A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about why I am not quitting my day job. I got a ton of feedback. Both positive support and surprisingly, a lot of backlash. I get it. Taking a stand is a scary, but empowering thing. Talking about real life is a lot more controversial than how cute this floral dress is. It’s raw and hits you at the core. So, I guess I’m just glad so many people read it!
One of the really common questions I got after writing that post was: how do you do it? Great question. I can’t give you a detailed roadmap to managing a professional career and blogging simultaneously. Honestly, I don’t think I have perfected the recipe just yet. Especially given that my day job and blogging don’t overlap for the most part (I work in finance). There aren’t really any efficiencies between those two. Also, what works for me may be different for someone else. But here are 5 simple things I’ve found have helped me execute Visions of Vogue.
1. Gmail calendar.
Most bloggers don’t have some fancy financial system or savvy business email system AKA Outlook. I wouldn’t recommend it. My strategy is to run a very low cost business (less risk). So use the tools that are free. Gmail is a pretty darn helpful thing. Once you get used to the interface, it will be a lot easier. Plus, you can reference it at any time on your iPhone. Like when you’re on the elliptical which is what I did earlier this week as I wrote the beginning of this post.
Schedule your posts to create your “editorial calendar”. I used to sit down the night before and write about whatever I had. It was spontaneous but also pretty stressful. I now try to plan out my posts a couple weeks in advance. That way, I can subconsciously brainstorm what to write about in the weeks leading up to it which yields better content IMO. I make sure to check my calendar every Friday to see what’s coming up for the next week. That way I know where my priority needs to be in terms of creating content that weekend. If you have to change something around, don’t feel guilty. This is your business. You do you. I still struggle with this if I’m being honest.
2. Backup content.
Build a repository of content that you can post at any time. These repositories might have to be segmented by season because you want to be relevant still. Just do a few extra shoots when you can. We try to shoot for a day a weekend (weather permitting). Lately, we haven’t even able to shoot at all which is why we were forced to shoot mid-week and wound up in a thunderstorm in Wednesday’s post. Also, earmark your really good old content that can be repurposed. I used to feel pressured to post 5 completely brand new pieces of content weekly. When I started Friday Five, the pressure was taken off because the format of the post is different so I usually reuse content. Even though it’s only 20% of my posts for the week, it makes a huge difference. Give yourself a break!
3. Excel spreadsheets.
I personally love excel. It’s such a powerful tool. That’s also because it’s a critical part of being in the finance industry though. If I simplify it a lot, there are 2 major spreadsheets I use. The first is my P&L (profit and loss statement). Basically, I list all my revenue (earnings) and my expenses (costs) so I can see my true income, when I need to curb spending, and how I’m measuring up against my goals. The second is a list of my partnerships (fondly called collaborations by bloggers) with what I need to shoot, the due date, fee, and all the other details I need to know. I’m currently keeping this in Google sheets because it’s easier for me (and Matt) to reference from our phones. This was something he requested at the end of last year when we were living apart. His issue was he never knew how much HAD to get done. There’s always a difference between what I HAVE to get done and what I WANT to get done. I’ll let you guess which list is longer :) So, I put together this document and it’s evolved over the last few months. Now, it’s probably more of a tool for me as I reference it daily to plan what I need to deliver on. So helpful.
P.S. If you have any questions about what either of these documents looks like, email me and I’ll sent you a really basic template. This doesn’t have to be complicated!
4. Set goals.
Blogging can feel a bit aimless without them. If you’re the type of person who enjoys that, good for you. I’m not and I’d bet so many of you aren’t. I’m 100% Type A so I’m always looking forward to the next best thing. I implemented goals this year for the first time and it forces me to think strategically every month to make sure I’m getting there. The best part of this is that you get to set them yourself. I know in my day job, I don’t have that luxury. I feel more empowered so that’s rewarding and more motivating in itself.
5. Find your ride or die.
Whether it’s your best friend, your mom, fellow blogger, or your Instagram husband, identify the one person you’re going to lean on more than anyone else. You’re going to need that person. Or rather, it’s a lot easier if you have that person. You guys are going to go through some tough times together.
Since Matt is my person, I’ve identified strategies to get him more invested in the blog. It helps that he’s my husband so by default our goals are aligned and if they aren’t, absorbed. Hence why you’re going to see a lot of IG Stories from baseball stadiums this summer. Matt’s a lover of baseball and therefore, it’s become a part of my life! Just like taking photos and brainstorming topics have become part of his. Lots of give and take here so I always remind myself to be grateful and verbalize that to Matt. I also try to take deals that are more fun for us (and maybe beneficial for Matt) like ice cream or travel. Every little bit helps!
And before I forget, here’s a round up of what happened on the blog this week!
- Talked about how Amazon.com is stepping up their fashion game
- Tried beauty products with bee venom in them
- Got caught in a thunderstorm
- Shared really embarrassing photos of my stretch marks
- Rounded up the best April Instagram outfits
What did you think of these tips? Do you have any tips that have really helped you stay organized?
Katherine Swain says
Jenna this is SO helpful and motivating! I’m in the same boat as you (working full time, blogging, and trying to balance both). I appreciate these tips and can only hope that my blog is able to grow the way that yours has!
I work full time and I don’t think I’d consider blogging full time since I feel fulfilled at my current position, power to you because it’s a hard balance. Love these tips.
Kelssey Layton says
Working full time and blogging can be SO stressful! The pressure was constant! These are definitely great tips to keeping that under control!
Laura @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels says
Great tips. I couldn’t live without spreadsheets. And I really need to do better at repurposing old content!
Lily (@_beautywithlily) says
These are awesome tips, girl! I work full time and blog as well — so it can be overwhelming!
Beauty With Lily
You rock, Jenna! Thanks so much for sharing. Definitely bookmarking this post to refer back to when I need some motivation.
Interesting … but today I have mine just for the fun and I run it like a “test” …but it’s like a game … it can become addictive … and requires time ;)
For me, it’s very important for me to try and have as many back up posts as possible! I try to shoot whenever I have extra time, because work and weather definitely gets in the way sometimes and it’s an awful feeling when you find yourself without a post! Great tips!
xo Kelsey | http://www.chasingcinderellablog.com
great tips! this is definitely my constant struggle. and i agree about excel being a great tool. i’m also slightly type a so i have mine conditionally formatted to turn green every time i enter “done” in a cell lol
Sabrina Tan says
Those are great tips!
Sabrina | http://www.gypsytan.co
These are amazing tips for working full time and blogging! I consider blogging a full time job and have definitely had my struggles with balancing two jobs! Shooting multiple looks at a time and having a backlog has been so helpful!
Such great tips!
Jessica Weinberg (@whatsfordinesq) says
These are all such great tips! I don’t know how I would be able to function without my ride or die, my husband. I work full time and blog as well, thankfully is there support me in any way he can!
Amanda Kruse says
These are all great tips! I am so glad I have my mom to take my photos for me and my husband to take my Instagram photos for me.
Amanda || http://www.fortheloveofglitter.com
I LOVE this post, such great tips and it’s so true about the ride or die, mine is my mum and I couldn’t do it without her!
Becky Evans says
Love this post! Although I don’t blog I do have a side business and I’ve found it hard to dedicate my time to both when I’m feeling fulfilled in one. I.e. full time job sucks, I focus on my side business which I’m super passionate about. Full job is awesome, my side business takes a back burner.
Super curious how you manage this feeling and the tugging and both ways? I’ll have to read your post on why you’re not quitting your full time job a maybe I’ll find the answer! Love how real you are, and it shows how hard you work. Keep it up girlfriend.
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