In this episode, Madison Wetherill teaches us why it’s important to embrace the CEO mindset and implement regular CEO time in our businesses for risk management and goal-setting.

We cover information about why scheduling regular CEO time can help your business grow, the importance of distinguishing between working on your business versus in it, and strategies for standing out in a crowded market.

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

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Guest Details

Connect with Grace + Vine Studios
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Madison Wetherill is the founder of Grace + Vine Studios, as well as a food blogger and homeschooling mama to 3 boys. She is passionate about supporting bloggers and helping them to scale their blogs to increase their impact. She is the host of The Vine Podcast, sharing strategies for content creators to grow their food blog and connect with their audience.


  • Is Your Blog a Business? If your blog is generating an income, you should start thinking of it as a business.
  • Regular CEO Time: Add regular CEO time to your calendar and involve your support system, like your spouse, to help you stick to it.
  • Have a Plan: It’s crucial to have a clear plan of action for each CEO session to avoid getting sidetracked by other tasks.
  • CEO Checklist: Create a checklist for CEO time, including tasks like reviewing income/expenses, analyzing post performance, and planning upcoming tasks.
  • Assess Risks in Your Business: During your dedicated CEO time, risk management is one of the most important tasks to future-proof your business.
  • Create Additional Income Streams: Risk management involves coming up with backup systems and additional stream of income for when things go wrong.
  • Invest in Yourself: Taking on the CEO role means investing in yourself, whether through joining masterminds, attending conferences, or other professional development opportunities.
  • Stand Out: Don’t be afraid to differentiate yourself from others in the industry, as blending in can hinder growth and opportunities.

Resources Mentioned

The Vine Podcast by Madison Wetherill

Crafted Website Package

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz


Click for full script.

EBT519 – Madison Wetherill

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. 

Here is a question for you food bloggers. Do you consider yourself to be a CEO of your business or do you consider yourself to be just a blogger or maybe a hobby blogger? I love this conversation that I had with Madison Wetherill from Grace + Vine Studios. She is an amazing blogger, she’s an amazing entrepreneur, and a great friend. One of the topics that she’s really passionate about and talks about a lot on her platforms is this idea of stepping into that role of CEO for your business, really owning your business as a business and treating it as such. Madison talks about so many things, such as what our CEO tasks, how often to set aside time to do this. What are you thinking through when you sit down to have your CEO time, how to assess risk management in your business and think about income streams and so many other great things. Enjoy this episode. It is number 519 Sponsored by RankIQ.

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Megan Porta 03:11

Madison Weatherill is the founder of Grace + Vine Studios as well as a food blogger and homeschooling mom to three boys. She is passionate about supporting bloggers and helping them to scale their blogs to increase their impact. She is the host of The Vine podcast sharing strategies for content creators to grow their food blog and connect with their audience. Madison, it’s so great to have you back on Eat Blog Talk. It’s been a while. How are you?

Madison Wetherill 03:34

I’m doing so well. Thanks for having me again, Megan. Yeah, you’re right. It has been a while and I’m excited to dive into kind of a different topic today.

Megan Porta 03:41

Yeah, I always love chatting with you. Our conversations are fun. We’re going to talk today about bloggers stepping into their CEO role. But first, do you have a different fun fact to share with us?

Madison Wetherill 03:53

Yes. I had to think back of what I’ve shared in the past, but I was thinking a little bit about kind of my, my goals for this year and I just did an in-person like networking group that I’m part of. We did like a vision board party and one of the things that popped up for me that I wanted to put on that vision board is that I really want to learn or just experiment with throwing pottery this year. It’s been something that’s been on my list for literally years that I just want to try my hand at, like actual wheel pottery. So hopefully that will be something I get to try this year.

Megan Porta 04:26

Oh, that’s so fun And okay, vision board party. I love that. What a great idea.

Madison Wetherill 04:31

Yes, it was so fun and I, I loved the experience of just printing out the photos and being able to like hold them in my hand and then like glue them down. It was such a like creative experience, but also just made those like goals that I have or just things that I want to do, like throwing pottery more tangible because it’s like I’m putting it on this board, I’m going to see it and then I’ll be able to like review at the end of the year like did I actually do these things that I wanted to do? So hopefully that like puts it into motion that it’s going to happen this year.

Megan Porta 05:00

It will. And you’ll love pottery as a, I know you’re a creative individual like myself, you are going to fall in love with it. That’s my prediction.

