You Don’t Have to “Beg” to be Successful


I have written a lot about success, and I'm constantly thinking about it; what it means to me, how to identify it, and pushing it even further. But not once have I ever said (or thought) that you must BEG for it. To be fair, I think that Amy Odell chose the wrong word (probably on purpose, to get more page views) when she used the word beg in the article on Cosmopolitan, “If You Want to Be Successful, You Have to Beg For It.

I HOPE she meant that you have to prove yourself, work hard, and go after what you want, and you will be successful, and NOT that you should get down on your hands and knees and beg for jobs or work.

Sometimes I do see the desperation, and begging that goes on amongst fashion bloggers (but not just), and it's not pretty (slide shows, too many giveaways, constant sponsored posts, hashtag overload). But, you do not have to do desperate things for traffic, comments or attention, you just have to focus on what you're good at, what you love, work harder than you think you have to, and you will achieve success. As I've said before, your success will probably look very different from another blogger's success, and that is OK.

Your success may mean that you have extra money in your clothing budget, that you start writing for your local newspaper, or you get to review something you really love.

Maybe success to you is that you connected with people who have similar interests to you – everyone's success looks different.

My success is firmly as a mid-level, slightly under the radar, fashion blogger – and I'm happy there right now; I'm doing everything I want to do exactly how I want to do it, and earning a very good living at the same time. You would be stunned at both how low my page views are and how much I earn from affiliate commissions each month; in theory, it doesn't make sense. But because of my unique combination of talents, that I started nearly 10 years ago, and my niche, I've been able to make it work for me.

I worked very hard to get where I am – I reached out to everyone I thought would make great partners for my sites and I made sure to firmly establish myself as an expert in my niche early on by proving that I knew what I was talking about and building up a portfolio of successful partnerships. I knew what I wanted and went after it as hard as I could; I didn't beg.

I never compromised my values or what I wanted to achieve for my brand by going after something that wasn't relevant, or by accepting something I didn't want to do. That's what “begging” is to me – the pleading, “I'll do anything” mentality that sadly IS prevalent among a lot of bloggers today because they DO think that is the key to success. Now, thanks to Amy's article, even more people will think that. It is NOT true. Pleading, desperation, and selling-out will only get you so far. Knowing what you want, working hard, and never, ever compromising will get you much further – in life, and in work.

Don't beg. Do:

Identify what you want

What does your success look like? Where do you want your blog to “be” in a year?

Determine how to GET what you want

Figure out the steps (write them down) to getting what you want. How will you GET your blog to where you want it to be in a year?

Do the work to make it happen

Just do the work. Do everything you can think of to achieve your goals.

Work even harder

When you're done working, work some more. Keep checking in with your values and goals to make sure you're heading in the right direction and NEVER compromising.

Reach a milestone for success

Once you've achieved success, determine how long you want to stay where you are. Can you keep steadily growing?

Enjoy it

Take a moment to congratulate yourself on getting where you are, then figure out what you're doing next 🙂

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14 Responses

  1. Vale

    I totally agree with you ! Begging isn’t beautiful and desperation isn’t, neither. In my blog I only do some collaboration from time to time, with things I REALLY like and love, I turned down offers of collaborations I didn’t like because what’s the point ? It saddens me to see some kind of blogs where the only displayed things and outfits are based on things received from brands, it seems some people will accept anything as long as it’s gifted, even if it looks really ugly. I want my readers to see what I truly buy because I like it and love it, and to know if I talk about a brand it’s because I truly like the things they sell. Success is doing what you like, and enjoying it 🙂

    Fashion and Cookies

    • CynthiaCM

      But at the same time, those blogs get way, way more press from larger media and more opportunities. I’ve been blogging much longer than many Toronto bloggers who get “profiled” and I think I’m prettier than many of them too, but while PR seems to know of me, major publications don’t.

      • Vale

        I can relate with you totally, Cynthia. Same happens in my country, Italy. Anyway, it should be up to PR and brands to understand the worth of a blog, it’s a pity sometimes they just look at the number of FB followers (in some cases they are so obviously fake, you see blogs with small traffic and content, only a few months of history and thousands of FB followers with no interaction at all and most of them come from unrelated countries…you can smell bought followers from a distance, oh well). I sometimes feel disappointed by these behaviours too, but I am proud to keep blogging my way 🙂

        Fashion and Cookies

  2. Eva Tornado

    I do not accept Amy Odell ‘s position for me. According to her point of vision we all should force people work with us.

    As a PR specialist I have the only truth for me – never beg for work, but do all that people come to beg you to work with them. The same about your brand and product – never beg to buy it, but do everything that people come to buy it.

