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Marry Your Blog to Your Life … and Watch it Take Off

This guest post is by Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom.

I’ve watched in wonder how my blog has grown since it launched in early 2008. It started as a hobby blog, and has since morphed into an income-generating network of five sites, complete with a loyal community of readers, four other editors, and a family of more than 20 contributors. I got a book deal about two years into my blog’s inception, and it’ll be on bookshelves worldwide in just a few weeks. No doubt, those hours of soaking up every bit of wisdom here at ProBlogger have paid off, and then some.

I love what I do, and I love that I can earn revenue doing something I would do for free if I had to.

What’s my secret? He’s about 6’2 tall, likes his coffee black, and as I write this, is currently driving the minivan taking our daughter to school.

Yep, that’s right. It’s my husband.

There is absolutely no way my writing career would be where it is now without Kyle working right alongside me. I’m the main voice of Simple Mom, sure, but he tirelessly does many of the behind-the-scenes tasks so that the blog succeeds. Together, we work hard to make the network thrive, and as a fortuitous blessing, our marriage is strengthened.

Now, I’m not saying you have to be married, or have a partner, to have a successful blog.

But I do think a blog works better when it’s married to your real life. Let me explain how.

Just what does he do?

1. He and I tag-team with the kids and housework.

I’m blessed that Kyle also works from home. Every Sunday, we scribble out our family calendar for the upcoming week, allotting work times for the both of us. When one of us is working, the other one is the primary parent on duty, and is also in charge of the dishes in the sink and tackling Mt. Laundry.

Ultimately, I normally write several mornings a week while my oldest is in kindergarten, and my husband takes charge of our younger two. He also oversees dinner one night per week, giving me some extra time to edit posts and handle email.

This is an unbelievable help in keeping the blog running. We’re a family with little kids, and it’s a busy season of life. Being a mom is still my full-time job, and it definitely takes more of my attention, physically and emotionally, than blogging ever could. There is no way I could run a blog as large as Simple Mom without a parenting partner in crime.

2. He handles delegated tasks, such as email and accounting.

My husband is actually the first person to see the email that comes through my blog’s contact form, not me. He forwards me the emails he thinks I need to see—reader comments and questions, or PR requests worth a look. I created a set of pre-formatted emails for him to use for the mail that contains the most frequently asked questions, such as requests to do giveaways, or the occasional blogging question. The answers are still from me, but I don’t have to write them from scratch every time, and he can quickly reply to those people without having to wait until I’m free.

And I get a truckload of mail that could easily be deleted, but it still stresses me out to see them. Letting his eyeballs be the one to scan through all the fluff and mass-generated emails works well for us. They don’t bother him.

Kyle also handles all the accounting for the network. He keeps up with all our transactions, from hosting service payments to ebook purchases, by automatically transferring our Paypal account to Outright and handling things there.

These tasks take him ten to 15 minutes per day, tops, because he’s set up a system that works for him, and he tackles this housekeeping daily. If I waited to deal with it when I had time, it would take me hours where I could otherwise write. And I’d want to curl up in the fetal position and cry, because I’m horrible at these sorts of things.

3. His male perspective gives me ideas I would never think of.

Believe it or not, only 72% of the Simple Mom readership is female. Yes, that’s the majority, but it means over a quarter of our readers are male. I’d be remiss to write solely to females, and leave a sizable chunk of my readership by the wayside. The blog is much more about the ins and outs of intentional living than it is about wearing the mama hat.

Kyle helps me think of post ideas I wouldn’t have considered—not only because he’s a guy, but also because he’s a parent, too. I’m blessed to work in a blog niche that’s directly related to my everyday life as a parent. But sometimes, I’m so entrenched in the thick of it that I don’t see clearly. My husband provides an additional perspective.

He’s the one who came up with the idea of writing posts about family mission statements, and pizza Fridays, and he recently came up with the brilliant idea for my next book proposal.

4. He’s my best cheerleader and most helpful critic.

He’s there when I need to stay up late to fix some code. He lets me vent to him when I get harsh emails from readers. And his eyes teared up when I opened the envelope holding the advance copy of my book when it arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. His positive attitude and cheerful perspective keeps me going on those days when I want to walk away from the blog.

Likewise, Kyle will also let me know when an idea I have is just dumb. Or when I’m taking criticism too personally. Or when I need to say “no” to a PR request or guest posting offer. Or when I’m too focused on the blog and need to change the baby’s diaper instead. His perspective keeps me grounded and optimistic.

What can you do?

Again, I’m not saying you need to be married to have a successful blog. But I believe a blog will have a better chance of success if it’s part of your real life.

It’s easy to see a blog as a one-man-or-woman show, but there are lots of things behind the laptop screen we don’t see. Simple Mom would not be doing as well as it is without Kyle’s help, plain and simple. It’s not a one-woman show, by any stretch.

