In episode 340, Megan chats to Courtney about how to turn your blog and the community you build into a full-time job. She explores different sources of revenue and shares her strategy for social media growth and negotiating brand sponsorships.
We cover information about how it’s important to be transparent about your pricing, why you need to explore different sources of revenue, the sooner you start doing things, the less regret you’ll have and remember that if what you’re doing is not creating success or making you money, move on to the next thing.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Connect with A Paige of Positivity
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Bio Courtney Paige is the founder & creator of a healthy, delicious food blog of A Paige of Positivity. As a 24 year old, Courtney already works full-time as an Interior Designer while dedicating the rest of her time/life to blogging at A Paige of Positivity (APOP). She began blogging in the middle of the pandemic when she became fed up with the Instagram Algorithm. Sometimes Courtney feels like she is drinking from a firehose with ALL of the information out there, but the food blogging community is SO special and consistently keeps her inspired to grow and move forward.
- Don’t undervalue the work you offer as a blogger when charging for your services.
- Know what your “hate rate” is so you don’t undervalue yourself and not be frustrated with doing a job because you’re not getting paid enough.
- You will deliver high quality work when you and the client know your deliverables and the value attached to your time.
- Invest in learning.
- Find ways to go above and beyond when working with brands or clients.
- Have multiple sources of revenue so you can weather the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
- Be aware of the trends in food blogging, also know your capabilities and find ways to be creative with what you’re passionate about to share it in an interesting way.
- Know if you’re resistant to trying a new trend, you can do it your way and find a vibe so you can share in a way that’s authentic to you and doesn’t have to be like everyone else.
- What’s working, what should be tweaked and just know all that you do is a work in progress. Don’t be rigid in your process or style.
- Don’t be afraid to outsource work. If you’re good at something, market yourself to others to make another source of revenue and really hone in on being an expert in that.
How to reach Paige: [email protected]
One on One Business Coaching – with Eat More Cake
Midwest Foodie’s Pinterest E-Book
Food Blogging Resources by Barley & Sage
Cooking with Keywords
Pitching Course with Eats by Candice
Blogger MBA School
Click for full script.
EBT 340 – Courtney Paige – Revised
Courtney Paige: Hi, this is Courtney Paige from A Paige of Positivity and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
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Megan Porta: Hello, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers, looking for the value and the confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 340. Today I have Courtney Paige with me. I’m super excited. We’re gonna have a chat about how to turn community into a full-time job. Courtney is the founder and creator of a healthy, delicious food blog, A Paige of Positivity. As a 24 year old, Courtney already works full-time as an interior designer while dedicating the rest of her time and life to blogging at A Page of Positivity. APOP. I like APOP. She began blogging in the middle of the pandemic when she became fed up with the Instagram algorithm. Sometimes Courtney feels like she is drinking from a fire hose with all of the information out there, but the food blogging community is so special and consistently keeps her inspired to grow and move forward.
Courtney, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?
Courtney Paige: Good. Megan, thank you so much for having me.
Megan Porta: Yes, it is going to be a fun chat. We have a lot to chat about. You have so many aspects to your journey, and I think a lot of things we can glean from it, but I would love to hear your fun fact before we get into that chat.
Courtney Paige: Sure I have two, one is I love to travel. So I also love to hand letters, so calligraphy and just, oh, all different types of things. So I like to hand-letter the city where we’re traveling to, and then I take a picture in front of the landmark or something like that, and then compile it into a photo album of the places that I’ve been. So it’s like my own personal stamp.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s such a cool idea. It’s a way to be creative about your traveling journeys.
Courtney Paige: Honestly, it was something that I saw on Instagram and I wanted to try my hand at it and it turned into a hobby, really.
Megan Porta: Ah, amazing. Okay. What’s your second fun fact?
Courtney Paige: My second one is a full circle moment for me, but I had an eating disorder in college and that’s something that I worked through with a lot of specialists. Now that I’m a full-time food blogger, it just is a really cool thing to look back and be like, that part of my life turned into something so wonderful because of my love for food now.
Megan Porta: Okay. That is super encouraging for all of us, just because there are those things that we feel like we can’t get past. It’s going to be impossible. We can’t do it. But if you can do that, because I know eating disorders, from what I hear are hard, right? Like really hard.
