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Episode 467: Free Resources Will Only Get You So Far – The Importance of Investing in Your Business with Briana DeBolt & Chamere Orr

In this episode, Megan chats to Briana DeBolt and Chamere Orr about the importance of investing in our businesses instead of relying on free resources to make progress.

We cover information on why only relying on free resources can limit our blog’s growth and why investing in aspects like SEO expertise, photography skills and outsourcing in general is important. 

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

Write Blog Posts that Rank on Google’s 1st Page

RankIQ is an AI-powered SEO tool built just for bloggers. It tells you what to put inside your post and title, so you can write perfectly optimized content in half the time. RankIQ contains a hand-picked library with the lowest competition, high traffic keywords for every niche.

Guest Details

Connect with A Full Living
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Takeaways

  • Food bloggers tend to start blogging without understanding SEO and what their readers want.
  • ”Diy-ing” your blog by using free resources might slow down your blog’s growth.
  • Ask yourself, what do I want to improve first and invest in a course or get help from a mentor.
  • Invest in the right skills, for example learning food photography, to take your business to the next level.
  • If you outsource, you can free up your time to prioritize another task that will grow your blog. 
  • Start with resources like a website audit, courses or webinars to learn about targeting keywords that you can rank for.
  • The longer you hold off, trying to find out information for free, the longer it will take to make money.
  • Never stop learning! You have to stay up to date on best practices all the time. 
  • Never assume you know it all, there is always areas to improve and learn.

Resources Mentioned

The 1% rule: the main goal is breaking and chunking your goals into subgoals and then into daily actionable steps to make achieving them more manageable and fun versus an energy-draining grind.

An example of this in the food space would be developing your photography style. Maybe one of your main goals would be learning how to make better overhead scenes. Your subgoals might be identifying props, arrangements, and layers. Your daily actions may be pinning images for 20-30 minutes that you like or deconstructing photos and figuring out how to use that prop, layer, or arrangement in your next shoot.

This would be better than spending multiple hours on it every once in a while and then trying to use it in a shoot one day. It’s less frustrating and you start to recognize patterns and techniques over time with a lot less pressure to figure it out as soon as you start.”

Top Hat Rank Webinars

Media Wyse audits

Foodtography School – use the code ‘AFL’ for 15% off a purchase!

Transcript

Click for full script.

EBT467 – Briana DeBolt & Chamere Orr

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat, Blog, Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you know that you are heard and supported.

If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the things in food blogging, which I feel like most of us do, pretty often, or at least from time to time, you’ll definitely want to give this episode a listen. Briana DeBolt and Chamere Orr join me. They are a blogging team, they’re married, they keep up with their blog together, and they each have skill sets that compliment the other, and that makes them a really good team. In the episode, they addressed the fact that it’s really hard to keep up with everything, and that they started in a way that didn’t really sustain the blog. They consumed all the free resources, which is great, but then it just came to a point where they realized they needed more. They needed to start investing in their business. They couldn’t just DIY it anymore, and they needed to level up. So they started investing and they talk about all the things they invested in inside the episode, the services that helped, the mentors that helped outsourcing, and all these other little details as well. This is episode number 467, sponsored by Rank IQ.

Sponsor 01:42

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Megan Porta 03:13

Brianna and Chamere of A Full Living are the husband and wife team behind their website. They have been blogging a bit aimlessly at first since 2016, and in the past three years, they have really dug into strategizing to the next level by improving on their photography SEO and hiring contractors to help them manage the day-to-day of their growing business. Blogging has been their full-time job since middle of 2020, and they’re always looking to improve. Brianna and Chamere, welcome to the podcast. How are you guys today?

Briana DeBolt 03:47

Oh, thank you so much for having us. We’re doing well.

Chamere Orr 03:49

Hey, we’re doing great.

Megan Porta 03:50

Yay, so excited to have you. I always love it when two people join, especially when they’re like a team. It just, I don’t know, it flows really well. So super excited to have you both on. We are going to talk about just staying current with everything involved in food, blogging. There’s a lot and Yes. We’ll, we’ll just talk about your guys’ process and how you stay on top of it all and what exactly you’re staying on top of. But first, do you guys have a fun fact to share with everyone?

Briana DeBolt 04:18

Yeah. This is kind of a funny one. So Chamere and I met on Tinder a little over [inaudible] years ago.

Chamere Orr 04:26

In the most millennial way possible.

Briana DeBolt 04:27

Yeah. Very digital. Yeah. So I actually, at the time, I don’t know if it’s still like this, but I had a couple mutual friends that I saw that, you know, we knew each other on there, and I texted them both and I said, Hey, you know, is this guy Chamere seem normal? Seem nice? Like, yeah, you know, they’re like, yes, you absolutely have to go on a date with him. He’s so great. You guys are going to get along really well. So yeah, we met up and Chamere brought his camera to a Millennium park in Chicago where we lived.

Chamere Orr 04:55

This like small date became like a eight hour.

Megan Porta 04:59

No way.

Briana DeBolt 05:00

Yeah.

Megan Porta 05:00

Oh my gosh, you guys, that’s so perfect.

Briana DeBolt 05:03

Yeah, we were walking around and taking photos and then we ended up getting something to eat and I think you had a.

