In episode 414, Megan chats to Eric Samuelson about common mental health issues food bloggers struggle with and how they can keep on top of their blogs regardless of what they experience in their day-to-day life.
We cover information about why food blogging can take a toll mentally, how to evaluate a work-life balance, how to think about income and the effect it has on stress in your life, and understand ways to help keep you focused and on track.
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BIO Eric runs the blog, Eat Like No One Else – THE PLACE to be to learn how to enhance the way you eat through learning of specialty foods and ingredients and how to make the most amazing food at home. At Eat Like No One Else, they solidly believe in the philosophy “if you teach a man to fish…” . In 2022, Eric introduced a podcast, Eat Shop Waste Not, that teaches people how to source the most delicious groceries without wasting food or a single penny!
- Blogging is a marathon.
- Be intentional about building community. You can bond and lean on each other.
- Learn from other bloggers as well as always be working on learning.
- Don’t get pulled into FOMO.
- Avoid going through the rollercoaster of being self-employed by learning the peaks and valleys and what to anticipate and be prepared for.
- Don’t chase the newest thing in blogging if it’s overwhelming and puts you in a bad place mentally.
Did you hear Eric’s plan for a food blogger support group? It’s here! Check out Eric’s community ready to help you achieve goals while being supported with real-life challenges like Seasonal Affective Disorder, FOMO, general health challenges, and or struggling to stay on task as you grow your business.
Click for full script.
EBT414 – Eric Samuelson
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 their blog’s growth and ultimately help them to achieve their 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.
The topic in today’s episode is a little bit heavy, but also one that I think we don’t talk about often or enough, and that it really needs to be addressed in our space.
As every one of you knows, food blogging can be hard at times, it can be lonely, isolating, and some of us even struggle with anxiety and depression, self-worth issues, self-esteem, and we could keep going on and on with that. If you have struggled with any of that at any point in your food blogging career, please give this episode a listen. I think it’s really important to shed light on these issues. My amazing guest in this episode is Eric Samuelson from eatlikenoone.com, and he shares so openly about some of his own personal struggles and how he’s navigated food blogging despite it. So it can be done, and he gives us a lot of tips and strategies that we can use to make things better so that we can be better food bloggers and better humans. This is episode number 414 and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
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. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now on to the episode.
Megan Porta: Eric runs the food blog Eat Like No One Else, the place to be to learn how to enhance the way you eat through learning about specialty foods and ingredients and how to make the most amazing food at home. At Eat Like No One Else, they solidly believe in the philosophy, if you teach a man to fish. In 2022, Eric introduced a podcast, Eat Shop Waste Not, that teaches people how to source the most delicious groceries without wasting food or a single penny.
Hey, Eric. So good to have you back on Eat Blog Talk. How are you today and where are you and your family in your RV travels?
Eric Samuelson: Thanks, Megan. Yeah, I’m really excited to get to talk with you again here. Right now we are in Huntsville, Alabama. We came here a couple years ago for a few days here and we’re surprised that this is a pretty nice town. We were like, weren’t expecting it. We thought oh, it’s a little stopover thing, so we like, we had to come back and check it out again. We’re enjoying the beautiful flowers, and spring flowers here, and not enjoying so much the running from tornadoes and firestorms as you get in the South, so that’s just fine.
Megan Porta: Exciting. Adventure. Being on the road is definitely an adventure, isn’t it?
Eric Samuelson: It sure is.
Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. I’m so excited to have you here. Aside from that awesomeness about your RV travels, do you have another fun fact to share with us?
Eric Samuelson: Yes. Sure. It kinda relates to travel to you, but I have been to 48 states. The two I’m missing are the ones that aren’t very drivable to, especially Hawaii and the other Alaska here. Almost two years now since I went to my 48th state, which was Maryland. So that was the one I got last so I’ve been to all the contiguous ones.
Megan Porta: That’s awesome. Okay, you guys have to eventually get up to Alaska. Is it in the plans to do that?
Eric Samuelson: I want to go visit there someday. I don’t, we’re not going to drive up there, at least not with a camper. That would just take so long and because there’s a lot of Canada to get through to even get to Alaska. So somehow, someday we’ll get to Alaska. Yeah.
