Q&A 2: Dealing with the pressures of business and social media

 In Blogging, Career, Reflections

Following World Mental Health Day, I decided to open up a little more about things that perhaps I wouldn’t usually in a series of Q&A’s.

I put up the first one last week which covered: Relationships, feeling overwhelmed and coming home from my travels.

No matter what i’m doing be it curating a video, accepting a campaign or posting a social media caption – I always try and bear in mind the responsibility I have online. I don’t ever want to create distance between myself and you, my readers. I don’t ever want you to feel like my life is perfect or that I have something you couldn’t work hard to obtain yourself.

I just want to be honest and in doing so I hope my presence online can have a positive effect on peoples mental health as opposed to a negative one.

So here comes the second Q&A which is structured by the questions you asked when I opened up the opportunity on Instagram stories.

If you’re not with me on instagram you can come find me at @wheresmollie.

Q&A 2: Dealing with the pressures of business and social media

Business, work and social media

What do I do on my days off?

To be honest, for as long as I can remember, my job has been a complete lifestyle. I’ve only recently begun really separating my work time and down time apart. Like having full days without my laptop and social media. It’s hard. It’s hard for anyone that’s self employed to not want to better their business every day, particularly if you don’t ‘hate your work’, but i’m getting there and i’m seeing the benefits like crazy.

A day off for me is one without my laptop and where social media doesn’t dictate my day. It’s one where I’m not consuming all my energy in airports and transit and travelling. I love waking up, at home. I love sleeping with no alarm set (dont we all), making a morning cup of tea at complete leisure, going for walks and wanders around London and along the Thames. I love cooking, I love going to the gym, I love yoga and I love having a bath and lighting my candles / incense. Normal things you know, routine. I appreciate them so much now.

How did I even get started turning my passion into a business?

Well after I found my passion for travelling in a backpacking trip to South East Asia in 2013 I picked up a camera and started taking photos. I was curious and in being curious the universe always brings you together with like minded people, things and events. I started to become aware of ‘blogging’ and of people making money from taking photos and posting them online. I went to a few talks by bloggers on the industry. I was so curious as to how on earth they did it and step by step, for now over 5 years, I learnt how to build my own brand.

Read my ‘A Level Maths to full time travelling’ blog post here where I go into all the detail.

How do I afford to travel so much?

My main income comes from brand collaborations, so in essence brands pay me to create content in the form of photography / video and for me to then display it on my blog and social media channels. This content then puts their product / service in a spotlight with intention of increasing their sales / awareness. Brands basically pay me to tap into the audience that I have spent over 5 years building.

Because of the time I have spent building (I hope) an honest and solid relationship with you guys, I have a platform that is of value. You know I live an breathe an adventurous, courageous lifestyle, you know I wouldn’t lie to you about anything and you know where to come when you need the latest hiking shoes or top tips for a particular country. Brands pay to access this carefully curated community.

For a brand, this kind of advertising is then delivered in a more natural, enjoyable way for consumers, it’s less forceful and a ‘backpacking hostel’ for example knows they are advertising to an audience that could actually turn into potential custom.

I tried to not blab there. I hope that makes sense?

What’s the reality behind the trips I go on? It looks fun, but is it really?

I guess what you’re asking is, how come I get paid to travel? How did I get so lucky? First up, let’s just clarify that I’m not getting paid to go on holiday.

What you experience when you go on holiday and what I experience when I go on a work ‘adventure’ are very different things.

On 95% of my travels I’m working to creative briefs, contracts, i’m on tightly timed itineraries and i’m shooting shooting shooting. I’m pretty much always alert and mentally curating storyboards in both photo and video. I’m brainstorming photo ideas, blog post ideas, i’m noting down tips and tricks in my notes for writing up my adventures and i’m posting across all my channels live as I go.

A lot of the latter comes second nature to me now so I can absolutely enjoy myself whilst doing it. I have a rhythm with working travel and I mean, I get to experience some absolutely insane things though my work. So yes, I do have a lot of fun. I love my job but please don’t ever think it’s easy or that i’m just chilling over here. As with any job there’s stress, there are days I question it all and there are days I just don’t fancy packing my bags and heading to another airport.