Chamere Orr 05:10

I had a music mentor at that point and he was doing a show. So we went there hung out for a while at the night. It was great.

Briana DeBolt 05:16

Yeah. And then we decided, you know, we were still not done with the date. I said, you can come back over to my house, you can’t spend the night, but , we’re going to order some food, get some takeout. And we did that. And Shamir ordered so much food and ate so much. I was just like both impressed and kind of grossed out. But I think , he’s a great taste tester. My gosh. He has a big palate. So.

Megan Porta 05:37

And that was your first date, this whole eight hour day?

Briana DeBolt 05:40

Yes. Yeah. And then it was, it was funny actually after the fact too, we realized we had been to a concert, like In Line, it was one of these events where you buy, it was like a $3 ticket. You buy it, but it doesn’t guarantee your entry and it’s kind of based on like capacity and who shows up first. So yeah, it was a Ja Rule concert in Chicago, and the line got cut off right behind me and my friends.

Chamere Orr 06:04

And I realized that we realized this later, but the line got cut off right before I got in,

Briana DeBolt 06:09

So he must have been right behind me in line.

Megan Porta 06:13

No way.

Briana DeBolt 06:14

Yes.

Megan Porta 06:15

Oh my gosh, that’s crazy. It was meant to be.

Briana DeBolt 06:18

I think so, yeah. And just such a small world, even in such a big city in Chicago. I was, I don’t know, I just think it’s kind of a funny story.

Megan Porta 06:25

Aww. So , how long after that first date did you start blogging?

Briana DeBolt 06:30

You know, we were kind of pretty like smitten with each other right away, and I think it was like within the first six months . Yeah. I, you know, in college I had kind of dreamed about having a blog. I heard that you could, you know, make a living doing this sort of thing, and I just didn’t know how, but I said, you know, I want to start a food blog. And Chamere, you know, you were taking a lot of street style photos and he just has always had an interest in photography. And he said, yeah, I’ll help you out. So that was back in, what, 2016? Fall of 2016 or maybe, yeah.

Megan Porta 07:02

Okay. 2016. I was just looking at your blog and you guys are adorable together. I love your picture. Thank you. And your photos Shair. Oh my gosh, these are so good. You, you clearly have a talent there, and I love how you guys just like came together and you have these complimentary skills that equal one amazing blog, right? I mean, what are the odd that that would happen?

Briana DeBolt 07:28

It’s, I mean, it’s definitely been a work in progress. It, when we look back at old photos, we still have some old posts on our site that I’m like, oh my gosh, like, cover my eyes. I don’t want to see that , but yeah, we’ve, we’ve learned a lot for sure. And yeah, it’s, I don’t know, I’m just grateful that Shair also believed in me too, because I think my friends and family thought I was like a little bit nuts or something for, they’re like, what are you talking about starting a blog? You just graduated, you should go get a job. And yeah. You know, so.

Megan Porta 07:53

A lot of us can relate to that, that I think like nobody really understands outside of the world, like what are you doing?

Briana DeBolt 08:00

Oh, I know. It’s still to this day it’s, it’s, it’s like that. But, you know, I think they get a little bit more now, so.

Megan Porta 08:07

Yeah. Right. Well, good for you guys for just persevering and doing it anyway. And yeah, like talk us through what those first few years were like. Did you have a focus? How did your blogging journey go?

Briana DeBolt 08:19

Yeah, I mean, so it first just kind of started as a way to share recipes with friends and family, and I thought that that was just going to be enough to, I don’t know, make it take off, which definitely was not the case. It was kind of just like posting whatever we wanted and, you know, I’ll get like really inspired by an ingredient and sometimes like, I don’t know, just run with it. And we would post about that. We didn’t have a focus at the time, but yeah. We were actually even like working with like local restaurants at one point. Yeah, we did, we have done a ton of different stuff in this timeframe. Eventually we found ourselves in a low carb slash like keto niche, and that was, we, we rode that out for a while, until kind of just recently we were feeling a little uninspired and like kind of growth a little bit stunted. And yeah, just personally we were like eating pasta and potatoes on the weekend, so it just didn’t feel like super authentic to us anymore. But yeah, the blog has just seen like a lot of different stages. Yes. At one point we were actually pantry grubs. That was our, I, I forgot about that almost. That was so long ago. Yeah, we were pantry grubs when we first started. But yeah, it’s, it’s just yeah, at first it was just a lot of trial and error and just kind of, you know, seeing what stuck, which was honestly not a whole lot.

Megan Porta 09:37

Yeah. So at what point did you realize that you needed to kind of focus on Okay, like, what’s going to work here?

Briana DeBolt 09:44

Yeah, I mean, I would say in 2019 we kind of started taking things like a little bit more seriously. But we were still just, yeah. Just not there. I feel like 2020 was sort of a big pivotal point for many vloggers, right? Yeah. I mean, at that point we had been doing photography for a while and we had like a pretty decent style. We had a few clients and brand partnerships and stuff like that, but we were both like working part-time jobs to try to, you know, make the dream happen. And we decided, you know, we’ve been DIYing this stuff and trying to find out information for free for, you know, too long. We just, we, we felt at the time we didn’t have a lot of like money to invest in courses and stuff like that. And it really kind of turned out that it became almost like expensive later on, you know? Because we made a lot of mistakes and Yeah. In 2020 we decided we kind of wanted to first really, you know, hone our photography skills. That was, we saw a lot of our peers and we were really inspired by just really excelling and we were super happy for them, but we were kinda like, you know, we just haven’t found our own style. Our style. So we started out by taking food, photography, school.

