Last week, WhatEmmaDid.com turned the ripe old age of 7 years old. 7 years strong in the blogging world, and it’s the first time I didn’t ‘officially’ celebrate the blogs birthday. When it turned 5, I went all out and the blog even had its own birthday cake. Yes – it really did, and it was a bloomin’ good celebration! And even last year for its 6th birthday, I made a huge occasion out of it.
But this year, I noticed it, felt proud of myself, and then just continued to keep my head down with it and crack on with all the hard work.
A lot of bloggers who are 7 years strong like WhatEmmaDid.com are full-time influencers now, the majority having strong YouTube channels and make a full-time living out of their blogs. I almost did this last year at the beginning of 2016. But I’ve always been quite a head strong career girl, working my way up in fashion and beauty marketing since I graduated from my degree in 2007. I also run a fashion boutique and work as a freelance makeup artist too… so I guess you could say I work around the clock.
I’m not alone is this crazy full-time-blogging with full-time-work malarkey. In fact, the majority of bloggers I know and meet regularly are in the same boat. Some super successful, whilst some see it merely as a hobby and a past time. So, the question is, how do we do it?
If you’re reading this and have a blog yourself, but find yourself struggling with time management, blog quality, social media promotion and just the general work-life balance of it all, you’ll probably relate to this blog post. I’m no pro on balancing my blog-work-life schedules, but after 7 years, I thought I’d share with you how I sort of manage to keep a float…
Know Your Priorities
When it comes to blogging, as much as you love it, enjoy it, have a strong passion for it and are bursting with ideas, you have to come back to Earth at various times and ask yourself the one question: Can I survive from this alone? A lot of people can if they are students or live with parents, Me however, have my own mortgage for my own house, my own car, bills, savings and a very active social life. So in many occasions, I’ve had to prioritise my Monday – Friday role in fashion and beauty, aside from my blog.
Luckily, I’m currently a Beauty Editor for a U.S beauty retailer, in which I manage a team of content writers and social media executives. Although I run and manage What Emma Did everyday, my job brings in a healthy salary for me and allows me to have the life I want. And more importantly, it supports the blog financially. Time-wise, it’s never going to be ideal. But the point of this message is for anyone reading this to bear in mind what your priority is. And for me, it’s keeping my house, car and everything else I own ticking over nicely.
This is a tough one, and I’m not sure I’m the best person to share advice here. My time management is something I could do with improving throughout 2017, because quite frankly, it’s all over the show. I wake up at 6am most mornings so I can plan my social media activity and reply to international emails before I start work. In the Summer, i’ll utilise the light mornings and get some quick blog photos in. I’ll work during the day, and I’ll go home and work on the blog.
However, I can’t do this every evening because I like to spend quality time with my boyfriend, friends and family. And weekends should be my well deserved break, right? Wrong, because I can’t ever seem to switch off from running What Emma Did.
I guess the one thing I have learned from over the 7 years is to find your own balance, and how it benefits you. I’m a morning person, so that extra hour in the morning works for me. Sunday evenings are also a chilled night where I can plan in blog content, write up some pieces, and schedule throughout the week. I’m far from nailing this skill, but maybe when I have, I’ll come back and tell you more!
Work Professionally – Dress Professionally
This one is an important one to me. As I mentioned before, as well as being the founder of What Emma Did, I’m a beauty editor for a retail group, I’m a makeup artist and I run a boutique. Although it’s extremely hard to manage, there’s no point in doing any of them if you can’t pull off each one professionally. When I’m in work, I have my retail head on. I think about how to bring in revenue for my work, creative ideas and plans, a million miles away from my blog. I dress smart and I present myself as the employee I should be. It’s all about looking and acting the part for that particularly role.
