Today the news broke that ad agency Mode Media had gone into liquidation. For those reading who might not be familiar with what Mode is, lemme explain. Long explanation short, they sell advertising space on blogs, representing some pretty big names in the industry. When I was approached by them three years ago I was over the moon - at the time it felt amazing to be handpicked by a company like that, especially as they worked with bloggers I'd admired for years.
I've worked on campaigns ever since here on Apartment Number 4 and, unlike some, I'd never really had any issues - they'd always paid on time (albeit 120 day payment terms were a pain in the arse but I naively saw it as savings) and they came to me with some great brands to work with. Plus, it wasn't my main source of income so what came from there was a bonus.
When I spotted the news on Twitter this morning - note that Mode still haven't been in touch to inform us of what's going on - my first thought was f%*k. Obviously, it was devastating for the people who walked into work this morning, not having a clue what was going on. But also because the company owes me thousands of pounds for work I've done for them.
The likelihood of retrieving the money is minimal, especially as it continues to come to light how deep the company are in debt. I'm blessed in that fact that I have a 9-5 alongside my blogging career, so that money was going towards my house deposit and not being used to pay the electricity bill or likewise. But this money is a relied-on-income for some and now it's gone because of the shitty, ill-judged way some idiot (I'd like to call them something stronger but let's keep this PG13) ran their company.
It's a tough lesson to learn for all of us affected, but what's come out of this is the lesson to work with me, myself and I - and only that. On my terms. There will be no middle man holding my money, the money that I've worked long hours for and deserve in my bank account.
When people ask about blogging, some seem to think it's pretty much all freebies, drinking champagne and writing about stuff I like on the internet. What they don't see is me working until 1am, to get up at 6am to go to my day job, then come home again and work, as well working all weekend to shoot products, to source props, to manage social media accounts, to sit for hours replying to comments and emails, to use my own money to fund campaigns until payment comes through etc. I work long hours, as do most other bloggers, and I deserve to be paid for those hours I've worked.
I've actually seen Tweets today bashing bloggers for "bragging" about how much they've lost in the Mode Media debacel. This isn't a case of bragging about how much you earn. It's about letting the blogging community - which is mostly supportive aside from the few dumbos - know what you're going through and to see if you can help anyone else who might be going through the same thing. I'm certainly not going to brag about money I don't even have anymore am I? Some are taking to Twitter to smugly say they never understood why bloggers would join up to an agency in the first place, especially as said agency takes 20 per cent of your earnings. Want to know why I did? The pure ease of it. I work full time so they did the hard work of putting me forward for campaigns with brands who didn't even know about me before that point. It was simple. And yes they took 20 per cent, but it wasn't my main source of income so whatever came from Mode was a bonus.
I'm not sure what I'll do about the money now. I begrudge losing it without a fight, but I'm pretty clueless as to where to start. Even if the liquidators do start to pay off the debts of Mode, it's highly unlikely it will filter down to me after unpaid rent, staff wages etc.
I think I'm more angry than anything. I don't understand how a company can just close like this, after bringing in a reported $90m in profit last year. WTF? The poor girls who worked there were contacting me on Monday of this week proposing more work.
I know if I work hard I can make that money back again, but it's the time I spent putting these campaigns together. I invested a lot of my own money into creating the content, all the while thinking, it's OK because I can put it back into my savings soon. And now I have a big empty space in my "saving for a home" account. But I'll be damned if I spend longer than today being upset. It's money. It doesn't make my world go round. I can always make more. And I've learnt too many valuable lessons for it to be a complete negative.
From now on, I make my own money. I negotiate my own terms. I run my own business. Not anyone else.
Oh, and another lesson. Money is never yours until it's in your pocket.