Imagine having a full-time job and a travel blog. Now imagine being a mummy as well. Sounds busy, right? Somehow Stéphanie from From The Poolside manages all three of these things. Her blog is full of gorgeous boutique hotels and stylish holiday places. I’m forever bookmarking her beautiful finds.
Stéphanie rocks at travel blogging, particularly as she’s French yet writes her blog in English. Now, that’s talented, don’t you agree?!
In the latest in this series, Stephanie shares her insights into how she manages it all. Enjoy!
Q. Besides your blog, what job do you do for a living?
I am a digital communications professional. I help companies tell their story online and engage with their audiences using new media channels. This might be the corporate website (i.e. the site about the company, not the site about the products), social media accounts on Twitter or LinkedIn, mobile apps, etc..
I worked in an agency (where you have a variety of clients from different industries) for many years but am now “in house” (i.e. within a company itself). I held that position in a global law firm and have recently joined an energy company to do the same.
Q. Is your day job in any way related to travel?
Not at all. With my previous agency role, I was travelling around Europe but I didn’t have the blog at the time, nor did I have a family. It’s a pity as I would have been able to get lots of content and ideas from those travels! Now my job mostly include travels within the UK. There is also the odd conference in a European country once a year.
Q. Do you think this is a perk or hindrance?
Probably both. It’s a perk as I can be independent and really talk about travel in a way that is similar to what my readers are experiencing. It’s also a nice escape from my day job. At the same 5me, if I was in the industry, I could probably get some unknown details that would be interes5ng for my readers too.
Q. How many hours a week do you work on your day job?
It’s a full-time job so theoretically 35 hours a week, but in reality it is much more intense than that. I’d say that my average week is 45 hours.
Q. How do you fit blogging in around your day job?
I try to get up when my husband goes for his early morning run at 6am and do as much as I can before my daughter wakes up around 7:15am. I don’t succeed every day as I’m not a morning person! Then I read my feeds and buffer social media posts during my commute. Some days, not all, I try to have 45 minutes at lunch to progress on the blog. If I’m not tired, I’ll do a bit more after diner too.
The main challenge is to fit blogging around our family life. I can’t really blog all weekend as it’s important for me to spend time with our daughter, but when she goes to play-dates or lessons, I can use that time for my own hobby.
I have decided to not put too much pressure on myself. I want the blog to stay something that I’m excited to work on, not a chore. That’s why I reduced my posting frequency from twice a week to once a week. I usually go against the trend and publish at the weekend rather than on a week day.
Q. Would you ever swap your day job for one that has a travel connection or would you like to be a full-time blogger?
Probably not as I would be afraid that travel would then lose its magic.
Q. Does your employer and/or colleagues know about your blog?
My previous colleagues knew and my new employer does as well as I had listed it on my CV and discussed it during the interview. As I am in the digital field, having a blog actually demonstrates my interest and passion for the field and it’s a good topic to discuss during interviews!
Q. How do you balance your annual leave allowance with travel for your blog, as well as personal holidays/breaks etc?
I have a standard 25 days allowance per year. I don’t let the blog rule our holidays. Life is a priority and if we like the idea of returning to one place because we really enjoyed it, this will take precedent over going somewhere new just because I want to feature it on the blog! That being said, if we go to a new place, my husband and daughter now know to let me photograph everything within the first half hour of our arrival before they can start to mess everything up :-).
Q. Looking forward, where do you see your blog and job?
My job will always be more of a priority as a) I like it and b) it would take an insane amount of time on the side to have the blog generate the right income. Plus, I am an extrovert and thrive on talking with people and being in an environment where I can exchange ideas so being an at home blogger would not satisfy this.
Sometimes I do harbour the idea of having what some call “a portfolio” career. That would mean a part-time job in digital for the intellectual stimulation, engagement with colleagues and big strategic thinking on one hand, and on the other hand a few days a week where I would focus on the blog. The blog part would satisfy my appetite for testing my creativity and geeky tools!
Q. Do you have any tips or words of inspiration for other people thinking about starting a blog even though they have a full-time job, particularly unrelated to their niche?
Be very clear about your expectations for the blog. Are you doing it for money, for your own pleasure, or because you are secretly hoping to become an internet rockstar? Blogging takes a lot of passion and hard work and big numbers, big money or online celebrity is not instantaneous. You have to make sure that you like it for itself.
Q. Are there any bloggers that you love?
There are a couple of French travel blogs that are lovely: Travel Dreams has some really nice addresses that don’t break the bank. Marie-Faure is a former journalist and now a digital consultant. I also like Vagabondes/A L’ouest where Catherine shares her addresses in Brittany but also around France. She works for a travel company so has some very good tips.
I met Jessica from Jessica Says at a blogging training and have enjoyed watching her develop her blog from a fitness and self-care area to blogging tips. She works full-time for a health company.
Kate is a sports journalist and a wonderful crafter: she creates so many cute things with crochet but also lots of DIY for the house. She’s at Beak Up Crafts.
And of course, yours! I am really impressed by all the work you put into it, the fact that you got published in Company magazine and you’re now a contributor to The Travel Hack!
Big thanks to Stéphanie for sharing her insights and tips. And of course, well done for juggling so much!
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