Madison Wetherill 05:07

Oh, I’m so excited.

Megan Porta 05:09

Yes. Can’t wait to hear how that goes. So you are here to talk about stepping into your CEO role. I know you talk about this a lot just on your platform and I see it on Instagram a lot from you. So you, I know you feel really passionately about this. So to start our conversation, Madison, would you just want to give us a little bit of a background about how you got into running an online business?

Madison Wetherill 05:32

Absolutely. So yes, I am super passionate about this topic because I think something that I’ve realized is, you know, in the food blogging world, a lot of us kind of stumble into this and there’s this really tricky shift that happens at some point where you realize this is not just like a little hobby of mine, this is something that I want to take more seriously. And so as I was reflecting back, I was thinking about how I originally got into the online space because I have people ask me that question all the time, like, how, how did you get into food blogging? And for me, when I graduated from college, I went from being super busy in my, you know, college career, having multiple part-time jobs, taking full-time classes, all of the things to all of a sudden working in a corporate career where I was working 40 hours a week and that was it.

Madison Wetherill 06:22

And I found myself really being like, what do I spend this extra time doing? And so I decided to kind of pursue these little passions I had for blogging and doing design work on this side. And so I had kind of my corporate job that was paying the bills, but I had these other passions that I was really enjoying. And I very quickly realized that the corporate world and especially the career field I was in, was not going to be a good fit for me long-term, but it was what my family needed for me at the time. My husband was finishing up his degree in college and we needed, you know, the stability of that career. So fast forward about a year or so after that, maybe almost two years, I found out that I was pregnant with my oldest child and two days after I found out I was pregnant, I was fired from that job.

Madison Wetherill 07:07

And so I had a choice to make in that moment because I could find another job for a short time or I could decide to really invest in myself and believe in myself that I could make these passions something that would provide for my family. And I always knew that I wanted to be able to have the flexibility to stay home with my kids. I had a feeling that corporate world was not for me. And so I decided to just take the chance and see what I could do with having more time to invest into basically taking this, this hobby of mine and turning it into something that was more legitimate and was a business. So fast forward eight years and now here we are today, I can’t even imagine stepping foot into a corporate career and really that that moment and that decision of deciding to invest in myself and to view what I was doing differently and as a business is really the catalyst that changed everything for my family.

Megan Porta 08:03

I love hearing that. I don’t think I knew that story about you and your story aligns so much with mine. I can’t wait to meet you in person one day and just have these conversations because wow, mine is the same. Like I got fired shortly after having my second baby. And same, I was like, okay, either I can go down this path of finding another job and doing the corporate world again, or I just believe in myself and make it work. And thankfully I have a husband who really supported that. And it sounds like you did as well, that helped hugely. Did that help for you just having that outside support?

Madison Wetherill 08:37

Oh, absolutely, and I, I think even just the support to do something different was really, really pivotal at that time because he had just left a career in the Air Force, so came from, you know, super traditional career field and we had already kind of started this path of taking risks, if you will, with him leaving like a very stable job that he could have retired from. But it just wasn’t creating the lifestyle that we wanted. And so I think that support and just the openness to what even, you know, being an entrepreneur might look like was hugely important and has just been a key to our, you know, ability to continue to do that over the years. But it’s interesting that you had the same experience because I think for a lot of people in the online space you do, especially people who have a corporate job and a blog on the side, you have this like, you’re having to weigh this risk of do I leave this stable job to pursue my dreams? And I think for a lot of food bloggers, that’s a risk and a just a tension that they feel for a really long time before they kind of make that jump until something crazy like getting fired happens and that kind of pushes you over the edge. So it’s just an interesting thread that I’ve heard in a lot of stories from different food bloggers and clients that we’ve worked with.

Megan Porta 09:55

I don’t know how long I would’ve stayed at that job. I think back on that a lot because I was forced out. It was like, oh yeah, of course, I can’t stay here now, but if they hadn’t forced me to leave, do you ever think about that Madison? Like how long would you have stayed?

Madison Wetherill 10:11

Yeah, I really, I honestly do because it was not really in our plans to have our kids that early. We, we wanted to wait a few more years and sometimes I even look back on that and I’m like, would we have ever actually decided to have kids because we were just so comfortable. And I think that’s really what it comes down to is this, this comfort that we find in, you know, traditional jobs in traditional settings. Just it’s really hard to want to shake things up and really being an entrepreneur and doing your own thing is very countercultural even today when there’s a lot of us doing this, it’s very different and it’s, there’s risks in it. And so yeah, I do look back and think like how long would I have stayed in that little company that I was growing to really despise the work I was doing? How long would I have stayed there before I would’ve, you know, made that jump into entrepreneurship? And it definitely would’ve been many years I think.

