This is one of the biggest hurdles of new bloggers who are already working a day job and want to continue with their work before deciding to quit the job and pursue full time blogging.
One of the readers of this blog asked me this question through an email
How do I continue to blog and generate engaging and useful content while working a full time day job? I am working 10-12 hours a day, not to forget I have to commute to and fro from work, take care of shopping, home, children. It looks like it is impossible to find time for maintaining and growing the blog while working full time? Please share some tips and hacks to continue to blog without quitting the full time job.
Indeed a very difficult question.
I will try to give you an unbiased answer but please note that you are the best person to decide what works for you and what doesn’t. These tips may work or may not work for you, so do not get disheartened and write to me in the comments if you have any further questions. I will answer.
Create Time You Don’t Have
When you are short of time, create it.
When I started this blog, I did not quit my day job. Instead, I created the time that was needed to study and consume content. Here is how
- I subscribed to all the blogs who operate in my niche in Feedly. This way I can consume content from my mobile phone, my laptop, at work or while I am sitting in a not so interesting office meeting.
- I downloaded audio podcasts from famous bloggers, TED talks on blogging and other useful stuff. I dedicated a couple of weekends to find all the audio content I can find. Next, I put all the audio podcasts in my USB drive and plugged it in my car. That way, I can listen to the podcasts during a long commute.
- I would wrap up all communication, emails, social marketing and other things in office itself. This took less than half an hour but remember, a minute saved is a minute earned.
Did you note the hacks? I created the time I didn’t have. I am listening to a podcast and consuming content while driving. That way my brain is working and I need not invest any extra time while I am back home.
While working full time, it is difficult to consume content once you are back home after a hard day at work. Content consumption is a continuous process and often times, it happens while you are working through your daily routine. So let the content consumption happen at work. Read when you are working and jot down ideas in a notepad or Evernote.
You need not consult with your boss or tell everyone that you are writing a blog or considering it as a secondary income source. Nope, don’t do that.
What you can do is read interesting content in your feed reader while working through your mundane office work. It won’t take much of your time and you will eventually get used to the routine of reading content and working on something else parallely. I did this and it worked for me (No, I wasn’t fired for reading blogs at work).
Utilize Weekends For Content Creation
If week days are stretched and you find it difficult to write posts, use the weekends to their maximum advantage.
I was a hobby blogger and used to post only once or twice a week. But when I realized that it is time to do some serious blogging and I wasn’t sure whether I should quit my day job or not, I decided to use weekends to their fullest potential.
I would churn out 5-6 posts every weekend and this includes long form content. Posts that spanned upto 1200 words in length would come out naturally since I invested a lot of time consuming content during the week days. I had the notes and ideas in my Evernote folder, I saved all the webpages, links, articles and ideas for future reference.
When writing the content, I will simply open one idea, finish it off in one go and move on to the next. Often times, that is not the best way to create content but since I am short in time, I would not obsess about perfection but put the content out for my readers. That worked for me!
Use Your Email Inbox as a Blogging Editor
This is one of the creative ways to do blogging from your workplace.
Use your email inbox, will you?
Create a new email message, write down the title of the post as the subject line, do not enter Sender’s email address and you are ready to go. I used this technique to create content from my email inbox itself. I saved the post as a draft email and would come back home, move it to my content management system and publish it online.
Email is a private thing and I am sure your employer respects your privacy and does not read your emails. This is a good way to steal some time and generate content for your blog while you are at office, school of workplace. This worked for me!
Wake Up Early
Change your daily schedule a bit. Try to wake up early and invest an hour of time for writing content before you hurry for work.
When you wake up early, you have a fresh head and no stress to begin with. That means, you are more likely to be efficient early morning when compared to late nights for creating blog content. It greatly depends on personal style and preferences but remember the good old saying
The early bird catches the worm
If you can make this habit of waking up early every morning, I can guarantee that your blogging efficiency will improve overtime. It may take up to 4-5 months before you notice the change so don’t give up too early. Try to wake up early morning and compose a blog post before going to office. Practice makes perfect.
Write Short But Compelling Posts
You need not write long form posts all the time. You can use short posts to create engaging content.
The trick here is to compose the post and deliver the message that you want to deliver, without worrying how lengthy your post is, whether it will be considered as thin or shallow content or whether your readers will find value in it or not.
No. Don’t think about these things.
Your goal is to create useful and engaging content and there is no hard and fast rule that you have to write an 800 word post. You can write a 350 word shorty but if it is useful, solves a problem and offers some kind of value, your readers will love it.
Don’t think too much about the length, just write it out.
Use Money to Outsource Content
This is another way to create content without investing time in creating the content – outsource it.
Yes, invest some money and let someone else work on the copy and body of the post. Then purchase it from that person and publish it in your blog. This is called “Ghost writing” and a lot of bloggers do this to maintain readership of their blogs.
Not many bloggers will admit this but many credible bloggers do this to save time. I have myself written for so many bloggers as a Ghost writer, so I know it through experience. You can do it too!
This is not illegal and it will not harm the reputation of your blog. What you need to ensure is that the content matches with the theme and tone of your blog and that the writer is a genuine person who is putting enough effort in creating the blog post. If you ensure that the content is fine and you can use it with slight editing, it is worthwhile to invest some money in your blog and let the content flow for some time until you pick up a rhythm.
There are many freelance websites where you can hire ghost writers, check out my guide on hiring a freelance writer for content outsourcing here.
What you should not do
Managing a day job and a blog is no easy task. I have done it myself for a couple of years and I know how hard it can become, given the fact that you may have a family to take care of. However, I can tell you from experience that it is certainly not impossible given you do the write things and manage your time well.
Here are a few things you should never do, irrespective of whether you are able to find time to post to your blog or not
- Post duplicate content – Do not publish duplicate content or thin content on your blog. This is a surefire way to ruin the blog and it is possible that you will not be able to recover from the damage ever. Don’t do this. It is better not to post at all than publish duplicate or plagiarised content.
- Outsource low quality content – Outsourcing content can cost some money. If it’s too heavy on your budget, don’t hire cheap writers who do not put enough effort in creating content and spin out keyword rich articles just for the sake of it. Don’t do that. This will harm your search engine rankings and will destroy your readership slowly. Readers will be able to notice that you are outsourcing the content from someone else and they will slowly drift away. Say no to poor quality content.
- Post randomly without any consistency – Be consistent with your post and stick to your niche. Do not post about random things and destroy the theme of your blog, just because you are short in time or exhausted. The trick here is to find time in your busy schedule and deliver quality content. The efficiency will improve overtime with repeated practice but under no circumstances you should break the consistent theme of your blog. This will convey a wrong message to your audience and the reputation of your website will be gradually lost.
These are some of the tips you can use to see if you can improve your blogging frequency without quitting your day job. Remember, your problem is a personal one so you are the best person who can make the decision. You are the best person to decide when is the best time to write posts, consume content, work on the design and theme and maintain a schedule. What I have spoken here are few tips which may help you squeeze out time from your busy schedule.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask through a comment.