The million dollar question in life. How do you balance it all?! A while back I was feeling super uninspired with stories and asked what you all wanted to see on Instagram. There were quite a few requests to share more BTS like life updates. Others also requested BTS on what it’s like running an ETSY shop. Some also wanted to know how do I balance a job and two small businesses.
How I Balance Working Full Time, Running a Small Business and Blogging
I am not sure there is one true *answer* for this because I think we can all agree life can get insane, busy and hectic sometimes. For today’s post, I am going to do my best to describe how I split my time/balance working a full-time job, running an ETSY Shop and blogging!
The simplest answer would be that I really don’t. Some days I feel tossed by the wind and cannot focus on one task. Sometimes, all the to-do’s are running through my head. There is some organization to the madness though. It’s amazing how much more time you have to get tasks accomplished. Especially if you prioritize your time, block schedule and not get sucked into Netflix/scrolling on social media.
One of the best tips I could give would be to concentrate on 2 specific tasks at a time. For me that would be working on a project or task for Island Jay during the day. Then concentrating on one task for either my blog or my ETSY shop once I am finished with work. I absolutely cannot focus on all 3. If I work hard on blog posts during Sunday, my ETSY shop gets less attention and vice versa.
Right now, I work full-time at Island Jay, run the Sunshine Style Co. ETSY shop and run this blog, Sunshine Style. My ETSY shop and blog are tied together. I use my blog and Instagram to promote my ETSY shop, new blog posts and style content.
How Many Hours Do I Spend On Each One?
For my main job at Island Jay. I can work anywhere from 25-40 hours a week. How many hours I work each day and week are always different depending on how busy we are.
For blogging, I spend about 5-15 hours writing blog posts. This includes “online shopping”, promoting on social media, creating Instagram stories and making reels.
My ETSY shop I spend about 5-10 hours a week.
Working Full Time for Island Jay
My main job is working for Island Jay. It’s a beach apparel and accessories company for parrot heads, those who love the beach life and enjoy drinking before 5, haha! This is how I make the majority of my income and can pour my own money into growing my small business. It’s always my main priority during the work week. I am our customer service manager and run our Instagram and Facebook pages.
Before I started this remote position last April, I had prayed for a job exactly like this one. It’s remote and a very flexible job. I can stay away from my computer for an hour to two and record a new reel, shoot blog or ETSY product photos or write a blog post before work. The flexibility is 100% the main reason I can juggle all 3 without loosing my mind. My job is in e-commerce/retail, so some weeks/months it’s insane and others sales are super slow. This allows me to dedicate more time to my businesses. Everyday I am grateful I have a job like this where I can grow my ETSY shop and blog!
Oh, I just love my little blog! It’s truly a labor of love. There have been months were I would blog almost everyday or at least 3-4 times a week and I felt so proud. After a while, I realized I cannot keep up with that and since this is not my full-time job, I had to let those expectations go. I work on new blog posts on Sundays in the morning or before I start work for Island Jay during the work week. My writing flows best in the mornings so I try to use that to get lots of writing done.
How I Monetize without LTK
This was a question from Instagram! I actually have LikeToKnowIt (@thesunshinestyle), I just do not actively promote it. As a brand, I want all of my traffic to come to my website. Instead of sending traffic to the app, I send it to my website. If you click the “Shop My Instagram” tab on my website, you will see all the outfits and sale picks on a LTK Widget that I past onto my website for easy shopping.
Reward Style is like LTK’s sister. The two work together to make it easier on bloggers and shoppers. I use Reward Style’s links to link to the majority of products on my website. If you click on a link on my website and buy something, I make a very small commission. Let’s say I post this $39.99 yellow Target dress. I will make a $2.24 commission. That means I have to sell 18 dresses just to make $40.
Numbers aren’t everything but the more engaged audience you have, the most you will make. It is not a get rich quick scheme at all! Bloggers who do it full time work super hard! I actually make more money with my ETSY shop right now.
How I Deal With Tech/Maintenance
Tech and accouting are my least favorite parts about running a business. As soon as I grow enough to hire experts, I will! Basically I get my domain from BlueHost and pay for a website host. If this is flying over your head, Youtube is a great teacher!
