In episode 494, Ella Gilbert teaches us how to create extra income streams for our business through freelancing while still maintaining time for your blog.
We cover information about the viability of having a career in freelancing, how to build your personal brand, develop strong relationships and manage your time.
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Bio Ella is a food blogger focused on cozy & approachable recipes for the modern baker and home cook. Ella is also a food photographer and writer for other food bloggers.
- Freelancing as a Viable Career: Freelancing offers a viable career path, providing opportunities for individuals to showcase their skills and expertise in a flexible and independent manner.
- Personal Branding: Building a strong personal brand is crucial in freelancing, enabling freelancers like Ella to differentiate themselves and attract clients based on their unique skills, experience, and reputation.
- Client Relationship Management: Clear communication, transparency, and professionalism foster long-term client partnerships.
- Continuous Skill Development: Freelancers need to prioritize continuous skill development to stay relevant in the ever-evolving market, by consistently upgrading skills and knowledge.
- Time Management and Discipline: Managing time effectively and maintaining discipline are essential for freelancers to balance multiple projects, meet deadlines, and maintain a sustainable work-life balance.
- Value Proposition: Ella stresses the importance of articulating a clear value proposition to potential clients, demonstrating how freelancers can communicate the benefits of their services and expertise to meet client needs effectively.
- Financial Management: Freelancers need to prioritize financial management, including budgeting, invoicing, and tax considerations, to ensure financial stability and sustainability in their freelance careers.
- Work-Life Balance: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for freelancers’ well-being and productivity – set boundaries and allocate time for personal pursuits and relaxation.
- Adaptability and Resilience: Freelancers must be adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges and uncertainties, demonstrating the ability to navigate setbacks, learn from failures, and persevere in pursuing their career goals.
Click for full script.
EBT494 – Ella Gilbert
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.
Are you one of those bloggers who’s in that area of your business where you’re not quite making money, or maybe you are monetized but you’re not making as much money as you want to make and you just want more money to be coming into your business? If this sounds like you, then this episode is going to be really helpful. Ella Gilbert from Alpine Ella joins me in the episode and she talks about how to create streams of revenue for your business through freelancing work. What I love about her strategy is that it’s super simple, it’s easy to implement. There really are no hangups and she just makes it really easy to get started. She talks about this whole thing with balance because I know this is an issue for a lot of people. Once you start freelancing, it’s really hard to stop because you’re making money, but then you’re not spending time on your blog. So we talked through a lot of the issues involved with that and how to think through it. There are a lot of little details that Ella talks through, such as organizing your clients and the people that you reach out to. How to send pitch emails, creating a really easy free portfolio for people to look at if you’re doing photography and how to easily create contracts. Enjoy. This is an amazing episode. It is number 494, Sponsored by RankIQ.
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Megan Porta 03:32
Ella is a food blogger focused on cozy and approachable recipes for the modern baker and home cook. She is also a food photographer and writer for other food bloggers. Hello Ella. How are you today? Thanks for joining me.
Ella Gilbert 03:44
Hi, I’m so good. Thank you so much for having me here.
Megan Porta 03:47
Yay. I’m excited to chat about creating extra streams of revenue through freelancing, but first you know what’s coming. Do you have a fun fact to share?
Ella Gilbert 03:56
Oh yes. I’ve had this prepared already. so though I might not sound like it. I am actually from Switzerland. Oh. Yeah, so as my blog name suggests Alpine Ella, I’m from Switzerland, but I lived in the US for most of elementary school, which is how I got this accent and the accent just stuck around even when we moved back to Switzerland.
Megan Porta 04:22
Oh my gosh, that’s so cool. How long were you in Switzerland?
Ella Gilbert 04:24
I think it was about like oh, in Switzerland. So I was born there and then we moved to the US when I was maybe like five and then we moved back to Switzerland when I was 11 and I just stayed there till it was time to go to university. So now I actually live in London. It is so confusing.