When we keep our blog aligned to our offline life, we aren’t as pulled in as many directions. It can even enhance our lives, our families, and our marriages. When Kyle helps me, we work together. We talk, we spend time together, and we focus on the same thing. Our relationship is enriched by it.

Blogging takes a lot of work, and the to-do list is never really done. Are there some tasks you can delegate to those around you? Can you tap into your spouse’s strengths and ask him or her to help out?

Maybe you’ve got a friend who’d enjoy collaborating with you. Ask her or him to run your blog’s newsletter (my friend Jenny does). Maybe get one of your friends to act as a sounding board for your post ideas. Or if the grandparents live nearby, see if they can watch your kids once or twice a month so that you can get a chunk of writing done.

Let your blog enhance your offline life, and recruit those around you to help. And watch it take off.

How do you use the help of others to run your blog?

Tsh is the main voice behind Simple Mom, is editor-in-chief of Simple Living Media, and her first book, Organized Simplicity, hits bookstores next month. Follow her on Twitter to learn how to handle cloth diapers and Silly Bandz obsessions, and to chat about why less really is more.

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Comments

  1. I write with my close friends and it works best as two or three minds are always better. I am so happy for your success and great marriage with Kyle.

    I have checked your blog out and even though I can not related, I do understand as I have nieces and nephews around.

  2. This very thing is one of the reasons that I’ve had to slow way down on my blogging. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, but for this season of our lives, his job is very demanding and keeps him away from home more than either of us would like.

    Given a choice, he would love to be more involved in the day-to-day operations of our home. But for now, it’s not practical. After struggling for nearly a year while trying to make it all work, we finally decided that something had to give.

    Since his paycheck pays most of the bills and our family and home have non-negotiable needs, it was my blog that needed to give. It was a difficult choice, but this is the hand we’ve been dealt for now.

    I would caution anyone wanting to build a business blog to think long and hard about their support system before moving forward. Especially if they have kids at home.

    Great post, Tsh! I couldn’t agree more.

  3. Yea. very good post. And encouraging, too!

  4. hah that looks like a real life , family all the daily stuff ina perfect way !!
    loved the way you said you both make time to switch roles and it works . About loving what you do , that’s a key actually , i am in love with writing too and i find it very useful , so since you love doing that , then you only need the perfect time / shape to start cause that will make you shine over again !! :) very good !!

  5. Craig says:

    Wasn’t sure when I first read the title what to expect from the post, really inspiring, and it sounds as though your family lives a busy life, Congratulations on the new book, and amazing all your blogging success has occurred only since early 2008, Keep it up :-)

  6. I agree with this article, if you want to seriously consider making an earning from blogging you have to treat it like starting a new career. Your family needs to support and treat it like you are starting a job and it will require its own hours and family time / chores…etc will need to be adjusted to accommodate for the extra work you will need to put into your new venture.

    I have seen many bloggers leave the scene in recent years due to family life suffering and bloggers have had to make the choice to drop the blogs, or risk losing their relationships. It is important partners are on board and they realize that you will need at least 20-40 hours per week (part time or even full time) to dedicate to this enterprise if you want it to take off.

  7. Yeah. Husbands come in handy.

  8. Sam Denis says:

    You can’t be anymore right about this. A blog should be part of one’s identity. If an individual doesn’t think about his or her blog right after waking up in the morning or whenever, then he or she blogs for profits only and blogs like these don’t last. I also believe being married or having a family to give you feedback on your blog is excellent strategy, because nobody else will be more honest with you and give you better feedback.

  9. Jackie says:

    Loved reading this…the support of my husband is critical to my finding the time to write and to the quality of my writing as well. He is the perfect sounding board, editor, and my eternal voice of reason!

  10. Georgina Laidlaw says:

    @ jason, “amiss” is most certainly a word :) It means “out of order, wrong, or bad”. Its usage might reflect a cultural difference, so I’ve altered it to “remiss” on your recommendation. Thanks :)

  11. First of all, you have to make a choice as a blogger.
    Is it a leisure time activity or making money area for you ?
    The the answer will be appear spontaneously.

    estetik burun

  12. Kelly says:

    Visiting from Simple Mom….this is great Tsh! It’s really helpful as a new blogger to hear your insights on behind-the-scenes. I’m grateful for my husband and all his support as well. :)

  13. Amen!

    I’ve got almost the same get-up going on and it’s the only way I’m able to make it happen. My husband is 110% behind what I do and involved almost as much. It’s great and makes what I love to do, much more fun!

  14. Andrea says:

    Good post. Any successful man has a helpful “woman” behind him, and this is a testimony that the opposite is also true. While I have “hobby blog” that’s been neglected these past months because of a big personal fundraising (and return to work) – my husband’s support helps me to get all my stuff done. Without him, I would never have been able to do what I’ve done… A.

  15. zahi says:

    I completely agree with tyou, if you want to seriously consider making money from blogging you have to treat it like starting a new job. You needs to have support and treat it like you are starting a job and it will require some time….