BLOGGER AND EDITOR OF FROLLEINHERR.COM
WHY KARO IS OUR GIRL:
I met Karo all the way back when we were both working for ELLE. So it thrills me to see how far she has come and what fascinates me most is the step she took a year ago: she went on this super exciting adventure of not only being a freelancer but on to create wonderful and inspiring stories and content under her own name, on her very own blog called frolleinherr.com. So we have been dying to know how it really went down, what’s it like being self-employed for real, if saying good bye to the world of print magazines was hard and how she handles pressure as a now full time blogger.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Karo, just turned 30 years old, Berlin girl living in Munich and blog for a living: Frollein Herr.
You became a freelancer a year ago. Why and how was the process? For how long did you plan it?
Before I decided to start freelancing in November 2017, I had been working at ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar for five years as editor - my absolute dream job! But I have to admit over time, and with all the restructuring and the thunders going through the print-business as well as the extremely strict hierarchies at the publishers encouraged my wish to be more independent and creative freedom grew more and more. I have always wanted to write – always. I studied literature and my goal was always being an editor at a print magazine. Then the dream job changed, and the daily work changed over time due to the digital power that came slowly at first but surely. Colleagues got let go, magazines got shut down or merged and at one point I was asking myself, what’s next for myself? Should I just wait until I get laid off, should I wait that they put more work even on me for the same salary because there are too few people, or should I simply take matters into my own hands.
“Well I did in the end. The idea for Frollein Herr was born. My creative outlet, my playground where I could write about what I wanted and where I am my own boss. If something goes wrong, there is no boss to take care of it or to be mad but also, if something goes really well, I know, it’s all me.
An amazing, very freeing feeling!”
So yes, the thought or the idea about my blog came slowly but steadily and grew into a vision after a few years until I finally had enough balls to do it and until I finally said, I can’t do it anymore.
How where the reactions of family, friends, colleagues, people around you?
The reactions were super mixed. My friends, who knew I was thinking about this for a while, were super on board and supported me. My family as well, even though they couldn’t really imagine it what a blogger does, but they believed in me.
My colleagues though, did not understand my decisions. For them I was leaving THE dream job, why on earth? Yes, it is a dream job but it only pays your rent well if you are in it for at least 10 years. Most people who enter this field new, most likely will have a small salary and tons and tons of work. And in Munich for me it was no longer doable. Throughout the first years where I was still training it was totally ok this way, but I simply couldn’t live off my salary as an editor. I took the decision for myself. I know this sounds different but I am a true print lover and supporter, it’s just if you are all just a small wheel, I believe you don’t have lot of options. I hope this will change again in the future.
How hard were the first months?
I have to admit that I had a relatively soft start due to my Instagram Account I had before and due to all of my relationships and contacts I established while I was at the magazine. I experienced support from day one! Not sure if I had started a blog when I would have started at the very bottom to be honest.
But yes, there are months that go super well but there are also months where I don’t have any incoming money on my bank account. You have to keep that in mind, that every month could be different.
How courageous do you really need to be to be an influencer?
Mhmm, I don’t really like the word courage. It sounds like I am doing world changing stuff. I am not saving lives or anything. Maybe yes, you need a little courage but more you need a good idea, lots of grit and an excellent sense of reality.
If you only are in this because you think, you will be the next superstar and you get everything for free, don’t do it. If you believe in yourself and if you are ready to learn a lot of new things and know that things are not always perfect, I truly think, the internet is big enough for everyone. But: you have to be very good. Like in any business there is tons of other people who might be better, so you gotta work hard, prove yourself and you have to get up after setbacks and stay professional. If you can do that, everything is possible.
“What’s also important for me was a Plan B aka a college degree or a traineeship – that’s a must for me. No one knows what the future holds, so it‘s so damn important to have something you can rely on. In my case, it’s the craft of writing that could pay my bills when things go wrong.”
How does a typical day look like for you?
I am getting up at 7AM, check Instagram and Google Analytics, share the latest articles in IG story and check my email. Then I have breakfast and depending on if I have a meeting or not, I start right away.
The rest of my day I usually spend researching, writing articles and answer mails, scroll through online shops and take pictures – in my apartment, on the street, alone or with a photographer. In the meantime, I am constantly on Instagram answering comments and DMs being in close touch with my followers because this is so important to me. The whole engagement is the most time-consuming part, but it helps me a lot getting new ideas or understanding my followers better. Something you don’t really have when working in print. I am responsible for everything, it’s all on me, I don’t have colleagues or an Insta-boyfriend to take care of things for me.