Megan Porta 04:40
Wow. Yes. All over the place. Yeah, so Switzerland is one of those places that I feel like a lot of Americans say they want to go. Yeah. But they’re just never do give us, I don’t know, just like encourage us to go visit. What is great about Switzerland?
Ella Gilbert 04:55
I mean sometimes when I go, I mean I’m so used to like the neighborhood that I’m from and where my family lives, but one we’ll go to other places, not even that far away. I’m just like, how is this place real? This looks like something out of a movie. Like I can’t take it sometimes it’s just like this is far too pretty. It is so beautiful. And also, I mean if you’re a food blogger, you obviously love food, so you’re going to love Switzerland, all the chocolate, all the cheese.
Megan Porta 05:23
Chocolate and cheese. My favorites.
Ella Gilbert 05:26
Two best things.
Megan Porta 05:28
Is there one place you would say we have to go if we go visit? Where do we start in Switzerland?
Ella Gilbert 05:35
So I’m actually from the French, so nice and confusing as well. Switzerland has like three areas, Italian, French, and German. I’m from the French part, but I actually recommend going to the German part, which looks more like the traditional Switzerland that you imagine. I went to Zurich last year. I think that’s a great starting point and from there you can easily take a fancy Swiss train to the Alps and just go see beautiful lakes, but then you can also easily go back into the city. So I’d start off in Zurich and go from there.
Megan Porta 06:05
Okay, done. I’m looking for Zurich flights later. Oh, I was sold on the most beautiful place you can imagine it’s out of a movie. So yes. I’m going officially. Thank you Ella for inspiring. Okay, so we’re going to talk today about freelancing as a way to create a new stream of revenue for your blog blogging business, I should say. But first, do you want to tell us a little bit about your blog to kind of preface our chat?
Ella Gilbert 06:30
Yeah, sure. So I started my blog Alpine Ella in the summer of 2020. Basically like so many other bloggers, I suddenly had a lot more time at home. And this was something I’d always wanted to do. I started a blog actually in 2016, but I found it really difficult to get started and was too shy to tell people about it. So that only lasted a few months. So officially 2020 is when it started and I was just working towards getting into MediaVine or Ad Thrive, but I knew that I had to leave my corporate job to really spend the time that it needed if I wanted to get this business off the ground. So at the end of 2021, I handed in my notice and I started working on Alpine Ella full-time. And at the same time I started pitching to bloggers to work as a food photographer and writer to help supplement my income.
Megan Porta 07:23
Okay. So it’s relatively short. I mean this happened very recently and you’ve found great success to frame it just how, how much have you worked freelancing since then?
Ella Gilbert 07:37
So I’ve been doing that. I think I got my first few clients in March, 2022 and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Megan Porta 07:46
Okay. And do you have like, do you juggle like a certain number of freelance clients at all times or do you just kind of, does it vary by season?
Ella Gilbert 07:55
It definitely varies by season. This was something that I did not realize when I first started was that so many bloggers take the summer off. So that first summer was a bit of a shock.
Megan Porta 08:05
Like where did everyone go?
Ella Gilbert 08:08
But all of my clients in like June were like, okay, well see you in September. And I was like, wait, what? Come back. So that is definitely something to keep in mind if you want to start freelancing for other food blockers as a photographer or writer is that summer is slow. Yeah. So I learned my lesson after that first year, but right now I’ve got a couple of writing jobs I do for food bloggers and then two other photography clients and it really varies depending on the season, how much work they give me. Sometimes they’ll give me four recipes a month and sometimes it’s one or two. So totally depends on the season.
Megan Porta 08:45
So don’t start in June or May looking for clients. Definitely September and Beyond, right? Yeah. So how do we get started with this? Because I do know quite a few food bloggers who are just on that cusp of not quite in an ad network and want to be, but want income, want to quit their full-time jobs and don’t know how, and this could be a great option. So how do they get started?
