How To Build a Successful Blog While Working Full-Time

Quick question: have you ever blogged while holding a full-time job? How did that work out? Did you get this much result?

Ms. Hannah asked this question in the comments of the September 2016 Income Report.

It’s a damn good question.

The quick answer is I have not built a blog while working full-time. I have built small businesses while holding down a 9-5 if that makes you feel a little better. Makers Cabin being the latest one. So maybe I’m not the most qualified to answer this question or maybe I’m still qualified because I’m trying to build multiple blogs at once at this moment.

I’ll take a crack at it anyways.

Your Limitations

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have limitations. One of the biggest hurdles that I had to face was that even though I planned on working on my business after work, many times it just didn’t happen because I was too mentally exhausted.

I simply couldn’t get anything done if my life depended on it.

I’ll work on it tomorrow turned into I’ll eventually get to it one day.

Instead of freaking out and completely giving up I sat down and looked at the problem and tried to find a solution. The obvious problem was that work was so taxing on me mentally that I had no more willpower left to work at home.

I had to work on my side business when there was willpower in the tank and the only time that happened was in the morning. I began to wake up at 4-5am and spend 1.5 – 2 hours getting as much as I could get done before leaving for work.

For many people, this is the ideal time because there are no responsibilities that need attending to.

This also had an interesting effect on my mental state when I got home because there would be times where I could get some more work done only because I felt like I wasn’t catching up for missed time. The work I did in the morning was enough to make me think I was ahead of the game.

One of the hardest things for people to grasp about working on a side business is that you need to sacrifice something. Before you started to work on a side business all of your time was occupied with something. To work on a side business it has to slide into a time slot that is already filled. It might be TV time or the hour you spend in bed looking at Facebook.

Whatever it is, something has got to go.

You Need Support

This whole process is a million times harder if the people around you aren’t supporting. For example, when I was working on building up my businesses I made sure to talk to my wife about what she expected of my time to see what we could work out. We made sure to set aside X amount of time every single night to spend time with each other and then at 8pm (or whatever) I would get time to work on my things.

Before we had this talk, things were a disaster. I was working on stuff trying to build a better future for us so I was constantly consumed with it. My thoughts were that if I’m trying to better our lives she should be completely okay with that and not worry about the time we spend now.

After talking with her I discovered that she didn’t want to dominate my time, she just wanted a small part of it. It also helped her to understand why I needed the time and what my plans were.

With that support in place, everything became much easier.

You have enough stuff working against you in life. Your friends and family shouldn’t add to that.

Work on What Matters

This is the third most important thing. For some reason beginning bloggers don’t know how to prioritize the things that they should work on.

Not all blog tasks are created equal.

If you think about the best blogs they do two things really well:

  1. Content
  2. Promotion

Those are your two main focuses. From there you can break them down even more.

5 Types of Blog Posts

You can sit around thinking about what type of magical post you need to write or you can focus on only writing 5 types of blog posts when you are starting off.

  • Massive List Posts
  • Expert Roundups
  • Ego Bait
  • Infographics
  • Ultimate Guides

Why these 5? Because they provide you with the most bang for your buck. You don’t have time to write blog posts that don’t resonate with people or attract the eye of other bloggers. You need to invest your time wisely!

Massive List Posts

Everyone reads list posts. You might be one of those snobby bloggers that think they are above list posts, but nobody is above list posts. They are awesome when done properly. Look at this list post. I like to think it’s quality.

That’s how your list posts should be.

When I say Massive List Posts I actually do mean massive. 57 Ways to Slice a Carrot is something that will draw people in. A lot of your audience will get drawn into 7 Ways to Slice a Carrot but 57 ways? That’s going to bring everybody in.

Expert Roundups

You come up with a simple question that people can answer in one or two paragraphs and then you email a ton of experts.

This kind of post works well on limited time because while people are responding to you, you can work on other posts.

Ego Bait

People love when others talk about them in a positive light. Ego bait posts are written to draw some influencer in and hopefully link to you.

For example, here is a post I did that analyzes Smart Passive Income.

Infographics

I don’t do them because they take up so much time, but they are worth it if you want to invest in them.

Ultimate Guides

They don’t have to be massive Blog Rocket type of guides, but they should be thorough enough to make the person feel like they go something out of it.

Other Posts

If you want to write other types of posts then go ahead. The 5 listed above are just ones that have excellent track records of getting attention.

Sure your personal story about your cat that died when you were 10 might strike oil, but I’d rather stick with what definitely works than what might work.

Promote, Promote, Promote

This is where the majority of bloggers completely fail. They write and then kind of promote. Don’t be ashamed to do more promoting than writing! You need people to notice you and they won’t if you sit there quietly.

Because time is limited I would put most of my promotion time into Pinterest. Thankfully, there are great tools to help you automate things and once you have everything setup you won’t need to spend much time on Pinterest at all.

I would also start compiling a list of the bloggers that I would want to build relationships with and stalk them on Twitter. At every opportunity, I would join in discussions with them just so they start to notice me. I would also be one of the first people to comment on their blog posts (don’t leave a scrub comment, make it worthwhile).

Eventually, I would send these bloggers an email about a post I wrote that I feel their audience would enjoy. Building these connections might be the best way to grow your blog.