Megan Porta 10:51

And how did that go? And okay, first of all, how did you decide that photography would be your first kind of endeavor?

Chamere Orr 10:58

We kind of saw a gap in, you know, what we wanted to create and what we were putting out. And we were thinking like, okay, if we can bridge this gap, we can get more eyes on our stuff, you know, through Pinterest and online. So we learned about photography school and it was fantastic. It’s a fantastic course.

Briana DeBolt 11:16

Yeah, we still revisit the modules a lot. And I just also want to put this out there to anybody who’s listening. It’s like, you don’t have to get really great at photography. If you want to outsource that, you totally can. Yes. We just like, we really like to make stuff look pretty and that’s where we find the most joy. So we wanted to get better in that area.

Megan Porta 11:36

So Chamere, you just dug into that, I’m assuming you took the lead on that since you’re the photographer?

Chamere Orr 11:42

Yes.

Briana DeBolt 11:43

Yeah.

Chamere Orr 11:43

Yeah, definitely. It’s a lot of fun. I’ll go in there and I’ll learn a concept and then I’ll just go through Pinterest for a little bit throughout the day and kind of like break down my favorite photos from other food photographers. And it definitely has helped a lot with our shoots and our style.

Briana DeBolt 11:59

Yeah. You know, at first something we would do too is we would sometimes like go to the grocery store and just pick up some cupcakes that were already like pre-made and just practice setting up a scene, stuff like that. And kind of like, we’d be like playing videos and like, oh, okay, I see how that’s, you know, coming together kind of thing. So that’s just like maybe a little tip for people if they want to do the same thing. You don’t always have to like bake something to, to practice, but we, yeah, we did a lot of that.

Megan Porta 12:26

I love that you guys did that. Because I think that gets overlooked. Like we have to make the recipe and then we’ve gotta set it up, you know? Yes. But sometimes you can simplify a little bit and just get things that are already made. Wow. That’s a little hack right there.

Briana DeBolt 12:41

It’s just a good, yeah. A good way to kind of play with your style too, because I don’t know, we’ve now, we’ve sort of landed on like a light in moody. Yeah. So it’s like, not dark and moody, but not light and bright. So kind of like in the middle there. But yeah, at first we played around with a lot of different styles and kind of tried to figure out like what spoke to us. So yeah. I mean, it’s still a work in progress.

Megan Porta 13:00

Well, always. Right? I mean, it’s never like . Yeah. Light and moody describes very well. And I don’t know anyone else who can capture, like, I’m looking at your pot roast right now.

Briana DeBolt 13:11

Oh my gosh.

Megan Porta 13:12

It’s like moody but light.

Briana DeBolt 13:14

It’s, oh my God. Amazing.

Megan Porta 13:16

It’s so beautiful. Yeah. You guys have nailed that.

Briana DeBolt 13:19

Oh my gosh. That’s one of our, we actually love those images too. Because it’s pot roast, it’s, yeah, it’s a little bit hard to make that look good. Also, that took some effort, but thank you so much.

Megan Porta 13:31

Yeah. Just, you know, like the sprinkling of herbs and highlighting the carrots and like that sort of thing is so easy to do, but it’s like pot roast, like brown, big slab of meat and what can you do with that?

Briana DeBolt 13:44

Yes, throwing some green in there always helps.

Megan Porta 13:47

Always. Yes. That is one of, that is one of my little tips as well. Okay. So you dug into photography. I love that you put that first. And also, I want to touch on something you said earlier about Sure. Just like you went so far with free resources and kind of to your detriment, like you realized at a certain point like, okay, we can’t go much farther with free. And you in fact had to like do some cleanup to, you know, like, there’s only so far you can go with free resources and there’s a lot out there, but there’s a point when you do have to invest. Yeah.

Briana DeBolt 14:23

Yeah. And you know, especially at the time it was like there, there wasn’t as much information as there is now. So we were really doing a lot of guessing at the time. So Yeah. It’s crazy to, you know, I don’t, you always tell people just to start and that’s true. But I think you should start with like a focus. That’s one tip I would tell people is like, man, going back, we’re still fixing a lot of things. Currently, you know, so it’s, you know, we just take it day by day. Try not to get overwhelmed. But , there’s also, we had like, I think 400 posts on our site when we realized, oh, I don’t think we’re really like doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

Megan Porta 14:58

Well at least it’s not a thousand like me. So, yeah. You guys are ahead, you’re ahead of the game.

Briana DeBolt 15:05

Yeah. That makes us feel a little bit better, but, oh my gosh.

Megan Porta 15:08

Yeah. It happens. I think it’s a common theme in our industry to get to a certain point and realize, oh wait, I need to actually probably do things the right way. So photography was number one. What did you guys focus on next?

