I have gotten a lot of questions about this in the past and even more recently, so I figured now was a good time to do a full blog post on it. One of the questions I get asked the most is, “What is it like to have a full time job and also run a blog/work side jobs?” Many people didn’t even know I had a job and just assumed blogging was how I made an income. I like to refer to this as the balancing act and over the last (almost) two years that I have grown Harlowe James I have picked up some great ways to maintain a balance of work and tools to help grow a side business.
Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes: I just referenced this quote on my Instagram, but it is something I tell myself just about everyday. If you want things to change you usually have to shift and evolve to see serious results. For me, this meant sacrifice. I knew I couldn’t get to the steps I wanted to without dedicating a lot of my time to what I was doing. This meant my weekends were now dedicated to creating blog content not going out with my friends and often mornings before work and evenings after were spent planning out social media content, editing photos, etc. I say the same thing to anyone who reaches out to me about starting a blog, you really have to genuinely love what you’re doing. I didn’t start a blog to make money or get millions of Instagram followers, I just truly love creating content that inspires other people in some way.
I will say now that I have been doing this for two years I have found ways to expedite work so I am not spending every waking moment behind the computer or on a project. I usually still dedicate one full weekend day to work and if I am not feeling it, I don’t force myself to do something because the work is usually not my best.
Organization is Key: I am by nature a neat freak and rely heavily on organization to work more effectively. This requires me to constantly clean out my email inbox, organize files on my computer so I know where everything is and go through paperwork to make sure things are up to date. When you work for yourself and don’t have anyone telling you what to do or how to do it, you need to make sure the business end is being taken care of. I will admit that this is still a huge struggle for me and I am definitely learning as I go!
Don’t forget Exercise and Sleep: When I first started blogging I had no real concept of time management. I would stay up until 2am working on posts and make excuses to not go to the gym because I was “too busy”. In reality I just wasn’t planning my day as efficiently as I could have been. I got myself a day planner (I love the ones from Golden Coil because you can customize them a bit to what you do) and started to figure out much more realistic deadlines for myself so I could still get in my eight hours of sleep and do some sort of workout. The combination of the two gave me more energy to to create better content and not post just because I felt like I had to.
Accept That You Can’t Do Everything: At the beginning of this endeavor I weirdly didn’t like asking people for help. I wanted to take all of my own photos, design my webpage and take on the brunt of the work without a knowledge in a lot of what I was doing. While I still love taking photos, I work with Torrey on a majority of my content and it really helped to transform the look of Harlowe James. I also have worked with two different web designers to make the site what it looks like now. You can’t expect to know how to do everything and that is completely normal. That is why they have jobs dedicated to web design, photography etc. I also like to collaborate with women in my area and have made a lot of friends through this. You’ll find that people are more than willing to help you and often you can do trades for each other so you aren’t spending more money than you have to.
Find A Great Support System: Whether you want to start a blog or make a side hustle happen, you need people around you to encourage and support you. It would be very hard for me to do any of this without constant encouragement from my boyfriend, family and friends. It helps to have people to lean on when I’m exhausted, want to give up or just need to vent about something. If you find certain people around you aren’t being supportive sometimes that relationship has to be evaluated. It is normal for those closest to you have concern if you are branching out into unknown territory, but at the core they should be there for you in some facet.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others: I have talked about this a lot in the past, but it is so crucial to furthering your success. In the world of social media it is extremely easy to look at someone else’s life and say “why don’t I have that?” without knowing the amount of work they have put in to get there. I can tell you first hand that the work I put out makes it look like I am at home baking or arranging flowers all day, when in reality I work 9-5, go to the grocery store, make dinner, etc. My blog and Instagram are intentionally very curated, but I always try and remain open and honest with anyone reading that we all go through the same struggles. It is very easy to look like you have everything together when posting pretty pictures of my living room, but often the things that aren’t seen are the late night tears, the frantic phone calls to my parents and the constant questioning of if it is all worth the work (it is, I promise).
I feel like when we compare ourselves to other people we dismiss all of our own hard work and success. So, my advice is to use someone else’s success as inspiration which can often make you work that much harder to get to where you want to be. It is a tremendous struggle to work two jobs, I don’t even have kids and find it really taxing, but I like to tell myself that it is not permanent. I truly believe hard work pays off and if you want to get to the next place in your life, it takes a lot of discipline. Blogging is still relatively new to me, so I am definitely learning as I go along. I love sharing the advice I have gathered and appreciate all of your wonderful questions, so keep them coming!!