In episode 380, Megan chats to Shani Whisonant about how she turned her blog into a lucrative baking academy and bootcamp.

We cover information about how important it is to come from a place of service and love in your business, balancing what you love with what will help you rank, be sure that you keep gratitude at the forefront of running your business and how you can organically grow your business on social media.

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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Guest Details

Connect with Begin with Butter
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Shani is the creator behind Begin with Butter, a baking education platform. It started as a baking blog in 2021, and she’s now grown it to include the Begin with Butter Home Baking Academy. She uses this platform to host live and pre-recorded baking classes to help home bakers and cottage bakers reach their baking potential. Shani enjoys demystifying baking for people by teaching them tips and techniques that help them become more consistent and confident in the kitchen.


  • When you write about something you love and are passionate about something you share, that authenticity will help you naturally find your specific audience.
  • Our audiences are getting savvier and they are doing a better job at being discerning about if this is a business or a job you’re passionate about.
  • Why did you choose to go into food blogging? Bring that to the forefront of your mind.
  • The work is going to make you successful. If you quit, you won’t ever be successful.
  • If you have faith you’re on the right path, there’s only room for success in this journey.
  • Be patient while you’re doing the work. You can’t just wait for things to happen. Action is needed!

Resources Mentioned

Baking Academy

Thinkific – platform for online courses

Bo Friberg, The Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry


Click for the full script.

EBT380 – Shani Wisonant 

Intro: 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, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. 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. 

I always love those stories where passion turns into monetization, and today’s episode is one of those stories. Joining me today is Shani Whisonant, and she is from Begin With Butter, and she talks about how she expanded her blog into a baking academy and bootcamp, which has been really lucrative, but also really fun and really valuable. This is episode number 380, sponsored by RankIQ. I hope you love it. 

Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk. Scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value, and I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now on to the episode. 

Megan Porta: I have Shani Whisonant with me today. She is going to talk to us about expanding your blogging business into a baking academy and bootcamp. Shani is the creator behind Begin with Butter, a baking education platform. It started as a baking blog in 2021, and she’s now grown it to include the Begin with Butter Home Baking Academy. She uses this platform to host live and pre recorded baking classes to help home bakers and cottage bakers reach their baking potential. Shani enjoys demystifying baking for people by teaching them tips and techniques that help them become more consistent and confident in the kitchen. Shani, how are you today? It’s so great to have you on the podcast. 

Shani Whisonant: Thank you for having me on. I am thrilled to be here. Thank you for the invitation. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, I’m excited to chat about this today. First, we wanna know if you have a fun fact to share, though.

Shani Whisonant: A fun fact. Okay. By the time this happens, you all will probably, you and the whole world will probably know that I have a twin sister who is an award-winning author, and she has a book coming out in January of 2023. I’m super proud of her. 

Megan Porta: Oh my goodness. 

Shani Whisonant: That is a fun fact that quite a few people know, but I love taking every opportunity to shout out to my sister there. 

Megan Porta: Aw, that’s so sweet. Feel the love. Can you share what the book is about?

Shani Whisonant: So my family is originally from Alabama and my sister wrote this book as a love letter to Alabama about what it was like in the South for black people who were in this insular community back in the late fifties and early sixties. It’s just the most beautifully written. My sister has a way with prose that is just unbelievable to me.

Megan Porta: My gosh. It’s so sweet how much you can tell you love her. That’s amazing. So cool. And what a unique angle too for a book. That’s really cool. Cool. Thanks for sharing that. You’ll have to share the episode with your sister so she can hear the shout out.

Shani Whisonant: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. 

Megan Porta: Yes. Let’s talk about expanding businesses into a baking academy. I would love to hear Shani, would you mind telling us how you came into baking yourself and how that has all evolved for you? 

Shani Whisonant: So I tried to bake as a kid. I tried to be like one of those kids who’s in the kitchen with their mother, their grandmother, or their aunts baking up a storm, and I was just miserable at it. I was terrible at it. I could not figure out for the life of me how to make anything that tasted good. It wasn’t until my daughter was a three-year-old in preschool and I was late picking her up one day from school and her preschool teacher said, hi, Mrs Whisonant. We are doing a classroom activity where we are decorating cookies in the shapes of letters. I started to think, what does it have to do with me? But then I looked up and I saw the signup sheet. The signup sheet is like this, I write about it on my blog, but it’s like a Lord of the Fly situation where the people who get there first get to bring things like cups and paper plates and napkins. The people who sign up last have to bring the big ticket items. The only thing Megan left on that list, the only thing was the cookies. 