Megan Porta 11:02

Yeah, I think so too, unfortunately. So I know there are a lot of people listening who are in the same boat as we were before we were let go. So they have a stable corporate job and they love food blogging, but they’re just weighing the balance. Like, do I leave, do I stay? Just what you said earlier. And then there are also people who are doing this full-time who have just made the decision to jump in. So I guess like how do you know if you are running a business, whether it’s on the side or full-time or whether it’s just a hobby?

Madison Wetherill 11:35

Such a good question. And there’s so many different factors and of course it’s one of those like, it depends kind of answers, but I really think it comes down to the way that you think about your decisions and your business. And I think, you know, I would say step one in taking a step towards treating something like a business is actually realizing that it, the business or the hobby can contribute financially to your family. And even if you’re only paying yourself a very small amount, it could be a couple hundred dollars a month, it could be a thousand dollars a month, whatever you have, but taking that step towards moving income and moving money from your business or your hobby to your family, there’s this mental shift that happens where it’s almost like you start to believe it’s real. It’s no longer, I, my husband and I used to joke about my magic money that I would have in like my PayPal account from my blog where we’d be like, oh, let’s go out to dinner and I’ll use my magic money to pay for it.

Madison Wetherill 12:33

Which is so fun, right? Like it’s fun to be able to support your family in that way, but it is totally different to be, you know, drawing a salary from your business, whether it is a small amount or a large amount. There is something about that shift in almost like the responsibility that I think is like a huge first step towards taking your business more seriously because it almost like proves to yourself that like, no, this is a real thing. This is real money that can support my family. You know, I’ve heard from like past clients that I’ve worked with where it’s like their goal for their blog is to be able to pay for private school for their kids or something like that, but it makes it tangible and it puts some skin in the game for it’s, you know, it’s almost like this can’t fail because there’s something relying on it versus it being just this hobby thing that, oh, if it doesn’t work out, it’s no big deal. Does that make sense?

Megan Porta 13:22

It does. And I love your magic money. I, we did that too. We didn’t call it magic money, but it was like this fun play money that, oh, we can go do anything we want with this because it’s not in the budget, it’s not set for anything in particular. It’s just kind of like this free like, money just comes into my account, what do we do now? Yeah. And then I love how you talked through just like making money and using that as kind of a determining factor about whether or not it’s a business or hobby. Do you think putting on your CEO hat is determined by that? Do you know what I mean? So like money equals being a CEO?

Madison Wetherill 13:59

I think in some ways it can, because again, it’s kind of that idea of like there’s skin in the game and if all of a sudden you’re used to let’s say paying your family $500 a month and you have a really bad month where that’s not possible, imagine if that was money that was paying your bills, like you’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure you have that money to pay your bills. And I just think that approach is so different than like, oh, well if, if my blog doesn’t make money this month, like no big deal. I just won’t, you know, go out and get a, I don’t even know, I don’t even have an example of something like frivolous that you might do, you know, if your blog money like doesn’t matter, but if it becomes something that you’re expecting and relying on, you will do whatever it takes in order to overcome whatever challenges you face. And I think that is that resilience is one of the key traits that I see successful food bloggers have and bloggers who are treating their blog like a business, they have resilience and if things happen, you know, if algorithms change, if rankings drop, whatever, they’re going to get scrappy and figure out a way out of that problem. And that mental shift is I think one of the key things you have to have as a CEO to be able to overcome all the different things that happen for food bloggers.

Megan Porta 15:16

That is so true. Getting scrappy, you just that necessity for it. So for me it was like, okay, sitting down and figuring out a budget, what am I spending? What’s coming in? And that’s when it really became real for me. And then also outsourcing. Once you start outsourcing things, you kind of feel like those people are relying on you, right? I mean, things can change obviously over time, but that made me get scrappy just having those expenditures. Does that make sense?

