It’s a challenge that most part-time bloggers face.
You want to spend more time blogging, but struggle to carve out space amongst life’s other priorities.
Be it your 9-5, time with family, or any number of other interests, it’s a constant balancing act.
It becomes even more challenging when you’re trying to convert your blog (or any side hustle for that matter), into a full-time business.
I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years now, but it was about 5 months ago that I made the decision to begin my climb down the corporate ladder and pursue full-time self employment, by leveraging my blog as an online business platform.
Ever since, the desire to spend more time growing my business has increased substantially. There is one small complication however; doing so alongside a highly immovable object.
A Taste Of Full-Time Blogging
A number of months back, while on vacation, I played the role of full-time blogger. It was only seven days, but my productivity went through the roof. The ability to dedicate huge blocks of time to be creative made it easy to stay focused, and gave me an enormous amount of energy.
Down On The 925
If I’m to realize my dream of self-employment, there will come a time when I need to make the break from my 9-5 and go full-time.
But that time hasn’t arrived yet. I’m still at a place where I can grow my business substantially while maintaining what is an incredible asset, my career.
This is a topic for another post, but for anyone who has dreams of being a full-time entrepreneur, do not underestimate the value of your 9-5. Until you reach the point where you cannot grow any further without giving your business your full attention, don’t be too quick to jump ship.
As for my current reality, I’ve had to learn how to balance being a part-time blogger, with my 9-5.
5 Ways I Balance Blogging With My 9-5
Here are five small (or big) changes I’ve made in the past few months, that are helping me to do just that.
I enlisted the help of a business mentor.
I haven’t touched on this in my regular blog posts, but subscribers to my monthly newsletter, the Mystery Money Insider, are familiar with the fact that I began working with a business mentor a few months ago.
He happens to be a college roommate of mine who I hadn’t been in contact with for many years. He’s also a successful entrepreneur who has built multiple six-figure businesses online.
It started with me reaching out to him for advice, and he offered to mentor me on an ongoing basis. We talk every two weeks, and message each other in between.
I can say without a doubt that it’s been the best decision I’ve made since I started blogging.
For starters, he’s helped me become far more effective with my time. When we started working together, I was wasting a lot of energy on activities that were getting me nowhere. All they were doing was making me feel busy, which I mistook as being productive.
Trust me, busy does not equal productive.
I make the most of my daily commute.
I have a forty minute commute to and from work every day. For some, that might sound downright horrific, but for me it’s quite the opposite. First of all, I live outside of the city I work in, so there is no traffic to deal with, just forty minutes of driving along a lightly travelled freeway.
I used to fill my morning drive with music or talk radio. But I’ve realized that I’m at my most creative early in the morning, before my brain becomes cluttered with all of the craziness of the workday.
To leverage this creative peak, I decided to turn off the radio in the car, and drive in silence. It’s a simple change, but I cannot tell you how many ideas for my blog and content marketing business have come out of this early morning quiet time.
I’ll often turn my iphone voice recorder on prior to leaving the house so I can capture ideas as I’m driving, or make notes on my phone before getting out of my car upon reaching the office.
I maximize (most) of my lunch hours.
I’ve started bringing my laptop with me to the office, and do about 45 minutes of writing over my lunch hour. This happens around three or four days a week.
If I don’t have my laptop, I’ll use the time to interact on social media: Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Both of these activities have freed up time to spend with my family in the evening. Make no mistake, I spend a lot of evenings and weekends blogging, but I’ve found more balance than I had previously.
I’ve taken time to finish unrelated projects.
This could also be called removing distractions. When building a blogging business, sometimes your time is best spent completing unrelated projects that are keeping you from the work you really want to be doing.
Entrepreneurial types, after all, are famous for starting a seemingly endless number of projects.
For me, it was a music recording project that had been hovering over my head for the past year. I recorded a full 12-song album for a young singer-songwriter in my home studio, twice!!
It’s a long story. : )
Anyways, during the past couple of months, I spent less time writing blog posts in order to get the recording project past the finish line.
The CD is currently being manufactured, and I’m very proud of how it turned out. But having it unfinished was hampering my ability to focus on the work I’m most passionate about, Mystery Money Man.
Not only that, but I know the artist also wanted to get things wrapped up so he could get his music out to the world.
If you’re like me, and are distracted by an unfinished project, I highly recommend putting in the time to get it done, even if it means giving less attention to your blog for a few weeks.
Also, depending on the project, it may not be a matter of completing it, but quitting it!
For me, finishing the recording felt like a huge weight being lifted off. Such a great feeling!
I’m finding ways to automate certain tasks.
This is good advice for all bloggers, but can be of particular benefit to part-time bloggers who are juggling a 9-5 and need to maximize their efficiency.
I utilize both free and paid tools to automate tasks that would otherwise take hours for me to do manually. This is something most bloggers are already doing, but if you’re not, it’s something you need to take advantage of.
For example, I use Buffer to schedule blog posts on Twitter, and I use the paid version of BoardBooster to automate my Pinterest account.
A word of caution, automation is great, but it doesn’t mean you should ignore what’s going on.
BoardBooster is so hands off that I actually didn’t look at my Pinterest account for over a month. When I did, I realized that it there had been a communication issue between the two applications, which caused a complete shutdown. My Pinterest traffic almost came to a complete halt, and I’m just rebuilding it now.
Facebook Ads. This may not sound like automation in the truest sense, but I’ve been experimenting with running Facebook Ads over the past couple of months. Not only am I honing my FB Ad skills, but the ads run while I’m sleeping, driving traffic to my site, making it an automation of sorts.
I’m not spending a lot of money here, just reinvesting a portion of the side hustle income I’m earning back into my blog.
You Can Join The Journey!
If you’re interested in following my journey to escape the 9-5 more closely, I encourage you to sign up for my free newsletter below, by becoming a Mystery Money Man email subscriber.
The MM Insider contains exclusive information that I don’t publish anywhere else on the blog, a must read for anyone who dreams of escaping the 9-5.
Here are a few of the developments I’ve already shared, in the first few issues:
- Regular insights from conversations with my business mentor.
- Why I dropped my plan to provide digital marketing services for local businesses.
- Results from my first Facebook Ad experiment.
- How I used ProBlogger.com to land my first content marketing client.
There you have it, five changes I’ve made to help me balance blogging with my 9-5. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as any additional tips you might have.
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4 thoughts on “5 Ways I Balance Blogging with My 9-5”
Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed your insights re: maximizing your time (commute & lunch). All the best!
Thanks for stopping by Amber! 🙂
This is great MM. I am beginning this journey and seeing the struggle already. I have been using my lunches recently to work on my blog and articles as well. I have tried to use my commutes to listen to podcasts which has sparked a lot of creative ideas too. Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, Mark Divine, Jordan Harbinger, and other business and personal finance related podcasts have been wonderful to learn from.
Silence may have a wonderful place though. I think I’ll try that out once a week with my phone on record or a small notepad for ideas.
Thanks again for the helpful article!
Hey Cooper! I’ve started to listen to those on my way home from work, and find it a nice way to unwind. I struggle to keep up with them though, there are SO many great ones. I’ll look into a couple that you’ve listed above. I’m a big Tim Ferris fan, and Seth Godin as well. Thanks for reading! 🙂