Courtney Paige: Yeah. De dedication to recovery, obviously. I feel like it’s a daily thing. And then as you get almost farther away. I wanna relate it to something like the Doppler effect. It came in really softly and then got really loud for a long time. Then as you grow away from it, it’s just like a siren in the background. Sometimes you hear it a little bit louder, sometimes you don’t. But for the most part these days it’s really behind us and it feels really good.
Megan Porta: Amazing. And yeah. Congrats for getting that far. I bet that feels so good. Just to look back and look at how far you’ve come.
Courtney Paige: Yes. Now I feel like I eat like a queen because of everything I like to cook.
Megan Porta: Perfect. Yes. All coming full circle for sure. Let’s dig into your story, Courtney. You have a multifaceted story that I’m excited to hear about. I would love for you to just talk through it. Would you mind just telling us about your journey and where you started and where you’re at now?
Courtney Paige: Sure. I started an Instagram in 2018 because I felt like it was quote unquote, the thing to do. I was a junior in college and I started it because I wanted to simply share pretty pictures of food, nothing more, nothing less. It was actually right in the heart of my eating disorder as well. So I found a community in that space that was very open to sharing their struggles and just their everything about that part of life. So that quickly turned into me feeling comfortable, sharing about what I was going through. Then after recovery, it was like, okay, I’m just sharing pretty pictures of food. Honestly, I didn’t even know blogging was really a thing. Instagram has pretty pictures. But then I started my full time job after I graduated and I felt like this lack of purpose of still just showing these pretty pictures of my meal prep and my lunches. At that point, my Instagram had over 25,000 followers. So within those two years it grew so quickly. , I feel like when you talk to a lot of food bloggers and influencers these days it’s much harder to grow than it was a couple years ago. And so 2020 COVID hit and I was home from work, just being able to work remotely. I was like, I have so much time, what am I gonna do with all this time? So that’s when I took the plunge and I was actually annoyed with Instagram’s algorithm and I’m like, if it disappears tomorrow, I wanna be able to have something that’s my own. And that’s when I bought the domain to A Paige of Positivity, which Paige is my middle name and I love a pun on words. So now I just call it APOP. APOP is everything I do. APOP
Megan Porta: I love it.
Courtney Paige: It’s much easier for people too. That’s how we came about. I will say within that first year of Instagram or me using Instagram, I started to be approached by brands asking me, Hey will you share this recipe of ours? Or can you take a picture with this product? That’s when I learned you could make money from Instagram. Then it was a whole new ball game because I was a senior in college and I liked the extra cash and I was like, this is great. Why would I stop? My friends laugh at me because I’m like it’s corporate America, but I was nine to five. I was going into an office and Instagram just wasn’t that. That’s when I realized that I could monetize it and it started scaling pretty quickly. Actually since I submitted that form for the podcast, I have actually quit my full-time interior design job.
Megan Porta: That’s awesome.
Courtney Paige: Yeah, it was a long time coming, honestly.
Megan Porta: Congratulations.
Courtney Paige: Thank you. It’s only my second weekend. So I still feel very fresh. I wrote down the first day, I can’t believe this is happening. It’s finally here. I was so giddy. I was running around. This is just awesome. So I wrote all of those feelings down because I know that there will be harder days ahead. I won’t always feel like that. That will just really bring me back to be like, okay, this is where it started. This is where you are. We can go from there.
Megan Porta: That is amazing and so inspiring. I love that you are fresh on this journey. So where does most of your income come from now? Are you getting most of your income from Instagram still or your blog or both?
Courtney Paige: Yes. No. So my blog is only a year and a half, and going back to the drinking from the fire hose I feel like a lot of your episodes have meant there’s just so many things that have been marketed to food bloggers in this space. So I was trying to figure out which ones I want to invest in and grow for my business. So that’s a whole newer knowledge, but all my revenue comes from Instagram partnerships. So my blog, I have almost 40,000 followers now. So just the healthy scaling of that platform has led me to bigger contracts. Instead of just pretty pictures of food on an iPhone, I took Foodtography school, learned how to use a DSLR camera, Lightroom, all the things, and now it is my main source of income because I’m marketing myself as a freelance food photographer to these big brands. That’s been really fun. Lots of interesting things that happen on that side of the world.
