PersonalPersonal stories 7 May 2014
So Yara… what do you do all day? (And what running a blog/website is really like)

Running a blog or a big website as a business… it’s a vague concept to many. A question I often get is: “So, as a blogger/website owner, what is it that you do all day? Keeping up a website with a big reader base – like I did with This chicks got style for five years and now on CHAPTER FRIDAY – is a little bit like running your own little magazine on the web. This website is my biggest passion project in the world, I’m simply a huge online fanatic and am incredibly proud of each and every one of my readers.

And I’m grateful for getting to do this for living every single day. Most of it is greatly inspiring, but running a (small, but still) company does mean you’re working non stop. I have final responsibility for the creative part, the practical part and all the administration that are involved. Thoughts that constantly cross my mind are: “Do we have enough articles scheduled for the weekend? Do we have at least one career article a day? Where do I want CHAPTER FRIDAY to be in one month, or five years? What new interview series does the website need to feel fresh and unique? Where do we connect with new readers? Are bills being paid? Is my bookkeeping in order? What e-mails to prioritize? What about contracts? Are my meetings confirmed? Why did a deal fall through? What new events do I want to set up for my readers? Are my followers still happy with CHAPTER FRIDAY?”

Over the years, I’ve built up a big and powerful community of incredible girls (and the occasional guys). However, after nearly a decade since blogging became big, some still assume that managing a website with a bigger audience than most print magazines is just a matter of typing an article in fifteen minutes, pressing publish and watching Gilmore Girls/online shopping for the rest of the day. Man, I wish! But I do totally understand that our online work might be a bit vague, and why many of you wonder… What do you do all day?

Let me tell you what sort of activities fill my week (and weekends). And starting this Friday, I’m posting a weekly work diary with behind-the-scenes-peeks so that should be fun!

Writing content for CHAPTER FRIDAY
As you know, This chick’s got style – so my personal posts – are now in Yara’s corner. I try to update that with a personal post every day so you still get the same content as you did on This chicks got style. As well as publish at least 4 new articles op CHAPTER FRIDAY daily, many of which have a career angle.

Editorial calendar/planning
Me and Kelly plan ahead the entire week, and still leave room for articles and ideas that come up last minute. We plan ahead for bigger content productions, shoots for CHAPTER FRIDAY, interviews with people for sections like the Career one-on-one or Desk of… We aim for at least 4 articles a day, and constantly keep a variety of different topics in mind for your daily dose of CHAPTER FRIDAY, which requires some strict planning.

E-mails
Answering e-mails is one of most bloggers/online entrepreneurs big struggles. I get anywhere between 50-150 e-mails a day. And by the time I’m done with most, my inbox is filled up again with new messages and responses. Still working on it, but the last two weeks have been rather intense as CHAPTER FRIDAY just went live and I need to focus on the core of my business: making the site perfect.

Directing my team
I work with three great girls that all help out part time – Kelly helps coordinate the site, Karen is our in house photographer and Rachel is our writing intern. I a so proud of my girls and couldn’t keep up with everything without them.

Social timeline
With an online business, your social timeline never stops. Instagramming with Christmas, on a day off, on your holiday… I really want to keep you updated about new articles all day, as well as in the evenings and in the weekends. And I love being in touch with you there! Instagram is definitely one of the quickest ways to get in touch with me.

Answering comments
I keep track of the comments carefully and always try to answer your questions. So I spend some time every day reading those and commenting where necessary.

Shoots, interviews, events
Although quite a bit of my work happens behind a computer screen, I might be out for an interview, shooting for a magazine, creating a video, going to a press event, a product launch, etcetera.

Setting up commercial projects

Given that collaborating with brands is my main source of income, a substantial (and fun!) part of my job is making sure there are projects up in the air and that clients I work with are happy with the results I provide. I might be working on a pitch or am brainstorming with my media agency to come up with new ways to work with our favorite brands.

Meetings
There are quite a lot of meetings in my schedule. With pr-agencies, with brands, with other creatives, with potential clients, etcetera. I might sneak in a coffee break with a friend but I try to separate work & play so that I can focus when I’m working and can focus on my friends when I’m with them.

Speaking at events and companies
I am hired quite often as a speaker, to talk about online topics, about my personal ‘success story’ or about fashion and trends. It’s what I absolutely love doing! I’m quite a bubbly person and won’t stop talking about any of these subjects until you tell me to, so getting to stand in front of a crowd and tell stories gives me great energy. At this time, there’s usually a speaking gig lined up monthly.

Blog Class Event planning
And then there’s my own Blog Class Event, that takes quite some time to plan to perfection. From filling the goodie bags to printing custom made bags to making appointments with sponsors to managing the applications and payments, you name it.

Shooting with Karen
I might be out shooting with Karen, to document my outfit posts or for other personal articles that you’ll mostly find in Yara’s corner.

Bookkeeping
Ugh. Not a favorite.

Managing long term projects
Some ideas need longer to work out, some ideas fall through. I’m constantly thinking of future goals and next steps to take, and brainstorming about how to get there. 

Deadlines for other clients
Usually I’ll have a deadline for ELLE magazine, for which I write a four page section in which we visit someone’s home and talk to them about their style, their closets and such. Writing is a great passion, and I published a marketing book with my father (communication book bestseller Wil Michels) two years ago, which was nominated for the Marketing book of the Year Award. Other related projects include consulting companies on their online strategy.

So, plenty of inspiring activities to keep me busy, and especially the variety of it all is what excites me. If you are a blogger, I’m curious: what takes up most of your time?

