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Episode 207: The Necessity of Adaptability and Resilience in the Food Blogging Space with Tiffany Edwards

In episode 207 we talk with Tiffany Edwards, blogger at Creme de la Crumb, shares about her successes and challenges over the years, eager to share what she’s learned.

We cover information about adaptability in the food blogging space, learn how to buy back your time so ultimately you can spend it how you want and what to do during tough stretches.

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


Guest Details

Connect with Le Creme de la Crumb
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio
Tiffany is the owner/recipe creator/photographer behind Creme de la Crumb. She’s been in the industry since 2013, grown her blog into a 7-figure business, and she wants to share her knowledge and experience with others in the industry.

Takeaways

  • Your business will become obsolete if you aren’t willing to change with the times.
  • Be ready to adjust your goals as you work towards them and blow through them.
  • Know your hard why. It might change over time, but be clear what it is.
  • Learn to buy back your freedom so you can enjoy the benefits of being an entrepreneur.
  • To have a blog, you need to be adaptable, with your time, how you spend your time.
  • Reassess how you’re working your business often.
  • “The pathway to success is not linear.”
  • You work in a virtual world, most of it you can’t even touch. From time to time, take a moment and enjoy something in the real world to ground you.
  • When something hits you, hits your business. Pause for a moment. Reassess. Then pick one thing, something that you can fix or change, something small to move yourself in a forward direction to help give you peace.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers. Instead, reach out and get to know them, encourage one another and learn from each other.
  • Food blogging is the best type of blogging to be in because people have to eat every day.

Get Empowered!

Susie Bulloch shares with us in episode 052 about empowering yourself and others while on this entrepreneurial journey.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Hey awesome food bloggers. Do you struggle with knowing exactly what you should be doing to move the needle forward in your business? Do you struggle with knowing what to focus on next? If so, if this sounds like you, I have two solutions for you. Number one is mastermind groups. There is so much power in getting people together and helping to solve each other’s problems. At Eat Blog Talk, we have put together our own mastermind groups and we are hosting these weekly. You can join at any time. You can try it out for a month or you can sign up for a quarter or you can go all in and sign up for an entire year. Come join us. See if it’s a great fit for you, and this will really help you to solve those problems you’re having in your business and give you clarity about what you should be doing next to move your business forward.

The next solution is the Eat Blog Talk membership. I have spent all of 2021 so far putting so much value inside of the membership. It is such a supportive and wonderful place to be for food bloggers. We are learning so much from each other. We are joining together in monthly intensive calls, where we focus on very specific parts of food blogging in order to grow our businesses in massive ways. We also have guest experts come in and join us very regularly to talk about really specific parts of food blogging. We get one-on-one access to these experts such as Matt Molen from email crush, Casey Markee from Media Wyse. So many great people are joining us in these sessions and they are super valuable. There are so many reasons why you should be in the membership. I could not even start touching on all of it.

If you’re tired of wandering around aimlessly in your business and not knowing what to focus on, give the membership a try for free for two weeks. Go to eatblogtalk.com. You can sign up for the masterminds there, and you can also start the process of getting into the membership for two weeks, just to check it out. The rest of us can’t wait to see you inside.

What’s up, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value and clarity to help you find greater success in your business. I am so excited. Tiffany Edwards is with me today from Creme de la Creme. We’re going to have a conversation about adapting to changes and being resilient within the food blogging industry. Tiffany is the owner, recipe creator and photographer behind Creme de la Creme. She has been in the industry since 2013. She has grown her blog into a seven figure business, and she wants to share her knowledge and experience with others in the industry. I am so excited to chat with you today, Tiffany. You have so much to share with us I’m sure. But before we get started, we want to hear your fun facts.

Tiffany Edwards:

Right? So I have three little kids. They’re all pretty young. I have twins actually. They are five, a girl and a boy, and I have a little daughter who is going to be three soon. So my fun fact is that I actually did not find out the gender with any of them before they were born. So a lot of people just gasp and say, Oh my gosh, how could you do that? Not even with your twins? It’s true. I really didn’t. We didn’t find out. It was so much fun.

Megan:

So you liked that? Because I was the opposite. I was like, I need to know. I want to know. I know a lot of people like that, but you really liked the surprise of it. Huh?

Tiffany:

I really did. I loved it. That’s like the number one response from people is I could never do that. I’m such a control freak. I have to know. I just really, really enjoyed the surprise of it all. Just the suspense building and I mean, it drove my mother-in-law absolutely nuts.

Megan:

Yes. Mothers in law go crazy over that sort of thing. Like how could you not know this?

Tiffany:

I know in fact it was funny because she accused me several times, nicely, of knowing and just not telling her.

Megan:

Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious.

Tiffany:

I’m sure you guys know, and you’re just not sharing. I would tell her, the surprise is for me, not for you.