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. 

Shani Whisonant: So I had to either source 52 cookies in the shapes of letters, or I had to make them, and I don’t know what kind of monster looks in a preschool teacher’s eyes and says, no, I can’t do that. But it wasn’t gonna be me that day. So what I ended up doing was staying up all night making sugar cookies. 

Megan Porta: Wow. Good for you. 

Shani Whisonant: For my daughter. Thank you. It was not my best work, but it was also several of not my best moments, but the thing that made me want to become a baker and want to be good at it was the look on my daughter’s face when she was carrying those boxes of cookies into her classroom the next day. She was so proud to be like the bringer of cookies. I don’t know if you have kids, but when they get to bring a treat, it’s the biggest deal. 

Megan Porta: They’re so proud. 

Shani Whisonant: Yeah. To see the look on her face that day was just, wow. I was able to make that happen for her. After that I was hooked. I was hooked. But I knew that I wasn’t gonna be able to learn the way that so many well-meaning women had tried to teach me before. So I just jumped into pastry textbooks. I thought I’ll just buy this one pastry textbook. I started with both Bo Friberg’s books. But I started with his book and I was like, oh, I’ll probably, this thing is like a thousand pages long. I’m gonna get tired of baking before I’m done, and I never got tired of it. The more I went through it, the more confident I got. The more I learn about techniques, the more confident I go. I was like oh. Then it started to feel like this is what I was meant to be doing. 

Megan Porta: Wow. That’s so cool. I love that. I love how it started in a preschool with a little pressure. 

Shani Whisonant: Just a little bit. And a preschool teacher has like the sweetest way of applying that pressure. That’s the thing. 

Megan Porta: Ah, yes. That’s just what you needed, apparently. 

Shani Whisonant: That’s the way it was, because look where I am now. 

Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. So you took that and ran with it, and you just kept learning and growing and seeing the need to find new challenges and now you’re at this place where you have a home baking academy. Can you tell us a little bit about how that started and where it’s at now? 

Shani Whisonant: Sure. So I started Begin with Butter as a blog, and I wanted to be more of a fundamentals blog, more than a recipe blog. I would say that the blog is probably about 70% recipes, 30% fundamentals at this time. But what I realized was there was a space for me to be able to make more of an impact by just teaching people, right? By spending time working with people, either one-on-one or in a group and by teaching courses. So when I had that realization, that was November of 2021. When I had that realization, I realized that my impact could be that much more, right? Helping four people could be that much better if I worked with them and if I took the time to be on video teaching. So the Begin With Butter Home Baking Academy just started to slowly come together last November, or a year ago, November. I don’t know, it just seems to have really kind of taken off. I always approach everything I do with the Home Baking Academy from a place of I really wanna help people, and I hope that people really sense that. The whole goal of the Home Baking Academy is for people to really hit heights with their baking that they never ever thought that they could reach. If I had the ability to show someone one technique that helps them hit that height, it just means the world to me. 

Megan Porta: I love that your whole motivation for this academy has come from a place of service, and I think that’s why it’s probably been so successful, don’t you think?

Shani Whisonant: I think so, yeah. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. No matter what the project is, if it comes from that place, it just works out, I feel like. 

Shani Whisonant: Absolutely. I feel like we all have this thing. My friends are like, oh, stopping woo. But I feel like we all have this thing in us, this element of service, this gift that we were given, that we should give the world. I feel like for reasons I still cannot explain, this is my gift to give the world. I love being able to serve in this way. Because if you think about it, food is the thing, the most cross-cultural thing that we can use to bring all of us together, right? 

Megan Porta: Yes. 

Shani Whisonant: Being in a position to teach people how to do something a little bit better is humbling to me. It’s extremely humbling. 

Megan Porta: Okay. I love how you worded that Yeah. Food is the language that we all speak. We all enjoy food. That is never going to change. That’s what I love. 

