Full Time Blogging; The Raw Truth
My name is Ashleigh Dougherty. I am 22 with a degree in Photography, an alright blog which pays the bills and gets updated daily (usually); but I am unemployed and I don't know why.
I have never really known what I want to do with my life. I always felt the pressure growing up from older people around me constantly asking me what I will study at university and what job I hope to do afterwards. To be entirely honest, I wish I was still seven years old with the dream of being a vet or a supermarket checkout lady.
Been there, done that. Ha!
Photography was my main creative flair even before I launched my blog back in 2011. It was always something I felt I was good at and I seemed to get a lot of positive attention from people about the work I created. However, it was when I finished college and still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life that I realised I really didn't want "to be a photographer". The thought of working in a studio all day photographing people was not something that really appealed to me. Shocking, right?
After finishing university last summer, all I had to concentrate on was my blog, photography and a little part time supermarket job. Yep, the inner seven year old in me would be proud! So, what did I do next? I started applying for fashion internships. I was lucky and landed myself a dream internship pretty quickly AND without an interview. This was the point that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Without going into detail, it was an opportunity that threw me into the raw and bitchy pond of fashion. The snobbery, the constant judgement and the upkeep of having to impress about everyone I ever met! However, I was literally living any fashion intern's dream! I attended every LFW show, I was backstage meeting the teams and designers and I attended all of the A-lister after parties. However, only my travel was paid with the ever so slight promise of a paid job at the end. From this, I quit my retail job and even put my blog on the back burner. I had a new project to focus on! Sadly, it didn't work out and that's how I became unemployed.
So now, what did I have? I had my blog but I had neglected it ever so slightly. It was time to grasp what was right in front of me. I re-thought the content I was producing, got a brand new blog design (which I am bored of again), and began working harder to push my blog and brand as much as possible. Money wise; I had a bit of my university grant left over and some money saved so it was this that I was living on.
Fast forward 10 months, I am still out of a job and am just focusing on my blog. I would love to say that I am earning thousands, have a pretty and happy life that would make any Instagram feed look beautiful and a ton of blogging friends. Reality?? Well, I don't. It's a lonely life and I spend about 80% of my time on my own.
Being a full time blogger means I am freelance and that means no guarantee of any kind of stable monthly income. Weekly Wagamamas, Topshop splurges and Starbucks caramel frapps are no more. The money I earn is enough to get by but not enough for any kind of luxury. There are so many things I want to do with my life and I can't. I want to go travelling, I want to pass my driving test and buy a car, I want to start saving for my own place. But, I can't. Not right now anyway.
I decided a few months ago to really think about where my life was going and take that scary leap onto the career ladder. The natural progression for the majority of bloggers is to move into digital marketing, public relations or social media. I have interned in all of these jobs before aswell as running a blog for 4 years so I thought it would be pretty easy to land myself a job in a swanky London office. I was wrong.
I have had a handful of job interviews in agencies for digital marketing and social media roles but I haven't had any luck yet. However, I know competition is sky high and that you need to apply for a lot of companies before one sees any kind of potential in you and sends you that 'Congratulations! We want to employ you!' email. Maybe mine got lost in the junk folder? One could only hope.
I guess what I am trying to say is; I am fresh and bouncing with new ideas (also less naive), but I literally have no clue what I am doing. Every single day I wake up, get ready, answer emails, photograph products, write blog posts and completely wing my life. I am in control. I have no one to tell me what path to take or what to do next. I don't know where my life is heading at the moment and it often gets me down but then I remember a few positive things. I am healthy, I am happy and I have the support of my family and an amazing boyfriend. Anything else would just be a bonus right now.