Let's talk

24 comments

    Trying to keep the content varied and interesting keeps me busy. My site is fledging so I was interested to read this article

    Heel inspirerend artikel en zo knap hoe je dit allemaal doet. Ik heb er echt diep respect voor xx

    http://www.creativityandchocolate.com

    like this!

    xxxx
    http://www.dominiquecandido.com

    Zo leuk om te te lezen hoe andere bloggers hun tijd indelen. Naast mijn fulltime baan is het bedenken van onderwerpen & het omgieten van gebeurtenissen in een leuk verhaal daarbij het meeste werk. Daarna sta ik nog in de kinderschoenen en is bekendheid creëren tijdrovend maar zo leuk om te doen!
    Dank voor jouw inspirerende artikelen.

    Freek

    Ik vind het niet verwonderlijk dat het veel werk is, en ook nog eens geen 9 tot 5 baan, lukt het je om een enigszins vaste relatie te onderhouden of niet/is dat prive?

    Hoi Freek, zoiets blijft tricky, zie over dit topic ook deze post van vandaag! http://www.chapterfriday.com/2014/05/combine-love-life-ambition

    I love that you have written this blog detailing what you do Yara as I think there are a lot of misperceptions about what goes into to running a blog/online business. I work full time running a travel blog and lots of people assume that I spend all my time travelling. I make the majority of my living by consulting for travel brands on social media strategy though, I just don’t share this side with my readers as wouldn’t be less interesting than reading about than my latest trip!

    Sinds ik zelf ben begonnen met bloggen enkele maanden geleden merk ik pas hoeveel werk er zelfs kruipt in een kleine blog. Dus ik kan me voorstellen dat jij soms echt in het werk verzuipt!

    Desalniettemin dikke pluim voor Chapter Friday, ik vind het echt een leuke uitbreiding van TCGS.

    :) THANKS KAREN!

    C’est vraiment très intéressant de voir qu’est-ce qui se passe derrière tout ces articles, de voir comment travaille une blogueuse professionnelle comme toi. J’étais bien loin d’imaginer qu’il y avait une telle équipe derrière Chapter Friday, et une telle organisation! Mon blog en est encore très loin. En tout cas tout ce travail donne un très joli résultat, bien que tes articles soient en anglais (l’outil de traduction de google me sauve bien des fois), je prend toujours du plaisir à les lire (et c’est rare, souvent sur les blogs en anglais, je ne regarde que les images, mais ici je m’intéresse pour une fois au contenu).

    Gros bisous et j’espère que Chapter Friday marchera encore longtemps,
    Lison

    http://wildlysweet.blogspot.fr

    My style blog is all about affordable fashion and research takes up most of my time. I’m constantly ‘window shopping’ both instore and online to hunt out new sales/discount codes. I use Instagram to alert my readers straight away- and also give them a shot of my picks from the sale. I follow this up with an outfit shoot styled with the item to put up on the blog itself. When it comes to bagging a bargain piece timing is everything so I must constantly have my eye out and does take up a lot of my free time, but window shopping for research purposes will always be fine with me!

    Tina xo
    http://www.trash2treasured.com

    Amazing! Heb weer wat nieuwe ideen, thanks Yara!

    http://www.fashion-hooked.blogspot.com

    Love that you’re so open with everything :)

    I spend the most time editing; whether it’s a more wordy post or if I’m editing photos/making moodboards. I’m relearning Photoshop so whenever I get on I have to have some time cleared.

    xo, Manda
    http://www.iceonthegold.com

    Wow, you do a lot! I always wondered how professional bloggers spend their time, and how they manage to make blogging into a lucrative business for them to live off of. I guess before now I never thought that running a blog was like running a small business; I always thought bloggers just post and that’s it, and just got paid for sponsored reviews!

    Mijn eigen blog bijhouden naast mijn fulltime baan kost al heel veel tijd. Laat staan dat je fulltime blogt én 4 artikelen per dag online zet! Ik heb heel veel respect voor jou, maar ook andere grote bloggers! Gelukkig zijn de meeste dingen wel dingen die je leuk vind. Ik denk dat het daardoor ook veel makkelijker is.

    Dat is nogal wat wat ontzettend knap dat je t allemaal doet! Leuk om te lezen en het lijkt me ook geweldig om als baan te hebben!

    Hi Yara! Nice topic you raised and very important. My week is mostly consisting from the 40 or more hours work in a very big American company (social media/ cs department). However, i still study Marketing online and Design, plus run a blog: http://www.kleinspace.com. In overall sometimes, i want to kill myself , but i started to understand my priorities and the power of a really good content. So working on it hard . Plus very important part of my life is my boyfriend as i also want to spend some time with him:) I am sure that you are doing your best and it is very exciting to follow up on it:) x

    Heel erg leuk om te lezen! Bij mij gaat het meeste werk toch wel zitten in post schrijven en foto’s maken, maar dat is ook het leukst gelukkig.

    Sounds like a dream job!

    Wow, that’s really inspiring! Where do you get the energy? Sounds hard yet so much fun!

    Most of my time goes to the planning, writing and shooting.. and next to all that I go to school and work, haha. I always wonder why a day only has 24 hours.. I wish there were more hours in a day.

    XO Terry
    http://www.terrycouture.nl

    I love how motivated you are! Wonderfull post.

    x

    Your motivation can really be inspiring! Have you ever considered / are you considering to give the team a bit of their own space? Like Yara’s corner, but maybe only weekly? I would love to see more of everyone involved in Chapter Friday!

    Definitely! I’m open to all kinds of reader suggestions so if there’s anything you want to see let me know! We just did a post on where each of us likes to work / sit down with a coffee and our laptops in Amsterdam: http://www.chapterfriday.com/2014/05/wireless-world-wifi-hotspots-amsterdam

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