I don’t know about you, but life can be hard sometimes, right? I find it difficult enough to get the correct work/life balance, let alone get it right when it comes to blogging/working AND needing to have a life all at the same time.
I’ve run my blog for almost 5 years now and I have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the work/blog/life balance. I’ve worked full time for 4 out of 5 of those years, only taking one year out to try and blog full time, and it certainly isn’t easy! I think there are some really common misconceptions that people have about us travel bloggers, including the notion that we are unqualified journalists and that all we do is get paid to travel and post pictures on Instagram.
‘there are some really common misconceptions that people have about us travel bloggers… including that all we do is get paid to travel and post pictures on Instagram’
I speak on behalf of the entire blogging community when I say that our blogs are about sooo much more than that, and a lot of the time we aren’t even TRAVELLING that much and are working every hour god sends sat behind our laptops in order to keep our content going.
Here are some tips on how you can run your blog alongside your everyday 9-5 job, and what does or doesn’t work for me…
Keep your social media under control
Having to just sit down and physically type up blog posts is time consuming enough, but then there’s everything else that goes with it. You need to take photos, you need to edit photos, you need to post photos on social media, you need to think of captions that go with those photos, you need to add them in to your blog posts before they can even be published. You need to maintain social media accounts across a range of platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
You then need to continue to grow your following, and the only way to do that is by following other people, and by posting quality content. I’ve learnt to realise lately though that, whilst social is still paramount to growing your blog, you really don’t need to spend every waking hour on it.
I now have alerts on my apps that tell me when I’ve spent at least 25 mins on each app per day, and this is more than enough time, so have started using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts in advance meaning that I don’t need to waste time by physically posting updates religiously.
Schedule your content
In a world where social media pretty much dominates every aspect of our lives, I sometimes find it really hard to dedicate time to promoting blog posts and images on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts as I am drained by spending too much of my life on there as it is. This is where scheduling tools come in handy, as I can set up bulk tweets and posts to be spread out across the week and published at different times on different days.
Twitter is the main platform where I use scheduling as it is so quick and easy and it is a great way of pumping out content and promoting your blog without being too ‘in your face’. I have used SproutSocial before and found that really useful when I worked as a social media manager and needed to schedule content for multiple accounts for my various clients, but on a smaller scale I would stick with Hootsuite or Buffer for scheduling tweets for your blog.
Once you’ve dedicated some time to scheduling content and got the important stuff for that week promoted, you can spend some time on social media just having fun and interacting with fellow users in order to grow your accounts and followers organically.
Attending events is one of the single most important pieces of advice I could give to anyone looking to really grow their blog. I know it can be tricky to attend all these events, particularly when (like me) you work full time and often can’t get to London at 7pm on a Tuesday night, but if you can get to even just a few they are sooo worth it.
Most of my press trip and blog opportunities have come through meeting people at networking events – it really is who you know, not what you know, in this industry! If you’re a full timer and can’t make mid-week do’s, look out for weekend conferences or events that take place when you’re not at work so you can definitely get yourself there.
‘Most of my press trip and blog opportunities have come through meeting people at networking events – it really is who you know, not what you know, in this industry!’
My first conference was the fabulous Traverse back in 2016 and I’ve been going every single year since then, visiting Cardiff, London and Rotterdam along the way, and next year I’ll be heading to Trentino in Italy for my 4th one!
I have made so many friends and met so many new connections simply by just attending these events and I honestly don’t think my blog would have got to the level it is now without it. Getting yourself known and attending events is one of the best ways to promote your blog, and yourself, ensuring your blog gets heard and seen as much as possible despite not being able to focus on it full time when you’re holding down a 9-5 job.
Use weekends to play catch up
After spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week staring at a screen and writing emails, the last thing I want to do when I come home from work is sit on my laptop and type up blog posts. I try really hard to avoid writing during the week and like to leave my week nights free to have some ‘offline time’ and make sure I can spend time with friends and family instead of dedicating my evenings to my blog.
Obviously if I have a deadline or if I really want to get a post written up and published during the week then I will of course fire up my laptop and get it done, but I try to make a conscious effort not to do it during the week for fear of spending too much time on a computer.
