Life of a Food Blogger

I thought it would be fun to share a little about what I do, to help you guys get to know me better and to help you understand the crazy world of blogging. You can also check out my about me section too.

Cranberry Orange Mini Cheesecakes | lifemadesimplebakes.com

So what do you do?

That’s a question I get asked a lot. I’m a stay-at-home mom to two little ones, I’m also a food blogger, both of which are full-time jobs.

Being a mom is pretty self-explanatory: keep the kids happy, healthy, safe, and loved. Also lots of cleaning, cooking, paying bills, running errands, all on less than 6 hours of sleep. #momlife

Apple Crisp Stuffed Apples | lifemadesimplebakes.com

It’s the food blogger part that people really get stuck on.

So what do you really do?

I develop recipes, take pictures of them, and then post them onto my website/social media accounts.

How do you make money?

-The majority of my income is made through advertising. I host ads on my site and receive revenue based on views and clicks. I am very selective when it comes to what type of ads are shown. For example, I’ve opted out of some of the highest paying categories because as a consumer, I find their ads annoying and/or off-putting.

-I also work with brands. I receive product and monetary compensation to create recipes and posts for my blog. Sometimes those are in video form as well. I only work with brands I use and love. For example, some of the brands I work with offer very little to no compensation, however, I LOVE their products and use them on a daily basis. Therefore I’m happy to work with them and share my love of them with you. Does that make sense?

Healthier Chocolate Snack Cake | lifemadesimplebakes.com

-Affiliate commissions. This is something I’ve been working hard to implement on my site. Amazon is the affiliate I currently work with. I have a shop and links within my posts to items that I use and recommend. I receive a very small commission (I’m talking cents) each time someone purchases an item using my link.

-E-books. What? I know this is kind of a strange concept for a lot of people. It’s like a self-published book in PDF form. I plan on publishing my first E-book in November 2017, so keep your eyes out! Some day I’d LOVE to write a cookbook, but that may be when my kids go to college! ????

 

Making money from blogging isn’t as easy as it may seem. I work really hard to help provide for my family.

Pumpkin Honey Butter Crescent Rolls | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Here’s a little glimpse of what daily life is like for a food blogger:

-Email throughout the day (1 hour)

-Respond to blog comments throughout the day (15 minutes)

-Research recipes, organize editorial calendar (30 minutes)

-Recipe development: prepping, cooking/baking/making the recipe, washing dishes (2 hours)

-Photoshoot: food styling (45 minutes)

-Edit photos (30-45 minutes)

-Create post: upload photos, write about the recipe, format the recipe, format SEO etc (1 hour)

-Social media: schedule Facebook posts, share in Facebook threads, post to Instagram, post to Foodgawker, post to Pinterest (1 hour minimum)

-Education: learning about blogging and social media strategies. Bloggers may make it seem easy, but there is SOOOO much info out there about how to get your content seen by your audience. It’s very hard and discouraging. (1 hour)

-Video creation and editing: 1x a week (5 hours)

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chunk Cookies | lifemadesimplebakes.com

I do these things EVERY DAY. And if you add it up, that’s a good 8+ hours. I try to do this all while my kids are sleeping, with the exception of grocery shopping, they love helping with that. Sometimes when my kids refuse to take naps, I push projects back and cram two into one day. It’s rather exhausting if I’m being honest. But… I really love it. Finding a good balance between work and family is a constant struggle. I finally took the leap and hired a friend to help me with Pinterest and Facebook (and videos) because I just couldn’t do it all and stay sane (she is a lifesaver). I also have a health condition that makes me extra tired, so it was a must. That said, I’m still doing waaay more than I can handle, and at times I want to just quit. It’s so rewarding and encouraging when I get comments and emails from you telling me how much you’ve enjoyed one of my recipes. It makes my day!

Parmesan Chicken with Sun-dried Tomato Cous Cous and Garlic Veggies | lifemadesimplebakes.com

How exactly do you stay sane?

Closing my computer, hiding my phone and getting outside with my family is the best way for me to stay sane. I also try to exercise regularly and work on projects or crafts that are in no way related to my blog. I still love sewing. Working on fun little costumes and dresses for my kids can be a great diversion.

Overnight Sausage, Egg and Croissant Breakfast Bake | lifemadesimplebakes.com

How did you get here?

I absolutely love what I do. Being a mom and getting to do something extremely creative is a dream come true. And while food blogger wasn’t something I ever in a million years thought I’d do, it’s exactly what I needed. You see, a few years ago (like five) when my husband was in his first year of law school, we were living in a brand new city and I was jobless. I was really struggling to find a job specific to my degree. I was frustrated, stressed, and depressed. I needed something to fill my time while searching for a job.

For Christmas I was gifted a Canon Rebel T2i. I started playing around with it, taking pictures of sewing/craft projects, and eventually started taking family portraits. I’ll admit, I wasn’t the best (see my first food picture here). I had never used a DSLR camera before and there was definitely a BIG learning curve. I used all of the free time I had to learn all that I could about my camera. I wanted to improve, I wanted to feel proud of my work, and I wanted others to see the value in it too. Fast forward two years, and I went from posting all sorts of craft projects/recipes/ blurbs to our “family” blog to transitioning it into a recipe site. This was back in the day when food blogs were few and far between. Seriously, there were only a handful of them and blogging was more of a hobby, not a career. I never thought back then that I would be making a living from it.

In 2014 I decided to move my site from Blogger to WordPress. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was able to give my blog a more professional look and monetize it. The rest is history. Just kidding, it’s been a long and wild ride. I’ve learned so much over the past few years I could easily write a novel about it. But I’ll save that for another time and place.

Lemon Coconut Cookies | lifemadesimplebakes.com

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a food blog?

-Learn from others. Don’t be afraid to ask seasoned bloggers for advice! I’ve found this extremely helpful over the years. Do lots of research (when you can) and keep everything in one place. Get to know your camera. Practice, practice, practice. Even if a recipe doesn’t turn out (trust me, that happens more than I’d like to admit) take pictures! It doesn’t mean you’ll post it (I’d hope not) but there’s always something you can learn from a shoot.

-Engage with your readers. Your readers should ALWAYS come first. They are the reason why you blog. I recently started a “Made by You” series to highlight pictures that my readers have snapped and shared on social media. It’s a fun way to say thank you!

-Be patient. Growth doesn’t happen overnight. Ok, so it may, just not like you think. Try your best not to compare yourself to others (trust me, this is really hard) and try not to obsess over statistics. It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am today, and I am nowhere near where I’d like to be and that’s ok. I am always learning tips and tricks. Also, don’t quit your day job (unless that’s 100% financially feasible). It’s amazing how much money you’ll need to invest in your blog. I’m talking groceries, props, kitchen gadgets, camera, lenses, tripod, photo/video software, web hosting and domain, web design, online file storage, social media scheduling platforms, virtual assistant services, and more. Sometimes the amount I make each month BARELY covers what I spend.

Again, I do this because I love it. I love creating, I love sharing, I love connecting.

With that said, be kind. I’m not just speaking for myself, but for other bloggers as well. Your comments are read by real people. Sometimes a recipe may not turn out, that happens. Just know that we work our hardest to bring you the best recipes and content we possibly can, all of which happen to be FREE. We pour our heart and souls into our blogs, and sometimes the return can seem dismal. So please be considerate and understanding. That’s all we ask. ????

Thank you for your continuous love and support, you are the best!

– Natalie