Briana DeBolt 15:21

Yeah, so we had, you know, some clients and we actually, we were working with a fellow food blogger doing a lot of her photography and videography for her at the time. And she also had a mentorship program. I’m not going to name her name because I don’t think she does it anymore. I don’t want to like send people her way. But she was an industry veteran and she said, yeah, I’ll help you guys. So it was just kind of this like crash course and SEO kind of like, you know, overview. I would say it was a little bit of everything. Like we had to redesign our site, which Yeah. Was totally needed. and just, you know, how to use different platforms more efficiently. And yeah. She helped us a ton and it kind of made us realize that we need to continue on the learning path.

Chamere Orr 16:02

Start diving into that information and like understanding what we need to know or what we need to search for so we don’t like, make the same mistakes or make new ones.

Briana DeBolt 16:11

I think we also ended up at the Tastemakers virtual conference in 2021. and Casey Murkey had chosen our site to do an audit, which, or mini audit. So that was so great that really also kind of.

Chamere Orr 16:24 

That was amazing.

Briana DeBolt 16:25

Yeah. Kickstarted to the next level and we’re like, okay, we need to get on his wait list soon. We started saving up money for that, but even the mini audit was like super helpful. Gave us a ton to work on, so we kind of started there.

Megan Porta 16:38

And sometimes you don’t know. You don’t know. I mean, that’s like such a cliche line to use, but you really don’t, like, you go on So true. And you’re like, well, I’m fine. Like things are going fine, but there’s things that you need to know but you don’t know what they are. So you need to find those people who are really good at what they do, who can teach you those things. Right.

Briana DeBolt 16:57

Yeah. We started listening to a lot of the top hat rank webinars and I mean, you listen to your podcast and Food Blogger Pro and we were, you know, just kind of trying to still piece information together while we were like waiting to work with Casey. We actually didn’t work with Casey until last fall, last October. We were finally had our audit where I know we had sort of fine tuned things a little bit. You know what, we’ll ahead of time he’ll reach out and let you know some things to work on. And we took the cooking with keywords course, which was wildly helpful for us. Oh yeah. I feel like I finally really understood like search intent and you know, what the user is looking for.

Megan Porta 17:36

That’s a biggie right there. The keyword SEO thing. I think I hear a lot of food bloggers say that they avoided that because it’s really daunting. Like, what is this thing? This SEO thing, do I really need to know it? I probably don’t. And then it gets pushed aside. But that is huge. Did you guys notice a huge uptick in like traffic and everything once you started digging into the keywords?

Briana DeBolt 17:59

Absolutely. Yeah, it was, I mean, it made me realize, you know, so at the time I mentioned earlier we were doing like a low carb keto kind of niche for a while, and I was sort of trying to target keywords that I’m like, oh, I think I understand, then I’ll just make this white chocolate raspberry cookie and this looks great, but people aren’t looking for a low carb version of that, you know? So I was putting out pretty well thought out content, but it wasn’t quite the search intent. So yeah. You know, it’s been going back through and kind of reworking a lot of those pieces of content since then, now that I understand, oh, if people are searching that they’re just looking for a regular cookies.

Megan Porta 18:38

So you guys went from low carb keto and now how would you describe your niche now?

Briana DeBolt 18:44

Yeah, I would just say we have kind of gone back to just more wholesome, pretty standard, but I mean, not standard. We like flavor. We’re really flavor forward. You know, make some like family heirloom recipes and kind of try to put a new spin on ’em. And it’s a lot of like comfort food.

Chamere Orr 19:01

Things that are approachable.

Briana DeBolt 19:03

But like a little elevated. So, I don’t know. We do everything from cocktails to regular desserts now and making salads that you actually want to eat, stuff like that.

Chamere Orr 19:13

Sauces, dinners. Yeah. A little bit of everything.

Megan Porta 19:16

Do you feel like since landing on this new focus that things have, like your user has appreciated it more, that you’ve found more people who really fall into this category?

Briana DeBolt 19:27

Yeah, I mean, we’ve definitely had some people that have been with us from the beginning that, you know, they do kind of want more of the low carb stuff too. So we have really, we definitely keep stuff up for them. But overall, yeah, we’ve definitely expanded our reach a lot. And just personally, we feel a lot more fulfilled. It’s been really great to just, yeah, I don’t know. Let my brain run a little bit more wild. I mean, obviously within the realms of finding a good keyword, but it’s like, you know, making stuff that people are searching for and that I actually kind of want to, want to make. I mean, like alternative baking, I’ll just make a mention of that is oh my gosh, I, I have some recipes that I’m really proud of that I made over the years. But yeah, it’s tough. , it can be really tricky working with alternative flowers and stuff at times. So, yeah, it’s been great.

Megan Porta 20:15

Feel like if you, if the blogger is aligned with the content, there’s so much you can do with it. But when you, like, I think you alluded to this, that eventually the low carb keto thing just didn’t really feel right anymore, and you just can’t go on with a niche if it doesn’t feel good.

Briana DeBolt 20:35

I mean, I think we were really trying to follow the advice that we got early on. Like, oh, you need to like, stick within your niche and, you know, just keep on with that. And so we, we tried to do that and we also kind of felt like, oh, we could eat like this for a long time. And then I kind of realized I couldn’t, and it was almost this like internal battle of like, oh my gosh, you know, I, I said I was going to do this forever. And I don’t know, holding yourself to these standards that you, you place on yourself and not really doing like what’s right for yourself. It’s just It’s going to burn you out in the end.

Megan Porta 21:05

It’s not a good recipe for success. Right? you’ve gotta love what you do.