Madison Wetherill 15:44

Yeah. And I think that’s totally true in so many ways. I think one way, like you just said is that it makes it real and you’ve committed to this person to pay them whatever it is. But I think the second side of that is you’re also committing to not spending your time on things that are not at the level of the CEO of the business. And when you invest in having somebody else help in your business, that’s what you’re doing. You’re freeing up time for you to spend time on the strategic level tasks that need to be done, not, you know, spending time on Pinterest or whatever it is that you’ve decided to outsource. You have again, like made that investment in yourself to say like, my time needs to be spent where it’s going to grow the business, not where, you know, I’m just checking things off of a list and, and kind of doing some of those lower level tasks that might be needed, but they don’t have to be done by you. And so that, again, that mental shift of deciding like what is the most high value thing I can spend my time on is definitely something that is really important for that CEO mindset.

Megan Porta 16:46

So what are some CEO tasks? Is this something that is going to change depending on the person or do you have a list of what a standard CEO task list might look like?

Madison Wetherill 16:57

I have a little bit of a list and I said something that I talk about on my podcast often is this idea of like a CEO date. And what I mean by that, it’s really a time that you set aside hopefully on a weekly basis to check in. And when you’re checking in on your business, you know, you’re looking for things like what’s going well, what’s not going well, what do I need to maybe get to my team so they can take care of these tasks? But something else that’s really big to spend that time on is really this, this idea of risk management and figuring out what are the risks I have in my business that you know, could cause problems and what am I going to do to hopefully either negate or lessen that risk? And so things like that where you’re really looking forward and your future casting for your business are really those CEO level tasks versus, you know, spending your time pinning on Pinterest or even like responding to an email from, you know, a reader who comments on your blog posts. Like those are not tasks that are necessarily like future proofing your business. They’re important and they have to be done, but they maybe need to have less of a priority than some of those futuristic, you know, forward thinking tasks that need to be done.

Megan Porta 18:11

Oh, that is interesting. Your term that you used risk management, that is not something I’ve ever thought before, but do you have examples for that? Like what are things that when you’ve looked at your year ahead that have been red flags to you?

Madison Wetherill 18:25

Yeah, so not to, not to put anybody in, you know, like anxiety with thinking about some of these things, but I had a coach one time who was like, we were talking through some of these risks in my business and she said, well, you know, what if WordPress went away? And I’m like, ah, oh, and of course like that’s something that’s probably not going to happen, but what would you do if it did? You know, and I, I think something we talk about a lot with social media is like, what if Instagram just went away? You know, what would you do? And so thinking about those types of things, like there’s probably not a solution to what if Instagram goes away, but the solution is, okay, I’m going to focus on my email list and I’m going to get the people that follow me on Instagram onto my email list so if Instagram goes away, I still have access to those people.

Madison Wetherill 19:06

So things like that thinking through like, and I feel like there’s just so many things as a business owner that come up that distract us or even just make it hard to focus on those things. Or sometimes we just don’t want to go to that anxious place of thinking about those risks. But really if we don’t ever spend time thinking about them, then what happens is, you know, you have things like the helpful content update where people lose 80% of their traffic and they’re paralyzed because it’s like they never thought that was going to happen to them or was possible that that would happen to them. So they never thought about what will I do if that does happen? So, you know, I think algorithm updates are always a thing to be thinking about and having an idea of, you know, where you’re going to get that traffic if that happens to you or you know, what your approach might be. I think some other examples are, you know, things like social media because there’s, there are things that are out of our control and really that’s, those are risky things when things are not in our control. So it’s important to think ahead and think about, you know, what would your plan of action be if this happened? So that at least you’ve thought about it and it doesn’t make it as paralyzing if it ever does happen to you.

Megan Porta 20:14

And not to put like a scary tone on that, right? Like it is necessary to think through this stuff, but don’t get paralyzed with fear over it. Do you agree?

Madison Wetherill 20:23

Yeah, absolutely.

Megan Porta 20:25

Yeah, because that leads nowhere except bad places.

Madison Wetherill 20:30


Sponsor 20:32

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Megan Porta 22:03

Okay, so thinking like a CEO, just sitting down kind of assessing where your time is, spent some future things that you can diversify traffic and income and all of that. Do you have any other tips for just being overall strategic with your business?

Madison Wetherill 22:16

Well actually I want to touch on one, something you just said. Yeah, because I didn’t elaborate too much on the income streams, but I think that’s another area that spending your time as a CEO thinking about different income streams that you can create. And I think this is challenging, especially for food bloggers because of how demanding and time consuming SEO is. So a lot of us will spend a lot of our time working on creating content, optimizing it for SEO, all of that. And again, we forget that there is this risk that someday Google might not give you all the traffic that they’re giving you today. And so thinking ahead and working on how can I add in additional revenue streams to my business is a really important thing to do. And doing that while your business is stable is actually much easier to do than, yeah.

