Blogging professionally is an amazing opportunity for anybody who wants to work from home, to manage your own schedule, to choose your own collaborations and to define how your working week looks without the restrictions of a traditional 9-5 role. For many of us parent bloggers who have chosen this life, it has been a huge blessing allowing us to fit our work in around the children and to be physically present at home.
That doesn’t mean that there are not challenges. After some time, when you have an established blog you can find that your inbox is filling up faster than you can handle, you have deadlines coming up for brand collaborations but you also want to share the kids crafts or recipe that you know your readers will love. Suddenly time management becomes a little more challenging and organisation and keeping a thorough to do list is key.
Every influencer and blogger works differently, and taking inspiration from how others work and the ideas that they share can be a great thing. Influencer spot light features on sites like Intellifluence can help by giving these different perspectives and experiences. I will take you through how I made the decision to expand the team here at In The Playroom, and why this has been the best decision for us.
Since starting this parenting blog In The Playroom in 2012, we have consistently grown our traffic and social following across all of our social media channels, and I reached a point where in order to expand even more and give different aspects of our site the focus that they need, I had to share the load and I needed a team. For example, you will not always have enough time to research on Influencer marketing tips and change up your strategies if you are busy handling every single email that comes in, or replying to every query on social media by yourself. It’s hard to find time to go back and SEO optimise some of your older content when you are busy juggling today’s brand collaboration and tomorrow’s seasonal gift guide.
Hiring VAs for specific tasks
Like many bloggers, over the years I have hired VAs (virtual assistants) for specific tasks on an ad-hoc basis to help outsource some of the technical or manual tasks that did not specifically need my own input, to help me juggle my work load. Many bloggers do this and it can be so worthwhile, particularly if you have a specific issue that will take you a long time to research and fix whereas you could hire someone who knows this like the back of their hand and it would be sorted quickly, with the peace of mind that it has been done properly.
For example, this year we changed our URL structure on the site to remove dates from our URL format. This is a great idea which allows you to re-publish seasonal content. After so many years running this site, there are some great ideas hidden away that newer readers may have missed, so for example during Ramadan I was able to pull up some of the colouring sheets that I had created several years ago for kids to colour during this month, and pushed them up to the front of the blog so that newer readers could see this and print them out for their kids.
We will also be outsourcing our new branding, which is something I am excited about changing really soon. Of course, you want to keep control and keep your personality on your blog – so define your own concept, colours and ideas and then simply outsource the execution so that you can take your creative energy and get working on something else.
Permanently Expanding Your Team
Despite outsourcing a few of our tasks, last year with the chaos of everything going on in the world and four kids at home for months on end during homeschooling, I started to feel some burn out. I am sure that if you are reading this as a fellow blogger who has been in this role for a few years, you can probably relate.
As much as the self employed life is great because you have so much freedom, you also have a lot of responsibility. Everything comes onto your own shoulders, and if you can not be productive, then you won’t get paid. That’s the reality of self employment or freelance work. During covid, there were months were I could barely get through all of my emails so I realised that here I am with a website that I have put so much energy into over the past few years, and if I don’t make a change then I could be wasting so much potential.
Then one day at the nail salon with my best friend Luciana, we suddenly had the idea that she could come on board and help me out, and it ran from there. Expanding your team and making someone a part of your business can be a daunting decision so the key is to choose the right person very carefully. If you find the right match then it can be the best thing that you will ever do for your blog.
Making someone a permanent team member, or blogging partner means that they will be just as invested as you in the site and will be committed to bringing new ideas, motivating each other and sharing the load equally. As long as your values and goals line up with each other, it can work really well.
I would definitely recommend going for a trial period, to make sure that this new arrangement works out for both of you and there are a few practical things to consider such as how are you going to split the income, how are you going to split the work load, who will make decisions on specific things. Communication is key for all of this.
Luciana has been working with me now for six months and it has been great. We have had nothing but positive reactions from readers and brands about the way we have expanded and brought a new voice to our blog posts, and because we both have different experiences to share it allows us to each bring our own passions and experiences to share and resonate with an even wider audience.
Overall, this has been an amazing step for our site and I know that by working together, we will be able to expand and grow so much more over the coming years compared to what I could achieve alone. So if you have ever considered expanding your team, and you have a trusted person that you believe you can work well with – why not take the leap and give it a try.