I always get asked about how I manage a full-time job as well as an active blog. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really like balance in my life, I get bored off too much of anything. Being busy and maximizing my skill sets has always been important to me. During the week, I make sure to go to the gym, spend time with my loved ones, do my online courses, party, go to work, and blog all in equal amounts.
So if you have been considering starting your own blog, don’t let your other life commitments stop you. You can do it, and here is how:
1. Plan your vision ahead of time
At the start of every month, I make sure to plan out my calendar. I note down all the topics I want to write about on my blog, and the kinds of outfits and flat-lays I want to share on my Instagram – I am also hoping to get onto Youtube but that’s just a whole other ball game that I allow myself to push aside for now. I also browse all these platforms for inspiration and take account of popular themes, trends, styles, and topics. This really helps streamline my content creation process when I start because I already know what I want.
2. Create a stock of content
Every Sunday, I wake up at 8 am and meet up with a fellow blogger, friend or photographer to shoot 2-3 outfits. I make sure I get everything done in 2 hours after which, I am free for the rest of the day. It is important to have a stock of photos ready to go to post throughout the week because it’s pretty impossible to get fresh content on a daily basis when you have a 9-5 job.
3. Invest in your technology and refining your skills
These days, even phones have really great cameras. However, I still prefer to use a DSLR for my shoots because they allow for a lot more editing later because of the high-quality images they produce. When I have free time, I watch Youtube tutorials about how to edit photos, how to use my DSLR better and how to improve the engagement on my social channels. Believe it or not, I learned all about how to use Photoshop myself, figured out what kind of lenses would be the best for the DLSR I bought myself, and how to grow my social engagement myself. Never had one class about any of this – totally doable guys! Creating great content and reaching a wide audience should be your main goals. Once you nail some foundational skills, making content will become so much easier and efficient.
4. Find your voice
Every second person is a blogger now, the market is extremely saturated and there is no denying that. That’s not a bad thing at all – the more of us the merrier, we can all be one big family. From my experiences, bloggers are so supportive and friendly to one another, it’s so nice. However, at the same time, standing out is a little harder now because everyone is creating beautiful things. I personally invest a lot of time in my captions and try and keep my thoughts honest, relatable, helpful, funny and authentic. People always tell me that when they think of The Open Journal, they think of my Instagram captions – which is really nice to hear. Once you know what kind of voice you are putting out there, it’ll be a lot easier for you to formulate your thoughts when you create content. Most importantly, love what you do, be yourself – then it won’t feel like work, but more like your creative outlet.
5. Make friends with people in the industry
This is such an important step. I have made so many other blogger friends, and my life has become so much easier. If I need help with a shoot for a collaboration, advice on what filter looks better, which hashtags to use – I have so many people to ask, who know exactly what they are talking about, and that has just been blissful! It’s always encouraging to be around people who are doing what you are doing. Also, these friends will save you tons of time – searching things up on the internet can get extremely frustrating as we all know. Also, whenever you get invited to any PR events, make sure to go. I know how tiring it gets after work, but honestly, these events end up being so much fun. So much delicious food, free goodies, and great people! Once again, doing so really helps put your name out there.
6. Collaborate with brands
When you are just trying to make a name for yourself, don’t be shy to put yourself out there. Email brands and ask them if they want to work together. That way, you get your name out there, get some free product, possibly earn some money and most importantly, you will learn a lot. Have a template ready to reach out to brands with a brief description about you and your blog, however, make sure to tailor it to each brand you reach out to – you don’t want to be spamming millions of companies with the same email, they will see through it. Also use websites like canva to create and attach media kits to your emails which have links to your platforms, rates, statistics, examples of images you have created and so on. Once again, set dates and times for brand emailing and stick to it so that it is manageable and sustainable for you and your lifestyle.
7. Ask for flex hours at work
If you are lucky enough to be in a company that offers work from home options, take it! Ask to work from home once a week, and during that day plan your work schedule in a way that allows you to also create content for your blog. When I get to work from home, I will get up at 6 am, finish a large chunk of work by 1pm and then I am free to work on my blog for the rest of the day! I plan shoots, finish up emails, write up a new blog post – its great!
8. Master basic time management skills
If you really want to do a 100 things in a day like I do, it’s important to establish an efficient routine. Part of that involves taking a break and letting your mind and body recuperate, which is the weekend for me! Read my blog post How to be extra productive – while keeping fully sane, for more about that.
Before logging off, I just wanted to remind you that you can do it! Don’t let life’s craziness stop you from having some fun and exploring your creative side. Also I know it’s scary to put yourself out there and await the responses you will get. However, you can’t let the fear of striking out prevent you from playing the game now can you?
Would love to hear them.