Ella Gilbert 09:06
Yeah, definitely. That was something that I really struggled with when I was like, I, like you said, I really wanted to leave my corporate job and I know people are doing this, but no one seems to be talking about how they do it, how they find people. So this is basically what I did. I first started off with thinking about what type of client I wanted to work with, especially when it comes to photography taking photos of the food because I really had to think, okay, well what type of food do I like making? What type of food do I like taking photos of? And also what type of food am I happy to eat? Because as a food blogger we know there’s like just so many leftovers. So I mainly eat plant-based, so not so much meat. So I wasn’t going to go for a blog that specializes in like smokers and ribs. Yeah, would be kind of difficult. And I also have to think, since I live in the UK but I work with all my clients are in North America, I also have to think about what ingredients are they maybe using that I can’t find here in the UK. So that is definitely something to keep in mind when you get started.
Megan Porta 10:11
Okay, that makes sense. You don’t want a bunch of leftover meat if you’re not a meat eater. You want to make the most of the food you’re creating.
Ella Gilbert 10:19
Megan Porta 10:20
Okay. And then do you think through that as a writer as well or more so as a photographer?
Ella Gilbert 10:25
So I think like that more for photography and what I actually do is when I started I put together a type of package that I was going to offer. So as a food blogger I was like, well what would I want in terms of images, like ingredient shots, process shots, how many final images? And then I also added into this package writing option. So I created a little package with, you know, I think it was like one ingredient shot, four process shots, four final shots. And also I can write the blog post for you and it just creates a nice package and makes it a lot easier for food bloggers to decide. Okay, I do want to work with you, this sounds great. Or actually could you, could we maybe curate something so the package is more tailored to what I need? Maybe they don’t need the writing, maybe they don’t do ingredient shots or process shots.
Megan Porta 11:14
I have never heard of anyone offering a package for both photos and writing. But as you said it, I was like brilliant. Yes. A lot of us want that. We all want the whole package.
Ella Gilbert 11:24
Two birds, one stone. Exactly.
Megan Porta 11:26
I love it. Okay, so once you think through the type of blogger and maybe the type of photography you’re doing and writing what’s next?
Ella Gilbert 11:35
So one thing you’re going to, just to keep in mind, you’re going to have to contact a lot more bloggers than you think. I wish someone had told me this when I started because I was like, what am I doing wrong? No one’s getting back to me. But you just have to think about how many emails all these bloggers are getting every day. They’re not going to get back to you right away. If ever, maybe they’re just in a season of their life where they enjoy doing the writing, they enjoy doing the photography. So just be prepared to reach out to a lot more people than you initially think.
Megan Porta 12:04
How many would you say, just to give people an idea? Like how, what percentage out of 10, how many would you say actually reply?
Ella Gilbert 12:11
Out of 10 when I reach out the first time, maybe one or two will reply. And then sometimes that’s no thank you or not right now. Or sometimes it’s, yeah, gimme some more information. But I always recommend if you’re pitching to then reach back out in a week or two.
Megan Porta 12:29
Okay, perfect. So follow-ups are important.
Ella Gilbert 12:34
A definite must.
Megan Porta 12:35
How many follow-ups do you do? Do you do one or more?
Ella Gilbert 12:37
I usually just do one after that. I’m like, this is annoying for them. Like if I was getting this in my inbox, I’d be like, please stop.
Megan Porta 12:43
Yeah, I think three, like three total. because I do get pitches for random things. and three I’m not annoyed by, but if it kept going I would be like, okay.
Ella Gilbert 12:54
Please stop. Especially if they’ve gotten back to me and they’re like, I’m not interested. Right. And then a few weeks later you’re like, how about now? It’s like, no, don’t, don’t do that. Yeah. So usually what I do is if I don’t get any responses after a couple of emails the next quarter I’ll circle back and try again.
Megan Porta 13:09
Okay. And how do you find the bloggers that you reach out to? Do you just browse through blogs that align with you and your food or?
