A Day In The Life Of An Online Business Owner

Lately, I have had many, many readers ask me to create a “Day In The Life” post about how my average day goes. While my average work day changes all the time, I thought keeping track of what I do each day would be a fun task. I also thought it would be a good…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 4, 2023

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Lately, I have had many, many readers ask me to create a “Day In The Life” post about how my average day goes. While my average work day changes all the time, I thought keeping track of what I do each day would be a fun task.

I also thought it would be a good idea to create this post because many often have misconceptions about what online business owners, freelancers, bloggers, etc. do each day.

No, I don’t just sit around, drink coffee all day long, and sit on Facebook. However, that’s what many believe actually happens in the average day of an online business owner.

The truth is that I actually get work done! Yup, how surprising is that? 🙂

It was a little hard writing this post. My average day can vary greatly. That’s one of the main things I love about freelancing – I can create my own schedule and it can be as flexible as I want it to be.

Anyway, below is my average work day as an online business owner, freelance writer, and blogger. Now, I’m not perfect and I realize that.

I will occasionally binge watch Netflix shows, waste time on social media, hug my dogs for an extended period of time, and so on. Also, some days I work a LOT, whereas others I don’t do anything.

My average work day is also very scattered and messy looking, so it’s hard to say exactly how many hours I actually work each day.

 

8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – Wake up.

I usually wake up around 8 a.m on the weekdays. If I work late the night before then it’s a whole different story, but in general I like to wake up somewhat early and start my day.

I usually stay in bed and work for around 30 minutes to an hour. During this time I usually check and reply to emails, browse around on Instagram and Facebook, pin some images on Pinterest, and so on.

 

9 a.m. – Emails and breakfast.

I usually get out of bed around this time and let our dogs out. They usually sleep until the moment I finally get out of bed and then they know it’s their time to go outside. Then, I’ll feed them and make breakfast at the same time.

We usually either eat oatmeal with bananas for breakfast or we will eat scrambled eggs with peppers and a few slices of toast. While I’m eating I usually reply to emails and comments on my blog at the same time. I’m not the type of person who can just quietly eat, my laptop is almost always in front of me.

 

10 a.m. – A little bit of work.

After breakfast, I put on “real” clothes and fix my face. 🙂 Then, I try to sit down for a solid hour and get work done. I usually wake up with at least 50 emails to reply to each morning, so I’m probably still replying to emails at this point.

If I’m not, I usually hop around my favorite blogs and catch up on recent blog posts from others. This is probably my favorite part of my day as I love reading blog posts and seeing what everyone is up to. Throughout the day combined, I probably spend at least an hour or two networking, reading blog posts, and more.

Also, I usually schedule phone calls for the early morning if I can. This way the rest of my day is open and flexible.

 

11 a.m. – Work out.

Around this time, I usually either go to the rock climbing gym that I’m a member at or I go for a hike. Lately, we’ve been rock climbing more since the temperature has been in the 100s for over 45 days straight, but if we do hike or rock climb outside then we are might be gone for around 4-5 hours.

If we go rock climbing at the gym then we are usually gone for around 2 hours. I love getting a great workout in the morning as it helps clear my mind for the rest of the day. It helps me work better and keeps me refreshed.

 

1 p.m. – Lunch and work.

I usually have lunch around this time. This is also usually when I start getting deeper into work. Around this time I will start any work for clients, outline articles, reply to even more emails (I probably receive over 100 real emails each day that I need to reply to), create images for blog posts, work on projects, schedule social media posts, reply to something in a mastermind group I am in, and so on.

I also try to work on an article for my blog each day, whether that be writing a new one, drafting one, or rereading one. My articles here on Making Sense of Cents are usually around 1,500 to 2,500 words each and usually take many hours and sometimes days to write.

 

4 p.m. – Another meal and more work.

Time for the next meal. We eat four decent sized meals a day with snacks in between. After this meal, I usually get back to work. I might reread a post I wrote earlier to make sure it’s perfect. I usually reread them through a few times but somehow something always slips. I’ve already read this post five times!

Other things I do throughout the day include replying to emails from clients I am consulting, check on the websites that I help manage for others, and more.

 

7 p.m. – Dinner and TV.

It’s dinner time! After dinner, I tend to watch a few TV shows and relax. I sometimes go for a bike ride to the grocery store too around this time if I find that we need anything at the last moment for a meal.

 

9 p.m. – Daily walk.

As the sun is setting, we usually take our dogs for an hour long walk. We like to wait until this time because it is much cooler, which makes for a much more enjoyable time. We always go together and it’s a nice routine that we have.

 

10 p.m. – Winding down for the night.

This is usually when I start winding down. I’ll take a shower, put on my pajamas, and possibly watch the news.

