A look into my every day as an entrepreneur, blogger, mother, and woman who tries to balance it all! From 7am to 10:45pm, see what I do all day!
I remember before becoming an entrepreneur and at first, primarily a blogger, I asked myself, “What the heck do bloggers do all day?” It seemed like all they did was hang out at coffee shops, go to spas and events, and do photoshoots. And then write about all of that on a blog. And while yes, that is true, they do do those things, there is so so so much on the ‘backend’ of things that we don’t share with you, as bloggers, that takes up the majority of our day.
I’d say the “fun stuff” (events, photoshoots, cooking, etc) is about 30-40% of the job and the other 60-70% is the ‘backend’ or the planning, the logistics, the administrative parts of being a blogger. And that’s the part that people don’t see, so when they judge “bloggers”, that’s what they’re judging – just the glimpses of the “fun stuff” they see on Instagram stories, because, after all, if we shared videos of us typing at our desks, building collaboration proposals, and doing our taxes as business owners, you wouldn’t follow us, now would you? Nothing exciting about that!
Less than two years into becoming a food blogger, I hired my first employee, released my first cookbook, Inspiralized, and launched my very own product, the Inspiralizer. Shortly thereafter, I launched my mobile recipe app. Then, another couple of years go by and I published TWO more cookbooks (Inspiralize Everything and Inspiralized and Beyond), went on HSN to sell the Inspiralizer on live national television multiple times, and I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Luca. Shortly thereafter, I launched Inspiralized Kids and then a small eCookbook for family friendly food called Inspiralized Littles. And I’m not stopping! I feel like I’ve just begun!
Needless to say, a lot goes on behind the scenes. You don’t just come out with a cookbook. You don’t just launch a product overnight. All of these accomplishments take months and months (and even years!) to come to fruition. It’s hard work and even harder because you don’t have a boss telling you what to do and taking on the ultimate responsibility. As an entrepreneur, you eat what you kill and every decision you make affects your personal bottom line. It’s daunting and uncertain, but so exhilarating and rewarding.
I’ve worked for almost 6 years as an entrepreneur and people often times say, “I can’t believe all that you’ve accomplished!” and I always answer that with, “Ugh, I feel like I could have done SO much more with my brand in that time, it’s frustrating!” I have the entrepreneur’s disease – you’re never satisfied with your output. You can always be doing more.
Thankfully, after having Luca, a lot was put into perspective. To me, family comes first. I slowed down, BIG time. I put some projects on hold. I said no to most events. I really wanted to achieve the work/life balance. In the end, that’s what makes me a happier person, so even if I had accomplished more, I would never have felt the happiness I do now. I don’t “have it all,” and I’m okay with that. Or maybe people think I do, but everything is relative and everyone’s barometers for success are different.
Anyway, back to the post: a day in the life. We’ll get there soon, I promise.
You can do it too
Luckily, as an influencer/blogger (because, that’s the type of entrepreneur I am, since I started off and still continue to operate personally in the social media world), everything we do is CONTENT. And as the great Gary Vaynerchuk always says, “document, don’t create.” By taking your everyday life and sharing it with the world, you’re documenting and that documentation is content. I mean, think about it – people literally film themselves putting their makeup on in the morning and it gets millions of views.
So when I get judged for something I do or receive a nasty comment, like, “Must be nice to workout whenever you like!”, I roll my eyes and get on with my day because, yes, I go to the gym when I find convenient, because I worked my butt off to get to a place where I can choose when I want to work out in my day. And guess what? It’s content! So, regardless of when I go, I know that it’s for the better “good” of my brand – I’m sharing part of my healthy day and inspiring people to get to the gym, whenever they can squeeze it into their day. Frankly, I work out on days I don’t even want to work out on, because I want to inspire YOU (and, in return, you’re inspiring ME!)
And remember – if you’ve ever judged a blogger or influencer for having these “freedoms” – you can do it too, if you want. If you want to quit your job, start from scratch, and have no steady, consistent income ever again for the rest of your life, you can do it too! Go ahead, take the leap. Quit today and start your brand tomorrow, like I did.
