Hey CWS fam! How are you doing? I hope you’re doing well! Can you believe the holiday season is here? I feel like I just had Jace, blinked, and then here we are. Time is such a funny thing. Life has been wild for me this year.
Creating content full-time while being a stay-at-home mom of two kiddos has been so stretching for me. It’s been tough to try and balance both. Somehow, I have been able to keep up with pushing new content out but it’s been at the cost of my mental health. So, there are some changes on the horizon for me.
About a month and a half ago, Mike and I talked about the future and how we want our lifestyle to be as the kids grow. Mike has always been an anchor for me, so he’s witnessed firsthand the anxiety and stress I can get buried under when it comes to some of my work. We got into a deep conversation trying to figure out where the root of my stress comes from and we figured it out. I’m always trying to stay consistent in posting on social media and that can become a huge stress. Mike asked if I’m trying to stay consistent just to keep up with everyone else or if it was money-related. My answer was no to both. Long story short, the root of my stress is brand partnerships.
Let me explain further! It’s important I break this down. I LOVE working with brands. I have had hundreds of incredible opportunities over the years to work with brands that I adore and I’m so grateful for it all. There is a ton of behind-the-scenes work that goes into content creation as a whole and even more added when it comes to brand projects.
I have always been very choosy with the brand partnerships I take on. I don’t take on every campaign or opportunity that comes my way. I was never in this just to make money on whatever I could. It’s always been important to me to work with brands that I love, use, and believe my audience might like to learn about, all while keeping a healthy balance between organic and sponsored content. I feel I’ve done a great job at keeping that balance over the years. However, during the times I’m not sharing sponsored content, I still have pressure on me related to working with brands.
Analytics… insights… metrics… whatever you want to call it – this is what bogs me down with all kinds of anxiety. Even if I don’t have sponsored content to post, I need to keep posting organic content so that I can keep my metrics up and current in order to land brand partnerships. Follower size doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean much these days but engagement and reach do. This is why I have been pressuring myself to stay consistent in posting at least 4-5 times a week on social media. The constant anxiety and stress this brings me are unhealthy.
I always need to be posting so my stats are current and (hopefully) growing so that I can work with the brands I love when the opportunities present themselves.
Before going further – disclaimer: Not every brand I have worked with fits my general breakdown below. I have worked with some incredible brands over the years that do the exact opposite of the examples below. A huge shout-out to the brands that appreciate, respect, and value content creators. Y’all are the MVBs!!!
Working with brands can be another beast in itself. Some brands are completely unorganized with campaign details and expectations. Some have straight-up awful communication. Some try to take advantage of you (i.e. trying to sneak perpetual usage rights into contracts so they can own your content without paying you for it). Some talk down to you and insult you. Many will try to underpay you. Some simply don’t respect you (and other creators). You get the picture.
Working with brands seems like a dream but underneath the surface, it can be a nightmare.
This year, I had a panic attack or some kind of mental breakdown before creating/shooting for the majority of the brand campaigns I have taken on. When I say majority, I mean a good 85-90% of the projects I’ve taken on this year. I’m talking about literal panic attacks where I feel like I can’t breathe, I get nauseous, and sometimes feel like I’m going to pass out. I’m talking about literal mental breakdowns that leave me convinced that I should just quit content creation altogether. It’s been really hard. I’ve been a mess. I need change.
When I started Coffee With Summer over 8 years ago, it was so that I could have a positive outlet to channel my creativity, share my life experiences, and connect with others. I didn’t start my blog or social media platforms to work with brands — or to even make money at all. I hadn’t a clue when I launched my blog that it was possible to even make a penny from it.
A year after starting, I had my first opportunity to work with a brand on a paid project and fell in love with it. Three years into my content creation journey, I had the chance to take the leap from a hobby blogger to a full-time blogger and content creator. My biggest motivator in going full-time was so that I would one day be able to stay home with my children, while still being able to bring in an income. And here I am. I did it. I made it happen!
Mike and I were talking about me stepping back from my work for a bit due to the anxiety and stress it’s brought me. Getting to this point in the conversation was hard for me because I have worked so hard to get where I am today, so how could I take a step back when I want to keep going forward with creating? But Mike reminded me of a sweet truth and it was exactly what I needed to hear…
“You have worked so hard creating content full-time for over 5 years to be able to get where you are now. You are here. You did it!”
Just wow. What my dream was when I made the leap to full-time years ago is now my life. I’m a mother to two incredible kids and I get the privilege to stay home with them because I have worked so hard (and because I have the most supportive husband). I’m here. I’m living my dream. Working with brands was a dream for a season of my work but my children, my family… this has always been my life-long dream.
My chapter of creating full-time is coming to a close. In 2023, I’ll be transitioning to creating part-time and I’ll significantly be stepping back from brand partnerships. I’m going to be getting back to my roots of creating. With planning to homeschool and getting the kids involved in more activities in the years to come, this is exactly the route I need to take. I’m SO excited for this next chapter!
As a content creator, I have a variety of income streams and brand partnerships are just one of them. I won’t really be pitching brands and I’m going to be even more choosy with any projects that come my way. I’m not saying goodbye to all brand partnerships – just the majority.
I want to focus completely on my little family. I don’t want work projects keeping me from family time. I don’t want work projects to impact my mental health to the point of shutting down mentally in other aspects of my life. I don’t want to miss out on the everyday magic with young kids. I want to thrive in becoming the best mom, wife, and person I can be. Stepping back is going to allow me to thrive. I am so excited.
I’ll share more about my plan for refocusing in 2023 in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. As always, thank you for being in my corner.