What am I tired of? Mom life? Well yes haha. But that’s not what I’m going to focus on during this post.
I’m tired of being sold to. And I’m tired of selling to you. Affiliate marketing has killed blogging.
Let me backup to the start of my blogging journey. I started Dressing Dallas in the beginning of 2014, right after I had my first son. I needed an outlet so I could remain feeling like “me” while I navigated through my new life as a mother. I have always loved fashion, beauty, home decor, etc and I wanted a way to share my hobbies. More importantly, I was looking for a way to connect with others that might have similar interests, and maybe make some internet friends along the way (which I did).
Quickly as I started blogging though, I was thrown into the “rat race” of growing, gaining followers and likes, and trying to monetize my blog. I definitely had the goal to make “some” money off of my blog, but that wasn’t my sole purpose (I just wanted to have fun!). I felt like I had to play the game though if I was going to keep up and be seen as relevant.
So it started, I spent money on giveaways to grow my following. I spent money to buy followers every way I could. I signed up for Rewardstyle, an affiliate marketing platform, so I could sell, sell, sell. I was even tempted to do what every other blogger was doing…buying clothes from stores to take pictures in, just to return them a couple days later. I tried to think of every way and any way I could make money. I signed up for every paid blog collaboration I could get my hands on, even if I wasn’t passionate about the products I was promoting. I wasn’t being authentic to me, and I became a sell out just like everyone else.
Another huge problem in the industry at the time (and still is a huge problem) is having a limited mindset. No one in the influencer industry talked about how to grow because everyone had the attitude of secrecy. If you shared your secrets, then you were setting yourself up to have others surpass you. I remember reaching out to one of my friends from growing up who also is a blogger. I saw she had a lot of awesome success on a giveaway that had just taken place, and I simply asked her if I could have the info on the host of the giveaway she was just a part of. Selfishly, she told me “I don’t share my contacts.” This girl was literally my childhood friend…and she was so caught up in making money on Rewardstyle, that she denied even helping me a little bit. So I went and asked another blogger, who participated in that giveaway, who the host was, and she told me. The whole experience made me feel like crap, especially being denied by a friend. I was angry that influencers put up this happy, perfect front, only to be bitches behind their phone screens.
I was totally caught up in the rat race of blogging. I wasn’t being authentically me. I was a slave to affiliate marketing and becoming popular on social media.
Then, in 2015/2016, tragedy struck my family, and my life forever changed. You can read about this starting here. I lost a baby then 5 months later my brother committed suicide, and then 5 months later my sister died of an asthma attack. My world turned upside down, and all of a sudden my wants and needs in my blogging world were incredibly irrelevant. I started taking a hard look at what had happened to me, and who I had become.
I was trying to cope with extreme loss, battle mental health issues, and be a mom of 2 beautiful children. I was trying to hold together my marriage while I worked in a hospital and was a new homeowner. My life had completely changed, and blogging/selling to everyone was the LAST thing I ever wanted to do. I was completely lost with my blog. On one hand, I wanted to keep it as my outlet for stress release. On the other hand, I hated everything I was blogging about, I hated selling clothes to people through Rewardstyle and making a tiny, tiny, commission from doing so. I was so lost, I stopped creating blog content for over 2 years.
During this time, I discovered the direct selling company, Senegence (who I am still a part of to this day). I was obsessed with the products, and they were products I felt 100% authentic in sharing. I still am just as obsessed 4 years later…and my followers know it. When I joined, I thought I would just get a nice discount on the products I loved, but I found so much more. I found a community that TRULY wanted to help each other grow. I found other women who were passionate about the same things I was. I found true friendships, online and in person. And I finally started to feel comfortable sharing products with my followers because it was authentic to me.
In the last 4 years, as I’ve grown my Senegence business and also picked back up my blogging content, I’ve discovered these important truths.
- If you aren’t being authentic online, people can tell. And they won’t want to engage with you.
- Focusing on affiliate marketing will cause burn out.
- Having an abundance mindset is the BEST way to think and live. Sharing information with others helps everyone grow!
- Not everyone is going to vibe with you. And that’s ok. You will attract your tribe of people through your authenticity. This is why sharing your growth methods won’t hinder your success. There is enough room to grow and excel for everyone.
- People are smart. They know when you are buying engagement. They know when you are trying to just make a quick buck.
- The money you make off affiliate marketing is.a.joke. You make tiny percentages from the sales you get from your links. Sure, some bloggers do great and earn thousands, but at what cost? The vast majority don’t make much each month from all the hours of work that’s put into shooting content for your links. After being a part of Senegence and seeing what a GREAT percentage you get from sales, using Rewardstyle everyday was laughable. I went from earning 1%-10% off sales through Rewardstyle to 50% from my Senegence sales. And if you look at the amount of money Rewardstyle and the big retailers make off bloggers, compared to what they are paid…it should make you angry. But yet, so many of us were fighting each other for a tiny piece of that pathetic pie.
- I don’t want a following of people who just want to see what I’m buying. I want a following of people that are like me. Moms who may struggle with different issues, like mental health, love for your postpartum body, and making it through the day without losing it. Other women who want to feel more beautiful and confident. Women who want to find their own look through fashion, beauty, home decor, and feel confident in it. Women who DON’T want to be like other influencers…but have their own sense of style. Those are my people.
So what does that mean for this blog, Dressing Dallas? Maybe it’s a rebrand? New content ideas? I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for my blog at the moment, but what I do know is I want to add value to people’s lives. I want to start discussions, support each other, and help other women achieve what they want, when they want it. I want to have everything be fun, have meaning, and bring joy to other’s lives. Will I still use affiliate marketing in my blog? Probably sometimes. But you can guarantee that when I share something, it’s not going to be coming from a place of money.
I think we are past the age of “affiliates” and are in the age of authenticity. I hope other influencers can join this trend so we can work together to uplift each other and bring joy into each other’s lives. That’s what social media was intended to do in my opinion, so that’s what I’m going to focus on.
So I’m tired of selling to you. I promise from here on out, you will see the authentic, true me. Whether it’s fun topics, heavy topics, or anything in between. I promise to be me and bring you content that will enrich your life. And if I don’t, I won’t be offended if you click that unfollow button.