But also remember: no boss will be there to cut you a paycheck each week, take on your responsibilities when you’re sick, cover your expenses if you get injured on the job, there will be no IT department to come troubleshoot any computer issues (you’ll spend a day at the Apple store instead), no sales team to get you those client accounts that you work on, no one to hire a PR company so you don’t have to do your own press, no partially or fully paid for health insurance (you’ll have to figure that all out on your own!), no HR department or person that manages payroll and taxes, no accountant or department that takes care of all business operating logistics so you don’t have to, no one making sure the company website is up and running, no one to pay you while you’re on vacation, manage your team or hire the appropriate staff, or pat you on the head when you perform well and give you a raise. But hey, you’ll get to work out when you want! And no commute, yay!
Yes, I’ve chosen to share my entire life with the world and everything I do is content. Going to the gym or the grocery store is a piece of content, and for the more lifestyle-y bloggers, testing out a new spa or workout class is a piece of content. It may seem to you, that they’re just “having fun” all day, but these are things that they share, because at the end of the day, their job is to go do the things you can’t do during the day because you’re at a desk job, so that you can decide if you want to do them when you have the time. Without the bloggers, you wouldn’t hear about so many of the great brands you love, or get a behind-the-scenes advance sneak peek at product launches, fitness studio launches, and hotels you may have wishlist-ed for an upcoming trip.
You can’t compare me to someone who works 9 to 5 in an office and works a typical life in “corporate America.” It’s apples and oranges. And vice versa, you can’t compare a 9 to 5er to an entrepreneur/blogger. I know this, because, keep in mind, I worked in corporate America since I was a sophomore in high school. So, from 2002 to 2013 (11 years!), I worked the “traditional” route. I started off hostessing at a Japanese restaurant in high school, worked every single summer in between college years (including interning at a PR company and Random House,) and then I graduated and started working weeks later for the Trump Organization (as corporate as you get!) and then worked very corporately in the airline industry before quitting and starting Inspiralized. I put in enough time to realize that that life wasn’t for me, and thankfully, I had a business idea that could get me out of it. I’ve always been a hard worker, I get it from my entrepreneur father and my grandfathers on both sides (they all started their own companies – and so did Lu, my husband!) It’s in my blood!
Both have their pluses and minuses (entrepreneurship and corporate America employment.) I’m not saying one is harder than the other, because again, it’s apples and oranges, you can’t compare. There are so many people out there who hate on bloggers (and I used to also question what the heck they did all day long), so I’m doing my part to explain more of it to you.
Long story short, don’t judge a blogger or Instagrammer off the 3-5 minutes total a day of their life that they CHOOSE to show you (the famed highlight reel.) There’s a lot that happens in the other 1,400+ minutes of that day. And now, let’s see what that looks like…
A Day In The Life
Whenever Lu and I talk during the day, it’s for a couple minutes, and he always says, “Oh you know, just putting out fires all day.” And he nails it. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about – dealing with what is thrown at you. Every day is absolutely different and while I try to organize my weeks so some days I’m doing certain things, it never works out perfectly, because something always comes up.
Keep in mind, I have cookbooks and my own product, so things pop up all the time with that. Perhaps it’s an issue at our factory I have to troubleshoot, a very angry customer that I have to step in with, or maybe a potential customer that needs a sample overnighted right away. Maybe a press lead needs something immediately and I have to drop everything to meet the deadline. Who the heck knows!
Also, while I can outline “a day in the life,” every day is different, because I’m always working on different projects. For example, if you ask me what a day in the life looks like while I’m writing a cookbook, it’s VASTLY different than when I’m not. Last week, I took an hour to record a podcast episode. Or, for instance, right now, I’m working on a new website (yay!!), and that takes up so much time. I’m also working on an exciting proposal for a partnership that has taken months, which I work on every day a little bit (but can’t really talk about yet!)
So, here’s a day in the life, on, say, a cooking day, when Carly’s in the ‘office’ (aka my apartment) and we’re making recipes for the blog.
