For 2019, as I do every year, I set some goals based around my ‘why’.  Nope one of them wasn’t to become an instagram influencer and give up the day job!   I defo need less screen time not more!

The Polar Express window at Seven Stories and the chance to bring the book to life for my son!

You can read about them here.

Goal – to work with more ‘like minded’ brands.  Why? 

I was curious about this ‘slice of the pie’ and it seemed to fit with my work values and ethics.

It also encouraged me to continue with another related goal of reducing my carbon footprint.  By being paid to work at home and make more time for our beautifully simple Northumberland life.

I made around £1000 from working on writing online and influencing in 2019.

I also did a lot of hours for ‘free’ or ‘under’ my normal rate.

Here are two ways in which it worked for me… 

Notebook with butterflies and hot chocolate

The space to write – where’s your fave writing bolt hole?
















A. Being a paid writer 

When a productivity website contacted me to write for them, I was delighted but I guess a little suspicious.

I had my solicitor check out the contract and it was all good so I started writing for them at the start of 2019.   I enjoyed the writing I did for them on the whole.

A few months later their investors pulled out.  I was paid for the work I’d done but the site is no longer live.  I don’t know whether I can re-publish the articles on my own site or whether I have to cut my losses on that.  Time to dig that contract back out.


  1. Being paid to write (it was $12 per hour and I had to log into a online time sheet)  I actually write quite quickly so I realised I needed to turn on the timer for my thinking time which was tricky as the timer monitors all the programmes and sites you open and sends your employer a report.  (BIG BRO).
  2. Learning more about SEO – my line manager would send me an article structure and key words to try and include – I wasn’t great at this and I’m still not to be honest.
  3. Feeling confident enough to pitch to other magazines and have the bonus of other links to include as well as my blog.  This was probably the strongest positive for me and the most aligned with my 2019 goals.


  1. Being sent loads of stuff I didn’t want.  One of the things I had to write about was reviews on planners and office products.  I did steer the team to send stuff that I would use but there were some things which just didn’t fit with my values or work.  (The specifics; a tiny desk top plastic fish tank).  SO SAD and naff!
  2. Having to cull my authentic voice.  A lot of the articles were heavily edited to the point where I felt they lost the identity of what I’d written and my name was still on them.

How much did I make?

About £400 – I got charged for being paid in dollars so didn’t actually get the full amount.

Would I do it again? 

Not for this particular company or in this way no.  Why?   Because I’ve done it now and the writing on my own channels suffered as I had no time/ energy left to write on them.  I even had time off instagram – unheard of!

B. Brand Partnerships 

I’ve done some brand partnerships on my very small instagram channel and over on my Creatively Conscious blog.  The list of people I’ve worked with is here. 


  • Free stuff that I actually really love and use
  • Fantastic experiences
  • Working with the commercial sector and better understanding it’s motivations
  • Getting better at taking photos (one of my 2019 goals)
  • It’s fun and creative!


  • Comparison trap – there are people that do this for a living and they are really good at it – you really have to just stay in your own lane.  Don’t confuse glamour with beauty and speak to your audience the way you know they expect you to.  Does it make any sales?  The jury is still out as apparently we have to see something on average 17 times before we buy it – I think for me it’d more like 7.
  • No or little payment.  You really have to think through your energy here.  If you get a free product work £20 or more but if the brand are very pushy about how you should share it that might not be worth your while.  Most of the brands I’ve worked with have been really happy with the way I work but it’s not a given.
  • Creativity blocks  – if I’m busy with work projects I can’t always think of how to bring the brands to life so I need to treat each partnership like I do my other work and give it space to come up with ideas.
  • Charging – I have yet to figure out a way to charge for creative thinking time which I usually do in the car.  😉

How much did I make?

  • Just over £500 in gift value and payments from brands.  (I don’t have a massive online following but most brands don’t seem to mind that if you want to work with them for free stuff).

Would I do it again 

  • Never say never but it won’t be one of my goals for 2020.

So what do you think?  Is it as you expected?   I’ve definitely satisfied my curiosity which was the whole point of the goal.  I’ve asked lots of people ‘how’ they do it too so there’s no mystery there now.   Happy to have a chat with anyone who is interested.

I know there are some instagram influencers who have achieved huge goals by writing and influencing online and big salaries/ family holidays too but for me I have fallen out with #ad a little  – tell me a story instead guys!

Claire x

PS – all of the blogs I write connected to the arts management and mentoring work I do are here.

all of the Creatively Conscious blogs I write are here and that’s where you’ll find zero waste, family and wellbeing stuff.