Why I’m Still “Doing It All Myself”

posted by Andrea | 02/26/2015
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andreadekker.com

When it comes to my blog and business, I’m often asked why I haven’t hired anyone to take over part of what I do — or to do all that “boring stuff” like social media, email newsletters, proofreading, editing, etc.

I don’t have a simple answer for these questions… but in general, I’m definitely a “do it myself” type of gal (always have been… and yes my feisty Nora comes by it naturally!) I like the challenge of managing my time to be super efficient and to get as much done in as little time as possible. I also like to know that things are done “my way” and no corners are cut.

I do realize that I could most definitely grow my blog, my business, and my income if I was willing to hire on more help… but right now, I feel like the hassle and stress of managing other people working for me (and then paying them) would basically offset the additional growth and income, to the point where I don’t feel like it’s worth it for me at this point in my life.

My goal with my blog and business is not to be a mega blog or to have millions of followers. I’m not really interested in writing a book, being on TV, or traveling around the country speaking for various events. I’m also not interested in spending massive amounts of time, effort, or money to promote myself on social media, send out daily email blasts, pay for advertising, or build my online “Klout”.

I don’t think it’s bad or wrong that there are many other bloggers and businesses who ARE interested in those things — but that’s just not me.

I preach “simple” and that’s what I want for my own life too.

simplify necklace

When I first started my organizing business (way back in 2007) and then eventually my blog (in 2010) my #1 goal was to figure out a way to make money while working from home. My secondary goal was to figure out a way to do this as efficiently and as simply as possible 🙂

Obviously it wasn’t that simple or efficient in the beginning — and as I’ve mentioned before, I put in YEARS of full-time work with little pay to show for any of it. But that was before kids, and I did it because I really enjoyed blogging, organizing, and sharing my passion with anyone who was willing to listen!

Thankfully my passion paid off (literally) in the form of a full-time, from-home job that I can work around my kids, my family, my house projects, etc.

Yes, my blog and my social media are growing, but I think I hit a “plateau” about a year ago and have just had really consistent stats and numbers since then. Nothing is going down, but I’m not growing as quickly as I was in prior years either.

I suppose that MIGHT mean I’m doing something wrong… but it also MIGHT mean that I’m doing everything exactly right and that I’ve simply found my target audience — all of you!

People who enjoy reading about simplifying, organizing, meal planning, budgeting, and “the crazy Dekker family”.

People who are looking for super simple recipes that aren’t always from scratch or following the latest diet trends.

People who want to know how to do something as quickly and as easily as possible without a lot of frills or “extras”.

People who love a good farmhouse renovation project.

People who like following a reliable blogger that publishes a new post Monday-Friday at exactly 8:01 am EVERY DAY!

People who prefer reading real-life posts versus boatloads of sponsored posts with little to no usable content.

People who like a simple blog design that’s easy to navigate and find what they are looking for.

People who don’t mind an occasional typo or bad grammar 🙂

While I certainly would not be against more blog growth (as long as it happens gradually) I also know from experience that as my blog continues to grow, it requires more and more time and resources from me — and with another baby on the way, my time and resources are becoming more and more limited.

But yet, I’m truly not interested in hiring anyone to do “the boring things” for me. 

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Maybe I’m stubborn… or maybe I just realize that if I’m going to name my blog and business after myself, I better be willing to not only be the “face” of the business but also the substance behind it too.

Again, I don’t feel it’s bad when other bloggers and businesses do this… I just don’t feel good having someone else write for “AndreaDekker.com” or post content to the “Andrea Dekker social media sites” or send emails from “Andrea Dekker”.

I want you all to know and trust that (aside from a very occasional guest post) EVERY word you read on my blog, on my social media sites, and in an email is directly from me. I try to respond to any blog comments that ask questions… and if I had to estimate, I would say I respond to 98% of all the emails and Facebooks message I get (the other 2% are people just trying to pick a fight.)

So THAT is the really long answer to why I haven’t hired anyone yet, and why I’m still “doing it all myself” almost 8 years later. 

That said, I have hired people to do some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that totally stresses me out.

Website Design, Web Hosting, Domains, and Tech Support:

From day 1, I’ve worked with Agathon Group to design and host my website. They also keep track of all the domains I own and help me with any random tech support needs that come up over time.

They not only built my website from the ground up (per my exact specifications), but they have also done several minor updates as well as a complete site overhaul almost 2 years ago.

I pay them a monthly fee for hosting my site and then an hourly rate for any additional help they offer me. Sometimes this is $0 a month, sometimes is several hundred dollars.

They are amazing and there is no way I would ever switch to working with any other company. I have referred MANY bloggers and other companies to them and have heard nothing but thanks and praise from the people who I’ve referred.

Accounting and Taxes:

Neither Dave nor I have any interest in filing our own taxes, so we’ve always paid a local company to do them for us. And as my business started to grow, we decided it made sense to incorporate — so our accountant helped me with all of that too.

