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Seven Ways to Find Time to Create Your Blog’s First Product

Today I am talking about the topic of juggling priorities and finding time to do the work we need to get done.


In our last newsletter, I asked two simple questions. What is your dream, and what is your biggest challenge?

The recurring theme of the replies is that for many bloggers a lack of time is an issue. It’s about juggling priorities. There was also tension around the topic of monetizing blogs.

One of the emails I received was from Bradley. He writes:

“I’ve been building an audience on my blog for the past two years, and to this point have made money with sponsorship and a little affiliate marketing.

My dream is to shift my monetization strategy to selling information products like ebooks and courses. I’ve started writing my first ebook. My challenge is that my schedule is full. Between a full time job, kids, writing blog posts, promoting my blog, and looking after my readers, I just don’t have enough time.

To get this ebook finished something has to give. I’ve been working on this ebook for the last couple of weeks, when I can, but at this rate, it’s going to take me another six months to complete. I can’t give up my job or my kids, so the only thing I can really give up is the blog itself. Should I put writing new content on hold while I write the ebook?”

This is a great question that really taps into what a lot of our readers are struggling with. So today, I am going to talk about seven things that might help Bradley get that product created without giving up on his blog.

Further Reading: Check out Episode 67 where I talk about why creating products is something bloggers should consider doing.

A Summary of the Advice in Today’s Episode: 7 Ways to Find Time for Product Creation

  • Don’t put your blog on hold completely – I understand why, but I would encourage you not to do it. When you go back to promote your product, your audience will have gone cold. Plus, you need a warm audience to sell your product too.
  • Scale back on some of your blogging activities – There are times and seasons in most blogs. You may be able to pull back a little and have more time for product creation. The same goes for pulling back a little on social media.
  • Think about batching the creation of content and other blog activities – Do two or three posts or podcasts at a time. Batching your time is really useful. You can also do the same thing with the creation of your book. When I was writing my book, I set aside weekends for purely writing. I even went as far as booking a cheap hotel and locking myself inside.
  • Use some of the product content you are creating as blog content – When I was writing my book, I put some of the archives of ProBlogger into the book. I also published book excerpts as a blog post. This made writing the book easier and kept my blog going.
  • Set an aggressive deadline – Parkinson’s Law – Work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion. If you give yourself a year and it will take a year, give yourself a month, it will get done in a month. Create accountability.
    • Accountability partner
    • Announce it to your readers
    • Take pre-orders – once you take money, it really ramps up accountability
  • Create version 0.1 or a beta version – If you are creating a big product, get it to the point where you can sell it as a first version. Break it down and release it as modules. Get the minimum viable product out the door. Can you break it down?
  • Get some help – If you are at your absolute limits and need help, you may need to get someone else to work with you and help you.
    • Get someone to help with the product – find a coauthor or get help with design, editing or marketing
    • Get some help with your blog or business, have a guest post or hire someone to write, edit or proof a post.
    • Get someone to help with cleaning or another aspect of your life – paying someone $20 an hour to help with something that generates long term income for you is worth it.

Product creation is something that can really pay off over time. A recurring income stream is a great thing to have. I would encourage you to find a way to get it done.

How did you go with today’s episode?

If you have a question you would like me to answer, feel free to leave a voice message with the start recording button on the bottom of this post or send me an email or leave a comment.

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger and welcome to episode 118 of the ProBlogger Podcast. Today, I want to tackle the topic of juggling, juggling time particularly. We did a recent little email out to our newsletter list in which I ask two simple questions: what is your dream and what is your biggest challenge. One of the themes that came back time and time again from our readers was that the challenges that we have as bloggers, many times relate to the issue of time. Really it’s about juggling our priorities as bloggers. The other themes that came through in the emails that I received back from readers was that, there was a tension particularly around monetizing a blog. 

I want to share today an email from one of our readers, Bradley, who gave me permission to share his thoughts. I think it perfectly illustrates this tension. Bradley is someone who wants to change the way he monetizes his blog by creating products but he has no time to create those products and his attention there. Here’s the question or the comment that Bradley left in response to that email that I sent out.

Bradley writes, “I’ve been building an audience on my blog for the past two years, and to this point have made money with sponsorship and a little affiliate marketing. My dream is to shift my monetization strategy to selling information products like ebooks and courses, and I’ve started writing my first ebook. My challenge is my schedule is full. Between a full-time job, kids, writing blog posts, promoting my blog, looking after my readers, I just don’t have enough time. To get this ebook finished, something has to give.

