We cover information about 7 benefits of joining an accountability group, including having a supportive community with which to share resources, ideas and receive weekly support to help you set and achieve your blogging goals.

Listen on the player in this post or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Gastronotherapy
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MaryAnne is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind Gastronotherapy, where she creates delicious recipes that are mainly vegetarian and vegan. MaryAnne grew up in Minnesota with a fondness for baking, and lived in NYC for 17 years. While there, she sharpened her palate over the years while taking cooking and baking classes, making dinner for friends, and trying as many restaurants as she could afford.


  • Get Specific Support From an Engaged Community: Unlike general food blogger groups, a focused accountability group, like the Eat Blog Talk Accountability group, allows for more specific support from bloggers who are invested in each other’s success.
  • New Ideas for Diversifying Your Income etc.: An accountability group helps you share your ideas and get inspired by others in the group when it comes to diversifying income and other topics.
  • Set and Achieve Goals: You’ll be encouraged to set blogging goals and will receive support to achieve them, helping you stay motivated.
  • Receive Diverse Resources: Accountability groups consist of bloggers with diverse skills – you’ll be able to improve your knowledge and skills and share useful resources.  
  • Benefits of the Eat Blog Talk Accountability Group: The Slack channel, leverage the knowledge of the other group members, the twice-weekly productivity focus calls and once a month Zoom calls with specific topics.
  • Why is the Investment Worth It?: By investing in a resource like an Accountability Group, you regain your blogging motivation, narrow down your priorities and invest in a successful blog.  

Resources Mentioned

Eat Blog Talk Accountability Group


Click for full script.

EBT539 – MaryAnne Hoekstra

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth, and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom. Whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. 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. 

Megan Porta  00:37

Are you perhaps needing a little bit of focus or accountability or maybe you need access to what resources should be on your radar, or maybe you’ve been hit by an update and your traffic is down, or some part of your business just needs a little bit of support, and you need a morale booster or perhaps you fit into all of the above whatever it is an accountability group is great for you. And this is the topic that MaryAnne Hoekstra from Gastranotherapy brings to the table in this interview, she talks through all the benefits of joining an accountability group. Specifically she’s in the Eat Blog Talk Accountability group and she talks about her experience there. All of the things you get being in there, the low investment required to be in the group and there are a couple of perks such as the Slack channel, the twice weekly focus calls and the monthly zoom calls that we really dive into and discuss as well. I hope you enjoy the episode I hope you feel inspired. And also we hope to see you inside the accountability group if you are inspired by that. This is episode number 539 And it is sponsored by Rank IQ. 

Sponsor  01:44

Eat Blog Talk is thrilled to unveil the Eat Blog Talk Accountability group. An exclusive community made for food bloggers who crave accountability, focus and connection. We understand that not everyone is ready to dive into the Mini Minds Group or the Masterminds program. That is why we’ve crafted this special offering for bloggers like you who want that extra push toward their aspirations, but aren’t yet able to make the financial or time commitment. Here’s what the e Blog Talk Accountability Group has in store for you for this low introductory price of $34 a month. This ongoing membership has its own private Slack channel. You will gain access to a dedicated channel facilitated by the community manager at Eat Blog Talk, Taryn Soli for questions, insights, and collaboration. You will get weekly accountability check-ins so you can stay focused and motivated with those weekly check-ins in Slack to track and achieve your goals competently. You’ll have access to productivity focus sessions. Join these optional live Zoom sessions twice a week to boost your productivity by working alongside your peers and tapping into that collective energy. And you will get monthly group Zoom calls replacing the former clubhouse chats. Join these calls to connect, discuss current topics, share experiences, and celebrate achievements. Those calls will be hosted by me, Megan Porta, and I can’t wait to see some of you there. If this sounds intriguing, head over to eatblogtalk.com/focus to sign up today. Eatblogtalk.com/focus.