A note on the nanny: Our nanny is wonderful and unless Luca’s eating or sleeping, she’s not in the apartment! She’s out with him at parks, at classes, at playdates, and in our building’s common floor, where a lot of the nannies and moms bring the kids to hang out together (there’s a play room and just a lot of open space to bring toys and run around.)
It’s impossible to cook for the blog with Luca around – he just cries for me to pick him up and it’s impossible to take photos, because he just tries to grab all the food on my photo table, rip off the napkins, etc. I could never do what I do without a nanny! Just like a person who works in corporate America could never do it without childcare. Especially with food photography, you have to capture everything with natural lighting, so working at night isn’t an option!
7:00am: Wakeup and bring Luca into our bed (he’s usually awake between 6:30-7am but just hangs out in his crib with his teddy and Elmo until we go in and get him!)
7:15-7:45am: While Lu changes Luca and brushes Luca’s teeth, I get Luca’s breakfast ready, clean up the kitchen and living room if it needs it, get dressed and brush my teeth, make coffee for Lu. Lu usually starts getting himself ready around 7:30am, so at some point, Luca is with me for part of this morning routine.
7:45-8am: I sit down with Luca while he has breakfast. I’ll have a tea (or lately, I’ve been having a little half cup of coffee!) and a PerfectBar or some other protein bar to fuel me for my workout.
8am: The nanny comes and takes over while Luca finishes his breakfast!
8:15-9:00am: Most weekdays, this is the time I fit in a workout. I’ll do a 45 minute workout at the gym (uphill treadmill + strength training, see my current workout routine here) or a 30-45 minute ride on the Peloton bike in my bedroom. When I don’t workout, I don’t have as much focus as energy that day, so I try to fit it in – sometimes it’s only a 20 minute Peloton ride, but anything is something!
9/9:30am: Depending on if I shower right away, I’m usually at my desk between 9 and 9:30am.
9:30-10am: Checking e-mails, looking at my to-do list, checking customer service issues on the Inspiralizer and sales figures, and responding to social media messages on Instagram (all the accounts!) and our Facebook groups. Carly helps with our Inspiralized Community, but I like to keep engaged as well, so I know what you all are buzzing about. I also love checking in with our Inspiralized Mamas group, it’s my favorite part of Inspiralized right now!
10:00am: Carly arrives! At this time, I usually make a quick breakfast (a smoothie, a Greek yogurt bowl, oatmeal, etc.) and I’ll prep Luca’s snack if he’s still home, but sometimes, I’ll just tell the nanny what the snack is (like a clementine and crackers) and she’ll handle it.
10-11am: While Carly tackles her morning to-dos, I finish up on those e-mails, messages, etc. I also get the recipes written and together for whatever we’re cooking on that day. Yesterday, while I was writing this post, I also spent 45 minutes troubleshooting with our developer on why our website wasn’t working. Ugh.
11am-12pm: We cook our first recipe of the day, which includes a full Instagram story (we record the whole process!) After we’re done making and recording, I take photographs of it on my photo board (in my living room) with my DSLR. Carly helps, especially now that I’m getting a little more pregnant, it’s so nice to have her helping. It’s hard squatting and crouching down when you have a bowling ball on your waist!
12-12:15pm: I try to use whatever we just cooked for the blog recipe for Luca’s lunch and then I prepare some sides. As I’m writing this post, he’s getting a Potato-Leek Frittata and then I’ll also give him buttered toast and some cheese. To see most of his meals, check out @inspiralizedkids.
12:15-12:30pm: While Luca eats, we get out of the kitchen area, otherwise he’s too distracted, and we have our lunch. Carly usually takes this time to go grab lunch – she’ll walk to a nearby place like CAVA. I’ll either eat the blog recipe or I’ll make a quick sandwich, or I’ll have Carly pick me up something.
12:30-1pm: We both eat lunch, chat through some things, I’ll check DMs on Instagram from our IG story cooking and respond to as many as I can, check my e-mails, etc.
