What not all of my readers know is that I don’t blog full-time. I am actually still a freelance stylist first and it’s a part of my life and career that I love doing. When people ask why I’m so busy all the time (as if a blog wouldn’t keep me busy anyway!) it’s because I don’t really have much downtime with my job, when I’m away on a week long styling shoot (those times when I’m instagramming from Barbados!) I have to get all my content scheduled ahead of time and I’m always rejigging my diary to squeeze in a shoot for a mag, or a stint at Conde Nast Traveller to work on a supplement, in between posts. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.
That said, I’m aware that many of you also have jobs and a blog on the side – it’s such a good outlet to have and share with others – and also more and more common with the rise of the ‘portfolio career’, it’s no longer the case that people do just one thing anymore. So I thought I’d share some tips on how I manage, and a few tips from working friends too.
1. Set yourself limits. Everything with a limitation is good. As my blog was always a side project, I found having a niche really helped with my content (and workload). I was only going to blog about affordable fashion I loved, that way my extra content could only go so far and my workload was (somewhat) manageable.
2. Be strict with your schedule – factor in a time to do your work and stick to it. I always found if I wrote a to-do list of 5 things that were the most important to do that day, I was way more productive than with a long list of everything that needed to get done. But also, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done. We’re only human, and it’s okay to let life get in the way.
3. Use your job to your advantage – does it help your blog? Mine go hand in hand, which is also why I keep doing it. My day job inspires my blog and keeps my creativity ticking. And even with jobs which aren’t necessarily connected give blogs an edge: my good friend Briony also works in politics and her intelligent political stance helps make her blog (which is pink, girly and glittery) so fascinating to read.
4. Balance up the odds – is a paid job more important? 9 out of 10 times I would take a styling job over working on my blog, as the money means I don’t have to sell all my blog content as sponsored, which is what I love about my blog. It’s always important to remember why you are doing both.
5. Be realistic. There are so many channels and platforms now, think logically about which ones you need. If it would kill you to do a blog everyday as well as 3 instagrams, snapchats and Facebook, don’t do it. Many successful bloggers just have an Instagram accounts and then a blog supports it occasionally with content once a week (or often less!). I must admit, I became far less stressed when I lowered my instagram content to 1 post (sometimes 2) a day.
And here’s some advice from some friends who juggle blogging around work:
|Photograph: Anya Holdstock|
“I think the main thing to remember when blogging and working full-time, is not to punish yourself. Make it achievable, or you’ll stop enjoying both blogging AND working! There’s only so much information your brain can store at one time, and only so much time to be creative. If you try and do too much the quality will suffer, and the first people to notice that will be your followers. I aim to do one blog post a week (unless I’m on holiday!) but I keep interest for my readers ticking over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the rest of the time.”
Alice Shreeve and Hannah Coniam-Thompson are the designers and founders of fashion & bridal label Belle & Bunty, they also have a fantastic blog and instagram of the same name.
|Photograph: Margarita Karenko|
“They say variety is the spice of life and we tend to agree! We are lucky enough to run our own business together and blog at the same time which can get a little hectic at times but a top tip to stay on top of everything are apps to help you stay organised. We use Google Keep to note down everything we need to do and tick off as we go as well as use a shared online calendar app to help keep us both in sync and our diary coordinated. Both are so useful!”
“Time. Prepare to manage it (and accept that you will never have enough). I work 9 out of 10 evenings and, where I can, during my little boy’s naps. On the flip-side, this does make you extremely productive: having a limited timeframe means you get stuff done.
Focus. It sounds a bit hippy-ish, but I try to be present in each role. When I’m at Glamour, my brain is completely in that space. When I’m writing a post/at an event/meeting for W&W, I’m wholly intent on that. When I’m with my children, I’m with them. Obviously, this is an ideal rather than an everyday reality – of course things overlap and distract – but it’s something I aim for.
The late, great Nora Ephron famously wrote that ‘everything is copy’. True. I would also add: everything is a potential source of inspiration. By being out there, open, exposed to new people, ideas, brands etc, I think I deliver better ideas and a better experience for readers of both W&W and Glamour”.