Shani Whisonant: It’s never gonna change. We’re always gonna have to eat, which is a blessing and maybe a curse.

Megan Porta: Yeah. Right? So we might as well get creative with it and enjoy it. Which is what you’ve done. 

Shani Whisonant: We share it. When you bake, you’re really baking, not so that you can sit there and eat a whole bundt cake, but so you can share it with somebody. For me, sharing food is like, that’s what I do and I really care about you. When I really love you, it is here. Please take this offering that I have to share with you.

Megan Porta: Unless you’re my 12 year old son and he bakes things. He’s like, I baked it. So this is mine. 

Shani Whisonant: It’s mine. 

Megan Porta: Then we say, Sam, we have guests coming. We baked it for guests and he started hoarding the cake. He’s so funny. So yeah, he’s the exception.

Shani Whisonant: Does he hide stuff too? 

Megan Porta: He does in the fridge. So he’ll hide cookies from his brother and then if any of us eat the cookies, he’s like, someone will eat my cookies. I’m like, yeah, they were good. 

Shani Whisonant: They were for everybody. 

Megan Porta: They were for us, for the family. We’re working on that.

Shani Whisonant: I have an eight year old son who’s pretty much the same way.

Megan Porta: Really? Oh gosh. 

Shani Whisonant: Oh yeah. Yeah. 

Megan Porta: That’s hilarious. 

Shani Whisonant: I found a piece, a slice of pound cake in his room where he’s not supposed to be eating. It wasn’t the whole piece. It was like a piece with three bites out of it. I said what is this doing up here, Sean? He gave me this stock answer. I don’t know. 

Megan Porta: How did that get here? I have no idea. 

Shani Whisonant: No clue. No clue, mommy. 

Megan Porta: Hilarious. At least I know we’re not the only family that has that. 

Shani Whisonant: Oh, not even close. 

Megan Porta: Oh, yes. Okay. I wanna ask you a little bit more about this project that kind of came from your love of baking, and also was inspired by your blog, right? All of those things, and you come from a place of service, a place of love, wanting to share. How do you suggest others find that thing if maybe their blog isn’t maybe it’s just a pure business. They’re kicking out content that’s highly keyword research, like there’s no passion or love there. How do we find that other project that’s gonna bring us to that awesome place? 

Shani Whisonant: Oh, I feel like every website auditor on the planet is gonna come after me for saying this. Oh boy. 

Megan Porta: It’s OK. 

Shani Whisonant: I come from love. Yes, my friends. This is coming from a place of love, but I really think, I won’t say, I think I will say my experience has been that if you write the things that really light you up, or at least balance those things with the things that you’re writing because you want to rank higher with certain keywords, but if you take some time to write about the things that really light you up, the people that you’re trying to get to your page will find you. I think people in 2022, 2023 and beyond are looking for food bloggers who really strike a very authentic note. I think because Food Blogging has been around for a little while, that the consumer is really able to discern a lot better now who is approaching food, blogging completely from a commercial perspective versus who is approaching food blogging from a place of service and love, in addition to it being a commercial endeavor. So I would encourage people if they’re finding themselves burned out from just writing what they think everybody wants to see or what they think Google wants to just take a couple of weeks, maybe a month and just write what lights you up. Don’t worry as much about the metrics, the analytics. Don’t worry as much about that. This is advice I had to give myself because earlier this year, I was very stressed out about the direction of my home baking academy and my blog, and it turns out I didn’t need to be stressed out because I was determined to stay on the path of writing about things that light me up. The foods that you see on my website are foods that really light me up. Slowly but surely my audience came with me. My audience has grown, right? I can’t tell you how it happened, so don’t ask. But my audience has tripled on Instagram in the past six or seven weeks, but I have no idea how it’s happened. All I’m focused on Instagram is just bringing my most authentic self and doing things that I really enjoy and appreciate. 

Megan Porta: It’s the service. Yeah, it’s the service. When you show up, like you’ve said a couple times, when you show up with a spirit of serving, that happens. I feel like that, right?