Ella Gilbert 13:16
Really similar to that. So my wonderful grand friend Gabby over at Cookie Dough Diaries, she really helped me get started because she has also done some food photography for other food bloggers. So she recommended using Pinterest. I think something that is really important when you want to find, especially for food photography clients, someone to pitch to is finding a blogger that has a similar photography style to you. And I felt like using Google those pictures, the featured image is so small when you’re searching on Google versus Pinterest where you can really see what their photography style is like. So what I tend to do is go on there and search for an item that I know I can photograph and I want to photograph. So let’s say brownies since I mainly focus on baked goods and I start searching through brownies and looking at different food bloggers who have a style that is similar to mine. And then after that I go onto their website and you can actually start having a look to see if they’re already using a photographer. Because Like when I was just looking at food blogs as a regular person and not a food blogger, I didn’t even know that bloggers were using other people as photographers. But the best way that I found to see if someone is using someone is I go on their site, I scroll down to their recipe card and sometimes they’ll credit the photographer or I then go on their social media and usually at the bottom of the caption if they’ve used a photographer, it’ll say who took the photo. I also recommend checking out their about me section. If they have a whole section about how they love taking photos, then I’m probably not going to reach out to them because they’re not going to be the right client to pitch to.
Megan Porta 14:51
Okay. Yeah, that’s smart to kind of do your pre-work before you pitch. And what do your pitches entail? Are they pretty lengthy? Are they short?
Ella Gilbert 15:00
So I try and keep it short and sweet. My biggest mistake when I first started was just like giving everything away right away, sending them my packages, just putting everything out there and there was almost no reason for people to respond because I’d answered all their questions. So what I do now is an initial outreach email to say you know who I am, I link to my blog and I also link to my portfolio, which I can talk about in a second as well. And just explain kind of, you know, what value I can bring to them. Maybe they hate taking photos, maybe they have a young family and they don’t really have the time. So I’m just trying to frame it as like what value I have and how I can help them in their business. And then I just say, let me know if you’re interested in learning more about my packages.
Megan Porta 15:46
Okay. So talk about your portfolio. What is entailed with that?
Ella Gilbert 15:51
Yeah, so I know some food bloggers will just have a section on their own blog with images as a portfolio. But I actually love using Pixieset I think yeah Pixieset, which is where you can create a free portfolio. I think it’s mainly geared toward like wedding photographers , but I’ve been using it as a free portfolio and it’s been really good and it’s also really easy to set up.
Megan Porta 16:15
Okay. I’ve actually just recently heard about Pixieset. Somebody in my mastermind mentioned it and I had not heard of it before but is it something that is completely standalone? Correct. So you don’t have to like create a new, a whole new platform yourself?
Ella Gilbert 16:30
Exactly, like you can pay extra to have you know your own URL because right now I think for me it says something like my name and then .pixieset.com or something and you can’t personalize it as much with the free one. But I think it’s great to just like have a portfolio and then I think I have a section that’s about me and that’s kind of all you need.
Megan Porta 16:51
Yeah. In your pitch email, do you say anything like, I think our photography styles are similar or anything like that? Or do you just link to the portfolio?
Ella Gilbert 17:00
I usually just link to the portfolio but I do try and make it personal. Like number one, include their name. I know as a food blogger the number of emails I get from random brands or people that just say Hi Alpine Ella. You couldn’t even look at my name? And then also you know, is it a food blogger who’s recipes you’ve already made, definitely talk about that. Just try to make it more personal and less like you’re sending out a blank blanket email to people.
Megan Porta 17:26
There’s nothing that can make your email get deleted faster than that. I get so many emails that are addressed to Eat like Blog Talk. I’m like really? You can’t even find what my first name is. And I don’t even read those emails. I just delete immediately. You don’t put the time into finding what my name is then sorry.
Ella Gilbert 17:49
Yeah. You’re definitely not going to get my time then if you can’t even figure that out.
Megan Porta 17:53
Yes, exactly. So your follow-up emails, what do you say there? Do you just say something like, hey circling back or?
