In this article, I’m going to break down for you how I balance blogging and working full-time. Believe it or not, I love my job and what I do but the reality is I enjoy using my gifts in other ways, one of which is running a successful online business.
I know that it’s easy to look at others success and think that it just ‘came easy’ or that they possess something you don’t.
But that simply is not true.
As I outlined in my stages of blogging success, there is a stage called “Flop Nation.” I know this stage first hand from personal experience.
I spent many months in the valley, going hard for hours’ days at a time and on weekends, with nothing to show for it.
Not only did it take nearly 12 months to make ANY money from my blog, I was lacking foundational pieces to the blog further hindering its success.
On top of that, I worked full-time, run a nonprofit and sit on numerous boards in the community.
So, how did I manage to get the blog off the ground?
These are my best tips, strategies and insights that I learned while in the trenches on the road to success.
And don’t worry, I got you. I’m not going to just tell you to put your head down and grind 24/7.
I had some long days and some long nights over the years to get where I am today.
Check this out.
Here is an overview of what we will cover:
- Manage Your Time
- What Social Life?
- Focus on What Matters
- Lock All The Way In
- Whatever You Earn Put It Back Into Your Business
Manage your time – Straight Up!
I know this may sound cliché but believe me when I tell you this, manage your time better. That means I don’t want you simply going through the motions. I need you get real SERIOUS about managing your time and eliminating distractions.
I’ve done some crazy things to ensure I protected my time such as:
Drink a meal replacement smoothie to avoid getting up to eat.
Yup, my wife has these shakes that are fire! Not only are they good but they are filling. One shake will have you feeling full for about 4 hours straight.
You have to do things to give yourself a competitive advantage. Those shakes turned out to be life changing and tasty.
Deciding what you will eat every day takes a lot of time and mental energy that can be too much for a new blogger.
Having a made-up mind frees up a lot of time and energy to focus on your new blog.
Wear sweats everyday (on the weekend and after work)
This came easy for me. As an athlete, we like to naturally dress comfy. Nothing is more comfortable than some nice sweat pants and a hoodie.
You spend too much time thinking about what you will wear every day and a lot of money buying new clothes when that money can be used for your blog.
I decided early on to keep my swag simple. That way it allows me to get right to work. Best of all, I’m comfy while working.
This helped me leverage my time in the morning when deciding what to wear and also kept me from feeling like I needed to go shopping for new gear.
5 a.m. Workout before work
One of the biggest issues with trying to blog with a full-time job was giving up my most productive hours of the day to my job.
I’m a morning person, those first few hours of the day have always been my most productive. Many days I have thought about how much further along my blog could be.
I made the decision to apply my routine from my playing days and start my day at 5 a.m. This allowed me to not only feel good but be more productive.
This does require a LOT of self-discipline, but it was worth it. I’ve obviously kept this up long after my playing days and now apply this same level of focus to my blog.
More tips on managing your time
Honestly, all of the productivity and time-management advice I can give you comes down to one thing: PROTECT YOUR TIME
The more you put on your plate, the more distractions you will have throughout the day.
Do your best to simplify your life as much as possible.
The only reason I am able to do what I do is because I protect my time. I have time with my wife, time for the gym and time for my blog. It’s the same routine every day until the foundation is firmly established.
I know that it sounds repetitive and somewhat boring but I promise you that there is nothing sexy about the blog life. But this is how you achieve success in the blogging game.
And now that success is here, I can take more time for other things in my life. It’s literally a short-term sacrifice for long term rewards.
What Social Life
In order to be GREAT you have to be willing to give up things that don’t improve your circumstance. This also goes right along with time-management and the tips above. Trying to maintain a social life could result in valuable time wasted. Time that you could’ve been working on your blog. Time you can’t get back.
This was especially hard for me because me and my guys love to get together, talk junk, watch the game, laugh and joke.
My home is home of all Super Bowl and fight (boxing) parties. I’m accustomed to lots of company and extremely late nights. But in order to be successful all of that had to come to an end (temporarily)!
Its challenging, I know but you need to commit to your blog and sacrifice the fun just for a bit. Keep in mind those 4 hours getting your nails done plus the 4 hours watching the game and halftime show means 8 total hours lost. Which translates into less time working on your blog.
With those 8 you lost, you could have:
- A new blog post completed
- 2-3 pins for Pinterest
- The prototype for a new product
- A new email sequence created
- 8 hours doing anything more productive than sitting at the barbershop watching the game
Okay, maybe you’re not at the salon or barbershop all day but you get my point. We all have the same 24 hrs. You gotta use your time wisely.
Sacrifice. Miss out on a few outings. Ask your brother to take the kids skating. Do whatever you need to do so that you can put some work in on your blog.
The main thing I’m trying to get across is that you must make SACRIFICES if you want to succeed – especially if you want to succeed sooner than later.
The hardest most disappointing part will be your family and friends. Reason being…the majority of them won’t understand. They will make you feel bad for not making time for them and they likely won’t understand this phase of your process.
Do your best to give grace to your family and friends but be steadfast in your decision to make your blog the priority for the time being.