Megan Porta: Yes. Can’t wait to hear about it when you’re there. Okay, so you are here today, Eric, to talk about this issue that I feel like we don’t really talk about a lot, which is mental health and blogging and how they can be intertwined and how our mental health can be affected because of blogging. There are some things that kind of come along with this whole topic. So I feel like it can be really hard to be a blogger, especially over a sustained amount of time because there are isolation issues, we’re typically alone doing our work, and we have competition issues where we think everyone else has got it figured out and we don’t. Then that can lead to anxiety, depression, and just feeling like we’re not enough and all of these things together, which I know that you’ve felt on some level too. So I’d love to hear your story with this what level have you felt some of these things and how do they play together?
Eric Samuelson: Sure. I think I gotta go back and start with my story. So I started my blog in 2009 and at that point I was a stay at home dad. I only had one kid and so it was just a way to oh, this could be some kind of cool thing I could do maybe to earn some extra money. As an extra money thing, not as a full time job situation. Back then it wasn’t, there wasn’t as many people doing it and I just heard of an idea of somebody making money with a website online. That was just some news story. I’m like, oh, this person’s talking about bees. I think it was about bees or something. They were talking about bees and they were able to make money off doing that here. It’s oh, I can do a website thing. So I wanted to try to do that here. It took a while to figure out that it would eventually, this is something I could really make a good amount of money with. I think the first time I really started learning that is following Pinch of Yum and they were doing income reports back then. So they were sharing with people what they were making. So I was like, Oh, okay. So there’s some money to make with this year. This can be a good time situation. In that in itself, that was a blessing and also a curse at the same time in the fact that you’re like, Oh, this is something I need to do. We were struggling financially and so it’s something I wanted to do for a while and trying to make that into some more significant money. It took a while when I first started to get anything. The first payment was for hundreds a month I was making here, I was getting some affiliate income from Amazon. A few really crappy ad services I was with at the beginning that I’m embarrassed by now, probably.
Megan Porta: Yes. I remember. Not for you, but for, yeah, I remember.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, there wasn’t what we have now. So in that beginning time period, it was, when I learned that, I was like oh, now I can do this thing here. But trying to tell other people that was, I had a hard time finding any support. People were just thinking it sounds like one of those pyramid schemes or a Ponzi scheme or some kind of thing like that. Or, we’re trying to sell things like an Avon or one of those types of services or Tupperware or something. It was that type of thing, I eventually learned over the years, the best way to describe to people is that in the simplest terms is that we’re just like a newspaper. That you earn money just like a newspaper earns money, through advertising. People understand more than a little bit like, okay, that’s okay. That’s an understandable thing. So back then it was very challenging because I didn’t have a lot of, people, my wife, of course, was supportive, always. I wasn’t like the no one at all here, but it was a lot of negativity. A lot of okay, this isn’t really a thing here or, at the time too, like being a stay home dad can be challenging at times. Some people do get to support that, but I was definitely not getting that. It was more of the, you should be the one out earning the money, type thing, which is not right at all.
So that time it was hard because I’m trying to figure out how to make this into something that can earn us more money cause we needed it. So there was that pressure put on me and then not having the support, what made things very difficult. So it was very isolating in that time period, there was nothing else going on, and we didn’t have what we have now. There weren’t bloggers or Facebook groups. There were no Tastemaker conferences. It was none of that type of stuff. It was very hard to really connect with other bloggers. I didn’t meet another blogger in person until 2019. So like 10 years and you were amongst one of the first bloggers I ever met.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh.
Eric Samuelson: In the business for 10 years. So it was like meeting a coworker. It’d be really strange. In most careers, you’re working with people. I had one person who was making money off a forum, like just a straight-up forum. Not from a blog per se. He introduced me to Google Analytics. So I had him in the very beginning of someone to say, Hey, there’s this thing called analytics. You should get that for your site so you can track things, yeah.
Megan Porta: But you had one coworker, so that’s still not, yeah.
Eric Samuelson: Then he fell off the face of the earth. There was not a lot of faith in it. It was taking me a long time. I knew I could earn the money here, but like I had some friends, even best intentions are like, what are you doing? This wasn’t happening in their time period. It made it really difficult. I eventually had a point where I ended up going to work and spent years, five plus years working in a produce industry in at grocery stores, small mom and pop on first and then a Whole Foods market. Spent that type of trying to get a business going in that type of a schedule where you’re not consistent at all. From one week to the next, the schedule was different. Different day off or some days you’re working three to 11 and the next day you’re going back to working 10 to six and then getting a consistent blog business going when you’re all over the place was really difficult. It was hard to manage that. The best thing to do sometimes is to have that consistency. You have certain tasks. I know that’s something you do. You have certain tasks, you record your interviews on Tuesdays, right? So there’s certain things you in your mind doing that day. For me that was not possible. So it was more like trying to find time to fit this in. Cause I know I can do this, but trying to get to that point was extremely hard. I was always someone who struggled with just different anxiety issues and depression. But I more struggle seasonally in the summer, whereas, you hear a lot about it, people struggling with that in the wintertime.