Megan:

This is about me and not you. I have the babies in my stomach.

Tiffany:

Exactly. So it was kind of funny. People were just shocked that we would not find out, especially when we had twins coming, they thought. How can you not know? It really was just so much fun. I loved it so much. I did it again with my second pregnancy and if I ever had another baby, I’d do it again.

Megan:

Oh, I love that. And especially with twins, because you could get so many different combinations, right? Like you could have two boys or two girls.

Tiffany:

Exactly. The trickiest part of that was having enough names ready when we went to the hospital. Not knowing what the gender was going to be. It was really fun and it’s kind of a telltale of some of my personality. I mean, I really am a planner. That has really shown through in my business and other aspects of my life. I think it really shocked a lot of people when I said, we’re not finding out gender.

Megan:

Oh. So it kind of goes against what you normally do, which is kind of fun too. Oooh what is Tiffany up to? I love that. Thank you for sharing that, Tiffany. Yeah, we’re just excited to learn from you and to hear about your blogging journey. I’ve been a fan of yours forever. I love your site, your recipes are amazing. Just the look and feel of your site has always been really appealing to me. As you know, because you’ve been in the game for so long, it’s so imperative that you remain adaptable and resilient as a food blogger because otherwise you will go crazy or you will quit or all of the above.

Tiffany:

Definitely all of the above.

Megan:

Yes. I’ve been there at times. Thankfully I’ve gotten back in the game, but I would just love for you to talk about your journey a little bit, how it started, talk through the evolution. We’d love to hear your big wins, maybe your heartaches and failures. I know that’s a lot of questions.

Tiffany:

I know. When it’s a long journey, there’s definitely the question, what do I tell and what do I leave out? But I am really excited to be talking with you and to share what I do know with others. I know that when I started a blog, I would have given anything to have a podcast like this to turn to for a lot of wisdom and advice from others in the industry. I feel like there were so many unknowns and it was a lot of guesswork. It still is sometimes, but there’s so much more available to us now, than there was back in when I started in 2013. Things were a lot different back then. I’m glad that we’re talking about adaptability today because honestly, I could say my blog, my site, my business would be obsolete or gone at this point if I had not continued to change with the times.

So I started in 2013. I didn’t have any kids yet. My husband and I got married in 2012 and he was traveling quite a bit for work. I was honing my cooking skills. I didn’t cook a lot growing up. I love to eat. I always loved to eat. But I did not do a lot of the cooking. So I was teaching myself to cook and I was realizing that I really had a love and a passion for it that I never knew was there before. I had a little bit of background in photography and Pinterest was getting really big at the time. So I could see that people had these websites, these blogs, that they were making recipes and using that as a notebook for themselves or a filing cabinet for their recipes.

Then they were also combining that with photography, which really, really appealed to me because of my photography background. Please don’t go back to my earliest recipes and look at my photos because they are horrifying, but at the time they really stood out on Pinterest. The quality is not what you will see today on Pinterest and elsewhere on the internet. But at the time they really gave me a leg up. My photographs did. I was able to use what little photography experience I had at the time to set my work apart on Pinterest. That helped me get a leg up in the game and start to grow very quickly. I started out with the goal and I always like to look back on this fondly. But I started out with this goal of, I would love to make a thousand dollars a year.

I think that would be so awesome if I could do that on the side. You know, even when we have kids that would be so great, who doesn’t want an extra thousand dollars in a year, right. That could be a trip or a remodel project or something. I was stoked. That was actually what I pitched to my husband when I had started it. I actually started it and then a week later I told him. I said to him, so I started a food blog. He’s all, what is a food blog?

At the time I was going to school, I was working full time. Within a few months I really hit the ground running. I was posting a new recipe every day of the week. I fell in love with it. I really went hard. Then a few months in, I lost my full-time job. I got laid off and I went on a couple of interviews to get a new job. I remember sitting down to dinner with my husband one night and I said, so just hear me out. What if I don’t look for a new full-time job? I just tried this food blogging thing full-time. At the time I had learned in the course of those few months, that the thousand dollar goal I had started with was really low and there was a lot more opportunity and a lot more money to be made in the industry.

I got really excited about it. So I told him about that and I said, Hey, what if I do this? I remember it was October. I said, what if I just do this till January 1st? Then I reevaluate, we see where the blog is and what’s happening with it and if it’s not showing a lot of promise, I will go get a new full-time job somewhere. He was on board. He said, yeah, I think that that’s reasonable. So we did it. I did not know at the time or understand at the time what a huge deal fourth quarter is for internet businesses and especially in our niche, just that growth that happens and can happen and the possibilities there in the fourth quarter. So it really was kind of the perfect timing without knowing it.