I’ve been working on the ebook for the last couple of weeks where I can, but at this rate, it’s going to take me another six months to complete. I can’t give up my job or my kids, so the only thing that I can really give up while I’m working on this product is the blog itself. Should I put writing new content on hold while I write the ebook?”

Great question from Bradley. It does really tap into one of the issues that I see a lot of our readers struggling with. Today, in this episode 118, I want to tackle this question and I want to suggest seven things that might help Bradley to get that product created, get that ebook written and launched, whilst not giving up on the blog. You can find today’s show notes where I’ll summarize a lot of the thoughts set on and going to go through in this particular episode at

Thanks again to Bradley for putting this question together for us. Because I do think it is something that many of our readers are going to benefit from hearing some thoughts on. Now, I see this dilemma all the time with readers, and it’s one that I felt myself. The first time I felt this exact dilemma was when I wrote the ProBlogger book many years ago now. I really struggle with this. I had numerous blogs going at the time, more than just the two I have today. I had a business, we’d started a blog network, I had no team, I was juggling it all by myself, and I didn’t really know how to get that book completed. It kept me awake at night. It was a bit of a stressful situation because I’d committed to writing the book with the publisher and there was a contract in all of these things involved. 

Then, it suddenly dawned on me that my life was full. My life is completely full. I was newly married. I think we just had our first baby. There was no more time in my life to write, so there were few things that I needed to do. I’ve come up with several things that I would say to Bradley and I really dug back in to that time in my life where I had to wrestle with this challenge myself. 

The first thing I’ll say is don’t put your blog on hold completely. This is one of the things that Bradley suggests in his question. “Should I put writing new content on hold while I write my new book?” I understand why you say that, but I would really encourage you not to do that. I’ve seen numerous bloggers over the years stopped blogging completely to create a product and then when they come to launch that product, they come back to their blog to promote their product, the audience is either cold or it’s just not there anymore, or it’s shrunk incredibly. 

Your product’s success is obviously going to depend upon you creating the product. You do need to create it. You do need to find time to create it. But your product’s success is also partly are reliant on you having someone to sell it to, which requires you to build up your audience to continue to grow your audience and the size of your audience, but also the warmth that your audience has towards you. Now, in the last six episodes, we’ve really talked through how to warm up your readers, how to build that audience and warm them up towards you. I have to say there’s nothing passive in those last six episodes. This is not a process that just happens with the occasional piece of content juggling out on your blog. This takes work. Whilst that can feel a little overwhelming at times, I think it’s really important to acknowledge the fact that it does take work to build that warmth with your readers.

Tip number one is don’t put your blog on hold completely during the process of creating a product. You need to find a way to create that product, but also keep your audience engaged and ideally growing and warming up towards you. That’s the first thing I’ll say. That doesn’t give you the answer to the question, but I think it’s really important to not put that blog on hold. There are bloggers that I’ve watched over the years, they have stopped blogging time and time again to create products and then they have to do all this hard work again to build their audience up and then they continue to do the same thing again. I do see people doing it, but I wouldn’t advise it myself. 

Tip number two, one way that you can possibly create some extra time to put into your product creation is to scale back on some of your blogging activities. This is kind of a bit of a compromise. You’ll notice in the first tip I gave was don’t put your blog on hold completely. I do think that there are times and there are seasons in most blogs where it’s natural to pull back a little. Now, I’m not sure exactly how many posts a week that you’re doing on your blog, Bradley, but most blogs have seasons when they post more or they post less depending upon what the blogger has on their plate. I know for a fact when I was struggling with writing the ProBlogger book, I pulled back on their production of content on the blog. I think at the time from memory, I was publishing at least daily.

At the time that I assigned that book contract, I am pretty sure on ProBlogger, I was publishing more than once daily. Sometimes it was two or three times a day. So it was quite a bit of content. During those months that I was creating that book and writing that book, I pulled back to two or three posts a week. I remember explaining this to my readers. I told them there’s a book coming and so I’m going to be pulling back a little, but don’t worry, I’m still going to publish Monday, Wednesday, Friday or whatever day is it was. My readership really understood why I was doing what I was doing. A couple of people pushed back a little and said, “Continue. I want your content. I want your content,” but most of my readers understood that, particularly the regular, most loyal readers. 