Briana DeBolt 21:09

Yeah. And it’s, it’s good to be able, I mean, I would tell people to maybe start within a niche and then kind of, you know, reach out for or branch out, excuse me, from there if, if you want. It felt a little limiting after a while. Yeah. And the growth did feel a little stunted. It’s, it’s really competitive too. So it was just time.

Megan Porta 21:30

It was time to move on. Yep. Yeah. You just know. And then do you guys, like, have you explored outsourcing, hiring out, getting contractors on board?

Briana DeBolt 21:39

Yeah, so we tried a couple years ago initially, and that didn’t go so well with some of our initial hires, but I think that kind of scared us off from hiring out for a while. But I’m really, really glad that we decided to take the leap again. This was actually just a couple months ago. We now have five contractors that we’re working with really regularly. And it’s just been, I don’t know, it’s, it’s been so helpful to just get some things off our plate. We have people making Google web stories and doing video editing and writing blog posts. Yeah. So that’s been just like a huge load off of our plates.

Megan Porta 22:17

It’s one of those things that it’s really hard to take the leap into because you can justify it by saying, well, I could do this, I can keep doing it . But then the time that you’re allowed, when you do release, it offers so much potential. Like you have so much more opportunity to create new things and do things that you love and you’re inspired by. Have you guys found that you’ve just opened up new worlds of opportunity by outsourcing?

Briana DeBolt 22:44

Yeah. Definitely. I mean, it’s still a little bit of like , I have to refine our processes, I think a little bit more. It’s just kind of getting stuff ready, even for the contractors has been an adjustment. That’s like, one thing I would probably tell other people is try to get some processes in place before you start working with other people. because I didn’t have very good processes ahead of time, so Yeah. But now that I’m kind of, that’s falling into line, it’s just feeling like really great that I can get, you know, a video back. And just do a voiceover over it. And then the blog post is mostly written. So yeah.

Chamere Orr 23:15

We can like kind of stay within our zones of like genius and not spread ourselves too thin, which has been great.

Briana DeBolt 23:22

Or even just, you know, with web stories, I think we just stopped doing them. Yeah. We weren’t even doing them for a while because we were just too overwhelmed. And I’ve definitely seen a ton of traffic from them in the past. And you know, they help a lot.

Megan Porta 23:36

Do. They’re still working by the way people, like, I’ve heard so many people say, well, I heard someone say that they’re going to die soon, so I’m going to stop. I’m like, no, they’re not dead. Keep doing them.

Briana DeBolt 23:47

Yeah. I would tell people to keep doing them too. It’s, yeah, it’s just, it’s really nice to feel like we’re now getting extra eyes on our content again because for, you know, a few months I just, I just totally stopped doing it all together, which is not ideal obviously. Yeah. So, yeah. Had too much going on.

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Kara – Sponsor 24:37

I feel like just a major win for me was my business as a whole has grown from being in this because it’s helped me not just like I said in a specific area, but overall in all the little tiny things that you don’t think will really move the needle. It actually did as an overall really move the needle for me. And I grew a lot over the course of a year from all these little changes that everybody recommended to me.

Megan Porta 25:00

Do you have advice for people who are stuck in this thinking that outsourcing is going to cause more problems than help, just especially going into Q4? I feel like yeah. Maybe people just need some encouragement there.

Briana DeBolt 25:13

Yeah, definitely, I mean, I can, first of all, I, we can relate, like I said, we had, you know, a little bit of bad luck at first not hire, making the right hires. And so it can be a little scary, but you should keep trying. You’ll find the right person. And once you do, it’s just, yeah. It just takes a whole load off your plate. And start slow though. Also, that’s the other thing, I mean, we have five people we’re working with now. I mean, one of ’em is my little brother, so Yeah. And his girlfriend actually. So , they, yeah, they help us out. But yeah, start slow. I started with these guys because I could train them, you know, at my house. My little brother lives with us, so it was very like hands-on. That was good for me to start because I feel like I wanted a little bit more control over the process. And now he does things like exactly how I want them done. So it’s, it’s great. And then from there you can just kind of slowly figure out like what you’re not loving or what’s taking up the most time that you don’t want to keep doing. And you know, we started asking a lot of blogger friends, like, do you have any recommendations? Stuff like that. and just little by little, you know? Yeah. Find somebody to help you with that task. And just start small. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Like maybe just, you know, four blog posts a month or something like that. Start there and you’ll, you know, kind of see where you’re needing more help or if you can afford to take on more help. And yeah. A lot of these people are contractors who do this kind of stuff, so they’re, you know, that’s just like a, I guess, standard for them to not be like a whole part-time position.

Megan Porta 26:43

Absolutely. And then you mentioned getting an audit and doing the cooking with keywords. Did you guys do anything like with your website as far as designing it or anything like that?

Briana DeBolt 26:53

What we used to be on a different theme, but after.

Chamere Orr 26:55

Yeah. We used to be on a different theme, but after we got our audit with Casey, we moved to the feast theme.

Briana DeBolt 27:01

Yeah. Or was that right before? Actually that was right before? It was right before. Either way we found out that we should probably switch to the feast theme just for ease of use. We had a lot of like custom stuff that we had done on our site over the years. And yeah. That was a game changer for us as well. It’s just so easy and streamlined and fast and Yeah. It’s just great to not have to think about all this stuff all the time.