:

But my blog did really take off during that time. I surpassed my thousand dollar goal for one month, which originally had been my goal for a year. I got so excited about it. January 1st came, I talked to my husband and said, Hey, look at where we’re at. He was totally on board and said, all right, let’s do this. I just kept at it. I made benchmarks for myself and I kept hitting them, usually sooner than I anticipated. Wo that was a really fun time that first year to see how quickly it grew and scaled. It’s a much different process now to be growing your site and your business, but at the time it grew so quickly. I was really fortunate to be iN the right place at the right time with a little bit of a skill set that helped me set my work apart. So that’s kinda how I got started.

Megan:

There was a sweet spot there, right? That few years when Pinterest was just taking off. I too got into that. Honestly it was by accident for me, but I figured out the photography side enough to really make huge traction on Pinterest. I got better traffic years ago from Pinterest than I do now, overall. I remember having a million page views months just from Pinterest. Now that is unheard of for me. I rode that Pinterest wave for so many years and then it just got more saturated and it’s a totally different story now. But I love that your first year was a great wild success. That’s awesome. I love that you had a thousand dollars a year and then Whoa, it happened in a month. You were like, this is amazing.

Tiffany:

It really is incredible. Like you said, I mean, it was the right place at the right time with Pinterest. But there did come a time when Pinterest changed and I had to adapt, which is going to play into everything else we’re going to talk about. I rode that Pinterest wave as long as I could. Then I really had to get smart about my business. I remember feeling so heartbroken when my Pinterest traffic was declining and I thought, Oh my gosh, my business is going to die. This is not going to last. I’m not going to survive it. I have felt that way several times throughout my journey of food blogging. I think that that is fairly typical. I don’t think that everyone can say there was never a time when I thought that this might be the end or something.

In fact, I remember there was a joke, but kind of not a joke of there being, they called it the blog apocalypse. A lot of the quote unquote bigger bloggers that were kind of in this circle with me, we would call it the blog apocalypse is coming. It was just that we thought, there was this notion going around that blogging was going to die. It was going to die out and there was going to be no money to be made. We just had to ride this wave as long as we could. 

Megan:

That’s so true. That’s part of the game. I feel like we talked about this a little bit before, just that we need to be adaptable or you will quit. A lot of people did early on because I remember seeing bloggers who were just killing it, like creating the best recipes, engaging with their audiences in crazy ways. Then they just fell off the face of the earth because it was so tumultuous. You either sink or you just keep swimming. It was like a turning point for a lot of bloggers when things really started changing, when Pinterest changed. I think that was kind of the turning point for a lot of bloggers. So what kept you in the game? What kept you motivated through all of that? Because it can be really crazy.

Tiffany:

In business or if you listen to lots of business podcasts or read business books, you might hear or come across this term called a hard why. The hard why is your reason at the core of why you are running your business. What is it that keeps you going? Why is it that you want to be in this field, in this industry offering whatever you are offering to the world. If you can really hone in on that hard why, it can get you through a lot. For me, to be honest, my hard way has changed over time. In the very beginning, I was highly motivated because I wanted to make money. Which I mean, we all want to make money, but for me it was a very personal thing I was hoping to pay for. So my husband and I have infertility that we’ve dealt with.

For me, I really wanted to be able to pay for in vitro. Which was this huge thing for us and there are financing options available but we really wanted to stay out of debt, that was really important to us. So I thought if I can make enough money to pay for this, it will be a huge thing for us. A huge weight off our shoulders. So that’s what motivated me in the very beginning and sparked that fire. Over time that has changed. There’s another aspect of growing a business that you might come across when reading books or things, but once you have that hard why, you really have to hone in on it and focus on that through the challenges. Sticking through it with the hard why will really will carry you through a lot.

Like I said, over time that changed for me. I was able to make that money. We were able to pay for what we wanted to pay for. Then at that point I realized that there was a lot more growth and opportunity to be had in this industry. I really wanted to do something in business you call, buying back your time. So I really have always enjoyed working and having a career. But I also really focus on family time. That’s a huge thing for my husband and I. So I wanted to be able to do this thing called buying back your time. When you buy back your time, you’re able to spend it however you want. That’s a freedom that comes through working for yourself and having a successful business that runs on its own without depending on a corporation that you might work for without having a boss.

This is something you can do when you’re working for yourself is buy back your time and then spend it how you want to spend it. So that was this goal for me, was to buy back my time and be able to spend more and more time with my family. So I was highly motivated to keep my blog running, but also get to a point where it could build up enough momentum that I wouldn’t have to babysit it day after day. From sunup till sundown, which is what I was doing back in the beginning, running every single piece of it. I really wanted to be able to scale it to a point where I could step back at times and have that time with my family, have personal time and still trust that the train was going to keep moving.

