Since starting my own luxury fashion blog in 2014, one of my most asked questions is how I manage to keep up with a blog while continuing to work a full time career. It’s true, I sometimes find myself asking the same question. But the truth is, with these tips and principals, I am able to double down and earn a sustainable income on the blog, while also slaying my day job on the side – without compromise.
A successful blog requires time, effort and focus – but it is still possible to manage alongside a 9-5 (or in my case, an 8-5). Whether you’re interested for fun or want to learn to how to make a stable income on the blog before you ditch the corporate life, here are a few essential tips to get you started.
1: Make fashion your b****
That’s right. If you want to manage basically two full-time jobs, you’re going to need to make fashion your bitch. You want to be good at something? Eat, sleep and dream it. If your blog is all about fashion, try to place yourself in a career that’s also in fashion. You’ll be doubling down on research, following fashion trends, and understanding the luxury fashion market. If not fashion, double down on whatever focus you may have. You will need to become an expert in your field, and working on it during the day job is a huge advantage. It is possible to be an entrepreneur while managing a full time career – I did it.
2: Be open about your side gig with your boss
Working in the fashion industry, my boss actually appreciates my side hustle as a fashion blogger. In fact, they actually see it as an added benefit to the company. If your blog follows your career, be open with your boss. In my previous job, the CEO would go as far as sponsoring events like fashion week – and would allow me to do some mutually beneficial writing during office hours. You can create valuable SEO backlinks both for your site and for your company if your boss has an open mind to developing the business.
3: Jot down ideas promptly, write when you have time
Be prepared to be on the run… a lot. When you have an idea for the blog, jot it down right away so it doesn’t slip your mind. I use the notes in my phone to put down ideas, and fill them in when I have more time. You can also maximize your downtime and build off of those ideas on the go. For example, if I’m a passenger on a road trip, I’ll make an effort to write out some content on the go. Same goes for flights, trains, buses, long take-out lines, waiting rooms, you name it. Every minute counts when you’re crunching time – make use of it!
4: Maximize shooting in summer hours
Golden hour is a thing. Unfortunately if you’re working a full time career while managing a fashion blog, those ideal shooting hours are limited. Maximize shooting in summers when the days are longer, and the sun stays high for a few hours after work. I build a bank of content throughout the summer, so when it’s dark in the winter and difficult to shoot, I have some content to fall back on.
5: Set up an indoor studio
One of the biggest reliefs was moving into my own home where I converted a parlor into a studio. This allows me to shoot at all times of the day, as well as set up a tripod where I can shoot without a photographer. This is a huge time saving tip! To set up a studio in your home or apartment, paint everything white to give yourself a clean backdrop.
You’ll need to invest in studio lighting and a tripod. I bought mine from Amazon and made the entire set up (including 2 mobile wardrobe racks, decorative chairs and a couple props) under $500.
6: Ask your friends for help
I can’t always coordinate with a photographer due to my demanding work schedule. Ask your friends for help. If you are managing the camera settings, shoot location, wardrobe and modeling – they can wield the camera. Just shoot in raw so you have a lot of control over the edits, and check the thumbnails before wrapping up.
7: Practice diligence and time management
Time management is the biggest struggle when managing any sort of blog and a full time career. Time is a luxury. That’s why so many of the tips above involve maximizing minutes. It’s not easy to manage a luxury fashion blog alone, let alone alongside a career.
You will need to practice diligence and time management like a drill sergeant. Plan a set time of day that you can dedicate to writing and creating content. I reserve Saturday mornings to rise early and shoot 3-4 looks, and weekday evenings for writing. It can be a lot at times, so don’t forget to schedule yourself a break in there too.
8: Plan outfits ahead
Because daylight hours are critical for shooting quality content, you’ll want to accomplish as much as you can in evening hours. Plan your outfits ahead of time the night before a shoot or sooner. Keep clutter to a minimum and manage a capsule wardrobe that allows you to select from only your favorite, most used pieces.
I use the free standing wardrobe racks in my studio to line up full outfits including clothes, shoes and accessories in advance. Keep your dust bags and use them to organize your accessories with each outfit to make it easier to get ready. Learn from others and you’ll get faster planning a look that’s all your own. If you’re looking for outfit ideas, I default to Pinterest or other luxury fashion blogs I follow.
9: Netflix and chill, and photo edit
You’re going to need time to unwind, but you’re not going to have much of it. Cuddle your pets, just veg out. My cure – Netflix, chill and photo edit. You’d be surprised how little focus you need to crack through a few dozen photos in photoshop. And you know Gossip Girl doesn’t require focus either.
When I’m feeling rundown and need time to chill, I focus on simple tasks like photo editing while catching up on my latest TV show. The guilty pleasure of being able to indulge in a couple hours of TV truly resets my mind. So much so, accomplishing my week’s edits simultaneously doesn’t even phase me.
10: Keep a calendar to stay organized
This is critical! There are going to be some days when you feel absolutely overwhelmed and dazed. Rightfully so. Working 40+ hours in an office and then tackling a fashion blog takes some serious stamina. At times, that leads to lack of focus. If you have deadlines from partner brands, it’s very important you meet them, especially if you plan on working with them again. Keep a calendar and stay organized. I use Reminders on my computer and phone to keep deadlines in order, so I can be sure to meet the most critical ones first. Without these reminders, it’s very easy to let deadlines slip your mind when you’ve got so much going on up there on crazy days.
11: Take the blog with you
Planning a trip or vacation and already imagining your feet kicked up in the sand? I’m a huge advocate of travel and experiences, take the blog with you and share it with others! Bring your camera, or even your phone, and make an effort to grab some pictures while you vaca.
Luxury fashion looks even better with a luxurious backdrop. Don’t miss opportunities to get exceptional content. Lucky for me, I’m a morning person, so I also use mornings to write when the rest of my travel crew is still fast asleep. You can check out some shots I got in my most recent trip to Costa Rica, as well as past trips to Egypt, Bali, London, and anywhere else my life journey might take me.
12: Live a beautiful life
Do you ever scroll through Instagram thinking what beautiful, wonderful experiences bloggers have? That may be true… but you would be surprised how much is actually just staged to look beautiful. Don’t follow that path. If you want to capture and share beautiful photos, live a beautiful life.
Those #deskgoals photos you’ve been liking? Don’t stage it – set up your office that way, and keep it that way. Love a shot with coffee and a perfect manicure with stacked rings? Keep your nails done. Take your breaks in beautiful coffee shops. Don’t try to re-create perfect moments. Life perfect moments.
This was an eye-opening epiphany for me after starting my blog and trying so hard to set up picturesque settings. Instead, that’s now the life I choose to live. Though my life is far from perfect, I strive for beautiful, truly enjoyable experiences – even when I don’t have my camera with to capture it. It’s not always about getting that perfect shot (though this makes it a lot easier). Why did you like that shot in the first place? As a luxury fashion blogger, I have pursued this second career because it is a passion. I enjoy being able to create and experience beautiful moments in life. Never loose sight of that.
Think those flowing luxury dresses on a beach are beautiful but not practical? Who cares. Luxury isn’t practical. Wear the dress. Get it sandy, dirty, whatever. Bring a bottle of champagne. Because it’s good. Make your moments in life count. Not for the blog, but for you.
There is going to be a hustle. This lifestyle I’ve chosen is not always easy, and it’s a lot of work. All of these blogging tips have certainly helped me accomplish my goals. This last tip has helped me build a successful luxury fashion blog along side a career, while still being able to enjoy the beautiful, real, little moments in life. I hope you do the same.