The perks to my job are some of the best out there but honestly (read the blog post linked above) I’ve put the hours in and I continue to do so to maintain my brands success.

How do I balance capturing and living in the moment?

It’s hard. It’s become so natural for us to capture, capture, capture. If we anticipate a great moment, we all have instagram stories open ready to share it. I do notice moments quite a lot that technology interferes with but hey, all you can do is take responsibility for yourself.

I know how shitty it feels when you go for coffee with a friend and they’re completely distracted by their phone and I know how awesome it feels when we all put our phones away and give eachother our full attention. It’s about balance and finding what works for you.

For me, career wise, vlogging is too intrusive and takes away from the moment completely. I think that’s because it doesn’t come as naturally to me as I’m a perfectionist in many ways and I think too much about what i’m saying. I end up re-filming everything so much! Because of that I find that I’m not absorbing the environment as much and then I don’t really have that much to talk to you guys about.

My GoPro has always been a key tool in living in the moment whilst still capturing. It’s the least intrusive camera out there I think and using it doesn’t alienate people or situations for them to become fake. I can completely be present and have it filming beside me. My rawest emotions and adventure captures have been shot on the GoPro.

What’s the worst part about my job? What do I struggle with most mentally?

There are many downsides to a life filled with travel and to a life lived online but i’m not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself. The good definitely outweighs the bad.

I guess in a nutshell the things I find difficult are:

  • the relentless pressure of social media and the worry that the momentum will drop if you take time out
  • the consistently moving nature of my job, not ever spending long in one place and the effect this has on the friendships and relationships around me (or lack of)
  • the lack of routine when i’m on the road and the impact this can have on my health and fitness over long periods of time

Read my ‘Downsides to a life filled with travel’ blog post here.

Read my ‘What do bloggers actually do?’ blog post here.

Do i feel the pressures of social media? Do I chase numbers? How do I deal with comparing myself to other people online?

Of course I do. Of course I feel the pressure from social media, who doesn’t. Social media is my job and I spend a hella lotta hours feeding it with my creations and abiding by its new rules. It’s my job to care about what the trends are, what Instagram algorithm changes are happening and how often I should be posting. It’s overwhelming, it’s frustrating and quite often I wish I wasn’t so dependant on it.

But as much as I care and feel some pressure, I’m very conscious to not let it control my life. I refuse to chase numbers, I refuse for my worth to be based on numbers and instead I focus on creating content, messages and friends that I’m proud of. Attaching your happiness to social growth and reaching a certain number of views or followers is ridiculous.

These platforms will always win, they will always be in control, they are a BUSINESS. They make money out of you feeling not good enough and of you wanting more and more. If you place that much power in their hands, please look to change that right now.

In terms of comparing myself to people online, of course I do it but again I don’t let it completely control me or my feelings. I have experienced enough times first hand seeing the ‘reality’ behind someone I once seemed to ‘have it all’. I don’t mean that to sound mean but we all know even the most honest of influencers don’t show it all. Nobody is perfect, most people use filters and apps to adjust themselves, increasing numbers are getting surgery, increasing numbers are unhappy and have depression.

I don’t buy the bullshit. I focus on the real shit. The people around me. The feel good stuff. The soul food.

How do I run two businesses, run all the social media accounts and still take time for myself?

Lol I don’t know. With a great deal of stress, an over organised nature, a million spreadsheets and very little time off.

Well, that’s how it’s always been since I started Where’s Mollie but I am finally reaping the financial benefits from years of hard, unpaid work and my brand has reached value. I’ve recently hired two employees to assist my workload. Shannon helps with the back end of my blog admin and Monika helps with the back end of the WMGT event admin.

My stress levels are decreasing and my spare time is finally increasing. Happy freaking days.

Did that answer your questions? Feel free to pop any more in the comments!

Love as always + happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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