Ella Gilbert 18:00
A hundred percent. So basically just wanted to reach out again and see if you got my email. I know like with so many other people it’s hard to stay on top of your inbox. Even when I try starring things and being like, oh I have to reply to this. I know emails can get lost or they can go to spam as well. Like I’ve had clients reach out to me like prospective clients and it actually goes to my spam and I feel so bad. Oh so definitely everyone check your spam folder. You never know.
Megan Porta 18:27
Yeah. Yeah exactly.
Hello food bloggers. Let’s take a quick break to chat about my favorite keyword research tool, RankIQ. I love how the way I’ve used RankIQ has evolved over time. Here is one new creative way I have been using the tool. I go to the keyword library in RankIQ and I type in the topic of the post I’m creating or updating. An example is if I update my pulled pork recipe, I would type pulled pork into the include section and apply filter. I’d then sort from lowest to highest competition and browse through the keywords that populate. Starting from the top I would pick three or so of these keywords that would help to round out my post a couple examples, can you freeze pulled pork? And, brisket versus pulled pork. Now I put those selected keywords into my pulled pork post as H2s and type my best answers to the questions underneath the body copy. This is a great way to potentially grab other low competition keywords outside the main keyword I’m shooting for. Feel free to use this strategy as well. I hope you do. Head over to rankiq.com to test it out for yourself. Now back to the episode.
Megan Porta 19:38
Okay. Anything else with pitches that we should know?
Ella Gilbert 19:41
Keeping it all organized, like I said before, because you’re going to email so many people, it is so important to have everything organized. I love using Google sheets and what I do is I just have created a table with the blogger name, their URL, their email address, the date that I last contacted them and what that last contact was. So for example, like I said, I reach out at least once after if they don’t respond right away. So I’d say like second email, no response. Or if they did respond I and they said, Hey you know, I enjoy taking my photos or I already work with a food photographer or a writer, I can then note that down that way I don’t do that annoying thing like I mentioned, which is get back in a week and be like, hey remember me And they’re like, I just told you. And also that way, like I said, every quarter I can then just filter it by date and be like okay, who never responded, who should I reach out to this quarter?
Megan Porta 20:38
Yeah, that’s a good strategy. How many people do you reach out to? Do you have a total number that you strive for?
Ella Gilbert 20:46
So when I was first starting out or when I’ve been looking for new clients, I kind of try and give myself a daily target of like just 10 emails. Sometimes that’s reaching out again to someone or sometimes that’s reaching out to a brand new client. But I felt like having a manageable chunk made me be like, okay, 10 emails, I can do that, that’s fine. And then usually once I’ve done that for a couple days, you’ll start getting responses in and then I can usually kind of peter out.
Megan Porta 21:13
Alright, well this, I mean it seems really easy, it’s not a big deal to have like a little template and to scope out your people and then reach out to them. You have organizations you know exactly who you’re reaching out to. Anything else we should know about that process for like pitching and all of that?
Ella Gilbert 21:30
Yeah, I think something that’s really important to talk about is contracts and exclusivity. Contracts for both photography and writing, but exclusivity especially for the photos. So usually what I do when I, let’s say I start talking to a client and maybe we have a trial, that’s another thing that I like to do with prospective clients is maybe a trial month where it’s like, okay, let’s see if we work well together, is the vibe right after that I usually ask if they have a contract that they want to use. If not, I can provide one. It’s super important because it protects both you and the client. Mine is super simple. It basically just says, you know, what date do they have to give me the recipes every month either to photograph or to write? When do I have to send the work back? At what point do they have to pay me and how much that is. And then what happens if we have to have reshoots or rewrites?
Megan Porta 22:23
Okay. I like simple, simple contracts are good because we’ve all received those elaborate contracts that we’re like, do I have to read all of this.
Ella Gilbert 22:31
I’m like, I don’t know what every other word means.
Megan Porta 22:34
Exactly. They overwhelm me. Okay, so you do a trial month, which I really like. I think that’s really important because if your writing doesn’t jive with what they’re doing or your photography then you know move on, right?