Megan Porta: I bet.
Courtney Paige: I actually have a kind of funny story.
Megan Porta: Oh, let’s hear it.
Courtney Paige: With my first ever paid partnership on Instagram, this was in 2017. I think I had 4,000 followers for 2018 and it was with Panera Bread. Which I was like, oh my God, this brand. Okay. I live and breathe, Panera. This is great. They wanted me to make a dish with their Mac and cheese that was now being sold at Meyer. So I was like, okay, what do we think? $25? Is that enough? I hope anyone on this podcast is screaming right now. Absolutely not. So yeah, I charged them $25.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh!
Courtney Paige: Oh my God. It cost me more to pick up the ingredients because they did not reimburse the product and create the content. But I was just on cloud nine because I was like, I’m working for Panera.
Megan Porta: I’ve made it.
Courtney Paige: Uh Huh. Just the past couple years of understanding how much your work is worth. Now I charge about 2,500 to three grand for the deliverables that they were requesting then. I’m a pretty open book about pricing. I love looking at the numbers. I pulled my Excel and QuickBook stuff that I’ve had for the past three years and it’s been interesting to see how that number has exponentially grown just by understanding the value of what our work is worth.
Megan Porta: Oh, okay. I appreciate your candor about numbers. I love it when people are open about numbers and it’s just a personal thing too. I respect when people don’t like to share, but I always love it when they do, because that gives other people an idea. Otherwise you’re talking about valuing yourself and increasing your value, but people don’t have any idea what that value is. So I really appreciate that you put that number out there. $25 to 3000. That’s a big shift.
Courtney Paige: When I talk about food bloggers and I talk about Instagrammers or influencers, there are food bloggers that are influencers as well. I think I fall under the micro influencing category because I’m on my stories a lot. I do make revenue from Like To Know It and Amazon affiliates. And I share a lot about my life that also gives me some income on that. But. My majority of my income is coming from freelance photography and the partnerships that they’re paying me for the photos. It’s interesting. So Barley and Sage, I think you’ve had her on a podcast recently.
Megan Porta: Yeah, Kylie.
Courtney Paige: She is like a trailblazer. I feel like that covers both of those grounds; like food photography in general and then also the Instagram logistics of things. So I felt like early on, I was listening to what she was charging and I hit a plateau. Probably 2020 when I was, I honestly was deciding, I was like, do I wanna just stop this page? Or do I really wanna take the plunge? I’m going all in. That’s when I was like, what needs to change about my content, because I’m not growing. I feel like I was at this like $500 mark. People weren’t willing to pay me anything more than $500 for an iPhone photo on my feed, which now I laugh, because I do so much more than that. Oh, I wish I would’ve kicked myself and done more. But the way that I was able to start charging these thousand dollars contracts was to increase the value of my photographs. So I just feel like the learning of composition in light was so game changing to me. Now it’s really fun to be like, how high do I wanna go? Which sounds a little overconfident, but the answer is always no, if you don’t ask. I call it my quote unquote hate rate. How much I’m gonna hate this if they accept this rate. So I always make sure that I am well above any hate rate. Now I feel like my hate rate is probably around like $1,500, which again, it might be like, oh my God. But they’re asking so much of the quality and the standard of what I’m producing right now. That would be a disservice to my service.
Megan Porta: Yeah. The hate rate is huge. I also go through that in my mind when I’m coming up with pricing, which I hate by the way. Pricing is like my least favorite thing ever. But I was just in a Clubhouse room. I don’t know if you ever get on Clubhouse.
Courtney Paige: No, but I’ve heard you guys talk about that.