Megan Porta: Interesting.
Eric Samuelson: But for me the humidity and just the heat, it naturally makes me uncomfortable and slows me down. So I think it works for most people. You don’t want to go running at 1 p. m. on a 95-degree day, you want to lounge around. You want to sit around here and for me, that just makes me feel like, Oh, I don’t want to do anything here. I need to keep going. Like I need to keep moving. If I start slowing down and the weather makes me slow down, sometimes it’s that hot, it makes it into a challenge. So that time of year, each year dealing with that and trying to run a business while working a strange schedule was extremely mentally tasking. Having the, the isolation, that part of it, not having the support. I was at least being able to talk to people at Whole Foods, I could share my knowledge with people. So sometimes blogging live in a way. I was sharing things I learned and talking to customers. I was on the floor, talking to customers. I was the best in the department for sure. I had all the knowledge and stuff. People would all always come to me and stuff here, so that was the good part of it, but it was still very difficult just to manage through that here. I had just times when I couldn’t figure it out. So I would just feel horribly just down and depressed. Because I started with the is this ever going to happen or, and knowing that could happen at the same time like that kept me going. So I was this is what I want to be. I don’t want to have this schedule. I don’t want to have jobs where I come home because it’s really hard when you come home at night, you get home at 11 o’clock at night to a house full of sleeping people.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, that is hard. I’ve been there.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah. There’s no one to welcome me. There’s nothing. It’s just okay, I just went through all this, work here. I had a difficult coworker that was always hard to deal with at the time. So it was, there was a lot of just, just like every night I was like, oh, this is so depressing. It was like a 20 minute drive home too. It was like the long 20 minutes to get back. So after a while it was like, I can’t keep doing this to myself here. We were struggling financially still. We were just spinning our wheels, not getting anywhere. So I eventually. So I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t keep doing this. I also had heart failure. I got diagnosed with heart failure.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. I didn’t know that, Eric.
Eric Samuelson: I had heart failure back, in 2017, early twenty seventeen.
Megan Porta: Was that due to stress or was it something else?
Eric Samuelson: I have a bad history in our family here. I had an irregular situation that would come out every once in a while where my heart would kick into third gear. So it’d be like, my heart is racing but I was sitting still like I was running and struggling with sleep apnea. So I was not sleeping either. I was not sleeping well.
Megan Porta: Oh, that makes everything worse.
Eric Samuelson: There were a lot of health things going on here and eventually I ended up out of work for a while. I couldn’t work for a while and then eventually went back here and got burnt out eventually again. It didn’t take too long. I had to stop doing this. So I decided to bet on myself a little bit here. I quit working at Whole Foods and took a temp job for the Christmas season. It is also involved in the food. So it was a sit-down, talk-to-people-on-the-phone type situation with a regular schedule. I got to try this at some point. It’s never going to work. What I was doing was never going to work. I just mentally couldn’t overcome it. I couldn’t get focused enough. I couldn’t do enough. We’re going to do this here and try to go for something else afterward if it doesn’t work out. I got into Mediavine one week into the temp job, so that changed my earnings tremendously. See, part of the thing about being so busy is I didn’t have the time to actually learn about the things that were available out there like Mediavine was out there, I qualified for it. Really simple because I was above the threshold they currently have now. It was lower back then even, but I was still above that, at that point. I way qualified for Mediavine, but because I was so wrapped up in other things and just trying to just get work done that I didn’t have time to do the research, I didn’t know. Once I found out and applied for it, I got in and then of course my ad revenue skyrocketed because I was in a good-paying ad company now instead of a really poor-paying ad company. That really changed things for me in the business stuff here. A long story, but that’s, I got to the point eventually and was able to turn this, and support us still. Now I do have to say because of just the struggles that I was having and through depression and different anxiety and stuff here, I probably went full-time before a lot of other people may have made that decision. Just in terms of the actual money we were making was still not wonderful. It was more than we were making. So that’s part of it too. It wasn’t like we were all of a sudden Hey, we’re rich and we’re making all this money here and stuff. It was like, I need it for