In My Journal on
October 28, 2014

I’m Still Here

blogging numbers don't matter

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.

So, I’m still here. I’m still writing. I’m who I was meant to be, finally.

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  • Nivika

    This is such an honest heartfelt post! I’m glad you do post you enjoy, this really shows and I will always be a fan of your work.

    I wrote a personal post here if you want to read it

    October 29, 2014 at 1:21 am Reply
    • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

      Thank you so much Nivika! I really appreciate it. I tried clicking on your link and it didn’t work. Can you send it to me on Twitter?

      October 29, 2014 at 4:15 pm Reply
  • Bryceena

    Accidentally deleted my first comment, RE-DO: I love your blog and your website. I feel like I can relate to you and I much prefer how your site/YouTube/social media is now more than ever! I enjoy your kindness based lifestyle and I’m a sucker for your all natural ways! I think that a lot more people are turning over to an all natural and healthy lifestyle. Style Haul should appreciate that and realize that IS relate-able. I think that is exactly why I stopped doing my small channel; I felt as if I was buying all these high priced makeups (chemicals) just to fit into this category that I admired. I am way happier now that I live my life for me! This post has actually inspired me to maybe start up again in the future and not care who sees or doesn’t see my posts. Thanks for always staying real and kind! :) <3

    October 29, 2014 at 3:22 am Reply
    • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

      Thank you so much Bryceena, you’ve been a supporter of mine for a long time now and I sincerely appreciate it. I’m really happy that you are enjoying the change in content. Let me know if you start up again! I believe in you =)

      October 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm Reply
  • Zoë

    I don’t really make money from my blog but I always do what I love, and that is definitely the most important thing, you have to be doing something you are proud of and enjoy. It’s okay not to be typical :) The most important thing is that you back yourself!

    October 29, 2014 at 7:56 am Reply
  • Heather Chambers

    I LOVE this post, it’s so insightful and real! It really does pay to be yourself and have your own voice, especially in the blogging and vlogging community. It’s important to not forget who you are and that way you will followers who love you for you! Thank you for the insight and advice, you have a lovely blog! :)

    Heather X

    March 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm Reply
    • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

      Thank you so much Heather for taking the time to read and comment. It was a difficult lesson to learn but I’m so glad I’m comfortable with who I am now.

      March 13, 2015 at 9:35 am Reply

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