Megan:

I love that. I’ve never heard anyone phrase it like that, but buying back your time is so smart because if we allow food blogging to take over our lives, it really well, it did for me for so many years. I got to that point to Tiffany, where I was like, okay, wait. This is counterproductive. It’s doing the opposite of what I actually wanted this to do. I think we all get to that point where we’re like, Whoa. I’m spending way more time in my business. I’m actually paying to be a food blogger. So there comes that point where you’re like, I have to figure out how to turn this around. That’s different for everybody, I think, but I’m curious if you have schedule restrictions, how do you work your schedule?

Tiffany:

So overtime this has changed a lot as we’ve had kids and then had another kid. So at different times it changes and in different seasons it changes. So you know, during the summertime, that’s a particularly slow time for food blogging in general. That’s the time when I usually will step back and I will make fewer recipes. I will spend less time doing my computer work. Then during the third and fourth quarter, we know as a family, that that’s a pretty busy time for me. So I adjust my schedule accordingly. But I mean, in those first few years I look back and I just want to go back and give myself a little squeeze, a little hug, a little pat of encouragement and say, you’re doing so great. Because I was burning the midnight oil day after day after day, even with no kids.

I really wanted to get my blog off the ground. I really wanted it to be successful and I wanted it to be one of the best out there that was important to me. I spent so many hours, way more than a 40 hour work week back in the beginning. Which I think is pretty common with entrepreneurs and getting a business off the ground. But, my schedule has changed over time. Now I’m able to squeeze my work hours into maybe when my kids are at preschool. My husband’s schedule has been flexible over the years. So there have been times when he’s been able to be home with the kids so that I can focus on my work. That plays perfectly into what we’re talking about, about being adaptable.

You really have to be adaptable, even with your time and the way that you are spending your time on your business and where you’re allotting your hours. Because over time, your personal life is still happening while you’re running a business, that’s just the truth of it. You have to be able to adjust and make changes as you go to what’s working for you. Be able to step back and reassess and say, okay, this, this is not working. We need to make a change. Then be able to refocus your efforts where they matter most.

Megan:

That’s such a great answer. I love that. So I also love that you said that if you could go back, you’d give yourself a little Pat of encouragement. Because often I think I would go back and yell at myself and say, what are you doing? So when you said that, I was like, Oh, I’m such a jerk to myself, but you’re so nice to yourself.

Tiffany:

There’s something to be said for the fact that I made so many mistakes in the beginning. I mean, I’m still making mistakes, that’s just how it goes. But I look back fondly on those times and think, gosh, there are so many people, as you were talking about earlier, if you don’t change with the tides, you can become obsolete. I could name a dozen bloggers right now that maybe you would recognize their name but most people listening would not because they did not make the changes necessary and embrace the waves that were coming in the industry, and now their blogs don’t exist or they are kind of buried underneath the other hundreds of more successful blogs at this point. At the time, I thought that they were the blogs to emulate and now you don’t really see them anywhere.

So you should look back fondly and say, you know what, I stuck it out. There’s a lot to be said for that for just keeping the needle going as you go along and you see things change and things get hard. There definitely are plenty of things. Like I said, don’t go back and look at my earliest photography. It’s so terrible. I probably would’ve named my blog something different that’s not so hard to pronounce. Plenty of things like that. But in all, if you are still in it today, you’re halfway there. You’re doing really good just by hanging in there.

Megan:

Oh, I love that. Okay. So I have a little bit of grace with myself now because it has been a rough journey. It’s been up and down and all over the place, and then you think things are going really well. Then you get slammed with an algorithm. Even if you have everything seems to be going well on your site and you’re posting consistently. So those times happen when you think everything’s great and you’re making a lot of money and then all of a sudden. So how do you deal with that? Because that’s different from the earlier days that we’re talking about. The earlier days are just like, I don’t know what I’m doing. We’re just trying to figure it out. But speak to that. Once you have your blog up and running and you feel like things are going well, and then something bad happens, how have you dealt with those times?

Tiffany:

Right. I think the first step is just to acknowledge and realize that the pathway to success is not linear. It is a journey, there’s going to be ups and downs. As soon as you accept that everything else will be a little bit easier. Sometimes changes are required. That’s just part of the season that you’re in. When things do come and happen. I mean, I want to make it really clear that after so many years of blogging, I still get hit hard with an algorithm. I still have to make adjustments. I still have days where I think, wait a minute, I thought this was working. Then all of a sudden it’s not working. When that happens, I have a couple of go-tos that helped me move through that. One of those is just to take a breath, really go back to your core values and take time to revisit some of your other interests. For me, that’s family time.