How much pressure do you put on yourself?
It depends. I am expecting a lot from me and I am a responsible and eager person. I have not slept longer than 8am for the last 1,5 years (expect New Year’s Day), because I have to upload my first post. There I am super strict and there are no exceptions for me. Also, I realized, not every day is the same, so there are days where I know I am not the most creative or productive, so I let it be. And pick it up on the next day. If you are a freelancer, you have to be like a good boss: Very strict but understanding. I think overall, the pressure as a freelancer never fully goes away.
Do you have any fears?
Yes, very often. If I have a day where I only have a few readers or barely any reach on IG, I think that’s it and I can close down frolleinherr.com for sure. But mostly it’s just a bad phase and then a good one comes along. I got more relaxed and I rely on the thought that it will get better again. I am also aware that maybe in the future I might have to look or decide on a second income if things go not perfect, but that’s in the future. I always compare it with me opening a store. If I had done that instead of founding a blog, no one would expect me to have everything re-financed within a year. With blogging I didn’t need a big loan and I barely have overheads. Also, the risk is super small so I can concentrate fully on my content, instead of worrying to pay back the loan.
Have you ever regretted your decision?
“Not a single day.”
Your raw advice for anyone who really wants to be a freelancer:
“Really think about, if you are the type of person for it. You have to be so intensely convinced from your product or project that you can constantly motivate yourself, pick yourself up again, that you can be proud of yourself, and that you are super motivated. Not everyone is up for that or likes that, and that is totally okay.”
My dad was a freelancer, so I knew early on what it means when work comes ALWAYS first. I never thought I’d be the person for it but here we are. I realised at one point, I am not good at implementing visions from other people, I’d rather work on my own.
Are you proud of yourself and your blog?
Very. I know it’s new and it takes a while to get used to tell this to myself but yes, I am proud of myself. I conquered the first year of working as a freelancer with all highs and lows – and I am still standing.
I am very proud of creating a unique look, language and variety of topics for frolleinherr.com as I don’t think this is super common in the blogger world. For me, the text is in the focus, I cover polarizing content, complex topics but I never exclude anybody. I want to be close and authentic to my readers. Everything can be, nothing has to be as we say in German.
What are your most distracting things when working?
The household itself. If I work on the laptop but spot the huge pile of laundry, I get distracted. And, Netflix of course. The Tv is only two meters apart from my desk – and I love watching my favorite series during my lunch break. And after that it’s hella hard to press the pause button.
How do you combine working and living?
It’s a curse and a blessing that in everything I do “privately” I can make a story out of for the blog. No matter what, visit at the dentist or being on holiday. That’s a typical thing if you are a blogger or an influencer obviously.
“There are no weekends or holidays on social media, and I am indeed reachable 24/7 to find a good balance is what I am currently learning.”
How do you motivate yourself? Do you have any tips?
I have to say, I didn’t struggle with motivation at all last year. When my alarm goes off at 7, I get up and start working. I know what I have to do and who I do it for, myself. I cannot cheat on anybody. Things just need to get done. It was way different when I wasn’t self-employed yet. Back then, I would just turn around and snoozed away. Honestly, I have to pay attention because my private life cannot come short obviously.
“But, what is also important: Even though I chose this life and I turned my hobby into a living, I am allowed to not feel my job and think it’s shitty every once in a while, like when writing invoices and doing taxes.”
In your opinion, what can one do to contribute to a broad and diverse acceptance in beauty?
“Some have a few kilos too much, some have a few kilos less – and still are happy and healthy. We need to stop judging and categorizing people or features as normal or not normal.
That is not good for anyone.”
For example, during my teenage year I always had to proof to people that I don’t have an eating disorder because I was so skinny. I thought, I have to eat a lot of junk food to prove I don’t have one – and I did for years. Now my metabolism is screwed up. Today, I don’t care anymore. Some people think I am too skinny, some think I am too big. As long as I am comfy and happy!
And: Being super honest helps a lot. I personally think, we also have to talk more openly about apparent disgusting things like skin problems, weight or foot fungus. It’s only becoming a problem if everybody acts like these things don’t exist.
How do you define beauty?
I have been struggling with my looks in the past. I wanted to be more beautiful and better. Now I am more than fine and with myself still I feel the constant need of changing myself. With Fashion and beauty, I want to get the best out of me, want to feel comfortable and maybe yes, I want to experiment a bit. We are living in a time where anything is possible - I could never only pick one style, look or ideal .