In episode 382, Megan chats to Bobbie Blue about why investing in ourselves and our business from the beginning will help us reach our goals quicker and with less stress.
We cover information on how to make game-changing purchases to improve your business, look for natural ways to make another income stream, build on your current skills, think about niching down more and find some blogging mentors.
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Connect with Blue’s Best Life
Bio Bobbie Blue lives in Florida with her husband and step-daughter. She started the blog, Blue’s Best Life in 2018, however it had no focus and she wrote about everything from fitness, being a step-mom to healthy recipes. Bobbie’s ears perked up and she finally took the advice from the blogging community and niched down. But it wasn’t until 2020 that it became clear that food blogging was her true passion. She fell in love with recipe development and food photography and dove into that
- Investing in yourself helps you find additional income streams to build your business and skills.
- As you start blogging, you’ll find areas that you thought you were good at or knowledgeable in, but you find areas you could use a boost or more knowledge in so investing is going to help you.
- Finding areas in your life and schedule that you can’t change gives you clues to where you might spend money to grow (i.e. shooting photography in artificial light instead of scheduling your whole life around natural lighting).
- Tiny tweaks can be seen by others to help you improve your position with your audience.
- Find someone to guide you/coach you that’s in your world (food world, not lifestyle or generic)
- Training on equipment you use is important. It’ll help you start on the right track and not have to go back to correct missteps.
- You have to decide the right courses to get into and then do the work.
- Be willing to reach out to other bloggers that you are drawn to professionally and want to learn from. Build a community for yourself within blogging.
- Sometimes you don’t know what you’re good at until you dive in. Be open to where the journey takes you.
- Know you can’t learn everything at once so tackle one thing and then move on to the next to build upon your abilities.
Click for full script.
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. 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.
Today’s topic is such an important one, especially in 2023 here, where our space is so competitive and we need a little bit of an edge. Bobbie Blue joins me in today’s episode from Blue’s Best Life, and we have a great conversation about why investing in yourself and your business from the beginning will help you reach your goals quicker and with less stress. This is episode number 382, and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
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Megan Porta: I have Bobbie Blue with me today. She’s going to talk to us about why investing in yourself and your business from the beginning will help you reach your goal quicker and with less stress. Bobbie lives in Florida with her husband and stepdaughter. She started the blog Blue’s Best Life in 2018. However, it had no focus and she wrote about everything from fitness, being a stepmom to healthy recipes. Bobbie’s ears perked up and she finally took the advice from the blogging community and niched down. But it wasn’t until 2020 that it became clear that food blogging was her true passion. She fell in love with the recipe development and food photography part of it and dove into that. Bobbie, so great to have you here. How are you today?
Bobbie Blue: I’m great, Megan. How are you?
Megan Porta: I’m good too. I’m happy that you’re here and I think this is going to be a super fun chat. But first we wanna know what your fun fact is.
Bobbie Blue: Yes. So a lot of people probably assume that Bobbie is a nickname, that it’s short for Roberta or something else, but it is actually my real name. What is funny about it is that my husband, his name is Robbie. So
Megan Porta: What? No.
Bobbie Blue: So it is actually Robert, but he’s always gone by Robbie. Just stuck with that. So we are Bobby and Rob Blue.
Megan Porta: I love that. That makes you guys so unique, but in the most awesome way. I absolutely love it.
Bobbie Blue: Yeah. We get questioned about it all the time. People always think that, you know this, they’re talking to me, but they think that maybe, I don’t know, it’s just always very confusing. We worked together, that’s how we actually met. So people always would get confused because they wouldn’t realize that there were two people at the same company that had such similar names.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That is so great. I love it when names come together in such an unusual way when people get married. My husband and I have really boring names, so we don’t have the same story as you, but yeah, that’s fun. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Okay. You’re here to talk about investing in yourself and how that can be really beneficial if you do it from the start. Bobbie, would you wanna talk us through just your blogging journey and maybe dive into those early stages when maybe you weren’t digging into the things that you needed to.
Bobbie Blue: Yeah, I started the idea of a blog in 2018. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I just one day was looking through Pinterest for ways to either make money or save money or something and starting a blog popped up and I thought, oh, okay, I read these, but I didn’t actually know people made money doing this. I thought they were just hobbies. So I started researching and looking into it. Of course, a lot of things that popped up were how you could just write about whatever you wanted, different topics that interested you in your life and throw up maybe 20 posts and you could start making money doing this. I’m like, okay, I’ll give this a shot. It’s not really exactly how it works. We know that now, that there’s a lot more to blogging than just throwing up a few random posts. Unfortunately, that was the advice back then that I got, and so I rolled with it. I started on Wix, which if anyone isn’t familiar with, it’s An easier platform, I would say, than WordPress.
Megan Porta: WordPress, yes.
