I founded Daisybutter in my first year of University, alongside working towards earning a BA (Hons) Writing Fashion and Culture degree. Amidst lectures, seminars, tutorials and mountains of deadlines, funnelling my creative efforts to a blog gave me something to truly focus on during downtime. And something that wasn’t watching YouTube videos back to back – I’d just discovered beauty channels and vloggers! – and spending my evenings playing Ring of Fire: Pokémon edition.
Despite the hectic schedule that came with University – did anybody else’s degree manage to time 13 deadlines on the same day? – I ended up publishing new posts almost every day, purely because I loved and still love it.
Even when I was drowning in what one can only fondly recall as Dissertation Hell, I persevered.
I’d be on a train to London by 7am for breakfast meetings before getting straight back on at London Waterloo to make it back to Southampton for an 11am lecture.
I traipsed outside to shoot on my own, armed with a tripod and my old point-and-shoot camera. I spent hours tirelessly styling backdrops for photos during those awkward 2-hour breaks in-between seminars.
But the step-up to Real Life and having a full-time job alongside Daisybutter? Well, that’s taken a little more fine-tuning.
Prior to holding down a 9-5 and a lengthy commute, I’d never so much as scheduled a post or planned content in advance. Thankfully, loving both my shiny new role and running Daisybutter meant that I quickly picked up tips to get the balance just right…
1. Be Realistic
Nobody’s going to put a gun up to your head if you happen to miss a post. Like, seriously.
No matter what has been said, even full-time bloggers with agents and teams are still bloggers, and they’re not ‘forced’ to do anything. Whilst there might be deadlines involved in paid partnerships or other collaborative projects, for the most part, your blog is going to be much more flexible than your job.
So you like to socialise, go to the gym, spend time with your friends and walk the dog in your weekly routine? Open up your diary – paper or digital – and pencil these tasks in. Block out your work hours and factor in everyday tasks like ‘make dinner’ or ‘clean bathroom’, and you’ll easily be able to see your spare hours.
I work Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, and my commute takes around 45 minutes each way. I tend to have occasions in the diary 2-3 times a week and don’t have many other commitments aside from that.
So, I’ve allocated Wednesday and Sunday evenings towards blogging. That includes brainstorming post topics, writing copy and editing it, shooting photographs and putting it all together, with relevant and useful links.
I also like to schedule posts so that my readers can enjoy posts throughout the week instead of five posts every Wednesday.
2. Be A Step Ahead of The Game
You’ll only need to spend approximately one minute on Twitter to learn that #bloggerproblems throughout winter are due to lack of natural lighting or that it’s incredibly difficult to successfully promote a new post on all channels. So, take this tidbit of knowledge and play that to your advantage.
First, I recommend creating an editorial calendar. This will help you to see what’s coming up and prepare accordingly for them. You’ll of course need photos, so create a list of things to shoot and find time to shoot that works for you.
Perhaps you work shifts and have a morning off once a week – why not block out an hour or two to shoot a reel of photographs that you can have saved, ready for an upcoming post?
I tend to shoot twice weekly (lifestyle and portrait shots), as well as capture little moments throughout the week. Even though I’m in an office throughout the week and tend to have plans on most weekends, one spare morning is all that’s really needed for me to get up to date with a week’s worth of content.
3. Social Media Whizz
If you’re finding yourself struggling to promote a blog post that you spent absolutely ages on, why not try a scheduling tool?
Between having a full-time job and living in a timezone eight hours ahead of my primary readership, I’ve found scheduling tools including Hootsuite, Buffer and Tailwind a godsend. Simply create a set of Tweets, captions, etc., add in your post link and set times and dates, et voilà!
I like to schedule my social media content right after finishing a blog post so that I can easily keep on top of what I’m working on. Again, an editorial calendar will really help with this process. Plus, it always helps that the majority of my traffic comes from Twitter and Pinterest!
4. Use One and Another
Lastly, work towards integrating your blog into your everyday life. By this I mean seamlessly bringing the two together.
Taking a screen break at work? Whip out a notebook and jot down post ideas and titles. Heard a funny quote in the office? Note it down, it could spark conversation or become a hilarious anecdote or even inspire a think-piece.
Daisybutter is inspired and shaped by my everyday tasks and occurrences. As a keen journaller, I personally like to note down my entire day and use this to take stock before I begin writing. Even noting down angry thoughts about how busy you were or how things didn’t go to plan could turn into a brilliant think-piece!
Slowly but surely, it’ll fall into place and you’ll become a super lean, mean blogging machine.
My Top Tips
- It takes commitment to balance a blog and your job successfully.
- Be almost anal about time and use it carefully. That natural daylight won’t be around forever, but Netflix will.
- Make the most of downtime. So you’re watching Made in Chelsea on your evening ‘off’, but there’s always a post to squeeze out of Lucy’s Life Tips, How Not To Date Like Binky, 5 Conversation Starters to Avoid with Help From Jamie Laing, or #throwbackthursday Millie Wardrobe a.k.a. A Dream. Inspiration comes from everywhere, see?
- Photograph in advance and try to shoot in batches.
- Do remain committed to your full-time job and direct your main focus to it.
What are some of your tips for balancing a blog and a full-time job?