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How I Work Full-Time and Blog

I get asked often, "How do you have time to work full-time, raise kids and blog?" Today I'm sharing my answer and some tips on how you can have a fun side-hustle while still pursuing your career! 


I started blogging 7 years ago in Abilene, TX, a year after Alex and I were married. I had no kids, was working an admin job, trying to pay off debt, and going to school at night to get my MBA. I started this blog as a creative outlet, as most other bloggers do. Money was not a part of it, and there was no unboxing or watching bloggers get free stuff in 2011. There was no Instagram...well maybe it was around but I didn't use it for years. I look back on my blog posts and they were mainly short snip its of what was going on in my life tied in with an outfit. These days my blog posts are longer and usually a bit more personal, because I feel like I've grown with this blog. It's hard for me to write a surface level post. I want to go deep and let you in. Some of you have been following me since the beginning...THANK YOU!

Back then people would have laughed at the thought of a blogger making a full-time income, and today it's acknowledged as a legitimate career path for many. I know many women who have quit their day jobs to blog and now make way more than they ever did. I wouldn't lie and say I'm a bit envious to see what it's like to go ALL IN to blogging, however I really do love my day job. My job is my career, and blogging is also a part of my career. I make money doing both, however I make much more at my day job.


Here are my tips for those who want to blog and continue to work full-time.

STAY ORGANIZED:
Write it down! I love a good planner I can physically write down my blog commitments and work commitments. I like to add my nightly events to my iPhone calendar so they can sync with Alex's calendar. I prefer a simple monthly planner rather than a weekly planner, and I look at it every single morning. For collaborations that have specific deadlines, I write in my planner when the photos need to be taken, when the draft needs to be submitted, and when the final post is set to go live on my blog.  I also like to use my planner as a place to jot down notes for potential blog post topics. I'm sure most people use their phones, but I really enjoy writing it down on paper.

PRIORITIZE:
There is no such thing as balance, so go ahead and let go of the guilt of trying to do it all. Things I'm constantly juggling include time with my husband, writing, socializing, exercising, editing photos, reading/playing with my children, networking, cleaning and a few more I can't think of. My advice is to stay adaptable, don't worry about your schedule moving around because life happens. Every day is different, and some nights I stay up way too late blogging and some nights I fall asleep at 8:30pm while reading to my son.

I will say that Alex and I are an amazing team, and we give each other the freedom to get out of the house each week. I socialize a bit more just because I get invited to a lot of blogger events, but he does something with his guy friends once or twice a month. Tonight I had an event I was invited to, but I RSVP'd no because Turner had baseball practice. I didn't actually go to his practice, but stayed home to take care of Walt and Whitney.

Ultimately, make time for what's important, and stick to to your commitments as often as you can. I also write down a to-do list EVERY single day of the things I want to check off my to-do list. During my lunch break or when I'm walking from one meeting to another, I might respond to an email or try to check one of those items off my to-do list. Make use of your down time at work.


KNOW YOUR LIMIT:
It's taken me a few years to learn how to say no, but after having twins I realized my window of free time is VERY slim and every minute counts. Some weeks I'm really busy at work, and by the time I get home I'm exhausted (then add kids). Those nights I try to go to bed before 10pm, but most nights I'm in bed by 11/11:30pm and wake up around 6am. I usually have to force myself to go to sleep because I want to stay up and write, pitch or edit. I wake up early some mornings to finish writing or to post to Instagram before I leave for work.

I am much pickier when it comes to choosing blog collaborations, and only focus on projects that are valuable. I have to say no a lot, and I've learned it's respectable and polite to simply be honest. My replies usually include one of the following reasons; I'm too busy at the moment, I don't think it's the right fit, or they aren't able to meet my compensation requirements.

It's up to you to determine when you have too much on your plate, and intentionally slow it down if possible.  The nice thing about working full-time is that if I need to take a break from blogging I can. I don't put a ton of pressure on myself to blog a certain amount of times every week or month. I blog when I feel like it or have a specific deadline for a brand. My income is not tied to my blog which allows me to take a lot of pressure off of it, and any additional revenue I make is a wonderful bonus for my family.


HAVE FUN:
The second blogging stops being fun you need to take a step back and figure out why it's not enjoyable anymore. Not motivated? Take a break. Uninspired? Find some activities that promote creativity and let your mind wander. Write content that flows easily even if it takes forever to write a post. Get it all out or break it up in a few posts if possible.

When I see a fellow blogger doing an awesome collab with a brand, it usually inspires me rather than making me feel jealous. It makes me want to try harder! If seeing other bloggers create amazing content gets you down, slow down and ask yourself why? Why are you so upset?

Remember why you started your blog in the first place. What is the message you are wanting to share? What is your unique story?

LEAVE PERFECTIONISM AT THE DOOR
If you are reading this and have been wanting to start a blog but haven't pulled the trigger. Just do it! The main reason I've been able to blog consistently the past 7 years and work is because I leave perfectionism at the door. There are times when my photos and the layout of my blog aren't as nice as I want them. I don't have time to be a perfectionist, and most working moms don't. Some might argue that it's all about quality and if it's not perfect than don't put it out there, but I disagree. Some of my most popular posts are ones I threw together last minute because I simply couldn't wait any longer to share my story.

I put off creating a YouTube channel for years, and I finally just started filming in my CLOSET...haha! One night I decided to record myself telling the birth story of Walt and Whitney and today it has over 100,000 views. People still leave comments asking, "Why are you in your closet???" Well folks, I left perfectionism at the door and did the dang thing. I didn't buy special lighting, I didn't create a studio, I simply did it!


Know that if you do blog and work full-time, your co-workers and/or boss will likely know about it. Since day one of writing here, I knew I wanted to keep my content professional. I do get in to some pretty personal topics, but I'm proud of everything I've written. I've even put my blog on my LinkedIn page and resume. It's an extension of the quality of work I do and I'm proud of it.

I once heard that just because you don't do something full-time doesn't mean you're not passionate about it. Those words really resonated with me because while I absolutely love blogging, it's not something I want to do full-time. I like a steady pay check, conversing with a team, and pursuing marketing career goals.


1 comment:

Kristan Braziel said...

I love this so much! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites - it's what I want my blog to be when it grows up!

Your words at the ThriveCon earlier this year resonated with me ("Sometimes I write about style, sometimes I write about my kids or my job - I just write about what I want to write about.") <-- Such a breath of fresh air to hear, because everyone else says to "stick to your niche! stick to your niche!" I'm like you in that I have lots of interests and I love that being a lifestyle blog means that I can write about allthethings and it's still "on brand." You are a great mentor for bloggers!