‘When I tell people I am a blogger, I still get asked if that is a real job.’
Back in 2008, when the web was 2.0, there was quite a bit of controversy about earning a living from blogging. Trailblazers like Darren Rowse had been doing so for some time by then, but there was still a sense of unease about it.
It was around this time that Nicole Avery started thinking about writing her own blog. She had been out of the paid workforce for about 8 years while she focused on bringing up the first four of her five children, and she started to think about how she might get back into working and what that might look like. There was a financial necessity in this, and also a need for expression and contribution. During these 8 years Nicole had started reading different people’s blogs and a thought grew inside about giving it a go herself.
Six months into it Nicole had found something that she loved writing about, allowing her to combine her corporate life project management skills along with what she had learnt about optimising her family life and bringing up her children. Another 12 months went by and her passion had not waned, and she decided that if she was going to be spending as much time as she was doing this, it made sense that she learnt how to earn a living from it as well. Planning with Kids was born, and Nicole had re-entered the paid workforce in a way that both tapped into her skills, and gave her the flexibility she needed to raise her family the way she wanted.
Nicole’s blog is about exactly what it claims to be about: the benefits you can reap from spending time planning your family life, no matter what your particular circumstances are. She covers topics like how to ritualise the mundane, menu planning, morning routines, and finding time for yourself as a parent. She has found in her own life, and has received feedback from her readers, that in planning and putting in some structure it actually creates time and space for being, for creativity, and for non-busy time together as a family.
Her approach in doing this is not one of preaching and telling, but rather to suggest options and talk about what she has tried on herself and the results she found. In a world of sunny, smiley Instagram posts, Nicole tries to normalise family life through talking about her good and bad days, taking readers with her on her own journey, and offering suggestions for small changes that can make a big difference.
It may come as no surprise that the thing Nicole would one day like to disrupt is the manner in which women return to the workforce after having kids. Having found a great way to combine family life, personal expression, and earning a living for herself, she see the huge potential in this area for other parents. There is so much untapped creativity and talent that exists simply because many parents, mothers in particular, cannot find a way to return to work that releases all they have to offer and provides the flexibility that allows them to simplify the juggling act they are trying to manage.
And for those who are starting out blogging, or starting any new venture, Nicole’s suggestions are to:
- give yourself a simple but important goal
- create habits that will see you through when motivation is inevitably depleted
- put yourself out there, even in a small way, even if it is to impact one person.
In reflecting upon her own journey Nicole recalls the influence that many individuals had on her own. She reminds us that impacting the life of even just one person is so important, and can have far-reaching, often unknown, ripple effects.