 

11 p.m. – More work.

This is usually when I crawl into bed. I’m not done working though, I usually work for a few more hours from my bed. I love working from my bed and this is the time when I usually get the most work done. Not sure why it works like that, but it does.

Anything above surprise you? What would you do differently if you had a flexible schedule? What questions do you have about my average workday? 

 


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been wondering this since I started reading your blog. I’m surprised most of your work hours are still networking. I assumed that with so many followers that part would be able to take a back seat to consulting and just require maintenance now.

    I’ve been wondering about starting a blog to guide people to my Etsy store. I hoped I’d be able to spend my days crafting, but it looks like blogging would take more time then I expected. I’m wondering if there’s a way to test if the time investment will pay out enough?

    On another note, I’m genuinely impressed by the amount of physical activity you pack into a single day! That’s awesome!

    1. I like networking, so I guess it’s just personal preference. Since I work from home, I need to get some socialization in somehow ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t know of a way to test if the time investment would pay out enough without actually trying. I know that can be hard but I definitely recommend trying it out.

      1. Thanks for your reply. I listened to a few podcasts this morning that really got me inspired to blog again. Between that and your encouragement today, I’m ready to get started!

        I’ve always had another question for you. Would you mind giving an estimate of how much of your online income is from consulting and how much is from blogging? If I remember correctly, it’s always combined in your monthly income reports, but I’ve always wondered how much the blogging itself does for you. If that’s too personal, I understand. Either way, thanks for your site. It’s an inspiration each time I read something here. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Hello!

          I believe I have it broken out in my reports, as you can see here. https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2015/07/can-you-make-money-blogging-june-income-report.html

          Or do you mean something else?

          1. Yep! I see it now in the June report. I must have missed that one. Thank you!

  2. Sounds like an awesome day to me! Except the 11pm part. Usually by that time I’m pretty wiped out. What’s your average hours of sleep?

    1. My sleep can vary. Sometimes I’ll just get 5 hours of sleep, whereas some days I get 10 haha!

  3. Sounds like a very productive and balanced day you have. It’s awesome that you get to fit in a nice amount of physical activity amongst the sedentary computer work. Well done.

  4. 50 emails to respond to in the morning?? I barely have that many in my inbox at my real job! You’re a busy girl.

  5. Allison @ Frugal on the Prairie

    Loved seeing this, Michelle! Your schedule is so surprising. I guess I expected a lot of defined work hours but everything seems to be mingled in with normal daily activities. No wonder you’re such a powerhouse of content and business!
    I hear a lot pf people say they are most productive late at night and I kind of wish this was me too. But by 9pm I’m sleepy and I’m wide awake every day at 5. Keep up the great work!

    P.S. You’ve inspired me to try rock climbing. Eek. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Awesome! Let me know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Great schedule. But, I prefer eating while on my computer, checking e-mails or reading something online. Going for multitasking! I think working out would just be every weekend only.

    1. I said the same thing above ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m almost always eating and working.

  7. I am surprised how late you work and how you call 8am early! ๐Ÿ™‚ That said, if I was up that late, I’m sure I’d sleep in later, too. I’m in bed by 9:30 and up at 5am. It sounds like the flexibility is great for you – I know I would love that!

    1. I’m an early bird too Natalie. 5am is a *little* early for me, but I am at my most productive first thing. The writing I get done before 9am is always the easiest and most polished for me. For me, that 6am-9am window is a dream ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Haha 5 a.m. is too early for me!

    2. Ha 8 a.m. is early to me! Sometimes I wake up a little earlier and start working but usually I just start at 8.

  8. Amy @ DebtGal

    Thanks for sharing!! I did chuckle a little when you used “early” to describe 8am, but I think I felt the same way before I had a child. (I’m a night owl, too.)

    The only thing I found really surprising here, is that you do a lot of work in bed. Somehow I always imagined you working at a sunny desk. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha I think 8 a.m. is early! ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess that’s because most people assume that since I work from home that I don’t wake up until after noon.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Michelle! I love taking a peak into people’s daily lives. If I didn’t have kids, I would LOVE your schedule. However, my kids are up around 6:30am. Some mornings I’ll wake up before them to have a coffee and enjoy some quiet time, but lately 6:30 is early enough for me.

    That being said, once they’re in bed at 7:30pm, I am wiped, haha! I work for three hours in the morning when they’re at daycare and again in the afternoon when they nap (about two hours). That’s all about to change though as I start a FT job tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thanks for sharing a little insight into your day with us. Sounds like you get a ton of email! Part of my new position at my day job involves responding to the emails our clients send us and it can be very time consuming to say the least. I get up around 5 to get some freelance work out of the way early so I’m usually in bed by 10pm.

