February 21, 2014

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.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Jenn….this is GREAT! Although I inhaled this post (and will come back to read it a little slower) my main takeaway is….IT’S POSSIBLE! I am addicted to so many blogs where the author does not work a day job and started feeling like I can’t do it all. You have given me some great ideas….thank you!

    1. Thanks Catina! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And thank you for the inspiration 😉
      It isn’t easy but it is possible. Keep at it and you will succeed too!

  2. Whew!!!! I am happy to hear that you understand and practice down time. Even if it can’t be every day, we all need time to recharge. I do think that many do not understand the time commitment that using social media requires. When I say I am “working”, I will sometimes get the response, “is it your ‘real’ work or are you just ‘online’!”. I counter with….”that IS work”! haha I also believe that the only way you can truly keep this kind of schedule is to love what you do…and find how it works for you. It might not be what works for everyone else, but finding what is unique to you is what is important. Keep it up!!!!

    1. Thanks Kim! I definitely think it’s important to take time for ourselves and recharge.
      I also think we’ve all gotten the “are you really working?” comments a time or two 😉 Finding what works for you is so important. And I think you’ve done of good job figuring out your best methods.

  3. Jenn, this sounds so familiar though I tend to get up earlier and do more in the a.m. vs at night. I’m you say social media takes time! So many try to cover that fact up and say scheduling tools do it all but really – they don’t. You have to respond and be listening too. I’ve been taking more time for me and don’t stick to a post schedule because it can put too much pressure on me. If I am missing a post in 5 days I usually sit down and just do it. I would not have known you had a full time job too. I’m always amazed how much bloggers can accomplish in 24 hours and still get sleep 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Thank Lisa! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ll admit that I amaze myself sometimes with how much I get done. But I know plenty of bloggers who have similar situations and have had to learn to balance blogging with the rest of their lives.
      Scheduling tools can help make things easier in terms of posting but, as you said, you have to be able to respond and listen too.

  4. Very inspirational reading for most of us, who have been (or still are) juggling through full time jobs, blogging activities, kids, and some other stuff. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    1. Thanks Antonio! I know I’m not the only one juggling blogging with a million other things. But I hope I can help others realize that it can be done when we make the commitment.

  5. Love the inside look into a typical day in the life of Jenn is. One word comes to mind — focused. Good for you juggling all that along with a day job. I love the simple set up, too. I have something similar myself.

    I have a 6-month old and I remember when I loved getting 7-8 hours. Now, I am happy with 5. Amazing how that changes that much. I should also buy stock in coffee 🙂

    1. I definitely think focused is a word many would use to describe me, Adam 😉 And I honestly think that the simpler the set up, the easier it is to stay organized. Of course, there’s always a chance to find a new tool or software to help but too many “things” can actually get distracting and have the opposite effect we desire.
      I give big kudos to you for doing what you do with a 6 month old! Wow! I am always amazed at how anyone manages anything with kids in their lives, but especially within this blogging world. You must have some serious focus and dedication yourself. Now go get yourself some more coffee!

  6. 1. I LOVE that Montell Jordan song! Classic old school jam
    2. Thanks for a peek inside your mind and life. SM is a lot of work and I think i’m at the point were need help.

    1. It really is a classic old school song, Julia! 🙂
      Social media can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. The key to knowing the difference is knowing what you want it to do for you. And, knowing you, you want it to do a lot which means it’s going to take a lot. That’s not a bad thing at all – it’s just a reality you adjust to.
      When it comes to help, stop and figure out what help you need most. Do you need someone to do all the social media management for you (outsourcing or hiring someone to work for you)? Or maybe you need some formal training to better educate yourself so that you can be more efficient. Or maybe having someone create a strategy specifically for you that tells you how and when to post (and, of course, why), would be the guide that would allow you to manage it successfully on your own.
      Take some time to think about it. If you decide it’s something I can help you with, please let me know. You know I would love the opportunity to work with you.

  7. I used to be a stay at home mom with 2 little ones when I first started writing for clients. I was able to write 2-3 articles an hour and watch the kids without a huge emphasis on TV time. To be truthful it’s great to have the skill to work without letting the kids ‘bug’ me, but I have no idea how I did it. I know a decent diet and enough sleep are integral to being successful when so much is going on, and I had some super supportive family backing me up- thankfully.

    That all said, it’s nice to know others go through the same things, but with a lot of passion like you have and I had (for working from home) it can make all the difference. Thanks for sharing, Jenn.

    1. Thanks Mary! Glad you enjoyed this. I honestly admire anyone who can do all this with kids at home too. Kudos to you for sure for all your success while raising a family. Your passion and dedication show through in everything you do which is why you’re successful!

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