Ella Gilbert 22:47
Exactly. And sometimes at first that can obviously hurt your feelings. You’re like, oh no, what have I done? But it’s like maybe you guys just weren’t the best match and that’s okay, because not only do I want to give a really good service to my clients, but I want them to have a good relationship with me too. So if the vibes aren’t right, that’s okay.
Megan Porta 23:05
Yeah, I think that’s really important to say because you don’t want to burn a bridge just because the vibe isn’t right. You want to re you know, retain the relationship and just be like it didn’t work and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to work with everyone. It’s like being friends with everyone. That’s not going to happen. You can’t do that. And just to be able to say like, okay, we’re going to part ways and that’s okay. Okay. Anything else we should know about like contracts or just getting started working together?
Ella Gilbert 23:34
Yeah, so the next part about contracts, exclusivity, that’s mainly to do with the images. So it’s like what can they do with your images and do they have to credit you? This is something that really scared me when I first started because I was like, this sounds scary and I don’t want to talk to clients about this because I feel like, I don’t know what I’m talking about but I feel like it’s becoming something that’s more normal now with food photographers working for other bloggers. So I feel super confident talking to clients about it and you guys should too. So basically what it means is that if a food blogger wants the images to be exclusive to them, they just have to pay an extra fee that we’ve agreed on. It means that they don’t have to credit me or link back to me on their site or social media channels and I can’t use the images in my portfolio.
Megan Porta 24:21
Okay. What is that fee? Would you mind? I mean like I don’t know if you want to say a dollar amount, but is it extraordinary or is it…
Ella Gilbert 24:29
Like $10,000. No. I wish. It’s around like a hundred dollars.
Megan Porta 24:35
Ella Gilbert 24:36
So when I’ve got clients who will tag me on social or they’ll tag me or they’ll link to me on their recipe page, it means that they haven’t paid that for that exclusivity. Which is great, because it’s a link back to your website.
Megan Porta 24:50
Oh right. Yeah. I think this is a piece that I definitely wouldn’t think of so, so interesting to think about that. Okay. Anything else with the contracts we should think about?
Ella Gilbert 25:00
Oh and I also mentioned in my contract within like six months we can reevaluate the fees. That’s just something that I add in terms of my rate card. But I’ll be honest, that’s not something I usually do after six months. I’m usually happy with my work. I think in terms of my rate card, I think that is something that’s really important when you’re setting up a contract with a client is in terms of how much you’re being paid. Are you happy like at the end of the day when you’ve done however many photo shoots are you like, Yes this was totally worth it? Or do you feel like oh I did so much work and I’m not super happy with what I’m getting.
Megan Porta 25:39
Yeah, reevaluating is good and just giving yourself that opportunity to do that even if it doesn’t need to happen. And then how many of your clients would you say you do the whole package? So writing photography or do you do mostly photography?
Ella Gilbert 25:52
So even though I offer both, actually none of my clients overlap in terms of photography and writing. So yeah, I’ve got two, three writing clients right now and then two other photography clients, but they’re not, not the same people.
Megan Porta 26:10
And then the obvious question about balance because of course we’re trying to operate our food blogs, our own content and maybe we’re trying to get into an ad network. So how do we balance that with the freelance because it can quickly become a, the freelance show where it’s like, oh this is now my business so how do we do that?
Ella Gilbert 26:33
A hundred percent. When I first started, so I was really lucky once I actually handed in my notice, I think like that week I was accepted into MediaVine. It just happened that way, which was amazing. Thank you Q4 traffic.
Megan Porta 26:47
Oh, timed well.