Focus On What Matters
This is an important one because as a blogger, you are a one-man show. That means you are 100% responsible for all tasks that need to be completed at any given time.
The problem with that is, if you work on too many projects, you spread yourself thin and nothing gets done.
To avoid the lack of productivity this causes, focus on what matters.
Write out a daily to-do list of all of the most critical tasks that you need to work on. Then, prioritize them based on what is THE most important.
Work on that ONE most important task to the success of your business first, and do NOT move on until the task is complete.
Top Secret: It is NOT your logo or your blog lay out .
Pretty much everyone, spends hours on end and days at a time on logo’s and blog layout.
Ask me how I know. Because its exactly what I did when I first started out.
This is why it’s important to get some help when you first start. Coaching or Blogging courses can help teach you exactly what to do, step-by-step.
And it’s not just about what to do – the timing of when you do these tasks matters just as much, if not more.
Lock All The Way In
Once you have prioritized your tasks and you know what you need to work on and in what order, it’s time to zone out and lock in.
Think of ‘Lock’n In’ as a deep day dream. It’s those few hours where you’re basically zoned out.
For some it might be hard to get in the zone but once you do, it’s GAME OVER. I guarantee you’ll get a lot done and feel very productive.
Lock’n In and Zoning Out may look different for you than it does for me. Your job is to find your groove.
For me, it’s usually in my kitchen. I have this nice spot at the island in my kitchen where I just get after it.
For some people, it’s at the library or the coffee shop. I get too distracted in public. But find what works for you.
Find your work groove and get in it as much as possible!
Complete your toughest task while your locked in and zoned out. Things such as; content research and creation, blog post writing, product outline, writing emails, etc.
Some tasks that don’t require you to be zoned out are things like social media, graphic design and creating pins for Pinterest.
I typically find that its easier for me to lock in and zone out in the morning. But if you are not a morning person, go with what works for you.
Bottom line: Do whatever you can to eliminate all distractions, zone out and work on your blog.
Whatever You Earn Put Back Into The Business
This is HUGE! I’m going to cover the business of blogging in two parts:
Set Business Goals
Treat your blog like a business. Invest in it as you would anything else and you will eventually get a return on it.
If you’re trying to start a free blog and get by as cheap as possible, you will get cheap results. If you don’t invest a dime, you will never make a dime.
It’s that simple!
For everybody out there screaming “But I don’t have money to invest in my blog right now,” I hate to break it to you, but blogging is not for you.
Blogging is not some get-rich-quick scheme
If you aren’t willing to spend any money on your new blog-business, the life of an entrepreneur is not for you.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I just have to keep it real about what it is and what it ain’t. You must have the right expectation from jump.
You CAN start with free options, but you cannot expect to make any real money with free options.
For more information on the expected costs to start a blog, see our post here.
Invest in Yourself.
Okay, let’s address the money from a different perspective.
I know first-hand that many of you say; “I can’t afford $100 for blog hosting” but are spending the same amount on shoes and clothes.
How do I know this? Because I did the SAME thing. We’re all human.
We make room in the budget for the things that matter to us. The problem is that we generally have our priorities messed up and end up spending our money on the WRONG things.
Don’t allow yourself to believe that you can’t afford the $29/month for ConvertKit but then turn around and buy a $80 pair of shoes.
Little things over time add up. It simply comes down to whether or not you want to make your blog work or not.
I chose to make it work. I made it the most important thing in my life outside of my family and my worship. Years later…My life, and my accomplishments goes without saying.
I was in student loan and credit card debt when I started my blog. The thought of starting and running my own business is what ultimately motivated me. I wanted to tackle my debt once and for all. Why? Because you become a slave to the lender.
I’ve been debt-free ever since.
I also started living a minimalist lifestyle. That meant getting rid of lots of stuff and living a lean life.
Here me when I say this, I am NOT advising you take it to the extreme. I just want to show you how committed I was to the things that mattered to me.
Invest in Your Business
It doesn’t take a whole bunch of money to get started.
But you should manage your money and penny pinch if necessary. Remember your blog is the top priority in your life.
If it’s not the top priority, that’s okay too. Just don’t expect major results from it.
I am blessed to have a good full time job. My son is 19 and out of the house now. So for me, I had some money to invest into my blog.
This money was put towards various software, products to sell, courses on how to monetize, etc.
I honestly spent several hundred hours over the first few months learning everything I could, implementing the strategies I learned, and mostly failing.
But while in the valley, some things stuck. I eventually found things that worked and were able to generate some revenue after several months.
And the rest is history!
You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars on your new blog and I’m not asking you to.
This is why I offer my FREE 7-Day Course. These are the strategies that I learned over the years – the ones that WORKED is what I give to you.
I’ve cut out the rest of the false and irrelevant information and left you with the strategies that prepared me for success the quickest.
Taking the right courses can greatly accelerate your learning and growth in your own business. Don’t sleep on that.
Here are two GREAT resources if you’re unsure of where to start:
- If you haven’t started a blog yet: Free 7-Day eCourse on How to Start a Blog
- If you have started a blog: Making Sense of Sponsored Post – is a course that will help you earn money