are cold, I feel a tad sick. I’m scrolling through this post in review and hesitant to press ‘publish’. But. here we go.
I began blogging waaaay back in the summer of 2014. It started out as an outlet for me to share my transition from the all-American-diet to vegetarianism and ultimately to veganism. It was a health goal of mine at the time to start feeling better and to deal with a chronic illness I have. I loved sharing my food creations and absolutely terrible photos online because I felt like it helped me have some kind of accountability to myself to stay true to my diet changes. I opened an instagram account and started sharing my photos and journey and connecting with a lot of like minded people. I had lots of engagement from followers and began building a community of like minded healthy-lifestyle lovers. But then. It happened.
It was one evening in particular when I went to the page of another blogger I ‘befriended’ online and saw their following numbers just kept growing.. like I’d click on a photo, back to their bio page and they’d have a few hundred more followers. I became obsessed. How in the world did they do it? Who gave them such an epic shoutout that awarded them so many interested followers, all at once?! Of course, my little account sat there, not moving, not growing. So I started my online search. How to get followers, fast. Boy was I in for a surprise. There were loads of different websites offering all kinds of packages to buy a bigger following. I checked out one of those sites. The pricing was ‘on sale’.. I thought: “well, if it doesn’t work, I just lost out on a couple bucks”.. and. I did it. I bought followers. 2000 to be exact. But back then, that was about a 40% increase in my total following. I continued about my posting like nothing had changed.
Except everything changed.
As time went on, I started to feel like a phoney (I wonder why?!) and I began to question my lifestyle and choices in regards to veganism and a healthy diet so I completely changed my brand. Then the blogging world started to really take off. I saw all kinds of new bloggers popping up, sharing their own stories and growing their following. Sharing sponsored posts, getting paid to blog. You have to know, it was NEVER my intention to make blogging my full time gig, I never started a blog to make money. But when I saw how easy it came to others, I wanted my hand in the pie too. So, I reached out to beauty brands and offered to write reviews in exchange for free products. I said yes to almost any brand willing to send me something for free, regardless of whether I liked it or not. I then got picked up by a great PR agency, I got one paid job. And after about a year with them, we parted ways. My following never grew. I never got emails from brands wanting to partner with me.
All the while, all the years – I felt insane jealousy towards the bloggers who got those sponsorships and partnerships. Especially influencers I know(assume) just took on the sponsorship for a paycheck and not because they believed in the product. I felt like: “I can do that too”. Then I got pregnant and tried to keep blogging but it just seemed to be such a negative space for me so I slowed down. A lot. I put the blog on pause for a while to focus on my family. And it was the best feeling I had in so long. I felt free. I felt no distractions. I had no angst or jealousy.
Then, I felt like I wanted my creative outlet back so I logged back on and started up again. Like nothing changed. Except everything changed. I changed. My followers changed. What followers I had left, that is. My engagement went from some to next to none. Blogging these past few months has been fun, don’t get me wrong but I’ve just lost my..self. There are still twinges of jealousy. It still remains a huge distraction that I’d rather gain back to focus on my family.
I can remember at one point, feeling guilty; wanting my old community back. I began by trying to delete as many of my bought followers as I could but it was really, really too late.
You guys, if you’re a blogger. DON’T buy followers. DON’T take on partnerships just for a paycheck. DON’t lie to your followers and community. And DON’T share sponsored post after sponsored post. NO ONE likes it. Just DON’T do it. I hope my story helps any of you with a similar one to come forward. be honest. and share the truth.
Readers, I’m sorry. for this poorly written post and for the dishonesty. But know this, bloggers can be shady. Not all of them, but some. Be conscious, be aware, use your smarts, and if you’re not feelin’ it – unfollow. I encourage you to unfollow my current account as it doesn’t deserve the numbers it has (meager and small as they are). I will be attempting to delete all things HerBalancedLife. The HBL email will remain but will not be monitored. If any accounts remain, they will not be monitored. If I do come back to blogging, it will be completely new and fresh with a better more honest approach to my community. And not simply for a paycheck or some crazy need for online validation.
On a side note, I really really have to thank a truly spectacular blogger whose posts over the past few months have really made me step back and look at the blogging life. Who (without knowing) made me open up and share this honest post with you all. She’s a good one. If you want to follow an inspiring blogger you should check her out.
Thank you all for the years of readership!
xx HBL – signing off.