You may have noticed recently that my posting frequency has dropped down to just one post per week. I’ve always posted every Tuesday since the start of this blog, and would often throw in a Friday post for good measure.
I have yet to miss a single post for my weekly Tuesday publishing schedule, but publishing more than one post a week has become increasingly difficult.
Since this is a relatively new blog, I only have about 50+ posts under my belt. Despite all my preparation, I still severely underestimated the time commitment blogging requires.
This is especially true when part time blogging, as I do. In the end it’s all about time.
Let’s Define Time
Time in the context of this article is focus and energy, which everyone has a limited supply of.
Generally speaking, there are three primary categories and related activities that compete for that precious time:
Professional – Work and career related activities, income producing activities, and general household administrative and financial activities.
Social – Activities focused on family, significant others, and friends. Basically time spent with people you genuinely care about, and/or time spent helping others.
Leisure – Any activity that is spent for no other purpose than pure pleasure. The list is endless of course, and depends on your personal preferences. I enjoy travel.
Since time is a fixed currency in everyone’s life, where that time is spent dictates how much of it is available for the different categories. We’re constantly juggling our time between all the activities vying for our attention.
A simple and balanced life would be split evenly across all three elements…
Unfortunately, for most people, the professional category eats up the majority of their time. This is especially true when considering the prime age span of 20-70, where 50 years’ worth of time is spent disproportionately in the professional category at the expense of the other two.
The visual below being the primary driver for financial independence…
So what does any of this have to do with blogging?
Time as it Relates to Blogging
Blogging happens to fall into all three of the same categories, depending on what the driving force of the blog is.
Professional – You blog specifically for results, wether it started that way or not. It could be full time blogging, or a side gig to supplement your income. Ultimately you expect the blog to generate some type of result, usually income. You basically have expectations of the blog.
Social – You blog to connect with a specific community and to share experiences. The value is in the network and connections. You have no real expectations of the blog, it’s simply a mechanism to enable those social interactions.
Leisure – You blog for the fun of it. It could be to simply pass time, or because you really enjoy writing as a creative outlet. It’s just a hobby and nothing else, with absolutely no expectations.
You can of course blog with all three elements in mind, however there can only be one driving force behind why you continue to do it. It’s very common for someone to start a blog with leisure in mind, only to find themselves running a professional blog instead.
In the end, it’s all about expectations…
If you’re blogging for social or leisure reasons as the primary force, you naturally have no conflict with time. This is because you don’t have any real expectations from the blog, and are not enslaved by the time it requires.
Let’s Define Professional Part-Time Blogging
On the other hand, If you blog professionally, you may have some serious beef with father time.
Remember, I define a professional blogger as someone who expects results from their blog. If you fall in this category, you’re either professionally blogging full-time or part-time:
Part-Time blogger – An individual who holds a full-time job or runs a business full-time (other than blogging of course). The blog is competing for their time.
Full-Time blogger – An individual who blogs professionally with no other work related accountabilities such as a career or a business. The blog is effectively their biggest professional time sink, leaving plenty of time for social and leisure activities.
This is obviously my subjective definition of part-time versus full-time blogging.
You’ll notice that some of the best bloggers in the personal finance space are now full-time professional bloggers. They’re able to channel their energy in a more focused way. Blogging also usually ends up being one of their primary sources of income, although it may not have started that way.
They’ve converted that professional slice of their time into blogging. With personal finance bloggers often having done so as a result of early retirement. This gives them the ability to avoid tapping into the other two slices of social and leisure.
Why Professional Part-Time Blogging is Difficult
A part-time professional blogger on the other hand would need to “flex” into the social and leisure slices to free up enough time to dedicate to the blog.
If they had a balanced time profile to begin with, this may not be such a difficult adjustment. However, if they happen to be living a professionally skewed time profile, a blog begins to rob them (and others) of precious time.
That’s because blogging professionally, wether you’re doing it part-time or full-time, requires a number of tasks that need to be addressed on a regular basis.
Here are just some examples for those of you who haven’t tried it before:
- Writing posts, ideally a number of them per week
- Editing, researching, revising and updating posts
- Responding to comments
- Reading other blogs
- Contributing comments to other blogs
- Engaging in forum discussions
- Promoting the blog on social media
- Replying to e-mails and requests
- Maintaining the blog and dealing with technical issues
- Helping fellow bloggers with projects
- Coming up with ideas to write quality posts
- Managing affiliate programs and sponsorships
This is by no means a comprehensive list, only a general idea of all the things a professional blogger “ought” to be doing.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for those bloggers who are able to churn out multiple quality articles a week, while still finding the time to do all the above tasks. Especially those doing so part-time.
I find part-time blogging to be difficult because I’m not able to do all of the above consistently. This means I’m forced to compromise on many of the things on the list.
While a full-time professional blogger can tick off every item listed above, their part-time equivalent would be hard pressed to do so. As a result, the performance of their respective blogs will vary wildly.
The lack of performance relative to other professional blogs could lead some part-time bloggers to despair.
Part-Time Blogging Tips
If you’re finding yourself stressing out about blogging professionally part-time, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
Relax – Remember that any pressure you may be feeling relative to the blog is self imposed. It’s your blog, you can do whatever you want with it. Schedules and deadlines are negotiable, you’re the boss after all!
There are no Rules – There’s no policy that states you must publish a post X number of times per week. It’s true that more posts generate more views, but if you’re blogging part-time your expectations should match your abilities.
Be Honest – Don’t fool yourself. If the blog is making you unhappy or has turned into yet another control point on your life, make a change.
Put it in idle Mode – If the time commitment is overwhelming or you feel burned out, just “idle” the blog. Step away from it for a few weeks and re-energize.
Stay focused – Don’t let the blog become all-consuming. If you find yourself spending more time on the blog instead of activities you used to enjoy, re-prioritize your time.
Multi-task – If you’re going to spend time writing an article, make sure it’s on something you want to learn about. It’s likely you’ll spend time researching the subject anyway, might as well turn it into a post.
Share your space – If you have a relatively established blog, you can leverage it as a platform for others looking for more exposure. Accepting guest posts on your blog helps to keep the blog active while giving a new blogger the opportunity to shine.
It’s easy to take yourself too seriously with blogging, especially since it’s a very public endeavor. I find I have to remind myself of some of these tips more often than I’d like to admit.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of operating a professional part-time blog for me has been the collateral damage. One of the activities I cherished the most prior to blogging was reading. More specifically, reading other personal finance blogs. Something that I did religiously for many years before starting my own.
I now find that I have a lot less time to keep up with, and contribute to other blogs. The trade-off of course has been the amount of information I’ve learned by running this blog.
Another lesson learned is that my type-A personality prevents me from operating a blog simply for social or leisure reasons. It’s difficult for me not to have expectations of something I’ve invested so much time and effort into.
This is why I consider myself a professional part-time blogger. In the end, I do have expectations.
Readers, do you run a professional blog? Are you doing it full-time or part-time? Do you agree that part-time blogging can be difficult? What’s your experience been like? Any other tips to divulge? Share your comments and thoughts below! – Max