Madison Wetherill 23:02

You know, if you have that worst case scenario happen where you know you’re scraping the bottom and it’s really stressful. So I think adding those additional revenue streams and thinking about, you know, what do you want to do with your business? And that can be another way to, you know, increase your income, which can help you to pay yourself more, which can help with, you know, it’s like this big cycle of things, but I think those additional revenue streams are really important for the stability of your business. But also, you know, the risk management side of your business where you’re creating those other, they might be small, you know, income streams, but they’re at least there and they’re started and they can grow. 

Megan Porta 23:39

How do you recommend starting with deciding on an income stream? Because there, there was a time in the past where I was like, I need more, I have ad revenue, but I need more. So I remember I had like eight to nine new revenue streams within the next six months and that was way too much because I wasn’t able to give full attention to each one. And so then I paired back obviously and then reassessed. But how do we figure out where to go?

Madison Wetherill 24:04

Yeah, I think there’s two things that really help you decide kind of where to start. I think one is really thinking about what you’re good at and where you are naturally, you know, what’s naturally easy for you. So for example, if you’re somebody who loves to be on video, well then like creating a course or a cooking class might make sense for you. Versus if you’re someone who absolutely despises video, don’t try to start that revenue stream. You know, if you’re really good with Canva and graphic design, you could create an eBook and you could sell it, you know, just right through your email marketing platform. So thinking about that, that and what you’re really good at and what comes naturally to you is one way because it’s just going to be so much easier to start with what you know and what you’re good at.

Madison Wetherill 24:47

The second thing is really thinking about what your audience already likes. And with the cookbook example, if you have like a free cookbook that you know people on your audience just love and you’re getting lots of subscribers from it, well a paid eBook might be a good option because it’s something that’s a little bit more, you know, meaty than a free eBook and you could easily sell it for 20 bucks or whatever you want to sell it for. So I think those two combined, you know, and when you have your CEO time and you’re checking in thinking about, okay, what are five revenue streams I could do? And then saying, well, which would be the easiest for me to do right now? And then that’s the one that you start with because I think, you know, yes there are so many different options for different revenue streams for food bloggers, but not all of them are going to be easy or are going to feel like something you can, you know, easily get done. And that’s where again, that paralysis comes in because you try to, you know, bite off more than you can chew in a reasonable amount of time.

Megan Porta 25:44

How do you stay on task with all of this? Just having your CEO hat on occasionally. Do you plan in advance times when you sit down with yourself and if so, how often?

Madison Wetherill 25:54

Yes. So ideally this would happen once a week and this is something that I’ve added to, I used to want to just do this and I just kind of thought, oh, it’ll just happen, but now it’s on my calendar every week and so my husband can see it. And so he’ll even say sometimes like, oh, I’m going to take the kids out because I know you have your planning time this afternoon. And it’s like, I didn’t even remember that I had put that on the calendar, but he saw it. And so he’s like, and again, that’s where that, you know, that support comes in. But you know, you have to think through like what, what reminders do you need? Or what systems do you need to help you stay accountable with that? And so I found for me, the two things that are most helpful for having that recurring CEO time is having it on my calendar and then second to have kind of a, a plan of what I’m going to do each time.

Madison Wetherill 26:37

Because so often you might sit down and you’re like, okay, I’m, I’m ready to work on my business. And you’re like, like, okay, well I have this thing screaming at me over here so I need to go take care of that and then I need to take care of this. And then you don’t ever get to the stuff that you’re trying to do for your business. So that’s really the way that I like to think about that. My CEO time is it’s time that I’m working on my business not in it. And that differentiator in tasks can really help to, when you’re sitting down and you’re working on something, it’s like, am I in my business or am I working on, you know, propelling my business forward? Yeah, so I think, yeah, to answer your question succinctly, those two things, having it on your calendar regularly, ideally once a week, but if you know every other week is all you can do, then that’s better than nothing. And then two, having a short little checklist of things that you do every time you sit down,

Megan Porta 27:24

What does your checklist entail?