myself, and my family, I needed to do this. I needed to go full-time with this here and make a go of it here and really focus on that. Because it just wasn’t working for my whole family. For me particularly, I was just like, all the time. It’s I don’t like life right now. It’s not fun. It’s unenjoyable. So I really wanted to make this work. So there were definitely struggles too. I remember like, when I went to Tastemaker, for the first time in 2019, I got a brand to sponsor my trip out there so I could afford to go there. I was on such a tight budget while I was there. I’d see people posting about Oh, I’m going out to eat this restaurant here and stuff here. I’m eating in the hotel room. I’m just trying to make it by because I wanted to be there so badly here. I ended up at home telling the family Hey, we need to keep money tight and stuff here as I’m trying to make this trip happen here because I think it would be important for us. So I took the risk that way to it. For me, that conference there was two different days somewhat for me in the way I was feeling. The first day I went in, I was super uptight and I was putting too much pressure on myself. Oh, I need to go meet these brands, talk to these people here, and make this happen. On the second day, I was able to do okay, I just need to sit back and let things happen. Because that’s what blogging is sometimes where this is a long-term thing. This is a marathon. So honestly, like it can be hard sometimes to keep the marathon mind going here where you look at your bank account and go ah, this is really tight here. How are we going to make it this month? Are we putting 5 of gas in the car to get home to make sure we got home because I couldn’t put any more in? So just trying to get through those situations. When you’re trying to do something that’s long term, it can be really, and I still struggle with this at times, is just knowing that it’s a long-term game here, but, you got to put the work in every day here. Most of the time when we do a blog post, we don’t post it and then an hour later, go on Mediavine Oh, I made 200 from that blog post.
Megan Porta: There’s a gap.
Eric Samuelson: It could be six months, a couple of weeks if you’re really lucky. It could be a year, two years.
Megan Porta: Who knows?
Eric Samuelson: I had a post that probably spent five years getting two, or three views a day that now makes me money. So there’s that type of thing where it is a long-term game here. But when you’re in the trenches, it’s hard to always keep that in mind. That’s the thing that I have to keep reminding myself all the time. I am mentally telling this to you right now, but emotionally sometimes it like, it feels oh man. Like our family, we want to eventually buy a house. So we’re not in a position. Everything keeps going against us; the economy and the interest rates keep going up. So it’s Oh, I’m trying to climb this mountain and Oh, you realize that there was a cloud there and the mountains actually a thousand feet taller. So that’s what my struggle is. I’m sure other people do too, I’m sure. Rarely do you see anything that’s going to be instantaneous? It’s going to be a long, process and haul and you have to try to remember that.
Megan Porta: It requires massive amounts of faith, no matter where you’re at, right? You can be 10, or 12 years in like you and I are, and still, it requires a ton of faith for me every single day. So it’s not like that ever goes away. You have to think of it as a marathon no matter where you’re at in your journey. Just thank you for sharing all of that, Eric. I know that was like your unique story and wow, the ups and downs and the getting other jobs and just trying to make it work financially. That’s hard. That is on top of everything that we have to deal with. Not have to, this is part of the job. Blogging comes with all of the faith and the ups and the downs and the algorithm changes and the core updates. So it’s a lot. All of this together can be a lot.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, it is. There’s always something new to discourage you out there, unfortunately. Yesterday, I had the moment where I was looking at a Facebook group and someone was talking about, Oh, with the last update they’re experiencing traffic drops and stuff here. I just had Easter. So I do really well for Easter. I have handfuls that do really well. So I couldn’t even tell you if something had happened at that point. Because I’m already on a high anyway, but you have that little kind of thing in the back of your mind looking at the traffic report too, I’m like, is this a little lower than it should be right now? You start wondering about those things. Am I going to get hit with that? Cause you can’t control it, you never know. So it’s one of those things, it’s good to be communicating with people here, but you also got to not scare yourself either. I’m doing okay right now. Easter went really well. I had high traffic. Easter 2020 was the most ridiculous day ever in the history of my blog. It was the best day in the history of my blog. I had a ridiculous amount of traffic that day.
Megan Porta: Awesome.
Eric Samuelson: RPM was terrible that day though, I still made a ton of money, but I was like, oh man, the RPM was normal this day. This would’ve been ridiculous.
