There is no doubt in my mind; I have my dream job. Not only do I love getting to share my passion, home, with all of you every week, but I absolutely love the opportunities that blogging has opened up for my family. I have the ability to decide my own work hours and the flexibility to change those hours if ever needed (like this month…packing a house with a 1-year-old “helper” is no joke, guys!). And I'm such a nerd about blogging; I love learning new things about it and honing my skills as much as possible! It doesn't at all feel like work most of the time.
But, let's look past all of my bragging and acknowledge that it is, in fact, a responsibility. I constantly have to remind myself that this is, in essence (and in name technically), a business…and it has to be treated like one. And there are certain maintenance and growth tasks that have to be done (usually every week) to ensure it remains a thriving business.
No two blogging weeks look alike, so it was kind of hard to nail down even an estimate of what I do. That's one of the things I love about blogging – it's always changing! But, below, you can find kind of an estimate of what I do every week. So, next time you bloggers have somebody roll your eyes when you tell them your job, you can refer them over to this post. 😉 (And no, I don't currently use a virtual assistant…nothing wrong with those bloggers who go that route, I just haven't taken the plunge yet! So this is all me.)
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4-8 Hours Per Week: Post Creation
This is so much more than just sitting down to write the post. Post creation involves photography and editing, research, writing and proofing content, fact checking, SEO structure, and social share setup. Because many of my posts are recipes, this includes initial recipe creation, cooking, photographing and editing, and final copy. For printable posts, you usually need to budget an hour or two for printable editing and formatting and another hour of two everything else mentioned above.
2-3 Hours Per Week: Social Media Content Scheduling
Yep, the cat's out of the bag; I schedule the vast majority of my social media content. If you see a post pop up on my Facebook page or Twitter, chances are that it was a scheduled post I put in my Hootsuite que sometime last week. I also use Tailwind to schedule 20-30 pins on Pinterest per day (even though I try to pop in for a few minutes each morning and night to “live pin” on Pinterest to help my viewability). Scheduling pins via Tailwind ensures that my content is shared over a long period of time at preset intervals. And the majority of my Instagram posts are scheduled as well, sort of…Instagram doesn't allow all-out scheduling, but Hootsuite has a great feature that lets you go on and decide your photo/text and sends an alert to your phone when it's time to post.
1-2 Hour Per Week: Live Social Media Post Promotion
I have a few groups on Facebook where I promote my posts and run my own Instant Pot Freezer Meal Community where I love talking to other IP users! I also have to respond to Facebook/Instagram comments and reply/retweet on Twitter. This is spread out in a lot of 5-10 minute chunks throughout the week.
1-2 Hours Per Week: Newsletter Writing
I am a huge believer in email marketing…not only is it an amazing source of sales when I release a new product, but it's a great way to really connect with readers through my weekly newsletter. I usually spend an hour or two on this per week…it includes a little snippet about my weekly posts, and sales that I've found recently, highlights a few older post favorites, and gives a sneak peek of next week's posts. There's a little bit of crossover between the newsletter archive posts and my social media scheduling – I use the same posts in my newsletter favorites as I highlight on my social media for the next week. This kind of kills two birds with one stone and really pushes that seasonal content when needed.
There is a little bit of email list maintenance involved every week, but it's usually only a few minutes…Convertkit is my email provider and they have such a great “set it and forget it” approach to blogger email marketing! It's highly recommended if you're a blogger and are looking for an email provider.
1 Hour Per Week: Sponsored Post Applications
I don't always have a time set aside for this (although I probably need to)…I usually just apply for sponsored campaigns when my content agencies email me about them. You can see a list of my favorite content agencies here. These companies typically send out a summary of their new campaigns once per week, and as I see a fit for my blog, I apply.
2-6 Hours Per Week: Product Creation and Maintenance
It's kind of hard to nail down a specific amount of time per week I spend on this; it varies so much. Some weeks simply consist of testing recipes (something that doesn't take much time at all, since it just involves cooking dinner and tweaking the ingredients/cook time a little); but on product launch weeks, I'd estimate I spend closer to 10-12 hours on this part of the job. It not only consists of creating product files, but of setting up Gumroad sales pages, product landing pages (you can see examples here and here), testing file printability and readability, proofing and revising, promotion, and emailing customers.
1 Hour Per Week: Post Maintenance
A good chunk of my traffic is actually visiting older posts (via google or Pinterest), so it's important to maintain those older posts too. Most of this involves updating old information or fixing broken links. I also try to add social media-friendly graphics if there are none and add in social media share suggestions when needed. Again, I don't necessarily have a time set aside for this…I really just do it as I see an old post that needs something. It usually requires a little more time around holidays (due to the success of my stocking stuffer and Easter basket posts, which require a lot of link checking before the holidays hit).
30 Minutes Per Week: Website Maintenance
This is usually a very small portion of my week…I rarely have to do any maintenance to my host or server. You guys know I love Siteground for hosting…they make it so easy! (More info on them here.) This also includes updating plugins, tweaking design (which I don't do very much these days), and troubleshooting website loading issues.
30 Minutes Per Day: Email and Comment Maintenance
This is something I try to do every day (or it will get completely out of control). I get a lot of questions about Journey to Clean and Freezer Meal Boot Camps via email, so the majority of my emails are responses to those questions. Sometimes people have issues with signing up for my email list, so I usually respond to a few of those per day too. I also have to moderate comments (there's a lot of spam out there!) and respond to advertiser emails that are interested in doing sponsored content. I get an absolute ton of emails about partnerships a day (I'd estimate 20-30 a day on average). Most are spammy or not relevant at all and just get deleted, but there are usually a couple a day that fit my content. I respond to those and, occasionally, work out a sponsored deal with those companies. I'll occasionally pitch to a company if I see a relevant opportunity, but I honestly don't do that very often.
15-20 Minutes Per Day: Link Parties
This isn't something I do every week (I'd say maybe half the time)…I participate in a lot of link parties that help promote my newer content. I talked a little more about that here. This typically doesn't take very long each night, but does need to be done a few minutes every morning and night to ensure that your content is visible in the link party.
1-2 Hours Per Month: Bookkeeping
I honestly probably spend more time on this than a couple of hours a month, but most of the work of our bookkeeping is marking expenses in my Mint account (something I do for our personal finances anyway). At the end of the month, I make sure I have receipts for any expenses and total up my income and expenses for the month on one big spread sheet. I've probably over-simplified the process (so please don't take accounting advice from me), but it's the easiest and most effective way I've found to track my blog income. Actually closing out a month only usually takes an hour or two and is really kind of fun…I'm a numbers person and love seeing how the blog has done!
So, all said and told, I'd consider this a part-time schedule. It can often stretch into a full-time job schedule on those busy weeks (like launch weeks), but can be cut down to as little as a few hours a week during those hectic times of life. And I can always work ahead a little bit if I do need a week off.
So, when do I get this work done? On a good, productive day, most of this is done during naptime! Jackson usually gives me around 2 hours that is used as my lunch break and work time. I usually also have to work an hour or two after the kids go to bed at night. During busy weeks, my husband is great about giving me a few hours to go to Starbucks and work after he leaves work (but that's usually only a couple of times a month). And, even though I try to keep this to a minimum, I usually have a few 5-10 minute chunks throughout the day when the kids are working/playing independently that I can check in on everything.
It can be a busy schedule, but I love it! It's always different and never gets boring. I wouldn't change it for anything (now could somebody remind me of that when I'm editing printables at midnight next time? 😉 ).
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