Megan Porta: Yeah. You should. They’re so fun and so inspiring. But Chelsea Cole was in there from A Duck’s Oven and she was talking about how she does sponsorships and partnerships occasionally. She was saying that I hope she doesn’t mind me saying this because she said it in Clubhouse. So I’m assuming she’s fine with it but she was talking about how she was giving a rate to a brand and it was misunderstood and they thought she was giving a rate that was three times what she said. They said yes. She was like, oh my gosh, like she got three times what she was initially going to propose inadvertently. That was a lesson for her. Oh my gosh. I’m so much more valuable than I think. I love that. I think about that all the time when I’m pricing. Your work is so valuable, like you said, we put so much into it and the learning, not just the work, but the learning that goes into the back end of it, that we are so much more valuable than we think. So just keeping that in mind, as we move forward with this sort of thing.
Courtney Paige: Absolutely. One thing that always stuck with me was someone telling me, always ask what their budget is. If they’re coming to you on an email and they say, okay, what are you charged for this? My first two questions back are, what’s your budget and what are the deliverables if they haven’t already outlined them. Usually they’ll come back with the deliverables only and say, Hey, what’s your budget for these things. I’m like, okay, now that it’s outlined, I can at least give you a pricing. Also a media kit, like I have one. I had a coaching call from Candace, from Eat More Cake. She does like a confidence pitching course, but I just did a one hour, one on one, give me what you need to know type thing. She said that you should hold your media kit, almost like a private access. Not everyone gets to see that. Also, something that I personally think is that you should never put rates on your media kit because it locks you into that when their budget could be four, five times that. So I have my services I offer, and sometimes I say, I have a percentage. You can expect a percentage of X, Y, Z, or, I break out the hours, what it will take me and I’ll say, 40% of this budget’s going to content creation. 30 percent going to taxes and once they see that, they’re like, oh, okay. Yeah, it’s helpful. For the first time ever I had a brand recently, actually yesterday, emailed me back and said, Hey, we just wanna make sure you really understand these deliverables because your rate is really modest. That was a rate for $5,000. I was like, whoa, all right. One, I appreciate you. Not many people are like you in this industry and two. Sure. So I bumped it up another thousand. They’re like, okay, great. Okay. What am I missing to here people?
Megan Porta: Don’t you find that when someone really values you like that, that you just do so much better work?
Courtney Paige: Yes. I always think if I’m receiving the other end of this email, I’m not just gonna say my rate is $3,000. Here you go. I’m gonna say, okay, for these deliverables, list them all out. This is the type of content you can expect to see. I often with most of my brands, I over deliver on the quality and I over deliver on how much you’re gonna get. Some photographers might be like you’re, they’re only paying you for six images. I’ve had a really positive experience when I give them nine to 10, because I’m already shooting it anyway. It’s not extra work. It’s just one extra edit that I’ve had a lot of recurring business with different marketing and agencies that have been like, you’re just always above and beyond. This is great. This is what we expect. So that’s been positive reinforcement for the type of work that’s happening.
Megan Porta: So what other scaling advice do you have? So learning, investing, and learning, going above and beyond, knowing your value, what else?
Yeah, I think going back to different sources of revenue was really important to me at first, just because I have this platform. I can use it in a certain type of way while I don’t have ads on my blog and, working on the back end of that, all of the things that go into that, trying to use Pinterest, if that’s a wash. Everyone that I feel like I hear on this podcast is ah, Pinterest. I’m just in the pre Pinterest era. I took the Midwest Foodies Pinterest eCourse. That was helpful. But as for the scaling, I follow a decent amount of influencers that are also really successful food bloggers. So I see what they’re doing. Sarah from Broma Bakery, she offers I would say probably one free webinar a month. We’re always talking about, usually promoting a new program of hers and every single time, I’m like, one it’s genius and two I’m like, she’s taking what she’s seen on Instagram, turning it into some type of marketing course or whatever. But that’s not to say that, that’s what I need to do. I just like to listen to that free content and see, okay, what’s happening here. She recently talked about high impact content and that’s keeping what’s gonna draw someone’s attention. What type of videos are people gonna repeat? Watch? Are you asking a question? Are you just showing them something? I feel like the, not million dollar question, but people are always saying, you gotta share your face on Instagram these days. You are eating something. I’m like, I just don’t look good stuffing my face with pasta salad, okay? I’m just not gonna go there. Sure. So how to be creative with the trends. I will be the first to tell you that I am a creature of habit. I’m open to change, but not in the sense that every day this app is gonna show me something different. For the sake of it being my source of revenue, it’s okay. You gotta get on board because otherwise you’re not gonna keep doing what you wanna do. I will say something that was really helpful for me was, food bloggers provide recipes. Everyone needs a recipe. If it’s a workout instructor, if it’s a different type of maybe you specialize in vegan or keto, everyone needs to eat. So finding people that need those types of recipes. Example, I have a lot of macro friendly recipes on my website. So there is a fitness instructor who does these challenges and they provide exclusive recipes. So I provide those to her and then a lot of her following starts to follow me. So that was a huge boom for me. It’s just something that I’m like, I don’t know if I would ever think about that, like before. That’s been helpful for sure.