Megan Porta: Yeah. There is such a weird contradiction or complete contrast.
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Megan Porta: With time, I’ve noticed as I become a more mature blogger, that those ups and downs, the RPM changes, and the traffic changes don’t affect me as much. I start to get caught up in that when someone’s talking about, oh my gosh, there’s a big shift coming. For just a minute, I’ll be like, Oh no, I start to panic. But then I’m like, wait a second. You’ve been through these before. It’s always been fine. Things always progressed in the right direction. Then I can stop myself now. Do you get to that point too? Do you notice that just having invested so many years that you’re like, okay, hold on, Eric, let’s look at this.
Eric Samuelson: Like you’re saying, too yeah, it’s easy to get caught up in that, in the latest thing is. Again, that’s a short-term situation. Long-term history showcases that there are up and downs. I can easily pull up analytics, pull up Mediavine, pull up anything here and we’ll show you that it is not just a straight climb up a mountain. It’s a falling, up, down. There are up periods, and down periods.
Megan Porta: They’re always cycles, right?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, I think like right now, the story of this year so far for me has been increased traffic but decreased RPM. So that’s been the story of this year so far. You hope that keeps the traffic thing going but it’s a little situation where, okay, you have to adjust to it. So we have to adjust to it. Look at, this is the money we’re earning right now. It’s not what we want to be, but we want to increase that, but that’s what the situation is now. So we have to adjust what we’re doing on a daily basis and what we can save and all those types of things. Because you have to know that it’s going to be different. Throughout the years too, now I have, there’s a different time of year too, earning wise here. These months I’m going to earn a lot of money here. These here, are going to be slim pickings months here. So you have to learn to balance.
Megan Porta: Adjust a little bit.
Eric Samuelson: Adjust to what’s coming and try to maybe more put things throughout the whole year. So you’re not feeling like the roller coaster as much. I try to convince myself now saying, okay, like it’s okay though, if I have to say one month, okay, we need to pull some out of savings here and save more of that from the great months. Because right now we just came out of getting paid for, Thanksgiving and Christmas and then January’s income came in this month. I was like, there’s that now. I had to teach myself too, that that’s okay because a lot of businesses are like that, honestly. A lot depends on the holiday season. I worked for one that only makes a profit during the holidays and they exist year-round. But only the holidays do they actually like to make money.
Megan Porta: That’s true. Yeah. It’s not just us.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah. It’s not just us at all whatsoever.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Some things I do to alleviate some of these challenges, I just try not to get caught up in the details. Like I said before, I stopped myself and I’ve gotten better at that. Remember that there are cycles to everything in life and food blogging is no exception. There are going to be ups, there going to be downs, and in the end, it evens out and hopefully progresses. And then another thing is I stay away from groups generally because of this. Because I don’t like hearing someone say, RPMs are going down and telling me what I need to start believing because then I start believing it and then it starts happening. So I like to be a little bit, not clueless, but I just don’t like to fall into those negatives. I don’t like getting swept up in that negative thinking because that can really affect me. So that’s part of the reason I started the Eat Blog Talk Forum because none of that is in there. We talk about being productive and ways to lift each other up and successes and we share wins and all of that. But what do you think about that? Just the health of some of those groups and whether or not that affects you.
Eric Samuelson: Oh, it definitely can. As you said, you experienced too, having those kinds of moments here, but catching yourself. It’s okay for that to happen to you. It’s good that you’re catching yourself, but also I have learned to not say, oh, I never should have thought that in the first place. We’re humans and we’re going to have struggles and it’s okay. So can you have that moment? It’s okay to say, I feel bad about my business today. It’s okay that you have those kinds of moments. It’s being able to pick yourself back up and keep going. Because you’re going to keep going, it’s got to keep happening. You’re going to have those things that are coming against you. There’s always gonna be something happening. This year, the big thing people are all frantic about is the new AI technologies and stuff here. I can’t get myself into the weeds, any of that stuff here. I’m not involved with that. I’m just like, okay, I heard it exists here. I think a lot of people get in this mindset, you better be updated on everything here and know everything that’s going on all the time to make sure you’re perfect. But it makes it so that you’re stressed and can’t be productive. That’s the worst for your business, more than anything. You can’t work as well if you’re all feeling anxious and stressed about everything because you’re trying to make sure everything you do is perfect. Also, I sometimes listen to some of the more financial tech talks and different things here, you hear these other stories, about accessibility and all those things. I try to do my best with that, but not try to keep myself up at night thinking Oh, did I forget to put alt text on the description? How many ways can I possibly be sued here? Trying to do the best you can, keep pursuing that, but if you get super into that here, then you’re going to go nowhere because you’re going to be so stressed.