Shani Whisonant: Yes. I’m never gonna discount the fact that keyword research and all of those things are so super important, if you’re looking to grow your blog. Look, I wanna grow my blog too, and eventually I will probably, or no, eventually I will definitely invest in a website audit. I think that there is a place for all of that, but I think we as bloggers can get really lost in the business side of it, and I don’t think any of us got into food blogging because we wanted to get lost in the business side of it, right? Most of us are deeply passionate about food. We are deeply passionate about the food that we’re writing about. We want to share with the world what we actually eat, and we don’t want to necessarily feel like the content on our site is being driven by AI. We wanna feel like there’s a person behind it, and I think our consumers do too. 

Megan Porta: Wow. That was so awesomely said. Yeah. Passion, purpose, serving, love. All of that comes together to create this kind of magic formula for getting those things that we try so hard to get in non-passionate ways.

Shani Whisonant: Right. I didn’t go into food blogging because I wanted it to feel like a job. I went into food blogging because I wanted to feel like, yes, this is hard work, but I get to do this work. When I wake up in the morning and I’m like, oh, I have a long day ahead of me. The thought for me is always, I get to do this work. Not that I have to do this work, I get to do this work. That takes me to a different head space when I’m thinking about it. What my day’s gonna look like. My days are busy. Today started at four in the morning as most of my days do. But I get to do this work every day. I just feel so lucky and blessed every single day that I get to do this and I want to exude that to my audience.

Megan Porta: Gratitude. Gratitude changes everything. I so truly believe that. We all, like so many of us, get out of corporate jobs to be able to work for ourselves and work from home and have flexible schedules and we get into the weeds and we sometimes forget that.

Shani Whisonant: Yes.

Megan Porta: That this is really a privilege to have this job and to be able to make money and to serve people in the way that we are.

Shani Whisonant: Absolutely.

Megan Porta: After a time, it’s like we have to remind ourselves that this is amazing. Like you said, I don’t have to sit here and record interviews all day. I get to talk to amazing people all day. Just reframing that little bit is like huge game changer. 

Shani Whisonant: It’s a huge game changer. I have to work. I have to make money, and that’s a scary proposition when you think about really being out here on your own as an entrepreneur and having to figure it out, right? But like I said, I think if we approach it from a space of, I get to do this work and if I continue doing what I know is good work, then my audience will find me. I think that there’s real value in that and it’s real, for me, it’s been a very calming effect. My audience will find me. They won’t neglect me or forget about me. I will find the person, I will actively look and find the people that I need in my corner to help me make this a tremendous success. I have to shout out to the people who helped me. My very good friend and she is my senior Butter Ambassador, Emily Anderson. She is a dear friend from high school and we knew each other even before that. My virtual assistant/PR/marketing assistant, Alison Lancaster, like I’ve just been incredibly lucky. Incredibly fortunate to find people who have really surrounded me, who have really brought their expertise to the table and just helped me make Begin with Butter the incredible thing that it is. Finding them almost by accident helped me trust in the process of building my audience. It helped me calm down because for a while I was very stressed out that the transition from simply being a blogger to being a business owner of the Home Baking Academy, was too much. That people weren’t gonna come with me. I noticed a drop in my email list, a drop in my Instagram followers, and I was like, I wasn’t sure if I was making the right decisions, but I was on the path. I was determined to stay on that path because I knew it was the right path. In late September it was like, I don’t know, the universe was like, okay. 

Megan Porta: Oh, amazing. 

Shani Whisonant: It’s just been a roller coaster and a lot of days I still can’t really put into words how amazing it is. 

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Megan Porta: So there’s an element of faith involved in all of that too, because we hear you talking about it and if somebody’s in the complete opposite mindset, it’s really hard to equate this to really believe that. So there’s an element of faith required for you to step into that and just show up with the service and do those things that you’re talking about to attract more followers and get the right people in your circle. So hearing your story is really inspiring because we need to hear more stories like this. We know that the other side is good, right? So it’s not just like you’re gonna step into an abyss and sink your business. You’re not. 

Shani Whisonant: No. There’s a lot of hard work behind that too. Faith is what drives you to do the work, right? Believing that you are on the right path, that will drive you to do all the hard work. That will drive you to wake up early or stay up late. My team wakes up early, but faith is the thing that will make you believe that if you continue on this path, that everything will be okay. It’s the work ultimately that’s going to make you successful, right? If you quit, there’s no success. Unless you’re just really on the wrong path. But if you truly believe and you have ultimate faith that you’re on the right path and you do the work, then I don’t think that there’s room for anything but success. 