This is why I like using my weekends to catch up with blog stuff, so I’ll often spend a few hours on a Saturday morning or a Sunday evening drafting some posts or scheduling some tweets so that it means I don’t have to do it after a long day at work during the week.
I often find I’m a bit more productive on a weekend too as I have a clearer head and don’t get bogged down by being in work mode. Taking some time out to get re-motivated and re-inspired after a long week at work always helps me to feel more creative when it comes to making content for my readers, so I would really recommend using your weekends for blog time and leaving your week days/nights to your actual working life.
Remember it’s ok to say NO
This is hugely important and something I will always try to reiterate to newbie bloggers. When you first start making money from your blog it can be new and exciting and amazing to think that someone wants to pay you to write a blog post, but remember that you don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way.
There’s no doubt that you’ll get offers from companies asking you to write a blog post, or even asking if they can write a blog post for you, in exchange for getting a link published on your site. At first I didn’t really know what this meant and just said yes to any article (as long as it was travel related) because I wanted to work with more brands and get myself out there, but then I started contacting other bloggers and looking on forums and there was so much advice against this type of thing that I started to take notice and listen. I’ve learnt now that I will only collaborate with a brand if I really like their company or their product and if it is a relevant fit to myself and my blog.
Don’t get me wrong, I still do sponsored posts and there is nothing wrong with that, we’ve all gotta make some cash somehow, but I just choose brands and topics that are relevant to my blog and my audience so that is doesn’t look like I am just taking on any old collab. Know your worth, only work with brands you feel are a good fit and are a good reflection of your blog, and don’t be afraid to say no if you feel an opportunity isn’t right – as one door closes, another one opens!
Don’t lose your passion
Sometimes things can get a bit overwhelming in the blogosphere; it can feel like everyone is competing with each other to produce quality content, or to work with brands, or to score campaigns. With the social media world being completely saturated by bloggers, vloggers and influencers from every kind of industry you can think of, it’s easy to get bored and sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation or inspiration to keep going.
When you feel like this, it’s important to remember why you started blogging in the first place, and to not lose sight of that. I never set out to make money from my blog, I never even thought anyone would read it (other than my friends and family!) so the fact that I have worked with brands, written sponsored posts, launched social media giveaways and even gone on press trips with my blog is an incredible achievement. The reason I started blogging is because I simply love to travel.
‘it’s important to remember why you started blogging in the first place, and to not lose sight of that’
So if you’re stuck in a bit of a rut and are suffering with severe writers block, why not try and revisit the things that made you fall in love with blogging in the first place? For me, this comes in the form of flicking back through old photos from previous trips, or by focusing on planning my future trips and gaining inspiration for new post ideas, therefore reigniting my passion for all things travel blogging before it starts to feel like a chore. Once it feels like that, you seriously need to assess whether or not you want to continue maintaining your little space on the internet.
‘why not try and revisit the things that made you fall in love with blogging in the first place?’
These are just a few ways in which I really try to maintain a healthy balance between my work, blog and home life and I hope it may help a little if, like me, you get a little overwhelmed at the whole thing too. Of course everyone is different, and I’m not saying these tips are fool-proof, but after almost 5 years of blogging I can speak from experience when I say these are some of the things which have helped me stay sane the past few years.
It is so hard to juggle a full time job with a blog as they both require maximum time and effort. At times you’ll feel like your eyes never leave a computer screen, or that you’re never off your phone, and it’s important to remember to take a break sometimes and step away when it all gets a bit too much. It is completely do-able though, and I would highly recommend running a blog alongside your day job in order to fulfil your passions if your 9-5 just isn’t cutting it.
How many of you currently juggle your blog with a full time job? What are your secrets to managing to get the balance right? I would love to hear your feedback!
Love Jess x
Jessica is a UK based travel blogger always planning her next adventure. She has a particular passion for European city breaks and recently completed her mission of visiting 25 countries before the age of 25. Don’t forget to follow Jessica’s blog to see what travel plans she has in store for 2019 and beyond at JourneyswithJessica!