Megan Porta: Yeah, caught up in it. I completely hear you on that because I love trying to be as accessible as possible in every way and also inclusive and all of that, like that, ‘s really important to me. But if you have a really in-depth conversation with somebody about it, I almost start feeling like, oh no, am I leaving people out? Am I not making everyone feel included? Then I start Kind of stressing about that side. So I totally see where you’re coming from and that can apply to any topic that can apply to like you were talking about AI and whether you’re up to speed on all the platforms and oh. So I feel like sometimes it’s okay just to put your blinders on and just do your stuff. Do the work, put your authentic voice and your love into it, and just even if it’s just for a period, right? Just do your work, keep moving forward, and don’t really listen to the outside, if you need that for a stretch.
Eric Samuelson: Facebook groups can be helpful too. But maybe if you get into a position where you’re starting to feel discouraged by one of them, you’re reading some stories here, then maybe it’s best to say, okay, I’m going to be done this week. I’m going to be not going to look at that anymore. I’m just going to focus on it’s good to know what’s going on, but then you’re not doing anything then. You’re too scared or anything because it just doesn’t help.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I was actually removed from one of the big Facebook groups that you guys all know, years ago. At first, it was super devastating and weird. I was like, why did this happen? But I now am so grateful because I feel like I’ve saved so much time stressing over things I didn’t need to stress about. So I wish I could go back and tell myself, trust me, it’s going to be okay. You’re going to be grateful. But it is back and forth because you want the information, but you don’t want to miss out. But then it’s Oh my gosh, you get caught up in things and worry and negativity and all of that stuff. Then I was wondering if you have any little tips. So everything you’ve talked about, just dealing with ups and downs and anxiety and, financial issues am I ever going to get there? All of that, do you have tips that have helped you along the way?
Eric Samuelson: Some things definitely. The idea of not comparing yourself to others. I love going to like Clubhouse meetings you do. But there’s a couple of times it’s been like, Oh man, someone’s out there doing like something new. Oh Hey, I’m doing Pinterest live and doing all these things here. Then you feel like, Oh, I can’t even imagine doing that. Because I don’t know, how do they have the time to do that here? Then you start going down that trail and start looking at your productivity. Which is so hard because people are different here. Some people can be more productive than others. If you’re somebody that doesn’t struggle with, we all have the things we struggle with, of course, no one’s mentally perfect or anything, but if you struggle with depression or self-worth or anxiety or, different things like that, and it’s something that you’re battling here, then you may not be able to get as much done as somebody who doesn’t have that. Or if you’re someone that maybe comes from wealth. Maybe you’re in a situation where you’re starting your business and you were already financially set. You’re not trying to make sure your kids eat, it’s different, than that. It’s a blessing that you’re in that situation. But if you are someone who’s trying to make it work because you need To put food on your table and pay your bills and as you need it, then it makes things different too. I think that can be sometimes hard to be productive or you can’t buy a camera. You can’t go out and buy a fancy camera. I’ve never owned a DSLR camera ever. I’m making money off my blog without having one.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I love that.
Eric Samuelson: Or you may not be able to do all the courses. You may not be able to do all the things. Because there are so many things. You can spend so much money on things too. People that do income reports. I say Oh my gosh, you’re spending so much money on things here. That’s what you don’t realize too, that you see someone who’s making six figures worth of ad income this year, but then I spent half of it. You don’t know everyone’s story. You don’t know everyone’s story all at once either. So when you’re comparing yourself, you honestly don’t know what you’re comparing yourself to.
Megan Porta: You don’t know everyone’s visions for their businesses either. You can look at someone’s numbers and have no clue what their three-year, five-year goals are. Yeah. That’s another piece of this too, I feel like, Eric. If you do struggle with just being tempted by the different platforms, and like you mentioned Pinterest Lives and the different things, that’s why it’s a really good idea to have a really good grasp on your goals and your why. First of all, why are you doing all of this? Really understand that and then have really defined goals for your business and your life if you hear someone talk about Pinterest Live and you’re like, oh no, should I be doing this? Go back to your goals and see if they align. If it doesn’t, perfect. You can check it off the list.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah. There’s always something new. There’s always something you can get pulled into. It’s okay to just say to someone, I don’t want to do Pinterest at all. I just can’t do it. People are like, Oh, what are you doing? You can’t be a blogger and not do it.