1-3:30/4pm: Carly and I power through 2-3 more recipes, depending on the day. At around 2:30pm, Luca wakes up and usually has a snack around 3pm and watches us in the kitchen. Since it’s just a small snack, he’s usually okay just hanging with us in the kitchen (and the nanny is there too) – he LOVES watching me spiralize, so I always try to spiralize something while he’s in his high chair. We finish up our recipes and clean up the kitchen.
4-5pm: During this time, Carly and I talk about ongoing projects, social media strategy, our editorial calendar for all 3 verticals (Inspiralized Ali, Inspiralized Kids and of course, Inspiralized) any exciting announcements we want to promote, and do a lot of brainstorming for brand partnerships. We work on marketing tactics for the Inspiralizer, troubleshoot blog issues, and just talk about anything that comes up with the brand. There’s always something!
5-5:15pm: Carly leaves and I tie up any loose ends as quickly as I can.
5:15pm: I start preparing Luca’s dinner! Dinner is his lightest meal of the day, so I try not to put too much effort into it and try to use up leftovers or use up what I have in the freezer. All his meals are planned for the week, so I just check my meal plan (I keep it in a note on Evernote.)
5:30pm: The nanny usually gets back around 5:25-5:30pm and then it’s just me and Luca!
5:30-5:45pm: While I’m finishing up cooking dinner, I call Lu and my parents on our Facebook portal to video chat. I’m usually holding Luca while I’m putting the final touches on dinner.
5:45-6pm: Luca eats dinner and we sit down together. I usually try to have a mini portion of what he’s having, so we’re eating together.
6-6:45pm: During this time, I play with Luca. This is my uninterrupted time with Luca, and I love it. We hang out in the living room and just play together. We read books, play with his toys, build blocks, play in his kitchen (he loves play eating right now!)
6:45pm: Lu comes home most nights at this time, but many nights, he has client dinners and happy hours and doesn’t get home until late (he’s in sales, after all!) When he does make it home (he hates missing Luca!), he does the night time routine. He usually plays with Luca for 5-10 minutes and then starts the nighttime routine- he brushes Luca’s teeth and gives him a bath. During that time, I get his crib and books ready, fill up the humidifier, and start dinner, if I have time. I usually step in after the bath and put Luca’s pajamas on – I moisturize him, put his diaper on, put his jammies on, and brush his hair. Then, Lu takes him and does the “goodnights”, where he walks from the front of our apartment turning off all the lights and saying goodnight to everything (goodnight office, goodnight hallway, goodnight bathroom, goodnight kitchen table, goodnight kitchen, etc). Depending on if dinner is already cooked or not or depending on what Lu has to do, one of us will read Luca books and then put him down in the crib for sleep.
7:15pm: Whether I put Luca down or not, I’m cooking dinner (Luca goes in the crib at 7:15pm for the night!)
7:30/7:45pm: Dinner time! Lu and I try to eat at our dining table instead of on the couch and talk about our days. We don’t talk during the day (especially now, he’s extra stressed at work), so we try to spend a good amount of time catching up.
8/8:30pm: During this time, and while I have the energy, I try to tidy up the kitchen and areas so that in the morning, I don’t have to do it. It doesn’t always happen, but I try to!
8:30-9:30pm: I usually do at least 1 hour of work. I try to keep it to an hour, for the sake of my marriage, haha. I’ll spend this on anything that I didn’t have time to get to that’s time sensitive – writing the next day’s blog post if it’s not already written, e-mails, social media messages, projects that need finishing, etc. It’s definitely hard to turn it off when you’re an entrepreneur and especially one that works so much in social media.
9:30-10:30pm: We watch TV, a movie, just snuggle and spend time not on our phones. Last night, we watched Free Solo (it won Best Documentary at the Oscars). We usually fall asleep during this time too, haha. #parenthood
10:45pm: Wash up for bed and lights out! We both are the types of people that hit the pillow and pass out immediately. We always say I love you, goodnight, and end with a kiss!