Sarah Neely

The Cons As A Professional

Sarah Neely
The Cons As A Professional

Fashion styling and blogging sounds like a pretty easy and sweet gig, right?  Like imagine how fun it would be to sit front-row at fashion shows, be flown by brands to exotic locations for events and spend a lot of your time playing dress up while amazing photographers snap photos of your outfit combination, make-up artists beat your faces, and talented hairstylists slay your hair?

Don't get me wrong, fashion blogging can be all of those things (and it's just that in the eyes of many), but for a select few it's also a profession.  As you rise up the blogging ranks, the job becomes a job with real responsibilities and a significant amount of expenses. 

There's no denying that we do score a lot of free stuff but as a blogger who is on a budget and trying to build a brand and get more exposure, we tend to work with different people to help market themselves. Yes we do a lot of work for free with photographers, MUA's, hair vendors, hairstylists, designers and boutiques. This can be a good and bad situation. 

Nevertheless, you send out emails to work with different people and you also have people reaching out to work with you (both is truly normal). This is my biggest issue with working with people for free, no matter the terms and conditions; some are not as professional as you may be. What I mean by that is as a professional you should put in a lot of effort towards your brand and always try to give your best, no matter if the gig is paid or free. This means you are looking for the opportunity to work with the artist in the near future. Now on the other hand, this is hard when the artist you are working with for free isn't as professional as you and may only be looking at this as "you reached out to me and I agreed to do it for free, so you shouldn't expect to be getting treated as if it's a paid gig."  Yes this happens a lot. It happens when they reach out to you and it happens when you reach out to them. You and the artist can plan the shoot and have a scheduled date and on the day of the event either the artist doesn't respond, the artist responds late and says something comes up (i.e. Work, family issues etc.) which I understand emergencies because we all have them sometimes but what bothers me is when they text or email the day of to say "I had to work, didn't have time, I forgot etc.".  As professionals, many times we have traveled to the destination and collaborated with different people or had models travel to work for free on projects which are very frustrating for everyone involved but the kicker is their favorite line is "I am doing this for you, it's not like I'm getting paid. I was doing this for free."  Now this little line should never be mentioned during an apology for something you both agreed to do. Most of all, this says a lot about you and your brand. It shouldn't matter if we're doing it for free or getting paid because we’re both are getting an experience from this, not to mention exposure so no it's not really free as we are both gaining from this.  As professionals we're getting more experience, creating new content for our portfolio and gaining more exposure from each of our audiences. Then on top of that, you should treat all project as if it's a paid gig no matter if the you agreed to do the project for free or not. The reason I say that because at the end of the day you agreed to do the project because you first liked my work secondly you did your research before you agreed to see what type of audience I have not to mention you said "Yes!"  Not to mention you never know what opportunities you may get from the person or what opportunities you may miss out on. So yes it says a lot of you and your brand and your lack of professionalism. 

Blogging and styling isn't about dressing up and posing in front of the camera.  A lot of time people will try to downplay your talents and your level of professionalism and brand to try to make you feel bad for their mistakes. I'm here to say it's not you and it was only God blocking what he knew wasn't the right fit for you and your brand so don't ever get discouraged and feel like you are the bad person in a situation like that. Because people will not see your success like you see it and they will try to make you feel less worthy than what you deserve. 

I've  learned that you never know what’s going to come off an opportunity so I still gladly promote brands for free if I genuinely like them or, work for free if ‘the E word‘ is actually worthwhile but I’ve also learned to trust my instincts and know my worth. If a brand contact you and decides that they want to work with you, they want access to your following so don’t be afraid to insist on the treatment that you know you deserve.

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

Photographed by T. Walters

TOP: (These Pink Lips) HERE

SKIRT: (DIY, thrift store)

HAT: (Thrift Store)

BAG: (TJ Maxx)

HEELS: (Old, Nasty Gal)

BELT: (Thrift Store)