Megan Porta  03:15

MaryAnne is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind Gastronotherapy, where she creates delicious recipes that are mainly vegetarian and vegan. MaryAnne grew up in Minnesota with a fondness for baking, and lived in NYC for 17 years. While there, she sharpened her palate over the years while taking cooking and baking classes, making dinner for friends, and trying as many restaurants as she could afford.

Megan Porta  03:37

Hello, Marianne, welcome to the podcast or first time on the podcast. I hope you’re having a great day. How are you?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  03:44

I’m good. How are you doing? Thank you so much for having me.

Megan Porta  03:47

I’m doing so good. Yes, it’s a pleasure. And I’ve known you through the Eat Blog Talk Accountability group a little bit. And we’ll get into that in a bit because that’s our topic today is why to join an accountability group. But do you have a fun fact to share with us first?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  04:04

I do. So this is not my first business. I actually had a chocolate company back in 2011 when I lived in New York City, which I, it was a really cool experience. I have always been like a big chocolate person. And it was always kind of a dream of mine to have my own chocolate company. And long story short, I had graduated from grad school and had a really hard time finding a job. It was 2008 and the financial crash happened and so I was kind of just like maybe now’s the time to you know, try giving this a go and it was I feel like it was kind of the heyday in New York of like all these small food businesses popping up and there were a lot of like, cool food markets and stuff where you could go and sell your stuff. So yeah, I made like artisan candy bars and chocolate covered and you know things like that and I got to be part of an incubator kitchen program, which was really cool. And worked along with like other small food businesses and things like that. So yeah, it was a really great experience. 

Megan Porta  04:05

That is so cool. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  05:13

Yeah, but one of the many, many things that I learned, though, from having a small food business was that it’s really hard to be profitable. When you’re, you know, when your price points are like, you know, anything less than $10. Right, you’ve got to sell a lot of chocolates to make it profitable. And I only had it for two years. And I closed it just because it was it was too much. It was too. Like I was working 80 hours a week, and I never saw my friends I never saw my husband like, but everyone like my friends and family when I closed it, they were all so shocked. Because you know, from the outside looking in, it looked really successful to everybody. I mean, I had gotten my chocolates into Whole Foods, I was written up in food and wine. Like there were a lot of kind of things that looked you know, successful to other people. But I was like, I’m not making any money like this is wearing me down. So but it was a really cool experience.

Megan Porta  06:13

And how many people can say that they’ve had a chocolate business? Not many. That’s so cool. You’re like Willy Wonka in modern day. And I’m sure it’s helped you to with your food blog, right, like thinking through recipes and things that I can probably even envision and helping you with it. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  06:32

But yeah, definitely my chocolate work. And all that is yeah. It’s still still with me.

Megan Porta  06:38

for sure. Yep. I was just looking through your blog, and I see some chocolate themed recipes here. So it has to have carried over a little bit. Awesome. Okay, I know you’re here to talk about an accountability group and joining and why it’s beneficial and all of that. But would you just lay the groundwork and tell us a little bit about your blog. So after you stopped the chocolate business, is that when you started your blog? 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  07:01

No. So really, I started my blog is called Gastronotherapy. And it’s a portmanteau, I would say of like gastronomy and therapy. And I wanted to kind of combine those. And really, I started the website back in, I think it was like 2014, it was shortly after I had closed my chocolate business. And it started out I didn’t really know what I was doing at all. And I was like, oh, I’ll just start a site. And it was kind of like, mental health ish. But like, also let me share, like some recipes I’m making. And, you know, like, I’ll just create a community and no one no one read it. And it was, you know, I didn’t know what I was doing. So really, I feel like in the spring of 2021, is when I really started it, I completely overhauled it, like so many people right during COVID completely overhauled it. And I was like, I want to make it like a real food blog, gonna, you know, create my own recipes want to learn about food photography, all the things right, SEO. So yeah, so I guess I’m technically like three years in right now. Okay. And I focus mainly on vegetarian and vegan recipes, but I you know, I have like, quite a few, like, seafood recipes and things like that. So I’m, I’m not like a hardcore vegan by any means. Probably more, maybe, like, pescatarian ish. But like so many other people. You know, I had no idea what I was doing at the beginning. And I, I started listening to your podcast. And you know, just yeah, I think devouring all the podcast episodes. And I joined the Food Bloggers Central Facebook group, and just really started educating myself about all of it, right. And then I had an audit with Casey in 2022. And that was very helpful. And then I feel like my traffic really started taking off, like six months after that. And so that’s and then that takes us to today. 