Bobbie Blue: Yeah. I started with that and learned, learned later that you can’t monetize it. So of course then I had to start completely over. But yeah, I was writing about all kinds of random things, anything from being a stepmom, because that was new. I had just gotten married in 2017. So I was writing about being a stepmom, fitness because that was really important to me. Then also, throwing in some healthy recipes. I did that for a little bit but I had the idea that I wanted to make it into a business. Everything that I was reading was saying, oh, you don’t have to invest a lot of money. You can just do this. It’s easy and you don’t need a lot to make a website. So I just kept doing everything on this budget in my head. I didn’t want to spend the money until I was making money. So that was the bad advice I would say that I was following for too long. So I would say, probably in the last year in 2021 is when I really was like, okay. I really want to make this into a business. I’m spending so much time doing it, and I enjoy it and I love it. So I really need to figure out what I’m doing wrong and get a better system. Two things that I did last year as I bought a nicer camera. I bought a Sony mirrorless camera. I got two different lenses, nice lenses. I got a new laptop and I bought artificial light. Which was the absolute game changer for me. I had always tried to do natural light, which I know Megan, you are a fan of natural light. I think it is beautiful and I wish that it could work for me, but my schedule is always so weird that I might wanna wake up at 6:00 AM and start photographing a recipe, which you can’t do if you don’t have daylight.
Megan Porta: True.
Bobbie Blue: Yeah. The artificial light really helped with my crazy schedule plus it was always a bummer if you had been looking forward to making a recipe on your day off from your real job, and it was raining out and you couldn’t photograph anything. That’s always real…
Megan Porta: So deflating, right?
Bobbie Blue: Yeah, it is. Those were two big things that I did. But I still was missing something. While I was trying to teach myself how to use these things, it still wasn’t quite coming together. I would say in January of this year, I really hit a moment where I was completely just depressed with my website, I would say. I was at 39,000 sessions and I felt like Mediavine was right there. I was like so close to it, and all of a sudden my traffic just tanked, completely, like overnight. I didn’t understand enough about analytics. It’s embarrassing to say, but after figuring it out, it was my Pinterest traffic that just went to nothing. I really have no idea even now what happened, but I’ve slowly regained my traffic. But, that happened. I was devastated and I’m thinking to myself, what am I gonna do? I was so close and now this happened and I need to figure out a better approach. What can I do to really make this business work for me? So what I did this summer, first I joined a photography course called Pretty Focus. If anybody hasn’t heard of that course it’s a tutorial based food photography class and it’s all taught online but it’s self-paced. What’s really nice about it is that they teach you everything. The basics of a camera, you can do a masterclass and learn how to do artificial lighting. There’s all kinds of different things that you can do. But they stress the different steps of doing a recipe from putting in your ingredient shot, your process shots and then what they call the hero shots or the yummy shots. So I I decided I was gonna take this course because one, I thought it would really, maybe it’ll help improve my skills. While I thought my photography was okay, I still would see other blogs and think, wow, their pictures are so much prettier than mine and I really wanna get mine to that level. I kept thinking, like maybe that’s where my problem is that I just don’t have the beautiful pictures that are bringing people to the website. So I went ahead and signed up for this class and I felt like that was really a big game changer for me. One of the things that I love about this class is that once you graduate from it, you actually can work for other food bloggers. So that was really the reason why I decided to take the class because it would give me a second revenue stream. Because I can sell my skills for either sponsored posts or bloggers who, let’s face it, you get to a certain point and there’s just so many things that you do when you’re a food blogger that you might not have time to do all the pictures on your own. Or you might not have time to go back and redo the old pictures that you did back in say, 2010 when the step-by process shots weren’t even a thing. This is something that I’m really excited about because being able to pass the class and have a portfolio where I can show people the skills and everything that I’ve developed, I think is going to give me a second side of the business.
Megan Porta: Okay. I love hearing about your progression through your blogging journey. I don’t know why. I just think it’s so interesting hearing each unique story and how people start and what their middle is. One thing in common for almost all of us, with a few exceptions, is that we all start doing things the wrong way. Because either we get bad advice or we just don’t know. We just do things and just keep doing them because we don’t know any better. So don’t feel bad, Bobbie or anyone listening. This is part of being a blogger, starting some things wrong and then you eventually figure out, oh, I was doing this wrong. I need to make changes. So some of your basics you mentioned WordPress, start on WordPress. 100% agree there, right? If you are not on WordPress, I strongly encourage you to come to WordPress. I was on Squarespace and I’m so bummed that I did that for so long. Then lighting and photography, figure out what lighting works for you. Whether it is getting artificial lights or figuring out something in your schedule to make natural lighting work. The camera, you said, was a game changer and a lens, and then taking a photography course. And that provides a second source of income for you. So it’s like a double bonus. Yeah. Then also I would add like connecting, because otherwise you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what you’re missing. So getting connected in those right spaces where people can call you out in the most nice, kind, loving way and just say, oh, you, maybe you should be on WordPress. So I’m wondering if you had experience with that Bobbie, like with coaching or community in some way to help you figure these things out.