Chamere Orr 27:25

Or like if a problem pops up and there’s like, you made some custom adjustments, you’re like, all right, what did I do a year ago that’s causing this problem now? Like, we just don’t have to worry about that.

Briana DeBolt 27:35

We don’t have to worry about that anymore. Yeah. When we had custom stuff that we were doing that, that’s so.

Megan Porta 27:40

Oh my gosh. Yeah. It is. So I use feast as well, and I know there are some other good themes out there, but I love just the ease of use and everything’s so easy to set up and change and tweak and you, it just takes that out my mind. I don’t have to think about that. Which most of us don’t want to. Most of us aren’t super techie, so we don’t want to have to think about that.

Briana DeBolt 28:04

Yeah. You know, Chamere is pretty techie and he’s a little stubborn sometimes trying to fix things on his own. I’m like, Chamere, just submit a support ticket, please. Yeah. And he’s like, you know what? You’re right. I don’t have to do that anymore.

Chamere Orr 28:13

Yeah, I have a thing, like I really love figuring out tech stuff. So if there’s a problem on the blog, I’ll just like hone in on it, but then it’ll be like nine hours later and I’m like, yeah, I have, I just start sending support tickets.

Briana DeBolt 28:24

Yeah. I have to reign him in there and he’ll reign me in with like, I’ll try to like jam pack our calendar and he’ll be like, no, no, no. So, you know, we just, we balance each other out.

Megan Porta 28:33

You guys, what a great team you are. I love it. So what about the mindset side? Because everything you’re talking about is so valuable, but it’s a lot, I think everyone can acknowledge that blogging can be so much. How do you keep up with it just in, you know, keeping your mindset right and healthy and keep chugging along and all of that?

Briana DeBolt 28:56

That’s a really good question. And it’s something that we’re always still working on. I still struggle with kind of this like, I don’t know, overworking thing that I do trying to jam too much into the calendar, but yeah, just kind of, you know, start with like one thing and kind of really learn that and move on to something else. If you’re just starting out, you know, like, yeah, don’t try to spread yourself too thin and put yourself on like six different platforms. Like just pick like one or maybe two while you’re working on growing your blog or, you know, so that’s like one piece of advice. Do you have anything Chamere?

Chamere Orr 29:27

I think just focusing on recovery and trying to create systems that work great for you. Help. Like in the morning I’ll journal and I’ll say, this is what I need to do today. Here’s where my mind needs to be for these shoots. Here’s the kind of things we’re going to go through and just kind of set myself up for, for that. And then setting up systems, like if you know you’re tired at the end of the night, trying to get your shoots done in the morning is going to work better. Or focusing on like, maybe editing. You’re like, all right, maybe I’ll be too tired or maybe too busy in the morning. Midday is great for me. Kind of figuring out the points that work best for you. And working through that. And we, me and Brie have different systems. Like she can be a night owl. I’m more of a morning person. But figuring out what works best for you so you can get the most work done and be productive and not burn yourself out is really important. And kind of like learning those things.

Briana DeBolt 30:11

Yeah. I mean, it is still a work in progress though. I will say that we definitely don’t have it all figured out. We’re really like trying to practice what we preach and yeah. I think one big one for us that I, I think I maybe heard you say it, I’m not sure Megan, but it was like commitment over feelings. Kind of like sticking to what you say you’re going to do even when you don’t want to. Yeah. But then also on the flip side, making sure, you know, you’re not like jam packing your calendar. Yeah. Because there is a lot and it feels like it’s a never ending to-do list. And I mean, and truthfully it is, but at the end of the day, it’s like, you can only do what you can do. So, yeah. You know, putting too much on there is just like the, the quality of the work is going to suffer or you’re going to suffer or both. So yeah, just trying to figure out what’s actually manageable and not beating yourself up if you don’t get everything done on your to-do list. This is like, I’m telling me this.

Megan Porta 31:03

Yeah. Oh my gosh, that was so great you guys. That was like the best advice ever right there in that little. Thank you. And then, so what would you say is like the biggest takeaway? So I’m kind of hearing like, take care of yourself, know your limits, be consistent, but also just like investing in your business is kind of a key point.

Briana DeBolt 31:25

It is. Yeah. I mean, doing it all yourself is just, it’s, it’s only going to take you so far too. Kind of like how free resources will only take you so far. You know, eventually you’re going to get to a point where, you know, if you want to grow you’re going to need a little bit of help. And that’s totally okay. You do not need to do it all yourself. Yeah.

Chamere Orr 31:42

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Briana DeBolt 31:44

Oh, it’s the opposite. I mean, if you can find people that are really good at what they do and really great at editing, that’s awesome. Because, I don’t know, I’m not that great at that and I don’t enjoy it , so it’s, that’s, you know.

Megan Porta 31:57

Right. And there are so many pieces of the job that there’s no way you can be good at every part of it. So finding the people, like you’re saying Brianna, that are good, that is actually a good strategy. Just like, you can’t do it all. Sorry to tell you everyone, but you can’t do it all.

