The realities of part time blogging

16 July 2018

When I get asked what I like to do in my spare time, it’s often the perfect occasion to bring up my blog (a bit of self-promo never hurt anyone). A common response I get from people when I tell them I have a blog is ‘Oh cool, you must get so much free stuff?!?’ It could simply be down to misunderstanding but people looking at the blogging industry from an outside perspective tend to make a lot of assumptions along the lines of ‘you mean, you basically blag loads of free stuff, fancy events and always dine at picture perfect eating places’ or ‘I don’t understand why some people think it’s a real job’ Wrong and wrong. There is a massive difference between what people think the life of a part time blogger is like and what it is actually like.

My blog (a.k.a my online side hustle) has to fit in alongside working full time, studying for a professional qualification, having a social life, trying to keep healthy and forgetting not to breathe. I have a full-time, 9-5 job in an area completely unrelated to blogging, fashion or social media. Like any job, my job can be intense and long, sometimes being in the office until 11:30pm on a Friday night (okay, it was just the one Friday night but still!!)


Whilst blogging isn’t all inflatable unicorn floats, perfect breakfasts in bed and marble finished worktops (a few bloggers basics right there). I love the fact that this form of entrepreneurship has allowed me to meet and be inspired by so many talented, hardworking women running successful businesses around their busy lives, whilst opening me up to working with a range of different brands and shaping me as a person (deep). That’s not to say it’s easy. There are some funny (but true) realities about being a part time blogger that are often overlooked…


Emails, Admin and #FirstWorldBloggerProblems

Again, another misconception is that the email inboxes of bloggers are full of exciting opportunities, product reviews and event invites. And don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for any email I receive with these exciting projects. However, a lot of the time I receive spam emails from a SEO specialist half way across the world claiming to get my blog link next to Facebook at the top of the Google Search page within a couple of hours, or a company offering their help to get me more followers on Instagram or if I’m lucky (note the sarcasm) …a company willing to send me their teeth whitening strips in exchange for an Instagram post (the latest in my deleted box). There is a more to blogging that writing and uploading posts -  keeping up with e-mails and general admin is so important and vital to your growth as a blogger. It’s essentially juggling two full time jobs at a time.

With that said, even if you get an exciting email detailing a great opportunity, having a full-time job (especially in the industry I am in), with 25 days holiday a year, often means its either too short notice to take a day off work or it is simply not compatible with your diary. I guess some things aren’t meant to be? Similarly, given my working hours, it’s almost impossible for me to turn around a post in a couple of hours. Because all you really want to do after a 10-hour day at work is sit with a packet of Oreos (double cream obvs) and watch Love Island. I’m most productive at night, so even with all the late nights and using any spare time I have to work on my blog, I need at least a couple of days’ notice when doing a collaboration. And the flipside is that when I sometimes do a collab and strategically plan the steps to producing the final piece, it never quite works out like that. Typical.

And do I sit in a cozy, insta-worthy cafĂ© most of the times writing posts? Nope, sadly not. 20% of my writing time is spent in these types of locations. 30% of the time is spent writing a piece in my onesie with a tub of Pringles in bed, the other 30% is on public transport – planes, trains, tubes, I love getting stuff done on something that is moving - and the other 20% is emails.


 


Time
I tend to wake up early on a weekend and do the bulk of my blog work then. Editing and making it pretty usually happen when I can physically pull myself from chilling on my bed after a long day at work. I’ve learnt to use every moment I’m awake as productive time. Whether it’s on my commute or whilst I’m waiting for someone, I’m usually scheduling my social media, thinking and writing new posts. This brings about two major frustration points for me….

Firstly, staying on top of everything usually calls for late night (not a huge frustration as I work better at night), but the limited time I do spend on blogging makes me think of the opportunity cost of other activities (excuse the technical terms, the economics degree is coming through!) A major bug bear is the fact that I feel like I could take my blog so much further if only I had more time. I’m a strong believer that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others and their successes but I look at those that produce content as their 9-5 job and I always think ‘Imagine if I had the time to dedicate the same resources as them'. But I have learnt to realise my best, most successful strategy is when I do what I want, when I want and to the highest standard possible. 

And in complete contradiction to my former point, there is no down time. I find it’s difficult to entirely switch off from anything, as I often feel guilty that I could be working to progress, whether it be through a great opportunity for content or another dedicating time to another passion project.


Another thing I would love to do is shoot content on a weekday. Mainly because photographers tend to have better availability on a weekday and so does the weather apparently. And also, as I shoot in and around central London a lot, just think how quieter shoot locations would be at 9am on a Wednesday, as opposed to 1pm on a Saturday a.k.a tourist centric time.







Sacrifices and loneliness
Blogging can be a lonely hobby. Thank goodness I have other hobbies alongside blogging that require human interaction not entirely centered around emails. As an only child, I’m quite comfortable in my own company, however one of the warnings I hear established bloggers talk about is the lack of people time.

In my situation, I will usually take one Saturday or Sunday a month and bang out a load of blog posts for the month ahead, however that tends to be the one day where all my friends have made plans and everything conflicts. One thing that can help with this are the many blogger/girl boss networks out there. Creative Gal Gang is my personal fave. It’s a community of inspiring women in the creative industries who support and advice through online support/chats and meet ups in London and Sydney.  


For me, content creating as a side hustle, but a massive one at that. It’s a passion for me but I don’t rely on it for financial security. So, whilst these little realities may not be as drastic for me as they are for others that blog full-time, they are still there.  With all that said, I highly recommend blogging for anyone who wants to be creative, have their own little corner of the internet, meet amazing people, learn new skills and be open to a host of opportunities from working with brands, to collaborating with other bloggers.



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