This is a collaborative post
Did you know that there are over 600 million blogs online right now? While many of those blogs are part of a business or a hobby project, blogging has become a full-time career for a lot of people.
There are many factors that make a blogger successful, but one thing that all successful bloggers have in common is that they have the right range of tools and equipment behind them.
Making the jump from side-hustle to full-time blogger is a huge step that needs careful planning. You need to get your house in order (literally and metaphorically) to give yourself the best chance of success.
You may already have some of the required processes in place, but getting yourself organised can take some work.
Home office Space
You’re going to need space to be creative. What better excuse to do a bit of interior design and create the perfect home office. If you have a spare room, then you can really go to town on designing the perfect home office for your needs.
Many people don’t have the luxury of an entire room. So even if you just have a corner or the dining room, or hallway, you can still make it your own with some clever furniture choices such as a writing bureau or wall mounted desk.
Try and keep it uncluttered and separated enough that you can work without distraction. A well laid out working area can focus your mind, spark creativity and allow you to ‘switch off’ from work when you need to.
Essential blogging equipment
Blogging is all about tech. At minimum, you’re going to need a powerful laptop, a good quality external monitor and a smartphone with a good camera. YouTuber’s and Instagram based blogger will also need a video camera and DSLR camera (sometimes these are combined in one model) and lighting.
Good equipment is a must for producing quality content. Look for good deals in the sales or Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Your money will go a lot further.
Most people use laptops now as desktop computers are becoming less popular. The good news is that you can buy a powerful laptop for a relatively low price. Look for brands that are rated high for reliability and have a sufficient amount of RAM for your needs.
Your smartphone will become your most used piece of tech (if it isn’t already). While smartphones have never been more powerful (or expensive), the price of texts and data packages are becoming very competitive. Look for UK 4G network lists to find out which one has the best coverage for your area and the best price.
Apple and Samsung have a lot of the market, but they can also be expensive. There are other brands you might want to consider if you’re on a budget. When picking a smartphone, check how good the camera and storage options are before buying.
Bloggers produce a range of content. A typical week can see your writing blogs, recording videos, taking pictures and recording podcasts. All of these things require specialist equipment including microphones, cameras and lighting.
If you’re not sure what the best equipment is for the full time blogging head over to the forums and ask other bloggers for their opinions.
File backup facilities
Your data is precious. No one wants to see their hard work disappear due to a computer error or hacking. Ensure that you have cloud backup for your laptop and also a specialist back up storage or your blog too. That way, if anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to restore all of your data quickly.
Business bank account
Now you’re earning an income from your blog you’re going to need to start getting serious about tracking your finances so that you can accurately assess your tax and national insurance liability. Keeping your business and personal finances separate will make it much easier when it comes to doing your accounts and filing a tax return.
There are a number of new, online bank accounts which provide sole traders with basic invoicing and accounting features including Monzo, Starling, Tide and Coconut.
Business bank accounts are now easier to open than ever and can be run completely through your smartphone. Unlike the high street banks, they are free to run or charge a low monthly fee.
Keeping track of your income and expenses is very important. Not only will it help you to keep track of your potential tax liabilities but also ensure that you are taking advantage of any legitimate expenses associated with your blog.
You’ll also be able to use the data to perform analysis on your income to find out where it’s coming from and which client and services are the most profitable.
Accounting software can be quite complicated to use so utilise free trials before committing to a subscription. Options include Quickbooks, Sage Accounting, Wave and Zoho.
Now that you are your own boss, you need to take control of your financial future. Saving for retirement should be started as early as possible. The last few years have seen an increase in pension companies that specialise in providing financial products for the self-employed. You can run your entire pension from your mobile if you want to.
If you have a few old workplace pensions from previous jobs, you can combine them into one pension pot and have an oversight of all your money. Good options for the self-employed include PensionBee and Penfold.
Social media management platform
Creating great content is only the beginning. You will spend most of your time promoting your content on various social media channels, building your followers and engagement.
Social media can be a complete time-suck, especially if you are posting manually every day. A good social media management platform will make your life so much easier. The right one will help you design, schedule and promote content in advance so that you can devote your time to other things.
Favourites for bloggers include Tweetdeck, Content Studio, Buffer and Sprout Social.
Email marketing software
As your followers begin to build, you need a way to capture their details and communicate with them. There are many sophisticated email marketing platforms out there that you can use. Popular platforms for blogger include Mailchimp, AWeber, Constant Contact and SendInBlue.
Now that you’re a professional, you’re going to need to store your business contacts and potential advertisers. A CRM system can track all of your contact with these people and improve your business development skills. Hubspot and Capsule CRM have free versions of their software. Other ones to consider include Zoho, Pipedrive and Copper CRM.
Even web-based blogs are becoming more visual. Bloggers need to be ad-hoc designers too. There are many great intuitive platforms to use to create blog and social media graphics. The most popular platform is Canva, which lets those without any design experience to create beautiful visuals for their blogs.
Project management software
Getting organised as a blogger can be difficult and things start to fall through the gaps. At any one time, you have lists of potential articles, articles in production, social media scheduling, admin, finances. The list goes on. Keep yourself on the right track by using a project management tool. Asana and Trello are both popular options with freemium versions.
You may be switching to blogging full time because you want to get out of the 9-5 routine and be your own boss. While you do have the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you want to, a certain amount of routine is good. It allows you to be productive and schedule a time to look after yourself mentally and physically.
A strong support network
Leaving a job to become a full-time blogger can feel lonely at times. If you’re used to working in an office or around other people, the change of suddenly being at home, by yourself can be jarring. Add to that the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on socialising and you can find yourself struggling with isolation.
This is where a support network comes in. Make time to touch base with your family and friends regularly.
Even when working for yourself you can build a professional network too. Family and friends may be supportive but might not know what being a blogger entails. Join blogger forums and freelance groups. They are a great source of advice and support, both professional and personal. You could even arrange virtual coffee breaks with other bloggers. LinkedIn and Facebook are good places to start and there are more and more groups popping up on platforms such as WhatsApp and Slack.
Taking the leap into self-employment can bring up a range of emotions, but you should be excited. Give yourself the very best chance of success by getting all of your systems and schedules in order before you start.Follow me on social media for more!
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