Perpetual parenting and professional motion: Blogging decisions for busy people


In February, I scored a Twitter win. I commented on a blog post, added value to a retweet, and caught the eye of some folks who publish very smart stuff on blogging for business. They invited me to guest blog.

The topic: It really is OK to farm out blogging and social media work to a freelancer.

I still haven't written that post. I told them I couldn't carve out the time until March, but then March swept past me and was gone before I knew it.

Frustrated that I hadn't found the time to make good on my frequent Twitter wins, I watched as family obligations and a new round of work inhaled the first week of April.

Then I realized that I was experiencing the Number 1 reason many successful organizations should farm out blogging and social media:

When the going gets tough, the tough meet deadlines

Here's my big problem. I am single parenting two wonderful young women. One of my daughters has a disability. She is at a crucial stage in her life when I must devote enormous amounts of time and emotional energy to her treatment and oh-so-soon transition to adulthood. This is no time for lollygagging.

Meantime, I am the owner of Amberley Communications, the one-woman show that funds our household. To keep this operation going, I must have a steady flow of work coming in, going out, and being invoiced.

Given the choice between devoting time to my daughter's treatment, meeting the latest deadline, and cranking out clever blog posts that make a case for the services I'm offering, what do you think I do?

You guessed it. I keep my commitments. I parent well, and I do excellent work for my clients and get it in on time.

Who has time for blogging and social media?

What's happening in my family life happens in organizations all the time: leaders and staff are swept up in the perpetual motion of daily demands, the endless cycle of caring well for customers and clients and keeping professional relationships strong. Who has time for blogging and social media?

If you believe that blogging and social media are good for your business, if you know that they are a great way to demonstrate your expertise in your field, build your brand, and cultivate your business network, then you should assign them to someone who can devote time to doing them well.

That person might be someone in your organization whose schedule isn't already loaded with 40 hours of existing responsibilities—perhaps an intern who won't be around for long.

Or it might be someone outside your organization whom you pay to devote a certain amount of time each month solely to managing your blog and social media. An outside contractor might be juggling other demands just like your staff is, but successful freelancers don't stay in business by letting such demands crowd out their commitments to their clients.

Of course, you wouldn't hire someone to clean your house who would rearrange your furniture and leave the cleaning half done. And if you contract out blogging and social media, you'll find a freelancer who's great at what they do and who will respect the voice and mission of your organization. Choose the right person and your online house will look great no matter how much scrambling is going on behind the scenes.

As for me and my house

I began freelancing so I could be a present parent to my children. Now more than ever they need me. So I am resigned to remaining in a holding pattern professionally until I get through this transition. Marketing and business development need to take third place for now, after parenting well and meeting existing professional commitments.

If in spite this retrenchment I happen to land projects that are more creative, collaborative, and missional than much of what I'm doing now, those projects will join the parade of usual deadlines and commitments, and my new clients will benefit from my unflagging commitment to excellence.

Now, back to my billable work.