Today’s post is all about how to blog with a full-time job and the things you need to do to remain “sustainable”.
I chose sustainable instead of consistent for a reason that I’ll explain later.
For now I want you to know this post was as much of an internal conversation with myself as much as it was me trying to help you.
I say that because prior to doing my research and writing this post, I had completely lost steam.
Granted I was working on some other stuff (more on that later) and updating some other posts on the blog but much of my progress on here had really stalled.
I won’t go into the boring details because in so many ways it’ll feel like I’m just making excuses and I’m sure you probably even have a lot more to deal with than myself.
This isn’t meant to be a sob story.
I signed up for this journey on my own and I enjoy the process but that isn’t to say it doesn’t come with it’s own hardships.
But I bring up the tough times just for the added perspective and because I’m certain they’re things you might be already dealing with or may eventually have to.
Either way it’s just my means of simply sharing with and relating to your own circumstances.
Now I understand you may be eager to jump right into the steps but before we do, I want to take a brief look at something that’s almost always overlooked by many (new) bloggers.
The Process Of Blogging with a Full-Time Job
Building a successful blog with a full time job can ultimately be broken down into 3 different phases:
- Your Pre-Phase
- Your Pre-Launch
- Your Launch
Let’s take a brief look at each one and what they all consist of.
Before you ever even put pen to paper so to speak, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you ever embark on your blogging journey.
These still apply even if you’ve already launched your blog.
The first question is Your Why.
Your Why is essentially the main reason and probably the most important driving force behind why you decided to start a blog in the first place.
It has to be something that’s so strong enough you to keep going during the tough times (ex. blogging with a full-time job).
Figuring out Your Why is an exercise that may require a little bit of extra time from you but it’s very important nonetheless.
The next part of your pre-phase is Your Mindset.
Having the right mindset is everything.
Believe me when I say once you shift your mindset to believing everything is possible, your approach and your results will completely change.
Once again building the right mindset doesn’t happen in 1 day but you need to start working on it right now.
The final part of this phase is What kind of blogger do you want to be?
And I’m not talking about food blogger or fashion blogger or any of that stuff.
What I mean is are you just a hobbyist or are you serious about making money online?
I don’t need to tell you those are 2 completely different things.
I’m 100% certain you want to make money online which means you have to start thinking like a serious business owner.
And yes, your blog is a business!
If you don’t believe it is, you’re only hurting yourself.
Your pre-launch is where you start to think about the different aspects of your blog and your overall approach.
These are basically all of the things that you’re going to start now and continue focusing on throughout the lifetime of your blog.
The key ones being:
- Your Plan and Schedule (You know best what times are ideal for you)
- Niche Research (See this post)
- Learning from others
- Adapting to change(s)
Like I said, all of those things will always remain part of your ongoing process but you need to do your due diligence before your blog goes live.
I really tried to find a nice way to phrase what I’m about to say but here’s the sad truth – there’s nothing special about launching your blog.
Yes there’s the initial excitement and some sense of accomplishment but at the end of the day, there’s really nothing to it.
If you haven’t launched your own blog yet, I have an excellent guide that walks you step-by-step throughout the entire process – you can read it here.
But because I understand you may be pressed for time, I’m going to summarize 7,000+ words of content into 5 simple steps you need to follow:
- Purchase your domain name from Namecheap.
- Sign up for web hosting with SiteGround.
- Link both accounts (I have the complete guide for you here)
- Select your theme.
- Install your plugins.
That is literally all it takes to launch your own blog and once it’s live, nothing special happens.
You won’t have any surprise party or fireworks or confetti or some fancy “blog launch” cake.
There’s nothing special about starting a blog nowadays. The only thing you have at that point is just a blank canvas.
In fact you and I both know that’s where the real work begins and that’s the main reason why you’re reading this post.
So how do you handle your new blog with a full-time job?
9 Steps to Help You Blog With A Full-Time Job
Contrary to what other people may say, I’m not a big believer in giving up everything else currently going on in your life just to focus on your blog.
Or that you need to abandon your 9-5 if you want to build an online business.
That said, you need to make some necessary sacrifices if you’re serious about blogging with a full time job.
It may not be the easiest thing in the world but it’s definitely possible.
I know for a fact that I can scale this blog a lot quicker if I devote more time to it.
But truth is many successful bloggers actually started part-time themselves.