Some of my other hobbies, we really love the outdoors in my family. So I try to focus on some of the things that are really happening in the real world that are not in a computer and not virtual because it can get so easy to get lost in this virtual world that you’re working in. If you can remind yourself that most of your business, you can’t even touch. It’s all in your mind a little bit. There’s all these numbers and, and yes, the money is real, but I mean, most of it we’ve never held in our hands. So it’s kind of a virtual world, but remind yourself that you’re in the real world. Take a minute to step out, go do something that’s important to you. That’s not work-related. Sometimes that’s just an afternoon. That could be a day. Sometimes I need a week. I mean, I don’t completely step away from my work, but I try to remind myself and I purposely and intentionally plan some things into my week that will help me stay grounded in those things that are not so intangible. If you know what I mean.

Megan:

Most of your business, you can’t even touch. I wrote that down. That makes me feel like we’re all a little bit crazy. We can’t actually touch it. Everything we create – if computers and technology went away, there would be nothing. It would be Poof! There was no business.

Tiffany:

Exactly. That was a huge realization for me after a few years of blogging and there had been some really big ups and downs. I had this aha moment where I thought I was so worked up. I remember it was just a really tumultuous time in the industry overall. Then I felt like I got hit so hard with some big changes. I remember having this moment thinking I am so worked up and I am so stressed about something I can’t even touch. How crazy is that? So I try to remind myself of that when these ups and downs come. The second thing I do after I’ve grounded myself, reminds myself that, okay this is all a bunch of numbers, mostly. It’s not in the real world with me and it’s not hurting me, as stressed as I am and as painful as it seems to be, nobody’s attacking me.

So if you can realize that, then I like to take control of one thing. I try to zero in on one thing I can do to move in a forward direction. I have to combat that voice in my head that says, I need to do all the things, all the things right now to fix this problem, to move through this hurdle or whatever it may be. But as long as I can really zero in on one thing I can do, and that may be in that hour or that day. But I feel so much better if I can zero, pinpoint one thing that will really help me move the needle forward. I feel so much more in control of what’s going on. So to step back and say, okay, I can’t do everything right now. In fact, I don’t even have all the answers. I’m not quite sure how to fix this huge problem. Pick one thing that you can work on that day and you will sleep better that night, knowing that you are moving in a forward direction. Even if you’re not quite sure where that direction is going to take you, what the future of your business is. Just picking one thing can really help you just feel more calm and at peace and be in control of what’s happening.

Megan:

You don’t feel like you’re letting yourself down because if you pick too many things, Oh, I’m going to do five things and then you only do two of them. Then you think Oh, I’m such a disappointment. So I love that. Just one thing. Then you can fulfill that need. Yes, I did something. You’re also not sitting around doing nothing. So I love that. If you could go back to yourself, your old self, a previous Tiffany, let’s say five years ago, and tell her one thing to do that would maybe be different than what you decided, anything relating to your blog. What would it be?

Tiffany:

I feel like a big part of it that we talked about earlier was just sticking with it, but probably stop comparing. I felt like I was really comparing my journey and my blog to those around me. If I had been able to a little bit sooner be able to just step back and just focus on what I was doing and not worry about trying to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak. I think that I would have been able to maybe move in the direction that I’m already in, but maybe faster, if that makes sense. I feel like that comparison trap slowed me down for a while. In some ways paralyzed me into not being able to make positive decisions for my business and move it forward. So I would say, Hey, just take a step back and remember that what you’re doing is working. You’re moving in the right direction and you’ve already come so far. So try to focus on the positives and keep moving forward. Then that success can come quicker.

Megan:

Do you find this too? I found that actually befriending your quote competition is a way to combat the comparison trap. Once you see that there’s actually people, humans who are nice and they’re hard workers too, that suddenly I’m like, Oh, they’re technically my competition, but not really. They’re like really, really awesome people.

Tiffany:

Yes. Obviously there’s every kind of person involved in the food blogging industry. But if you can find a couple of other bloggers to lean on, you’ll feel like you have a network, a team to keep you motivated. Some people keep you grounded and remind you that you’re all working towards the same thing. It is true that sometimes you can get caught up thinking all these people are my competition, but really you’re all working towards the same goal. If all those others didn’t have food blogs, there would be no industry. You have to remember that. That really, you’re all kind of working towards the same thing. It’s not so much you don’t need to be stealing traffic from other places.

I always say, in my opinion, food blogging is the best type of blogging to be in because people have to eat every day. People don’t have to go shopping for new clothes. People don’t have to do these maybe mommy projects or whatever it is. But people have to eat every day. Remember that your business is timeless in the sense that you’re offering something people are always going to need, regardless of what the times are doing, what the industry is doing, what economic state things are in, people still have to eat. There’s plenty of people out there looking for recipes. So remember that you’re all working towards the same goal, and it’s not a matter of taking all the traffic for yourself.

Megan:

That’s so true. I think we all get to the point where we understand that, but there’s a while when we start blogging where we don’t. If I’m doing well, someone else is not, but that is not the case. If you are doing well, the rest of us are going to do better because we’re going to learn from you and we lift each other up. So I love it when people point that out, especially people who’ve been doing this for awhile. I want to ask you,if you were speaking to a newer blogger right now, somebody who started maybe within the past one or two years, and you were talking about the need to be adaptable and to be resilient, what would you say to them?

