Busy. Overwhelm. Stress.
Soooo many people I talk with are stuck in these three things and it’s not by accident.
For the first time in our evolution, we have 2398543092347123 options for just about everything.
So many choices. So many decisions!
Without some serious planning on your part, it’s nearly impossible to manage all of it.
I have been blest with the skill sets of being realllly good at time management, planning, productivity, and goal setting. I’m not saying this to brag. There are many things I’m not good at.
So, I’ve been paying attention to what I do that works. And I’ve been teaching it a lot to other people. And it’s working for them.
And that’s not to say I don’t ever get overwhelmed, it’s just very rare.
I want to talk specifically about time management tips for bloggers.
I’m asked allllll the time how I managed my schedule blogging and working full time before I quit my job. More specifically, I get asked how I stuck to my schedule and actually made money blogging while working full time.
How I Managed My Time Working And Blogging
I made $8k my first year blogging while practicing as an attorney.
I made about $30k my second year blogging while practicing in part as a lawyer and in part as a financial planner.
I made $45k my third year blogging as a financial planner.
I should mention I don’t have kids, so that is one thing that makes more time. But I do have friends and family and value relationships in general.
So, how did I manage my schedule?
My Blogging Schedules
My blogging schedules have varied based on how seriously I was taking my blog at that given time.
My schedule $0 to $3k
When I started blogging, it wasn’t really to make money as a business, so I didn’t treat it like a business. I treated it like a hobby. I also didn’t like having to spend money on all the blog expenses, so I decided to start freelance writing for extra money on the side. I did this to the tune of about $1k per month, give or take.
Generally, I blogged after work during this period, maybe 5-10 hours per week. I really didn’t have a “blogging schedule.” I had no clue what I was doing. Some nights I would spend hours up trying to figure out css code and end up breaking my site. I didn’t know Grayson Bell at the time.
I started paying attention to income reports and learning the ins and outs of blogging as a business. It was super interesting to me that you could monetize a blog.
I decided I wanted to make more money from my blog, so I really started diving into blogging courses to learn what I was missing.
My schedule at $3k-8k
When I started to make over $3k or so, I decided to stop freelance writing and go all in on my blog with affiliate marketing.
I also stopped other things that I really enjoyed doing, like cooking and regularly reading new books.
I blogged probably 15-25 hours per week. I was working full time, too. I still found time to see my friends and family because I was so strict with my schedule and calendaring everything out.
I went all in on my blog.
I completely changed my schedule to the point where I was either working or blogging. I even gave up working out.
I’m not saying this was when I was physically the healthiest. But it is what I decided to do to get the results I wanted. LOL.
I basically worked 40 hours per work and blogged at least 35 hours per week.
The reward was that I built up my income from $3k per month to over $8k per month, officially hitting the $8,333 / month six figure blogger status. I quit my full time job, and now I’m a full time blogger aka online entrepreneur, as I like to call it.
My schedule at $8k+
I think some people love the lifestyle idea of blogging more than they love the actual blogging.
You have to be in love with the business, not just the lifestyle. The lifestyle is secondary. It’s the effect of.
I say this because I still blog a ton, and I don’t see a problem with this at all. But other people sure do have things to say about it!
This is why you have to hold on to your why and be committed to getting the results that you want in your life. No need to listen to people’s advice if they don’t have the results you want. (This applies for everything!)
This is the first year of my business full time. It’s also the year I’m creating my products. So, I’m in full on hustle mode.
In about a year, I plan to only work 40 hours per week, and in roughly 1-3 years, I hope to be working only 3 days per week. This, of course, is subject to change! But you get what I’m saying. My long term plan isn’t to work my face off.
I think in the startup phase, you have to be 100% all in, committed and Gary-Vee-it-out. If you’re not doing this, you’re unlikely to get the results you want. The exception is if you have a ton of money and can pay people to help you so you can have more work life balance). For everyone else, you have to give up balance for greatness. Why? Because you have 1238 jobs as a solopreneur starting your brand new biz.
This is kind of what Daymond John talks about in The Power Of Broke.
Over time, you can get that balance back, once your business is actually bringing in a steady revenue stream. You can start to outsource jobs that you do that someone else can do (e.g.: accounting, bookkeeping, Facebook ads, or editing content). Hopefully, you also have set up your business so it’s a little more passive long term.
