Oh shit. So you started a blog or small online business and you’re thinking to yourself, “What did I get myself into?!” It’s terrifying. A few years ago, (when I started this blog) I imagined myself blogging every other month or so. Casually uploading a photo of an outfit and imagined it getting 10,000 views in a day. Doesn’t that sound like the best dream ever? The truth is, you’re in for a fun ride and blogging or running a small online business (while working full time to bring in the real cheddar) takes work – like any kind of success. So before we get into the good stuff… (blah blah blah) There are days that will suck and you’ll want to throw in the towel but don’t. (blah blah blah) know that this article is targeted to those looking to create success from their blog or online business, so if you’re just blogging for fun then you do you, HONEY. (Blah blah blah) These are tricks I have learned along the way and if there’s something I left out, then leave it in the comments for the rest of us!
FIND THE TIME
WHY do I even have to say this? Because people actually think I get a full 8 hours of sleep at night and it’s hilarious. When you want to run a small business on the side of having to work a 9-to-5, you MUST create time for yourself to push content. That means less Big Bang Theory at night and more waking up an hour earlier to plan, write and edit. If you’re running a small t-shirt business, well GET ON IT. Everyday, commit to drawing or designing a new shirt (even if you don’t end up using it), creating over and over and over again gets you to produce work you’re ACTUALLY proud of. It’s like pushing writer’s block out of the way by writing. Easy right?
Luis and I schedule a day off during the weekend to completely focus on our work. We will sometimes shoot 4 outfit posts in one day. That means I’m changing in the back of the car or in public bathrooms but when you want something bad, you gotta do what you gotta do. When you need to get work done, block off a day in your calendar and set it as “busy” and be sure to set an alert to remind you when the time is getting close. If you don’t take your scheduled time seriously, you will lose out on so much!
Start a REAL calendar and stick to it. You know those old school pieces of paper bound together with little tiny squares that tell you what day it is? Yeah, get one of those things and WRITE THINGS DOWN. Write down when you’re going to blog or sell shirts (or whatever it is that you’re doing), write down when you’re going to network (or keep track of events), and block out time to be creative and to push out content. I’m a little old school when it comes to this kinda stuff (mostly because I’m a sucker for a good planner) but it really helps to see my whole month planned out for editorial and it helps me schedule in new content that comes in.
Use your lunch or afternoon breaks to stay on top of comments or emails, write up new content, or brainstorm for new ideas. I find that small 15 minute intervals of brainstorming help so much. When I know I only have 15 minutes of my break to utilize, I find that I can write out all of the ideas and mess in my head and I can come back to it later.
SCHEDULE YOUR SHIT
When your boss has deadlines set for you to meet, there’s no messing around. You can’t be instagramming and writing blog posts during work. About 60% of my blog posts and posts to social media are all scheduled. WordPress allows you to set a time and date for when you want your blog post to go live. Sort of how I’m writing this blog post in my pajams, while eating cherries and watching “You’re the Worst”… only you’ll read this while I’m fast asleep or just waking up. Yes, posting time matters too – so think of your target market and set a time for early in the morning so you can cash in on all your real stats from the beginning of the day. I’m originally from the East Coast so my readership is heavy at 4am Pacific time and since there’s no way in hell you’re getting me up that early to post, I schedule everything! Most websites like WordPress, Blogger and SquareSpace allow you schedule your posts… but what about social media? Here’s a few I’m digging right now.
UnUm: An app that allows you to not only schedule your Instagram posts but also allows you to see what your new post will look like with the rest of your feed. I have deleted images in my feed because they throw off the whole vibe or consistency of my brand (yeah it’s a real thing) so having a tool where I can see what my post will look like before it goes live is MAGIC.
Planoly: Another Instagram management app that’s actually pretty awesome. I bailed on the app a week ago because they wanted to charge me and well… homie don’t play that. But if you don’t mind spending the extra $ then it’s another good app to try.
Later (formerly Latergramme): Much like the other scheduling apps but different. I really like Later for their desktop interface. You can upload multiple posts with hashtags, @mentions, and you can schedule right down to the minute it’s posted. When the time comes for your post to go live, you get a notification on your phone and all of the content is pushed to your Instagram account. Additionally, you can add team members to your social media handle to help manage your account. I wont say that it takes an army to manage my social media (because you know I have all but 2,000 followers) but any help I can get – I’ll take.
SOCIAL MEDIA ES MUY IMPORTANTE:
If you’re not pushing content to your social channels you may as well be living in a cave in a far away place. No one will know how to find you if you are not putting content out there. This whole online business thing isn’t very “if you build it they will come.” My advice is to stick to 3 main social media platforms and focus your attention on building your following and then alternate with other platforms you may not use everyday. Depending on what your demographic is and what you’re trying to build, the social channels you choose can be detrimental to the success of your business or blog.
Building a brand or online following is tough. I have a few friends and family who are dedicated to helping me win at life. From taking photos, to helping me repost on social media, I honestly don’t know how I’d do it all alone and you don’t have to wonder either. Recruit your friends or family. Let them know how important your new business is to you and help them with their goals in exchange.
BUT (you knew this was coming) don’t wait on other people to help you get to where you need to be. There have been times that I’ve used a camera tripod to shoot my photos when I just can’t find anyone to help. Be punctual with your content and stick to a plan so you’re not scurrying around at the last minute trying to get things together. Investing in a business is tough and it’s a commitment, so don’t be afraid to pay for people to help you if you really need it. That can be anything from social media help, website changes, photography and the like. You might be a one (wo)man band, but don’t let that be the downfall to your blog or business.
BE ALL THERE
This one I left for last because it’s so important. Your new life and new chapter may be super exciting and take up A LOT of your time, but don’t get lost in it. The whole purpose of scheduling your time and making an editorial calendar is to be able to have time for yourself the rest of the days that you have off. When it starts to become an annoyance and you start rolling your eyes or huffing and puffing to push content, then what are you doing it for? Although it may seem different on social media, I love being present in every moment and remind myself not to document EVERYTHING. We get it, those Eggs Benedict are BOMB but if you let that food go cold because you’re trying to push content, you’re losing cool points with me. I’m a photo and video taker by nature, I have been since I was a kid, but I usually am never directly posting to my social channels or blog when I’m in the moment. I give myself a decent few minutes to get everything out of my system by taking all the photos I need and then my phone or camera goes away so I can enjoy the rest of my time. Remember to schedule in time for yourself and your family. Down time is so important and if you’re constantly thinking about your blog or business, you’re never allowing the mind to rest or reset.
if you’re feeling bummed about the fact that you have to actually work to bring in the funds instead of staying home to work on your dream project all day… well, don’t feel bad. I recently read an article that hit so close to home for me. Ann Swindell of Darling wrote this article right here and in it she said,
“when we don’t have endless amounts of time to do what we deeply love, the hours that we do have become more precious. We see that time to chase our creativity as the gift that it is — as an opportunity and not as a right. And so those hours in the margins are often charged with the electricity of a soul on fire, a soul finally getting to release her passion onto the canvas, or on the page, or into the dance. Deep creativity is born in that place.”
I just couldn’t agree with her more.
So, you’ll have to tell me what tips or tricks you’re using currently and what’s working for your business. I would love it if you could share.
*These “Oh Shit” photos were taken the day I registered MELSANV as a business. Luis got me this cake and I thought it was so fitting with the feeling of starting something new. So, here’s to your new business adventure that makes you say, “Oh shit!” Until next time, friends! xo