Tiffany:

I would give them a couple of really hard and firm takeaways that you need in adapting. One would be to observe and research. The fact is that changes will happen in the industry and there’s nothing you can do about that. The only thing you can do is be smart about it. So when you see something changing, say you’ve been working on something for a while and you think this is great. I’m doing really well. I’m seeing a lot of progress. Then there’s a big shift and you start to freak out a little bit. Everybody has that panic moment where you’re thinking, uh oh, I’m not doing something right. Or I need to be doing something I’m not doing. Step back, observe and research. Is this a temporary fad or is this a long lasting industry shift?

This will help you decipher what changes in the industry are worth embracing and growing into, and which ones are not worth your time and effort. I can name a lot of things that came and went over the years, things that have come to stay. This can be anything from cooking methods to photography styles or your website structure or social media, which we know is ever changing. But I remember when the Instant Pot started to get big. Some of us were thinking, is this here to stay? Is this replacing the slow cooker? This is a process that we all went through. As we know, Instant Pot is very big and that’s something that we’ve embraced. I remember kind of going slow and thinking, I don’t know if I want to do this Instant Pot thing, but it’s turned into a great thing for my site.

There are other things. There’s been social media platforms that have popped up over time. That ended up not really coming to fruition. I remember there were early adopters. Other bloggers that I knew, friends that I had, maybe thought, Oh, this is the next big thing we’ve got to get on. But they wasted hours or months even, trying to pour themselves into that. It never came to anything. So really take a step back and observe and try to take a beat and try to decipher if this is something that you need to embrace or not. Then if it is, I would move on to a second step, which is to make a plan and ask yourself questions, how important is this? Where does this fall into my priority list? Can I do it myself, or do I need to hire out and bring on a team member?

Does this require a monetary investment? If so, am I in a position to do that? What resources do I already have that could be repurposed or reallocated to make this work for me. Asking yourself these types of questions will help get you clarity on how to adapt into this new situation or this new thing that needs to be incorporated into your business. Then just as a last step, I would say, assess and adjust. What is working? What’s not working and then make small changes as needed. But that kind of process that I’ve gone through so many times over the years of observing, making a plan and then assessing and readjust has gotten me through so many transitions and so many ups and downs in the industry. So that would be my advice to a new blogger: accept that these changes are gonna come and they are often really unpredictable. But if you follow this process and what not, you can get through them and you can build your blog into a bigger business. Every time you go through one of these changes.

Megan:

So bottom line, it’s impossible to build a successful blogging business, without being resilient. You can’t be one way and expect nothing to change, right?

Tiffany:

That’s so true. I’ve seen this cycle so many times in the past eight years. It’s those who embrace the changes, the important changes and those big industry shifts. As long as you can keep being adaptable and changing with the times, you will stay relevant and your business will continue to grow.

Megan:

So many great quotes. I am writing like crazy, Tiffany. This is so fun and such a great chat to have, because I feel like I don’t know about you, but this past year too, there are so many changes with Google and Pinterest and all the platforms that it’s almost like we’re just used to it now. Oh, another massive core update is coming.

Tiffany:

Another day in the life.

Megan:

Exactly. I was just talking to an SEO expert who shared that in the past month or month and a half, there have been more Google updates than ever before. So it’s just a part of our worlds. So we’re just being tossed around, but it’s normal. It didn’t used to be like this. This was not normal before.

Tiffany:

There was a time when blogging was so much more simple. It seemed so clear cut, right? You make something, you take a picture of it, you put it on your site and you pin it to Pinterest and you’re done. Oh, those are the days. But in that phase of the industry, growth was limited. You really need to look at what we have now, as opportunities as things change. It’s changing for the better overall, even though it feels really painful sometimes to go through some of those changes. I remember when the video started to get big and I thought, Oh my gosh, I hope it just goes away. I don’t want to do it. At the time, I mean, things are different now where you can easily, so easily hire out video, but at the time that was not an option.

You had to do it yourself. I remember buying the equipment and I put myself through training to learn video editing and all of that. Now I’ve hired that out and it’s a great system for me now, but at the time it fell on my shoulders. So if you realize that over time, these things are gonna happen, but ultimately the potential for growth and for revenue growth is going to continue to increase with these changes. So look at it as something that’s actually going to help you in the long run, rather than trying to thwart all of great success, which sometimes it definitely feels that way.

Megan:

I feel like the more complicated things become in our industry, the more opportunities that are available. That was kind of what you were just saying. So how do you look outside your blog to make money? So ad revenue obviously is a great option for people, for anyone, even bloggers just starting, but what if people want to look outside of that? Do you have recommendations about where to go first?