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Megan Porta: So really keeping your eyes open. This is something I did poorly for a really long time, because I was in my lane just trying to do my thing. Thinking that I knew everything and I was the smartest of whatever. It was ridiculous. Now it’s like the layers have been peeled off and I realize that I have to see what’s working for other people and just run with those nuggets and obviously make it your own. You can’t just steal what other people are doing exactly. I think there’s a talent almost to recognizing the pieces that work and pulling it out and making it your own. Does that make sense?
Courtney Paige: Absolutely. And going with the you just wanna do your own thing\? Even when you start to dip your toe into that new thing, it’s gonna feel so uncomfortable. It is not gonna feel like your natural thing because it’s not what you’ve been doing. I feel like as of two days ago, I feel like my video content has actually been like, oh, it feels like a relief to make it now because you’re like, oh, I know what I’m doing. I have my sunshine shots. I have three different angles. You just keep moving, but it took me a year to get there. Same with photography school and other courses. You look at the forums and they’re like, does this really work? Or did you actually see something? I’ve now retaken that course three times, because every single time I learn something new and when I learn it, I’m like, why haven’t I been doing it this way or whatever. Then I’m like, the answer was right there. I just had to give it another go.
Megan Porta: Sometimes you don’t see things in the same way when you rewatch or re-listen different pieces of it because maybe you’re not ready for it yet.
Courtney Paige: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I found myself at this line of okay, now you have better photos, but you’re still not growing a ton on Instagram because you’re resistant to video. There’s a lot of people in that boat. I always come back to if you know what you know, now you wish you would’ve started earlier. So same for SEO and for that lovely bubble. That was something that I was like, I’m just gonna make really great fajitas. Are you ever gonna rank for fajitas? No, because your DA’S not high and everything else. It feels good to finally get to a place where you’re a little uncomfortable, but you can keep growing in a way that’s successful for your business.
Megan Porta: Oh, that was beautiful. Okay. Do you have other little nuggets about growing on Instagram?
Courtney Paige: I feel like anyone who has this, who has that figured out is really a rock star. I’m not the one to claim to do it. I just feel like I’m in that space daily and so you see a lot of things working for people, but finding out what works for you and understanding your audience, like connecting with them, providing specific types of recipes. I wanna go back to that high impact content really quickly, because those are the videos that I feel like, videos and pictures that are doing really well on Instagram. It’s what people are like, oh my God, they stop and look. They’re like, this looks so good. For me, I was like, not every recipe can be like that. A Caesar salad doesn’t do it the way a deep fried mozzarella stick does. It just doesn’t. So how to balance both of those things with keyword research and what’s doing well for my blog. Because I want them to coexist together. I felt for a while, I was just doing full force Instagram. Then right when I started the blog, it was a full force blog. Now not being so pedal to the metal, like we’re gonna go full speed all this way. Let’s hope it works and hits neutral and everything else. Now, I feel like it’s bouncing consistently across the board from all of the hats that bloggers wear. As for Instagram in general, I will be the first to tell you that I am not, I just started a TikTok recently. For the longest time, I’m like, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. Now I’m like, you haven’t even given it a chance. So how do you know you’re not doing it? That’s where I’m headed. It’s a different world. I heard again, from another webinar, they were like, you actually have to use TikTok to understand what’s happening on TikTok. I was like, you wouldn’t think that’s as groundbreaking information as what I thought it was. I was like, okay. But my screen time is already through the roof. That’s another thing I actually set screen time limits throughout my apps on my phone.