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Said. That was so beautiful. I have some questions for you about your baking academy, like logistic questions. 

Shani Whisonant: Absolutely. 

Megan Porta: I know this is a new thing where people want to serve people in this way by providing information through classes. Now I assume yours is online or is it in person or both? 

Shani Whisonant: It’s online for now. I ultimately do wanna have a space where I can teach people in person, but right now it’s online, which means anybody and everybody can sign up for live classes. When this airs, I will have just started my first cohort, and that’s gonna be online. I’m beyond excited about that.

Megan Porta: I love it. I love how excited you are about it. I think that’s a recipe for success. So tell us about the logistics. So how hard or easy is it to get it put together and Yeah. Talk about as much of the processes you’re willing. 

Shani Whisonant: Sure. Oh, absolutely. I’m an open book, so my platform is hosted on Thinkific and I chose Thinkific and now it’s just like fully embedded and integrated into my site. I do have a bomb, she’s just amazing, web developer Lark who was able to embed Thinkific with my website. So if you go to is my main site, but if you go to, it will take you straight to my Thinkific page. I love having that functionality for students so that they don’t have to redirect to another website completely to get to my school. I think that makes it easier. I think that lends to more brand credibility because it’s all under Begin with Butter, but, I’ve really enjoyed using Thinkific. I know some people like using Kajabi or Teachable. Those are the three that I’m most aware of, but once you get into Thinkific you can set up the whole academy from there. So I encourage people who are interested in courses to really think about using Thinkific and they are not paying me to say that. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, I was gonna say, you do hear about Teachable and Kajabi. I don’t often hear people talking about Thinkific, so I’m glad that you mentioned that as just another resource available for people to consider. 

Shani Whisonant: Absolutely.

Megan Porta: How do you market your bootcamp? How do you get people in? 

Shani Whisonant: Oh, so I do a lot of social media, I guess you call it social media marketing. I will just talk about it. I talk about it on most of my posts on Instagram. It’s funny because I’m currently, by the time this airs, this will be a distant memory, but I’m currently in the middle of 12 days of pound cake. I’ve taught one particular class two times already, and it’s about pound cakes, perfect pound cakes. I was asked if I could do something like an emergency session of perfect pound cakes next week. But a lot of that happens over Instagram. I have my Instagram set up in such a way that people can either send me dms or they can send me emails.

So a lot of conversations happen very organically either in my dms or via email. With respect to my marketing efforts currently, I am just really talking about it. I talk about it in my Instagram stories. I talk about it in my posts. I have not done sponsored posts recently, but as the holiday season wears on and as I’m trying to fill up my first cohort, I will be doing some either sponsored posts or probably Facebook ads. So that’s the extent of my marketing efforts. So I wish I had a marketing team so that they could tell me whether I’m doing things right or not. 

Megan Porta: You’re doing things authentically, which I think means that you’re doing things right. People are coming to you and you’re not spending a ton of money. You’re not, you’re doing things very organically it sounds like. 

Shani Whisonant: Yes, most definitely. It all has to be organic. There was a point where it was getting away from me, and it didn’t feel like it was something that belonged to me. I never, ever wanna feel that way again about something that I’ve built. I left a corporate job after many years because I felt like it wasn’t for me. I don’t wanna then turn around and build something that also feels like it’s not for me. 

Megan Porta: I know exactly what you’re talking about. There have been times when I’ve done things to get people in certain services oh, I need to get a coaching client or whatever, and it just didn’t feel right. 

Shani Whisonant: It just drags you. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. It’s something that you can’t even put into words, or at least I can’t. Where it’s like it’s just in the core of me, it didn’t feel authentic, it didn’t feel right and so I’ve stopped doing that. I want people to come into my world in such an organic way, and if that doesn’t happen, I don’t want them here. 

Shani Whisonant: Oh, I’m still working on it. I have to be honest. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. It’s hard. 