Bobbie Blue: Yes, I did. Another thing that I signed up for was with Eden Westbrook from Sweet Tea and Thyme.
Megan Porta: I Love her.
Bobbie Blue: Yes, I actually heard her on your show and that was pretty much when I was desperate and I was like, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do? I need help with this. So I signed up for her mentorship and it is really great because what I learned from it is how to write better. Technical writing is not my strong suit. Sometimes you don’t realize, like when you’re writing you think, oh, of course this is how you make a cake, but you need to explain it to someone who maybe has no idea and has never made a cake before. So that was something that really was eye-opening to me. Just how to have your post all over your post, broken down so that everything is organized and it just more cohesive and makes sense. So she really helped me with that. Also, because in the beginning when I was writing and I was just writing all these random things, it’s okay, I needed to weed out some of the stuff obviously that didn’t really have anything to do with a food blog and zero in on that person, my target audience that I’m writing to. I was having an issue with that because I like all kinds of recipes. I do try to eat healthy, but I love to bake. So I was like, okay, I see all these people making these websites where it’s like they’re all for gluten-free recipes or very niche down and I didn’t really want to do that because I didn’t wanna always just be making a gluten-free cake. I wanted to make all kinds of different things. So we came up with the idea that it was, okay, I can do everyday healthy recipes and some easy baking. That, I feel like a lot of people resonate with that because there’s always room for dessert, right?
Megan Porta: Yes, absolutely.
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Megan Porta: Sometimes it’s those little tiny tweaks that other people can see in your business or things that you’re doing wrong or just you need a little tiny bit of guidance to steer another direction That can make a huge difference. Yeah. So in the Eat Blog Talk mastermind groups, we do this all the time. This is what we do every week. We rotate hot seats and then we dig into each person’s problems or challenges, and sometimes it’ll be things like, oh my gosh, you don’t have a recipe card on your site. Seriously, like people don’t know that sometimes, and that tweak can make a massive impact on how much traffic you’re getting from Google and it’s such a simple thing. So I think that the community aspect and connecting with people is step one for learning, you know, what you need to change or what you need to do. It is hard, especially when you’re just getting started to find who do I trust in this space?
Bobbie Blue: So I guess one thing I would say is, try to find someone that is more in your area, your niche or whatever, because that was one of the issues that I kind of fell into in the beginning, is that, there were a lot of, I would say, lifestyle bloggers that were doing coaching, but they were just coaching for to everybody. So that doesn’t really work, to me, I don’t think. Maybe it worked for some people, but it was really hard to figure out what direction to go in when you wanted to specifically be a food blogger. I don’t think that it gave enough clear focus on how to do things.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I think that there’s value in being in groups that are just really general, but as a food blogger, there’s so much value in being inside a group where people actually know what you’re doing and the ins and outs of the plugins that we’re using and all of that. So much value there. So just find that space and you’ll know when you’re in the right space because you’ll feel it. You’ll be like, okay, I’m well informed, connected, and it’s just a good feeling and it’s a really good way to just ensure that you know what you’re doing, what you’re working on is actually making a difference in your business. Okay. Where should we go from here? So where else do you recommend investing once you are connected and you’re okay, this is gonna be an awesome business. I’m invested in it. Where do you put your investments?
Bobbie Blue: Yeah, I just think that you need to have the right equipment from the beginning. Obviously there are some great camera phones and things out there, but I really think having like a DSLR camera, the right lighting, the right setup, everything that you need, and then getting the training and the coaching, that is what is going to make your business just to start easier and to get going on the right track. The way I see it is when you go to college, you know you have to put in the work, you have to decide the right school to go to and put in the work and put in the effort to be successful with it. So I see it in the same way. It was hard for me to decide which path to go with the blog and everything. I think sometimes I do beat myself up over making the wrong decisions from the beginning. But a lot of people do that. A lot of people go to school and then they decide, you know what? I spent all this time becoming a lawyer, but it really wasn’t for me. I’m gonna go to culinary school now. It happens. So I see that this was what I was doing in a way, it was testing the waters and figuring out different things that I liked.
Megan Porta: Yeah. We all have some iteration of that story. Most of us do. So have grace with yourself too, as you wade through this, like whatever realization you come to about it. I was probably nine-ish years into my food blogging before I realized that I was doing everything wrong. I was just relying on my own oh, this is what I need to do for Pinterest and because it’s whatever. That was so dumb because I didn’t have any of the relevant information. I was just thinking in my head what was going to work, and what was right. I was so wrong about that. Once I started reaching out and exploring other people’s knowledge and all of that, everything changed in my business. So it’s worthwhile to do that, even if it’s scary. So maybe talk about that. It can be really scary to admit that you’re maybe doing things wrong and to reach out for help and to get an audit or whatever you want to invest in. So how do you recommend just getting past that hurdle of fear?
