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I'm Still Here

Have you ever felt like the only person that believes in you, is you?

Part of my 2024 blogging goals included re-sharing posts from my previous (now-dead) blogs, to keep those memories and update the content for further value now.

One post that has always stood out in my mind is this one, I'm Still Here, about choosing myself when a YouTube network I used to work with decided to drop me. I believe the first portion of the blog was written around 2013ish, over ten years ago, but I don't have the exact date from when I copied this over.

The reason this content still resonates with me is that I'm still blogging now, while so many of the people I knew back then are no longer in this industry.

Even though my strategies have changed and my goals are different, having a place to express myself has always helped me live a happier life.

That's the best ROI anyone can ask for.

So while some of my phrasing is cringe, the feeling of this post is still with me. I'm going to preserve it below without any edits for future me to remember what it's like to choose yourself when no one else sees what you bring to the table.

The original post:

I debated writing this article for less than two minutes. I had to share this, not just for me – but for everyone.

As my regular readers know, I’ve been doing “this blogging thing” for four years now. It started with my YouTube channel and grew into the site you see today. It isn’t big but I wouldn’t say it’s small. I’m not famous but I wouldn’t say I’m irrelevant. I’m not a visionary but I wouldn’t say I’m not inspirational.

I’m just me…And I think that’s why this is important to say.

I started vlogging and blogging because I didn’t have many people to talk to. Sure, I had friends but they didn’t have the same interests as me. Like so many other bloggers out there, I started blogging so that I could have a place to call my own. A digital home to express myself.

I realize that now, but when I started my channel that was a different story. I acted like a typical beauty guru, even though that wasn’t who I was. Quickly my subscriber numbers climbed and I was getting 1,000-3,000 views per video with my most viewed video having over 300,000 views. Not an astronomical number but considering how crowded the beauty community is…This was and is still a big deal for me. All signs were pointed to me becoming “a thing.”

Shortly after joining the YouTube Partner Program (at the time there was an application process), I became a StyleHaul partner. StyleHaul is a multi-platform network that works to help partners become more profitable and grow faster. I was ecstatic to join the team and triple the amount of money I was making with this new partnership.

Contractually I am not allowed to say my pay at StyleHaul but the gist of it is that you get a CPM rate, meaning you get a certain amount of money per thousand views. This really appealed to me because it felt more stable than just getting a random percentage of ads sold on my channel month to month from YouTube and Google Adsense. I was locked into this rate for two years and then after those two years, the rate would increase if I stayed with the company. This works for StyleHaul because they take a gamble on what channels they think will eventually be worth more than the rate paid. Assuming I understand the process, they believed I had something worth backing.

As time went on, I realized that I wasn’t being true to myself. I was buying into the beauty guru community and was molding myself to fit in. I’d also like to add here that I love the beauty community and have no problems with it. 85% of the channels I subscribe to are beauty gurus. It just isn’t me. It never was.

So, I stopped fitting the mold and started to add more lifestyle content. My YouTube channel and blog became who I really was and what I really needed, a place to express myself.

And then the views started going down. People stopped subscribing. I was no longer on the fast track.

You know what? That’s okay. I grew to be okay with my new position. The viewers that were sticking around cared about me for who I truly was, not who I was pretending to be. It was worth it.

But then last month I got an email from StyleHaul. Even though I stayed with them after my two year contract and my rate had increased, I was being “demoted” (my words, not theirs) to a percentage based pay instead of a fixed rate.

The money I was receiving before was not substantial. Like I said, my views were down. But that money paid for one of my grocery bills every month and I was immensely proud that doing what I loved was helping me feed my little family. This new percentage based pay? It yielded me less than half of one of my grocery bills.

I’m not upset at StyleHaul. I appreciate what they have done for me over the years and I can see why this move made sense, business-wise. My channel didn’t pay off and they had a right to cut their investment. I still get the benefit of being part of their network and get more of a cut on the money I generate from ads than I would have without them but it still stung. Numbers wise, I was no longer a winning horse.

But what big companies don’t see, is my heart. It’s in the right place. I am me, finally. I’m still here. That is worth celebrating.

I am writing this not to bring attention to my situation but to tell all of you that no matter what other people see in you, only you know your true potential. You are important. You are worth it. Being yourself is worth more in the end.

I believe in you.

2015 update:

My four year contract has expired and I told StyleHaul that I would not like to renew. In these email correspondences, they told me that all channels are being shifted to a percentage of ad revenue rather than a CPM. I don’t know if that is true or if larger channels still have a CPM, but I thought for the sake of disclosure I should mention it in my follow up.

But regardless, I wasn’t interacting with the network often so I thought I’d give it a go on my own.

To my happy surprise, I’m making a little more on my own than with StyleHaul. Still no where near my peak a few years ago, but regardless, it helped ease a bit of my nerves after leaving the company.


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