Shani Whisonant: I’m still working on that because sometimes I’m like, should I just continue to do the work that I’m doing right now and let it continue to grow organically? It’s a process. It can feel really slow sometimes. But sometimes I’m like, or do I push? Every single time I get, every single time that I push, I’m not gonna say I fail, I’m gonna say I learn a lesson about being patient and allowing things to happen organically and continuing to do the work. I think that’s one thing that’s very important for people to understand and recognize that just because we are out here on faith and we believe in what we’re doing, doesn’t mean we’re sitting on our laurels and sitting back and waiting for things to happen. It’s very much not that. 

Megan Porta: Action. Action is needed in order to reach your goals and to move forward.

Shani Whisonant: Yeah, absolutely. 

Megan Porta: Faith and action. Oh, this is deep and I love it. This is so good. 

Shani Whisonant: Oh my God. 

Megan Porta: So many underground elements of running, a successful business that we don’t always bring to the surface. So that’s why I really appreciate just the candor in this conversation. This is amazing. I have to mention your emergency pound cake, that was super funny. How first world, right? Emergency pound cake. 

Shani Whisonant: Yeah, an emergency pound cake class. So I’ve taught this class twice already. I taught it twice in October, the first and on the 29th. I kept on getting mostly dms about when is the next one before the holidays. I was like, guys, I’ve taught it twice already. I’m not planning on teaching it anymore. My last two classes are a pie crust class and a cookie class. There is no more pound cake. The clarion call, I’ll call it, kept on coming in. When are you teaching it? We need another pound cake class. Especially since I’ve been doing the 12 days of pound cake. I just randomly got on my Instagram live and I was like, tell you what, I’m gonna put up a poll in my stories. If there’s enough interest, I will teach this emergency Poundcake class the Monday before Thanksgiving. 

Megan Porta: Emergency. That is just funny. It’s a sign that people wanna know about the best pound cake. 

Shani Whisonant: 

My thing is I really want them to feel empowered to make the best pound cake. Honestly, I love when people come to my website and they print off a recipe, and I absolutely adore when they tell me, I made your snickerdoodle pound cake, or I made your peach collar pound cake. They were the best pound cakes I’ve ever made that really makes my heart feel really good. But if they take the tools that I’ve taught them in perfect pound cakes, and they apply that to their grandmother’s, hundred year old recipe that she got from her grandmother, and they’re able to, in their kitchen, make it in a better way than they’ve ever been able to make it, that for me is the win. I’m not so locked into my own recipes that I think, there’s nothing that anybody can do in their kitchen to improve upon them in their own way. I’m not so locked into my recipes that I’m thinking that, if you don’t follow my recipes, you can’t be successful. I really want people to be successful no matter whose recipe they’re using.

Megan Porta: Oh, amazing. I love that. Okay. Can I ask you a question about your classes? How are they set up? I assume you do them on Zoom, and then how long do they last? Give us details about that. 

Shani Whisonant: Sure. My classes are on Zoom webinars. I used to use Zoom. Just the regular Zoom. But the feedback I got from students was that with everybody on the screen, it was really difficult to focus on what I was doing. So I just went to a webinar platform where you can see a frontal shot of me, and then you can also see an overhead shot of what my hands are doing. I also have my senior Butter Ambassador Emily, who acts as the moderator so that when people type questions in either the chat or the Q and A section, she can say her patented, I think she should patent it, hey, Shani, and she can get my attention right away. I love that element, having that element in my classes because it allows me to go deeper on a concept if a student needs it at that moment. They can see me demonstrating it at that moment. So I just have had the best success with Zoom webinars. I think it’s a great way to be able to teach live. I think it’s the most cost effective way of all of the ways that you can use webinars. I think Zoom webinars are the most cost effective. It’s the most well known, so you have that name recognition for students, so they won’t be skittish about jumping onto another webinar platform that they’ve never heard of. It just worked really well. Classes vary. It depends on what I’m teaching. So Perfect Pound cakes, the first two times were two hours, or I’m sorry, the first time it was an hour and a half. The second time it was two hours because I added some more content. That time just flew by for me. But there are other classes that are an hour that are up on my website and there are some that are an hour and a half. So it really just depends. I’m going to take whatever time it needs up to two hours to cover a concept. If it’s gonna take more than two hours, just like with Bread Bootcamp, I’ll break it up over multiple days.