Megan Porta: Same. I do the same. I love it.
Courtney Paige: It’s so great. It’s so great. There are days where I go over on Instagram, but in the sense of because that is my business, responding to comments and getting people the link. I just saw a reel today, from the Tastemaker conference. I think it was like the song, If I Had A Million Dollars, I’d Be Rich, but they wrote the script as if I had a, I would have a million dollars for every single DM I received, if where’s the recipe, link for the recipe, please, I’m like, that’s relatable.
Megan Porta: That is relatable. I love it. I was opposed to TikTok for many, well forever until recently. I was very vocal about it. I have said it on this podcast many times. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. Repeat. Then I had this moment, this spring, I think I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk talk. He, just the way he worded this instantly changed my mind. I would never be able to repeat it. Like he said, but it was something like the value in producing TikTok content right now is something that you cannot measure. You cannot put a price on it at this moment, but in the future, you are going to be so glad that you did it. There are ways that will benefit your business that you cannot see right now. I don’t know, I was like, whoa, I had never heard somebody say it like he did. So I instantly started creating TikTok content and I’ve been doing it consistently since the end of May, I believe.
Courtney Paige: How’s it going?
Megan Porta: It’s fine. It’s really fun. I was super surprised to find that I’m actually enjoying being creative in that way. I did not expect that. But I enjoy it. I’m trying to just throw a bunch of different things up just to see what works. Some stuff is 20 views and some gets like 700.
Courtney Paige: So I’m right there too. I think my average is around a hundred and I had one that hit like 1,500. I was like, oh my God. Interesting like a nugget though. I listened to this TikTok CEO on a webinar and they said that trending content usually is good for about two months. That’s the rule of thumb they’re using right now. I thought that was interesting because as food bloggers, some people are already tackling Thanksgiving recipes. If you’re making those recipes with the videos I had this realization, I’m like how do I know it’s gonna do as well as the type of videos that I’m doing right now, when I’m doing it four months in advance? Especially for things like SEO and getting it published. The answer is I don’t. But I am trying to do different things that, well, different things consistently that will hopefully evolve into what my brand is. That’s been at the end of the day, you just can’t do it all. Yeah. But trying your best on it is definitely where I’m at with TikTok.
Megan Porta: It doesn’t have to be a huge time investment. I found that some of the videos that take me like 15 minutes to put up do really well so you can get creative and do it in a limited amount of time. Some of them do take longer for me, but I think it’s worth experimenting with if you are a content creator. I think there’s a window that you mentioned earlier. I don’t know if you said the words sweet spot, but you were talking about that time on Instagram when you grew really quickly, every platform has that sweet spot. Facebook had it. I missed it. I missed it on Facebook. I made it on Pinterest. I definitely got in that sweet spot window and reaped a lot of traffic from that early on. I missed Instagram. So I think the window for TikTok is probably still open. I’m not an expert. Don’t quote me, but I think it is, I feel like it is. So hop in.
