As I write this, I'm actually behind on my deadline– posts I write for IFB go live on Mondays and Fridays and it's Monday morning. Yesterday I had to send Jennine an email that said, “I'm sorry, I'm behind.” I'm behind because I opened a new show this weekend, hosted an opening night party, and while I have a hefty draft of this post already completed, it wasn't finished & ready for publication.
It's all too appropriately timed, as in my last post, Busting through Blogger Plateaus, both Vahni and Sandra D both commented about working full time and how much harder it makes to break down those plateaus when 40+ hours of your week are taken up by that pesky job. Vahni said, Also, lately I’m just damn tired of sitting in front of my computer 90 hours a day.
In the 4 years I've run Dramatis Personae, I've worked a full-time job. I write 2 posts per week for IFB. I have a live in partner. I have 2 cats, who are like my children. And I feel stretched thin more than ever. When I think of the tasks and challenges I want–and need to do– in order to grow my blog, I ask myself, “When will I have time on top of everything else I have to do?“
I don't believe that a blogger can grow their site to infinity when they have a full-time job (or are committed to school full-time–or both). From the many bloggers I've talked to, I'm not alone in thinking that. In a conversation with some fabulous gals on Twitter, TokyoFound said it best: People I know who have a super blog or run a business blogging or writing have made it their full time job and those who didn't have burned out & quit after 2-3yrs.
So to start with, here are the words of some wonderful women, who have been blogging full-time and holding full-time jobs for a very long time.
Sandra D, Debutante Clothing
I work full-time at a school. I am no longer a classroom teacher, but I do work with kids. One good thing about working school hours is that I can leave work most of the time at 3:30pm which leaves me lots of time to do my side hustle – blogging about and selling vintage fashion. But the amount of mental energy my job requires is still pretty high. Trying to balance my blog and my full-time job has been more of a challenge recently. At first, I'd get all my writing done over the weekend and early mornings. I started realizing that the amount of work I was spending on my blog and site were really taking time away from my husband and family, so I have had to get really strategic about my schedule.
I had a very powerful consultation with a prominent lifestyle blogger who has created a whole brand around her blog and design work. She flat out told me that if you only put part time effort into your business, it will take much longer to get it going. She was so direct and right on. I appreciated that.
I'm to the point now where if I can blog 3 times per week, I don't beat myself up. I have to remember that blogging is not my full-time business, it's just one part of the breadth of work I do, but it leads to other fun partnerships that can lead to income. It's very easy to get caught up in stats, comments, visibility and feel bad about how little time you are putting in compared to other bloggers. I also have to keep in mind that vintage is a very specialized niche and won't necessarily follow the same dynamics as a modern fashion blogger.
However, if I could start all over again, I would have approached my business and the business of blogging in a much more strategic way – business plan, branding, marketing plan, etc.
Sally, Already Pretty
I post twice daily to Already Pretty, sometimes more if I've got a giveaway going on, and I also work a full-time day job. That means I blog, answer reader mail, read and comment on other blogs in virtually every spare moment – breaks, over my lunch hour, and for hours after work. And yes, I do sometimes sneak in a few quick comments while I'm on the clock. (You do, too, so don't judge!) I do my best to keep my weekends work-free, but usually end up writing for at least three or four hours each weekend, sometimes more. I'm in a pretty much constant state of writing, brainstorming, reacting, outlining, negotiating, and planning.
All of this means that I'm exhausted. ALWAYS exhausted. Many people have asked, “How do you do it all?” and the answer is that I just never stop working. Writing posts ahead of time helps keep me from being in a blind panic, as does soliciting the occasional guest post and planning out my editorial calendar. Yet I know that if I had more time to dedicate to the blog it would be better written, more in-depth, more valuable and insightful. I often wish that there were more hours in the day, that I could read and process blogs quicker, that my posts would mate and procreate on their own.
And yet my day job is for paying the bills while the blog is my true passion. My goal has always been to make blogging, freelancing, and consulting my career, and working on Already Pretty furthers that goal. So the time, energy, and effort put into maintaining and improving the blog is always, always worth it to me.
Kristina, Pretty Shiny Sparkly
Working full time and blogging is a two-sided coin. On the one hand, sometimes you can barely remember to comb your teeth or brush your hair (or is it the other way around? I forget) let alone come up with a visually stunning, compelling blog post. Other times, you feel like life is all work-work-work, and you need that something to pull you out of your daily drudgery. An excuse to get dressed, feel great, and act out that excuse in the first place (like even a little dinner date), can sometimes be just the thing you needed!
Frustrations associated with working full time and maintaining a professional fashion blog are mainly internally directed, for me. I'm frustrated that I can't always post every single day of the work week. But it pretty much ends there. I don't experience frustrated readers, really, they all understand that my professional life is pretty demanding, and really they're quite sweet about it.
A real challenge to working full time and blogging, especially for me since my two fields are polar opposites (medicine and fashion), is what to do when they overlap. Yes, sometimes I show up to the hospital Monday morning ready to scrub in on a surgery with electric blue nail polish I forgot to take off Sunday night. Yes, I don't shout that I'm a fashion blogger from the rooftops of my medical school building, because, well…it's intensely private, fashion is. And people who just don't “get it” tend to think that taking pictures of oneself is superficial, a time-waster, self-absorbed…you name it. Of course, I've never been told these things to my face, but I can imagine what it must look like from an outsider's perspective. Or maybe I'm just overreacting? I don't know, you guys tell me!
All in all though the real joys come when I get validation from the “real people” in my life–my classmates, colleagues, and mentors. When they reference a recent outfit post, or show off the site to their friends, I'm immensely touched. I feel like I'm not doing such a silly thing after all, and isn't that what we all want as bloggers, in the end? Just a little validation?
Do you blog and work full-time? How do you feel about the process? Has blogging & working full-time ever made you want to give up?