Megan Porta: Then how many people show up for your classes? 

Shani Whisonant: It really depends. It depends on how the concept is. If people purchase the classes and they’re not able to show up live, then they can always watch the replay. 

Megan Porta: Then do you do the whole recipe step by step so people can cook along with you?

Shani Whisonant: I did that in the first cohort that I did and the feedback that I got from students was we wanna be able to watch what you’re doing. And then because we have the replay, we can go back and do it with you later. But we find more value out of, or they found more value out of watching what I was doing, being able to ask their questions and take notes as opposed to trying to rush and keep up with me while I was demonstrating a technique. Like I said, they can go back and watch the replay later. So when we’re talking about creaming butter and sugar, they can go back once they’ve seen it one time, they can go back like the next time when they wanna make the cake themselves and they can watch it in real time. Watch the replay and make it in real time with me, if that makes sense.

Megan Porta: Yeah, that does make sense. Then if you had advice for anyone wanting to dig into something like this and getting some Zoom webinars set up for baking or cooking or whatever it might be, what would you tell them? 

Shani Whisonant: I would say just start. 

Megan Porta: That’s scary. I think that’s what a lot of people will think when they hear that.

Shani Whisonant: Yeah. It’s scary. Of course. I’m scared every day. Let’s be real. It’s scary out here to create a path where nonexistence exists, but the biggest impediment I find is that people have wonderful ideas, but then they spend so much time talking themselves out of it that they could have, if they had this wonderful idea and just acted on it. You’re not gonna have all the answers. None of us ever have all the answers. You might not have an answer. But if you act, then you’ll at least have a yes or a no. oh, that didn’t work. I won’t do that again. 

Megan Porta: You need enough answers to have that, to take that first step. Then things keep coming to you.

Shani Whisonant: Arguably. I think I had very few answers when I took those first steps. Did I take the right steps all the time? Absolutely not. I still continue to misstep every once in a while. But had I not had those missteps, had I not taken those first steps, I would still be sitting in a 10 by 10 office that felt like, I told people, it felt like a jail cell. I did that for years because I was afraid to move. I was afraid. So I encourage people. You may not have the answers. You may not know why you’re being moved to move in a certain direction, but if it’s productive and if it’s something you love doing, if it’s something you want to just learn about, move. I’m not saying quit your job necessarily, not immediately anyway. But move. Do the thing that you are stuck thinking about. Do that thing. 

Megan Porta: That is amazing. Very inspiring advice. Thank you so much for all of that. Is there anything we’ve forgotten that you feel like we should mention before we start saying goodbye, Shani? 

Shani Whisonant: Oh, no. I’m just really honored that you guys thought to have me on today. I really appreciate it. I encourage people to continue writing. Like I said, do the things that you have to do, do the keyword research, but also take some time to do things that light you up. But no, we haven’t really forgotten anything. I encourage people to check out the Begin With Butter Home Baking Academy. It’s Or to even check out the blog, which is I would love to hear from your listeners about what drives them because I love hearing about what motivates people. I would encourage people to continue to just think of ways to be of service to people. 

Megan Porta: Ah, love it so much. Great information packed into this little conversation, so thank you so much for joining me today.

Shani Whisonant: You’re welcome. 

Megan Porta: Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with? 

Shani Whisonant: I’m gonna paraphrase, okay? And it is, the question isn’t who is going to let me, but who is going to stop me? 

Megan Porta: Ooh. 

Shani Whisonant: I love that quote. 

Megan Porta: That’s powerful. It aligns with everything you’ve already said, so that’s so perfect. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Shani. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to You’ve already shared where people can find you, but do you just want to reiterate quick social media handles and all of that. 

Shani Whisonant: Sure. The one more I’m primarily active on is Instagram, and that is Begin with Butter. You can also find me on Facebook at Begin with Butter. I’m not really active on TikTok or Twitter, so I have the handles, but they’re not really active. Find me basically everywhere on Begin with Butter. I also have a YouTube channel Begin With Butter. 

Megan Porta: Cool. Thank you again for being here and thank you so much for listening today, 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 you next time.

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