Ella Gilbert 26:49
Right. But as you know, once you’re into MediaVine you don’t get paid until it’s like 60, 90 days later, something like that and it takes a while to ramp up with the RPMs. So I was like, oh my gosh. I just went from a full-time job to not having any income coming in for a little bit. So at first I did go kind of wild with pitching to people and basically saying yes to everything. And that first year I was like, this is amazing. You can make so much money doing, you know, writing or photography for other clients, for other food bloggers. And I ended up not working on my blog as much because I was so focused on just this type of work. And then I got to the end of the year and I was like, wait, what am I doing? This is meant to be for Alpine Ella. Not for not for freelance work. So I totally hear you. It’s so hard to balance it, especially when you’re either trying to get towards MedianVine or you are on MediaVine but maybe the money isn’t where you want it to be yet. The thing that has definitely saved me in terms of planning my time is Asana. I dunno if you use that?
Megan Porta 27:57
I don’t, but I know people who do and love it.
Ella Gilbert 27:59
Yeah. So I used it at my old job so it was really easy because I already knew how, how to use it and how it worked. And I know some other people really love notion. I just use the free version of Asana and what I usually do, especially for my photography clients is schedule out my month. So my photography clients are first and I just try and get them done and then that means the rest of the month I can focus on my own blog and my own work.
Megan Porta 28:27
Hmm, that’s so smart because what you put in your calendar first gets done. Oh I love that. Okay. And that’s so simple and something that can be so easily overlooked like oh yeah, duh, just get it done right away, right? And I’m sure you can plan enough in advance with your clients that you are able to do that. It’s not like you take on last minute projects, I’m assuming?
Ella Gilbert 28:48
Yeah, definitely. Again, when I was starting off, if it was a last minute thing I was like, yeah, sure, I’ll just say yes to whatever. And then as time went on I was like, this is really stressful, I’m not going to do that anymore. So I just spoke to clients who were doing that and just kind of explained I need a bit more of lead time and they were also kind and they totally understood. But I mean like all of us are, you know, running our own business and kind of flying by the seat of our pants sometimes.
Megan Porta 29:14
Yep. All the time.
Ella Gilbert 29:15
So I totally understand why they’re sending me stuff kind of last minute, but yeah, so I just really communicate and again with the contract saying, you know, try and send me it by this day I will get you the photos or the blog post by this date. And also in terms of organizing time is being realistic about what you can really get done. Let’s say in a month if you have. So I’ve worked with like baking blockers, but I’ve also worked with more, I dunno how you describe it, like just healthy, regular food. Like salads and breakfast items. And obviously someone who’s doing a three layer cake with a filling and a different frosting is going to take a lot longer than a salad. So I just had to look at the clients that I’m working with or the clients who are getting in touch with me to be like, okay, let’s be realistic. How long is this going to take in my monthly calendar and how much time does that leave me to do Alpine Ella? Because that’s what I really want to grow at the end of the day.
Megan Porta 30:15
It’s super tempting for a lot of people, I think to bite off more they can chew and just like, oh I can do this because I need the money. Yeah. And then at the end of the month you have no time for your blog and I see that all the time. It’s a very common frustration. So I love your, your tips. So put the client work in the calendar first. Have an organizational tool that keeps you on track and then just like thinking through the content beforehand so you’re realistic and not making a layer cake in one hour or something like that. Any other tips you have for people who are either in the trenches with this or want to get started?
Ella Gilbert 30:52
Just one more thing about the scheduling. I also actually give everything like an extra day or half day in my calendar because I’m like, if I’m telling myself, oh, I’m going to be really strict, I’m going to get everything done on time, I know that a recipe will go wrong and I’m going to have to reshoot it all. Knowing my luck. So I do always give myself like a little buffer zone to make sure I am not scrambling and crying while taking photos of a cake. So don’t, don’t be like me. Don’t do that.
Megan Porta 31:23
Don’t do that. Yes. The buffer zone I think is important. Not just for client work, but for so many things in blogging, we need that extra day or half day just in case. Right. Something comes up.
Ella Gilbert 31:34
Yeah. I need, I need more than 24 hours in a day. That’s how I’m feeling.
