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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why We Decided Not to Sign with Blogger Agencies

Why we said no to signing with a blogger agency - Should I sign with a blogger agency?

I mentioned in this post that Jesse and I rejected opportunities to sign with blogger agencies in the last 12 month and since mentioning that I've received lots of emails from both readers without blogs and fellow bloggers wanting to know more. 

Originally, I wasn't planning on posting anything about this as we'd said no to the requests and went on with our lives like they never happened. But then I realised that there might be other bloggers out there getting these opportunities and jumping in head first without thinking about the consequences - and there are probably lots of you reading this who are wondering why we'd be crazy enough to reject an opportunity that could have seen our bank accounts sky rocket...

So let me tell you Why we said no to Blogger Agencies who wanted to sign us;

The Beginning - it all started with an emailLet's do things properly and start at the beginning....

One day I received an email from a blogging agency. They'd been following the blog for a while and really wanted to have me as part of their agency - but first they wanted to chat. Could we meet up for a coffee to talk about how they could help me and how I could help them?

The ExcitementDon't think that I was always against the opportunity, because at first I was really excited - and so was Jesse and my family.

We kept the excitement to ourselves, however, as I have learnt not to get too excited about things until you completely suss them out - and definitely don't tell the world something that hasn't even happened yet.

So I was realistic. I'd meet with them the next week and I'd see where it went from there. I knew it had to be a decision that I was 100% sure with so I went in with an open mind - remembering that I don't owe them anything and they don't owe me anything. It has to work both ways. 

The Coffee MeetingAnd before I knew it - it was time for that meeting. We talked about how it would work with me on their books - the kinds of brands I'd be working with, the income I could expect, the fees they'd take, the schedules, the travel opportunities, the media opportunities, where I wanted the blog to head, where they could see the blog heading.

It was all very positive but despite my initial excitement, I began to have doubts

Deja vuThey say everything happens for a reason and, funnily enough, within a week of going to that initial meeting, I received almost identical emails from 3 other blogging agencies - both International and Australian agencies.

I went through the same process with each of the four agencies - initial email followed by a meeting (both in person and via skype for the overseas agencies).
Talking it Out
Jesse had only been involved with one meeting with me as we'd been incredibly busy. He was working, it was leading up to our wedding and everything was a little bit crazy.  But this was a decision we both had to make (as you can't have Southern In-Law without the Southerner!) so we talked it out - and we talked about it with my family too.

We're a family who don't make major decisions without consulting each other - we're all a part of the process.

That's just how family works for us. We're close and we have each other's backs - and we're also not afraid to speak up if we have a differing opinion (because sometimes someone else has to be realistic for you)

Pro's and Con's ListI also had another process I had to go through - the pro's and con's list. My friends and think it's hilarious but I'm the kind of person who has a pro's and con's list for everything. 

Whilst Jesse can make impulsive decisions, I think about every single detail - so a pro's and con's list it was. I write them out for work things, personal things - and I make mental pro's and con's lists for just about every decision I make... even if it's just whether I buy that pretty plate at Target or not (even though I usually ignore those con's.....)

I knew exactly where that pro's and con's list was, so I dragged it out to share with you all...

Pro's and Con's List
We could potentially earn enough money to blog full time 
We could earn nothing at all for the effort given
Media exposure could help us grow the blog 
Having someone else call the shots could ruin our blog entirely
We could earn enough money to allow for both of us to blog full time
I could ruin my business by focusing all my efforts on the blog
We'd have opportunities for travel
We wouldn't be in control of what we're posting or who we're working with
We'd be able to share more with our readers than we do now (more travel posts, tips on gluten free travel right around the world, more info from big brands/celebrities etc).
The agency would be receiving and replying to all of our emails and making decisions for us
The exposure could lead to us achieving our biggest dream - a book.
The fees the agencies take out are huge - is it really worth it?
By working with bigger brands we could have more opportunity to get our opinion and our reader's opinion heard (product suggestions, feedback etc).
We wouldn't have that "SIL Style" that we do now as the agencies would call the shots on what we right, what the blog looks like, what we can/can't share, how we share things, where we promote things etc.
We can't support our favourite smaller brands or companies that don't go through the agency and pay their fees. 
I'd have to blog to a schedule, not to what I want to talk about on that given day.
Our life posts may be off the board completely as they're not commercial.
The blog could turn into one walking, talking advertisement. 
I could be working with brands that I don't personally love - and sharing products that I might not even like just because they're paying for exposure. 
I wouldn't have as much time for making/photographing recipes
I'd spend more time posting recipes they want me to post instead of recipes I randomly create and love. 
The agency would have control of everything to do with the blog - my email account, my google analytics account, my advertising, my posts, my schedule, what events I go to, where I travel to, when I travel, when I can have time off, when I post, what I share etc.
I don't think I'd want to read my blog anymore - and I couldn't blame others for not wanting to read it either. 
I'd lose that sense of community that I have now. 
Southern In-Law just wouldn't be what it is now.
I wouldn't be happy.