Courtney Paige: I would agree with you. I would push that to anyone else. I always come back to anyone who is asking me, should I start a blog? Should I not? I’m like, if I could tell myself five years ago to start, I wish I would’ve done it then. I feel like that’s the case for a lot of people in general. I actually found a note from 2019 when I felt like I was getting some DMS about like, how do you grow? How do you do this? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I thought it was easier to just type something in my notepad and then copy paste when I would get that DM because transparently. I was just tired of answering it. Yeah. I’m like, it’s not like I know all the answers, but here’s what I’m doing. Hope it helps. So I pulled that up this morning before this and I was like, oh, this is interesting. I don’t remember doing this, but I’ll give you the gist. There were like five bullet points. The first one was to go for consistency. I was posting twice a day. I do not post twice a day. I feel like I went from four times a week to the same time. Then I switched from 9:30 every morning to 6:00 PM at night. Now I am back to 9:30 in the morning, just five days a week is usually good for me. But I am now experimenting . When I post the Reel video with the cover photo, four days later, I will post the same photo of just the static image of that recipe. Because when you’re going through it, you’re not seeing those beautiful photos that are being taken. I have never once, someone has never told me, Hey, you post too much. I’m like yeah, no one’s ever saying that. So that’s what I’m experimenting with right now. I think it goes to the mindset that you can’t always go the same way, so you have to be willing to pivot and just try all these things. Another one of those bullet points was engagement to other accounts. I felt I would make a big blogger’s recipe and I would photograph it really beautifully. When I would tag them, they were more likely to repost my stuff when it looked really pretty. So I felt like that was giving me exposure. I thought hashtag when the hashtag era was happening, I was like, 40 hashtags deep and they were doing great, but then I started to copy and paste it and then Instagram was like no, this girl not can’t keep up here. Because I was like, save time. Then the other one was to set post notifications for big bloggers. So you’d be like the first one to comment, but I have long got rid of that. There’s no way for me to keep up with it. Now I’m like, am I making money right now? Is what I’m doing making me money? Nope. Okay. Next. That’s like the underlying question of most things, but I just thought that was an interesting little flashback to oh, if I would’ve known that now.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. I love that you recorded it and that it’s providing value now. It’s worthwhile to write those things down when we think of them. We often, or at least I do, I often think I should write this down. Like whether it’s a process or a thought or an idea or something that’s working. Then I don’t, and I wish that I would have. So that’s proof that we should be writing our stuff down.
Courtney Paige: Yes. I think one of your recent guests said that she keeps a pen over the fridge and just writes down whatever she finds. I was like, wait, that’s a good idea. Like then you’re not on your phone. You’re able to do other things.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s great. I liked your question about just am I making money? My thing lately is this working. If I say no, then pass, move on. I used to like, but I can make it work. But if I do this, I can make it work. I would just keep trying to make it work when it was just completely draining my energy and it was not worth my time at all. So having that mindset, whether it’s am I making money? Is this producing something good in my life? Is this working? Asking yourself that question all the time, I think can save us so much pain and trouble.
Courtney Paige: So much. Also, I feel like I just have a few other things that are bouncing around in my head that I wanna say. I was not afraid to outsource right off the get go. I realized when I started the blog, I was like, what is the thing that I do not like doing? And it’s actually the writing portion. Like I can do. I love photography. Like you will see me dancing around in my kitchen because the setup is so beautiful that I like the composition, that juxtaposition of color, I am jamming to it. Then I sit down to write a blog post and I’m like why don’t people already know how to make Turkey burgers? Come on people. And all of the keyword research. I was using a lot of that Instagram, because I still had my corporate job, to just reinvest that money into my business. Now, a year and a half in, I have 260 recipes on my blog. I was shooting three a week. That was one of the best things I could have done, finding the thing that you don’t like to do, dragging you down when there’s other people who specialize in it. On that same note, if you’re good at those things, market yourself to people to be a virtual assistant to others. Right now I’m focusing, I’m trying to get another revenue stream and photograph food for other bloggers. Because I follow a lot of these food bloggers on Instagram, I made my niche. Who would be good for this? If you’re one of these people, great. I was like all of these moms and second moms or having their second child, COVID babies, that are still successfully running their business, but need so much help. So I just started sending emails and that was a really great way for me to find a few clients that I can just work with and be like, okay, here’s the recipes and I’m eating very well. All these different recipes. I’m like, these are great. I feel like the overall messaging is never be afraid of one, sell yourself for the services that you’re really great at and then outsource the ones that are tedious to do in slowing down your business.
Megan Porta: So many great messages here. I feel like you just have such an overarching, I don’t know, just, grasp on not only making Instagram work, but just running a business efficiently by tapping into your strengths and outsourcing and everything you talked about. Consistency, engagement. Doing check-ins with yourself and all of that. So I love your perspective on this.
Courtney Paige: I really feel like I learned from this community. I am open minded to a lot of things and then other things, again, I was like, I am not doing web stories. Why isn’t there a tutorial on YouTube? Why isn’t anyone doing it? Then one of the podcasts you had, I think it was December 2021.
Megan Porta: Sandra. Yes.
Courtney Paige: Oh my gosh. My assistant Sydney and I, she texted me at the end of May and was like, you know what? I’m just going to bite the bullet. I’m gonna do it. Yeah. I was like, girl, you go for it. This is great. Let’s do it. We saw an increase of 15,000 pageviews just in the month of June.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. I love it.