Through local connections, I have a small tech business who hosts my website. If I ever have issues, I will reach out to Alberto who owns the company (we met years ago and he helped design my website when I first re-branded) and have him fix errors. Rarely do I need his help but when I do, it’s included in what I pay him yearly. If I were a bigger brand or company I would be hiring out for tech help to not ruin my website or delete important info!
How to Create New and Interesting Blog Content
Oh, creating new content is always something that is at the top of my mind! Sometimes inspiration will hit when I am in the shower, driving or working. Usually I try to plan around each season. Spring and Summer are most in line with my brand and what I like to say, “time for my brand to shine!”.
Sometimes it’s not that profound. I will order a new dress or cute shoes and create a new post all about that outfit, style or trend. Like next week I have a post going up with a new J.Crew Gingham print dress and most likely will include a few other cute gingham print pieces.
Taking polls on Instagram is always helpful too! When I ask what you want to see or need help styling, I usually get great feedback! Someone asked for affordable preppy outfits and that sparked a bunch of new ideas and tells me you want to see sale finds and budget friendly pieces. I just wrote a new post all about affordable long sleeved tops that was sparked by that question.
What It’s Like to Sell on an ETSY Shop
Selling on ETSY has been a huge learning curve! For those who are new, I handmake coastal and resort inspired accessories! I had to learn how to upload products, take clear and bright product photos, pricing, ETSY ads, shipping fees and I even created a @sunshinestyle.co account to promote new products!
I run this small business super part-time. During my lunch breaks are usually when I will sew and fulfill orders. USPS will pick them up from my mailbox in the afternoon, so the pressure is on to get the order packed before the mail truck shows up! Orders are pretty consistent and I get a few a week. Weekends are when I will try out new designs like the Gingham Knot headbands!
What Type of Fees does ETSY have?
Their main fees are listing fees, transaction fees and shipping fees. Shipping costs around $3 (for the items I ship) and the other fees start at $.20 and go up to $2.00. When I list a new product, I will be charged $.20 and when a customer buys a products, I can be charged up to $2.00 for the transaction.
Before I switch over to my own website, I wanted to start on ETSY for the ease! You cannot beat a platform that already has millions of users on it daily and the fees are super reasonable as I grow and learn more about a product based business.
You can also pay for ETSY ads that start at $1/day and max out at $25. I tried ETSY ads and was loosing money and not actually getting enough sales to generate a profit from them so I stopped them. I have enough of a social media following, I can promote my products for free and have just as much success! As I grow more or start my own website, ads are definitely something I know will be worth it for an advertising fee, especially Facebook ads!
How Do I Design New Products?
If I am being completely truthful, the first striped scrunchies I ever made were designed from striped seersucker fabric I bought at Hobby Lobby at a great price! There was no fancy design concept and I used what I had. I had a budget, limited fabric was available during Covid and knew I wanted to keep in line with my brand by makin colorful and coastal scrunchies! Once I found the striped fabric that matched my brand, I got to work!
To save time and generate excitement over my products, I decided to start releasing small collections with accessories that match and enhance each other. So far I have released a striped, citrus and gingham collection! The next collection I will release will be a coastal collection for summer. Between then I will probably introduce a few bold striped headbands and fruit accessories! I really just focus on trends, seasons and pretty much wing it hoping it will work!
Lots of Sunshine,
DanielleApril 19, 2021 at 2:29 pm
So much great info in this post Katie! Thanks for taking the time to write it and give us the 411!
Sunshine StyleApril 20, 2021 at 12:12 pm
Hey Danielle!!! Your welcome! I had lots of fun putting it together!
ElizabethApril 21, 2021 at 3:37 pm
I love this post! I totally get the crazy balance of blogging and selling and doing your own thing while having other responsibilities! I love your blog and I’m proud of all you are doing here!!
Sunshine StyleApril 21, 2021 at 9:24 pm
Thanks so so much Elizabeth! I know if anyone can understand, it’s you!!! I always loved following along on your laser printed plant pots small business! <3