Megan Porta  08:49

Awesome. Yeah, so it’s really is kind of a short timespan from when you decided to do your overhaul, and really dig into the business until today. So at what point would you say that you just realized you needed like community or support or something beyond what you’re getting?

MaryAnne Hoekstra 09:08

That is a good question. I think I always I wanted it from the get go, I just didn’t really know how to get it. I didn’t know where to go to get you know, I definitely was listening to a lot of podcasts that you know, that are kind of geared towards food bloggers, and that’s helpful and it it’s, I guess it’s a it’s a sort of community in a way but but it’s very passive, you know, you’re just kind of taking in information and stuff and then also with the Food Bloggers Central Facebook group, you know, I try to engage and you know, ask questions and whatever, but it’s not it’s not the same so yes, I’ve always kind of been like, oh, how do I find like, are there how do you find just like local food bloggers who might be in my area or something? So yeah, it’s been a while but really, it’s it was what made me join the accountability group that I joined a few months ago was the core update that happened last fall, just completely wiped out my traffic. 

Megan Porta  10:08

I’m sorry! 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  10:09

Yeah, and I know I’m not alone. And so I was like, I have to do something I need, you know, some support some direction, that type of thing.

Megan Porta  10:18

Yeah, I’m so sorry about that. And yes, you’re definitely not alone. But you already know that. And I’m glad that that led you to the accountability group. So the one you joined us Eat Blog Talk hosted? And I’m so grateful that you’re in it. And yeah, I do just want to talk a little bit about that, like, what you how the experience has gotten so far, I guess.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  10:39

Yeah. So well, first, for people who don’t know, I wanted to talk just a little bit about I want to summarize, like, what is an accountability group, right. So it’s, I would say it’s a virtual and structured work support group is kind of how I would define it, where people can set goals that can be held accountable, and then you know, either get motivated or stay motivated. So today, I want to talk about four general benefits of joining accountability groups, which are focus, accountability, diverse resources, and morale booster or like a confidence booster. And then I want to talk about three specific benefits to the Eat Blog Talk Accountability group, which are having a private Slack channel, twice weekly focus calls and monthly zoom calls. 

Megan Porta  11:27

Okay, so yeah, that’s perfect. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  11:29


Megan Porta  11:29

So yeah, defining that I think was good, just so people are like, Well, wait, what is this accountability group? What? Why would I do that? So thank you for doing that. And then to go back to your kind of more general benefits of any accountability group? Do you want to touch on each of those things? And just talk about like, the things that you’ve gotten from it? Yes.

MaryAnne Hoekstra 11:51

But I actually wanted to talk about just a little bit about why I personally joined an accountability group. I know you asked that, obviously. But just to kind of dive in a little bit more. So yeah, I was, like I said, I was hit really hard by the core update in October of 2023. And I had just been accepted into MediaVine, like six months prior to that. And so I was, like, finally starting to, you know, make money. And I was so excited. And like things every month, it was like growing, and, you know, seeing progress and all of that. And then after the core update, my traffic plummeted by I mean, I would say probably 80% or so it was it was pretty brutal. And so I realized, okay, I needed to start diversifying my income, right, because I mean, Media,Vine was the only way that I was making money. And so my self confidence, and my motivation just really took a beating. And, I mean, I just lost all my motivation to to keep working on my site. I mean, I, I think I took like, a total of probably a month off around the holidays, not, you know, not concurrently, you know, or like, it was kind of like, okay, it took a few days off. And, okay, I can try to get back into it. And then I just couldn’t focus, and I didn’t really know what to work on. You know, like, I remember reading all the articles, and Casey would post things and be like, make sure your site is, you know, has all these checkmarks and I, and I did all of that. And I thought, Okay, that’ll help. And I’ll get back on track and nothing was really working. And so I just yeah, I was, I was very burnt out, and I just didn’t know how to move forward with things. So then, yes, I heard you talk about the Eat Blog Talk accountability group. And I was like, Okay, I think this is exactly what I need. And it’s exactly the right time, because I just I don’t know what else to do. So yeah, I joined it, I think the beginning of January. And it’s been really helpful for me in getting me back on track. And, and also I know that a lot of people have, you know, go to events like the Tastemakers Conference and things like that. But I thought about that, but that’s always been a little bit out of my, I guess affordability. Like it’s not cheap. And I know that there’s a lot of benefits to it, but I just I’ve kind of like well, there’s got to be maybe like stepping stones to build up to that. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  14:22