Madison Wetherill 27:26

So it, I will say it does vary a little bit, but I would say the first, you know, if, if you’re getting started with this idea of CEO time, one would be to look at your revenue, so your income and or expenses. If you’re working with a bookkeeper, it could just be reviewing, you know, your profit and loss statement that you’re getting from them. So that wouldn’t necessarily be every week because it’s not going to change every week, but weekly you might be looking at, you know, what posts are doing really well for you, is there any difference? You know, you’re seeing a post climb in rankings or generate more traffic. because then you can dig into like why is that happening? Looking ahead at what tasks you have coming up for the week or maybe what tasks you need to give to a team member.

Madison Wetherill 28:07

because this recurring time block can be really helpful for that as well just setting aside time to look ahead at what your team needs from you. I think the other one would just be anything that you need to do to work on those goals that maybe you’ve set for the quarter or for the month and using that time regularly to get ahead. So if you say, I’m going to work on a cookbook this year, maybe during your CEO time you have an hour or 30 minutes or whatever that you’re working on the steps you need to take to make that cookbook a reality.

Megan Porta 28:35

So really keeping your goals at the forefront too. So if you have goals for the year, this is what I do a couple times a week, I just bring up all my goals and if anything inspires me like oh I could probably knock that out today. Or like, there’s a task associated with that goal, like that sort of thing. Is that kind of what you’re saying?

Madison Wetherill 28:53

Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes it’s just sitting down and mapping out like what needs to happen next. Yeah. And you just need to sit down and plan it because again, I’ve operated under the assumption many times where it’s like, oh this will just happen, it’ll just get done. But unless I like put the steps in motion for it to get done, it’s not going to get done. So sometimes that CEO time is just thinking time. And that’s something I’ve had to do a lot recently with just having a lot on my plate. I’ve needed just an hour to 90 minutes to just sit and think and brainstorm all the things and brain dump all the things that are on my, in my head so that I can get things moving. And so sometimes that’s what CEO going to look like, but you have to give yourself that space to do that so you have clarity in what you need to focus on next.

Megan Porta 29:37

Yeah, I have fallen into that too, Madison, where I think that it’s just going to magically get done, but sometimes I have to take action on things and I need to be inspired to take action. Right. So you need that time to just set aside and think or strategize or whatever.

Madison Wetherill 29:53

Exactly. And that that white space is really so important. I know we’ve talked about that before. I think one of your interviews on my podcast was about margin and white space. And I think that’s something we forget that we need. And again, that goes back to the CEO mindset because really if you don’t have that white space, you’re just going to be operating in this never ending hamster wheel and you’re not going to have the white space to think and stop and really like think forward about where do I want my business to be in six months or in a year and what steps do I need to take to get there? Because that’s really the most important thing that you could spend your time on, is thinking about where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

Megan Porta 30:30

I think that is the most important message of this whole chat is to just create that white space for yourself so that you have the opportunity to think through this sort of thing. Right?

Madison Wetherill 30:40

Yeah, absolutely.

Megan Porta 30:42

Yeah, it’s so necessary. Do you have other tips for just being strategic with it outside of planning and just setting aside the white space?

Madison Wetherill 30:50

Yes. So I think the other major theme that I’ve seen with the clients that we’ve worked with, the food bloggers that I’ve talked to when it comes to the ones who are seeing the most success and are, are truly operating their blog, like a business is not being afraid to not do what everybody else is doing. And this was such a, you know, a negative thing that was happening for so many years where people were just blindly following what everybody else in the space was doing. And I think there’s a couple of things to take away from this concept of not following what everybody else is doing. The first is that you know, what works for one blog might not work for your blog and it’s great to follow the experts and it’s great to get insight from what people are doing and what’s working, but you have to remember that your blog is different than other people’s blogs.

Madison Wetherill 31:37

And so what works for them might not work for you. So there has to be some strategy and some thought that goes into the things that you do, which we’ve talked about in a couple of different examples so far. And then the second one is that if you are doing everything that everybody else is doing, you’re following the same, you know, blueprint, you’re using the same theme, you’re using the same setup, your blog is just going to blend in with everybody else’s, which is not going to allow you to have experiences and opportunities that are unique for your blog. And so I really have found that the clients that we’ve seen the most success with, they’ve not been afraid to do something a little different and to again, take risks but in a calculated and strategic way to say, I’m going to try this thing and I’m going to see what happens. And you know, they’ve just carved a path for themself that is different and those are the clients that I’ve seen be the most successful when they’re not afraid to do something different and to, you know, build something that’s unique for their brand.

