Celebrating milestones and small victories is important for so many aspects of life, and building a business is no exception. To craft the life you want around work you enjoy is to consistently push towards goals big and small, and focus on the tiny wins to keep yourself motivated.
Celebrate Everything Big and Small
During a business course last year, the instructor said it was important to celebrate each year of your business. I’ve been blogging for over a decade, started sharing recipes five years ago, got consistent about posting recipes in 2019, and established a business in 2021. So what date do I use?
I decided on March 16, 2021. That’s the date things got serious. It’s the date this website was relaunched with only food content, in a food-specific theme, on all new technology, with big goals attached to it. It’s the date food blogging truly stopped being a hobby and started being a business.
- Refreshing Paloma Grapefruit Mocktail (Non Alcoholic)
- Classic French 75 Gin Cocktail Recipe
- Chili Rubbed Baked Chicken Wings (No Sugar)
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Goat Cheese
- Grapefruit Tequila - DIY Infused Liquor
- Sparkling Citrus Pomegranate Mocktail (Non Alcoholic)
Investing in Myself
There’s a learning curve with any new endeavor, and creating a digital-based small business is no exception. How to run a business, be your own boss, build a client base, creating a food-based website - it’s all new to me. So I’ve been investing in myself over and over to learn everything I possibly can about this new venture.
In early March, I attended the Tastemaker Conference in Chicago. Two days meeting, networking, connecting, and learning from hundreds of other food bloggers. It was amazing. It was inspiring. It was the best reminder I could have asked for that this is exactly what I want to be doing.
Photography is my biggest creative outlet, and something I’ve been studying for the past 15 years. My food and drink photography has come a long way, but can always improve.
For 2022, I wanted to learn how to use off camera flash - instead of continuous or natural light - so in January I took a course specific to beverage photography. I’m working on shaping light with these new tools and getting more comfortable with my knowledge as I complete each shoot.
- Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta with White Wine
- Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Fresh Spinach
- Prickly Pear Margarita Recipe
Making Money with My Blog
Comparing the first quarter of 2021 to the same timeframe in 2022, website traffic is up over 500%. That’s a lot of growth thanks to a lot of consistent work. It’s also a good indication that the investments I’ve made in my website are paying off.
The goal with the site is to continue to grow my traffic so that I can apply to an ad agency and start running quality ads on my site. That allows me to make money creating content while continuing to provide free recipes on the internet. There are also quite a bit of recurring costs directly related to running a website, so ad revenue would get this site sustaining itself.
The website is my main focus for 2022. The recipes I wrote years ago are still delicious, but the pages they’re on are sorely lacking in content and the pictures need some refreshing.
In 2019 a recipe took me an hour to write up for the site, and I’d grab a quick photo with my phone. Now it’s closer to 8 hours of work to post a recipe between writing it, adding in tips and tricks, keyword research, search engine optimization, photographing the recipe in progress and the final dish, plus editing time. I have a long list of recipe pages to work through, with the goal of having all of them done by the end of the year.
- Sparkling Red Sangria Mocktail (Non Alcoholic)
- Creamy and Crunchy Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- Non Alcoholic Piña Colada Mocktail (Not Blended)
- Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whiskey Cocktail
- Savory Parmesan Sweet Potato Chips (Oven Baked)
Coming in Q2 2022
While I spent the beginning of last year focused on launching the new website, I was mainly focused on my cocktail book, Homemade Happy Hour, for the second half of the year. It’s been six months since the release of Homemade Happy Hour and I’ve sold 75% of the first printing.
Finding more retail partners outside of the greater Grand Rapids area is on the goal list for the coming months. Conversations are happening with retailers in Lake Michigan lakeshore communities, so stay tuned for more news on that.
The second quarter of 2022 will also be full of growth as I attend a food blogging retreat in Minneapolis in May. I’m so excited to connect with other bloggers and learn from each other.
I have client recipe development on the Q2 schedule, as well as doing work pitching my services to potential clients. I’ve not focused on that aspect of my business at all and I’m looking forward to making it a priority. I’m taking a pitching workshop in April which will be my catalyst for approaching the brands and clients I want to work with.
How You Can Support My Business
As with any small business, word of mouth is so important! Sharing my recipes and social media posts is so helpful for getting new people to my site. If you’ve made one of my recipes, please rate and review it. Google prioritizes recipes with ratings in their search results.
Until the next review, sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you some recipes!
xo - Katy
Love what you did with this post, so interesting as a fellow food blogger. Also, congrats on your image work, that cocktail shot is stunning!
Thank you so much, Jennifer!!