The other thing that doing that did was build some anticipation towards the product. To actually saying there’s a book coming, you’re going to be able to get all of my best stuff in paperback. Some of my readers really responded to and that built some anticipation towards the launch of that product. There may be some different ways that you can scale back. One of which might be to decrease the frequency of your posting. One of them might be to do the same thing on your social media. If you’re publishing on Facebook four times a day, you might want to pull that back to a couple of times a day. And you got to publish on weekdays instead of everyday. Again, I don’t know exactly what your schedule is like, but there may be ways that you can pull back a little and bring your readers along on that journey as well.

Tip number three is I really would encourage you to think about batching the creation of content and other activities on your blog. I’ve talked over the years many times about batching and how in a typical way I would try and write two or three posts at a time, or try and record two or three podcasts at a time to really put aside some time to work on my blog and really focus on key tasks for defined periods of time, so that then I don’t have to focus on those tasks for a couple more days. For me, it’s Monday as I’m recording this. It’s Monday morning. I’m going to record three podcasts this morning. Which will mean that I wouldn’t have to record another podcast for another week-and-a-half. Batching your time in that way is really useful and most bloggers tend to do that. 

You can do exactly the same thing with the creation of your book or your ebook. What I did during the process of writing the ProBlogger book, which is a pretty massive task because tens of thousands of words is quite an intense period of editing, the publisher had an editor so I was getting drafts back and engaging with them. I had a co-author that I was communicating with.

There was a lot of work going on there. What I did two times during that process was to set aside weekends purely for writing. I was newly married, and I think we had a newborn, so there’s a bit of a sacrifice to do this. I’m very lucky that Vanessa, my wife, understood that this was an asset that we were building. This was an important part of the business.

What I did is I booked a cheap motel in regional area of the state that I live in and I locked myself in that motel for two weekends, and I just wrote during that time. It was a pretty intense weekend. Often you see the writer sitting in their log cabin by a fire, there was none of that going on, it was a cheap and nasty motel, but I just sat there and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. 

I worked really hard late into the night. I remember setting myself some really big goals to get certain amounts of words written over those weekends and I remember before I went on the weekends, working really hard on the outline of what I needed to achieve. I planned what I would do during those weekends.

That really enabled me to get larger chunks of the project done in relatively short periods of time. Up until those weekends what I had been doing was writing around the edges, when I had 15 minutes to spare I was trying to write. And that’s fine, you can get a lot done that way. Certainly, that’s how I wrote my first photography ebook. But when you want to do a larger project, you want some consistency, you want a momentum, and you want to really take your readers on a journey through that ebook, you want larger chunks of time to be able to really focus and you get a lot done as well. 

As I said before, Vanessa was really understanding in this. I remember explaining to her that while it was an inconvenience, it was a sacrifice particularly for her, being home alone with the baby and it was an expense for us to go and hire this motel as cheap and nasty as it was, it enabled us to invest in something that would come back to benefit us. It would provide a new income stream but it also opened up new opportunities by having that product there as well. She completely understood that and encouraged me to do that. It was well-worth doing. 

Maybe, and again, I don’t know your circumstances Bradley, but maybe there’s a way that you can batch some time. Maybe it’s not a whole weekend, maybe it’s not even going away, maybe it’s just taking a day off work to write, or maybe it’s just a Saturday morning to do that. It’s a bit of a mind shift. What you’re doing here is not escaping from your efforts. You’re investing time into building an income-producing asset as well. Some sacrifices in the short term will certainly help in the long term. That was tip number three, was around batching your work. You could apply a lot of those batching techniques to the way you’re writing your blog as well, which may also free up some time, too. 

Tip number four is to use some of the product content that you’re creating, your ebook content as blog content. This is something that helped me, again, as I was writing my book. Some of the content that appeared in the ProBlogger book had already been published on the ProBlogger blog. I took some of the archives from ProBlogger, updated them, edited them, refreshed them and put them into the book. That helped me to create the product. The other thing that happened is that as I was writing the book, there were other segments of the book that I’d never published anything on those topics before on the blog. So what I did is I said, “Here’s a little excerpt from the book that I’m writing at the moment.” And I published that as a blog post. 

This did a couple of things. One it made writing the book a bit easier because I was taking archives and putting it into the book. It also helped my blog to keep going because I was able to take some of the excerpts from the book and put them all into the blog. Again, by doing that, by taking excerpts from the book and putting them onto the blog, it built anticipation of the product as well. It also cut down the work that I had to do to get that blog running. It may be that there’s some crossover there between your product and your blog, and it can flow both ways as I’ve just described. Maybe there’s something in your archives that you can put into your book.