This is why lawyering sucked so bad. It wasn’t only the hours and stress, it was also the fact that it never ends. The partners who had been there 20 years were working just as much as the associates. The business of laywering is built around you being there.
For me, blogging isn’t like that. I have hustled super hard to create a business that is now my full time gig. I still work a ton. But that is not my long-term plan.
My income fluctuates widely. It can be $8.5k one month and $16k the next month. Overall, it’s increasing, but there’s still a ton of work to be done to get the revenue consistently where I want it.
I’ve already made over $70k this year in 6 months, where 4 of those months I was still working full time.
To me, investing in my business right now with my time, money, and energy is totally worth the payout long term.
This is why I can never answer the question “how long does it take to make money blogging?” My answer is always, “how much time, energy, and money are you going to invest?” (among other things).
Blogging is starting a business. I like to say, blogs don’t make money, businesses do. So, the time it takes for you to build a business depends on so many things, including your commitment, and your willingness to invest time, money, and energy.
Only you can decide if it’s worth the risk and sacrifices that need to be made, and only you can decide the right schedule for you.
Choosing A Schedule For You
I go into three specific schedules in Blog With A Full Time Job, my blogging course. I’m including them below, so you can decide what works best for you.
If you have something in your schedule not listed, or you’re a stay at home mom or you work out a lot etc., you can insert those activities in place of what’s listed below, keeping the same blogging time.
I include blog time in the morning, before work, because that’s when your brain is freshest (assuming you actually go to bed at a decent hour) – you won’t have decision fatigue in the am, and you’ll be able to work. That said, you can always adjust to meet your preferences, including switching it to working on your blog at night. Just make sure it’s 2 uninterrupted hours of productivity.
Schedule 1: Least Amount Of Blog Time (Hobby Stage)
10 hours per week blogging
This is the startup phase, where you’re not making any money at all. You may get up to $2-$3k per month based on how much money and energy you invest (example: taking blogging courses).
Schedule 2: Middle Of The Road (Starting To Treat It Like A Biz Stage)
18 hours per week blogging
This is where you transition from hobby blogger to treating your blog as a business. You may be making anywhere from $1k to $4k per month during this phase, over time.
Schedule 3: Most Amount Of Time Blogging (Pro Stage)
39 hours per week blogging
When you’re investing every waking moment in your blog outside of your work and your family, you are probably working close to two full time jobs and your blog is probably going to become your full time gig soon enough.
This phase is hustle mode and it’s intense. You have to give up a lot, but the reward is really high – and totally worth it, imo.
The Planning Process
So, what do you do once you have selected a schedule?!
You plan like a freaking ninja.
I talk a lot about planning and goal setting in Dream Year, but the gist of it for purposes of this post are that you need to do these things:
- Choose an end goal
- Break that end goal down into smaller goals, until you have a 1 year goal
- Break that 1 year goal up into 12 mini goals
- Create a massive action list for each mini goal
- Plan those actions as results on your calendar for the next several weeks
- Continue to calendar more actions every week, as time goes on
This process – if you do it correctly – is tedious. For example, the amount of small actions you list should be far beyond what it takes to get the results you want. That way, you increase your chances of success tenfold. Once you have all those actions written down, it’s a matter of putting the results you expect to get from each action on your calendar, with specific deadlines. Then, you honor what’s on your calendar no matter what. The end.
Here’s an example
1. Choose an end goal
- Financial freedom
2. Break that end goal down into smaller goals, until you have a 1 year goal
- Make money blogging so I can quit my job
- Make $5k per month blogging
- Make $1k per month blogging
3. Break that 1 year goal up into 12 mini goals
- Start and launch blog – month 1
- Focus on content – month 2
- Learn how to drive traffic with Pinterest – month 3
- Create lead magnets and focus on email marketing – month 4
- Add ads to blog and start learning affiliate marketing – month 5
- Implement affiliate marketing strategy – months 6-9
- Learn how to create and sell digital products on blog – months 10-12+
(These are general goals for this example – yours should be more detailed!)
4. Create a massive action list for each mini goal
Let’s just take the first month from your first mini goal above. In real life, you would apply the same strategy for all your mini goals.
