It’d be nice to get rid of your daily 9-5 grind. Or 3-12 grind. Or whatever hours you happen to work.
The only problem is that you have this strange desire to be able to eat every day. Giving up a paycheck to pursue an at-home blogging opportunity is paycheck math that equates to eating Ramen noodles every day.
It is possible to build a successful blog while you are working full-time. This allows you to keep earning the paycheck you need while building an online presence that can make you money in the future.
In the first year, the average blogger makes less than $1,000. After 5 years, bloggers can earn anywhere from $0 to $1 million. The average blogger with 5+ years of experience earns between $20,000-$50,000 annually.
Would that be enough to help you get out of a dead-end job? Then here’s what you need to do so your blog can get started and you can potentially change your future.
#1. Be realistic about your time commitments.
A blog does require regular updates for it to gather a following. When you’re first getting started, that might mean 2-3 times per week.
If you’re providing an in-depth analysis of something you’re an expert about, once per week might be enough. A few blogs can even get away with a once-per-month posting schedule.
Whatever your comfort level happens to be, you must be realistic about your time commitments. There are days when your job is going to wear you out. Family commitments might take you away from your blog. If blogging has a potentially negative impact on your life, it will be a venture that you will likely abandon.
That means finding out how much free time you have during the week is an important part of your blog planning process. There’s a good chance you might have more time than you might think to work on your blog.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Keep track of the time you spend on everything. If you cut the time you spend on Facebook from 20 minutes to 10 minutes, could you write a blog post in that time? Could you reduce TV time? Keep a diary of the time you spend on everything for 7 days. Then look for ways you could carve out some blogging time.
- Know your limitations. Some people are born writers. They can pump out 500 words in 15 minutes and it’ll be some of the best content you’ll ever ready. Others struggle to write 250 words in less than an hour. You need to know your limitations before you start blogging so you can create an accurate schedule.
- Don’t leave your blogging until late in the day. It’s better to blog first thing in the morning or when you wake up because that’s when your energy levels are at their peak. You may find that setting your alarm clock 30 minutes earlier can be all that you need to start a successful blog.
Because you’re adding an additional responsibility to your day, blogging while working full-time can create higher fatigue levels. You may feel like avoiding blogging for a day or two. Fight through that feeling and focus on the future.
That will help you be able to start growing your blog right away.
#2. Strategize your content so you can follow your passion.
You can create a blog about anything you are passionate about.
There are no limits to the subject matter a blog may follow. The only limitation you face is the size of your audience. When you blog about an ultra-niche subject, you have severe limitations on your audience. It can be a faster way to become an industry expert, but it can also hamper your growth.
You’ll want to look for a good combination of expertise and passion for your blog’s subject matter. Then you’ll want to look for an undervalued niche in your field so your blog can have an immediate voice.
Here are some examples in varying subject matters.
- Photography. If you love photography, you could talk about proper techniques to take black and white photos. You could focus on how to take specific types of photographs. You could even dedicate a blog to taking pictures on old smartphones and still have them look like they were taken by professionals.
- Religion. You can be for or against religion and start a successful blog. You could focus on a specific religion, a specific figure from a preferred religion, or talk about your personal faith in general terms.
- Family. If your family structure is unique, then the challenges and successes you face could become an interesting blog subject.
You could even blog about starting a blog while balancing a full-time job and family life.
Once you’ve got this figured out, you’ll need to have tools that will help you to track growth. Install Google Analytics. Have goals for traffic levels. Begin thinking about talking to sponsors or finding advertisers.
If you spend time strategizing now, you’ll be able to achieve better growth in the future.
#3. Look for ways to monetize your blog.
When you can cash your first paycheck from your blogging efforts, the feeling is awesome. Even if that check is for $11.98 and you’ve worked three months to get it, that’s extra money in your pocket that wasn’t there before.
It’s proof that you are on your way.
You won’t earn anything from your blog if you don’t try to monetize it. This tends to be the biggest challenge that new bloggers face, especially when working a full-time job at the same time.
Which means most new bloggers look to an ad network that will pay for impressions or clicks. That might be a good first step, but it shouldn’t be your only source of review. With low traffic levels, networks like Burst or AdSense might only provide pennies per day… if that.
You can also use direct sidebar advertising. It’s a painless effort that you don’t need to track or upload, but again – it’s an independent network option that pays based on traffic and clicks, which are hard for a new blog to have.
That means you may wish to pursue these additional monetization options for your blog. They take more time to implement properly, but can offer a bigger payday in a shorter period.
- Create sponsored posts. Sponsors may ask you to blog about specific content, including products or services, from a personal perspective. This creates a commercial feel to your blog that may turn some readers away, but can also pay between $50-$250 per post.
- Sell your own advertising space. This may be difficult to do at first, but once you establish an online presence with your blog with verifiable traffic, you may find some brands looking at you as an asset.
- Use affiliate links. Several retailers, service providers, and organizations run affiliate programs that will pay you to sell their products. One of the largest programs is offered by Amazon. You need to structure your blog to focus on those products, but you earn commissions on every sale you make.
You can also create your own products to sell. Various platforms, from Etsy to Fiverr, offer you a chance to create a side hustle by offering a product or service.