Megan Porta: That’s me going, ooh.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah. It’s one of those things that, what’s going to work, what are you going to be able to handle doing? One thing we don’t hear about, because I’ve been to Tastemaker and done online things here, I’ve done different webinars, things you’ve put on, all those types of things here and, part of those, they’re all informative. They can be good here, and give you good information, but we don’t sit there and talk about how mentally you’re going to do that. How are you going to actually get those tasks accomplished? That’s not part of the puzzle here. Like I was sitting back at Tastemaker. I could go okay, raise my hand and say, I would love to do that idea here, but I’m too depressed. You’re not going to say that. Or you don’t know how to make that happen. Because I think there’s a lot of things that are laid out for us. Step one, step two, step three. Okay. These are the things that I can do. I know how to get there. That was my struggle for a long time. It was like, I knew what I needed to do. I had the steps in front of me. But I didn’t have the help to actually do the steps. It wasn’t about not understanding the steps and what needed to get done and what way to go, but it was actually fulfilling those. Having the ideas, but not being able to fully do them. I think there’s a gap in that type of thing, learning how to do that.
Megan Porta: That’s a really good point. So not assuming that everybody, we’re not all in the same boat with that. We have a capacity. I feel like each of us is as individual. Then I’m curious, Eric, how do you plan, and does this help? When you find that you plan ahead, does that help you just manage everything that’s going on? If you’re in the heat of the summer and you’re like, Oh, gosh, I don’t want to do anything. Does planning help you?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, it does. I think it’s important to be able to have a plan in place. As for me, I can be more spontaneous with a plan, if that makes any sense at all. That seems counterintuitive, but when I’m able to know, okay this is what I can do. Now I can edit things I need and change things where I know there’s potential. Here’s the real potential. There’s potential. Then there is actually realistic goals. In my head, I’m going to write six blog posts. I’m going to contact 20 brands. I’m going to talk to people. I’m going to have this interview. Now you got all these things you can do, but then if you don’t make that realistic, then at the end of the week, I’ve done this so many times. I love Mondays and then I hate Fridays. Because then Friday’s the day where oh, now I feel like here’s why I failed at. That’s something I struggle with. So I need to know what I’m going to do. Not the ideas of my mind of what I’m going to do, but actually having it laid out. I think that helps a lot with knowing what’s possible. What is actually, literally possible for you to do instead of this every week, have your head up in the stars and hope that you’re going to somehow do everything when it’s not possible? Especially if there’s going to be some time saying I may have a good productive period for a while here like I did yesterday, I had a really good, perfect afternoon period. Tried to work in the evening time. It did not go well. There was a new thing I’m trying to launch. So it’s brand new. You’re struggling with the Oh, I don’t know if this is going to work. I’m my worst critic. So I’m like, does this sound good or is that here? Then you end up spending all your time doing that instead of just putting it out there. So that’s when you end it by saying, I did not really finish this goal the way I wanted to, but I can move on. I can say I’m in progress. I made progress on this. Something is there’s like a bunch of things now I’m trying to do right now. So trying to figure it out, but I’m making progress, but I don’t have all the answers.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, progress. That’s a huge one. Grace and progress. I get to the end of the week all the time and I’m like, wait, how did that happen? I didn’t finish everything I wanted to do. I thought I could do it. It’s amazing that I still think that about myself. Have I not learned after all this time that I can’t do nine million interviews, and nine million blog posts? Come on. I just feel like I need to shake myself sometimes. But I had an idea as you were talking, what if you have, and maybe this is what you do, but you have a realistic plan for your week and then icing on the cake plan? If you get that done, you self-reward or you do something. You celebrate or something a little. But I too often go way above what I think I can do. Then I do feel that moment of disappointment in myself. Like, why couldn’t I do this? Come on. You can do it. Then I’m like, wait a second, stop being so hard on yourself. It’s this weird back-and-forth. It’s draining sometimes.
Eric Samuelson: Because you’re the boss. We’re both our own bosses here. So there’s no one, there’s no one actually talking to us.
Megan Porta: I know.
Eric Samuelson: Except for ourselves, of course.
Megan Porta: So that makes me extra crazy.
Eric Samuelson: That can be worse sometimes too.