They were just individuals like you and I who knew they had a passion for something else and were willing to devote the time and effort to see their dreams come true.
So the steps I’m going to share with you today are the same ones you can use to realistically build a profitable blog as a busy professional.
But here’s the deal..
They only work if you actually implement them.
So as you read throughout the rest of this post, you should be thinking of how you’re going to take the necessary steps and make the necessary adjustments to build your own profitable blog.
That’s all I ask of you.
Here we go.
1 - Plan & Research
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Imagine trying to get from point A to point B without any plans or sense of direction.
You just jumped into your car and started driving.
How would you know you made it to point B if you didn’t even know what to expect once you got there?
Same applies to your blog or any business you’re going to start for that matter.
You need to take some time and create a personal and business plan.
And hopefully now you can understand why the pre-phase and pre-launch are important steps.
I’m also going to let you know right now there’s no such thing as the “perfect” plan.
Plans continuously change over time and so too will yours as your blog grows.
The only important thing here is that you are creating a sense of direction for yourself.
Part of your planning also means you need to make sure your blog (or business) is something that will be viable in the long run.
This is a marathon not a race.
You need to have a clear understanding of where this marathon will lead you.
I also can’t stress enough the importance of actually writing down your plan.
I know there are so many different tools and apps out there to help with planning but nothing beats pen & paper.
Please don’t neglect it.
And once you do, keep it somewhere visible so you’re constantly reminded of the things you need to focus on.
The link below is an excellent resource that can help you plan for anything without getting overwhelmed.
It’s a simple formula developed by one of my mentors Pat Flynn.
Here’s the link – How To Plan Anything.
2 - Create Time Blocks
Block your time or lose it forever.
If you’re going to successfully build your blog with a full-time job you need to set aside some time when you actually work on your site or content.
This is time you dedicate to absolutely nothing else except for the things that will help grow your blog.
No TV, no phones, no checking emails, and so on.
Absolutely no distractions.
This is very important because much of your success will depend largely on your ability to remain focused and that only happens when you learn how to block out any major distractions.
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of people make is to try and block out huge chunks of time on your their first attempt.
Truth is you can do just fine with small increments.
In fact I recommend you start with just 30 minutes a day.
If you think that’s too little, let’s do the math.
30 mins per day equals 3.5 hrs per week.
That’s a total of 14 dedicated hours every single month just for your blog.
Now imagine how much you can accomplish in a year.
And 30 minutes is just a starting point.
As you build your discipline with the smaller time frames, you can begin to increase the time periods as you get better or as your schedule permits.
Plus you can also get more done on the days you’re off work.
Another point worth mentioning is you need to be clear about your priorities.
Don’t waste any of your limited time on things that won’t have a big impact on your blog.
Use the 80/20 rule to maximize your productivity – You want to get an 80% outcome from 20% of your focused efforts.
The following article is an oldie but it’s still well worth the read if you really want to understand how to maximize your time – Elon Musk’s “time blocking” method: How to Manage Time effectively even if your schedule is hectic.
3 - Network & Partnerships
If we’re being completely honest, this is something I struggled with a lot before.
For 2 main reasons:
- I felt like I didn’t have the time.
- I was worried about people stealing or copying my ideas.
You might feel the same way or you may have some other reasons that are keeping you from working with other bloggers but whatever those reasons may be, they’re nothing but self limiting excuses and you need to get rid of them ASAP!
You don’t have to build your blog on your own.
There are so many other bloggers out there who can help you on your journey. (More about mentors later).
The good thing about blogging is you can find other people just like yourself to collaborate with.
If you want to shorten your learning curve then you really need to start networking right now.
Reason being it opens up doors you may have otherwise had a difficult time finding on your own.
This is by far one of the most valuable uses of the limited time you have available.
Once I made a conscious effort to work with others, I quickly realized there is some truth to the statement “It’s not what you know but who you know.”
There are people around you that can help make the process so much easier.
Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever, don’t hesitate to reach out.
4 - Outsource
Blogging and entrepreneurship in general has often been made synonymous with boarding yourself up in a room somewhere and grinding it out on your own till you get some results.
If you’re strapped for time then trying to handle every task on your own will only slow you down.
It’s something I once was guilty of and unfortunately learned the hard way.
Can you handle everything on your own?