  11. I absolutely LOVE this. I love to see the logistics of how others make the blogging/freelancing lifestyle work. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this.

    blessings,

    The How-to Guru

  12. This is great to read. So many people think working from home means you sleep in until noon- ugh!

    1. Yes, I know! Far from the truth.

  13. Your late night productivity is impressive. When my bf gets home, it’s hard for me to focus. I just want to have drinks, catch up and watch Netflix ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I usually get a ton of work done at night. Not sure why that is!

  14. Sophia

    It’s great to see how other work-from-homers spend their days. I’m a night owl and could easily work until 2 a.m. but I’m trying to train my brain to be more productive earlier in the day. I want to build a schedule that will work for both of us when we pack up to live (and work) on the road full-time. The Hubs is an early riser and is pretty much cooked by 10 p.m. My schedule of working at night and sleeping in late is not going to cut it when our living space has shrunk to 400 sq ft!
    Love your blog, BTW. I’m learning a lot and enjoy reading your posts!

  15. I am also a night owl! I am the most productive at night from 9-2am when every in the house is asleep. I know my goal from working from home is having a flexible around life work schedule.

    Great post!

  16. I love hearing about other people’s days! I’m a morning and night person and am most productive then. I usually get a case of the sleepy’s mid afternoon ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, I usually get very sleepy during the middle of the day as well!

  17. Cool post, Michelle! Do you ever keep track of the amount of hours you work in any given day?

    1. No, I’ve never kept track of the exact time. It’s hard to say since I’m usually multi-tasking with personal tasks as well.

  18. I can’t imagine working in my bed, I just can’t do it and be productive. Crazy how different everyone’s schedules and days are. Thanks for sharing Michelle!

    1. Haha I am extremely productive when I work in bed!

  19. Wendy

    Thank you for sharing. Sounds like heaven to me! Your blog is inspiring to start my own. So ready to work from home! Thank you!

  20. Stockbeard

    I enjoyed the emphasis on how all your days are not the same, more than the actual breakdown. Having it sliced and “organized” kind of breaks the dream to me. I really prefer to imagine that you can decide when to work and when not to, which is exactly what you emphasized.
    Thanks!

    1. Thanks! Every day is different and that’s what I love.

  21. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks so much for posting your average day as a full-time-blogger! It was really interesting to get an insight into your reality and comparing it with what I hope my life will look like one day. I started my own blog recently and really hope I can make a living from it in the future! I am working everyday in baby steps on improving it (next to finishing my master studies and working).

    You inspire me every day to keep going!
    All best for you!
    Nina

  22. Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances

    Do you and Will share the same schedule? I love how your work day is a balance between your business and other activities — I’m just wondering where husband time fits in. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s always my biggest struggle when I start getting very busy.

    1. Haha yes, we spend pretty much all day together ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I love these types of posts and always have a tough time with writing them because it seems like no two days of mine are the same, which is why I love what I do, but also makes it difficult to describe.

    1. Yes, it does make it difficult to describe! I guess that’s why I’ve been holding off on writing this for so long.

  24. Your schedule looks pretty perfect to me. I wish we could switch ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Nice Michelle! You know I’m a night owl, so 8am is early to me as well. That being said, once you add a kid into the mix, it changes the entire dynamic. While I don’t work for myself yet, I get up, get my son ready for daycare and drop him off. I then head to work, come home, play with my son and hang out for a bit, then work on my business until about midnight or 1am. I’ve found it much harder to handle my workload when my son wants to play. Since he is the reason I do this, I will drop my work and play with him.

    1. For some reason I always thought you ran your business full-time. Any plans for that? ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yep, there are plans.I run it like a full time business, so that’s why people think it is.

  26. I’m totally a night owl. I finally feel awake at 6pm haha. I work best from 7pm – 2am. I tend to just do emails and social during the day and content at night. I take a long break in the afternoon.

  27. Wow you definitely have a full day!

  28. That’s truly impressive. I am on the other hand totally evening/night person. I just can’t really work when the kids are around and it is a beautiful day. So I tend to work mostly after 9 PM when I have put my kid to sleep. I honestly can work on my blog until 4 PM, I just feel much more motivated during evenings than in the morning ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I know what you mean. I get most of my work done at night and do other things during the day.

  29. One thing that surprised me is the amount of flexibility you have in your day. It’s inspiring! I love that you guys also have 4 meals a day. That’s the way to go!

  30. Also– how do I change my little monster icon picture? I don’t feel it represents me very well.

    1. Hello!

      I believe you can just go to Gravatar.com and change it.

