Running your own blog is a great way to develop new skills, make yourself stand out and can bring you loads of opportunities. But no matter what you write about - whether you use it as a space to document your life or market it as a platform to sell your services - it's hard work. And there’s something I’ve learnt over the past three years.
You need to make some sacrifices in order to get a breakthrough.
A few weeks ago, I talked about my creative process and how you can create systems for your blog that will help you be more efficient and successful. But that doesn't happen on it’s own. Making some important decisions based on your priorities will help you to reach your goals.
Managing a blog requires a lot of hard work, dedication and patience to see results. Thankfully (and if you’re a blogger you’ll know this), there are still endless benefits to being a blogger.
For instance, my blog has played a huge part in me getting to where I am today. It’s helped me be successful in my career and because I’ve worked so hard (and implemented my own strategies), I met one of my end-of-year goals in July.
Now, even though I’ve cut my publishing schedule down, I’m feeling more confident about my blog than ever. This all wouldn't have been possible without having made some sacrifices along the way.
So if you’ve got big goals for your blog, here are some sacrifices you could be looking to make in order to get a breakthrough… or two 😉
#1 | YOUR FREE TIME
I'll be honest with you - this is going to be the biggest sacrifice you make. When you realise just how much time your blog takes up, it really makes you question your whole routine and priorities.
Time is so valuable, even more so because we're the 'busy' generation. But just because you work harder and get more success, that doesn't mean that you'll naturally have more time. Usually, the more successful you become, the less time you actually have.
Your blog is something done in your spare time outside of your main job and your other responsibilities. Plus, everything else that's going in in your life!
I've found that running my blog alongside my day job isn't possible without a schedule. And that schedule has got to be consistent. I've got to make sure that I set myself an amount of work that I can handle and complete to the best of my ability.
This will look differently to all of us. But the key is to look at the free time you've got available during the week and decide how much of it you want to spend working on your blog. Then, you see what tasks you can fit into each chunk of time you've got.
For me, that means my nights during the week with some time at the weekend too. But it also completely depends on how much time I've actually got available.
If I've got a work event one night, I won't set myself any tasks. When I know I've got an hour free, I'll set myself small tasks. When I've got a bigger chunk of time free, I'll set myself a bigger task. See how it works?
The problem - and I'm sure you can relate - is that I want the best of both worlds. I want to get my blog work done and still have free time to do other things that I love. That's why you're the only one that can set your own schedule.
But you've got to be hard on yourself. If you're watching TV when you should be writing, tell yourself you can watch the next episode AFTER you've completed your task. So it basically works as a reward.
For more tips on how to create an effective routine, read this post. But remember - your family and health come first.
#2 | YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP
Take it from someone who can't function on less than 8 hours of the good stuff - it pains me to say that sleep is sometimes a sacrifice you'll have to make.
Do I get 8 hours? Only at the weekend. I get between 7 to 7 and a half during the week. A lot of people would tell you to get up earlier to get your work done. I don't believe in that. My alarm goes at 6:30 during the week. The only way I'd get up earlier would be to do a workout so I wouldn't have to do one in the evening.
Staying up later is where my sacrifice comes in, and that's where my lack of sleep reveals itself. Switching my light off at 11 when I should be switching it off at 10 - I definitely pay the price.
The brilliant opportunities and all the fantastic results that come your way will fuel your adrenaline like no other. But sometimes you do wish you could spend your Sunday afternoon in your PJS catching up on your favourite TV series 😉
#3 | THE DREADED B WORD
Guessed it yet? Balance.
Before I created my new routine, it's safe to say that my work-life balance took a huge hit. I couldn't manage everything and I constantly felt overwhelmed. I was writing up blog posts the night before they were due to go live and I was having to keep my weekends free purely for blog work. Where's the fun in that?!
My blog became a top priority. But really, I should've been looking inside my blog instead.
Thankfully, Tom helped me completely overhaul my priorities and we created a new routine that means I can enjoy my life whilst still working towards a breakthrough for my blog.
But that's not to say I haven't made some sacrifices in terms of my personal life. I even wrote a post describing how guilty I've felt in the past. Life is too short to let your blog or work take over your life.
#4 | YOUR SANITY
There are some days when I absolutely love working on my blog. But there are also days when I'm feeling stressed, tired and completely overwhelmed. There are also days when I question whether what I'm doing is really worth it.
Deep down I know it is. And let's face it - working towards where we want to be in life wasn't meant to be easy. If we were meant to be successful in the blink of an eye then everyone would be. Where's the fun in that?
Working towards your goals and aspirations is meant to challenge you, test you and make you realise how much you want something.
Maybe your family and friends tell you off for working so hard. Maybe they say you need to lighten up a bit and take a break. But you need to silence out all the noise and only do what's right for you. If that's only one blog post a week like me, then that is totally fine. Take breaks, relax when yonder to and listen to your mind and body.
But when you have one of those crazy 'what-am-I-doing' moments, just remember that you are taking one baby step forward with everything you do.
#5 | INSTANT GRATIFICATION
If I asked you to list me everything you wanted right now, I bet you'd be able to come up with a pretty decent list. That's only natural - all of us want so many different things. Usually, a lot of these things can influence instant gratification.
Say you might want to do something simple, like check your Instagram feed. Or you might want to do something bigger, like spend loads of money in revs,ping your wardrobe. The question you need to ask yourself is - what's the most important?
What is the most important to you in this moment right now?
That will help you make the choice between something that's going to give you instant gratification and the needs that will help you take a step forward to achieving your goals.
Truthfully, there's nothing wrong with wanting instant gratification. There's also nothing wrong with wanting to choose the 'easier' option sometimes.
But when you sacrifice what you want right now to spend your time and energy on something more meaningful, something that's going to help you move forward - that's probably a more worthwhile way of spending your time. The difference is, you're spending your time on something you really want, not just something you want right now.
WILL THE SACRIFICES BE WORTH IT?
This is the question you all want to know the answer to right? For me, the sacrifices have definitely been worth it and thinking about it, they've all been necessary too.
Maybe you think you don't want to sacrifice your time, sleep, personal life, sanity and instant gratification. But I'll tell you right now. Even though I don't sacrifice as much as I used to, I definitely wouldn't have gone from writing a personal blog to working toward becoming a freelancer if I'd have chosen the easier path.
I also wouldn't have grown into the person I am today without those sacrifices either.
Ultimately, you've got to ask yourself whether it's really worth it. If it is? Go for it.
What sacrifices have you made for your blog? What have you noticed that's changed about your routine?