Just remember: when money is earned, taxes must be paid. Keep track of any income you earn and make sure it gets included with your tax filing each year.
#4. Be willing to let go of full control.
Let’s face it. Even with the best of intentions, most blogs die because their operators get tired, don’t see success, or just give up on the idea of becoming a full-time blogger one day.
You don’t need to be in full control of your blog for it to be successful. Many of the simple tasks that a blog needs done for it to be successful can be outsourced to freelancers for an affordable fee. This allows you to focus on your job while maintaining your blog in a professional manner.
It becomes a question of value. If it costs $10 for someone to write a blog post for you and that frees up the rest of your week, is it better to pay the money or force yourself to write content?
If it costs $5 for someone to respond to comments that come in so you don’t have to keep an eagle eye on your email, is that a worthwhile expense?
Only you can answer questions like that. Outsourcing options from technical management to social media engagement are all possible. You save time, support the gig economy, and run a fantastic blog all at the same time.
If you prefer to keep your hands on your blog, then there are other places you could outsource around the house to free up more of your time.
- You could hire someone to mow your lawn and maintain your landscaping.
- You can hire a housekeeper to come through a couple days per week to make sure you have clean clothes and dishes.
- You could even bring in people to maintain your home with the regular chores that need to be done, like cleaning out your gutters.
The bottom line here is this: if you encounter a problem with running your blog, then there is a solution which can be found. If you’re willing to let go and delegate some tasks to other professionals, you might find it easier to run a blog while still working full-time.
#5. Work towards a system of automation.
The scheduling feature on your blog is a wonderful tool to use. Unfortunately, many first-time bloggers don’t use it at all.
Thanks to scheduling, you can automate the publication of your blog posts to a regular schedule. This means you can create all your content on one day if you wish and then schedule out its publication over the course of a week, a month, or longer.
Scheduling is especially helpful for those who might outsource some of their content creation. When the completed work comes in, you can upload it and schedule it for a time that works best for you – even if you have multiple contributors working for you.
That’s just the beginning of the automation potential that the modern blog can offer. There are tools that help you to syndicate your blog posts to your social media pages. Plugins will help you to screen out spam comments so you don’t need to manually approve every single one. Today’s blogger even has access to automated optimization tools, sharing plugins, and virtually anything else you can imagine.
#6. Go beyond the single blog post.
Let’s get back to content creation. It’s the biggest challenge that a part-time blogger faces and is the primary reason why the average blog eventually dies. Fresh content means life for your blog. No content means death.
Being creative all the time can be difficult for anyone. It becomes more difficult to embrace creativity when you’re attempting to come up with new subject materials for a blog post 2-3 times per week.
That’s why the best bloggers tend to focus on a series of content instead of creating singular blog posts. When you can create a content series, you’ve got more options available to you. As part of the planning process, you can come up with several titles or ideas that you’d like to cover in a series.
Any theme is a potential idea to blog about, though it should relate to your overall subject matter or niche for it to be useful. Blogging about a weight loss theme when you normally discuss auto mechanics might throw your readers for a loop.
Individual blog posts are nice little snippets to offer, but go beyond them and think about different long-term series you can write about. It will make life a lot easier for you when trying to create the fresh content your blog needs.
#7. Don’t hide behind your computer or mobile device.
When bloggers first get started, it can feel like they are isolating themselves. This feeling is enhanced when you’re working full-time. You spend time at work. You spend time on your blog. You don’t spend as much time with your family, friends, or co-workers.
Even when you’re not blogging, you might look at every situation as a potential blogging opportunity. That makes your fun work or family events feel a bit less fun.
That’s why it is important for bloggers to network with real people. Making online connections is an important part of blogging, but seeing a picture of a person is very different from meeting that person for coffee during your lunch break. Look to network with local bloggers who have a similar interest.
This will provide you with more than the benefit of making a new friend.
- You may gain the opportunity to guest blog for someone in your network, giving you the chance to build your audience.
- It gives you a chance to take a break from everything you feel that is a responsibility and that lessens the stress you might be feeling.
- Established bloggers can provide you with mentoring that will help you grow your blog faster than if you were doing it all on your own.
- A blogging network will help to keep you accountable to your commitments.
Getting into an online group chat with your online network can be helpful in a pinch. Many blogging networks have intense, highly beneficial conversations that help all their blogs grow. Don’t ignore these opportunities, but avoid relying on them 100% of the time.
#8. Don’t give up.
The internet is full of stories that seem almost too good to be real.
“I earned my first $1 million by blogging part-time in 3 months.”
“I never thought I could earn $100,000 per month, but now I’m doing it and it happened in less than a year.”
“I quit my job, sold my house, and now get to travel full-time in an RV that is paid for with my blog.”
Your reality can be this. There’s nothing to say that it won’t happen. For the average blogger, however, the stories are more like this.
“I earned $100 in my first year, but now I’m earning $100 per month.”
“I couldn’t earn any money with my own blog, but now that I’m blogging for others, I can earn $16 per hour on a regular basis.”
“I make enough as a professional blogger to make my student loan payment every month.”
Whether your story falls into the first group of statements or into the second one, there is one fact that applies to everyone: you won’t make any money with a blog when you quit.
Don’t give up. It might take some time for you to get to where you want to be. Keep working at it and you’ll get there eventually.