Here is the answer to a question I get asked a lot.
“Actually, Yes. Food blogging is my job.”
I automatically get asked follow-up questions. Like, ” How much money do you make?”. Um. Do I ask you how much money you make at your job?
But it’s true. I have a business account all set up for this blog. I am self- employed.
I have felt this post coming for a long time. The tip of the iceberg, for me, was when I realized that the closest people to me, really had no idea what I do for a living. And I get it. I don’t talk about blogging that much outside of the blogging community. Some people discuss their careers all the time. I have never. Blogging is still a new platform in this world. There are very few people who do it or understand it, and even fewer who have been able to turn blogging into their “job”. I am one of the lucky ones. As of this year, I can say that I make almost as much money as I did when I was childless and had a full- time job.
I think, for a long time, the people in my life just thought I was just some housewife with a nice camera who loved to take pictures of my food. Well, it kind of started out that way. But, there is more to it than that.
In 2011 , I worked at a health insurance company, and I happened to love my job. I didn’t have any intention of leaving it. In 2011, I was pregnant with my older son, when my husband got transferred to a small town in Iowa for his job. A town, with no real job opportunity for me, so we decided that It would be best if I stayed home. I never thought I would be a stay-at-home-mom. I knew then, that when my kids got older, I would go back to work. But doing what? I loved my job at the time, but knew that It wasn’t a lifetime career. I decided to use this time, at home with my kids, to develop skills that would help me enter the workforce again when the kiddos got older. I decided to spend my extra time ( and yes, with only one child, there was extra time) getting better at the things I loved to do. For me, those things were; photography, cooking, writing, and graphic design. yeah, so it made sense for me to start a blog.
One of my first posts was featured by some larger websites, I saw all the traffic that came in, and I was hooked.
Blogging is hard work. It takes a lot of time to develop a seasoned website with good content. it takes even more time to find the right places to promote that content. I am not one of the “Top Food Bloggers” but, 275,000 plus people visit this blog every month, and it turns out that ad companies see value in that. So do food companies. Food companies pay me to promote their products. ( you can find out more about the ways I make money on my blog in my blog’s disclosure)
If you want to make blogging your full time job, you have to be willing to put in the time and make sacrifices. I do not work on my blog when my kids are awake ( unless we are making a recipe together) I work during their naps, at night and on weekends. I stopped watching television ( besides a weekend movie with my husband) , and often stay up really late to meet deadlines. ( which is why I post so many coffee recipes). Just like anything, I get out of it, what I put into it. Although, I am not considered to be one of the “Top food bloggers”. I am here to tell you, that you can make this into your career, if you work hard enough at it
1) Create REALLY good articles that people will want to read– Seems so simple, right? whether you’re a food, craft, parent, political, or DIY blogger. You need to create content that is new, exciting and relevant. People surf the internet every day, and they are looking for something NEW all the time. People don’t want to read about a simple chocolate chip cookie for the thousandth time. You have to think outside the box. Now, is an awesome time to be a food blogger. I do believe that we are in the middle of a new food revolution, and I love being a part of it.
2) Take amazing pictures- You cannot be a successful food blogger without decent photos. There. I said it. When people click on to your website, they are looking for an “experience”. Taking good photos is a huge part of the ” creating really good articles” part. ( if you are going to write about a simple chocolate chip cookie, that photo needs to be breathtaking). My photos are still a work in progress.
3) The two things I mentioned above come with time and practice- Very few bloggers start out with amazing content and photos. If I go back to my first post, I cringe a little at the random craft projects I thought people would be interested in. I cringe at my photo taking ability even more. Like anything else, you have to take the time to develop your skills. Blogging is a business, and obtaining the knowledge you need to be a success takes time and practice. I love this clip by Ira Glass from This American Life. It’s so true.
4)Treat every sponsorship opportunity professionally– When a company approaches you to write a sponsored post or to advertise on your site, make sure that you treat it as if it were a professional job. Treat every interaction with that company, like you are in the middle of a job interview. Give them their money’s worth. and more sponsorship opportunities will come your way. Take amazing photos, showcase their product well, and go the extra mile. There are thousands of food bloggers who are competing for these sponsorship opportunities, You need to make yourself stand out.
5) Have your blog’s ads professionally managed- This is probably the best blogging advice I have ever received. ( Thank -you Bethany and Nick from Sawdust and Embryos). Having your ads “professionally managed” basically means that someone else negotiates with a whole bunch of different ad companies to get the highest rate ( CPM) possible for your site. The company that manages my ads also makes sure that ads are 100% filled all the time. A large chunk of my blogging income comes from those ads you see on my blog as you read this. When your site reaches about 100,00 page views a month, start looking for an ad company to manage your site’s ads. I use Ad thrive, love them.
6) Keep a Healthy balance and Love it-. I don’t feel like I am sacrificing much, being a food blogger and a stay- at-home mom, because I love everything that I do. I get to the gym 4 days a week, I drop off my kids at school, take them to play-dates and park-dates, several times a week. I get to be there for first words, first steps, backyard picnics and all the rest. But I also get to create recipes, expand my professional skills, design, work on this website and proudly provide a second income for my family during my free time. Yes, I am busy. Yes, I am up late. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all about being able to “Make The Best of Everything”. 🙂