I still use GoDaddy Bookkeeping to track all my income and expenses, I still send out all the invoices, and I still pay my monthly federal and state taxes — but my accountants do all my quarterly tax prep, all my year-end tax work, and anything extra that I might not know about. Plus, they are always around for me to quickly call or shoot them an email with questions or concerns.

It only costs me a few hundred dollars a year for their services and it is WELL worth it for the amount of stress it removes from my plate every month and every year.

Legal Services:

There have been 2 times in my business career that I’ve had to hire a lawyer to help me weed through some issues. Both times it was pretty stressful and there’s no way I would have known what to do without the help of a professional.

FYI, legal services are ridiculously expensive (seriously, it’s crazy) but it was worth it to know everything was handled correctly and that something couldn’t come back to get me later on.

And, as most of you know, Dave is my faithful editor. He’s not perfect, but the price is right 🙂

I feel like I’m in a “sweet spot” right now — not too much work that I feel stressed out, but enough to keep me busy. No big major changes coming up, but I also don’t feel like any major changes are necessary.

I’m still loving what I do; and based on the comments and emails I get, I think I’m actually helping people to better their lives and make positive changes (that’s always a nice feeling!)

I like the fact that I recognize many of my regular readers and can engage in discussions with them via comments, email, and social media. Yet it’s also fun to get periodic emails from new readers who just found my blog and are loving it.

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Yes, I could hire people to help me do more, grow bigger, grow faster, make more money, etc. but I could also simply be content with the fact that I’m doing EXACTLY what I set out to do 8 years ago — make a full-time income while working from home.

Right now, I’m choosing to be content. Hopefully that’s OK with you!

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94 comments

  1. Emily Bowie

    03/26/2015

    I really love what you’ve created and am very impressed that you’re still able to manage it all yourself. In other posts you’ve noted that you try not to actively “recruit” readers, but you already have a huge following! (Which is awesome). At the beginning did you have to actively recruit? How did you learn all the business aspects of making a business out of your blog? Again, very impressed.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Emily,
    When I started blogging, it was a VERY different ‘online world’ and it was very easy to get more readers and followers by doing giveaways and leaving comments on other people’s blogs (both of which I did). It’s a whole new ballgame now and “recruiting” is a lot more work — which is why I don’t take the time to do it anymore 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. Deborah

    03/03/2015

    So happy for you that you are at a place you really love with your blog and business and that it has been a success for you!

    I relate really well with a lot of your feelings and the way you do things. I enjoy popping in every so often! You do such a good job, in my opinion, of expressing your opinions. I’d like to be able to do that better.

    Blessings to you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Deborah! I sometimes chuckle about the fact that one of the reasons my blog has seemingly “struck a chord” with so many people is because I’m “real” and “honest” and just “tell it like it is” even if its not always nice, neat, and popular… growing up, my mom always told me that I shouldn’t be so “forward” and should think more before I spoke (which was definitely true!) I’ve always been a person who just says what I’m thinking without worrying much about what anyone else around me thinks or cares. Who knew that somewhat negative personality trait would someday be helpful in my career 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Lynda, mom of 3

    03/01/2015

    Love your blog!! Thank you for all you put into it! So much great and useful info, a mom’s best friend 🙂

    [Reply]

  4. Kathy

    02/27/2015

    Well said………………….say no more…..good for you. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

    [Reply]

  5. Nancy

    02/27/2015

    Hi Andrea;
    I read a few blogs regularly – but I actually look forward to your blog writings the most. In fact, I have to say that when I’m short on time – it’s your blog that I’ll read before all others.

    You are really so refreshingly transparent in your writings. Thank you so much for being so real. Thank you for role modeling how comfortable you are with just being who you are.

    I just have one question. I know it probably varies, but on the whole can you give an estimate as to how many hours you work on your blog per week? As I read this most recent post describing what you do for your blog —– it all seems so demanding! You must be the one who will take efficiency to a new art form.

    Nancy

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow thanks Nancy!

    And yes, as for my blogging hours, it varies A LOT by week. I usually spend at least 2 hours writing each blog post (sometimes a lot more for longer posts) so that’s about 10-14 hours per week. I spend another couple hours on social medial, and quite a bit of time replying to comments, emails, and facebook messages.

    Then there are the companies and advertisers I work with — usually emailing back and forth… and my VA work (which is anywhere from 10-15 hours per week). So I do usually work at least 40 hours a week — but EVERYTHING I do is 100% flexible as to when I do it.

