Balancing Blogging with Work: What I've Learned So Far
Let’s start by stating what I’m sure is obvious to most of my readers: I am not a full-time blogger or social media influencer. Since I only share posts a few times a month at this point, I think that is probably a good thing. If blogging were my meal ticket, I’d be on a pretty restrictive diet.
Unfortunately, my actual meal ticket – a full-time job in finance – is also at least partially to blame for my sporadic blogging habits. But we work with what we’ve got. And the finance job funds my addiction to trendy Nashville restaurants, bars and coffee shops… so I’ll consider that a win.
Another one of the upsides of having a meal ticket outside my little blogging empire is that I can experiment freely with new ideas without having to worry about whether or not they can actually make money.
And Going Places Media was one of those ideas.
What I’ve Learned So Far
I started Going Places Media to tell the story of building an online brand, blog and business from the ground up. To learn as I go, and to tell the story of what I learn. It hasn’t turned out exactly like I thought it would, but I have learned a lot since starting this site in December of 2018.
1) Acknowledge the reality of your current chapter
As difficult as this has been for me to accept, this year I have learned that I can’t do everything I want to with my blogs, brands and social media accounts at this point in my life. As anyone who has balanced a blog with a full-time job can attest: this balancing act isn’t easy. For me personally, writing posts for two blogs is less of a challenge than figuring out how to publicize and share the content I’m writing across what has quickly become an overwhelming number of social media platforms.
I've already made some cuts to social media accounts since getting *slightly* over-ambitious with them earlier this year... and more consolidation is on the horizon. If I had all the time or money in the world, some of the ideas I have for all these social media accounts would make more sense. But the reality of my current chapter is that I’m just one person. I’m also – first and foremost – a writer, so writing is what I intend to prioritize, even if it comes at the expense of some social media accounts.
After all, if I’m not creating new content, there isn’t much for me to share on social media anyway.
2) Optimize what you can
If you are also finding yourself in a chapter of your life that is forcing you to defer at least some of your goals, dreams, and ideas, you may hit a creative wall that I’ve also struggled with this year. In a nutshell, I have found myself asking this question a little too frequently to be productive: If I don’t have the time, energy, money, drive and/or dedication to make my blogs and social media accounts fit my vision, should I even be doing this at all?
Should I just quit?
I'm not going to act like I have some profound answer to this question, but I will say this: make quitting your last resort. Try to optimize your situation first. Simplify and consolidate social media accounts. Simplify and consolidate your blogs, if needed. Optimize the way you are spending your time. Explore options that cut down on time you spend doing the things you aren’t as good at and the things you don’t like doing. If you are a person with a lot of big ideas, it’s ok to acknowledge that there are only so many ideas that any one person can execute at one time.
The best we can do is to try to spend our time outside of work and other obligations on the things we want to do the most. For me, that is writing on my blogs.
Determine what it is for you and optimize so you can do that.
3) Don’t let the drive to optimize stop you from doing anything
For those of us balancing a blog, business, side hustle, or brand with other obligations (which I would venture to guess is most people), optimizing the way we spend our time and money is crucial. But optimization has a downside.
Ironically, figuring out the best way to spend our time takes time. Up to a point, investing time into doing things more efficiently going forward makes sense. But past that point, trying to continuously figure out how to do things more efficiently can take away the time you need to get things done.
The more social media platforms, blogs, and creative mediums you are trying to manage, the more time you may find yourself spending on trying to create an overall strategy and vision for all of it. And sometimes, especially if you are piloting or testing a new idea, there isn’t really a vision yet. You are in a chapter where you just need to try things to see what works and what doesn’t.
I’ve found myself being held back by the lack of an overall vision this year. I don’t know exactly what the endgame looks like for Sarah Going, Going Places Media and my assorted social media platforms... and that has caused me to just stop sharing content entirely sometimes.
Despite what we may believe about other content creators we follow: not everyone has it completely figured out. It’s ok to still be developing your vision. It’s ok to completely change your vision. The only thing it is not ok to do is let the lack of a vision hold you back from what you set out to do in the first place.
And what I set out to do in the first place was share the process.
So I’m sharing this post, which is my learning process so far this year.
What have you learned so far in 2019?