So I personally think that joining an accountability group is the next best thing to having a shared workspace. You know, like when I worked in an incubator kitchen when I had my chocolate company, I got so much energy from being in that environment. I mean, we would you know, bounce ideas off of each other we would cheer each other on and you know, you’re sharing resources you’re checking in with each other and and I think because we food bloggers or work from home, I think that you know, being part of an accountability group is a really important and it kind of feels like we’re all working together separately, if that makes sense, you know, like we’re not, we’re not in a shared physical space. But but virtually we’re, I feel like we’re all kind of connected. 

Megan Porta  15:10

And we need each other in that way in any way that we can connect, even if it is just a couple times a week or on Slack and a discussion, you know, forum. We need each other. We’re so lonely, we get yes to do this on our own, which is a blessing. But it’s also a little bit of a curse, because we just feel that isolation sometimes. And yes, to have that group that you can lean on. And have you I’m just curious, have you become friends? Have you formed relationships with people in the group?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  15:40

Yeah, I would say I would say so. Yeah, I mean, even though it’s only been a couple of months, and I haven’t met anybody in person. I don’t think there’s anyone who lives. I’m basically in the LA suburbs, and I don’t think there’s anyone near me, but yeah, like, you know, you can like DM each other. Just check in. Hey, I heard you were working on this thing. How did that go? And yeah, it definitely feels like I have made friends. It’s it’s been like, it’s, it’s, I’ve gotten more like way more out of it, honestly, than I even thought I would. So it’s been great. Yeah, 

Megan Porta  16:18

Yeah. And you mentioned the investment. That is why we created it, speaking specifically about the Eat Blog Talk accountability group, because we have all of these great offerings, like the mastermind program and the mini minds. And those are a big investment in your business. So if you are just not there yet, we wanted to provide something that was a really good small investment. But that also got you a lot of really good value. The investment is so little, I mean, it is a monthly subscription. But I mean, it’s like I think it’s $34 a month. And from my perspective, what you get from it is so much you get well we can talk about that, like what you get. Yeah, I feel like it is such a good bang for your buck, so to speak, if you are looking for the things that MaryAnne is talking about. So do you want to go back to just like those general benefits that you touched on really briefly in? Yes. Just any accountability group. So your focus, etc?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  17:17

Yes. So the first one, like I said, was focused, right. So very broadly speaking, you know, you’re part of a structured environment that’s focused on goal setting, right like that, just that alone, I think provides focus. And I’ll talk about some aspects, some specific aspects of that later on. Then the next one is accountability. So in Yes, in the blog, talk accountability group that I belong to, one of the ways that we’re able to hold ourselves accountable is that we have weekly goal check ins, then I’ll talk more about that in depth later too. But that so that’s kind of like the main way that we kind of hold ourselves accountable and just that alone, like just that one simple thing. And that takes, you know, five minutes every week, I found to be just a really powerful motivator. I’m someone who, like loves checking things off a list and seeing you know, like, getting I’ve got all these things done because yeah, it just it helps it helps a lot.

Sponsor  18:18

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Megan Porta  19:52

Motivation right and helps you to get those things checked off. I think a lot of food bloggers love that. Just like check check check. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  20:00

Yep, and to visually see it is yes. 

