I’ve had a lot of interest lately in how I do what I do. A lot of my long term readers know that I work a full time job completely unrelated to this blog and my social media business. A lot of people wonder either why I do it, or how I do it. And while I often shrug and almost laugh, because sometimes I don’t know how I do it either, I thought it would be worth explaining it – at least as best as I can
Have you ever had those times in your life where you look back and say “how did I do that?” Maybe it was when your kids were young, or maybe when you were in college, or maybe when you had tough financial times. We’ve all lived those times where at the time, we did “what we had to” but looking back, it’s almost shocking how you pulled it off. I’ve had a few of those times.
One of those was when I first moved to California from Canada. I literally couldn’t afford a plane ticket so I had taken the train to get here. I moved here to do my Master’s degree and all my money went to school. I needed a place to live and a way to make money. I was extremely fortunate to be introduced to a wonderful woman who gave me a place to live in exchange for being a part time nanny for her daughter. Meanwhile, I still had to make money so I started waitressing and bartending on the nights I wasn’t at school. Between late nights at the bar and early mornings taking the girl to school, I don’t think I ever slept more than 4 hours in a row. All that on top of doing my master’s degree. Yeah, that was one of those, “how did I do it” times in my life!
This is likely one of those times in my life too. Honestly, I don’t feel like that at all now. But I might look back in a couple years and think differently.
So as I mentioned, I work a full time day job. I also manage this blog where I share 3 blog posts a week. I also write 4 blog posts for 3 collective blog sites every month. I am also working with another company to launch a Christian Business Directory and support the development of that business as well as managing the social media accounts. I obviously manage all my social media accounts which include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I try to fit in as many guest appearances on HOAs and podcasts whenever I can. And then I have any consultant clients along the way whom I love working with!
That’s a LOT to do!
And, yes, I sleep! In fact, I’m one of those people who does not function on less than 7 hours of sleep. Ideally, I’d take 9 hours though!
While I can’t give you an exact “day in the life of Jenn” post, I can try to explain my life and how I do the things I do. I should also note that I do not have kids which is a big advantage for someone trying to work full time and run her own business on the side. While I don’t suggest you get rid of your kids, you might have to find some creative ways to work around the kids’ schedules. I also have a very understanding and supportive husband who does so much to make it easy for me to pursue my dream in growing this business.
As I was formulating this blog post in my mind (which is how I generally construct most of my posts), I was trying to think of a good title. Then I heard the song “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan, and I knew that would be the title of this post. So, with that in mind, thiiis is howww Iiii dooo it!
I don’t have any fancy office space – in fact, I live in a one-bedroom apartment that is less than 800 square feet. I don’t have any fancy equipment. I have a computer and smartphone. That’s it. That’s how I roll. Here’s the proof:
That’s my little desk with my whole setup! I have my printer on the floor to the left and Roxie’s dog bed on the right so we can hang out together. My goals board is up on the wall so I can see it everyday. And at least I have a great view out the windows!
Every weekday morning I wake up at 5:00 am. I get up and get ready for the day job. I usually spend about 20-30 minutes checking social media notifications and updates before I leave for work and try to respond to anything important. I get to work by 7:00 am and am committed to that job until 3:30 everyday.
Understandably, the day job doesn’t really allow me to focus on my personal stuff. So if you’ve noticed that I’ll “like” or plus-1 your comment on a post but don’t respond for a few hours, this is why. I can occasionally steal a glance at an update and I’ll throw up a like just so you know I saw you and I’m there. But I really can’t take the time to respond or engage until I’m done work (or sometimes on my lunch break).
When I get home from work at 4:00 that’s when all the heavy lifting starts. That’s assuming I’m not exhausted and don’t take a nap. Yes, as I said, I’m a sleeper – I’ll sleep anywhere, anytime without issue! So on those days when responses don’t go out until after 5:30, chances are this girl took a little nap after work!