Of course it’s possible.
But the real question though is Should you?
Let’s face it, you’re reading this post because somewhere somehow you understand handling your blog with a full-time job and all of your other responsibilities is overwhelming.
And that’s what usually leaves you feeling unsatisfied with your work or productivity.
There’s a huge difference between working hard and working smart.
Working smarter is always better.
If you want your work done a lot faster and speed up your blog growth without feeling overwhelmed then you need to outsource certain tasks.
Especially the ones you’re not great at or really don’t enjoy doing at all.
Remember when I told you your blog is a business – then you need to start thinking like a business owner.
And smart business owners know how to delegate different tasks.
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room because I’m sure this probably crossed your mind – “What if I can’t afford to outsource?’’
Well this is where research and networking comes in.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars hiring people to help you.
Or collaborate with other bloggers who are just getting started as well.
There are so many ways to go about this.
You just need to be creative and willing to make it happen.
You’re not obligated to do it all on your own.
5 - Set Realistic Goals
You won’t make a million dollars overnight!
There I told you.
You can either hate me for saying that or embrace it and work on setting realistic and attainable goals for yourself.
I truly believe it’s the folks who promise overnight success that have given blogging and digital marketing in general such a bad rep.
I have to remind you once again that building your blog as a busy professional will take some time.
But that’s not a bad thing.
You and I both want instant gratification but that hardly ever is the case with online marketing.
Good things take time so you need to set goals you can reasonably attain.
Think of the entire process as building blocks.
You need your foundation then it’s brick by brick till you complete that mansion of yours.
You have to make sure you’re working on goals that are achievable within the limited amount of time you currently have.
If you want to learn about some of my goals at the start of this blog then read this post.
Now I know I keep talking about setting realistic goals but truth is even though we already understand its importance we often forget how to set them effectively.
What ends up happening is we have this huge list in front of us that we’re constantly trying to check off.
Part of being realistic is you need to be satisfied with the smallest accomplishment.
A win is a win no matter how little you may think it is.
Never try to take up more than you can handle just because you’re trying to keep up with everyone else.
Goal Setting System
Here’s a brief rundown of what my goal setting strategy looks like.
First I write down my goals (big and small) then I get very specific about each one.
Then I prioritize them, schedule a time frame for each one then I focus on a single goal at a time.
I also make sure to keep track of my progress so I can continue to accomplish those tasks in a reasonable amount of time and also to see what areas may need improvement.
My entire list depends on how much time I’ll have available and a goal I believe is actually possible.
Some days it’s just one thing, on other days it’s more.
Whatever the case may be, I promise myself to always be satisfied with my work for that day.
Does everything always go as planned?
But at least I have a system in place that tells me when I’m slacking and when things are going okay.
That strategy is one I learned from another mentor of mine Dr. Shannon Irvine.
She has by far one of the best goal setting methods I’ve used to date.
If you’re interested, then listen to her Podcast episode where she talks about the 12 Step Goal Setting System. (Be sure to also download the checklist.)
6 - Find A Mentor
If you’ve actually been reading through the post then I’m sure you noticed I mentioned some of my mentors.
If you’re going to remember only 1 thing from this post it should be the fact that you need to find a mentor.
Someone who is truly dedicated and invested in seeing you succeed.
If there were such a thing as a shortcut to success, then I just gave it to you.
And you don’t even need to know your “mentors” on a personal basis or spend hundreds or thousands of dollars (right now) on personal consultation.
Some of the people I look up to don’t even know I exist and I’ll probably never run into them.
However I constantly learn from them and I plan on emulating their success.
The good part about all of this is a lot of successful bloggers have plenty of free resources you can use and often times that’s all you need when you’re getting started.
Irrespective of what your niche is, I can guarantee there are tons of free resources and free material available for you to use.
The resources are endless – Books, blog posts, podcasts, vlogs, PDFs, etc. Take advantage of all that content.
And although the free stuff is great, there’s 1 thing I need you to keep in mind if you plan on taking your blog to the next level.
I strongly encourage you to save up and spend some money on some paid courses or maybe even personal coaching with your mentor.
The ROI you’ll get from a paid course or a one-on-one session is immeasurable if you actually implement the strategies they teach you.
Paid content of any form is a necessary investment for your brand.