As you can see, there were definitely more con's than pro's - and that wasn't even the entire list.

It was something we thought long and hard about. A decision we really had to make carefully. Sure, I had the opportunity to potentially blog full time, earn far more money than I do now and even possibly earn enough money to support Jesse and I from blogging alone - but there was also the opportunity to completely ruin the blog and community I worked so hard to create... 

Saying No
So I said no. We all did. It was a decision Jesse, my family and myself made as one. It wasn't a decision I was prepared to make and it wasn't a decision they were prepared to let me make. 

I decided to stick to what I'd been doing all along - being a blogger. I wasn't going to be a blogger for an agency - someone who just wrote what they were told to do. I wanted to write my own posts, answer my own emails and do things my way. 

Sure, I work full time, blog on the side and run a youth group, am part of the church welcoming team, help out with Mainly Music, work on all of the graphic design for our church, go to bible study groups, babysit and generally wear too many hats - but I'm happy.

I don't make "the big bucks" and we don't yet have our own home - but I have a husband who I get to spend time with and who I absolutely adore.

That last point on the pro's and con's list was the most important. I wouldn't be happy. I could have been earning the "big bucks", I could have been working with huge brands and traveling the world - but would I have been happy? I don't think so. 

I would have been trying to fit to their schedules and deadlines and writing posts that I wasn't passionate about, working on recipes that I didn't even feel like making or eating. I would have been putting a persona on the blog instead of who I am. I probably wouldn't have been the best wife either as I would have been wrapped up in their little bubble.

Instead we share our real life. We share our ups and downs and recipes that we made because we wanted to - because we loved them and wanted to share them with you ASAP because they're absolutely delicious. We work with brands who we genuinely love and write posts about things that we're passionate about. I'm proud to say I'm a blogger and proud to share my blog with everyone because it's a little piece of my heart. I get emails that make my heart sing and I know that I've helped many people enjoy things they never thought they could have before. 

Instead, I'm happy and I don't regret the decision I made one bit! Never ever choose money over happiness - actually, never choose anything over happiness - not fame, not status, not things, nothing. 

But tell me, what do you think you would you have done if you were in our shoes?
Bloggers, have you ever considered joining a blogger agency or publicist?


  1. I think you made the right choice, Kristy. After reading your cons list, I'm quite sure I wouldn't join one either! It sounds awful!!

  2. Great! Since I've never even heard of blogging agencies to begin with. Your the first blogger I've ever seen even mention it, haha!

  3. Haha it's basically a talent agency for blogger - you're managed by a manager just like a celebrity would be told what to do by their manager. There are a couple in the US that I know of as well as slightly more open arrangements which allow you to be promoted and work with brands whilst still choosing what you post.

  4. Thank you, Jamie! I think it's different for everyone, but for us it definitely wasn't the right choice!

  5. I soooo appreciate your honesty, giving advice, and delightful heart of talking things out with family! And omgshhhh thank you sooo much for talking about this. I feel like these kinds of things should be open shared because we don't want anyone to suffer, you know? I was wondering too--lately I've been getting contacted to CONTACT THEM regarding getting my site up on google's first page, etc. What is that and how do I respond??!

  6. LiziheartvegetablesJune 18, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    I think it's really interesting and it sounds like you guys did the right thing, based on your goals. I think it could be the right move for some people, but I think you guys did what was best for you! That's awesome :) Thank you for sharing your experience!

  7. I personally probably would have done it haha I definitely agree with you that you should be happy. NOTHING is better than being happy and healthy! But, if they're a big name they could probably get your brand/name out there. It would be temporary and once you were well known then you could branch out to your passion. Sort of like a fast track to what you really love. But who cares what we readers think (in this scenario) the choice is ultimately yours!

  8. That's the one thing I forgot to add in - they all wanted us signed onto a contract which lasted x months/years and then if we ever decided to leave the agency, we couldn't work or interact with any brand who contacted us or worked with us during the time we were signed under said agency.

    We did definitely consider a short time go at it - but then it wasn't even worth that!

  9. Thanks for taking the time to read it, lovely! xx

  10. Are you sure they're not spam emails about SEO stuff? I get a lot of spam emails from companies (which usually aren't even real) wanting me to reply to them because they can get my blog/website on the first page of google or increase my search engine ranking but I just delete them straight away because I know that some of my clients have been ripped off or scammed from them!


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