Mini goal 1: Start and launch blog
- Set a blogging schedule
- Take Blog With A Full Time Job course
- Register domain name
- Register host
- Design blog
- Set up social media accounts
- Write first 7 blog posts
- Create Pinterest boards and fill them
- Sign up for email marketing service
- Create 3 lead magnets
- Sign up for Tailwind
- Promote content on social media, especially on Pinterest
- Review blog progress and evaluate
This action list is actually a bit on the bare side because the post needs to end at some point. J When you create your action list, make sure it’s jam packed with actions you need to take, breaking them down as small as possible.
If you don’t know the actions you’ll need to take for a mini goal, add an action to “research how to do XYZ.”
Once you have your first mini goal written out with actions, move on to the next mini goal. Rinse and repeat for all your mini goals.
5. Plan those actions as results on your calendar for the next several weeks
In Blog With A Full Time Job 12 Month Plan I break down the first month of blogging actions like this…
The key is to have a specific result you expect to get on your calendar for the given time frame.
6. Continue to calendar more actions every week, as time goes on
Every week, make sure you have time set aside to put more actions on your calendar.
The secret to the planning process is starting with your end goal and working backward to calendar your results. Do this, and you will get whatever it is you want.
Up to this point, we’ve talked tactics.
Underlying these tactics are rules I’ve adopted that make blogging while doing other things possible.
They really get at the mindset behind the action.
Here they are…
Rule #1: Always measure productivity based on results.
Never schedule “blog from 6am-8am.” This is not descriptive with the results. It just says the activity. The best productivity hack ever is to always schedule results. You’re going to have to be okay with B- work, this way, but it’s necessary for the amount you’ll need to produce.
Rule #2: Hold onto your why.
You’re going to have problems no matter what you do in life. Your why will keep you going.
Do you really want financial freedom? Do you really want to blog full time? Why? What’s your real why?
You have to know your why.
Rule #3: Get committed.
So, there’s a little problem that is actually a huge problem in America today.
No one is committing.
Have you seen Master Of None with Aziz Ansari? I love him, by the way. He really shows you the problem in the show.
Our generation hasn’t been taught to commit.
Commitment is the foundation for greatness in anything.
You can learn how to commit. Start small. Then practice over and over until you get better at it.
Don’t let yourself live in “I don’t know.” If you really don’t know, create a plan to figure it out. When you live in “I don’t know,” you stay stuck. And stuck is the opposite of commitment. It will kill you.
The cure to being stuck is taking massive action. When you’re committed and take massive action, you honor your commitments on your calendar and you make things happen. It’s beautiful.
Rule #4: Stop sitting in self pity.
Before you skip this one, keep reading.
Most people don’t realize they’re in self pity.
Self pity is a negative emotion that isn’t useful. It’s saying “today was hard” and “I just don’t feel like it,” when in fact you just had a very great day, are healthy, have friends and family, and a good job, but are still choosing to not view it that way. You’ve basically programmed your brain to live in blah instead of live in amazing.
You need to practice getting out of self pity and feeling sorry for yourself.
When you feel sorry for yourself, you think things are happening to you instead of for you. This is the victim mentality. The problem with believing your life is happening to you is that you’ve handed over your power to someone else and you can’t do anything about it.
I don’t know anyone who has built a blog successfully who is stuck in self pity.
You have to manage your mind so you’re in control of what you think. This is what I teach in Design Your Dream Life Academy.
It’s the foundation for everything you do.
Rule #5: Love yourself.
If you’re not honoring your commitments and what’s on your calendar, you aren’t giving yourself as much respect as you would someone else.
You need to dive deeper into this and figure out why.
Then, start practicing treating yourself better than anyone you know. (Again, I teach this in Design Your Dream Life Academy.)
If you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, you have no shot at blogging successfully.
Rule #6: Say no.
If you follow the planning steps above, where you proactively choose your end goal and work backward to calendar your results, you’re intentionally creating your future instead of reacting to it.
This is great.
Except for one thing.
You’re going to have to say no to everyone else’s requests of you goals and agendas.
The easier it is for you to say no, the more successful you’ll be. Practice this skill set. It gets easier with practice.
A Final Note!
If you want to start a blog and turn it into a business, I hear you.
It takes time. And not just time, but time well spent.
These time management tips for bloggers are the starting point. It’s the information. Next, you have to put it into action.
It works if you work it. That much, I know for sure. 🙂