It’s 2017 and I still have a 9 to 5 that pays the bills. I’m grateful for that, even as I pursue  my goal of becoming a well-known, bestselling author and YouTuber. It can be a real struggle to keep up with the busy world of blogging and vlogging while working a full-time, professional job. I’ve been working like crazy on my blog and YouTube behind the scenes this week, but from the outside looking in, it would be hard for someone to tell. I haven’t put out a blog post or video in a week; meanwhile, full-time content creators are churning out new videos, articles and social media posts almost daily. How can I, as a full time professional, keep up with that?

Well, the answer is that I have to remember that this is not a competition. It’s not me against other writers and content creators, even though it may feel that way. I don’t have a huge number of subscribers and followers on social media. But, I do have a lot of value to share. I have to remind myself that I’m in a building and growing phase. The people who are working as full time content creators mostly did not start out that way. Many of them were posting videos as a passion project on the side, only to eventually amass a following. The same can, and will happen for me.

I don’t want to just write posts and put them out there, and not have anyone read the posts. This may sound strange, but often creators spend hours and hours creating content, only to skimp out on actually promoting it. There can be a lot of reasons for this, and having a full time job is one of those reasons. When you work full time, it’s hard to have the time to spend promoting and marketing on social media. It can also be scary to “put yourself out there” for fear that something you say or create can put your full time job in jeopardy. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m mentally free enough to pursue this work and promote myself boldly online. If I want to grow my audience, I have to take some steps to actually promote my work.

NEW BLOG LOGO AND GRAPHICS

This week, I took some time to streamline my branding. Although I switched up the direction of my blog a few months ago, I had not sat down and created the collateral to go with it. When I say “collateral,” it means that I had not created a cohesive logo, blog, and social media graphics to match my new direction. I was off on Friday, so I literally spent the entire day creating a new logo, blog header, updating all of the graphics on my blog posts, and for my social media. It was an overwhelming task, but I tackled it one piece at a time.   I primarily used Canva to create my new header and all of the complimentary graphics.

The hardest part f making the new blog header was determining what “tagline” to use. I decided to keep it simple and put writer & entrepreneur. I chose writer, because I am one, and writing is my main focus. My blog is actually a focus over my other social media and video creation. I chose entrepreneur because I am one, also, and I write about travel freedom and making money online through writing.

I’m pretty sure I’ll update that tagline once I can think of a way to capture the essence of my site, and how I hope to provide value to readers.

MY FIRST MEDIA KIT

I created my first media kit. I put this off for a long time.  A media kit is a document that outlines who I am and what my blog is all about at-a-glance. It also provides information about my social media following and online reach. I felt really nervous about making a media kit because my following is so small. But, I’m working on being “fearless” when it comes to promoting myself. If I have 80 followers on a social media site, I need to be proud of that and keep working on growing my numbers. If I hide, I won’t grow. I’m proud of the fact that my small, but growing following is full of authentic readers. In the past, I collaborated with companies even as a smaller blogger, and I’m often approached to do speaking engagements. A media kit can help companies and individuals quickly decide whether or not my brand will be a good fit for a collaboration.

ONLINE RESUME & PORTFOLIO

One of the ways that I make money online is through freelance writing. I’ve had a lot of success with the Upwork platform in the past, but lately, I have not been getting a lot of action on my profile. I couldn’t figure out why, but then I remembered the tips that helped me when I first started on the platform. One of those tips was that I needed to keep my profile updated, provide work samples, etc. I did that when I first started, but I have not updated those resourced in a while. My next project is to update my profile on Upwork and to turn this blog into more of an online portfolio instead of just a blog. I’ll be getting more personal with my insights and the behind-the-scenes work of building a brand, growing my writing career, and filming videos. I posted this behind-the-scenes look at my YouTube video filming process on Instagram.

A #behindthescenes look at the experience of filming a #YouTube video solo. From the camera setup to lighting, scripting and reviewing the footage to make sure the right shots were captured, it’s a challenge. I’ve been watching and learning from #CaseyNeistat and some other vloggers and film makers to learn how to upgrade my film making. ____________________ Tools Used to Create this Video: •Camera: iPhone 6s 📱 •Tripod: Gorilla Tripod by #Joby 🦍 •Software: iMovie for iPhone 🎬 The equipment seen in this video includes my Manfrotto compact action tripod, my Canol Rebel t6i, and my Rode Mic. _____________________ #timelapse #timelapsevideo #contentcreator #creator #creativeprocess #houstonblogger #houstonvlogger #tombasspark #ampitheater #iphone6s #gorillatripod #joby #iphonevideography #rodemic #canon #photojournalist #behindthescenes #blackgirlsblog #blackgirlsvlog #writer

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VIDEO PRODUCTION & EDITING

As illustrated in the behind-the-scenes clip from Instagram, I’m stepping up my video production game. It’s no secret that I love YouTube, and I want to learn how to do more than just “talking head” videos. Those are great, but I want to produce really compelling video content that tells a story instead of just “chit chat” videos where I talk. I know that this is a learning process, but the first step that I’m taking is learning how to better use my video equipment. I have a Canon DSLR (the Canon Rebel T6i), and a iPhone, and that’s honestly all that I need to make great videos. The rest of the process is learning how to use what I have, film the right clips, edit, and create “stories” instead of just shooting videos.

THE SECRET TO BALANCING WORK & BLOGGING

As you can see, I have a lot on my plate. It’s hard to commute back and forth, work 8-10 hours, take care of my adult and parenting responsibilities, and make time to write posts, shoot videos, do graphic design, and promote on social media. I’m a one-woman show. But, I keep pushing because I honestly love it. I truly, truly enjoy writing and creating content that entertains and informs. I really believe that I have valuable information to share and stories to tell, and that is what drive me. So, instead of spending an entire day off resting or on vacay, I’m working. My sorority had a big conference in town this week, but I was hammering away on my laptop. I did make some time for socializing and exercise, but the rest of my time was spent working on building this blog because this is my dream.

There is no “easy” way to balance it all. The secret is to remember why you are doing what you are doing. You have to focus on the fact that you have a unique voice and that you have valuable information to share with the world. The practical process is to stay focused on individual tasks that you need to accomplish in order to reach your bigger goals. Right now, I’m in the building phase. I want to grow my audience, so that I can offer products and services to fit their needs.

Decide what tasks you want to accomplish in a single day or work session and get really intense in your work. Let your friends and family know that this is “work” and you’re not just on the computer browsing online. Decide on a start and end time for each work session, and readjust your timeline if you need to. Work hard and promote the heck out of each video, article, and piece of content you create. Content promotion can be done on your lunch breaks, or can be scheduled using apps that make your work more efficient.

I’ll be posting more about the software applications that I use to help me build my blog and social media presence in an upcoming post. I’ll also be talking about how bloggers and vloggers can gain an advantage by using the skills and knowledge from their professional 9 to 5 jobs when growing their passion projects. If you want to stay up-to-date on my progress, be sure to subscribe to the blog! Until next time, be well and keep grinding.