Courtney Paige: Yes. I know, it’s in the middle summer slump right now, it’s fine. But we were close to applying for Mediavine. I was like, it’s fine. I’m like, this is what it’s trying to teach me. You can’t have everything at once. How can you continue to pivot and use that? I started getting into Facebook groups and that’s how I was driving a lot of traffic to my blog. People were like wait, what about Instagram? Then I looked at the numbers and Instagram was giving me the partnerships, but Instagram was only driving less than a six of traffic to my overall site. This is. Random. If you do share your life with strangers on the internet who become your friends, people are really nosy. People like to learn about your life. So recently, my boyfriend and I are moving back to Michigan. We’re in Georgia right now. I just posted a picture and I said, life update with a blog post. That post has one of my highest page views in the past year and a half. I’m like, oh, so you’re telling me if I just pre-write these posts of life events when they happen, I’ll just publish it. It sounds silly.
Megan Porta: That’s just proof that people like knowing the person behind the blog and the account. They want to know who you are and it’s okay to share those details, if you’re comfortable.
Courtney Paige: Oh, yes. Yeah. You get into the logistics of Hey, are you comfortable if I share our story about this? For my eating disorder? That was really easy, because it was mine. I didn’t .Have to ask for anyone’s permission. Now with other things and as I get older, a little privacy is okay here. My mom always tells me, she’s you don’t have to share everything.
Megan Porta: Just a little discretion is good sometimes, but yeah. Lean on your intuition for that. So another theme that I’m pulling out of our chat is that it’s okay to change your mind. We’ve both talked about TikTok and changing our minds. You changed your mind about web stories. It’s okay to do that. I feared talking about it because I talked so much about it. I’m not doing TikTok. I’m not doing video this year. Then when I started doing it, I was like, oh no, am I gonna be a fraud? People are gonna call me out, but nobody’s called me out. It’s okay. It is 100% okay to claim something and then change your mind and do something different. So I just wanna put that out there too.
Courtney Paige: I would agree. Honestly, like the road to success is always under construction, so you get to change whatever path you want for it.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. That’s so great. Unfortunately we have to start wrapping up, Courtney. Is there anything we’ve missed before we start saying goodbye?
Courtney Paige: No, I feel to reiterate. I feel like all these other food bloggers are your biggest cheerleaders in this space and I wish I could just give you all you guys are doing it. We are doing it. We’re all in this together. You providing this knowledge to anyone and everyone who’s listening just makes this space better. So I am cheering everyone on.
Megan Porta: Oh yes. Community is everything. We all lift each other up. So glad you’re promoting that as well. Thank you so much for joining me today. It was such a fun conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Courtney Paige: I really appreciate it.
Megan Porta: So much good stuff. Love it. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share with us?
Courtney Paige: I feel like this is pretty cliche, but I come back to the attitude that it is a choice and you can always choose to be happy and you can always choose to be positive. No matter what circumstance you can find joy, amidst anything in life. I just wear that on my heart as I continue going forward.
Megan Porta: It might be cliche, but I love it. I live by that as well. I’m so glad you said it. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Courtney. So if anyone wants to go look at those, they can go to eatblogtalk.com/apop. I’ll make it easy. APOP. Tell everyone where they can find you again on your blog and social media, et cetera.
Courtney Paige: Sure. On Instagram, TikTok, I am on A Paige of Positivity with an I in the. Same with my blog and also on Facebook as Courtney Paige. Really all over, but I love putting our heads together. So if you ever want to chat, I feel like you guys are my coworkers and I don’t even know who I’m speaking to. So if you ever wanna put our minds together, I’m always happy to DM, email, whatever.
Megan Porta: Love that offer. After I’m done here, I’m gonna go follow you on TikTok.
Courtney Paige: You can see me try.
Megan Porta: Yeah same. I’m trying as well. I’m learning.
Courtney Paige: Thank you so much, Megan. I appreciate your time and Eat Blog Talk and everything it brings to my world.
Megan Porta: Oh, thank you so much for saying that. And thank you for listening, everyone, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: 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 next time.
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