Every penny that I earn starts with my blogs. I’ve put together a free 12-day blogging bootcamp for you that goes through every step that I take to build a successful blog.

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Obstacle.co’s Plan for Starting a Blog From Scratch While Working Full-Time

Whew, that’s a long heading.

So you have a full-time job and you want to start a blog. What do you do? If I were in that situation here is a condensed version of what I would do.

1. Research the Industry

New bloggers have a tendency to think that they need to start completely from scratch. That’s silly. A lot of the work that will get you ahead of the game has been done for you by other bloggers.

What I mean is that if you are going to run a blog on dog training, then you can go to other dog training blogs to see what type of posts are really connecting with the audience. This gives you an idea of what types of problems your audience is really looking to solve.

Other blogs are doing audience research for you. You should thank them!

Also, comments are your best friend. This is where people bring up the problems they are having. Comments are a goldmine for blog topic ideas.

From doing this you should have at least 10 topics to write about. If the topics are all over the place then focus on the two biggest ones and then just continue to write posts concerning those problems until you’ve worn yourself out.

Another strategy is to treat your blog like a starter guide. For example, if I started a blog on gardening I might think about all of the things someone starting from scratch might need to learn. Essentially my blog becomes a book with each post a new chapter.

2. Write, write, write

Write until you have 5 posts ready to go. It’s a complete waste to launch with one post because what if people want to read more? They are going to disappear and never come back. It’s not like they are going to read one post, bookmark your site, and set an alarm to remind them to come back and check periodically.

Multiple posts also help you see what stuff is working with your audience and what things they don’t really care about.

3. Content Upgrade / Email Opt-In

When people come to your site you want to give them some incentive to sign up for your mailing list (you do have a mailing list ready to go, right?). Just telling people to sign up for updates isn’t going to cut it.

Give them something worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be the world’s greatest resource. It just has to convince them to walk through the door.

Ideally, you put them into an email sequence after this, but because you are just starting off and sign ups will be slow I would suggest personally emailing each person that signs up. Ask them to tell you about themselves. This gives you a chance to connect with your audience on a personal level that many bloggers don’t. It will also help you see what kinds of topics you might want to address in the future.

4. Pick a Theme You Will Be Happy With for 3 Months

It’s great to have a pretty theme and I know how hard it is to look at a site you aren’t happy with, but if you waste weeks or months trying to pick a theme then you are wasting time that should be spent on other things.

Pick a theme. Run with it for a bit. There are more important things to tend to.

5. Pinterest Promotion

Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest?

So many social media platforms to tend to. Wrong.

Most blogs only need Pinterest to start off. Some blogs might work better on Instagram (fashion blogs), but odds are Pinterest is all you need. Aren’t sure how to utilize Pinterest? This is where I get to plug my Pinterest Course. Scoop it up, it’s awesome.

Too many bloggers waste time on all of the social platforms thinking they are going to have some impact. Joining Facebook Groups is great for building relationships but you won’t get much traffic from them. You only have so much time, choose it wisely.

6. Gameplan Your Email Strategy

One of the worst things you can do is get people to sign up for your mailing list and then never write to them. I said you should manually write to every new subscriber at the beginning, but you can’t keep 100 separate conversations going on forever.

I would suggest you write them a weekly email. Maybe it talks about your experiences over the week or it links to other posts that you found interesting. Whatever it is you can write these days or weeks in advance. Set them to auto send on the right day and you are golden.

7. Launch

Do it.

Don’t think you need an epic launch.

Set that beast loose upon the world.

The game doesn’t end when you launch, it’s just the beginning.

Now you can invest some time in building connections with influencers in your industry. If you’re on Twitter follow them and try to join in on some discussions. If you are writing a blog post and have a question that they can help with shoot them an email.

At this point you have a collection of posts published and a number of future posts planned out, a promotion strategy with Pinterest, and what influencers you should try to get in front of.

Carry a notebook with you or make sure you have a note taking app on your phone always handy because your blog will constantly be on your mind. When a new idea for a topic pops up into your head you don’t want to lose it.

Blog posts don’t have to be written in one sitting. Write it in chunks when you have spare time. If your weekends a bit more free see if you can knock out a couple. Take advantage of the small time you have at every opportunity.

Eventually what will happen is that writing a post is done on auto-pilot. You have a nice flow so it takes less time to write a post. Your Pinterest is humming along without you needing to do much. You check your Twitter once a day to see how you can help out people in your industry.

One of the most important things you need to be sure to do is respond to your audience. You’re starting off with a small audience so you want to build as strong of connections as you can. Replying to an email goes a long way for a lot of people.

Don’t miss this opportunity.

I’m going to make $100,000 with a blog. And then do it again 9 times with other blogs. It’s the One Million Dollar Challenge.

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Adjust Your Mindset

This is going to take time. Don’t read my income reports and think you should be doing the exact same numbers in the exact same time frame. I have a lot more time than you do probably, plus more experience. But I started off just like you. It took time to get here.

I understand that there is a lot more details that go into launching and running a blog, but those can always be addressed later on. Focus on the big things and make sure they are taken care of.

Make a commitment to yourself that for 3 months you will work on your blog. Nothing gets done if you don’t have a plan and get into a rhythm. One of the worst things you can do is work on your blog on and off for months. One day you will look at things and wonder why nothing is working.

Don’t do that to yourself.