Now, I wouldn’t do that with every single part of the book, you don’t want your product to be just a complete rehash of your archives (although I’ve seen people do that). You want to update it, you want to refresh it, you want to add to it, and make your ebook have some unique perspective or some unique feature. That might help you to create that product, but it also might help you to get your blog running as well. That’s tip number four.

Tip number five is about deadlines. Sometimes setting a fairly aggressive deadline can be helpful. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Parkinson’s Law, it’s not an official law, but it’s one of those kinds of laws of that describes the way things work. Parkinson’s Law states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If you give yourself 12 months to write your ebook, it’ll take 12 months to write that ebook. If you give yourself one month, you will likely to get it done in a month to a point. You can probably squeeze that down to a day and it’s not going to get done, but the principle is that if you have a fairly tight deadline, you are much more likely to get it done in that kind of time. That’s again, what happened for me. I found having the deadline of working with a publisher and having committed and signed a contract that things will be ready by a certain time helped me to get things going.

One of the problems that I say a lot of bloggers facing is that the only agreement that they’ve got to create the products is with themselves. There’s not really much accountability there. There’s a number of ways that you can set yourself a deadline. One, you could set it with a partner, with a family member, with a friend, with another blogger just to keep some accountability there. Another thing that you might want to consider doing is announcing to your readers that there will be a product on this date and that gives you a bit more accountability with your readers. The ultimate way of having some accountability is to take pre-orders of your product as well. That can really ramp things up because once you started taking money for a product and you say that you are going to release that product at a certain time, kickstarter style, then that really ramps up some accountability and there is some legal accountability there as well. 

It may also, by doing the prelaunch type approach, it may actually give you a little bit of an income stream that might enable you to pull back on some of the work that you’re doing. Again, it really is going to depend upon the work that you do. You mentioned, Bradley, that you’ve got a full-time job, so you may not have the freedom to do that, but that might be an approach that might suit some people to do a pre-order type situation. Deadline might really help.

Tip number six is to create version 0.1 of your product or a beta version of your product. Maybe if the product that you are creating is a big one, there might be some sense in getting it to a point where you can sell it as that beta version or as the first version of it. I think of a conversation I had a couple of months ago now with a blogger who had a goal of creating her first course. She wants to create this course. I won’t say exactly what the course was, but I remember she showed me the outline of her course and it was such a massive beast of a course. It was huge! There was over 50 hours video content that she needed to produce. She needed to write numerous written resources, she was going to get some software developed to giveaway as well as a bonus. It was such a massive task to get this course completed. She was feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the task that she’d set herself and paralyzed by it. 

I remember having this conversation, looking at her course and saying to her, “Why don’t you just break this down and release it as 10 modules and just release the first module and get that ready for launch?” She realized that if she was going to tackle that whole thing, she’d probably would never get it done, but by breaking it down and releasing the first version and the first part of the course and selling just that, she realized that she would get something shipped and she would get something out the door.

This is exactly what she did. She did get that product ready and she got that mini course out the door. It gave her some initial income, but also it gave her proof of concept and that her readers would buy that type of thing and also gave really valuable feedback. She realized that her readers didn’t want as much content in the course. They actually wanted something a little lighter. She was then able to roll out several of the next modules already in a time that she would never been able to do that previously. She’s now, I think, in her fourth module of this course and it’s really coming out quite differently to the way that she planned it because she got the minimum viable product there at the door.

This probably relates a little bit more to a course type situation but maybe you want to really look at the topic of your ebook and ask yourself the question, is it too big? Could you break it down and make it into two ebooks? Could you produce a later version of it as your first version and then update it later? You can always add more to your product later. 

31 Days to Build a Better Blog’s a great example of this. The first time that that ebook came out on the first version, I think it was 2009. It was smaller, and we’ve since updated it. The second version is out and there’s a whole new week of content alongside that. Products can evolve. It’s okay to get something out the door that is a little lighter, you still want it to be useful and of a high quality, but it doesn’t need to be the finished product. It might be step one, version one. 

The last thing that I want to put out there to you Bradley and to others who are struggling with this is, that maybe you want to get some help. If you’re at your absolute limits and have no more time, you can’t batch, you can’t pull back any further on your blog, you need to find more time, then maybe you need to get someone to help you. That is one way to find more time, is to get someone else working with you.

