The last three months of the year (Q4) are the busiest for any food blogger. It’s when everyone’s in search of holiday recipes and new ideas. It’s also when everyone remembers that Pinterest exists and starts pinning and clicking through for recipes again.
New to This Series?
Since I started blogging full time in 2021, I pause at the end of each quarter and look back on my wins and losses. Read past posts here:
Q4 is the definition of "this is a marathon, not a sprint." And while it's hard to see when you're in the thick of things, a lot of progress is made and goals are achieved during those final three months.
Halloween is My Jam
While I’ve never considered myself to be a huge Halloween fan, it turns out I LOVE creating Halloween themed drinks!
For the past two years, I’ve had more ideas than time and even with shooting months in advance still didn’t publish all the Halloween content I wanted to.
Ideas and recipes are already planned out for Halloween 2024, so I’ll be starting sooner and getting even more spooky sips on the site come fall.
- Vanishing Ghost Halloween Gin Cocktail
- Pumpkin Spice White Russian Cocktail
- Hocus Pocus Non-Alcoholic Halloween Punch
- Classic Moscow Mule Cocktail
Book Sales are Tricky
In October, with less than 100 copies left in stock, I ordered a third printing of my cocktail book, Homemade Happy Hour. This is a major investment and, like everything lately, the price of printing the book shot up by over $2.50 per copy. YIKES! So I’m raising the book’s price in 2024 since that’s too much of an increase to simply absorb.
This was my third holiday season marketing and selling my cocktail book. I tried a couple different paid advertising campaigns this year - both of which failed spectacularly and are not in the category of “I won’t be doing that again.”
This was also the first time where people saw me at book events and had already purchased the book, which was a lot of fun. I love hearing what recipes people love and how they're using the book.
In Person Events
I had 10 in-person classes and events scheduled throughout Q3, with 6 of those landing within the first 16 days of December. What did I learn from this? That’s too many events for December.
Many were unpaid mocktail sampling events to promote the book, and after my third holiday season with my book I can safely say that those events are now a thing of the past. Getting paid for my time is important and getting paid in the possibility of book sales is like getting paid in exposure. (It’s not a thing!)
I also hosted several cocktail classes - both private parties and ticketed classes - which I love doing. This year I invested in the bar tools and equipment needed to make these classes hands on and fun for everyone attending.
- Cranberry Moscow Mule (Quick Recipe)
- Gingerbread Martini Recipe (Easy Christmas Cocktail)
- Gingerbread Syrup for Coffee and Cocktails
- Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Cherry Holiday Mocktail
- Savory Ricotta and Pumpkin Pinwheels (Holiday Appetizer)
- Brie Cheese and Spiced Cranberry Bites Appetizer
2023: Looking Back at a Year of Growth
Growing this website meant getting to place ads on it in 2023. I know so many of you hate ads on websites, but the fact is that they pay for the cost of running a website (hosting, design, software) as well as pay me for the time it takes to create the content (aprox 10-12 hours per post).
The new goal is to move up to a bigger ad company that lets me make more money and better control my ad placement so I can do my best to keep it from getting TOO annoying for you.
2023 by the Numbers
Compared to 2022, there’s been a…
- 72% increase in gross income for Mitten Girl LLC
- 76% increase in website pageviews
- 65% increase in email list subscribers
- 260% increase in Instagram followers
What Didn’t Happen
The biggest idea that I worked on but didn’t follow through with for 2023 was ebooks. I originally planned on launching 3 throughout the year. But any time I polled any part of my audience regarding ebooks, they said “we don’t really want them.”
I’m going to use pieces of ebooks I’ve already built to test out a new idea this year for a different downloadable product. As any content creator will tell you, diversifying income sources is important for longevity and business growth and files people can purchase and instantly download are one of those sources I want to really explore in 2024.
What’s Coming Up in 2024
There’s a long and very ambitious goal list for me to tackle in 2024, including:
- Making good on an idea that’s been kicking around in my head for over a year. This pairs up with that digital download idea and - if successful - will create a new revenue stream for my business. More to come in Q1 2024!
- Eyeing some redesign options for this website to make it more user friendly. I’ve set aside some budget money for site improvements and have built up a catalog of recipes that will benefit from a better website layout.
- Moving to a higher-paying ad network. I talked about this one earlier. More money, better control of ads - this is a big goal I’ve been chasing for years.
- Building up my photography and food styling client roster. I had the opportunity to create work for some great brands and work with some amazing photographers in 2023. I’ll be building on this more in the coming year.
- Not ordering more copies of Homemade Happy Hour. This might sound counter-productive, but I’d love a year without this expense. Selling 250 books is my goal for 2024, and that would allow me plenty of inventory to carry over into 2025.
Free Ways to Support My Business
- Rate and review my recipes. This is one of the best ways to support what I do. Google loves showing people recipes with star ratings and reviews, so when you leave one of me, you’re helping others discover my site and recipes.
- Tell your friends! Word-of-mouth will always be a great way for small businesses to grow.
- Share on social media. All of those shares are tracked and big sharing numbers help boost recipes when people are looking for something new to make.
If you read all the way to the bottom, you’re one of my favorite people! 🙂
And as always, I truly appreciate your support!
xo - Katy