One certain style I’m going to try and incorporate during the day is to start wearing business style suits. Not the traditional, unflattering styles, but the trendy, style led co-ordinating styles that women are rocking for work these days. They give that message of empowerment and sophistication, which I’d love to try. ESPRIT have the nicest business inspired looks and designs, which I discovered from looking online on their site whilst having a browse for business-chic looks. I currently have my eye on a pair of gorgeous Cropped Style Cigarette Pants from Esprit, which would go with all sorts of shirts and smart tops.
I also think you can’t go wrong with a number of staple workwear dresses in your wardrobe, similar to the style of this Luxurious Mesh Dress in Metallic Silver.
Learn The Tricks
I say this quite loosely, because they’re aren’t too many tricks of surviving when it comes to juggling a full-time blogger role with a full-time job and an active social life. But there are some pointers which have helped me. Here’s a couple:
- Have a paper diary. I know the world is electronic these days, but actually jotting down your blog events, blog deadlines, photography ideas and to do lists makes it seem more real, and is much more organised. Keep the diary with you at all times. I find this releases the stress that sits with me about where I should be and what work I’m on deadline for.
- Invest in quality equipment. And by this I mean a phone or iPad which stores all social media apps, a camera which takes sharp imagery, photo editing software, and have bright backdrops to hand for blog photography. All these things make it much more easier.
- Have blogger friends.So this is easier said than done, but if you regularly go to blogger events, over time it should happen. It’s also an idea to organise your own meet-ups too. Having friends who understand what you do, the struggles and the strains, really helps you feel like you’re not the only person in the world running yourself to the ground. Just to be able to speak to like-minded people regularly has gotten me through some manic periods. Even if you can’t physically meet them, there’s nothing wrong with social media blogger friends.
Analyse Success Regularly
Make sure that blogging is worth it for you by analysing your success regularly. After 12 months of blogging, your social followings should be growing, your daily statistics of visitors increasing, and exciting opportunities growing. You should also notice an improvement in your quality of work. If none of these are happening, then perhaps consider if blogging is right for you. Or perhaps it is, but is much more of a hobby which you take part in maybe 1-2 times a week. It might be it’s not worth the stress for you, and much more focus should be spent on your full-time role, your social life, or studying something new.
Use It To Create New Opportunities
So this final point is my favourite point, and one that makes everything associated with managing full time blogging with full time work worth it. Blogging can create opportunities you never knew would come your way. For me personally, it allowed me to open my own fashion boutique (What Emma Did Boutique). It gave me a ready-made platform, a large social following already set up, and the skills to promote and market to the fashion conscious ladies out there. I also retail across the more affordable shopping sites, like when styles go out of season, to reach a newer, different customer base.
With some blogger friends of mine, I’ve seen blogging turn them into models, TV stars and huge influencers who get to travel the world. What you put in, you really do get back, and when the opportunities come rolling it, it’s truly fantastic.
Set yourself your own goals with where you personally want to end up. Put in the hard work, and see where it takes you…
Finances and Bookeeping
Although running a website alongside a job can provide a decent side income, you have to bear in mind that it is exactly that. Income. And like all income earned, it has to be considered as ‘wages’, which needs taxing.
The problem with living the busy lifestyle of running a blog alongside a job (and other aspects of work) means it’s hard to keep track of projects, paid work, social media promotions and a whole load of earnings. This is where learning the art of bookkeeping is super useful. With running a business must come a clear and concise way of working with finances. Bookkeeping is all about keeping tabs on all your earnings, expenses, business in-comings and outgoing, with taxes etc in mind.
This is an aspect I struggle with, because I admit I’m not so strong with numbers. It would be beneficial for me to take a training course this year, such as Souters Bookkeeping Training in London. If you find yourself a little scatty and messy with keeping on track of finances like I am, then perhaps it’s something you could do with considering too
And finally – good luck! No one said it’s easy, and in my opinion, no one ever will. I honestly think that running a blog platform and managing your presence and workload is the hardest job possible. Much harder than any other employment job I have had.
But if you’re passionate, you’ll really make it work.