    I do little bits and pieces throughout the day, but most of the focused work is when Dave is home from school, after the kids are in bed, and on Saturdays. Also, I can usually work ahead pretty easily, which makes it very easy to take a few days off here and there — so please don’t feel bad for me 🙂

    I will admit that I am one of the most efficient people I know, but I’m also very protective of my time and I won’t say “yes” to any projects or opportunities unless I feel like they are a VERY good use of my time. Sometimes, this makes me seem like a boring person, but mostly, it keeps my life quite simple and sane amidst all the house projects, blogging work, VA work, kiddos, family time, etc. 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. Teresa

    02/27/2015

    I, for one, truly enjoy your blog. In fact, of all the blogs I subscribe to, yours is the only one I always read. You blog seems “real”, which is very enlightening! I love hearing about your beautiful kiddos and the struggles you’ve faced and how you eventually, through trial and error, worked through them. And your down to earth, no frills or keeping it simple lifestyle is awesome. Thanks for being you!

    [Reply]

  7. Marsha

    02/27/2015

    Keep up the good work!!

    [Reply]

  8. Jean Schultz

    02/27/2015

    I love your blog! I love your authenticity and the fact that you are so self actualized. I work full time and often take a quick “Andrea” break in the middle of some complex task as I love knowing what is going on in your world and it comforts me to read something truly sane, encouraging and to know there are people like you in this world who are living their values I such an uplifting, good for the worldd way.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jean — glad I can provide a quick, relaxing break during your busy days!

    [Reply]

  9. Lee Cockrum

    02/27/2015

    Don’t change a thing! Love what you do!

    [Reply]

  10. Kelly S

    02/27/2015

    Like so many others have mentioned, I really appreciate that your blog is really just your voice. I don’t think that’s so unusual for bloggers who have a “writer’s” blog (like, they write philosophical stuff, or funny stories, or whatever – not sure how to describe it) but it seems so unusual in the mom-practical-helpful-frugal-tips realm… I think what makes your blog so enjoyable is that it’s YOU but also helpful at the same time.

    You get more comments than basically any blog I read, and I think it’s from your authenticity and personability. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kelly — and yes, I agree that many blogs actually work well with contributors and guest posts. They just seem to fit with the style of the blog. However, I will say that after working with some of those blogs, they are not very connected with their readers at all (which is fine — it’s not their goal). I really enjoy getting to know my readers (as much as I can through the computer) and feeling that sense of connection. I think the connection would be lost if I started hiring everything out 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Carrie

    02/26/2015

    Please don’t change a thing!

    [Reply]

  12. Miranda

    02/26/2015

    I am so happy that you write all the posts! I find it so nice to get to know you, rather than just reading informational posts. Love what you’re doing.

    [Reply]

  13. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    02/26/2015

    It’s more than okay with me! Your authenticity (and transparency) is what I love about you – and your blog. Good for you for being content! It’s been a joy to watch your blog grow over these past 5 years!

    [Reply]

  14. Erin

    02/26/2015

    Andrea, I LOVE your blog, just the way it is and have loved it for many years! I love the simplicity, I love all the great tips and tricks for life and I love reading about your growing family, especially the kids! Your journey with Nora was especially interesting, as I love learning about kids different developments.
    All in all, you do an amazing job and I love your blog!!

    P.S. Thanks for the response about making apple butter in a crock pot a few weeks ago! I never did respond back to you, but friends and family have been taking mason jars of it from me and I haven’t heard a complaint yet! 🙂
    I’m going to try some of your canning tips and recipes in a few more months.

    [Reply]

  15. Guise

    02/26/2015

    I comment so little in the blogs, but for sure I really enjoy your posts… I’m in all the groups that you described ☺️
    So, keep going as you feel comfortable, that’s what makes you so real!

    [Reply]

  16. Barrie

    02/26/2015

    I love your blog and have followed you for a long time now- My kids always ask, who your family is if they happen to see your pictures on my laptop as they sit next next to me! I was worried when you had changed your site, and name that you would become a “big” blog and not keep the personal flavor and honest voice that I so love- but you have kept it so authentic, and as you say, consistent- something I strive for when I have my blogging chops a little more. I have 4 kids and work part-time, so if you did give up some things, I would get it, but trust that you know best how to manage your own blog business- seems you’ve done so well, this far. Keep on keepin’ on! You are going to love having a big family- it is crazy, but so FUN! Best to you!

    [Reply]

  17. Jeanine

    02/26/2015

    It’s definitely ok with me for you to do exactly what you do right now! I hope you’ll continue to be content with all that you do, because it’s definitely enough. I love your blog, and I have to say that you are and your family are just so adorably cute. God bless you and keep you and continue to give you peace!

    [Reply]

  18. JoDi

    02/26/2015

    I love your blog partly because it hasn’t turned into a megablog with tons of sponsored posts and guest writers! I read some very large blogs that do have multiple writers and sponsored posts, but I don’t enjoy them nearly as much as yours and find myself skimming or skipping those posts and only reading the “real” posts by the originator of the blog. Every post on your blog is interesting and useful, and I look forward to each one every day. I hope you’re able to continue blogging and enjoying it for a long time to come! Thanks for being you and blogging your way.

    [Reply]