I’ll leave you with another old but worthy read: 7 Reasons You Need A Mentor for Entrepreneurial Success
7 - Batch Your Content
Blogging by default is going to require a lot of content creation.
Be it blog posts, Youtube videos, social media content and so on.
All of those things will require some extra time from you.
The best way to avoid the struggle to be consistent when everything else is pulling you away from your blog is to create your content in batches.
I’ll use blog posts as an example since that’s one of the main things you’ll be focusing on.
Ideally you want to write out as many posts as you can in one sitting.
So if your posting schedule is 4 posts per month per se then you should find a day when you can sit down and write out all of that content.
That means you’ll have your posts ready and you now have the rest of your time to focus on other aspects of your blog.
It’s almost similar to meal prepping which I’m sure you do to save you time from figuring out what you’re going to take work everyday.
And you can apply the same strategy to almost everything you do online.
If your budget allows it, I also recommend you take advantage of scheduling tools.
A scheduling tool is exactly just as the name suggests.
You create a whole batch of content, use the tool to schedule what date you want them to get posted and all of the work happens when you’re away.
Saves you so much more time and stress.
One such tool that comes to mind is Tailwind.
If you’re using Pinterest for your blog growth which I recommend you do, then you definitely need to use Tailwind.
Believe me when I say it’s totally worth it.
8 - Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome
One of the worst things you can do for yourself as a blogger or digital marketer is fall victim to the shiny object syndrome.
If you’re not familiar with the term, Shiny Object Syndrome is basically the tendency to keep falling for a new trend, business idea, tool or whatever the case may be.
It’s almost the equivalent of a kid constantly chasing after the next shiny toy.
In so many ways it’s a huge distraction and basically a cry for help. (The abbreviation is S.O.S by the way)
There’s a difference between adapting to change vs looking for the next magical solution.
In the introduction to this post I told all good things take time.
Even more so with a full-time job.
That said, I can almost guarantee (with 99.99% certainty) that if it hasn’t happened already, you’ll be tempted to chase after the next best thing.
And that is by far one of the biggest and worst obstacles to progress.
You end up switching from one method to next, one strategy to another or switching up different tools because you’re hoping the next one will be the answer.
All of that without even using the previous thing to its full potential.
You’re always going to come across something that claims to be better than the next.
Now if you’re using something, have implemented everything you can and still aren’t getting the results you expected then yes maybe you should consider a switch.
But do that only after you are completely sure that you’ve hit a roadblock.
It’s just a cycle of life and business that there will be something out there that claims to be better than what you currently have.
But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
9 - Be Passionate
I’ll start off by saying this is one of those words that gets tossed around freely or dare I say carelessly in the blogging community.
And while some people may say it for the sake of it or without any reasoning, there is good reason behind it.
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing you won’t stick with it.
Plain and simple.
It should come as no secret to you that many people don’t enjoy their full-time jobs.
Chances are you are one of those people.
Do you know why they stick with it?
Well it’s because the alternative is being broke and nobody wants that.
But even then what happens when you find a better alternative?
You put in your 2 weeks and you’re out the door.
Blogging definitely requires a lot more discipline than your full-time job.
For one you’re not guaranteed a paycheck every 2 weeks and there’s no one over your head to make sure you’re actually doing the work.
You are the only one who can hold yourself accountable and that means if you don’t enjoy the hustle you’ll quit a lot sooner than a sprinter with muscle cramps.
There is no trade-off for passion. Absolutely none.
And don’t get fooled into thinking otherwise.
If you’re not truly passionate about your blog or the pursuit then I suggest you rethink your decision right now because it’s not as easy as applying for a job then crushing your interview and watching the money flow in.
Building your blog requires not only your personal and time commitment but also some financial investment.
Why waste your time and money on something you don’t really care about?
You need to also remember your “side hustle” could eventually become your full-time business.
And if you’re going to lose interest down the road then why bother?
I believe lack of passion is the main reason why people fall for the “shiny object” syndrome.
Today they pick up something because it’s great but then they’re on to the next because it looks better and the cycle keeps going.
At the end of the day they never maximize their full potential.
Like I said in the previous point, please do not fall victim to that. Make that promise to yourself.
I’ve also heard people say “You’ll enjoy it when the money comes in.”
While there is a little bit of truth to that statement it completely ignores the effort it takes to get to that point.
