The Truth About Full-Time Blogging

Lifestyle
blogger

People don’t think bloggers like me work.

I feel one of the perceptions that many people have about what health/fashion/beauty bloggers do, is that we don’t really work. The assumption is that we’re living a glam life and just work part time – taking a few photos here and there, and then writing about them.

And I don’t blame them. I had similar thoughts before I started blogging.

I mean, how hard is it to take a photo of food, write about it, and then upload it? Surely that’s hardly a job? To travel around and take photos. Isn’t that the life?

From the outside, yes. But there’s a lot more that goes on, and I want to share with you what it’s like behind the scenes.

Being a blogger is a completely different kind of working life to the traditional ideas of what constitutes a ‘job’.

For one, we manage our own hours – I often find myself getting up earlier or staying up a little later than I would like to, because I need to speak to clients, businesses or other bloggers who live in places with different timezones. That, or I come up with an idea that I need to write down before I can settle into bed!

It’s a labour of love…

Running a blog-turned-social-media-company is not something I do just ‘for fun’. It’s my full-time job – one that I take very seriously. It’s more intense than a 9-5 job, at times, because my head and heart are constantly in it. I’m passionate about what I do, so it’s hard to break away from it. It’s part of the reason I emphasise rest and the JSHealth Stress-Free Zone – because I know that it’s so important to take a mental break. Even if it’s from something that we love doing.

You wake up thinking and writing and you go to bed thinking and writing. I can’t simply get up from my computer and disconnect – I’ll be thinking of recipes, of topics to write about, of companies I’d like to support and work with.

I find myself constantly writing down ideas and exploring which topics are best. Once I’ve determined a topic, I research and write – which takes a good few hours. And I try to upload a blog post every day.

Writing a health blog means, for me:

  • Brainstorming an amazing original recipe,
  • Going to the supermarket to buy groceries
  • Cooking a healthy meal
  • Messing my kitchen, and then trying to take a good shot
  • Or, the recipe fails and you start over again!
  • Writing out the recipe and editing it a few times
  • Finally, cleaning the kitchen!

It’s risky…

Financially, I don’t have a steady flow of income or salary to fall back on. Being a blogger is a risk because you need to make it work. To do that, you need to make it good and original. One aspect of this is that I want honesty and quality to characterise my work. This can create a huge internal pressure to make the blog ‘perfect’ – which is another reason why it’s important to disconnect and take a break sometimes.

It’s time-sensitive…

If you want to collaborate with companies, you need to be in constant communication to clarify what needs to be done, by when, what the angle is, whether your brands align in an authentic way, whether you really support what each brand stands for.

This takes hours of back and forth communication. It means you need to not only create content for your blog, but other websites too. The content has to be very professional and engaging – there’s no messing around!

It means being honest…

As I mentioned before, blogging means writing about something you’re passionate about. But you also have to deeply connect to what your community and audience want to hear from you.

It’s about engaging with people…

Something I’ve learnt is that people respond so much more to the visual aspect of blogging. Once my content is written and edited, it needs a good quality photo to go with it.

I mostly take my own photos for my social media accounts – I want to strike the balance between beautiful images, and the ones I’ve quickly snapped on the go… for me, it comes down once again to honesty. My instagram and blog photos are good, but I know they could be better compared to some of the amazing bloggers in my industry.

Then I schedule in every post. My team and I have a calendar where we schedule each one. Once they have been scheduled, we need to ensure they are cross-promoted on all social media platforms. Scheduling also involves making sure it’s uploaded to the blog with different timezones in mind.

It’s technical…

I am always in touch with a web developer – trying to find ways to improve the website to make it more user-friendly and visually appealing. It’s technical and grueling.

It’s not just about the website…

If you love what you do, you always want to ensue your content is original and helpful. As a nutritionist, I care mainly about my community benefiting from content which will better their lives.

I’m always trying to figure out the best tips to share. I’m non-stop attending nutritional seminars to gather the knowledge I need to help my community. This is usually at night or on the weekends.

I also write plans and books, so at any spare moment I have – this is where my time goes. This is much bigger and more time consuming than blog posts.

So yes, we have our own hours. We don’t have to sit at a desk with co-workers. We have much more freedom with how we spend our time. We govern our own hours. It sounds great in theory, but there’s also a lot of self-discipline required!

It’s full time. Absolutely full time. And I love it.

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JESS' PICKS

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JSHealth Partners

TESTIMONIALS

Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.

@maddy_walters

Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!

@mariashealthytaste

Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!

@freed_from_foodie

I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.

@jungle1978

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