There’s three ways that you could do this. Firstly, you could get someone to help you with your product, you might find a co-author. That’s what I did with the ProBlogger book. Our fan Chris Garett. Many of you know him, Chris G, and he co-authored my book because I realized very early on, I wasn’t going to be able to get that product out the door if I was going to do everything. And I also realized that he bought other expertise to that product and that book that I didn’t have or I couldn’t authentically have. I probably have taught a lot of what he wrote about, but I couldn’t have thought about it in a way that he did.

Maybe you need to get a co-author, maybe get some help with design, with the development setting up the shopping cart, maybe get some help in proofreading and editing, or maybe some help in marketing. Again, this is one of the big issues that a lot of bloggers have is that we can write, we can create content, but we maybe don’t have some of those other skills. And it will take us 10 times longer to get our ebook designed than if we just got someone to do it. And they could do it in a couple hours what will take us 20 hours.

Again, that’s something that I’ve been able to do in the launch of my own ebooks over the years. Even from the first ebooks, I found people to help me to get those shopping carts set up. Once I had some income from my first ebook, I got someone to help me with the design in my future ones in the marketing of them as well. Maybe, there’s a way to get someone involved in helping you to create that product. Now, not everyone has the income to be able to pay someone a flat fee, you will find people out there who might be willing to do that on a revenue share basis as well. It’s more of a partnership. That’s what the first area that you could get some help. 

Secondary you might want to get some help is to get some help with your blog or your business. Maybe, during the period that you’re creating your product, you want to have a guest post once a week. Or maybe you want to hire someone to write a post a week for you and they become a regular contributor. Or maybe you get some help by hiring someone to help you with editing or proofreading. Or maybe you’ve got a friend who could help you if you can’t afford that. Maybe you want to get someone on board to help you with community management or your social media. This could be a paid thing or you might find someone who’s willing to do it for free in return for some exposure. You are going to get what you pay for probably. Or maybe you got a family member who can help out for the short-term as well.

Getting someone to help with your blog could be an on-going thing or could just be to help you through those few months where you really need to focus on creating your product and then you come back on board again. Getting someone to help with your product, with you blog, and the other area that you might want to consider getting some help with that might free up some time is other areas of your life. Maybe you need to hire someone to help you with some cleaning around the home, or gardening, or child care, or getting a personal assistant to help you with some other aspect of your life. 

Now, obviously, this isn’t going to be achievable for everyone who doesn’t have the income there, but if you’re paying someone $20 an hour to do something that enables you to spend an hour on doing something that builds an income-generating asset, then maybe it’s worth while. Again, this doesn’t need to be an on-going thing. Getting someone in to help you to do an hour of work around the house, they’re probably going to do it in an hour what you would take three hours. That’s going to free up time for you. And it may only be for those few months that you create that product. It’s just another option that might help you to free up some time. 

I hope that’s been helpful, Bradley. I do feel your pain, but I really would encourage you to struggle through this. As I’ve talked about in previous podcasts, creating a product is so important. Creating a new income stream to your blog to put it alongside the ones that you currently have, you can have a product on your blog, an ebook, or a course and still run advertising, and still do affiliate marketing. It adds a new income stream. It’s one of those things that can pay off for the long-term. 

One of my first ebook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, sold a whole heap of content, of copies in the first few weeks that it launched. It continues to sell copies every day since, so it becomes a recurring income stream for you as well. Really an asset that produces income is a great thing to have. I really would encourage you to find a way to get that done. There’s some short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain. It’s one of those things as we talked about in a series of podcasts a little while ago. It’s one of those things that you can do today and that’s going to take some work today, but it’s going to pay off for the long-term of your blog. Do struggle through it. 

Let us know how you go. I’d love to hear how you make it happen and if you need some accountability with that, Bradley, you shoot me another email and I’m happy to send you another email in a month or two to ask you how you’re doing. 

If you’ve got a question for us here for the ProBlogger podcast, there’s a number of ways that you can get that question, too. Email me directly at [email protected]. I get all those emails myself. I can’t respond to every single email I get, but a lot of those questions I get do turn into podcast episodes.

You can also leave a question on today’s show notes in the comments. Also, there’s a little microphone button there, a little green button on the show notes at and you can leave me a voicemail there. I think it’s about a minute to ask a question and sometimes, I type those questions and turn them into podcasts as well. Your voice might actually appear on the podcast. Just make sure that there’s not too much noise in the background if you do that. 

Thanks so much for listening today. You can find today’s show notes over at

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