I’m not sure what your motivations are for building your own blog but if you are truly in it to serve others then you’ll realize that statement isn’t very helpful.
First of all I’m not naive to say money isn’t important.
You need it for both your personal and business survival. And I hope that you one day get lots of it.
But what’s the point of all of that money if the work makes you miserable.
Wouldn’t you be better off at your current job that has a lot more security?
All I’m saying is you really need to re-evaluate the reasons why you’re starting your own blog and make sure you’re pursuing something you enjoy.
The money will come and so will the accolades if that’s what you want but if you don’t enjoy it and can’t stick with it then it’ll just end up being another waste of time.
Sustainability over Consistency
Earlier I told you everything we’re going to cover today is meant to help you be sustainable.
And there’s a reason for it.
I’m sure you may have heard the quote “Consistency is the key to success.“
I won’t even try to argue against that statement because it is fundamentally true.
Consistency helps you develop better habits and allows you to build up momentum in the long run.
But for many of us that blog with a full-time job what we need is sustainability.
I’m talking about the ability to survive or better yet the ability to continue doing all the necessary things repeatedly at a rate we can keep up with.
There are many bloggers I look up to (I’m sure you do the same) and often times the recurrent piece of advice we get is to remain consistent.
Like I said, that may be true but that advice often neglects the little part of our lives that’s overrun by everything else.
So while you may want to be consistent, you need to do it at a rate that you can sustain.
Blogging as you may have found out (or soon will) has a lot of moving pieces.
As much as I’d like to tell you to publish 10 posts a month, create 100 Pinterest pins and make sure you’re doing all of the necessary outreach as well, I know very well that those things could also easily lead to your demise.
So while all the advice may be true, you need to take a step back and analyze your current situation before you go diving over a 100ft wall.
Sometimes you just need to take it one step at the time.
Yes it may take you a little longer but as long as you’re headed in the right direction you’ll get there eventually.
The added benefit is you can speed up if you’re able to but at least you’ll be doing so at a consistent pace you can actually keep up with.
Final Thoughts on How to Build Your Blog With A Full-Time Job
The steps I’ve given you in this post are things that really work and will save you a lot of headaches and stress if you actually implement them.
And that right there is the difference – actually implementing them.
You can’t read through this entire post then neglect to apply everything you just read.
I know first hand how much more work is required of you when you’re blogging with a full-time job.
All the recommendations on here are the same ones I continue to use myself.
You’re going to have good days and bad days but that happens to everyone. Even to those who currently have their blog as a full-time business.
It’s up to you to have the right things in place so the bad days don’t overshadow the good ones.
So as a reminder, here all the 9 steps again:
- Plan & Research
- Create Time Blocks
- Network & Partnerships
- Set Realistic Goals
- Find A Mentor
- Batch Your Content
- Avoid the “Shiny Object” Syndrome
- Be Passionate
I hope you found this helpful and I hope you put it to good use.
If you have any questions, comments or any other thoughts, please feel free to leave them below.
About Blogging with A Full-Time Job
Here are 9 steps you need to help you blog with a full-time job:
- Plan & Research
- Create Time Blocks
- Network & Partnerships
- Set Realistic Goals
- Find A Mentor
- Batch Your Content
- Avoid the “Shiny Object” Syndrome
- Be Passionate
Starting a full-time blog begins with proper planning and a decent understanding of what you’re going to need to accomplish in order to be successful.
Everyone has different goals and plans for themselves.
So you need to understand how much you need to earn consistently to make it a full-time gig and essentially how long it’s going to take for you to get there.
In most cases it’s advisable to have a full-time job while you work on growing your blog into a full-time business.
Yes there are so many ways you can make money with a blog:
Here are some of the best ways to monetize your blog:
- Sponsored posts
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital Products
For a complete list, read the following post: How to Make Money Blogging When Nobody Else Can
Yes it is.
If you’re looking to achieve personal and financial freedom then blogging is one of the best ways to get started.
It allows you the opportunity to live life on your own terms and to escape the 9-5 rat race.
There’s no set time frame on how long it takes for you to become a successful blogger.
It all comes down to your definition of success and if you’re willing to put in the effort and work required.
Much of it will also depend on your ability to stick with it especially during the initial stages of your blog when you’re not making any income and it seems like no one is listening.
So how long does it take?
The correct answer is it depends on your level of effort.