Bobbie Blue: I did a couple of things that are outside of my comfort zone. I connected with Sandra from She’s Not Cooking.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love her. She’s amazing.
Bobbie Blue: Yeah, she is the nicest person. She’s so upbeat, so just genuinely helpful. I actually saw her post something on Food Blogger Central and I thought, you know what? I’m just gonna message her. Who knows? She may never email me back, but I’m gonna do it. I consider her a friend now. We chat all the time and she’s just wonderful. I think that is also one thing that you have to do because blogging can be a lonely thing because it’s not like you’re going to work, you’re not going to a place to do it, you’re just in your home. So if you don’t have that connection, it can get lonely. My husband can only listen to me talk about blogging for so long.
Megan Porta: Same. My husband after so many years was like, oh my gosh. He would never say that out loud, but I could tell he was like, the eyes glazed over and you’re like, okay, I need someone else to talk to about this who really understands. That’s a huge piece of it. It’s so lonely and nobody understands. Like even my family members who have heard me talk about it for 12 years now, they have no idea what I actually do. They’re like, oh, she posts recipes, and that’s about as far as it goes.
Bobbie Blue: So one thing I didn’t mention was I worked in the jewelry industry for 20 years and all my friends at the jewelry store, they had no idea what I was doing. I would talk to them, show them pictures that I was so excited about. Look at this picture. I just made this cupcake recipe. They’re like, so you’re gonna sell the cupcakes? I’m like, no, not exactly. Yeah they don’t understand. But my friends were always very supportive and they knew they were like, whatever you do, Bobbie, you’re gonna do great because you’re dedicated.
Megan Porta: Oh, yes, that is true too. If you have that spirit and that value, then you will do great. You will figure it out. But like your whole message is here today, Bobbie, if you can start on the right track early-ish on, then you’re going to be better off because going back and fixing a lot of the stuff we’re talking about is a nightmare. Take this from me. It’s a nightmare.
Bobbie Blue: It is, definitely.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So what else would you say? Anything else that we’ve missed about just investing in your business from the beginning and just creating less stress for us as we go on our journeys?
Bobbie Blue: Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it all up. Sometimes you can’t figure out what you’re gonna be great at and what you’re gonna enjoy and what really will bring you passion until you get into it. I had no idea that I was going to enjoy the food aspect of blogging so much until I really just dove into it. It became this whole new side, creative side that I had no idea I had. I loved cooking, but taking pictures of it and everything that came later. I think that everything happens for a reason. Even though sometimes it can be frustrating for me thinking like, I wish I had just known that I wanted to be a food blogger from the beginning, it didn’t work out that way for me. But I think it all works out for a reason. This will all come together with my business and I’ll be able to have my website and have the other side of it where I can help other people with pictures and, just have fun creating things that I love to create.
Megan Porta: I think a message that I’m pulling out from just everything that you’ve shared, Bobbie, is that we need to listen to those little intuitive nudges that we feel. You went into food blogging, having no idea that photography would be something that you ended up loving, but you listened to the nudge like, Ooh, this is fun and creative. So you went there and you invested in a course and I think that’s really important just to start with that first thing that you feel your intuition like tugging at you about, and to listen and follow through. Then maybe that’ll evolve into video and maybe it’ll evolve into keyboard research, like just making sure that you stay in touch with that.
Bobbie Blue: Exactly. The good point is that the next thing that I wanna dive into is the video portion.
Megan Porta: Ah-huh.
Bobbie Blue: They have offered that with the course too. I really wanna get into both parts of that.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I love this conversation. This is right up my alley. So thank you so much for everything you have shared today, Bobbie, and just thank you for taking the time for us today.
Bobbie Blue: Of course. I’m glad to be here.
Megan Porta: Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Bobbie Blue: I do. I think that it really brings everything together here. What would your response be if I told you the only natural talent an artist has is the desire to create? Everything outside of that is a skill that they have learned and some people pick up those skills quicker than others. But everybody can learn those skills if they have the desire to create.
Megan Porta: Ooh. We’re all creators, which is ironic, right? That’s our title. We are creators.
Bobbie Blue: Exactly.
Megan Porta: Amazing. Love that. We’ll put together a show notes page for you. If anyone wants to go look at that, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/bluesbestlife. Tell everyone where they can find you, Bobbie. So on your website, social media, all of that.
Bobbie Blue: Yep. I am on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest as Blue’s Best Life.
Megan Porta: Everyone, go check out Bobby’s accounts. 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’ve posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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