Megan Porta  20:03

Oh, gosh, yeah. Yeah, that’s great. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  20:05

And so then the next one is diverse resources. So, you know, people come with all different skill sets, right, and levels of experience and areas of expertise. And I think that’s really invaluable. I mean, for example, we have people, you know, in my group that I know, have, you know, 10 or more years of food blogging experience. And then we’ve got people like me, who are, you know, newer, who, you know, who’ve been doing this for less than five years. And, you know, again, like, I’ll keep going back to this, but like a virtual co working space, I think it’s a really great way to just bounce ideas off of each other share resources, and just offer support to each other. You know, it’s everyone’s got something to bring to the table.

Megan Porta  20:51

No matter what kind of experience level you’re at, I found that too. I was just having an interview before yours. And I said that I learned more, most days from newer bloggers than I do experienced bloggers because they’re so fresh. They’re so into the details. And into the nitty gritty of learning and us older, OG bloggers like myself, like we are kind of burnt out on a lot of that, you know, like, staying on top of absolutely every trend. So it is so valuable, I think to have that diverse background inside of a group. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  21:24

Oh, that’s interesting. That’s an interesting perspective that that makes me feel good. Oh, I can see that. I can totally see that. You know, yeah, yeah. So there’s Yeah, but you’re right. Everyone has something to offer? For sure. 

Megan Porta  21:36


MaryAnne Hoekstra  21:37

Yeah. So then lastly, is the I would say morale booster or confidence booster. And this is, obviously, you know, so important. And I feel like I’m, I feel like I’m truly part of a community for the first time in three years. And it’s, you know, just really helped to re-motivate me and re-inspire me and all of that. And I feel like if I come up against a roadblock, you know, about something, I can ask for help from other people. I mean, I don’t even hesitate. I just like, go to the Slack channel and ask and people will weigh in immediately, and like offer support, offer suggestions and things like that. And likewise, if I if you know, I have an achievement to celebrate, or someone else has an achievement, celebrate, I feel like people are just, they just love cheering everyone else on and so that it really does feel like yeah, you’re you’re forming some friendships with people.

Megan Porta  22:32

Yeah, support. So you’re giving, but you’re also getting, you know, depending on on the day, if somebody is listening, and they’re just not sure if they’re a good fit for an accountability group, how would you? What would you tell them to determine that?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  22:48

What would I say? I mean, I think anyone who is just, I think the main thing is support really like support, if you want just some weekly support, it’s so affordable. It’s it’s just, I mean, it more than pays off. But if you want, like, yeah, weekly support, where you can just check in with other food bloggers, share resources, you problem solve, you know, you’re just struggling with something, there’s just there’s so many benefits. I mean, if you just need to kind of get better focus, and you’re having, you know, a tough time, like managing your time every week, there’s just an endless number of benefits. And it’s it’s so affordable. I mean, frankly, I don’t I can’t think of a reason why I like who wouldn’t benefit, you know, like, and and the other thing is like, you can be as invested and involved as you want to be right or is it that you can be I mean, there’s, I’ll go into the specific benefits of this accountability group. But you know, if you are only able to like, check in a few minutes every week, or, you know, do one focus call a month or something, I mean, a great just that alone is you know, you’ll get your money’s worth. So it’s it really is, you can kind of curate it to be what whatever it is that you need, which I really like to.

Megan Porta  24:13

Because I’m sure some people go in and like utilize every single aspect of the group. And some, like you said, maybe they just want the weekly check ins or the monthly zoom call or something. So kind of cater it to what your needs are. I love that. Anything else kind of more about the generic accountability group before we move into the specific benefits of the Eat Blog Talk one.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  24:34

I don’t think so. Yeah, we’ll jump into the specific benefits. 

Megan Porta  24:38

Yeah, go for it. What are some of those? 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  24:40

Yes, so the first one is that we get a private Slack channel. And so this is just like yeah, so so cool and so easy to use, and I hadn’t really used Slack before and so it was a little intimidated at first but it’s I mean, it’s super easy, super easy to learn and all that but we have I don’t know if there are called sub channels, but like are like topics that, you know, we have.

