Can We Talk About the Elephant in the Room?

This past year has been a whirlwind. When I started my Instagram account fifteen months ago, I assumed it would be a fun hobby. But thanks to all of you, I now quietly tell people I am a blogger. As in a full-time blogger.

I don’t tell people I am an “influencer” because I don’t like that title. I am not on Instagram to influence people. Rather, I am here to share the things I love!

Blogging is a really fun job, but it doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and hustling behind the scenes. For every photo you see, I’ve spent hours curating the products and items, styling them, taking the photos, editing the photos, etc. And when the post is sponsored, there’s a lot more that goes into it than I ever imagined. 

Today I want to get rid of the “elephant in the room”… sponsored posts and affiliate links. 

One of the key reasons I am now a “full-time blogger” is because of the brands I am now able to partner with. In other words, I am compensated by brands (with free product and/or money) for sharing their products. Basically, it’s an endorsement and currently a very popular form of advertising on social media. I like to think of it as the new wave of marketing. 

Yes, I am collaborating with brands and they are paying me for these collaborations. But you need to know a few things. For every partnership I accept, I turn down a lot of opportunities. That’s because I won’t endorse a product I don’t like. I also won’t endorse a product that doesn’t fit with my brand. And I don’t want to do too many. I promise.

When I do partner with a brand, I try to really hard to share how and why I use this product. I also try to add my own twist and make it personal. One thing I never realized is how much time it takes to create, photograph and write these collaborations. Some take an entire day. Others take more than a day! And I bet you didn’t know almost all of the collaborations have to be approved by the brands. So editing is often a big part too.

But please know I am doing this so I can share what I think are great products and services. Some of them are new to me (which is always exciting to find new brands and things that I love) and others I have been a fan of for years. For example, in the past year, I’ve partnered with Ebay which I’ve used for years. I also worked extremely hard to partner with Hobby Lobby which was a dream come true because it’s one of my go-to stores for decor! Those partnerships are some of my favorites because they’re truly taking an element of my everyday life and amplifying it to be able to create something really special together. Without partnerships with brands, I wouldn’t be able to do this full time. Plus, to be totally honest, the income actually helps me justify why I spend so much time on Instagram! (And it makes my husband happy!)

Next time you see an “ad” on my blog or Instagram can I ask a favor? Could you stop for a second and read what I have shared? Maybe you will take time to like it and comment. I don’t know if you know that likes and comments are one of the things a brand looks at when deciding to work with me again. So yes, your support helps.

And next time you see a sponsored post on another Instagrammer’s account, please do the same. I promise we are all working very hard and just trying to make a living. And we would love your support!

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  1. Thanks for your “behind the scenes” on blogging. Being fairly new to IG I wasn’t sure how it all worked. Thank you!

  2. I love your blog and your Instagram account. I’ve learned a lot. Your energy is amazing!!! I have a blog and I Instagram as well. Still learning… Will you share your Stories magic? Is there an app you use? What is the method. Perhaps you could do a blog post on how you to do stories. Thank you so much.

  3. Leslie
    I like your “ads” I trust your recommendations, I know you’ve actually tried the product and I end up checking out the sites and ultimately buying. I never thought about the likes and comments, but I’ll try to remember it on the future

    Have a great summer and birthday “season” ????

  4. I appreciate your candor and honesty( must be the South Pasadena in you) I enjoy blogs-I think of them as the new magazines. We want to support bloggers and was never sure of how to- so thank!

  5. Love your posts, enjoy looking at the photos and reading what you have to say, keep up the good work!!!

  6. I love this post – just for my small collaborations it takes so much time. I can not imagine how much work you put into this! We love what you share! Keep up the great work!

  7. You got it! And don’t think I don’t have a search on eBay for the coveted, hauanted, taunted, and flaunted, Martha Stewart spice rack!,,

  8. You do a great job of incorporating your sponsorships and your opinions! Your blog is very honest, fun and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thank you for clarifying this. I love your style of decorating and writing. I hope you keep doing it.

  10. Wow! Had no idea that our likes and comments were important!! Thank you for sharing!! I’m always reading anything you have to say on your blog and IG account!!

  11. This is more of a question, but how do you become affiliated with the companies for there products to endorse? Do they approach you by the amount of followers you have or is it by the tags and likes??
    Thanks for all your information ❤????

  12. Thanks Leslie-very inspirational and a wonderful review of some of the things you taught us in your Marketing workshop!

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