Megan Porta 32:38

I love that point. I’m so glad you mentioned that because there are a lot of us out there and it is so easy to fall into that trap of just doing what everyone else is doing. We’re all in the same groups, we all talk to the same people, we all hear from the same experts and then before we know it, we look around and realize that our business looks really similar to everyone else’s, right. So I love this reminder just to take a step back once in a while and see how you can stand out and set yourself apart a little bit. But it can be really scary.

Madison Wetherill 33:11

It really can. And you know, I think that’s where having, I, I don’t even know, I want to say it’s like you have a tunnel of influence almost, where instead of listening to the masses, you choose who you’re going to listen to and there’s that idea of, you know, you’re like the five people you surround yourself with and I actually love that concept, but not taking it from the people you’re in, like in and around in person, but also the people you’re listening to. So the podcast that you’re listening to, the YouTube channels that you’re listening to, people you follow on Instagram, like those people can also make up, you know, those, those five influences. But you have to kind of pick who you’re going to listen to and who you’re going to follow so that you can have a different way of looking at things.

Madison Wetherill 33:55

And also so that you’re not overwhelmed with all the ideas out there. Because there, like you said, there are a lot and there’s a lot of different voices in our space. So again, that goes back to this, you know, CEO time and really thinking about what you want because if for example, I know I don’t want to be on social media, I don’t need to listen to the people telling me how to be successful on social media, I can just turn off that channel. Whereas if I know that I want to be, you know, on TV shows and you know, be on network television, that’s a totally different approach than somebody who wants to be on TikTok and get a lot of followers from there. So having that goal in your mind and that you know, direction that you want to go, it’s almost the most important thing that you can do for your business because it helps you to create that tunnel vision so you can stay focused on what’s, you know, important to you.

Megan Porta 34:42

Yeah, and those kind of light your way and give you inspiration as you go, right?

Madison Wetherill 34:47

Exactly. Okay,

Megan Porta 34:48

So do you have any, I think a lot of people listening might be like, well, am I a CEO? Am I not? Am I doing this right? Is this a hobby? Is it a business? So do you have any signs that maybe we are doing it the right way as far as really just taking on that role of being a CEO?

Madison Wetherill 35:06

Absolutely. So I, I want to say that, you know, if you’re unsure, that’s okay. You know, it doesn’t have to be obvious because I think showing up as the CEO of your blog is something you choose to do on a daily, weekly, you know, monthly basis. But a few things that you know, if you’re listening and you’re thinking like, yes, I want to do that, I want to step into the CO role of my blog, I would say the first thing to start doing is, is that CEO check in with yourself and I have some podcast episodes that we can maybe put in the show notes that talk about that CEO time and what to do. The second I think is to start finding ways to invest in yourself as, you know, the CEO of the business. Whether that is joining something like a mastermind, whether that’s peer led or it’s something that’s paid.

Madison Wetherill 35:50

Like you know, you guys have an Eat Blog Talk, whether it’s attending a conference or signing up for a summit, ways that you can just start to mentally tell yourself, I’m investing in this, this is a business and I’m taking it seriously. And then I think the third way would be to figure out how you’re going to start standing out. How are you going to start, you know, or I guess stop blending in and putting your best foot forward and showing up in a professional way, whether that means that you’re, you know, again, going to invest in these things and maybe take your blog seriously even if the people around you aren’t. Because sometimes that’s hard with people in our, you know, personal lives who don’t understand what we do. Or maybe it’s that you’re going to invest in a new website this year because you’re tired of using the same theme that everybody else is using.

Madison Wetherill 36:37

Or you’re going to, you know, put yourself out there and go to a conference and you know, have to deal with kind of that awkwardness of not knowing somebody whatever way it is that you want to put your best foot forward and stop blending in, you know, write those things down and then just make a plan to start taking action on those. And any of those three things that I just talked about, you put those steps forward and you kind of start to do those things. You’re going to start feeling and acting like the CEO of your business.

Megan Porta 37:04

This is so good. Madison, things came up that I didn’t anticipate, just like inspiration for me even. So thank you so much for all of this. Is there anything that you wanted to touch on before we start saying goodbye?