Megan Porta: I know. Oh gosh. Okay. So if somebody is struggling with any of the things that we’ve been talking about today, do you have recommendations for where to start just to get some peace back?
Eric Samuelson: I think it’s about taking things small. Like sometimes I’ll just set a timer for five minutes and then just try to do something and got anything here. I think you have to know when to take a break and get a refresher. I’m always good about getting refreshers with that too. I’m hoping to see too, I’m looking into creating more of a community of people that could express these struggles to each other and be able to say, give each other tips. There are so many good things out there right now about how to do certain things, how to do Pinterest, how to do web stories, and how to do all those things that are coming out there. But I want to see more just get more people together and talk about there’s these tasks going on, like, how am I doing here? Because I’m sure there are a lot more people out there that have some type of struggle. To have some type of thing that’s holding them back. Whether it’s anxiety or depression, they just don’t have very high health esteem, they don’t have encouragement. Or they do, but what if you can’t do that kind of lift-me-up thing? I want to try to start a group going doing that and be more supportive of those types of things. So you can ask those questions. You can say I want to pin 30 pins a week, but mentally, I don’t know how to do it and we can talk about those.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I love this idea. I know you and I have talked about this in the past and I think it’s so important and needed in our space. So I don’t want to call it a support group, but it is like a food blogging or mental health group of some sort that sounds appealing, send me an email or send Eric an email. If there are enough people, we could figure out how to make that work and structure it. But I think it is such a good idea, Eric. I for sure need it. I think probably most of us could benefit from something like that.
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, definitely. I would love to see the community that’s going and just be able to cheer each other on and just focus on that part of the business. We have so many other things, but I like to focus on what could be one of the most important parts of the business here is just being able to feel mentally well and being able to have the ideas, but to be able to execute, to help you execute them, definitely.
Megan Porta: Oh, so agree with that. Thank you. This has been so great. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable and just sharing your story, Eric, and bringing this topic to the table. I think it’s super important to do that. So we really appreciate you and your time today.
Eric Samuelson: Thank you. Thanks, Megan. So it was a pleasure talking with you.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Do you have another quote or words of inspiration to leave us with aside from all this amazing stuff you already shared today?
Eric Samuelson: One of the things I got back from Tastemaker in 2019, again, was Charity. She’s been the emcee at a lot of the Tastemakers. And she was going through the struggle of her husband dying of cancer and did die of cancer, and just having to stay in her own lane type thing and not look at what was going on and comparing because she was comparing her husband finding out he was dying to other people celebrating their cancer free at the same time. If you’re in that moment, if you’re doing that comparison, then you’re trapped. You’re looking at all the negatives. You can’t be happy for that person. You’re upset for yourself. So you have to keep going forward yourself, looking for advice and things but mainly just knowing I’m going to keep driving down the road. I’m going to keep looking and trying to improve myself. It’s that’s the way I think you have to do it.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s such a great way to end. So true. Yeah. We’ll put together show notes for you, Eric. If you want to go look at those, they’re at eatblogtalk.com/eatnoone2. Tell everyone where they can find you, Eric.
Eric Samuelson: So you can find me. Eatnoone.com. I’m on Instagram, at Eat No One Else. I also have a podcast myself. Megan inspired me too. That one’s called Eat Shop Waste Not. You could find me on Amazon and Google and Apple and Spotify and all those podcasting apps here. So you should also check that out too.
Megan Porta: Definitely do that everyone. And if anyone wants to reach out to you about this group idea that you had, where can they do that? What’s the best way to do that?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah. Email me at [email protected]. Or also you can message me on Instagram. Either way would be fun.
Megan Porta: Awesome. All right. Thanks again, Eric. You’re the best. 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 BlogTalk. Don’t forget to head to forum.eatblogtalk.com to join our free discussion forum and connect with and learn from like-minded peers. I will see you next time.
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💥 Join the free EBT community, where you will connect with food bloggers, and gain confidence and clarity as a food blogger so you don’t feel so overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS!
Want to achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible? Stop by Eat Blog Talk to get the details on our Mastermind program. This transformative 12-month experience will help you accomplish more than you could in 5+ years when forging ahead alone.
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✍️ Reach out to connect with Heather Eberle, a copywriter for food bloggers. As much as you enjoy your business, maybe writing or marketing isn’t your cup of tea. Maybe you’d rather spend more time in the kitchen and less time on your laptop. Heather is here to clear your plate!