Megan Porta  25:04

Yeah, just channels, I think. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  25:05

Just channels, okay. Yeah, like, you know, there’s an SEO channel, social media channel, you know, resources, basically anything that you that we could possibly want to talk about, there’s a channel for that and people can, you know, it’s, I would say it’s an organized way to kind of share resources with each other or ask questions about a specific topic. And it’s, and that’s obviously available, like 24/7. And every Monday, we write our goals in the goals channel. And then we check back in again on Friday to report how we did. And I’ve found that just this, this piece alone has been really helpful in planning, you know, helping me plan my week, and, you know, structuring my time and things like that. And, like I said before, it always just feels really good to kind of see what I have accomplished, and to share with other people, because not only are you entering what you’re working on, but you get to see what everyone else is working on. And so I didn’t even think about that aspect of it. But that’s been kind of fun, too, because it can give you ideas about different projects, or different tasks, you know, that you haven’t thought of, or like, maybe you’ve been putting off like, I don’t want to think about email marketing, or, you know, like, I don’t know how to whatever. But you’ll see oh, you know, so and so I was working on this, I should I should ask her how that’s going or how that’s working for her or, you know, something like that. So that’s been kind of fun, too.

Megan Porta  26:33

I didn’t even think of that. I love that, that you kind of garner ideas or inspiration from other people’s weekly goals. That’s such a great yeah, benefit that I would not have thought about. Yeah, that Slack channel is so powerful. And like you said, Marianne, a lot of people don’t use Slack. So they kind of get hung up on that, like, another thing, but it’s so easy. It’s just like a super intuitive, easy discussion forum. That’s text only you can write in whatever you want. And it’s such, it’s organized in such a good way that it’s very just, I don’t know, like highly organized, very intuitive, very easy to use.

MaryAnne Hoekstra 27:16

I would intuitive is a good way to describe it. I feel like it is very intuitive. For sure. Like you pick it up right away. Yeah. Right.

Megan Porta  27:22

And we can’t go without mentioning Taryn because she’s she’s the Eat Blog Talk Community Manager. She’s the one that runs this group almost entirely. She does such a great job. She checks in with you guys. She’s there as a resource all the time. Yes. And that’s value to just having her knowledge. She’s a very knowledgeable food blogger who digs into all the details. She’s very well versed, I would say yeah. So that’s value as well. Yes.

MaryAnne Hoekstra 27:48

I totally agree. She completely Roxette and and yeah, she’s always just, I feel like she’s just available all the time. And like, you know, adding her two cents and like asking questions, and yeah, it’s yes, she’s, she’s incredible,

Megan Porta  28:04

Highly organized stays on top of it. She’s like, my boss. She’s always like, we need to do this. We need to you know, and I’m like, oh, I just so appreciate that, that she’s so on it with you guys. She really prioritizes you guys and loves you guys.

MaryAnne Hoekstra 28:20

And I’m we feel that I think I’m not alone in saying we feel that for sure. 

Megan Porta  28:24

Oh, I love that she’s gonna she’s gonna feel so good. And hearing that. Oh, yeah. And then you mentioned the focus call. So I love these focus calls. I think they’re highly valuable. Do you want to talk about what those are?

Megan Porta  28:36

And hopefully you’re getting a lot of work done too. I used to join them occasionally I haven’t in a while. But every time I did, it was amazing to me how much work I got done on those calls. It felt like some sort of weird time warp that I was just exiting. And like, what just happened? I felt like that was five minutes and I got