Madison Wetherill 37:14

I don’t think so. I think kind of what I just said at the beginning of this little part is, you know, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been doing this so far, like that’s okay and there’s no definitely no shame in any of that. I feel like stepping into your CEO role is, it’s a choice that you have to make on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and it’s never going to look perfect. But the more that you do it and the more of a muscle that you build with it, the easier it will become. And it will hopefully just be the thing that takes you to that next level this year by just really being able to think about your business differently and to be sure like, no, this is a business, this is not a hobby, this is, you know, my career. And being able to think about it in that way I think will really help food bloggers to, to jump to that next level.

Megan Porta 37:58

One more question. I don’t think I asked you this. How much time per week do you spend in your CEO role and then how much time do you recommend to people just allotting for it if they haven’t done this at all?

Madison Wetherill 38:09

Great question. I think an hour minimum is really helpful and you know, if, if it feels weird or it feels like, oh that doesn’t really sound very much fun, like take yourself off to out to coffee and make it fun or light a candle play, you know, an a good Spotify playlist, something like that to make it feel more fun and it’ll start to become the thing that you look forward to the most in your week. But yeah, it can be small. If you have a busy week and you only have 30 minutes, like that’s okay. But I also try to on a quarterly basis, do this in a longer chunk of time. So maybe it’s like a whole day and I might like book a hotel room or something so that I have space away from my family to do this. But the more often that you can do it, the better because it’s really going to help build that muscle for you. So I think anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, you know, once a quarter can be really helpful. And like I said, it’ll end up being the thing that you look forward to the most.

Megan Porta 39:02

I love your idea of taking yourself out for coffee or lunch. That sounds amazing to me., that would be a reason for me to get started with it if I weren’t doing it because sitting down at your computer can sometimes seem like, oh this, I have to think about my business. But if you’re going out somewhere that sounds exciting.

Madison Wetherill 39:20

Yeah. And planning for it, then you’re going to, you know, be excited and have a list. But yeah, if you just sit down at your normal computer, you know, area, you’re going to so easily get distracted by other things. So make it feel like it’s something different and that will help your brain to say like, oh, I need to pay attention. I need to not get, you know, sucked into Facebook groups and scrolling and all that stuff.

Megan Porta 39:40

Oh yes, I love that. Thank you Madison. This was so amazing and helpful and we appreciate you showing up today with this value. You’re amazing.

Madison Wetherill 39:48

Absolutely. Well, and I just wanted to say too, if anyone you know takes us up on this advice and does go and do a CEO date, please like take a picture and share it on Instagram stories. You can find me over at Grace + Vine. I would love to cheer you on and connect with you there. And like I said, I can send you, Megan, the episodes that I’ve done in the past about like how to spend your CEO time, because I know it’s helpful to kind of have a list of things to go through.

Megan Porta 40:10

Okay. I’m going to do it and tag you very soon. Do you have another quote or words of inspiration to share with us, Madison?

Madison Wetherill 40:17

Yeah, so one of the most like game changing books that I’ve read for my business specifically is the book Profit First. And if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it because it will really help you think about your business finances different. But one of the quotes in it is, when profit comes last profit is an afterthought. And I love this idea, even if you take the word profit out and you just put CEO time in there, it really just helps us to realize that if we don’t put the most important things first in our business, they’re probably not going to happen. And so whether it’s profit or CEO time or whatever it is that you need to focus on, put those things first in your week and then you’ll make sure that they actually get done.

Megan Porta 40:57

I love that book as well. Highly recommend it. It was a game changer for me and my business, honestly. We’ll put together another show notes page for you with everything that we talked about and that link that you referenced to Madison. So if you want to go look at those, head to Tell everyone where they can find you, and then I know you have a new service that you’re offering on your web design side, so feel free to talk about that as well.

Madison Wetherill 41:23

Sure. Yeah, so like I said, Instagram is probably the best social media place to find me. We’re over there at Grace + Vine and I have my podcast called the Vine Podcast. So if you liked this conversation and liked the idea of stepping into your CEO role or just thinking differently about your food blog, then you’ll love some of the episodes we have over there. And then, like you said, we do have a brand new way that we’re working with clients. We’ve been doing it for about a year now, but our crafted websites is essentially a semi-custom way for you to build a website that stands out and a website that’s really going to reflect your business and take your business to the next level. So if that’s something that you have been considering a redesign or revamping your website, then we’d love to chat with you and you can find more information on our website. Awesome.

Megan Porta 42:07

Thanks again Madison. And thank you so much for listening at food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro 42:15

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.

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