Chances are, I’m probably not the first blogger you’ve stumbled across with a ‘traditional’ 9 to 5 job, and I doubt that I’ll be the last. As much as blogging has become a powerhouse industry of its own, there are plenty of people out there – like me! – who juggle the responsibilities of managing an online space, with the day-to-day pressures of their full-time job.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion project; whether it was designing and creating content for a website from scratch, or developing and drawing a manga-style comic, there was always something creative that I’d have on the go. From the age of about 18, I’ve had a few different fashion blogs on the go, and one thing I’ve always loved about having my own little corner on the internet has been connecting with like-minded peers, and growing a community online with people I can relate to – whether it be a shared love of kitten videos, splurging on designer shoes, travelling the world or even making those blogger connections (some of whom I’ve become very good friends with over the years!).
Best is often better than ‘perfect’
Perhaps it’s a hangover of growing up as an only child – and only grandchild – but I’ve always pushed myself towards a world in which perfect is the only option. Maybe it’s a side effect of being an overachiever, but one things I’ve found is that aiming for perfect all the time is darn exhausting.
Like success, ‘perfection’ is entirely subjective, and Rather than burden myself with the anxiety of ‘falling short’ of perfection, I’ve come to realise that there’s a happy medium to be found in doing your best. By this I mean, creating the best work you can, within the time frame you have, and being proud of the outcome. Taking things into perspective and doing your best is one of the stepping stones to creating momentum, and as the old adage goes; practice makes perfect, regardless of whether that is nailing the art of a flatlay, or developing a consistent photo editing style.
Have a schedule that’s realistic
While it might not always seem like it, blogging can be incredibly time-consuming, and posting consistently can be tough to keep up when you’re also managing the stresses of a full time day job. As someone who clocks in 40 hours a week in the ‘corporate’ world, and a good 30+ hours during my free time for my space online, forward planning and developing a realistic posting schedule have been tremendously helpful in managing my time, and knowing what to write about, and when.
Perhaps somewhat ironically, I find I’m most productive in the morning and from the late afternoon into the evenings (bring on those long lunches…!), so I tend to block out time before I leave the house for my day job to send emails, edit photos or videos, and write copy. During the week if there’s good morning light, I might take the opportunity to shoot a few flatly snaps before I head off to work, and I get Luke to help me with outfit photos on the weekend, by tying it into walking the dog or heading out to run errands.
Additionally, using tools to schedule posts on Twitter (Hootsuite is a good option), or Tailwind for Pinterest can be a huge help and take the pressure off pushing these out in real time, and you can schedule blog posts, Facebook posts and YouTube videos to go live at a time of your choosing in the back end, so take advantage of this if it’s going to help you manage your schedule.
What are your goals?
If you’re planning to start a blog – or even if you already have one – as with any traditional job, it’s a good idea to identify what your goals are.
It’s probably worth noting here that I absolutely love my day job; it fills me with an immense sense of pride, and I wake up on Monday morning ready for the work week ahead (although often wishing I could have spent another hour or two in bed…). But, I’m someone who always loves to be busy, and having a blog and a YouTube channel allows me to do that, but on my own terms. I can reel in back if I think I’ve taken on too much, create more if I’m feeling inspired, but above all, it’s a space that I get to call my own, and there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with that.
Is your online space somewhere that creates value for others? Is it a platform for you to develop your photography skills? Is it purely an outlet for your creative musings? Or are you hoping for it to be something more…?
There’s so much more value in tackling something with a sense of purpose, and knowing where you are now, and where you want to be – whether it’s six months, a year, or five years from now – will help you to put steps in place to achieve those goals, no matter how big or small.
Free time will be at a premium
In addition to working a 40 hour work week at my day job (plus a 1 hour commute each way daily), I find myself spending on average, 30 or more hours a week at home, writing, editing, researching and filming for my blog, Instagram and YouTube Channel. Clearly, there isn’t a lot of that ‘work-life’ balance happening.
I think it’s important to note that this isn’t for everyone, and as a person who genuinely gets satisfaction from creating content, it’s a lifestyle choice that I’ve made that allows me to (in some ways…) have the best of both worlds.
Expanding from my earlier point about being realistic with your schedule, I wake up early to give me free time in the evenings, and I’ll always find a way to make a catch up with friends or family happen, even if it means being a little more creative with how I manage my ‘workload’ across my digital platforms, such as working on the train during my morning commute.
I often tend to joke that I’m extremely time poor, but when it comes to your free time, all that matters is how you choose to spend it… just keep in mind if you’re blogging a lot, there might now he much of it!
Asking for help is okay
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to any singular piece of content, whether that’s a blog post, a photo, or a video, I find it hard to delegate. I want to put my own personal stamp on everything, even if the stress and effort outweighs the actual benefit.
It’s worth keeping in mind that delegating out some of the smaller or more time-consuming tasks can actually free up your schedule, so you can focus your energies on bigger and better ideas (and possibly allow you to sneak in a full eight hours sleep too!). Basically if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Something I apply to both my online space, and my day job, is to avoid the ‘comparison trap’. You may have similar goals to one of your peers, but your pathway there is going to look completely different, and that journey is all part of the ride, and part of what shapes who you are.
In a world where ‘success’ is (wrongly) judged by the number of followers you have, or likes you receive, it can be easy to look at creators with similar content who’ve had tremendous growth or had the opportunity to work on a collaboration you missed out on, and think, ‘why them and not me?’. This sort of mindset is far from healthy, and in the end, you’re only going to end up self-sabotaging yourself. Just remember that your journey is going to be uniquely yours, and every individual has their own story, and own set of stepping stones that will see them achieve their goals – no two journeys will look the same.
In a nutshell, when it comes to blogging, you make your own rules; no two days will look the same, you can make your own schedule, and you can create content on your own terms. One of the things I feel pretty fortunate for, is the fact that I have a day job that I absolutely l-o-v-e, and I have a hobby that gives me so much fulfilment in my spare time, in addition to having opened up opportunities that I never would have imagined. If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s to always live in the present, and remember, the happier you are, the better your work will be! x