Briana DeBolt 32:14

You can’t. And that is like a, yeah, just a, I think a belief that a lot of bloggers have, or we had, you know, we’re thinking, oh, we have to do all this stuff and it’s just, it’s just too much. And yeah, it’s just, I don’t know. I feel like people outside of the industry just, they just never quite understand what it’s like. I mean, to like, have to like do dishes after a long day of photo shoots and have to, I don’t know, get up the next day and send off some emails and write up a blog post and it’s just, you know, it’s get, yeah. Getting help is just so necessary.

Megan Porta 32:44

Yeah. And you mentioned dishes, so that could be a good place to start too, if you do a lot of photo shoots and videos, having just a kitchen assistant come in to do your dishes. I mean, how huge is that?

Briana DeBolt 32:56

Yeah, actually my little brother does that for us, too. Yes. He does web stories and he is like kitchen and kind of like errand assistant. I mean, we also use like Instacart and stuff too. But it’s really helpful. I’ll even just have him sometimes, like, can you clean the kitchen for an hour afterwards? Because I’m just too tired. And so he can just do that. And it’s great. He works off a little bit of, we do it like a rent exchange. That’s how he wanted to run it. Yeah. So he’s like, cool. Yeah. I’ll get some money off my rent this month. So.

Megan Porta 33:27

. Yeah. There are those things outside of actual blogging that we don’t think about often. Like that, like having an assistant, having like even we have cleaners come into our home every so often. Just that takes a load off for me because I don’t feel like I have to deep clean every week, you know?

Briana DeBolt 33:46

Oh my gosh. It’s so huge. And you’re right. That makes me want to do that too. We’ve really been thinking about that. Because it would help a lot. It’s so time consuming.

Megan Porta 33:54

It is. Oh my gosh. Yes. Oh my gosh, so much. I mean, we could probably brainstorm and think, there’s so many things just thinking in your house and with your family and Yeah. Even like landscaping. If you don’t like your landscaping, hire someone to do that. You know? Instacart, you mentioned, you know, take a trip to the store. There’s so many things that you can do to free up your time that are not like hiring an SEO expert. You know, there’s Yeah. A lot more to think about.

Briana DeBolt 34:21

There’s other things. No, that’s a really good point actually. I think that’s something like a lot of people maybe overlook is just getting help with everyday tasks. Yeah. That’s that. Anything that you don’t want to do, think about or you know, that you maybe takes too much time, think about who could help you with that. Yeah. And yeah, and again, you can just start small. Just start with Instacart. I mean, that used to be something I used to be really hands-on with the grocery shopping. Yeah. And I’m pretty hands on with everything and I’ve really had to learn to like let go of that and Yeah. You know, maybe once in a while I’ll get like a package of strawberries or something that doesn’t look great. But we actually do live really close to a lot of grocery stores where we live in Chicago and we have a car, so it’s not, you know, it’s not terrible to have to just run out for one thing once in a while if I have to, but just, yeah. The hours that I get back, like not, you know, physically picking everything up and checking it out. It’s like, yes.

Megan Porta 35:15

Oh my gosh, that’s huge. It is hours. [inaudible] It is hours of time. Is there anything that we’re missing, you guys? That you want to touch on before we start saying goodbye? Any additional tips, words of encouragement for people who just need to find more time or need to streamline a little bit more? Anything at all?

Chamere Orr 35:37

Yeah. One mindset that’s been helping us a lot is try to get 1% better every day.

Briana DeBolt 35:44

Is that the Kaizen rule? I think, yeah.

Chamere Orr 35:46

Yeah. So it’s, you know, again, there’s so much to do in this business and it feels like you need to do everything. And something else we tell ourselves, it’s like, you can do everything, but not all at once. Yeah. So just finding these like small things that are going to help a lot and kind of become manageable and just help you get a little bit better every day. It’s the best thing.

Briana DeBolt 36:06

Yeah. I think it’s just like if it, it does require a lot of consistent effort. It’s sort of like a garden, right? I mean, it needs to be watered and weeded and, you know, all of that. So it does require consistent effort like most days, I would say for me at this stage, or for us at this stage. But it doesn’t mean that you have to spend like six hours every day on it. Especially if you’re just starting out, you know, if you have a full-time job and you don’t have a ton of time, you know, just like half an hour to an hour a day, even a very concentrated effort will, you’ll be amazed. Like, yeah. I don’t know. There’s another saying that I like that’s like, you’ll, I think it was Bjork from Food Blogger Pro who said this, it’s you’ll overestimate what you can do in a year and then you’ll underestimate what you can do in five years. And I just love that because Yeah. You know, again, like we’ve talked through me being way too excited about getting too many shoots on the calendar and, you know, I’m like, oh, I can’t quite do that. You know, in a year I think I’ll be somewhere and, and, and maybe I won’t. But then in five years you look back and you’re just kind of, yeah. Just really amazed at the progress that you, that you make. So.

Megan Porta 37:11

That’s so true, isn’t it? It’s weird how we warp time in our minds so much.

Briana DeBolt 37:16

So, yeah, it’s so true. We totally do that. Yeah.

Megan Porta 37:19

It’s a consistent thing that I think all of us do, but this was so great, Brianna and Chamere, thank you guys so much. I love that you showed up together and talked through all of this. And then I have one last question for you that’s off topic, but how do you guys, like, do you have any tips for just working as a team? I know that some people listening are either starting to do that or thinking about working with a partner or spouse or, you know, friend or whatever. Yeah. Do you have a tip for us on how to make that smooth?