Megan Porta 31:37
Yes. Right. Okay. So what if people are in their freelancing and they’re to the point where they just got an on an ad network and they’re ready to kind of back out of it. Do you have thoughts about that? Like how do we, you know, tell clients, you know, I’m, I’m focusing more on my blog, that sort of thing, because that can be really hard too.
Ella Gilbert 31:57
That can be hard. I think it can be so tough because everyone that I’ve met in the food blogging world is just so kind. And I think to do this job you do need to be, you know, kind and empathetic and creative. So it’s, it’s almost like no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. I think exactly like you said, just say, I usually say also in my contract we each have a 30 day notice period. So if either the client or I want to say, okay, I need to kind of close this chapter. We just give 30 days notice and finish any work that we might have with each other. But yeah, I would just kindly say, you know, I’m ready to focus more on my blog and on my own business and it’s been amazing working with you and hopefully we can maybe work together again in the future on other projects and just thank them.
Megan Porta 32:46
Again, retaining that relationship so you’re not burning any bridges, making anyone upset, it’s just time to move on. Right.
Ella Gilbert 32:53
A hundred percent. And also another way that I’ve gotten clients before is through word of mouth, through past clients. So maybe someone has said, oh, I’ve seen you’ve taken pictures from my friend X, do you have time to take photos from me? Or do you have time to write blog posts for me? So that’s another reason just I try and keep things really nice. With all of my clients because like you never know, you might get some more work through people that they know.
Megan Porta 33:18
Yeah, for sure. Okay. This is so helpful. I know a couple of people who are going through this right now, they’re just, they’re struggling with the balance and the money and like, where’s the money and I need work. So I think this is going to be really helpful for those types of people. Is there anything we’re missing that you feel like we should touch on before we start wrapping up?
Ella Gilbert 33:38
No, I mean I think the only other thing I would recommend is even once you have some clients in place still maybe pitch a little bit, maybe set aside a certain amount of time every month or every quarter just to pitch to other bloggers because you never know what can happen. Maybe the people that you’re working with are going to go in a different direction or sometimes, like we said before, maybe you’re not the best fit and that’s okay. I mean, you both want to be happy. So I always recommend pitching just a little bit, not enough again that you get so overwhelmed because you have so much work. But yeah, especially in the beginning when maybe you don’t have that many clients and you’re still trying to figure things out whenever things would fall through with someone. My husband who works in sales is like always be pitching.
Megan Porta 34:24
Good advice. I think that’s great advice. Yeah. because you just never know, like three clients could leave in one month and then you’re like, oh crap, I need to scramble.
Ella Gilbert 34:34
Or like I was saying with the summer thing, I hadn’t been, you know, once I had those clients in place I was like, amazing. And then the next week they’re all like, okay, bye. I was like, oh, okay.
Megan Porta 34:44
Oh where did you guys go?
Ella Gilbert 34:44
Yeah. And that’s when my husband was like, you need, yeah. Maybe pitch a bit more like, okay.
Megan Porta 34:49
Yeah, I think your husband gave you good advice. So that’s a really good way to end. Well thank you Ella. This was so fun. I love all the information you shared and we appreciate you today. So thanks for being here.
Ella Gilbert 34:59
Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been listening to this podcast since I started my blogging journey, so it’s been so amazing being on this.
Megan Porta 35:06
I love that. Well thanks for listening and such a great way to have you like actually be on the podcast, right? Yeah. I love when it goes from listener to guest, that always makes me happy. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share with us?
Ella Gilbert 35:21
I do. So this quote is, work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.
Megan Porta 35:27
Aw, that is like my mantra too. It’s in so many words. I love it. Thank you for sharing that. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Ella. You can go to eatblogtalk.com/alpineella to find those. Tell everyone where they can find you, Ella.
Ella Gilbert 35:43
Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram @AlpineElla and also on my own food blog alpineella.com.
Megan Porta 35:49
Thanks so much for being here and thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to rate and review Eat Blog Talk on your favorite podcast player. Thank you and I will see you next time.
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