Tiffany:

So, for those who have a food blog, there’s other opportunities. I mean, we’ve talked about ad revenue, but also, working with brands, making those partnerships, which that too has changed over the years. I see fewer brands looking to make long-term partnerships than there used to be. But there’s still money to be made there. There’s also eBooks you can sell. One of my most successful ecookbooks made me a great passive revenue stream for awhile. It’s not available anymore, so don’t go look for it. I’m writing a new one to replace it, but you know, that’s something you can do. If you’re already going through the process of making recipes, photographing them, then you have an opportunity to sell your work.

As far as sometimes brands don’t really want content on your site. Maybe they just want to buy a recipe from you. Maybe they want to buy a photo from you. Those are great ways to be making money on the work you’ve already done. Which is fantastic. Then for those who maybe you haven’t started a blog or you’re just starting, and you’re not really to that point of garnering enough traffic to make a lot of revenue off of it. There’s other opportunities to be working for other bloggers and other people in the industry. I had a friend who was really interested in starting a blog and it ended up being the right fit. I trained her how to do video, and now she has a fantastic video business. That was a better fit for her. So there may be something in the industry. Some people do that just on the side. I know some videographers also have a food blog. So it doesn’t have to be one or the other, you can absolutely do both. You should, if you if that fits for you. So there’s other things that you can be doing to be making money while you’re trying to build up your traffic and get to that point of having a steady revenue.

Megan:

I feel like newer bloggers especially, they come on the scene and they see other bloggers making so much money through ad revenue that they get kind of caught up in that and to the point where it’s almost obsessive. I feel like if you would just take a little bit of a step back and look at all of the other ways that you can make money, it’s almost a good distraction for you while you’re working up to being a part of an ad network. Because when you get so focused on something and I’ve experienced this in my journey, and you talked about this a little bit earlier, too, you need something to take your mind off it. You talked about having real-world distractions to get your mind out of your business. I feel like it’s the same thing with the ad network. You need to distract yourself a little bit. Maybe by being a videographer for other food bloggers or something like that. Like you mentioned, just to get your sight off of it, because then it’s this obsessive almost desperate thing, you know what I mean?

Tiffany:

Yeah, absolutely. I definitely think that there’s something to be said for and I don’t want this to come off a bad way, but I’m trying too hard. There’s really only so much you can do to get that traffic. If you are meeting all the checkboxes and you’re doing the work, you’re making great recipes, you’re taking great photos, you’re putting it out there. At that point, I mean, it’s really up to whatever’s going to happen, is going to happen. So to have something else to invest yourself in, your time, your energy, your thought process. Something that will motivate you to work harder. It can be so daunting to try. These goals are great for this large level of traffic and that absolutely can be your goal and maybe it should be.

But at the same time, don’t miss other opportunities for growth. If you’re focusing on a little side thing of doing a video for somebody, or maybe you’re selling recipes, there was a time in my in my blogging journey where I was still posting all the time on my own site, but I had other slightly larger bloggers who just were not really enjoying the process of making their own recipes. They would buy some from me. I would build up a stash of extra recipes, which I feel like has been a key to my success over the years. A key to being adaptable at different times is that I always have this repertoire, this stash of recipes that keeps me going. If I get sick or something happens or we have a trip come up then I have something I can pull from.

I don’t have to feel like, Oh my gosh, I don’t have any more recipes to post. I can’t stay on schedule. I have this archive that I can pull from. There was a point where I was selling those to other bloggers. That might be something that people don’t think about. Especially for bloggers that have been doing it for a long time, some of them still love it. I love developing recipes. I love photographing them. Some people don’t really want to do that part anymore. So maybe reaching out to them and saying, Hey, I’ve really honed in my photography. I’m really good at developing recipes. I have these already made, do you want to buy some? That might be something that they’re interested in and then getting that little bit of revenue coming in that direction can really keep you going and keep you motivated to be building your site and getting that traffic. But in the meantime, having that kind of pick me up and that motivation of, okay, I’m making money. Maybe it’s not just from my ad revenue. Maybe I’m not making any ad revenue yet, but I am making money. This is successful. I am doing the right things and that can keep you going and motivated.

Megan:

Oh my gosh, I love your recipe development and selling that. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that, but as you were talking through having a stash of recipes at all times, that goes to what you were saying earlier, Tiffany, about buying back your time. That’s almost a way of having a database of content so that you can have that time to spend how you want to spend it.

Tiffany:

Absolutely. There’s this method of productivity called batch working. This isn’t maybe what everyone would do, but there are times when I have more time to give to recipe development. So I will crank out a ton of extra recipes. I may not need them yet, but I will need them later on. It’s so nice. It’s such peace of mind to be able to fall back on that. Then at other times when life is busier, other aspects of my business come up that need more attention. I can scale back and say, it’s okay. I have X amount of recipes, sitting in my computer waiting. I can let that rest and focus on the other things that are taking up my time. It really gives you a lot of peace of mind.