But I digress…
Once I’m home from work, that’s when I really get to have fun. If a blog post went live that day, I’ll go about my promotions. I share it to sites like BizSugar and do my additional social shares. I tweet the post again and send out my Google+ notifications. If I want to share the post to LinkedIn groups, I’ll do that at this time too. I also respond to comments and questions that were left on the blog post that day. If a blog post didn’t go live that day, I still work on additional blog promotions from the previous day’s post.
Every night I am committed to social media engagement. I respond to tweets, follow up on Facebook comments, reply to Google+ notifications, and hang out on Instagram. I literally spend hours every night just interacting on social media. I also respond to emails and other inquiries I received during the day.
I try to read every night. It’s not easy and there are a lot of great blogs I want to read. But I do try to read as much as possible. Since I can’t share posts when I’m at work, if I see posts that look interesting, I email them to myself so that I can read them that night and share them then. That’s why you’ll notice most of my shares on Twitter on LinkedIn are at night time
In order to stay focused, I try to do certain things each day. One or two nights a week I’ll spend scheduling posts for my social media pages. You can read my previous post on how and why I think this is so important! I also devote one night to scheduling posts for the Christian business directory I work with. One or two nights a week I respond to LinkedIn messages and connection requests.
I’m also always looking for business opportunities. While I can’t devote as much time to this as I’d like, I will spend time during the week to look for upcoming events or responding to comments on various sites looking for advice or assistance.
All of this keeps me really busy during the week! But the weekend is where I really get productive.
On the weekends, I blog. I don’t often blog on the weekdays because I just have so much other stuff to do. I’ll usually relax Saturday morning and recharge my batteries. But by Saturday afternoon I’m blogging. I’ll finish up any other blog posts on Sunday. Again, this is why scheduling is so important for me! I’ll also take the time on Sunday to layout my week ahead and confirm any appointments, events, or project due dates.
Am I crazy? Probably! But I absolutely love working on Jenn’s Trends and helping you better utilize social media marketing. So I do all this knowing that it’s worth each and every minute.
But you’re probably wondering what my crazy-ass self can teach you from this blog post, right? Ok, here you go:
Key Take Aways
Social media takes a lot of time. That’s a given. If you don’t believe me, read this post. But it works and it really is worth it. You need to commit to it though. It might mean staying up after the kids have gone to bed. It might mean staying an extra hour at the office to respond to comments. It might mean getting up early to get a head start. It might mean using time on your weekends. Whatever it is, you have to find what works for you. But you will need to give it time.
Don’t over commit. This one is always hard – I know it certainly is for me. I have turned down guest invites and blogging opportunities that I would love to do because I just. can’t. do. it. At some point we all reach our limits. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t commit yourself to projects you know you can’t meet.
Stay organized! I am a hyper organized person. Seriously, to-do lists and calendars are the reason I’m still sane. If you’re going to see success with social media and blogging, you need to be organized. Set certain days to do certain tasks. Find organizational tools to stay organized – whether it’s a calendar, an app, a day-planner, or color coded sticky notes. The more you can create a routine and get into good habits, the easier it will be to stay focused.
Use relevant tools. I’ve mentioned scheduling a few times. I couldn’t do all this without scheduling tools. Find things that work for you to help you stay efficient.
Take time for you! I know it sounds like I must not have any personal time, but I actually do. And that’s so important. Some nights I shut down early and just indulge in a couple hours of Real Housewives. I make time to hang out with my husband, my dog, and family (albeit with the smartphone closely within reach!). But it is so important to still be you and to make time for the things that are important to you. If you’re so worn down that you can’t think, you aren’t helping anyone.
If all else fails, get help! I have said time and time again how much I owe the success of this blog to other people. And it’s true. No matter what it is you’re doing, you don’t have to do it alone. If you are struggling with using social media marketing, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Maybe you just need a little training. Maybe you need to hire someone or contract with an agency to help you manage your sites. Whatever you need, ask for it. People are here to help you!
If you would like to talk to me more about how to organize your strategy or manage your sites, please contact me. If I can’t be the one to help you directly, we can at least get you talking to the people who can help you.