  31. This looks just like my schedule before having kids, being most productive late at night, writing until 1 or 2 am, sleeping late-ish and doing e-mail from my bed. I do still work in my bed some nights. These days I have more real people work hours because I don’t have as much flexibility anymore.

    1. I really don’t know how you do it all Cat!

  32. This is a cool breakdown, thanks for sharing.

    Now what I’m really interested in is what your day OFF looks like ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you ever fully unplug?

    1. I don’t ever fully unplug. That just seems scary to me ๐Ÿ˜›

  33. It’s always fun to see what goes into someone else’s day. I had to introduce a lot more physical activity into my day after not going to an office, it’s amazing how much movement (and socialization)you give up when you work from home.

  34. Jessica

    I love these types of posts and really enjoyed a look at how you work. Your schedule sounds perfect to me. I would love to have the flexibility to break up work and get in some exercise in the afternoon. I think it would really suit my natural energy levels much better than my current 9-6.

  35. Yes, you can always send me an email! ๐Ÿ™‚

    That is CommentLuv. It’s a plugin you can download for a WordPress site.

    I’m not sure how you can find sites with that plugin. I think you would just have to search around.

  36. I LOVE these types of posts!

    Wow – I thought for sure you worked a lot longer hours based on all of the things you accomplish in a day! Turns out it’s just good time management and maybe a good sense of knowing yourself?

    I couldn’t imagine having that many emails in a day… that many in a week is too much for me!

    1. Yes, definitely good time management!

  37. Walking the dogs and spending time with them is the best part, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I absolutely love the flexibility freelancing offers. I wouldn’t be able to do half the traveling I want to do with a full-time job.

    1. Yes, the BEST part ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Jesse Gernigin

    Michelle great post! Work flow and goal completion are something I always have to focus on completing every day. I break my day into 50 minute jobs and go from there.

  39. I really appreciate this post. I know that my schedule induces some serious guilt. I’m sometimes working at 11PM, too, and I always feel bad about it, even though that’s when inspiration happens to strike or it feels like the right time to be working. The same guilt flares up over my wake up time, too. Like I “should” be waking at 6AM and at my desk at 8AM. As if that’s the only way to be disciplined. You still seem to get plenty done:) This post helps me relax about how I’m planning or using my time. Thanks.

  40. What’s great is that you have flexibility – which is valuable in it’s own right. You’re putting in the time, but not confined to 8 to 5:30 working hours. If you want to go the gym in the middle of the day, you can do so and make up the hours later. Or, you can blast though the day uninterrupted if you wish. That’s great to have such options!

    1. Thanks! I love the flexibility!

  41. You are so healthy!!! My day is pet sitting starting at 8am, procrastinating during the open parts between groups of dog walking and pet stuff, playing with our new cat, and then blogging stuff from 10pm-2am, lol.

    1. Haha I’m trying to be healthy!

  42. It’s so funny comparing your own day to someone else’s. I can tell you’re a night owl. I’m the exact opposite. I get up at 5AM every day and work till about 630 (and eat breakfast) on days when I’m not working out. This is a great idea for a post though! I’m sure others wonder how I fit eBay into a family life.

    It’s funny how you’re on a computer so everyone assumes you’re on FB all day. What a bunch of BS.

    1. Yeah, many just assume I sit around and do nothing all day ๐Ÿ™

  43. Always interesting to be a fly on the wall of someone else’ day – thanks for sharing.

    Curious – when you check in on blogs you follow, is that a really disciplined process (RSS driven or a formal list) or more stream of consciousness / what you’re in the mood for that day? The former may be less inspiring / work-like, but the latter probably risks inefficiencies (like falling down a rabbit hole for more time than planned).

    Looking forward to more like this – thanks again

    1. I just head on over to Bloglovin and see what posts I’m interested in ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Heather aka HoJo

    That looks very similar to my day! The only difference is that I have a 5 month old thrown into the mix, and I create products for the website Teachers Pay Teachers. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to see what others are doing to know if I’m on the right “track” or not.
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

  45. Thanks for such a detailed break down of your day. As of now my blog is something I have started on the side of a full-time 10-7 job with an hour long commute both ways. So, I wake up around 6-6:30 in the morning and get about 1 and a half hours every morning to work on the blog. I am back home only by 7:30-8 pm with no energy to do anything else on the blog.

    However, I manage to sneak in some time on the blog during my work hours. I am able to get about 3-4 hours on each day of the weekend. While I feel I am constantly on the treadmill I am enjoying putting out content.

    With my blog at a very basic level I know the amount of work I am putting in. You are at a much more evolved level and it would be silly of anyone to assume you don’t put in any work. Being an online business owner is challenging but also well worth it for the flexibility and the freedom it provides.