MaryAnne Hoekstra  28:36

Yes, yes. So the twice we have twice weekly productivity focus calls. And so how that works is we work again, you know, separately, but together, right? We’re on Zoom for an hour. And it’s every right now. It’s every Wednesday and Thursday. And Taryn because she Yeah, she’s the what did you call the community manager, is that her her title? Yes, you know, she’ll be there with us. And she starts us off with a few stretches, and some like deep breathing and that type of thing, which is really great way to just, you know, start out our focused hour, and then everyone will put in the chat what we’re working on for the next hour. And so then you can either like, you know, stop your video or whatever, and then go do your thing, if you’re working on a newsletter, or if you’re, you know, whatever it is that you’re working on. And then at the end of the hour, we come back together and we rate our focus on a scale of one to five. And it’s again, it’s just a really nice way to kind of get focused, stay accountable to yourself, and, you know, you get to see everyone’s faces, you know, like just that alone. It kind of feels like you’re working I don’t know, like silently in a library together or something like you know, even though you’re all on screens, yeah, and yeah, I mean, cuz like you said, food blogging can be so isolating. And so just that like this, just the simple Weekly focus calls. I feel like I leave them feeling. Feeling more energized. Yeah, and focused.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  30:25

And hours fly by. They fly by

Megan Porta  30:29

There is something really magical about those times those focused calls.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  30:33

Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Now this this might sound kind of crazy, Megan, but tell me what you think about this. I actually just had this idea a few days ago. Okay, what if someone started like a co-working space? That was specifically for food bloggers, where we have, like, you’d have kitchen space, a couple of like food photography studios. And then you know, there’s cubicles if you want to get some admin work done.

Megan Porta  30:57

I love that idea. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  30:59

Right? I think that would be so cool, you could just like schedule out. I’m gonna just go there for like, a day and like half a day, you know, or I’m gonna just whatever you can schedule out a few hours. But I think that’d be a really cool resource for food bloggers.

Megan Porta  31:16

And then you could have a big space for Windows, like natural lighting for Windows or even like artificial lighting. So people could come take pictures if they want or make food. Wow, that’s such a good idea. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  31:28

You could just like hang out for a little bit if you want it, you know, just kind of go get the soak up the energy and yeah, but I yeah, I’m like, I can’t believe no one has no one’s done that yet. 

Megan Porta  31:38

Like you’re in California, where I’m sure a lot of food bloggers are

MaryAnne Hoekstra 31:40

you should start that. Oh, my gosh. I don’t want to start it. I want to. Yeah, that’s funny. But maybe by putting it out there in the universe, someone? Well, for sure.

Megan Porta  31:51

Yeah, that could be I know, there are a lot of Minnesota bloggers as well. I’m sure people would utilize that. Because it is like the co working space is a great idea. But do you go to a co working space to do food blogging stuff? Maybe sometimes, but if it’s more customized to the food blogger, that would be much more appealing?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  32:11

Yeah, it would have to be like, yeah, like kit, you’ve got the kitchen space and food. Yeah. Because I just think for for industry where, you know, we all kind of have to work from home. I just think a lot of people would jump at the opportunity to be like, Oh, my God, just one day a week I go in and I do my work there. And it’s just so nice to you know, change it up. Yes. chit chat with other people see what everyone else was working on. Just yeah. And I’m an introvert. Like, I’m someone who, you know, I’m, I’m definitely an introvert and yet, I’m like, Oh, my God, I would jump at that. Yeah, but opportunity.

Megan Porta  32:49

Well, my wheels are turning now. And I don’t need another project. But it’ll be on my back burner. So yeah, love it. Such a great idea. Okay, so beyond the focus calls in the Slack channel, what else does the EBT accountability group offer?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  33:03

Yes. So then the third thing is we have monthly zoom calls. So these are again, hour long. And they’re hosted by you. And anything is really up for discussion. You know, we, we can suggest topics like Taryn will check in a day or two and be like, Hey, does anyone have you know, something, let us know if there’s specific things you want to talk about. And, you know, or, or you can just like when you show up, suggest things in the chat, too. But there’s always more, you know, more than enough things to talk about. And the calls are recorded. So if you miss one, you just go back and watch it at your own convenience if you can’t make that month’s call. And to me, it feels like kind of like a combination of a work meeting and the support group. I love that. You’re, you know, you’ve got things you might discuss and like, Okay, help me problem solve, but also, just again, I feel like it’s such a supportive group of people. And we’re all trying to help everyone else, figure things out and offer resources and you know, cheering each other on. So, yeah, I love our monthly zoom calls.

