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When I first started blogging, I was concerned about the work-life balance I was looking to achieve. All these blog posts I had read about starting a blog made it seem like you had to put in hours of work to get anywhere. People were making thousands of dollars on their blog after just a few months! To do that, you obviously have to work day and night, spend all your time on Pinterest, and give up any other hobbies you have, right?
I’m a typical millennial. I have to work 35-40 hours each week at a low paying, physically demanding job in order to simply pay the bills. This often involves working 10-12 hours days most weeks, and let me tell you – being a vet tech is exhausting! You’d be exhausted too if you had to wrest overweight golden retrievers pretty much all day, every day. How on Earth was I supposed to be successful blogging as well?
Well, it IS 100% possible to make money off your blog AND maintain a full time job. There is absolutely no reason your blog shouldn’t be successful with just a few hours of work here and there. After all, isn’t that the whole POINT of things like Tailwind and ConvertKit? To do the work for us?
If you’re looking to blog, and think you can’t because you work full time, I’m here to tell you you’re WRONG. I know you’re wrong, because I do it! I’ve BEEN doing it since May, which is almost 6 full months. If I can do it, you can do it too! While blogging and working at the same time, I have still been able to:
- Complete blogging courses like Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- Achieve the threshold for my first payout via Google AdSense
- Make a handful of affiliate sales
- Gather a couple hundred Pinterest followers
- Find groups on Pinterest and Facebook that will help me bring my traffic to the next level!
And so much more!
Here are my tips for blogging with a full time job. Remember that it’s a marathon – not a sprint! Following these guidelines will help you grow your blog while maintaining your blog – and your sanity!
Use Your Days Off to Your Advantage
It goes without saying that days off are precious. They’re a time to relax, recharge, and spend time with our loved ones. It should also be a day to work on your blog!
I’m not saying you need to work 9-5 on your blog any time you get a day off. We’re all adults here and know other things need to get done too – cleaning, grocery shopping, and taking care of the kids, to name a few! Still, it is extremely important to make a to-do list each day of things you have to do that day. Make sure you finish the WHOLE list – no excuses! It doesn’t have to be very long.
On my days off, my list often looks like this sample schedule:
- Write a new blog post – I have a notebook that I carry with me full of blog post ideas. I pick an idea and write about it that day. Because I have them already outlined, it usually takes me only an hour or so to write out the post. This includes creating a Pin for the post on Photoshop and scheduling it via Tailwind.
- Update one old post – When I update a post, I go back and check a few things. First I make sure it has all green lights with Yoast SEO, and all the links I have to outside sources (affiliates, other websites, etc) all still work. I then create a new image for that post and create a new pin for it on Pinterest.
- Look at Blogging Resources – I have a whole Pinterest board of posts I have to read about blogging, finding good stock images, being successful on Pinterest and Etsy, and so much more! I usually set aside time to read 2-3 of my bookmarked posts on my days off.
- Update Social Media – This involves posting on my Facebook page and scheduling my pins for the week!
It usually doesn’t take me more than a few hours to get all of this done. These are all extremely important things you have to complete on a regular basis to be successful. Your list may look different, of course, but do what works best for YOU. As long as you are making a list of tasks and completing all those tasks, you’re well on your way to being a great blogger!
Do What Makes Sense for You
This goes off my last point in the last heading – make your list personal to you. For example, if you’re a food blog, your day off might consist of editing photos of your meals. It may involve testing a new recipe and cooking it a few times until you get it just right. Whatever you do during your working days, don’t just follow a template some other blogger gives you. Make it work for YOU and what works in your schedule.
For example, I like to publish posts on days I have a full day off – but because my schedule is not set in stone, it varies on what days I CAN post. So rather than stress myself out about ALWAYS posting on, say, Sundays and Wednesdays, I look a few weeks ahead at a time and figure out when it makes sense to post. If my days off are Monday and Tuesday one week, I don’t want to post new content that close together. So for that week, it may make sense to post on Monday, and then post on Friday, when I only work until noon and have the rest of the day to post.
I recommend getting a super nice planner like this adorable one from Amazon so you can write out your work schedule and also write out which posts you want to post and when. Having it written down always encourages me to actually DO it. My own personal planner from Michaels sends me positive vibes every day!
Determine What Is a Waste of Time
When I first started blogging, I joined a bunch of Facebook groups that were centered around blog promotion. They have threads every day where bloggers can post their most recent blog post. The idea is that each person who posts ALSO promotes ALL the blogs of everyone else who comments. Unfortunately, there is no real good way to make sure everyone actually does this. To be a team player, though, I spent a TON of time visiting blogs I had no interest in, with no content I wanted to actually share to my Pinterest followers, in the hopes they would promote my blog.
For one of the groups, about 70-80 people would comment on a thread. Guess how many people actually would share my posts?
Yup, that’s it.
After a few weeks of realizing that these groups had basically NO impact on my stats, I stopped. And guess what? No drop in traffic!
Those groups were a huge waste of my time. I instead focused much more on groups that are focused around Disney and travel, which are in my niche, and saw much more success.
If you are determining that something you’re doing is a waste of time and isn’t helping GROW your blog, just drop it. If you drop it and you DO see a dip in traffic, you can always go back to it. Pay attention to your analytics above all else, and use that to determine what is the best use of your time.
Work In Time For Your Blog (When You Can) on Working Days!
Like I’ve said a few times – my job has a crazy schedule. Some days I work open to close, and other days I’m only there for about five hours. This is when planning comes in once again. If I know I have a short work day coming up, I’ll come up with a few things to do when I get home from work and make sure I complete those tasks. It’s not TECHNICALLY a day off, but making good use of your down time is important!
Even on days when I work 7 AM to 7 PM, I still end up doing some things for my blog. On my lunch break, I’ll hop on the Pinterest app and manually pin just a few pins to keep the Pinterest algorithm happy. I’ll check my email on lunch as well. When I get home, before I head to bed, I usually schedule a handful of pins to keep my Tailwind queue happy. Even just 10 minutes of pinning helps my blog grow and keeps my audience engaged.
Don’t stress out trying to do a ton of things if you’re working long hours like I do. Remember that you can’t grow as a blogger if you’re exhausted! There are some days when I had an AWFUL day at work, my feet are dying, and all I want to do is watch Modern Family and then go to bed. So that is exactly what I do! I know that my Tailwind queue is still working in the background, and the work I have done on other days will hold me over until my next day off.
Just do YOU!
Blogging does not have some formula that everyone has to follow. On the contrary, you need to find what works for you in order to be successful – if you try and be just like everyone else, you won’t see growth, and you’ll get frustrated. Remember that these bloggers making thousands a month on their sites may have been at this for YEARS. Just like with any business, you need time and patience to make it a success.
It IS 100% possible to blog while having a full time job. The more you blog and the more content you produce, the more you’ll continue to grow and connect and eventually make it big in blogging. It takes time, and with the proper amount of planning, you can still make great strides and eventually reach your goals, which may involve quitting your job all together because you’re making enough on your blog!