    So your position, dear Grethen, is more closer to mine!

  3. The Internet and The Unicorn

    I think you have some wonderful points here and this is such a great topic. So let’s say I am writing and producing items that I am passionate about, but as a new blogger trying to gain entry and therefore hastag the life out of some images to get an initial audience base. I am wondering if that is considered “begging”? This has often crossed my mind, as I sometimes do find it uncomfortable having to overwhelm a tweet or an instagram with hashtags, its just not attractive, but maybe a necessarily initial evil? I don’t have an answer to this but ping pong the pros and cons inside my head. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Grechen Reiter

      one or two relevant hashtags (AT MOST!!) are fine, but more and you just end up overwhelming and annoying the people who follow you because they enjoy your content. your readers and followers should always come first; put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if you enjoy seeing 20 hashtags on each instagram post…

      and yes, i’m sorry, but so many hashtags smacks of desperation. or at least an inadequate knowledge of hashtag etiquette…

  4. Beverly Catherine

    I totally agree with you , it is very tempting to just in a way hand yourself over especially when you start out . But I think that it is better to try and sometimes it may seem as your not going anywhere with your Blog and you want to give up because I do feel like that sometimes especially as I am only 14 and do blog myself , But every time I read the posts even though they may not be something I would usually read , it also makes me want to carry on . I shall carry on , working hard because if you do not put the work in there is only so much you can get from it . And as I have been told many times” it is the amount of hard work you put in that will come out in the end ” . Just by reading this I get the exact message crossing my mind . (:

    Beverly |

  5. Xina

    on my end im like a joan rivers perez hilton andy warhol of sorts. people expect me to kiss their asses and write like they are the best thing since sliced bread or else they wont share or support me. its pretty funny. like my blog should revolve around other people which is IS to an extent but more importantly its about my life, what i like, and thats why people visit often. also models, make up, whoever, they all want their names mentioned or else they could give a F***. thats kinda a tampa bay thing. in tampa they just want to see themselves but on my g+ following they dont care about lil ol emerging tampa bay. and the art community could care less about fashion. the whole thing is funnyyyy.

  6. Iddi F.

    Nice article Gretchen! I never begged myself because I have learned in other situations that people find that really annoying — and that generally I find that really annoying. You have to exude a certain kind of confidence and let your blog do the TALKING. I mean you can promote it casually and do your marketing, but there is a fine line between doing that and being a pestering opportunitist.

    One mistake I was making initially was PANDERING (not begging but kind of miserly nonetheless). Because I was catering to the trends, celebrities, current happenings and did not yet have my point of you. Now I have learned to feature what is relevant and what I love. Because nobody isma superhero…there is no way to keep up with everything. You just have to keep up with yourself and interact with people…that truly is the way to go!

    Thanks again Gretchen! <3 <3 Iddi

  7. Jeanine Marie

    I have had blogs before but this time I decided to take it to the next level. I work hard day into night on my blog and it doesn’t feel like a job. I have had some great opportunities and met some interesting people in just the two months I have been going at it.

    I have to remind myself that success (for most people) isn’t instant and you must keep plugging away at. Begging doesn’t look good on anyone.

    Jeanine Marie

  8. Asia Mays

    This was a great read. Allowing me to reflect on where I’ve come and what I’ve been doing regarding blogging, especially the hashtag usage, based on relevance of the post.

    -Asia Monique

  9. Kelly

    There is nothing more unbecoming for a blogger than to constantly beg. It’s a turn off, really. To me blogging is a personal journey and challenges you to push yourself. Begging for attention isn’t as beneficial to me as keeping at it. I end up unfollowing people who do mostly sponsored posts, only tweet about themselves, etc. It’s transparent and when you consider what a community blogging is, it’s really a disservice to yourself because there are so many great people out there to meet and you’re turning them off just be being all ME ME ME!

    Great article. As always! IFB is always so insightful and true <3


  10. Sahra

    I agree with a couple of points made…begging IS a turn off. Too many giveaways, et cetera. But going around, commenting on other blogs to check out your giveaway is just smart marketing.

    I also agree with commenter Cynthia; I’ve been blogging for nearly 4 years…I STUDIED fashion, I use proper terminology, have visited showrooms, worked in the industry…then watch newbie bloggers who are ALL about begging for attention come up and get partnerships and then misuse fashion terminology. It’s infuriating, but it goes to show that it works, at least for them.


  11. Skye Charlie

    I love this post. I think I’m the queen of not compromising. I’d work my assets off 🙂 before I compromise who I am, what I believe in, and so forth. Now that’s dope.

    – Charlie