Eighteen months ago I set out with the goal to start blogging. I committed to myself that I would dedicate at least one year to this new side hustle. The challenge, I have two young kids, a part-time job, no family around except my husband, and what felt like no margin in our lives. Despite having very little time to work with, I was able to write over 100 posts, create thousands of pins, dabble in other social media platforms, and dedicate countless hours to learning about blogging. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, read on for practical tips to make time to blog as a side hustle.
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Get clear on your “why”
If you are considering starting a blog, have recently started a blog, or have been blogging for a while, make sure you are uber-clear on your “why.” Why is blogging important to you? What makes it a compelling investment of your time and money? The end goal, what is it? What are you working toward and why is it worth the struggle?
By being clear about your why, you’ll make time when you feel like you have none. You’ll stay up late or get up early if that’s your only option. Your “why” will help you get back up when you’ve been knocked down, set back, or disappointed.
Determine how much time you can commit
Next, define how much time you can commit. What’s realistic for you? Are you working a full-time job? Do you have young kids? Maybe your spouse travels a lot. The reality is, we all have different constraints and if you’re starting a blog as a side hustle, you need to be clear about those constraints and how much you can squeeze in.
Some people dedicate 10 hours a week because that’s all they have. Other’s do 20 hours. While others are able to fit in 40 hours. The point, there’s no right or wrong answer.
True, it might take you more time to make traction with your blog if you’re only able to dedicate 10 hours a week, but it might not. I know of other successful bloggers that have made that model work! It’s not about how much time you spend, but the focus and quality of the time. It’s good to have a goal and then to hold yourself accountable to that goal. Be realistic!
Acknowledge the trade-offs
As a third step, be upfront about the trade-offs. There will be trade-offs. For me, I get less sleep. I spend less time surfing the internet or doing hobbies than I used to. There are times when my family is outside playing and I’m working on the blog.
By acknowledging the costs and the trade-offs up front, you are better prepared for when they come.
To be honest, the trade-offs can be tough in the here and now. It’s important to make sure you have a support team to encourage you in the difficult times and help fill in the gaps when you need it.
If you have a young family, it’s worthwhile to make sure you and your spouse are on in agreement about the priority of blogging. If you’re blogging as a side hustle, it will bleed into your family time. There are just so many hours in a day.
My husband and I work hard to be on the same page regarding the priority of the blog. We have conversations about the end goal and why this is an important endeavor in the long run. We remind ourselves of the original vision and how this blog is not a hobby, but a business that I’m growing. His support is priceless to me and allows me to work on this side hustle in any crack or crevice I can find. In more ways than this, I am blessed to have him as my partner!
Maybe it’s not a spouse for you, then find a friend to be your champion. I jokingly call one of my dear friends the “President of my fan club.” She consistently shares my posts on Facebook, comments on my posts, tells her co-workers about my site and asks me how things are going. She encourages me during difficult times. Everyone needs a Natalie!
Find Your Zone
So, you’ve defined your why and how much time you can spend. You’ve acknowledged the tradeoffs and built a support system. Next, you need to find your zone. Some people work better in the morning and others at night. Some families have margin in the morning and others at night.
Figure out where your zone is. What works with your family’s rhythm. Do your kids wake up super early? Do they require 110% of your attention? Then the morning probably isn’t the best time for you.
Do you find yourself with heavy eyelids after 7 p.m.? If so, then the evening might not be the time for you.
I know many bloggers that get up before the crack of dawn and they find this as their most productive time. I wanted the mornings to work for me, but they didn’t. While I personally had energy in the morning, it was totally dependent on my having a good night sleep (ahem how many kids or pets were in our bed, who was sick, and how late I got to sleep). My ability to focus and get work done in the morning was dependent on how late the kids slept. There were just too many variables for me to be consistent in the morning.
The evening, on the other hand, was my zone. With the kids in bed, I could work uninterrupted and dedicate a solid chunk of time to getting my thing done!
More than likely, as a side hustle, you probably have limited time. I’m thinking 20 hours or less. That means you need to be really strategic about how you spend your time. There is endless work you can do as a blogger. There are always more posts to write, more pins to create, and more tweets to tweet.
Decide what your goal is and prioritize from there. Are you trying to increase traffic? Then focus on content creation and promotion. Are you at the point where you’re ready to make money? Then product testing and creation are where you may want to focus. Things like updating your Pinterest Board Covers, tweaking your About page, or reading everyone’s comment in XYZ Blogging Facebook Group will not help you reach your goal.
Define your goal and be laser focused!
One of the things that helped me to know how to approach blogging and how to focus my time was the Elite Blog Academy (EBA). I was so thankful to find EBA. It served as a compass and provided direction for me. I didn’t want to waste time researching and finding untested advice. Ruth Soukup and the Elite Blog Academy were a game changer for me and helped to chart my course. Grab their free Essential Blog Post Promotion Checklist.
Last but not least, be determined! For the majority of people, blogging is not a get rich quick type of thing. I’ve heard that on average it can take approximately 2 years to make real money.
There will be ups and downs in the journey. Chances are, the less time you’re able to dedicate each week, the longer it may take (there are exceptions to this). Remind yourself of your vision. Remind yourself that it’s a good INVESTMENT of your time to build a business online. It takes very little up-front financial investment and you can do it on your terms as your schedule permits.
Bottom line, be committed and don’t give up!