“How do you juggle working full time and blogging/Instagram?”
This question has been posed to me quite a number of times and each time, I give a sort of airy fairy response because, to be frank, the real answer is too long to say in thirty seconds. I’ve been doing this act for almost two and a half years now and one of the most important things I’ve learnt is that you need to be able to let some jobs go. I used to say yes to every brand and/or PR company that offered a collaboration that was in line with my aesthetic. On top of that, I would push myself to post twice a day, every day which meant I had to create enough content to cover that. I also wanted my feed to be a pattern – one outfit post, one flatlay, one outfit post, one flatlay …
This meant that I spent every second Saturday or Sunday, between 11am and 4pm, taking flatlay shots in my apartment and then one Sunday every month to take outfit shots. When I went out to do the latter, I would plan and pack all my outfits the night before for about two hours and the next day, spend about three to four hours shooting. I kept up this routine for over a year.
On top of this, I would try to go to as many events as possible in the hope that I would gain more exposure and expand my network. Whilst this did help, I found that some events weren’t worth the time and effort I spent getting there.
So, what have I learnt from the past two and a half years?
Don’t force the content
Spending hours on end taking flatlay shots when you have run out of things to chuck into the shot is exhausting – and it shows. When I have a great idea for a flatlay along with great product to shoot, everything comes together very easily. This translates to a post that fits in well with my feed and the engagement it attracts speaks volumes. When I used to just pull something together for the sake of it, performance dropped and there’s no point in posting something that you aren’t entirely happy with.
Define the requirements
If you are considering a collaboration request from a brand, make sure both parties understand what is required. Think about the brief and try to imagine how you would set up the shot. Will it fit seamlessly into your feed? Also think about whether you will have the time to execute your idea in the timeframe you’ve been given. There have been times where I have hastily accepted a request after I thought of a half-baked idea only to realise later that I barely have the time and/or resources to bring the idea to fruition.
Clearly defining the requirements will benefit everyone so there is no issues down the track.
Plan Plan Plan
Set yourself timeframes even if you don’t have any deadlines. With anything, it’s good to set yourself goals so you keep on track. Lack of planning can lead to cramming at the last minute which can make your photos look rushed. In my experience, it can even mean missing deadlines. Most of the time, the brand is understanding however it’s not professional and not good practice.
Don’t take on more than you can handle
There were times where I received an influx of opportunities and I was keen on all of them! I
accepted all of them thinking that I could do it all and whilst I was, it came at a price. I put myself under a lot of stress to get it all done, on top of losing my whole weekend to go and take photos, I spend my lunch times at work shooting as well. I would then get anxious at night because, besides editing the photos I had taken and planning the captions, I couldn’t do much else due to lack of natural light. All of this could have been avoided if I had just planned properly and understood that I needed to let some things go.
Gauge the importance of events
This may sound a little elitist but bear with me.
When I started getting invitations to all sorts of events, I was over the moon. So what did I do? I tried to go to every single one of them even if that meant taking a two hour lunch break, arriving or leaving work early or, in some cases, taking a whole day off if the event wasn’t close enough to work. Okay, so I only took days off when I was 100% sure the event was going to be amazing, however, there were many occasions where I would leave work early only to figure out that it wasn’t worth it.
So how do you avoid this? Firstly, just good ol’ experience. Secondly, ask some of your insta-buddies if they’re going. They won’t always be invited to the same thing you are, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Sometimes they can even tell you if they’ve had a good experience with the organiser of the event. You can’t always judge by the invite – case in point: I received an invite to this Jurassic World x Fashion Show event which I thought was incredibly strange. But since I didn’t have anything better to do that night, I decided to go. Lo and behold, the event was great - even Kyle Sandilands had a seat.
All of the tips I have listed above all add up to one thing, to get more time by increasing efficiency. Do you work full time and blog on the side? Share your tips in the comments below!