Briana DeBolt 37:49

That’s a really good question. It really is. Because people ask, they’re like, you work with your husband, isn’t that just like so crazy? Isn’t that stressful? And I’m like you know what, what? We have a few moments, but you know, recently we’ve really just decided that we are not going to get like on, you know, photo shoot days is when this happens. Usually. Yeah. It’s always photo shoot days because they get a little long and we’re tired. Where we get a little bit, you know, like we start bickering a little bit and we have just decided to kind of take a moment. I think we kind of got this from like, have you seen the bear on Hulu? You know how they kind of like rub their, we don’t do the rubbing the chest, but we have a sort of like.

Megan Porta 38:29

Hey, yes, I know what you mean. Yeah.

Briana DeBolt 38:30

We always reference that part where they’re like. Hey, we don’t need to be doing this right now. Now that’s helped a lot.

Chamere Orr 38:36

Yeah. I think another thing too is, you know, the work, you are working together and you have a relationship, so taking time to do things outside of work for the relationship and kind of like, get away from that like, business partner role. And just taking time to do things as an individual. Like every morning I’ll meditate in journal so I can start writing, you know, we’ll have times where we’ll just hang out, maybe take a little break and do things for ourselves as individuals so that when we come to work we’re like our best selves.

Briana DeBolt 39:07

Yeah. I mean, we do spend a ton of time together. Yeah. And that is, you know, I don’t know, I, I’ve definitely picked the right person though. Chamere is so positive. He’s so positive. He’s so much more positive than me at times. He really helps me like stay on track, you know, and I like, kind of want to be better for him to make the work environment better and for myself too. But, but yeah, I think it’s just learning to not get too heated in those times of stress and taking a step back and communicating. Communicating is a big one. And then, yeah, like Chamere said, like making more time for date nights. We’re going camping. We’re going to the upper peninsula of Michigan this weekend. Family thing. But also just to relax and it’s going to be like peak fall colors and we’re just so excited about that.

Megan Porta 39:52

Gosh, that sounds amazing. And then when you go, so when you go, will you bring laptops? Will you discuss work at all?

Briana DeBolt 39:59

I think we’re probably going to bring lap. No, we’re going to bring laptops because we have a couple of client projects this time of year. I don’t know when the podcast is going to air, but we’re coming up on Q4 like very quickly. So we just have a lot of client projects that are going live soon and I just want to make sure I don’t, I don’t know. That might be a little bit of irrational fear, but I’d rather have it and not need it than, than.

Chamere Orr 40:21

Than need it and not have it.

Megan Porta 40:22

Yeah. I’ve always carried my laptop with me and then I think, was it in July this year? My husband and I went to New York just to get away. Just the two of us. and I, oh wait, was it that trip or? No, it was a different one. Okay. We took a different trip recently where I just said like, I’m going to leave my laptop home. And he looked at me like I was crazy because I’ve never done that. But you guys, it was so liberating. Now if you have stuff that you need to keep an eye on, I totally get it. But it felt so good. I felt like the most free woman ever in the world. So I need to do that more often. Just like, okay, we can deal with it when we get back. Nothing is going to crumble.

Briana DeBolt 41:02

Yep. Just put your away message on.

Megan Porta 41:06

Yeah, exactly.

Briana DeBolt 41:07

We do have another camping trip coming up the following week, right? Yeah, yeah. This is, yeah. A little crazy for us to do two trips like that. But yeah, and that one it’s, I dunno if you’ve heard of ’em, these getaway house cabins, they’re really cool. Yeah. For like city slickers like us who don’t have all the camping gear.

Megan Porta 41:24

Oh, I love it.

Briana DeBolt 41:25

Yeah, there’s cabins that have, you know, air conditioning and heat and a really comfortable bed and shower and you know, a little kitchen area. Yeah, it’s, they’re so great. And not a lot of cell phone service. We’re going to like the Star Rock State Park area in Illinois. So that should be really pretty then too. And we’re not going to have laptops then.

Megan Porta 41:46

Oh, enjoy you guys. You deserve it. You guys work hard. Well, thank you so much for being here, both of you. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.

Briana DeBolt 41:55

It was so great talking to you.

Megan Porta 41:57

Yes, agreed. I know you shared some encouragement. I don’t know if that was your words of inspiration or do you have something additionally, either a quote or words of inspiration to share?

Briana DeBolt 42:07

Oh, I think we like that was like my main one I think was yeah, just a little bit better every day. You’ll be amazed at how, how it kind of compounds.

Chamere Orr 42:18

Keep it manageable and write it out. You’ll be great.

Megan Porta 42:22

I love it so much. Inspiration. Thanks guys. We’ll put together show notes page for you. If you head over to eatblogtalk.com/afullliving, you can check that out. Tell everyone where they can find you.

Briana DeBolt 42:36

Yeah, we are “A Full Living” on all platforms. Yes. That’s three L’s in a row. Maybe something we should have considered, but you know. Yeah, we’re on all platforms. That’s where you can find us. We’re mainly on Instagram and Pinterest. Little bit of TikTok. A little bit of TikTok.

Megan Porta 42:53

Yeah. Everyone go check out. Briana and Chamere. Thank you so much for being here and thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.

Outro 43:03

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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