There’s loads of advice online on how to start a blog, and a lot less on how to blog while working full time.
The reality is that it takes a long time (at least a year) for any blog to become profitable, and longer still for a blog to because so profitable that its owner can quit their job.
I work full time and run a blog that is not yet profitable enough to support me. I want to pass on my tips to others who want to subject themselves to the realities of a 40+ work week combined with blogging. It’s not easy, but it can be done!
Be aware of the time commitment involved
You’ve probably heard that blogging is a time commitment, and like me when I started, you may be thinking that it can’t be that bad.
Believe me, it’s that bad. Or good – depending on whether you love it or not. (I love it)
To produce quality content takes a fair bit of time and effort.
The reality of blogging is that no more than half of what you actually do (at least at the outset) will be actually writing.
There’s SEO to think about. Website design. Learning WordPress, if you need to. Reading other bloggers’ work to get ideas and scope out the competition. Building relationships with other bloggers who may cross promote your work or allow you to guest blog. Taking photos for your blog. Going out and having experiences that you can later blog about (particularly relevant if you’re a travel blogger). Replying to emails. Researching products that you need to buy (such as URLs, email servers, and other products that will make your life easier). And the big one – promoting your work on social media.
So, it’s important to be aware that it really is a time consuming hobby. If you are a full time travel blogger who roams the world and blogs about it, fine. You work on the blog 40 or 50 hours a week, and everything is good.
But when you already work full time elsewhere, finding 10 or 20 hours a week for your blog can be tricky.
So, the first thing for anyone wondering how to blog while working full time is to simply be aware of what it’s going to mean.
Don’t be afraid to spend money
Because you’re time poor and (presumably) have a bit of disposable income thanks to your job, I highly recommend not mucking around trying to do everything yourself.
When you’re trying to figure out how to blog while working full time, a solid piece of advice is get expert help.
Spending a bit of money can save you a hell of a lot of time and effort and allow you to spend what blogging time you do have actually blogging.
For example, to help save time on social media promotion, I use CrowdFire. Because I don’t have several hours a day to reply to Tweets, follow people on Instagram and share stuff with my followers, I let CrowdFire guide me. It’s a really innovative little app that I’d recommend to any time poor blogger. Basically, it gives you daily “prescriptions” for your Twitter and Instagram accounts which you can click through really fast.
I tend to do my daily prescriptions at work over my morning coffee – it takes about five minutes a day. Well worth the $7ish I pay per month.
Another thing that I’d recommend everyone pay for is getting a logo designed by an actual designer. If you’re like me and have zero freehand or Photoshop skills (writing purists unite!) then this is a sound investment. Nobody is going to take your blog seriously without a proper logo. The reality is that if I didn’t have a full time job, I could happily spend a week figuring out Photoshop. I could, in theory, learn how to make my own logo. But – I don’t have the time. I recommend Freelancer as a great place to find a logo designer fast.
So, if you’re committed to getting your blog off the ground while working full time, don’t be afraid to invest a bit of money to make it smoother.
Set a schedule, but don’t be afraid to modify it
When you work full time, it’s easy for your day to look like this:
8am – get up, go to work.
6pm – gym.
8pm – home and crash.
Instead, try productively utilising time. My top tips in this regard are:
- do you social media promotions on the train to work;
- carry around a notebook to jot down ideas while at work, the gym, etc;
- set aside a block of time every single weekend to dedicate to blogging;
- read the work of other bloggers and do research (on your phone) while commuting, working out, or taking a lunch break at work.
If you do manage to get a good schedule like this going, don’t be too rigid. It’s important to know how to take a break when you need one.
Rope in your partner or family to help with the non-writing tasks
Blogging is a hell of a lot more than simply writing stuff.
When I started blogging I thought I’d just write cool stuff and that’d be fine. Wrong!
As I mentioned above, a lot of it is social media. This is something other people can help with.
I have a friend who is a genius illustrator with thousands of Instagram followers. Like me, she works full time – so she gets her boyfriend to do all the social media audience-building and interactions. Saves her a lot of time. You too can ask a sibling or partner to help out. It’s really just a matter of getting them to like stuff and comment on the work of other bloggers. Profile-building stuff.
Have a blog tax file
Okay, I know this isn’t specifically about balancing blogging and work – but do it anyway. Have a file on your computer, preferably also on the cloud, and save PDF receipts of all your blog-related expenses there. They’ll be useful deductions for you once you actually start turning a profit. And – it’ll save you time later.
Good luck, aspiring working bloggers! As you develop your blogging skills you’ll work out your own tips and tricks on how to blog while working full time. I look forward to reading about them!
Bloggers who work full time and manage a blog – what are your pro tips on how to blog while working full time?