Megan Porta  34:13

I’m so glad you like them. I think those are highly valuable. Yeah, I knew they would be because we experimented with the same kind of format on Clubhouse. If anyone joined us on Clubhouse suite, I hosted clubhouse calls twice a month for like, two or three years. So likely someone listening or a lot of people listening have experienced that. So it’s the same concept. Except it’s, I think it’s even more valuable because people coming are paying so they’re investing in the group, they’re a little bit more eager to show up and to get value out of it. It’s not free. You know, it’s part of you have to be in the group to show up to these calls. And they’re so packed. Have you noticed this? Yes. It’s like we just talked about like five really important topics. In an hour, and we got to the bottom of a bunch of people’s problems. Yeah, it’s really powerful. 

MaryAnne Hoekstra  35:06

It really is. It really is. Yeah, I mean, I take, I take just a copious amount of notes, whenever we have these zoom meetings, you know, because we cover so many different topics, and I learned so much just in that one hour. But again, I also just leave those meetings so motivated and so energized and just ready to tackle new things, you know, not that I’m not that I’m coming in, like depleted or anything. I just think, Okay, this is gonna be interesting. And like, see what we’re talking about today? And I just, yeah, I by the time we’re done, I’m like, Oh, my God, I’m ready to take on like, 10 new things. Yeah. So it’s, it’s great.

Megan Porta  35:46

I’m glad you’re getting so much out of that. Yeah. Yeah, there is a lot packed into this group. And it makes me so happy to hear that you are just finding it valuable and, and taking advantage of all the stuff inside of it to utilizing all of that good value. Is there anything else that we’re missing? I think that captures most of it.

MaryAnne Hoekstra 36:05

That I think that captures most of it. Yeah, I just are really want to encourage anyone who’s struggling right now, whether it’s, you know, with your weekly focus, accountability, or you’re just looking to have a supportive workspace with other food bloggers to really think about joining an accountability group. I just think it’s such an invaluable thing.

Megan Porta  36:25

Good. Well, thank you for showing up with this topic. I really appreciate you talking about your experience. And I’m looking forward to our next zoom call already. Yeah. So yeah. Thanks for taking time out of your day for this, MaryAnne.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  36:37

Thank you, Megan.

Megan Porta  36:38

Yes. Do you have a favorite quote? or words of inspiration to leave us with today?

MaryAnne Hoekstra  36:42

I do. So this is kind of a silly thing. Kind of a fun and silly thing. But did you ever watch Project Runway?

Megan Porta  36:49

I did. Yep.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  36:50

I’ve watched it. Yeah. Okay. I haven’t seen it in many, many years. I don’t even know if it’s in a lot. But I used to watch it a lot when it was on in the beginning. And so Tim Gunn kind of had this catchphrase, where after he would check in with people he’d be like, make it work, you know? It’s so according to because my husband works from home too. And so sometimes when like if he comes out, you know, to eat lunch or something, and then we’ll check in with each other. And if one of us is just struggling with something workwise and like, ah, you know, geography meanwhile or whatever, we’ll just one of us we’ll just say make it work. And it just makes us laugh and just kind of adds levity to a stressful situation. So I guess my my quote is make it work by Tim Gunn.

Megan Porta  37:36

I love that just whatever you can do to add levity and just keep going with your smile, right? Yes, absolutely. So great. We’ll put together show notes for you, MaryAnne you can find those at eatblogtalk.com/gastranontherapy therapy. Tell everyone where they can find you.

MaryAnne Hoekstra  37:53

Yes, so I am on all of the well my my blog is yes gastranotherapy.com. And then I’m on all the socials like you know, Instagram, Pinterest TikTok all that that I believe they’re all gastranotherapy as well.

Megan Porta  38:08

Awesome. Everyone go check out MaryAnne’ amazing content. Thanks again for being here, MaryAnne and thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro  38:18

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to rate and review Eat Blog Talk on your favorite podcast player. Thank you and I will see you next time.

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