We don't do this alone!
Running a blog with multiple posts publishing each day and generating enough income to support both of our families means we need a team working with us on our business.
In this edition of
the "Become a Better Blogger" series, I'll share with you how we structure our business and work as a team.
If you've missed any of the previous editions, catch up now...
While our team is small, it's critical to our success.
Co-Founders Susan and Janice
Janice and I created 5 Minutes for Mom together back in March 2006. While we always intended the site to include posts from multiple authors in addition to ourselves, we intentionally branded it using our names and faces.
Since we're twins, it was natural for us to share the ownership and personality behind the brand. We've always shared
everything and we tag team our way through parenting and the rest of our lives too.
When we show our profile photos on the blog and on most of our social profiles, we include an image of the two of us together. This can sometimes be tricky as some social platforms force you to be a single person - such as Google+. While we do have a Google+ Page for 5MinutesForMom, I end up using my personal Google+ more.
Instagram is another platform where we have separate profiles and that unfortunately dilutes our presence
there. Janice is janice_5minutesformom and I am 5minutesformom.
On Facebook we each have personal accounts and a shared page. For Twitter we both
have personal accounts @susancarraretto and @janicecroze, but we both spend most of our time on our shared account @5minutesformom.
So while we may have many writers
publishing posts, we take care to ensure Janice and I are still the personalities behind 5 Minutes For Mom.
Division of Work
Janice and I have many similarities but more importantly we have a couple key areas where our strengths and passions differ.
difference is that Janice LOVES taking photos! Thank goodness she does because I definitely do not. I take a bare minimum of shots on my iPhone and if it weren't for her, my children's lives would not be very well documented.
With photography continually becoming more important to blogging, I'm incredibly grateful for her skills. She also loves teaching photography, so if you want to improve your own skills, stay with us
as we'll be producing more content with tips and training.
I have a technical background, so in the early days, I was in charge of the techie side of things. But since I don't enjoy that work, as soon as we could, we outsourced those tasks. (More on that later.)
For the first couple years of the blog, Janice did most of the writing as well as
interacting with clients and PR reps as I was more involved with our online toy stores. But time continually alters our distribution of work. These days Janice does less writing and focuses more on photography.
In fact, in this last year, Janice has spent a huge amount of time honing her photography skills and that has significantly reduced the number of posts she has written. She also has taken over the task of shooting and editing our videos. I used to shoot and edit the videos in the past, but now Janice uses her DSLR to shoot videos and with her advanced understanding of lighting, she's a better fit for the job. That also means you'll end up seeing me IN the videos more.
Janice has been the "main face" of 5 Minutes for Mom as she has traveled and spoken at countless conferences. I've
been to several conferences as well, but with the way our work was divided, it usually made better business sense for her to attend the conferences.
So overall, I manage and oversee the day-to-day operations of the business and together we do strategic planning and creative work.
I'm a firm believer in outsourcing. (Especially housework! LOL)
When we had our online toy stores, we had a couple of part-time employees, but with our current business structure, we only have contractors. And almost all of our contractors have been mom bloggers themselves.
Rather early in our business, we brought on a part-time virtual
assistant and over the years, we've almost always had a virtual assistant. They have always been bloggers whom we have trained to handle the specific tasks we want done.
The term "virtual assistant" doesn't actually describe the job very well... it's more of a "blogging assistant" role where the tasks are wide ranging and specific to the blogging industry. (We'll talk much more in future about hiring a "blogging
assistant" and/or becoming a "blogging assistant".)
Our VA is Nolie and she handles the majority of our email and coordinating giveaways and sponsored posts. Nolie and I work closely on advertising sales and campaign creation and management.
We also have a part-time "editor" or "content manager" who you may recognize as Anna. She manages our calendar,
edits posts and helps with social media.
As for writers, we have had many volunteer and compensated writers and managing editors contribute to 5 Minutes for Mom and our sister sites. Notably, Jennifer Donovan, who manages 5 Minutes for Books and also contributes regularly on the main 5 Minutes for Mom site, has been with us since the very early days.
Other jobs we outsource are bookkeeping, design work and techie stuff like Wordpress development.
Wearing Many Hats
I'm always amazed how many different hats we have to wear when running this type of business. It is incredibly challenging to have to juggle tasks as a writer, photographer,
videographer, designer, advertising and sales person, business manager, trainer, bookkeeper, media spokesperson and more.
If you're running a blogging business, I'm sure you can relate.
Next week I will share a few mistakes we've made and lessons we've learned along the way.
If you have any questions or topics you want me to write about, just reply to this email and let me know.
Susan (and Janice)
5 Minutes For
ps. If you have any friends who might benefit from this "Become a Better Blogger" ezine, you can send them here.