Megan:

Yeah, definitely. This has been so great. It’s so fun to talk to you, Tiffany, and just hear about the evolution of your journey and your blog and how it has affected you as a person. I mean, we sometimes forget that there’s actually people behind the blogs. Even as bloggers, we’re like, Oh, well, Tiffany she’s had a successful blog for so many years. She probably had a smooth sailing the whole time, but that’s not true. Everyone has the stories and the ups and the downs and the heartbreaks and all of it. So it’s really good to hear from you that yes, that is real. It has been a journey.

Tiffany:

Yeah, it is. I think that that’s something that I would have benefited from hearing years ago. I really did think that, you know, this pathway to success was going to be linear and it was going to be continual growth and smooth sailing. I remember when that first kind of big dip happened and my traffic level and my revenue changed, and I wondered if this was working. If I was doing the right things or if this was going to die. It was really difficult for me. It would have been such a nice thing to hear that this is normal and this is gonna keep happening. So just keep running with it, you know?

Even the biggest names out there, the ones you’re trying to emulate are the ones that you use as a benchmark, or maybe a role model for success in your industry. Even if they are going through the same things you’re going through. It might feel bigger to you because it’s earlier on in your journey, but they’re feeling the same things and they are stressed about a lot of the same things. It’s still possible to grow through that. I think that’s really important to know.

Megan:

Thank you so much for sharing everything. Tiffany. I hope you have a wonderful day. Also I hope that you did not get blown away by your wind storm that was happening during our call.

Tiffany:

We’re still here.

Megan:

Is it still crazy windy or did it die down?

Tiffany:

It is. No, it’s still crazy windy. I’m a little nervous. My kids playset is out in the back. I’ll have to go see if it’s still here.

Megan:

I hope everything’s okay.

Tiffany:

No broken windows. I think our trees are still.

Megan:

Oh, that’s good. I appreciate you doing this interview even though there’s craziness going on all around you.

Tiffany:

Well, thank you so much for having me.

Megan:

This was fun. Before you go, do you have a favorite quote? You did share that you have a couple of quotes and I’d love for you to share those with food bloggers.

Tiffany:

Yeah, absolutely. So one of these is kind of long-winded, but when I came across this a handful of years ago, it really helped me get through a lot. I’ve gone back and read it at times when I felt discouraged. So I’d love to share it. It’s a quote by Ira Glass who was an American public radio personality. He says, nobody tells us to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me, all of us who do creative work. We get into it because we have good taste. But there’s this gap. For the first couple of years, you make stuff and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good. It has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game is still killer. Your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. If you’re just starting out, or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal. The most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions. I took longer to figure out this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s going to take awhile. You just gotta fight your way through.” So I really loved that quote. It’s so inspiring to me. It was what we were just talking about. It was that person putting an arm around me saying, Hey, this is normal. The reason you’re dissatisfied with what you’re doing right now is because you have great ambition. You have great tastes. You have a great dream that you’re working toward. You will get there. You just gotta fight your way through.

Megan:

Oh, that’s such a perfect quote to end this with. I know you have one more, so why don’t you share that one too?

Tiffany:

I do. And this one’s much shorter. This one just says, anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year, probably isn’t learning enough. So I really love that one. I look back at what I’ve done, you could say I’ve done wrong over the years. There were plenty of things I regret or I wish I’d done differently. Sometimes I do feel like I’m in that phase where I look at what I’ve done or what I’ve built and I feel a little embarrassed. I was talking about that earlier with my photography and I look at it and I think, Oh my gosh, that was terrible. Those recipes, why did I ever think that anyone was going to want to make that? But the truth is that it’s, as you learn, you learn. You don’t know what you don’t know and over time you may feel those moments of being embarrassed of who you were a year ago, but it’s because you’re learning and you’re growing and that’s a good thing.

Megan:

Oh, such a great way to end. Thank you for sharing both of those. Tiffany, we’re going to put together a show notes page for you. So if anyone wants to go check that out, we will have main takeaways. We’ll have the quotes that Tiffany shared and also links to her blog and her accounts. You can find that at eatblogtalk.com/cremedelacreme. Tell everyone where they can best find you online,Tiffany.

Tiffany:

So my website is always good. I always have new content coming out there. But if you want to hang out with me a little more personally, you can jump over to Instagram. That’s where I like to connect with people. I would love to hear from anyone who might have questions or just wants to connect. I love sharing what I do know. I know I have lots to learn and lots of more growth to happen, but yeah. Look for me on Instagram, I’d love to connect with you and that would be great.

Megan:

Awesome. Well, thanks again, Tiffany, for being here and for taking the time for this today. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers, I will see you next time.

Outro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

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

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